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“It's just so....... Simple!!!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Surf Simply

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Surf Simply
Playa Guiones, Nosara, Costa Rica   |  
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Ranked #1 of 20 Specialty Lodging in Nosara
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
1 review
“It's just so....... Simple!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2013

I initially discovered Surf Simply via a friend who had gone ...twice! I've been struggling to learn to surf for years and despite having swam competitively, skateboarded and snowboarded forever I would get out of the water each time frustrated, shaken, and totally mystified as to how anyone could ever get good at this sport, let alone enjoy it!

..Then along came Surf Simply! I was absolutely stunned at how fast everything started clicking once it was broken down and... well... simplified :D The coaches were fun and incredibly positive, plus the care we received on land by the amazing staff and Sarah their incredibly talented chef was truly top notch. SS far exceeded my expectations from the moment I was picked up at the airport to the moment I was dropped off, well worth the investment and now I know how to confidently approach surfing and how to progress!!!! This experience has totally changed my life and ever so grateful!!!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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297 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (32)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Kirkland, Washington
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 16, 2013

I traveled to Surf Simply in Costa Rica for the week of March 23rd through 30th, 2013. This was my second trip to Surf Simply. I initially found them via a Google search using the keywords, “world class surf resort” and I can say that phrase captures the essence of Surf Simply to the letter. Surf Simply offers a stellar experience and I would recommend them to anyone looking an uncompromising experience of surf coaching in an environment where they literally think of everything – from comfortable accommodations, delicious food, uncompromising surf coaching, transportation, and, well, everything. The all-inclusive package is truly all-inclusive and uncompromising in quality. The staff offers attention to your every need and coming back this year felt like coming home to a welcoming family. While I customarily travel first class and seek 5 star accommodations, Surf Simply is the surf version of that quality I prefer. It is not the Four Seasons – rather the surf resort version of it.
The resort consists of a centralized open-air kitchen, dining area and living room, with the yoga studio, massage suite, and guest cabanas located immediately nearby.
The cabanas are equipped with two bedrooms, bathroom, small kitchen, a tastefully decorated living room, and covered porch with comfortable outdoor furniture. The bedrooms offer a flexible configuration designed to suit the needs of an individual guest, couples, or those who want to share a room. Don’t expect a feather bed here, but after surf training day after day, the beds are appropriately comfortable. Despite being located in the Costa Rica jungle – with howler monkeys literally playing in the trees around the resort – the cabanas were free of ants, spiders, and other insects which certainly contributes to a restful nights sleep not having to worry about some pesky multi legged mini beast nesting on your tender bits. While each cabana is equipped with a kitchen, it was more of a curiosity to me because there is simply no reason for it – with the exception of using the refrigerator for cold drinks. With chef Sarah’s cooking in the main kitchen, the food is simply too fantastic to even remotely consider preparing anything for yourself. It was like having canvas and water colors in your room while Picasso was outside handing out pictures. There is a time and place for everything and this is neither the time nor place for cooking in your cabana.
The surf conditions in Costa Rica are consistently excellent allowing the instructors ample opportunity to work with students on their surf skills – independent on their skill level. Students are grouped together based on their skill level – and the instructors are excellent at tailoring their approach to the needs of the individual. The coaching consists of work in the water and on land with daily video review, theory, meteorology, and social skills (dropping in on someone here is met with patience but they offer good tips as to how not to get in trouble in popular surf spots). The photos and video work offers terrific technique training and is excellent as a keepsake as the fun of Costa Rica quickly fades into a daydream once you return to real life once your week in paradise ends. The coaching skills are second to none. Since I started my surfing at age 50, I didn’t have time to mess around by learning solo. The coaching staff gets you up to speed quickly and day-by-day the training builds on the previous lessons. My second trip picked up exactly as it left off the previous year. Harry was my primary coach with Graham joining in to supplement the training on the outside in the green waves. It is like surfing with your closest friends who happen to be superb instructors. Their excellent teaching skills are equally matched by their encouragement and inspiration. Make no mistake, they know they have a job to do – and they understand clearly that they are integral in your success as a surfer. But in the end, success is fully measured by how much fun you have. And fun it is. The daily schedule begins with breakfast followed by the first in-water training (or breakfast after surfing depending on the conditions). Upon returning to the resort we all took a quick rinse immediately followed by jumping into the pool to relax a bit with an ice-cold smoothy. Surf theory was scheduled followed by lunch, video review, massage or yoga, nap, reading in a lounge chair or in your cabana (depending on what you choose to do), and then back into the water for more surfing for your second 90 minute salt water session. Shower up, have a beer or glass of wine, and then off to dinner in one of the arranged local dining establishments or prepared with excellence by Chef Sara. Ahhhh Sara, the food is nothing short of superb. At the end of each day, I found myself crawling off to bed with dreams of another day in Costa Rica. The proprietor of Surf Simply is Ru – who quite adeptly has assembled this world-class surf resort. His attention to detail makes this nothing short of a fantastic trip. Take the trip – you will not regret it.
My final comment here is to prepare yourself for this trip – get in shape and work on your endurance, strength, and flexibility because you will have that much more fun and success. I was thoroughly beat at the end of each day and glad to be in good shape and a strong swimmer. Don’t get me wrong, there were people here that were in less than optimal conditioning but I think that you will simply have more fun if you spend a little time preparing yourself physically for the trip.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2013

Surf Simply far exceeded my expectations. My husband, Chad had been researching surf camps for a while. He kept telling me about, and showing me the YouTube videos from Surf Simply. Since surfing is so important to him I started to think that this could be the place for me to actually give it a real try. So, I decided to give it a try!

Admittedly, the glowing reviews seemed to be a little too good to be true, which made me a little skeptical. But, I walked away with a very positive impression, and I've been talking about it ever since. More importantly, I'm excited to surf at home. Good thing since a wet suit arrived for me today!

It seems Ru has thought of everything. He has this place completely dialed in. Yet, I have no doubt he thinks of ways to improve his business all of the time. Everything was spot on, the coaching and teaching approach, logistics, atmosphere, meals and of course, the location.

Ollie, my instructor was excellent. He was incredibly thorough and consistent in instruction. It was rare that I didn't know exactly what to do in a situation (although executing it was a different story). He had a perfect balance of driving you to the next thing and pure patience. He didn't give out any false 'pats on the back'. Instead he gave useful, constructive criticism and when he said you did something right you knew it was right. All were great building blocks to bring home with me for giving it a go on my own. He was also so relaxed and genuine it was hard not to enjoy his company.

Chad's instructor, Jessie seemed to take no nonsense and he said that while she set expectations high she was also very encouraging. She had many instruction techniques: great video analysis, practical instruction for wave selection and timing, and even taking waves with him, guiding him through turns the whole way down the wave. From my perspective, I've spent three years watching Chad surf and her coaching improved his skills by quite bit. I'm excited to see him surf in New Jersey this spring. I watched Jessie surf multiple times that week and she is a beautiful, elegant surfer. You can spot her anywhere in the water.

Harry, Graham, and Kerri Ann were all great as well. Although, I had less interaction with them, when I did it was impressive. Kerri Ann gave some great tips about staying calm in the water at dinner one night and Graham had a knack for being close in the water when I needed that extra push.

Chad enjoyed Harry's scientific and analytic approach to everything surfing, and thought he was an excellent in the water coach. Harry also gave an informative class on board design. Anyone from a novice to more experienced surfer would take away good information. In fact, all of the theory classes were excellent. Each was served up with a balance of education and practicality.

The food was perfect for a week of surfing. Everything was healthy, fresh and filling. Sarah had a real talent for pleasing everyone, which I'm sure isn't easy. I enjoyed every meal and her company.

And finally, Crystal's great massages, and the entire team that make everything work like clockwork made this a great experience through and through.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fort Pierce, Florida
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2013

Last week was one of the best surf trips of my life! Surf Simply takes care of everything so that all you have to do is surf and spend time with a bunch of fun people. My coach was Jessie. The time I spent with her was a true blessing because we had so much fun and because she helped me to improve my surfing. She has the heart of a teacher and a competitive background. When you put that together with the Surf Simply methodology it's a powerful tool! The whole team of coaches were very professional and worked well together with all the guests. They all use a very mature and well thought out process to effectively coach any level surfer.

The other surfers were great to be around. All were successful and well educated professionals with a love of surfing. There was always good company and lively dinner conversations.

The food was fabulous! Simple and fresh and healthy.

The rooms were comfortable and air conditioned. I shared a room and got along great with both my roommate and suite-mate. Hope to surf with them again soon!

Tom J

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Linwood, New Jersey, United States
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

I have been surfing on and off for 23 years. The learning curve of what little I could accomplish was long and shallow.
My friend Rick, whom I believe to be an excellent surfer, recommended surf simply to me.
I was convinced when he said the coaches helped him with his surfing.
I booked the trip and got very excited then I worried I might be getting my hopes up too high.
Wrong.
I traveled solo and met a perfect group of strangers. The common denominator was that we were all educated, well-traveled, independent, and accomplished people in our diverse backgrounds.
The coaches are the best you will meet. They understand what they are talking about, they listen to you and understand your questions, and are able to execute what they are teaching.

Example: A fellow traveler and I arrived Saturday afternoon and were anxious for a session. We asked if we could use the boards and go to the break. The answer of course was "yes".
We went to the break and surfed a fabulous sunset and we spied a strawberry blonde female tearing it up, I mean flying down a beautiful wave and making beautiful turns, we later learned it was Jessie.
Then we saw this guy doing 360's and in total control of his domain, we learned he was Ru, after he paddled up and politely introduced himself.
The other instructors are equally competent as you will learn if you go, and very interesting people with quite a collection of stories about their lives and their travels.
The food, the yoga, the massage, the excursions, the rooms, the staff, the instruction, the friendliness, the sincerity, the excitement, the best trip of your life...
It's all waiting for you,
at Surf Simply.

Room Tip: Our room was great ! Chalet 4 with wifi !
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2013

Everyone, please stop writing all of these "excellent" reviews for Surf Simply... you're letting the secret out!

My first trip was amazing, and my return trip was even better, and I want to make sure that there's room for my 3rd visit. So please, stop telling everyone how really great this place is.

Certainly shouldn't mention how beautiful the beaches are and how consistent and perfect the waves are, or how delicious Sara's meals & Lulu's homemade muffins are, or how good the surf instruction is (especially Graham, make sure not to talk about how good he is, or Kerrianne for that matter. Or Harry, Ollie or Jessie. Don't talk about how much fun they all are to be around or how good they are at coaching kids like us to surf)


Seriously, this place is awesome. To be honest, I was a little hesitant when booking my return trip to Surf Simply. The first trip was so wonderful that I figured my follow-up visit would be a bit of a disappointment. Not at all. From the moment that I arrived it felt like I was returning home, or more specifically like I had never left.

The Ocean is the perfect temperature: no need for a wet suit, feels refreshing, water is clean, sandy ocean bottom, consistent and good-sized waves, and beautiful views.

The Staff is super-friendly, fun and sooooo good at what they do. Not only do they have in-depth knowledge about all aspects of surfing, but their demeanor is patient, calming and friendly.

The extras like the massages from Krystal, the yoga, the muffins (I ate about 20 of them) and the concierge-like services from Daniella and Val to make sure everything runs smooth. I don't think that there was a request that they didn't fulfill by any guest. Even the side-trip (I tried the SUP) was well orchestrated and the guide was friendly and a pleasure to be around.

Overall, a few of us were trying to come up with suggestions for improvement but could not come up with anything. Ru has everything so well dialed-in that the place is virtually perfect. And apparently from all of the other 100's of 5-star reviews, I am not the only person to feel this way.

Recommendation: book this place immediately before it becomes too popular!

Room Tip: Any room is a good room, i.e. they are all virtually the same. And you will likely spend very littl...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California, United States
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 3, 2013

The surf conditions are great, the coaching is great, and the facilities & food are great. I love surfing but have never really progressed in the way I had hoped I would, so I was looking for a camp/trip where I could get some great instruction. I stumbled onto the Surf Simply podcasts and was very impressed by the technical approach to coaching, and booked a trip.

I had high expectations and was very pleasantly surprised. The surf conditions were the best for learning that I had experienced - big enough waves to challenge me as a somewhat experienced surfer, but slow enough to be manageable given my lack of skill. Furthermore, the video coaching sessions of me in action were incredibly helpful. My coach Harry was able to provide detailed breakdowns of what was right and wrong about a wave and as a result, I was able to tie that back to my experience on the wave. I now feel like I have a much better sense of where I go wrong and where I need to focus to improve. My favorite parts of the coaching sessions were when I was able to ask Harry specific questions either in the water or in video sessions and get very actionable feedback. Harry has a scientist's mind and does a fantastic job of making data-driven assessments and recommendations, which was great for someone like me who really wanted to learn.

Beyond the coaching and surfing, the facilities are great, the cooking by Sarah was fantastic, and I loved the massages from Crystal. The only downside of the non-surfing time was that all the coaches (Graham, Oli, Kerianne, Jessie, and Harry) weren't always there to hang out with us - it's a good group of people. If any of them come to San Francisco, I want them to look me up and visit!

I booked my return trip while on the last trip, and I've convinced three friends to join me!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Surf Simply

Address: Playa Guiones, Nosara, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Nosara
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 20 Specialty Lodging in Nosara
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Surf Simply has broken the surf camp mold by providing coaching of a standard one would usually expect to receive in more mainstream sports. The makes of the Surf Simply podcast (available on iTunes) offer all inclusive package from their beautiful boutique surf coaching resort in Nosara, Costa Rica. You stay incorporates not only - video analysis, theory sessions on everything from board design to surf forecasting, pool training and in water coaching during your two fun surf session each day; but also transfers, accommodation, yoga classes, massage, fresh home cooked food and a variety of destinations in the evening from beach BBQs to stunning cliff top restaurants. ... more   less 
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