January
13

Surf Guide Bukit, Bali

 We are kicking off our 2017 Surf Guides with our dream destination – BALI.  MI OLA brand ambassador Giulia (@guiliamanfrini) loves to visit Bali whenever she can and we caught up with her recently to find out the bests spots to surf in Bali. Start packing your bikinis now, because after reading this guide, you’ll want to hop on the next plane!
Bali is known for its forested volcanic mountains, iconic rice paddies, beaches and coral reefs, as well as yoga retreats.  Most of Indonesia is Muslim, however Bali is actually more Hindu than Muslim.  It is legal to drink in Bali, but drugs are illegal.  If someone is caught with drugs, they will be go to jail. (They even have a death sentence for drugs.) The rainy season is November – March.
screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-7-12-04-am

MI OLA Ambassador Giulia – @giuliamanfrini rippin’ in Cosata Rica while visiting MI OLA’s headquarters last year.

Location: The Bukit, Bali, Indonesia
Bali is a classic tropical surf location where Southeast-Asian culture perfectly mixes with western society. My favorite place in Bali is The Bukit, the small peninsula on the south end of the island. The Bukit offers western comforts, with mostly everything you may need, but it’s also still very Indonesian if you’re keen to explore around riding your motorbike. The Bukit also offers a great variety of surf spots!
bali-beach-guide-location-map

Map courtesy of GHM Hotels

Where to surf:
 Green Ball: This is my favorite spot in The Bukit! Green Ball works mainly in the wet season during low tide. To access this wave, park your scooter on the cliff (watch out for the monkeys because they love to steal!) and you walk down 350 steps. Green Ball is a white coral beach with caves. To reach the wave, it is a 15 minute paddle in the channel. Green Ball is a perfect left on one side and a perfect right on the other, breaking over coral reef in crystal water. Choose your wave and enjoy the ride!
Padang Padang: Big, heavy barrels and only for expert surfers. It’s the most dangerous and hollowest wave in Bukit. Expert surfers get barreled in the take off, pick up speed in the next section, and then barreled again!
Uluwatu: The WAVE!!! It’s an epic left hander, barrels and plenty of peaks (the Temple, the Corners, Racetracks and the Peak). Walk out the famous cave and let the strong current bring you to the line up. Surf the waves of your life, but be careful not to end up drifting in the current otherwise you’ll end up in Padang Padang.
screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-9-22-58-pm

Famous Uluwatu! Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Giulia – @giuliamanfrini

Balangan: Reef break, left hander, fast and not easy wave, sometimes barrels. Best at mid tide.
Dreamland: Beach break, left and right. There are two waves, the inside wave and the outside wave. Good at low tide and with big swells.
Bingin: Reef break, left hander, fast short barrel. Best at mid tide. Be careful in the inside as it’s very shallow. Don’t surf when the tide is too low.
Impossible: Reef break, hollow and powerful left hander, good at low tide. Barreling, long amazing wave.
Nusa Dua – Geger: Powerful right hander and is far paddle from land – sometimes it can takes up to 40 minutes to paddle out! When everywhere else is small, Geger still has a really good size.
These are just the main spots, but there are many more just to discover! :)
When to surf:
The best season (when the bigger swells arrive on the West Coast) is from May through October, with offshore winds from east. The famous left handers of Uluwatu and Padang Padang work perfectly and are absolutely epic. But don’t underestimate the wet season, when you can still surf amazing waves both on the West and East Coast with fewer crowds!
screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-9-02-56-pm

Uluwatu The Temple. Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Giulia – @giuliamanfrini

Tips:
Wear booties, put on a lot of suncreen, wear your MI OLA rash guard, surf with a hat (if you can), have a good leash, and respect the lineup in the water! Most of all, have fun! :)
If you are like me and you like to travel with your own quiver, fly with an airline that doesn’t charge for surfboards. However, there are a ton of shapers everywhere in Bali so you can buy or rent a board easily. Maybe you even will go back home with a couple of boards!
Crowd Factor:
It can get pretty crowded at the main breaks during high season, so get up a early for dawn patrol! During low rainy season you can have a solo session on perfect Indonesian waves!
Water temperature:
The water is warm all year round! Bring your MI OLA bikinis with you!!! From July through September there are strong offshore winds, which can cool the air temperatures – – perfect for wearing your MI OLA Rashguard. :)
How to get there + Where to stay:
There is an international airport in Denpasar. When I go to Bali, I stay in Balangan at “Vertical House”, a lovely spot owned by an Italian family. Riccardo and Stefania have put a lot of love and effort to build the house. They are always happy to show you around, paddle out with you, or organize an amazing fish BBQ!
Apres Surf:
Surfers love to party in The Bukit! If you are looking for awesome sunsets, fresh cocktails and good music, don’t miss Single Fin in Uluwatu. All the surfers in The Bukit meet there on Wednesdays and Sundays, with live music and a DJ. Thursdays are reggae night at Cashew Tree, on top of Bingin Hill. On Fridays there is a beach party in Padang Padang. Every day is a good day to go out in Bali, but take it easy or you will miss surfing the next day!
screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-9-23-20-pm

A-Frame peak breaking at Uluwatu. Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Giulia – @giuliamanfrini

Other activities to do besides surf:
Rent a scooter and explore the area! You can discover untouched beaches, go for a snorkel, visit the amazing Uluwatu Temple, or relax in one of the hundreds warungs (Indonesia family owned small restaurant) at the beach enjoying a cold Bintang, the local beer. If you are a massage lover or need a post-surf massage, Bali is the best place to be! There are cheap massage centers everywhere in Bali! And of course one of my favorite things to do in Bali is EAT, EAT, and EAT! There is street food and nice local restaurants everywhere. Be sure not to miss having lunch at the fish market (Ikan Pasar) in Jimbaran. At the market, pick the fish you’d like to eat and ask the women outside the market to put in on their grill with the special sauces!
December
9

Surf Guide Tahiti

Have you ever dreamed of visiting to Tahiti? How about surfing Tahiti? It’s on our bucket list, for sure.  Brand ambassador Elise (@babeinthewaves) recently moved from Moorea to Tahiti so we got her local surf recommendations for Tahiti.

venus-point-5

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Elise- @babeinthewaves

 

Surf Guide: North Shore of Tahiti

After not surfing for several months in the later stages of my pregnancy and after my son was born, I’m now a surfing mama! I’m back in the water surfing the amazing breaks in Tahiti and preparing for the best time of year for waves with the famous North swells, November – March.

The best spots in Tahiti during the North swells are on the North Shore. Between the small town of Mahina and the Village of Papenoo, there are lot of surf spots along of the coast. I love North swell season because the surf spots are much more accessible. (The rest of the year the breaks that work in Tahiti are those exposed to South swells – these breaks are located on reef passes, are very powerful, and not easy to access.) If you are visiting Tahiti during North swell seas on, try to avoid our busy holiday season, December – January.

ahonu-shaka

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Elise- @babeinthewaves

Ahonu

Ahonu is a fun wave located on a black sand beach. It is a fast beach break that shortboarders and bodyboarders love due to its hollow and fast waves, especially at low tide. When it’s small, Ahonu is also the ‘playground’ for the local kids, beginners, and surf schools due to the easy paddle out. Ahonu is sandy bottom, pretty shallow, and can be quite crowded on the week-ends.

ahonu-2

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Elise- @babeinthewaves

When the swell is solid, the waves at Ahonu become very different. The current can be strong and the waves are powerful. You must know how to duck dive to get to the line up. Also, don’t be afraid to share your session with black tip sharks!

ahonu-perfect

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Elise- @babeinthewaves

 

Orofara

Orofara is a black sand beach with a mixture of rocks. It is a beach break with several peaks. The waves are longer and smoother, perfect for longboarders and SUPers. It’s also a nice place for beginners and surf schools. Orofara is the spot for local contests and can often be very crowded.

 

La Source

La Source is also a black sand beach with rocks. The break is located at the base of a cliff where there is a source of fresh water. At La Source there is a consistent and fast beach break, as well as a pretty left that breaks on a big rock.  If you love perfect, barreling waves close to the shore you will probably love this spot. I caught my very first barrel here! To access, park you car on the side of the road and go down on the beach.

la-source

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Elise- @babeinthewaves

 

Rocky Point 

Rocky Point is a black sand beach with rocks.  It is a fast shorebreak with a lot of body boarders in the line up. The main peak sits between two big rocks and is protected from the wind. The view from the peak is beautiful! Rocky Point is a very local spot and in order to paddle out, you need to walk over rocks.

 

 Chinese Bay

Chinese Bay is a black sand beach with rocks. It is a large bay that has several peaks. When it’s big, the waves break in the middle of the bay — the waves can be very long! At high tide, Chinese Bay is perfect for longboarders and SUPers. At low tide, the wavs are faster and more powerful, which is perfect for bodyboarders are shortboarders. Be careful to the strong currents with a big swell!

chineses-bay

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Elise- @babeinthewaves

 

Papenoo (L’embouchure)

Papenoo is considered the best beach break on the North Shore.  It is located at a river mouth with rocks and black sand. All the local groms and champions train at this spot, like Poenaiki Raihoa, the 2014 ISA world champion. The waves are perfect, consistent, and powerful. It is very crowded on the weekends and it may be hard to catch some waves with so many local champions in the lineup! Papenoo is also a very popular place for surf and SUP contests. During the rainy season, the water can be brown due to the river mouth. It is not recommended, and sometimes forbidden, to surf due to bacteria in the water like Leptospirosis.

 

Venus Point

Venus point is very famous and  popular with tourists for its historic lighthouse. It is located in the bay of Matavai where the the famous ship Le Bounty arrived in Tahiti. Venus Point is a beautiful and large black sand beach. When the swell is too big at others breaks you can have a nice session here. It is the best place to surf small and long waves, great for longboarders, SUPers, kids, beginners, and also pregnant surfing ladies! (I surfed this spot while I was pregnant because the wave is very gentle, except during the weekends when the break is very crowded.)

venus-point

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Elise- @babeinthewaves

The left is very smooth and very long, while the right is more powerful and ends on a shorebreak. Venus Point is Tahiti’s ‘Waikiki Beach’. This beach is a family spot. As a result, there are a lot of kids in the water on the weekends so you need to be careful.

Off the coast of Venus Point, in the pass, there is a reef break that is a very powerful right. It is very shallow and tubular, famous for its perfect barrels. Only locals and good surfers surf this break as the reef is aggressive and sharp. The wave is thick, fast and hollow. You must be an experienced surfer to surf this spot and respect the locals if you want to catch some waves. The view from the peak is breathtaking; you can see all the Matavai bay in crystal clear water!  If you surf this wave, you will have a sneak peek of a real Tahitian reef surf session. And in case you wipe out, you will have a nice reef polynesian tattoo for free!

venus-point-2

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Elise- @babeinthewaves

 

Getting Around:

The North Shore of Tahiti is not very touristy so renting a car is the best option. Eco Car is the cheapest.

 

Where to Stay:

The best place to stay on the North Shore is Relais de la Maroto (Papenoo vallée)!

 

Apres Surf:

There are not many restaurants on the North Shore – most of them are located in Papeete. Eat local at small food trucks we call Roulottes. The best food trucks in the evening are in Papeete, in the downtown area called Vaaiete, close to the port. A good restaurant in Mahina is Casa Mahina.

You can buy fresh fish and fruits on the side of the road!

 

I hope to see you in the line up!

 

Interested in joining the MI OLA Ambassador Program?

Know of anyone who should #GetOutThere with us?

Then shoot us an email at info@MI-OLA.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

November
4

Surf Guide: Outer Banks, North Carolina

If you’re looking for MI OLA ambassador Adrienne, you’re sure to find her surfing, kiting, playing in the water, or chasing sunrises in her beautiful home in the Outer Banks, North Carolina. With 200 miles of beaches in the Outer Banks, Adrienne certainly loves to #GetOutThere, from surfing, biking, windsurfing, kitesurfing…you name it! We caught up with this super busy mermaid to get the local info on surfing her home break, all 200 miles of it, the Outer Banks! Check it out below!

Screen Shot 2015-11-14 at 10.34.39 AM

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Adrienne- @yokeens

Where to Surf:

The Outer Banks is a 200 mile long barrier island on the Atlantic Ocean, running parallel to the coast of North Carolina. You technically can pull over anywhere, go over a sand dune (be careful not to disturb the vegetation holding this sandbar in place) and find a surf break. The Outer Banks is sandy bottom, which means the waves will be located on sand bars in the ocean up and down the beach. This also means that the breaks will shift and move with the ocean currents. There tends to be good surf near the piers, which are located from Nags Head all the way down to Frisco. But, be careful of the fishermen chumming the water with bait.

swell

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Adrienne- @yokeens

The wind direction and the swell direction will help determine where to go. On a Southeast and Northeast swell with offshore (west) winds, the surf will be good on the northern half of island: Nags Head, Rodanthe and down to Avon. With a strong south or southeast swell with northern winds, the south side of the island will be breaking best, Lighthouse beach in Buxton down to Frisco, and even Hatteras. If you see multiple cars pulled over on the road, pull over and go check out the waves as this can indicate a good break!

REAL-Riding-Map

Cape Hatteras Wave Map, compliments of REAL Water Sports.

 

When to Surf:

There is surf here year round, but it does change dramatically with the seasons. The summer surf is mellow, clean and smaller, with warm, clear waters and usually not much current. The winter surf is heavy, messy, fast drops and ripping barrels, with a strong current and many rips (which can be a fast way to get out). The side seasons provide a mix of the two, with some days seeing a nice clean south swell, and then wind changes to the north and the swell can be big, a bit disorganized, but still very fun.(For more information on all things waves and surfing, be sure to check out our Surf Science blog posts.)

surf2

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Adrienne- @yokeens

 

Water and air temperatures:

Summer: Your MI OLA bikini! Mid to high 80s. Add a rashguard for sun protection!

Fall: Water is still warm from the summer (around 80 degrees), but the air starts to cool off. A spring suit with long sleeves will suffice.

Winter: It can get nasty (50-60 degrees water/ 60 degrees air), so use good rubber for the best sessions. A 5/4 wetsuit with hood, 3mm gloves and 5mm booties is recommended.

Spring: Water is still chilly (high 60s), but the air temp is warming up. A spring suit with long legs and short sleeves will be best.

barrel

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Adrienne- @yokeens

 

Crowd Factor:

There is barely ever a line up in the Outer Banks. Usually you can have a perfect break all to yourself or with friends! If there is a crowd, everyone knows each other and is usually good about sharing waves. The locals are pretty salty (experiences), so if you’re new to surfing, be sure to steer clear of the locals or follow surf etiquette to ensure a good time. Or, just walk a bit down the beach and find a uncrowded break! The possibilities are endless. There is also a Water Rescue Team that is amazing and patrols through the main parts of the towns just in case.

sunrisesurf

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Adrienne- @yokeens

 

Other Activities:

No waves? If there is wind, then go kiteboarding, windsurfing, or hang gliding. No wind? Enjoy the miles of beach or take to the sound and go on an epic SUP adventure. We have the BEST sunrises and sunsets as both happen over water! Take the ferry to Ocracoke Island and learn about pirates, wild horses, and the Graveyard of the Atlantic history. There is great seafood to enjoy, local artists and live local music. Basically there is always something to do or see while you’re visiting!

sunrise

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Adrienne- @yokeens

 

Check out Adrienne’s #GetOutThere Guide to the Outer Banks for more activities!

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 2.10.48 PM

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Adrienne- @yokeens

How to Get here/Where to Stay:

If you can road trip here, do it! Otherwise fly to Norfolk, VA and rent a car. The drive is an easy 2 hours to the start of the island. Raleigh, NC is also another airport option. It is bigger and usually has better prices/flight options, but a littler farther away than Norfolk (3 hour drive). You definitely need a car to get around on the Outer Banks as there are no taxis, Uber or shuttles. Once you get to the Outer Banks, navigating the island are easy. Try as you might, it’s virtually impossible to get lost here as the ocean makes a pretty good landmark and there is only one main road, Highway 12. For more detailed instructions, click here.

kites

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Adrienne- @yokeens

There are PLENTY of beach homes for rent on the Outer Banks, the common way to stay here. There are only a few hotel/motel options, as well as a couple cool campgrounds, like Cape Hatteras National Seashore Campground, that put you right in the sand dunes. One of the best places to stay is Watermen’s Retreat, luxury condos that are on REAL Watersports property, so world class kite boarding and surfing are steps from your door! There also are some National Seashore Parks camping grounds and family owned camping.

 

Have any questions? Feel free to contact Mermaid Adrienne and she’ll let you in on the secret surf spots, as long as she can come surf with you!

Interested in joining the MI OLA Ambassador Program?

Know of anyone who should #GetOutThere with us?

Shoot us an email at info@MI-OLA.com

September
9

Surf Guide: Burgau, Portugal

Guilia Manfrini (@guiliamanfrini)  is one of our newest ambassadors and will convince you to visit Portugal asap, with her Surf Guide on Burgau, Portugal.  Guilia is a lawyer who left it all to surf around the world.  We had the pleasure to surf with her in Costa Rica, then she took off to teach at a surf camp in Portugal.  After reading this guide, we’re booking our tickets and packing our bags to visit her asap.   Here is her guide to the area.

The Algarve is the southernmost region of continental Portugal and it is the perfect year round surf destination with excellent waves and fantastic weather. It has two coasts, west coast and south coast, so you are able to find waves somewhere every day! Normally, the West Coast receives the majority of the swell, especially in summer. And when it gets really big, the South Coast starts working too.

Surf-Guide-Burgau-MI-OLA 1

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Giulia – @giuliamanfrini

Where to surf: Burgau is a typical portuguese fisherman village, built on an amazing cliff on the south coast of Algarve.  It’s a 5 minutes drive from Lagos, next to Praia da Luz. The spot works mainly with S/SW swells, perfect with N/NE offshore wind, and holds up to 2 meters or more. On the left side of the bay there is a pretty long point break left hander mellow and easy (+- 100 meters). In the rest of the bay A-frame waves break off sand banks and at the right end of the beach there’s a beautiful right hander. So many peaks! Just choose your one and fun is guaranteed! Best tide is mid tide. It’s a spot that everyone can surf, from beginners to pros :)

Surf-Guide-Burgau-MI-OLA 2

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Giulia – @giuliamanfrini

 

When to surf: The best season to surf South Coast is from October to May, when big swells from the South come! If you are lucky you can also get some good south swell in summer!

Surf-Guide-Burgau-MI-OLA 5

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Giulia – @giuliamanfrini

Crowd Factor: Few people in the water. I have been surfing Burgau with perfect conditions just by myself. Sometimes it can get a little bit more crowded during the day in summer (but not more than 20 surfers).

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 8.18.33 AM

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Giulia – @giuliamanfrini

Other activities to do besides surf: Algarve is a beautiful place, no matter if you just want to spend a day at the beach or going to explore the caves of the south coast in SUP or kayak. There are really good spots to climb on the coast! ASA ( www.algarve-sea-adventure.com ) organizes some surf and climb camps :) If you are passionate about bicycles or Enduro bikes this is the place for you. Just get lost in the hills around the area of Vila do Bispo, full of off road trails that would bring you to uncrowded perfect waves!

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 8.17.52 AM

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Giulia – @giuliamanfrini

How to get there  and where to stay: Low cost airline company RYANAIR flies to Seville in Spain! From there just catch a bus to Lagos (20 euros) and prepare your quiver :) The Surf Experience (www.thesurfexperience.eu) offers really nice villas, both self-catering and all inclusive, surf camps and day trips to the best surf spots.

Surf-Guide-Burgau-MI-OLA 4

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Giulia – @giuliamanfrini

Apres Surf: A Praleleira is the best portuguese small bar where you can enjoy the view of the beach and the surf with a cold beer. Sunset live music on Friday and Saturday. After that, you can have dinner at the restaurant Restaurante a Barraca that serves fresh fish caught of the day and typical Portuguese dishes.

Surf-Guide-Burgau-MI-OLA 3

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Giulia – @giuliamanfrini

Water temperature: In summer, the water gets warm in the South Coast, around 20°C (68°F).  Obviously you are not in the Caribbean but you can still surf in your MI OLA bikini! In the winter you need a wetsuit – for sure a 4/3 would be great, but the water doesn’t get so freezing cold! Always bring a wetsuit with you because when the south coast is not working, you can drive to the west coast to find waves, but the water is a bit colder (3/2 in summer and 4/3 in winter).

 

 

August
12

Surf Guide: Surf Road Trip – Southern Europe

Chasing Waves on the European Atlantic Coast

Our MI OLA Brand Ambassadors are always planning their next adventure.  Ambassador Verena (@laa_sirenaa) is no exception. When she is not flying as a flight attendant for Lufthansa, she is exploring the world. We first met Verena in our tropical home base of Tamarindo.  Now we follow her adventures around the world as a brand ambassador. We caught up with Verena this month to hear all about her recent surf road trip to southern Europe she took this past April and May.

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 11.19.32 AM

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

Surf Roadtrip – Southern Europe:

Since it is hard to get a lot of nice waves in Germany, my friend Nico and I planned a two-week surf trip to the Atlantic coast of Europe. The plan was to do a 14-15 hour drive from Munich to France and stay in the well-known surf region around Biarritz, or go even further South to catch some waves in the beautiful Spanish Basque country, close to San Sebastian. In general, the best time of year for big waves is during the winter, and the summer offers much smaller waves, but a lot of sunshine!

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

The first challenge was to decide which board to take!

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

 

After a one day drive across France, we stayed our first night in Biarritz and had a lot of fun with the locals at a nice Bar called Cafe Miguel. We were really excited to get wet and desperate to catch some nice waves! It was small, but we had at least a few little waves for our first surf at a reef break in Guethary.

Biarritz! Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

Travel Info: Biarritz is located in the French Basque Country, about 35 kilometers from Spain. The city has one of Europe’s longest surfing cultures, which began in 1957 after a Californian surfer visited Biarritz and left some surfboards with the locals. Now the town is known throughout the world for its strong surfing scene.

Surf: My favorite spot is Guethary. It is best with a southwest or west swell and southeast or east wind. It breaks on all tides and is a reef break, a right and a left. Recommended for experienced surfers. Make sure to check the water temperatures for the time of year to make sure you bring the right wetsuit, or even better, your MI OLA bikini in the summer!

Eat and Drink: Go to Cafe Miguel for dinner and really good cocktails. It is located close to plage du port vieux.

Sleep: We stayed at Hotel de la plage, a nice, clean, hotel right that has a sea view and is in the city center.

 

After surfing Guethary, the same day we went further down the coast to San Sebastian. But, unfortunately it was completely flat! And according to the forecast it was not going to get any better, because there was no north swell at all!

Travel Info: San Sebastian is located in the Basque Autonomous Community of Spain.  It is also called Donostia in Basque. It was chosen the European Capital of Culture in 2016 and San Sebastian claims to have more Michelin Star Restaurants per square meter than any other city in the world.

Surf: One of the most consistent spots around San Sebastian is Zarautz, which is a nice, little beach town close to San Sebastian. It breaks best with a northwest or west swell. It is beach break suitable for all levels of surf and is best at mid to high tide.Make sure to check the water temperatures for the time of year to make sure you bring the right wetsuit, or even better, your MI OLA bikini in the summer!

Eat and Drink: Go to the old town (parte vieja) for bar hopping and have a lot of tapas (pintxos) and beers (cañas)!

Sleep: We arrived in San Sebastian on the weekend without a hotel reservation, so everything was booked out. We went to the tourist info in town and they knew which hotel still has some space. Unfortunately, we did not get the best deal out of it and stayed at a hotel called Hotel Terminus, right next to the train station. Let’s say it was O.K. for one night, but the people were really nice.

San Sebastian! Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

Instead of hanging around and watch the ocean acting like a lake, we spontaneously decided to drive all the way through the north of Spain to its west coast, where we could also catch some west swell. After another day of driving through the beautiful countryside, we arrived in Valdoviño, a lovely little fishing town in Galicia, somewhere at the most northeastern tip of Europe!

One guy told us, “‘You will have empty perfection” Instead we saw empty flatness!
 We had to wait twoooooo mooooore days until some west swell arrived. So, we chilled, went running, did yoga, checked every beach in the area, and had some food while waiting for waves. Eventually, we spotted some swell arriving and jumped into the water at a really nice bay called Doniños. We were so happy to just get wet!

Waves at Doninos! Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

Travel Info: Valdoviño is a sleepy village with just 7,000 inhabitants. It has a stunning beach and a large lagoon.Make sure to check the water temperatures for the time of year to make sure you bring the right wetsuit, or even better, your MI OLA bikini!

Surf: Doniños breaks best with a northwest, west, or southwest swell. Best winds are from the southwest, south, or southeast wind. It is beach break suitable for all levels of surf and is best at mid to high tide.

Eat and Drink: Eat at Restaurante El Gitano and order one of the weirdest seafood dishes I have ever hear of, called gooseneck barnacles (percebes)!

Percebes. Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

Sleep: We camped at Camping Valdoviño. It was a fantastic campsite. You can rent tents, apartments or bungalows with terraces if you don’t have a big van to sleep in. It has great view of the beach.

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

Valvodino! Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

In the end, both of us had some really fun waves at Doniños, which was not crowded at all! We were the only tourists in the water, surfing with some locals. Galicia is the place to be if you are in search of quiet, stunning nature and surf some spots on your own.

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

 

After a few days we headed back to Mimizan Plage, near Hossegor, France, to stay for our last week. Finally, we were lucky with the swell; the waves in Hossegor were pumping and in perfect shape!

Travel Info: Mimizan Plage is a popular beach spot for tourists during the summer, but during the winter and spring it is a quiet and nice village located directly on the long and wild Atlantic beach breaks.

Waves at Mimizan Page.Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

Surf: Mimizan Plage breaks best with a northwest, west, or southwest swell;It is beach break suitable for all levels of surf and is best at mid to high tide.Make sure to check the water temperatures for the time of year to make sure you bring the right wetsuit, or even better, your MI OLA bikini in the summer!

Eat and Drink: Pura Vida Surf Camp, where we stayed, has delicious and healthy food, from homemade bread and marmalade, to mint leaves from their garden for your tea! At night, you could also check out the Pura Vida Bar in town for good drinks and dancing music.  It has the same name, but a different owner.

Sleep: We stayed at Pura Vida Surf Camp
. It has a pool and a really lovely garden to hang out. You can get bikes with surf racks to drive down to the beach (just 5 min.)
 They also rent surfboards.

 

All in all, it was such a fun road trip! To travel along the Atlantic coastline wherever and whenever we wanted made me feel so free! Exploring new places, enjoying empty beaches, getting to know different cultures, and talking to local people is so rewarding to me. This is one of the reasons why I love surfing! And as far as the swell is concerned, sometimes you are lucky, sometimes you are not, and sometimes you have to chase it!

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

MI OLA has got you covered, literally and figuratively!  To learn more about surf science, check out our blog posts on swellhow waves are formed, how wind affects waves or what makes a wave a left or a right.  We also have super handy surf guides from all around the world, written by our local ambassadors, so if you are headed on a surf trip be sure to check them out!

Interested in joining the MI OLA Ambassador Program?

Know of anyone who should #GetOutThere with us?

Then shoot us an email at info@MI-OLA.com

 

 

July
1

Surf Guide: Playa Guiones, Nosara, Costa Rica

This month, we are back in Costa Rica in Nosara.  Nosara was recently named as one of the 20 best surf towns around the world by National Geographic, and it’s also rated by Trip Advisor as on of the top beach destinations in Costa Rica.  It’s located centrally in the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica, on the Pacific.  Playa Guiones, in Nosara, is a long stretch of beach, with good waves all year.  When you add in warm tropical water, and a charming town filled with yoga studios, boutiques and restaurants, it’s a great place to get away from it all.

Team Rider Kristen @sambatothesea loves surfing this beach break and she recently got back from a weekend work-cation in Nosara, photographing a beautiful wedding AND surfing perfect waves in Playa Guiones.

Wave in Playa Guiones

Photo courtesy Wave Tribe Company.

SURF GUIDE: Playa Guiones, Nosara, Costa Rica by Kristen Brown – @sambatothesea

Where and when to surf: 

Playa Guiones is a beach break. There are the waves up and down the long stretch of beach, so you can walk as far as you wish to find a nice, uncrowded wave.  Playa Guiones is exposed to swells coming from all directions, so it is rarely flat.

Best Tide: All tides.
Best Wind: Offshore, from the East.
Best Swell: All swells.
Ability: Beginner to Advanced
Season: For offshore winds all day, January – April. But there is surf year round.
Crowd Factor: Some peaks can get crowded, but there are plenty of waves to be found.

Surfer at Playa Guines, Costa Rica. Photoraphed by Samba to the Sea Photography.

Surfer at sunset in Playa Guiones. Photographed by MI OLA team rider Kristen M. Brown, Samba to the Sea Photography (@sambatothesea).

Water Temperature:

Water temperatures in Costa Rica are almost always tropically warm (MI OLA Bikini temp!), except for when there are strong offshore winds.  So before you head out, check it out.  If there are strong offshore winds, the water temperature can drop, and you’ll want a spring jacket or spring suit.  You don’t want to paddle out to perfect waves and be too cold to surf!

Lifestyle photo shoot for Kim (@_thesunnyside_) at The Harmony Hotel in Nosara, Costa Rica. Kim is wearing a MI OLA surf bikini. Photographed by Kristen M. Brown, Samba to the Sea Photography.

Kim (@_thesunnyside_) wearing the Pin Up top and Striped Boyshort. Photographed by MI OLA team rider Kristen M. Brown, Samba to the Sea Photography (@sambatothesea).

Where to Stay:

There are many options for all budgets.  If you are looking to surf, surf, surf AND improve, I have several friends that highly recommend Surf Simply Surf Camp.

Check out Harmony Hotel, Olas Verdes, and Casa Romantica for a higher budget. Great lower budget options are Beach Dog Hostel, steps away from the beach and serving up great food, and The Gilded Iguana.

Lifestyle photo shoot for Kim (@_thesunnyside_) at The Harmony Hotel in Nosara, Costa Rica. Kim is wearing a MI OLA surf bikini. Photographed by Kristen M. Brown, Samba to the Sea Photography.

Kim (@_thesunnyside_) wearing the Pin Up top and Striped Boyshort. Photographed by MI OLA team rider Kristen M. Brown, Samba to the Sea Photography (@sambatothesea).

Apres Surf:

I don’t think you can get a bad meal in Nosara. A couple of my favorite places to eat are Harmony Hotel, El Chivo, Beach Dog Hostel, Gilded Iguana, Go Juice Nosara, and Nosara Pura Vida. Although the food is great, the bill will tend to be a little higher than you are expecting – about $10-$20 per meal without alcohol.

Lifestyle photo shoot for Kim (@_thesunnyside_) at The Harmony Hotel in Nosara, Costa Rica. Kim is wearing a MI OLA surf bikini. Photographed by Kristen M. Brown, Samba to the Sea Photography.

Kim (@_thesunnyside_) wearing the Ring Halter top and Striped Boyshort. Photographed by MI OLA team rider Kristen M. Brown, Samba to the Sea Photography (@sambatothesea).

Other Activities:

Nosara is also known as a yoga town. From yoga retreats, teacher trainings, to yoga classes, you can spend the whole week surfing and practicing yoga! Check out Nosara Yoga Institute and Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort.

In addition to yoga, there are zip lining tours, ATV tours, horseback riding, and more.

How to #GetOutThere:

From Liberia Airport, Playa Guiones is about a two hour drive. The last half hour of the drive is on dirt road, so depending on the road conditions, it can get quite bumpy. We recommend renting a 4×4 SUV for higher clearance, especially if you plan on visiting and surfing nearby towns and surf breaks, OR if you’re coming during rainy season. You can also arrange a shuttle van from the airport via your accommodations.

Lifestyle photo shoot for Kim (@_thesunnyside_) at The Harmony Hotel in Nosara, Costa Rica. Kim is wearing a MI OLA surf bikini. Photographed by Kristen M. Brown, Samba to the Sea Photography.

Kim (@_thesunnyside_) wearing the Pin Up top and Striped Boyshort. Photographed by MI OLA team rider Kristen M. Brown, Samba to the Sea Photography (@sambatothesea).

MI OLA has got you covered, literally and figuratively. To learn more about surf science, check out our blog posts on swellhow waves are formed, how wind affects waves or what makes a wave a left or a right.  We also have super handy surf guides from all around the world, written by our local ambassadors, so if you are headed on a surf trip be sure to check them out!

Interested in joining the MI OLA Ambassador Program?

Know of anyone who should #GetOutThere with us?

Then shoot us an email at info@MI-OLA.com

April
29

Surf Guide: Ollie’s Point

We love a good wave at MI OLA WORLD. One of our favorite places to catch one Ollie’s Point.  Luckily for MI OLA, this baby is just a day trip away from us in Costa Rica.  Ollie’s was made famous by the surf film The Endless Summer II and it is a perfect right point break.

You must take a boat to Ollie’s Point, and most surfers do a combo day trip with some time at Ollie’s and some at the world famous Witch’s Rock, depending on which spot is breaking better. 

So grab your MI OLA BIKINI and RASHGUARD and #GetOutThere with MI OLA Team Rider Kristen – @sambatothesea.

 

SURF GUIDE: Ollie’s Point, Costa Rica by Kristen Brown – @sambatothesea

Oh, Ollie’s Point, how I love you so.  I adore this wave so much I surfed here four times in one month. Heck! I even celebrated my 30th birthday with this amazing wave.

20140525-104539

Photo by MI OLA Team Rider Kristen – @sambatothesea

Where and when to surf:

Ollie’s Point is a point break – so there is only one area where you take off and catch the wave. The takeoff point is right by the rock – you can’t miss it during low tide, which is when Ollie’s is best – and your guide can show you where it is, if that’s not clear.  Ollie’s needs a south swell to break, so check the forecast while you’re planning your trip.  It is not unheard of surfers taking the long trip to Ollie’s, only to find it flat.

However, when it’s breaking, the wave is perfect.  The beauty of Ollie’s is that even if it is big, the wave is not going to pound you. Nor is it hard to paddle back out.

dances-with-waves

Photo by Team Rider Kristen – @sambatothesea

When to surf:

The best time to surf Ollie’s is around low tide. The wave becomes fast, steep, and if the sandbar is just right, it will peel towards the beach giving you a nice long ride.

Many surfers head to Witch’s Rock (Roca Bruja) for mid-tide. I like to stay. I have surfed Ollie’s several times, all day and the wave is still great fun at different tides.

So let everyone leave and enjoy the wave just for your boat group. Bliss!

Water Temperature:
Water temperatures in Costa Rica are almost always tropically warm (MI OLA Bikini temp!)… except for when there are strong offshore winds.  So before you head out, check for offshore winds.  If they are coming in strong, the water temperature may drop a bit, and you’ll want a spring jacket or spring suit.  Nothing like getting to a perfect wave and being too cold to surf.

What to Bring:
Ollie’s Point is very remote and you’re traveling on a boat.  And many of these boats are completely open, and may not even have a sunshade.  So bring everything you need.  Be sure to bring substantial food and water to help keep you fueled for a full day of surfing and activity.  But also remember sunscreen, sunglasses, sun hat, rashguard for sun protection, a long sleeve shirt and a sarong for sun protection.   The trip out is typically calm and not too windy… somehow though the hour boat trip back always seems to be super choppy and incredibly windy.

Even if you’re militant about sun protection, it’s hard to get back from a 12 hour day trip to Ollie’s without a sunburn.

Some boat companies often have water, fruit, and some type of snack for their clients. Always double check with them before you go though.

Other Activities:
Enjoy the boat ride and Costa Rica’s finest wildlife! At Ollie’s there is no development for miles. This is amazing because you get to experience loads of wildlife as you explore a natural, untouched habitat.

You could see a flying manta ray, whales, mating turtles, too many birds to list and schools of fish. You may even get a pod of dolphins racing by your boat.

The only setback are the crocodiles that live in the estuary. Come on guys it’s Costa Rica! So be aware but, like sharks – out of sight… out of mind.

How to #GetOutThere

Photo by MI OLA Team Rider Kristen - @sambatothesea

Photo by MI OLA Team Rider Kristen – @sambatothesea

Ollie’s Point is located within Santa Rosa National Park. The only access to this wave is by boat. Most people catch a boat from Playa del Coco. From here it takes about an hour to get to Ollie’s.  You can also leave from Playa Flamingo or even Playa Tamarindo.

Many tour companies book tours to Ollie’s/Witch’s and the details are different based on where you’re staying.   Many include all transportation (van and boat,) in the price.  Or you can find your own way to the boat, and book directly.  Recommended boat companies are La Bruja Surf Trips out of Playa del Coco and Boos out of Playa Flamingo.

Ollie’s is a magical experience and you will feel every bit of the magic surfing this wave.

 

Interested in joining the MI OLA Ambassador Program?

Know of anyone who should #GetOutThere with us?

Then shoot us an email at info@MI-OLA.com

January
29

Surf Guide: Camburi, Brazil

party-1085831_1280

Photo by Anjo Divino

Ah, Brazil  – the sexy South American country known for its Samba, Carnival, beaches and teeny-tiny bikinis!  Brazil also has some pretty great surf too.  MI OLA Team Rider Kristen recently went to Camburi, Brazil to attend her brother’s wedding.  And she scored some waves just hours before the big event.  We asked her to give us the scoop on how to #GETOUTHTERE in Camburi, Brazil.

savannah-georgia-photographer-camburi-brazil-7

Photo by Team Rider Kristen Brown for Samba to the Sea

 

SURF GUIDE: Camburi, Brazil

Last year I got to visit Brazil for my brother’s wedding. Whenever I plan a trip, especially non-surf trips, I check to see if there is any surf nearby.  I was super stoked when I learned I could surf on the same beach where my brother was getting married. I  had a great time surfing and checking out a new spot, despite the fact the wave conditions were not great. I sparked quite a bit of interest in the water as I was the only female surfing that week.

Where to surf:

Camburi is a beach break so you can surf almost anywhere up and down this stretch of beach.  Sandbars and different swell directions help to determine how and where waves break, so spend about 15 minutes watching the water before paddling out.  That way you will determine the best place to catch waves given your surfing ability and tolerance for other people in the lineup.

For a surfboard rental, check out 20 Pes, located right on the main street in Camburi. Although there were not very many options for longboard rentals, I was stoked just to have a board to ride. They also gave me the option to switch for another board during my rental period.

When to surf: 

Unlike some surf spots that are very tidal based (like our home breaks in Costa Rica), the tide in Camburi does not change much.  So you can pretty much surf at any tide. The best wind direction is from the North East and the best swells for bigger waves come from the South, South-East.

Welcome to the beach!

“Welcome to the beach!” Photo by Team Rider Kristen Brown for Samba to the Sea

Water temperature:

Get ready to rock your MI OLA bikini during the Summer! To blend in with the Brazilian women, I recommend MI OLA’s Thong tha Thong or Casita Boythong bottoms.

Mi Ola4109

Photo by MI-OLA.com

CASITA BOYTHONG 5

Photo by MI -OLA.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I promise that you will fit right in – and most likely will be turning some heads in the water in your gorgeous surf bikini!

Outside of summer, be sure to pack a spring suit or a 3/2 full suit as the water temperatures can be a tad bit chilly.

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 11.31.17 AM

Photo by Team Rider Kristen Brown for Samba to the Sea

Where to stay:

If you plan to visit Brazil during Summer (December-April), expect crowds at most beaches, and book ahead!

Check out the Hotel Camburi Praia, right across the street from the beach and next door to Camburi’s surf shop, 20 Pes. A warm breakfast is included, including my favorite breakfast item, Pao de Queijo (Brazilian cheese bread)!  There are also plenty of other options, from camping to luxury house rentals.

savannah-georgia-photographer-camburi-brazil-4

Photo by Team Rider Kristen Brown for Samba to the Sea

 

Apres Surf: 

Camburi has several great options for food. My favorite thing to help me refuel is an Acai smoothie. Because the Acai berry is grown in Brazil, Acai smoothies are the freshest and BEST. Whenever I visit, I average an Acai smoothie a day!

In the morning, check out Barbarelas Cafe for some good Brazilian coffee and Pao de Queijo. Brazilians love their pizza and do it quite well – Ticura Restaurante e Pizzeria is a great spot. For a really, really nice meal in a jungle setting, head to Manacá.

Other activities:

Be sure to check out the surrounding beaches, from Maresias, and Toque Toque Pequeno. The drive along the Brazilian coastline is breathtaking and you could spend a whole day just stopping and exploring the different nooks and crannies.  You could happen upon picturesque old churches or hidden waterfalls.   If you have time, take a day trip to the beautiful Ilhabela, but be sure to arrive early to beat the ferry lines.

Headstanding in Toque Toque Pequeno

Photo by Team Rider Kristen Brown for Samba to the Sea

Futebol (Soccer). It’s HUGE in Brazil.  The beach is a great spot to check out the local talent. And if you feel like joining in, the more the merrier. Dogs included!

Even dogs play futebol (soccer) in Brazil

Photo by Team Rider Kristen Brown for Samba to the Sea

 

How to get there:

Fly into Sao Paulo Guarulhos International Airport (GRU), rent a car, and head 2 1/2 – 3 hours to the beach. If you want to avoid traffic, plan to drive during the weekdays.

directions

Photo by MI OLA

December
4

Surf Guide: Norway Part 2

If you read MI OLA Brand Ambassador Susi’s Surf Guide to Norway (Part 1 – Southern Norway), you know this majestic country offers a long stunning coast line waiting to be explored with countless beaches to surf. That’s if you don’t mind cold water! This month we head North for Part 2.  MI OLA catches up on the home breaks of super rad Brand Ambassador Susi, @insta_susi.

Norway Surf Guide – Part 2: Where to Surf, Northern Norway

Surf Guide Northern Norway

Alnes:
Near Ålesund, you’ll find my “local” surf spot, Alnes. Located about 30-40 minutes away from Ålesund and 20 minutes away from Ålesund Airport. I consider it local because it’s the nearest spot to where I live. For me, it’s 170km roundtrip. A two-hour drive, with a ferry and four very long tunnels – each way. A bit of a mission to go surfing, especially with two small kids and mediocre weather. But that ’s how I #getoutthere. Sure, I miss the convenience of crossing the road to go surfing, like when I lived in New Zealand (more in my guide to surfing Christchurch, NZ). But we all know beggars can’t be choosers and I am happy for the opportunity to have a surf spot near me. It’s a great day out, so why not?

surf-guide-norway-alesund

Alnes boasts a left-hand point, a right-hand point, and a couple of peaks along the beach in the middle. On this beach, you need to watch for rocks. If you surf the left, be aware of one big submerged rock. Come low tide, you can see it in full size. When the tide is high ask a friendly local for advice as it’s not visible.

surf-guide-norway-alnes-beach

See the rock? It’s submerged at high tide. Watch out for it if you surf the left-hander or middle of the bay.

The right-hander breaks in front of / over numerous rocks. If the swell is big and the waves break farther out, this isn’t as much of a problem. But when the waves are small and break closer to those rocks, you need to be careful. Most of the year the waves are average, but there are those rare, mint days, where everything comes together and the waves are on fire!

During work hours this place can be isolated, especially if the conditions aren’t that great. However, it seems the surfing community has grown quite a bit in the last couple of years. You can expect a solid crowd during the weekends if the surf report is good. Both the left and right attract the majority of surfers so it can get crowded quickly.

Alnes View

In the right hand corner one can see those rental cabins and behind me back that’s the surf beach.

Beginners and advanced surfers can surf this place. You can surf at all tides, but the best tide is low tide, so you can avoid the rocks.  For beginners, it is wise to stay in the middle and find an uncrowded peak that is not close to rocks.

In Norway there is no distinctive surf season, but if the weather is beautiful during the summer, you won’t expect to find many waves.  However, during winter storms, it can often get too wild and rough with super strong winds. The sea can get out of control with 7m+ waves!

Surf-Norway-Flo

Where to Stay – Alnes:

Alnes is a tiny fishing village with a population of about 200 people. It dates back to viking times and the lighthouse is it’s main attraction. The only accomodation at Alnes are two fully equipped fishing cabins with room for up to six people. If one is happy in nature, it surely would be fun to spend one week there, go surfing, fishing and drive around in the boat. A rowboat is included in the cabin and for 18 USD per day + gas you can hire a motor for that boat. You can easily get around the island without a car. It’s probably around 500m to the surf spot and 200m to the start of hiking trails. It’s easy to get there with the bus from Ålesund airport and takes under 30 min or one could rent cars at the airport. Overnight parking is not allowed at the beach.

Apres Surf – Ålesund:

For refuel after a surf session, head back to Ålesund. Grab a bite at Kabb, which is a brasserie/ bistro with an industrial touch that serves tasty food from around the globe. The portion sizes are big and you can get a wine match with it. Zuuma has the best sushi in town. To grab a drink befor or after your meal – MILK – seems to be the bar right now. At the Piano bar you’ll find a relaxed atmosphere and great staff!

Lofoten:
Lofoten is a beautiful peninsula consisting of many island groups above the Arctic circle. Nature in these parts is breathtaking. Similar to Stadlandet and Hoddevik (Part 1 – Southern Norway). The beaches here are surrounded by picturesque mountains and awesome scenery.

Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 2.20.47 PM

Unstad  is Lofoten’s most famous surf spot. One of the Gudauskas brothers comes here regularly and reckons it’s kinda like a Pipeline – but uncrowded and VERY cold! Unfortunately, I still haven’t surfed or been in the Arctic circle. It would take me around 25 hours one way by car to get there. But my fingers are crossed I will #getoutthere soon to surf epic, uncrowded waves amongst the most pristine backdrop.

photo 2

If you are visiting Norway and plan on surfing, we recommend you check in with surf-forecast.com. Conditions change a lot in these parts. Last thing you want is to stand at a flat beach! Look up Norway, South and West or Lofoten and Arctic for the North. You will find information on specific breaks, tides, wave height, and quality.

Other Things to Do:

If there’s no surf while you are here, you can trek, climb and hike thousands of mountains, or dip into fjords and lakes on a SUP.  If you are here in the winter months (October-April) and are very lucky, you might get to see the Northern Lights. Snowboarding and skiing are great ways to stay fit through the cold months.

Norway is a very expensive country, but with it’s stunning mountains, fjords and uncrowded surf beaches it is well worth the visit. Best of all, sharks don’t seem to be a problem here. I think the water is even too cold for them!

surf-guide-norway-alnes-hiking

 

November
13

Surf Guide: Playa Grande, Costa Rica

At MI OLA, the waves are our playground and Tamarindo, Costa Rica is our home break. When the surf is not hitting right in Tamarindo, we #GetOutThere and explore for waves. One of those beaches happens to be Playa Grande, a hop-skip-and jump across the Tamarindo river mouth.

Playa Grande, is quite the contrast to Tamarindo. Once you cross the river mouth, all the beach front development stops. This is because Playa Grande is located in a protected national park called Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas. The long stretch of beach is an ideal nesting ground for the Leatherback turtle, the largest marine reptile.

Playa Grande is a beach break.  There are the waves up and down the long stretch of beach, so you can walk as far as you wish (or not) to find a nice, uncrowded wave. Grande tends to be a bit more, well, grande than Tamarindo. It faces more towards the South and also holds more size than Tamarindo.

Playa, Grande Costa Rica

Main peak at Playa Grande, Costa Rica – Photo by team rider Kristen, Samba to the Sea Photography.

Where to Surf:

The main peak is located in front of the main parking lot in Playa Grande.  It’s a nice fast A-frame wave and there are lots of lefts, rights, and sometimes barreling sections. This peak can get crowded, and aggressive.  If surfing with a crowd is not your thing, there are plenty of waves to be found to the left and right of the main peak. The whole beach is sandy bottom.

Best Tide: In general, the best time to surf is mid-high tide.

Best Wind: Offshore, from the East.

Best Swell: South, Southwest

Ability: Beginner to Advanced

Season: For offshore winds all day, January – April. But pretty much this is surf year round!

Crowd Factor: Crowded and localism on the main peak. Other than that, there are plenty of waves to be found.

 

How to get there: From Liberia Airport, Playa Grande is an hour drive. From Tamarindo, you can drive to Grande in 30 minutes, or you paddle across the Tamarindo estuary and voilà! you are at the end of Playa Grande.  The main peak is about a one mile walk down the beach. Parking will cost you a 1,000 Colones (about $2).

Playa-Grande-Costa-Rica

Where to Stay: Rip Jack Inn is a three minute walk down a path to the beach. They also serve pretty good grub at their restaurant. Other options are Indra Inn, Hotel Las Tortugas, Bula Bula, or VRBO/ Airbnb.

Water temperature: It’s MI OLA bikini weather all year round! But, due to the strong offshore winds from December-March and upwelling, the water temperature can drop overnight and require you to wear some thin neoprene.

Apres Surf: The tipico breakfast at Rip Jack Inn is worth a try. Other favorites are Taco Star – in the main parking lot, Bula Bula and El Huerto Pizzeria. You can always find a pipa (fresh coconut water) guy who greets you as you exit the water.

Tamarindo-Costa-Rica-Estuary-Tour

Tamarindo Estuary Tour. Photo by team rider Kristen, Samba to the Sea Photography.

Other Activities: Since Playa Grande is in a protected park, there is plenty of wildlife to experience. Go to Hotel Bula Bula and take an estuary tour to see crocodiles, monkeys, and an endless array of birds. If you’re really lucky, you might see a Baula turtle laying her eggs on the beach at night.  We suggest you check out the Parque Nacional Las Baulas info center (main road in Playa Grande) for tours – the public aren’t allowed on the beach at night.

Costa Rica has some of the most magical and beautiful sunsets to enjoy. So whatever you do, make sure you catch the sunset at Playa Grande.

Surf-Sunset-in-Tamarindo-Costa-Rica-Photographer-Samba-to-the-Sea-11-7

Sunset Surf in Costa Rica. Photo by team rider Kristen, Samba to the Sea Photography.

 

We’ve been covering the science of surfing in the past few months, so click here to learn more about swellhow waves are formed, how wind affects waves or what makes a wave a left or a right.  We also have super handy surf guides from all around the world, written by our local ambassadors, so if you are headed on a surf trip be sure to check them out!

September
11

Surf Guide: Montauk, New York

120 miles East of New York City lies the very last town on Long Island, Montauk.  It was once a sleepy fishing-surf village, but it has increasingly become more popular with Summer visitors. After Labor Day, the crowds return back to Manhattan, and the waves start to pump with the start of hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean.

It’s at the very end of Long Island, so Montauk receives some of the best waves in New York. If it is 3 feet in Rockaway or Long Beach, it may be 6 feet in Montauk! We got the scoop on Montauk from our Team Rider, Kristen.  Before Kristen turned in her NYC high heels for Costa Rican bare feet and a longboard, Montauk was one of her favorite breaks. AND, Montauk is really the reason that Kristen decided she had to learn to surf!

Montauk-New-York-Lighthouse-Kristen-M-Brown-Samba-to-the-Sea-Photography

Photo by Kristen Brown.

Surf Guide: Montauk, New York

Where to surf:

Ditch Plains is synonymous with Montauk. During the Summer, Ditch is usually PACKED with beach goers and surfers. However, if you surf early enough you can avoid the crowds and have a great session. Once at Ditch you can surf three spots:

  • Poles, which is to the right of the two parking lots towards the cliffs,
  • Ditch, in front of the parking lots, or
  • Trailer Park, to the left of the parking lots.

During the Summer months the waves tend to be slow rollers, because there’s not much swell in the Atlantic Ocean. The Fall and Winter months are the best, with Hurricane and Winter storm swells.

If you are an experienced surfer, head East of Ditch towards Camp Hero where you can hike down the cliffs to surf at a few spots.  This is for experienced surfers only.  Try to go with someone who knows the spot.  If not, hang back and watch the locals for a bit.  The waves East of Ditch tend to be bigger, and there are rocks and boulders to avoid in the water.

Montauk-New-York-Ditch-Plains-Kristen-M-Brown-Samba-to-the-Sea-Photography 4

Photo by Kristen Brown.

Best Tide: Low to incoming Mid-tide
Best Wind: Offshore, out of the NW
Access: If you are not a resident of Montauk, don’t even think about parking at Ditch Plains. Parking is by permit only. However, you can grab a taxi anywhere in town and easily be dropped off at the parking lots.
Best Swell: Southeast
Ability: Beginner to Advanced. Be sure to fall flat as there are rocks and boulders starting at Ditch Plains to all the way East.
Best Season: Fall and Winter
Water Temp: At the end of August, when the water finally warms up, you can rock your MI OLA suit. The rest of the year you will be sporting neoprene, from a 3/2 Springsuit to a 5/4 wetsuit with booties and gloves.
Crowd Factor: High on Summer weekends. Moderate during the week. Very low from October through April.

Montauk-New-York-Ditch-Plains-Kristen-M-Brown-Samba-to-the-Sea-Photography

Hurricane surf. Photo by Kristen Brown.

Other activities:

If the waves are flat, try renting a SUP in Fort Pond. If you like fishing, Montauk is a great place to hop on a boat and go deep sea fishing.

Montauk-New-York-Ditch-Plains-Kristen-M-Brown-Samba-to-the-Sea-Photography 2

Photo by Kristen Brown.

How to get there/where to stay:

Located 120 miles from NYC, Montauk is a three hour drive East on the Long Island Expressway (495) – if there is no traffic (HA!!!). During the Summer, you can spend HOURS in traffic if you leave at the wrong time. The Long Island Railroad (LIRR) is a good option, leaving from Penn Station in NYC and dropping you off right in Montauk about three hours later. The Jitney bus is also another great option.

From Summer shares, boutique hotels, to motels, their are a lot of options in Montauk. If you plan to visit during the Summer, be sure to book early as places book up fast. Good options are: Atlantic Terrace, Montauk Manor, Hither House, Snug Harbor, Surf Lodge, or AirBnB.

 

Apres Surf:

Famished? The Ditch Witch is located right at Ditch and has some great refueling options. If you are looking for a great sandwich with super fresh ingredients, try out Joni’s. Love bagels, breakfast sandwiches/ pastries, and pies? You MUST go to Montauk Bake Shoppe. For great coffee, head to Left Hand Coffee. And my all time favorite are the tacos at The Hideaway. There is a plethora of great restaurants in Montauk – you really can’t go wrong with a bad meal!

Montauk-New-York-Ditch-Plains-Kristen-M-Brown-Samba-to-the-Sea-Photography 2

Photo by Kristen Brown. (And possibly the moment she decided she had to learn how to surf!)

 

We’ve been covering the science of surfing in the past few months, so click here to learn more about swellhow waves are formed, how wind affects waves or what makes a wave a left or a right.  We also have super handy surf guides from all around the world, written by our local ambassadors, so if you are headed on a surf trip be sure to check them out!

August
14

Surf Guide: Tybee Island, Georgia

The East coast of the US generally has less surf.  Sad, but true.  Why? Because there is less swell and because the Eastern Continental Shelf juts out for miles off of the coast.  The bottom of the Ocean is shallower for much longer on the East Coast, than on the West Coast, so waves break way off shore, unless there is a big swell or a hurricane.

One of those places happens to be Savannah/ Tybee Island, Georgia. Nestled in some places sixty miles in from the shelf, waves tend to break way off shore in Savannah.  However, with a good hurricane or NorEaster swell and an incoming tide, Tybee Island can get some pretty nice waves.  So you can be prepared for the next storm, Brand Ambassador and Savannah-Tybee local Jaylen (@jaylenkate) gave us the info on Tybee Island.  When there are waves, she promises it’s worth the wait!

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 12.27.05 PM

sig_600
Hello! My name is Jaylen and I am a native Michigander that moved south to Savannah, GA three years ago. I started surfing five years ago on my first trip to Costa Rica with my husband, a Savannah local and avid surfer. I fell in love with the lifestyle, warm waters of Savannah and Costa Rica, and have not looked back. I was a college tennis player and currently teach tennis at a club in Savannah, as well as represent the Southeast for Venus Williams’ tennis line, Eleven by Venus. My husband and I spend our weekends on Tybee Island at our family beach house, surfing when there are waves, or SUPing the back river.

Surf Guide: Tybee Island, Georgia

Where to surf:
Tybee Island, or Savannah Beach, GA is located 18 miles East of downtown Savannah, GA. Tybee is a three mile long North to South island that has two main surf breaks, The Pier and North Beach. The pier is a right and left sandy bottom beach break, while North Beach is is a right break off the North jetty.

While the pier can be crowded with swimmers during summer months, the North Beach is less crowded and has incredible views of incoming container ships coming through the shipping channel into the Savannah River. Waves can range from 1 foot to head high during low pressure systems and hurricane season (late fall). Water is warm all summer, but beware of the Jellyfish through the month of August.

Best Tide: Incoming Mid-tide
Best Wind: Offshore, out of the West
Access: Easy, pay to park public lots
Best Swell: Southeast, East, Northeast
Ability: Beginner to Advanced
Best Season: HURRICANE! Mid summer through winter
Water Temp: 50 degrees F in the winter to mid 80s in the summer (MI OLA weather!)
Crowd Factor: High on summer weekends. Moderate during the week. Very low from October through March.

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 12.25.04 PM

Other activities:

If the waves are flat, try renting a SUP or Kayak and exploring the Back River (i.e. Tybee Creek). This inland waterway runs through miles of low country Savannah and has no shortage of dolphin and ocean life sitings.

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 12.26.44 PM

How to get there/where to stay:

18 miles East of Savannah, it is a quick drive from downtown on US 80E, or a 40 minutes ride from the Savannah / Hilton Head Airport. Savannah is four hours Southeast of Atlanta, GA.

 

Apres Surf:

If you are in the water in the morning,  you’ve got to go to The Breakfast Club.  Expect long lines on the weekends from 9AM-on. For a typical southern fried seafood dinner, check out AJ’s Dockside on the back river. For a laid back surf vibe, don’t miss Social on the main drag of Butler Ave. For the best food on the Island, have dinner at Sundae Cafe, located on 80E, next to the Chu’s gas station.

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 12.24.18 PM

We’ve been covering the science of surfing in the past few months, so click here to learn more about swellhow waves are formed, how wind affects waves or what makes a wave a left or a right.  We also have super handy surf guides from all around the world, written by our local ambassadors, so if you are headed on a surf trip be sure to check them out!