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“Great experience, good people”

Manuel Antonio Surf School
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Surfing - Live It! Learn It! Love It!
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children, Food available for purchase
Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Great experience, good people”
Reviewed December 24, 2012

Awesome time with the guys from MASS. Safety is stressed and our kids got one on one instruction to make sure they were always in a safe position. Oscar picked us up from our hotel and drove us to the beach. Spent 20 min stretching and learning technique and then off to the water. Everyone picked it up pretty quickly and received advice and encouragement along the way. Took about a 30 min break where Alejandro took my kids and I to find the water ice vendor. (Another highlight) back to the water. Brian taught my son a couple tricks that got him hooked.
It was cool to see a group of guys so engaged and happy in what they were doing. Genuine smiles and true Pura Vida. Take these lessons so the guys can upgrade the 4 runner.

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
Thank Curt K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CostaRicaAventuras, Public Relations Manager at Manuel Antonio Surf School, responded to this review, February 23, 2013
We are late in extending our "thank you" for your great review. It was a blast to surf with you and your family. We do stress safety and fun, especially with kids, which is why we extend one-on-one instruction for them. We do genuinely love what we do so it is truly nice to read that you saw this enthusiasm and passion during your lesson and time with us. Good news...and hopefully you will be back to ride in it...we did get a Jeep to transport guests to even more surf spots! PURA VIDA and many happy, safe travels to you and your family.
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139 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Ball Ground GA
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Stood up within 15 minutes”
Reviewed October 8, 2012

I'm 54 and have never been on a surf board before. The instructors were very patient with me. My nephew, age 18, stood up on his second try Will definitely recommend this company. Most of my pictures would not load off the CD so I would like to know if you still have photos of our July 20-22, 2012 class

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
Thank MozartBallGround
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
West Bloomfield, Michigan
Level 5 Contributor
28 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Great surfing lessons, poor after taste”
Reviewed August 28, 2012

We booked Manuel Antonio Surf School (MASS) through our hotel. The lessons were great. There were many instructors to teach the group. There were 7 people and probably 5 instructors, so the ratio was great. My instructor stayed with me the entire time and helped me until I was finally up on the board.

The lessons started on the beach with practicing how to get up and then your body position once you do. Within 10 minutes we were in the water and the instructors would yell when it was time to stand up. It took me until my 10th or 11th try, but I finally was up riding the waves! After an hour there was a break to have water and pineapple, then back in the water for another hour. I can't remember if the description had one hour with instructor and one hour on your own, or two hours of instruction and one hour on your own. Either way, after two hours most of the group was exhausted, and I don't know if solo time would have been beneficial as knowing when to stand on the board would be another thing to learn when you feel you've just got the positioning down.

Our reason for not giving 4 or 5 stars is when we were finished one of the instructors, Louis told us about all the photos he took. He said he had over 500 photos and we could purchase the best photos for $5 each. Some of the others asked how much it would be for all the photos on CD. They were a group of 5, so he said $35. Then for our group of two we talked to him and he said $20. It quickly turned sour as the one group didn't want to pay more than us and we weren't going to pay more just so they didn't feel like they were being ripped off. Eventually they negotiated a price for their group of 5. Louis also said the photos would be on Facebook, but I don't think anybody believed him.

The other thing was MASS offices are located a few miles from the beach. Louis had picked us up in the morning in a beat up 4-Runner that had a non-working seat belt in the back and a cracked windshield. We didn't have cash, so he had to take us to the office to pay after the lesson. Along the way he asked if we could stop at an ATM and pay with cash. We didn't have our ATM card and didn't really want to stop at an ATM either when we were told we could use a credit card (they don't accept AMEX). After paying Louis was driving us back and I asked a second time when they would drop off the CD with all the photos. He then asked us if we would pay for a taxi to bring the CD - "It's only about 3000 colones" because the 4-Runner wasn't his and he didn't know if he'd be able to bring the CD that night, despite earlier telling us when we paid that it would be dropped off around 5PM. He also asked if we could come back and pick it up later. Louis got my angry vibes and then I suggested we go back to MASS so he could burn the CD and then drop of us. So, that's what we did. It took about 20 minutes for him to burn the CD, which did not have 500 photos, more like 300 or so. There were about 10 good shots of each of us, so I can't complain about the photos.

Overall great experience with surfing, poor experience with Louis and his photo disc/let me figure out how to sell on the spot. Oh, and Louis driving around the narrow and curvy roads while texting also made us a little nervous.

It would probably be easier if they had rates for the CDs in advance, and said groups of 2 are X price, groups of 3 are another, etc. Since they are selling CDs for $20-$30 I think after a few weeks they could afford a cheap laptop and just burn them at the end of the lesson, rather than offer to drop them off at the hotel. I have no idea if the other group received theirs.

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank TravelingBrianandKim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
1 review
“solid surf school”
Reviewed August 3, 2012

3/3 of us got to stand up on the board and ride. Great supply of waves, good patient instructors. As a total novice who wants to start learning to surf, 3 hour lesson highly recommended.

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
Thank reviewer642
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CostaRicaAventuras, Public Relations Manager at Manuel Antonio Surf School, responded to this review, August 4, 2012
Thank you for surfing with MASS and for taking the time to leave your review. It was a pleasure to introduce you to surfing, and total novices are our specialty as well as being our favorite. Nothing beats seeing our students catch their very first wave! We hope you continue on your surfing journey in New York or wherever your travels may take you! All the best and PURA VIDA from your friends at MASS, Costa Rica
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USA
Level 4 Contributor
33 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“having 1st surf lessons at age 40+, we had a blast”
Reviewed July 21, 2012

My husband and I, in our early 40s, had our first surfing lessons with MASS. I wasn't sure about whether it was a good idea, but figured I might as well try surfing once in my life. We had such a fun time. Oscar and Antonio were excellent teachers and thoroughly enjoyable. My only caution is that if it is important to you to have pictures (and if it is your first time, why wouldn't it be?), be sure to ask whether they will have a photographer coming. I understand that they do so for bigger groups, but not smaller ones.

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
Thank JJexplorer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CostaRicaAventuras, Public Relations Manager at Manuel Antonio Surf School, responded to this review, July 23, 2012
Thank you for your fantastic review, JJexplorer! We believe surfing is for everyone...and it's never too for your first lesson, so we are glad we shared the experience with you and your husband! Oscar and Anthony excel with beginners and you guys did great! You seemed skeptical to try at first but...in the end, you have a shared experience with your husband and memories of a great time. The photographer is someone we can arrange for in advance, even for couples not just large groups, only because our photo girl moved to another town. We apologize if you looked forward to pics and we were not able to accommodate that day. Many happy and safe travels to you, and PURA VIDA!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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