Salty Sols is the best place for surf lessons in Costa Rica
Eric Atkinson grew up in Missouri, USA, with no waves nearby but he traveled around the world looking for surf spots. He finally found his home here in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. Now, he owns Salty Sols Surf School, surf lessons in Costa Rica. Eric loves surfing and teaching so he created Salty Sols to share his love for the ocean with all his students. You will enjoy his class because he speaks perfect English and almost perfect Spanish. Mr. Atkinson also has three important “P” attributes: patience, perception and persuasion, really important for a good teacher.
We interviewed Eric and he told us some interesting stories about surf lessons in Costa Rica.
Tamarindo Vista Villas (TVV) : What is it that you like most about teaching how to surf?
Eric: Seeing people feel that “stoke” for the first time and enjoying the connection with the ocean. I can still remember my first wave/waves and the awesome feeling of riding for the first time. This brings me back to those days.
TVV: What is it that you like least about teaching how to surf?
Eric: If the waves are pumping and perfect and I’m pushing someone instead of being able to pull into a barrel myself !!!! That would be the only bad thing, and that’s not really bad. We get plenty of awesome days to surf. If the students happen to have one of “those” sessions in their lesson then that’s great for them. Also, they usually are witnessing some amazing surfing from the experienced surfers at the same time.
There are days when the current can be strong and the water can be cold. But if you are coming from a cold water place, the water always feels like bath water here in Costa Rica. Sometimes it can be frustrating if there’s a ton of people in the water. Or if the conditions aren’t the best. But the number 1 thing I don’t like about being a surf instructor is when you step on a really gnarly thorn right before going in the water for the next 2 hours!!!
TVV: What are the main feelings your students get during the lessons?
Eric: I think first of all surprise. Most are surprised that within a short amount of time they are actually getting up and riding waves. So many have these feelings that they are going to be horrible or they aren’t skilled enough. Maybe a fear of the water. But after some party in the sand with the “pop up”, technique practice, and the instructor´s help in the water, before you know it, they are up and riding and smiling from ear to ear. So I think feelings are changing several times in the lesson. They go from fear or nervousness, to surprise and emotion, to stoked and super pumped that they are now getting wave after wave and ending with a feeling of self satisfaction.
TVV: What is the main thing somebody needs to know before taking surf lessons in Costa Rica?
Eric: Nothing! Really, no need to know much, just know how to relax and have fun. Maybe that it could be something that changes their life forever…If they live in landlocked Missouri, they might end up moving to Costa Rica!
TVV: Is there any advice you want to give for someone who wants to learn to surf?
Eric: Be confident that with some patience and practice you WILL be surfing! And never take it too seriously, surfing is all about having fun, it is about being a kid again!