Friday, December 11, 2009

Krochet Kids: Buy a hat. Change a life.

Here is a real cool non-profit out of my home state of Washington. They have set out to fight poverty with hats. They have some really cool hats, scarves and sticker packs available on their website and the profits from every sale go to help impoverished women in northern Uganda. Check 'em out!


To empower people to rise above poverty.


To create sustainable economic development programs that support holistic growth of individuals and communities within developing nations.

To inspire the knowledge of a generation about their ability to bring change to a world that is in need.

Krochet Kids : Rough Cut from Krochet Kids International on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

How to Duck Dive a Surfboard

Hey gang,

We're back with our weekly installment of FAQs. Today's question relates to 'duck diving' - the technique surfers (on smaller boards) use to get under incoming waves while paddling out past the breakers. Duck diving ensures that you don't waste all of the swimming energy you use to paddle out by getting washed back towards the beach by an oncoming wave. It is especially useful at beach breaks or on days when waves are very frequent and you cannot paddle outside to get a clean swim. NOTE: It is difficult if not impossible to duck dive a longboard...instead you should use the 'turtle roll' technique which we will also cover in this post.

DUCK DIVING: While it may not look like it, duck diving is actually pretty tricky, and can be very hard to learn at first. We recommend practicing in small conditions (or even in a pool or flat water) at first and then moving on to bigger waves. Here are the steps involved:

1. Put your hands on the rails out in front of you and push down, as if you were doing a push up. This should sink the nose of your board underwater.
2. Keep your arms straight and lean forward to help get more of the board under the water.
3. Place a foot or a knee on the board and take a breath as you submerge your entire board underwater, just as the wave is about to roll over you. Keep your board angled downwards and lay flat. 'Scoop' or arch your board and your body under the wave.
4. Aim your head and the top of your board at the surface just behind the wave.
5. As you emerge from the water you should be in position to start paddling again.

Here is a great video to watch that demonstrates what I just attempted to explain. (Bonus: I am pretty sure the soundtrack for this video is from the N64 classic Diddy Kong Racing)

Turtle Roll All you longboarders out there who can't duckdive your sticks are going to need to learn to 'turtle roll' under waves while paddling out. Here are the steps to a turtle roll:

1. As the wave approaches, paddle towards it and roll your board over on top of you just before it reaches you.
2. Pull the board down towards you, trying to stay upright/vertical in the water with the board on top of you. This should form a "T" shape and allow you to act like an anchor.
3. Pull down and thrust your board forward through the wave by kicking against the water.
4. Once the wave has passed over you, flip your board back over, climb aboard and resume paddling!

Here is another video that will probably better illustrate my explanation. These crazy Aussies call it an 'Eskimo roll' but it is the same thing. Fast forward to 3:38 in the video.

-CRSI Tamarindo

Some New Vids!

Here is the newest lesson video from CRSI featuring Xander, Genevieve, Michelle and Alex!

And here is a video of a surprised Kitty. Priceless!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Earn college credit while learning Spanish and Surfing

Hello gang,

Wanted to remind all past students and prospective students that you can earn University credit this summer while studying at CRSI through SG Spanish Schools.

They have partnered with CRSI and CSI to offer surf and Spanish programs for which students can earn up to 2 semester courses worth of University or Junior College Spanish credit. Waves + Spanish + awesome nightlife = credit? Sounds like a sweet deal. I wish I was still in college....seriously.

You can register either on the CRSI website or the SG Spanish website.

In other news, here is another weekly installment of our favorite tunes of the week. Feel free to comment, add links to other tracks or just heckle.

Aretha Franklin: - Think

Calvin Harris - The Rain

Moka Only (Ft MF Doom) - More Soup

Blakroc (Ft Nicole Wray and NOE) - Done Did It



Wednesday, December 2, 2009

****New CRSI Rashguards****

Check out the new murdered out Costa Rica Surf Institute rashguards! Dope.

also new pics and vids are up for the week Costa Rica Surf Institute Pics Fall 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What exactly is the environmental impact of surfboards?

According to Berkley grad student and scientist, Tobias Schultz, it is not as significant as commonly thought. Tobias performed a 'cradle to grave' study on the environmental impact of a surfboard throughout its life time - from the raw materials used to make it, the chemicals emitted during shaping and its eventual disposal - and concluded that the positive environmental impact created by surfing outweighs the negative effects of surfboards.

He specifically mentions increasing environmental activism and awareness among the surfing community and campaigns such as "Save Trestles" and the thousands of beach clean up days hosted by surfers around the world every year. In short, Tobias says that while we all need to continue to make strides towards a smaller footprint through more efficient vehicles, eco-friendly boards and waste management, so far surfing has achieved a net gain when it comes to the environment.

You can read the full article here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Join the revolution, stop the pollution: Save Tamarindo

Hello, hello.  For everyone out there who wants to puke everytime they look at the white monstrosity of a condo building that went up in the center of Tamarindo over the last year, I am posting a link to an organization that is attempting to put a stop to such things.  If you live in Tamarindo you have no doubt seen "Save Tamarindo" signs and stickers around town.  If not, I'll provide a little bit of background information on them for you.  "Save Tamarindo" is attempting to slow the rapid development, the erection of high rises in and around Tamarindo, and prevent the exploitation and destruction of natural resources and the local environment.  Here is an excerpt from their mission statement:

Mission Statement:

It is our responsibility to Protect and Preserve the Nature and Natural Resources of Playa Tamarindo for Future Generations Do you realize that there are between 20 & 25 skyscrapers planned for Tamarindo?
Please visit the website to see a list and pictures of what is coming to our coastline.
Tamarindo is on the verge of overexploitation. Tamarindo’s Natural Habitat and Beach are severely threatened by the speculative over development of condominiums structures. High Density buildings are desecrating Tamarindo’s landscape, threatening our natural resources, depleting our water supply, displacing wildlife, lowering our property values, undermining the tourism business, and adversely affecting our livelihoods. Tamarindo is a special place on this Earth, literally located within Costa Rica’s, Parque Nacional Las Baulas and should not be overdeveloped and exploited.

You can help the cause by visiting and signing the petition.  They also send out free decals and tees.  Check 'em out.  Enjoy your weekend!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New Weekly Feature: Surfing FAQs

Hola amigos.  I am adding a new feature to the blog this week.  Starting today Pray For Barrels will start answering frequently asked surfing questions to help keep you in the know.  Have a question you want answered?  Email  Alex or me at

Todays Question:  "What exactly is a 'thruster' board and in what conditions do you use them?"

A:  The term thruster actually refers to a fin setup, rather than a specific type of board.  It essentially is synonymous with 'tri-fin' or 'three-fin' set ups.  It usually consists of three equal sized fins in a triangle setup with one at the back point of the board, and two fins flanking it on either side near the rails.

The thruster setup allows for more speed and tighter turns as the surfer "pumps" the board from rail to rail along the wave.  You will notice shortboard riders pumping for speed as they move along the face of a wave.  One thing to note is that the three fins actually create more drag, so their potential speed bost can only be exploited with a more active surfing style.

More information on board types and fin setups can be found at the CRSI website.

Big waves and a clip from the movie that started it all

Today I have a couple vids for you. The first is a clip from the great documentary Riding Giants, that chronicles the history of big wave surfing. This clip is a tribute to big wave pioneer Greg Noll. Badass.

The second clip is from the sequel to the legendary surf film Endless Summer, Endless Summer II. This film really started the surfing boom in Tamarindo. Here you see Wingnut, Pat and Robert August ripping it up at Playa Negra, Playa Grande and Tamarindo. Corny but awesome...and look how empty it is! Enjoy.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Getting into surf shape: Tips from Laird Hamilton and some yoga gurus

There is nothing worse than paddling out on a great day only to be forced out of the water after an hour with dead arms and a sore back. There are a lot of great workouts you can do to get you into surf shape and the best of them combine some form of strength, flexibility and cardio training (and surfing). I have compiled some of the better workouts I have found around the interwebs.

Laird Hamilton's Workout

This guy apparently is a fitness fanatic. Laird's workout looks something like this according to a couple of sources - definitely not for nancies:

Mon: Circuit training with weights. He works the entire body in about 1.5 to 2 hours. He chooses 20 different exercises and does enough sets per exercise to get 105 reps (this is a rough workout, by the way).
Tues: Rides a mountain bike for 2 hours, followed by "sand training" (lunges, push-ups, log pull, sand dune sprints), and ends with "water activity" (surfing, wind surfing, kite surfing, etc.)
Wed: Circuit training…followed by a "short" bike ride of 1.5 hours.
Thurs: Bike (mountain or road for 2.5 hours), sand training(lunges, push-ups, log pull, sand dune sprints), and water activity (surfing, wind surfing, kite surfing, etc.)
Fri: Circuit training…followed by a "short" bike ride of 1.5 hours.
Sat: Rest (surf if the waves are breaking nicely)
Sun: Bike (mountain or road for 2.5 hours), sand training(lunges, push-ups, log pull, sand dune sprints), and water activity (surfing, wind surfing, kite surfing, etc.)

Some insight on the benefits yoga can bring to surfers from the folks at

(Many CRSI students already know this, but for those who aren't sold, or are just too lazy to get into the yoga studio after surfing, read on.)

"Top pros including Rochelle Ballard, Layne Beachley, Taylor Knox, and Kelly Slater have all used yoga to stay loose, flexible, and focused in the surf. Yoga is one of the best activities surfers can do because it actually restores energy by nourishing and revitalizing every cell of the body! Practicing yoga helps build flexible strength, endurance, balance, and mental focus – all necessary for fluid, powerful surfing. Yoga breathing or 'pranayama' increases lung capacity so you can stay calm and relaxed even in a wipeout."

"There are many varieties of yoga and different styles of teaching, so be sure to shop around until you find a good fit. Let your instructor know that you’re a surfer and ask for specific poses that will open the shoulders, stretch the hips, and keep the back strong and flexible."

“There are some very good restorative yoga poses like child's pose and supported chest openers that make recovery a lot more productive,” says Kurt Dabisch, a personal trainer at Equinox Fitness Club in New York City. “Even the active yoga poses like sun salutations and doing downward dog to upward dog have a great effect on recovery. Besides helping get the lactic acid out of the muscles, yoga poses result in your feeling better than when you started”

Bonus: yoga increases your sense of well-being and inner strength.
Caution: avoid forcing yourself into unfamiliar or advanced poses. Move at your own pace and listen to your body.

Check out these links for more info, peace!

Costa Rica Surf Institute YOGA
Surf Fitness Inc

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Oldies but goodies. Nicaragua trip from 2008.

Here are some photos I found from a weekend trip we took to Nicaragua in August of 2008. Some highlights included seeing a Granada Tiburones baseball game, looking into the crater of an active volcano, and taking a boat tour through the thousands of private islands on lake Nicaragua. Nicaragua is always a fun trip for students because the border is so close to Tamarindo and you can see a lot of cool things for very cheap.

Shark eats shark! Crazy Aussie photo.

Check out this wild picture from Queensland Australia. Apparently some fisherman hooked this 10 foot shark and as they were reeling it in, a 6 meter (18 ft! shark swam up and ripped it in half). Glad we don't have these in COSTA RICA!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Cool Jams - Check out these tunes

Hello hello. Today's post has nothing to do with surfing, save a band called surfer's blood. Just thought I would drop some new tracks on everyone. Let me know what you think.

Surfer Blood - Floating Vibes, Swim (To Reach The End)

Cymbals Eat Guitars - Wind Phoenix

Starfucker (Pyramid) - German Love

Jay Z, Lil Wayne - Hello Brooklyn (Marvin Gaye Sample)

You can check out all these songs and more on the CRSI Hypemachine (code named choyt800)



Monday, November 2, 2009

Discounts! Surf and Spanish 10% off.

We are trying something a little different for students interested in surfing with us this summer. We are partnering with studentglobe to offer discounts to surf and spanish students. Simply mention this blog post when registering for surf school at CRSI or Spanish classes at Studentglobe and recieve a 10% discount. It's as simple as that.

In other news here is the weekly forecast for Tamarindo. Looks good.

  • Holiday season is looking like it will be busy as usual. If you are planning on making it down over Christmas make sure you get your lodging etc. booked ASAP as it seems everything is filling up quickly.
  • Past students: If you have any good photos from your time at CRSI send them to me at or find me on facebook and link me to your albums so I can put them up on the CRSI website!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Party Wave!

Check out this world record picture of 103 surfers in South Africa partying on a wave. Crowded!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

September Surf Lesson Photos: Avellanas

New photos are up on the website! Check out all of the pictures from August and September surf lessons!

Saving Trees: CRSI Curriculum Now Online

In order to make things more convenient for our students and to save paper in the process, we have put all of the CRSI curriculum online under that tab "for students" on the CR Surf Institute website.

This is the information that Alex uses to supplement his teaching during surf lessons and surf seminars. It contains information on surf etiquette, surfboards, wave theory, surf science and much more. Putting it online also allows past students to go back and review what they learned at the Institute whenever they want. Check it out, poke around, if there is anything you would like to see added email

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Summer of 2009 in Review

Our 5th summer was our busiest and most exciting yet here at the Costa Rica Surf Institute. Too much happened to write about in a single blog post but I will do my best to give you the highlights.

  • Surf office redesign: Big changes around the surf desk this summer as a giant wave mural was painted, covering the entire wall behind the desk. We also added some great new stools that double as waxing stations. Somehow in between teaching lessons and doing administration Alex also managed to buy a ping pong table and build 2 new Indo boards!

  • New surfboards: We purchased 5 new surfboards this summer, adding to an already extensive quiver. The new group of boards includes an Al Merrick fish, a Surf Tech longboard and a couple of shortboards.

  • Family program successes: Our family program has grown every year since its inception and this summer was our biggest yet. We had kids and parents participating of all ages from all over the world. I truly believe that CRSI is the most family friendly surf school in all of Central America. Stay tuned for new additions and expansions to this great program.

  • Alex and Larkin had a baby! And of course we cannot mention the family program without congratulating Alex and Larkin on their new baby girl Avellana. Congrats guys! We are sure she will be up on a board soon.

Stay tuned for more posts Soon. See you on the waves!