July
28

Surf Guide El Salvador

 

A-Perfect-peeling-right-hander

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America, situated in-between Guatemala and Honduras with a population of approximately 6.35 million.  The currency is the US Dollar which replaced the former Colon. The name El Salvador derives from the Spanish conquistador Pedro de Alvarado and means “The Savior”. The climate is tropical and you can surf in warm water the whole year! The beautiful inland is full of volcanoes and hills.  Rainy season is from May to October, which is also the swell season.

El Salvador nicely stretches along the Pacific coast for about 200 miles. The coast has beautiful beaches with magnificent, clean point breaks that are mostly right handers…. so all you regular footers, listen up!

B-Landscape-El-Salvador

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

Where to Surf:

El Tunco

El Tunco is a nice little surf town where you can buy and rent boards, party a lot, and meet new people in one of the abundant hostels. Within walking distance, you have easy access to three different surf breaks. I stayed in a nice hotel which is called La Guitarra. It’s simple, but nice and affordable with direct access to the beach.

H-Kilometro-59

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

D-El-Tunco-Hotel

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

The three surf breaks of El Tunco are:

Beach break at El Tunco: 

This break is a hollow and fast classical beach break which is right in front of all the restaurants and bars of El Tunco beach. It’s the locals preferred spot and everybody loves to watch the surfers performing during sunset.

E-Sunset-El-Tunco-Beach

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

La Bocana:
Hello goofy footers! This wave is one of the few left point breaks in El Salvador with a sandy bottom and some rocks. Be careful! A friend of mine got to know one rock a little bit better! That’s why most of the people surf it on high tide. It’s a powerful and fast wave which is always bigger than the other two surf spots of El Tunco. On a good day you can catch some tubes for sure!

F-La-Bocana

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa


Zunzal:
To reach Zunzal you can either walk along the beach for 10 minutes or you can just paddle out there from the main beach of El Tunco. It is a more mellow right handed point break and thus it can also be quite crowded. The bottom are boulders and you can surf that looongggg right on all tides.

G-Zunzal-Beach

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

Kilometro 59

Just a 20 minutes car drive away from El Tunco is Kilometro 59. It is a long and nice right point break with boulders at the bottom. There are just a few accommodations directly located on the beach and therefore it is not crowded at all. You can go surf crazy surfing there, catching one wave after another. A really nice local tour guide and photographer called Samuel took my friend and I for dawn patrol and we saw a stunning sunrise!

C-Surf-El-Salvador

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

I-Sunrise-Kilometro-59

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

El Zonte:
This beach is just a 10 minute drive from El Tunco and is a more sleepy little surf village for all of those who prefer a more laid back vibe. It is a right hand point break with sand and rocks at the bottom. When I was there last November they started building an ugly hotel building right in front of the beach.

El Cuco:  When it’s big

When the forecast calls for bigger west or southwest swell, you should make a trip down south to the less developed el Cuco to surf las Flores and Punta Mango. You will be surfing so many long and perfect rights, that you will be forced to get out of the water because you don’t have arms to paddle anymore!

J-El-Zonte-Beach

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

Las Flores

This spot (guess what!?) is another nice right hand point break that breaks like a wave garden. It needs decent swell to work. So when the conditions are right, it is lovely to watch the sets coming in from some hills above the spot! Las Flores is a little bit more friendly with sandy bottom and not as powerful as Punta Mango, but still very fun!

K-Las-Flores-View

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

Punta Mango

Punta Mango is still a quite isolated right hand point break where you can either go by boat from las Flores or take the dirt road by car. You can surf a perfect peeling fast and long wave with chances to get barreled. If you are lucky and hit it on the right day, you will have a lot of fun with not so many people in the water. Usually, when there is big swell it is crowded with several boats arriving all at one time.

M-Goofy-Take-Off

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Verena – @laa_sirenaa

Photographer and Local Tour Guide Samuel

All of the surfing pics are shot by my friend Samuel Gonzalez. He is a local surfer, who drives you to different beaches by car and if you want, he also takes photos of you surfing. He is an awesome guy and knows exactly where in order to get the best waves! If you don’t have a car, ask for Samuel! Everybody knows him! K59samuel@gmail.com or his name isSamuel González on Facebook.

What to Eat:

Pupusas is a must to eat, which is the most famous dish of El Salvador. If you are on low budget you can fill up your hungry surfer stomach for a few dollars! A really “heavy” dessert is called “Maria Luisa” which is a layered cake soaked in orange marmalade and powder sugar on top!

How to Get There:

One major advantage of surfing in such a small country is that the capital, San Salvador, is so close to the beach. Within a 45 minutes drive you are already in the well- known surfer town called El Tunco. That means, you can be playing in the water approximately two hours after having landed at the airport in San Salvador!!! For me, being landlocked in Germany, I loved this!

In sum, if you want to surf endless right hand point break without spending too much money, El Salvador is your next surf destination! Despite a lot of problems and crime the country is facing, the locals are really friendly and there are lovely beaches and landscapes to be seen. I think as long as you stay on the “tourist trails” and do not tend to attract misfortune, you should be fine and just see the bright side of El Salvador, and thus help the Salvadorian tourist sector to earn a little bit of money.

I made so many beautiful memories, in and out of the water, that I will definitely go there again. Even though I am a goofy footer!!!

 

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).

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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Photo by MI-OLA.com

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

July
17

Surf Guide: Long Beach, NY

Surf in New York? Heck yes!

Last year, we covered MI OLA’s founder’s home break of Rockaway, New York City’s surf break.  But a couple miles East of Rockaway is Long Beach, located only 35 miles outside of downtown Manhattan.  Long Beach is a great place to surf, especially with the right hurricane swell. We asked our new MI OLA Brand Ambassador Katherine (@katizmc) to give us the local scoop on this break.

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Surf Guide: Long Beach, New York

My name is Katherine McNamee, I’m from the small beach town Breezy Point, NY, I’m 22 years old, and I have been surfing since I was very small. I am a full time surf instructor during the summer months here in New York City, and teach a lot of different people how to surf.  I’m on the beach all day everyday teaching and surfing.  I surf in NYC all year long, and when I get a chance I like to escape to somewhere warmer. Warm or cold, I love being in the water!  When I’m not surfing, I’m running, swimming, biking, and training for surf both indoors and outdoors.

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Where to Surf:

From the heart of New York City, the Long Island Railroad can have a surfer arrive in Long Beach in less than an hour. Consisting of beach break with rock jetties poking out into the Atlantic, these rocks hold the sand and set us up with shifty sandbars that prove to be a nice landing strip for noreasters and hurricane swells. There are many jetties spanning the entire length of Long beach, and they all produce quality waves.  Lincoln Boulevard (on Surfline) and Lindell/Grand Street are my go to spots when I know the swell is going to be sizable.  On a good south swell, there are usually quality lefts breaking off the jetties and sand bars, with the occasional, but shorter right.  While Lincoln and Grand get very crowded in the summer, there are plenty of other beaches to surf.  The sandbars are constantly shifting, so taking a look around before the lifeguards start work could score you an empty lineup.

Best Tide: Low Incoming

Best Wind: North, Northeast

Access: Easy

Best Swell: South, Southeast

Ability: Beginner to advanced

Best Season: Fall

Best board: any

Best size: waist high to double overhead

Water Temp: 37 degrees F in winter, above 70 degrees F in summer.

Wetsuit: 6 mm in winter, MI OLA bikini in summer.

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Crowd Factor:

Watch out for beginner surfers on small days.  Due to its proximity to NYC, Long Beach tends to get ridiculously crowded when Surfline calls for Good + conditions.  The Quicksilver Pro in 2011 also helped put this beach town on the map.

How to get there:

I always travel from Rockaway Beach in search of bigger waves, it takes me about 20 minutes by car.  While the subway does not go to Long Beach, the Long Island Railroad (LIRR does), making it a super easy and comfortable 52
minute commute from NYC!

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Other Surf Breaks:

The farther West (towards NY harbor) is Rockaway Beach. It accessible by subway, so some choose to surf there over Long Beach.  Lido Beach, Robert Moses, Fire Island, South Hampton and Montauk are all further East on Long Island, offering plenty of great beach break and the occasional small point break on a quality swell.

Surf Shops:

Long Beach Surf Shop, UnsOund Surf, Maritime Surf, Moku Surf Shop, Atlantic Beach Surf Shop

Places to Eat:

After an epic hurricane session in Long Beach, it is a tradition to go to the Laurel Diner or the Lindell Deli, and get a killer breakfast!

April
24

Surf Guide: Folly Beach, South Carolina

First we said there were waves in Florida and now in South Carolina?! If you have been reading our Surf Guide and Surf Science series, then you already know that the East Coast of the United States can get some pretty solid swell produced by hurricanes. Lucky for y’all we chatted with South Carolina native and Brand Ambassador Kate Dittloff and got the inside scoop about her home break, Folly Beach.

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Surf Guide: Folly Beach, South Carolina

Hey Y’all! My name is Kate Dittloff, I’ve been living in Charleston, South Carolina for eight years and I surf the South Carolina coast every chance I get. I was born in the mountains of South Carolina, lived all over including Puerto Rico for seven years before finally settling down here in the Lowcountry. I spend most of my time exploring the area both on the water and on land. I love to surf, paddle in the waves and creeks, trail run, sail competitively and serve as chair for the Charleston Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. Basically if it is something fun in nature, count me in! My love for surfing was born here in Charleston when I caught my first wave on my first longboard, and my love has only grown for surfing the more I do it. I’ve been surfing in Hawaii, Costa Rica, the Virgin Islands, New York and my personal favorite, Puerto Rico. I can’t imagine my life without it. So welcome to Charleston, I hope you have as much fun here as I do!

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Location: Charleston, S.C.

Where to surf: The surfing mecca of South Carolina is Folly Beach, it’s a beach break and a great place to learn to surf. With a varied coastline and several jetties, there are a ton of different wave options up and down the beach suited for every level of surfer and any type of board, so don’t be afraid to just park and head out to the water. Folly’s waves range from tiny ankle biters to 10 feet high on a good hurricane swell. The best season to surf is hurricane season (late summer), early fall and early spring and the best tide is mid to high tide. I find that on a typical day dawn patrol is your best bet because afternoon winds tend to pick up and blow the surf out, plus you beat the crowds especially in the summer. Be sure to check the swell report and cameras before you go out, but don’t rely on them 100%. More than once it’s been predicted flat and looks flat on the camera, but once out there, there are super fun long lines. Oh and there is plenty of sea life in the area, from jellyfish that show up at the start of summer and stay until “the jellyfish invasion” in August, to sharks and dolphins, be aware of your surroundings and be sure to respect the ocean as well.

Folly hurricane swell

Crowd Factor: The most popular and arguably best spot to surf on Folly is the Washout, a long stretch of beach break that on the right swell can have a lot of power with waves overhead, it’s where you’ll find some of the area’s best surfers. It’s also one of the most crowded breaks on the beach. It’s a great spot to sit and watch surfers rip it up and even get involved if you are an advanced surfer, otherwise head to one of the many other peaks up and down the beach where you’ll find plenty of space and new friends to share waves with. Summertime is the busy season for Folly so the beaches and waves are much more crowded, winter is a wonderful time to be on the water because often you are the only one out there getting some fun rides. Either way, be sure to be mindful of other surfers in the water and respect the rules of the waves.

How to get there/Where to stay: There is only one way on to Folly and one way off, via Folly Road, it will take you right to the center of the island. Once you get there, there are a few options as far as where to stay. The largest hotel is called Tides Folly Beach, it’s located right on the water and has a great restaurant that serves sustainable seafood. You can also check out the Holliday Inn of Folly Beach, a little hotel right across the street from the beach that’s been there forever, or one of many bed and breakfast options. Definitely book early if you plan to visit in the spring/summer/fall because Folly is a hot spot!

Water temp: Water temperature on Folly varies depending on the time of year. In the winter temperatures can drop as low as 45 degrees but average around 50-55 degrees, so definitely bring a wetsuit if you visit then. Spring water temperatures are more temperate ranging from around 60-70 so perfect for a spring suit or jacket. If you plan to surf in the summer all you will need is your MI OLA bikini, the water is HOT! Sort of like bathwater! Fall temperatures vary as well with early fall being quite comfortable to late fall getting pretty chilly. Be sure to pay attention to the air temperatures and wind because that will make all the difference when you decide what to wear on the water.

folly sunset

Other Activities: There are a ton of fun activities to do on Folly when there isn’t surf. The ocean is a great place to paddleboard and kayak as is the Folly River and surrounding creeks and marshes. You will definitely see dolphins, and may even catch them strand feeding which is only seen in South Carolina and Georgia! The Folly Pier is perfect for catching some fish and making some new friends, or grab your group for a game of sand volleyball or bocce ball. Late spring and early summer sea turtles start to nest on our beaches and early fall the nests start to hatch, so if you are out and about early morning or in the evening keep an eye out for those mamas laying their nest. You’ll also want to head to either end of the island for some beautiful scenery and nature. On the North End of the island you’ll see the iconic Morris Island Lighthouse, on the South End you’ll find the Folly Beach County Park where you can park and explore the beach and marshes. One of my personal favorite activities is walking the beach and picking up any trash you see. Every little bit makes a difference and you’ll likely find some pretty shells and shark teeth!

Apres surf: There are SO many great options out on Folly after a surf session. Some of the best food on the island can be found at Jack of Cups, Chico Feo and Lost Dog Café. All three have fantastic service, a super low-key crowd, and amazing food! Jack of Cups has super diverse food, but with an asian/indian influence, like red curry mac and cheese, black bean curry nachos and crab and pineapple wontons. Lost Dog serves breakfast and lunch options like bagel sandwiches, french toast, crab cake Benedict, biscuits and gravy, amazing salads. Chico Feo is super laid back vibe with seafood options like mahi tacos, curried goat, chicken tacos, Hawaiian poke, fresh local catch.

If you want to get some drinks on the beach then head to BLU at the Tides Hotel. They have delicious beverages, and a great view of the pier and ocean. If you need to hit-up a local surf shop then head to McKevlin’s Surf Shop and Ocean Surf Shop. Both have everything you could need for a surf session and the crews that work there are super friendly and super cool. Some of the best surfers and people you’ll run into!

March
27

Surf Guide: Playa Avellanas, Costa Rica

For the past couple of months we have been circling the globe with our Brand Ambassadors with our Surf Guide series. We have been to Puerto Rico, the North Shore, New Zealand, our home break TamarindoMoorea, California, Australia and even Florida and New York City! We are beyond STOKED that you ladies #GetOutThere and shred! This month we are returning to our tropical home base of Costa Rica and chatting about one of our favorite spots to surf, Playa Avellanas.

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Background: 

First, let’s recap a little about surf conditions in Costa Rica from our Tamarindo Surf Guide Post.

“The surf here is very diverse.  Just about, every two miles there is another beach – and another surf spot. The surf pretty much goes all the way down to Panama.

There are waves for all levels, from beginner to advanced, and there are beach breaks, point breaks, reefs, and river mouths. You can surf various spots all in one day. The tide changes about 7-10ft, so surfing a certain spot depends on the time of day. You could show up to a spot at low tide and find no waves, and then a couple of hours later there’ll be waves breaking up and down the beach.

And, there’s the wind. During the summertime (mid-November to April) here in Guanacaste (North-West Costa Rica), the wind usually blows offshore all day. Once rainy season comes, the wind turns onshore usually in the late morning, and then can shift back to offshore after an afternoon storm.”

Got it? Good!

So now on to a local favorite here in Guanacaste, Playa Avellanas.

Surf Guide: Playa Avellanas, Costa Rica

How do you say it?  PLI – ah  Ah – VEY – ah – nas

Avellanas is a long sandy, crescent shaped beach. In contrast to Tamarindo, there practically is no development located beachfront. Waves break up and down Avellanas, from sandy bottom beach breaks, rivermouth, to the reefs.

Where to Surf:

Lola’s: Right in front of Lola’s Restaurant is a beachbreak that offers rights and lefts. This is a popular spot since it is a quick walk to the parking lock and consequently it can get crowded. Be sure to be careful of the rocks on the inside when coming in from a session. Best time to surf is mid-high tide.

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Palo Seco (Dead Tree): A five minute walk north from the Lola’s parking lot, or a quick walk from the Cabinas las Olas pathway, is another beach break called Palo Seco. Look for the big dead tree on the beach and you have found the spot. Or, since waves break pretty much in between Lola’s and Palo Seco, just paddle out where you see the best waves. As you walk further away from the parking lot, the crowd usually disperses. Definitely worth walking a little further! Best time to surf is mid-high tide.

Go With the Waves

Rivermouth: A little further north of Palo Seco is the Rivermouth. The waves here are usually a little bit bigger than the beach breaks as the waves peak over a small reef. The Rivermouth offers some quality rights and lefts. Best time to surf is low tide.

 

Crowd factor: Weekends tend to get busy, but during the week you can be out surfing with a handful of your friends and some locals. There usually are plenty of peaks up and down the beach to find a wave all to yourself.

 

Water temperature: 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, on some days, you might choose to wear some thin neoprene.  (Many people go without, with no problem.)

 

Apres Surf:

Lola’s: Lola’s is a beach-front restaurant that’s a little slice of paradise. The owners Don and Christi are super nice, the wait staff amazing (and cute!), and the food is super fresh. The best part is Lolita, the restaurant’s pet pig, who strolls out of her pen to take a dip in the Pacific Ocean!

The food here is delicious, and the beer is bien fria (nice and cold!)  This is an excellent place to chill and watch the sunset.

Lola’s is open from mid morning to sunset, but their kitchen closes mid-afternoon, so if you’re hungry, be sure to get your order in before they start cleaning up the kitchen.

Our favorite things:  Just about anything on the menu, but the Tuna Ciabatta is pretty amazing.  Watermelon juice (Sandia con agua) is incredibly refreshing after a surf session.

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Cabinas las Olas: More secluded and not beach front, Cabinas las Olas also offers up some great post-surf food!   Their breakfasts are particular yummy and filling.

In addition to good food, a highlight of Cabinas las Olas is the walk down the beautiful mangrove pathway to the beach.

Pathway to Surf

The Beach Box: A newbie to Playa Avellanas, The Beach Box offers super fresh food and fast service. Gotta love their burritos and freshly made juices!

 

How to get there and where to stay:

Most people stay in Tamarindo and go to Avellanas for day trips.  There’s even a new surf shuttle that runs every other hour from Tamarindo for $5/person!

If you drive, there are two main parking areas and entrances to Playa Avellanas:  Lola’s or Cabinas las Olas. As you are driving from Tamarindo, the Cabinas las Olas entrance is a couple hundred meters on the right hand side before the turn off to Lola’s. Look for well marked signs.

The best part? Cabinas las Olas is also a small hotel, so you can stay within a couple hundred yards of the beach!  (As Avellanas can get rather quiet during the night, if you are looking for more hustle and bustle, stay in Tamarindo. Pretty much everywhere in town is within walking distance to the beach and there is plenty of nightlife.)