After testing all these winter wetsuits I was chilled to the bone. You know that kind of cold you can’t shake with a 15 minute hot shower. There was only one thing to do. Head south to Central America with its constant 85 degree air temp and bathtub like 80 degree water. I had also heard a rumor that Robert August was living down in Costa Rica so I thought it’d be fun to try and hunt down Mr. Endless Summer while I was searching for warm waves.
I stayed at a little surf hotel in Tamarindo called Witch’s Rock Surf Camp. As it turned out my hunt for Robert ended in about 2 seconds. I asked the front desk girl “Do you know if Robert August is ever in town?” She quickly replied “Yeah, he’s here twice a week.” Wait…what?
Sure enough he’s there a couple times a week, every week. One of the days he talks surfing with whoever wants to listen in on his surf lecture. There’s a cool slide show, interesting conversation about surfing history, and discussion on the next evolution of surfing. Then another day he’s in the shaping room at Witch’s Rock doing live shaping demonstrations for boards that carry his name and are aptly called “What I Ride”, or any other size and shape that a client requests. Yes, that’s right, the legend himself will shape you a custom board.
Ok. R.A. found. Let’s talk surf. I surfed the local beach – surf was fun. But the trick to CR is boat trips. I had two fantastic ones! The first from the hotel to a break I promised I wouldn’t name. Let me describe it for you – Trestles, 80 degree water, the only guys there are the guys you brought on the boat. My favorite part was when we got there. Our guide said “Don’t waste all your energy in the first hour. It’ll get better. We stay until you can’t paddle any more.” About 2 hours into the session it was like a light switch – went from good to great. The tides shifted and the waves got more punch, hollower, cleaner lines and the silt filled water got crystal clear. Two and a half hours after that I couldn’t paddle back to the boat. I had to rest twice because my arms were wet noodles.
Check out the lines at this great beach break.
The second trip…well, I had to hit Ollie’s and Witch’s. They are the biggest name spots and I couldn’t head home without hitting those two. I can already hear my friends – what? You didn’t go there…yeah, so those were must hits.
I’ll spare you the gory details of how to get there – just know it entails a 5am wakeup call – ouch after a night of Imperial’s and Pura Vida shots. The great news was my boat captain was the best ever. His name was Walter Lotz. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org and his companies website is http://h2ogosouth.com Walter is a Costa Rican building the American Dream. A life long surfer who worked two jobs for 7 years to save up enough money to buy his boat. But no rest for him, he still has two jobs because he wants to run a second boat. All the hotels like working with Walter because of his professionalism and the great time all the surfers have with him. Surfers have a great time because he knows the breaks like no one else. In fact a fisherman boat captain who freelance rents his boats to surfers saw us leaving Ollie’s and immediately followed us. We fake dropped anchor at the next spot and when his surfers jumped in we bounced. Suckas!
Check out some of the juicy waves Walter helped us score at Ollies.
After a few hours of backside surf Walter recommended we move to Witch’s. The two breaks prefer opposite tide conditions so once Ollie’s started shutting down we knew it was time to move .
Arriving at Witch’s is like stepping back into the time of the dinosaurs. This giant oceanic monolith marks the spot you are going to surf. Inland there is a shelter made of fallen tree branches but that’s it. The rest of the beach is pristine. Walter shared with us the story of how Witch’s Rock got its name.
When first discovered the offshore winds would hit the rock and because of a very particular shape there was a “woooooo, woooooooooo” that you would hear. People walking through the jungle to the beach would hear it and said that the rock had a living witch on it – Witch’s Rock. I couldn’t wait to surf with an eerie witch howling at me, but alas, over time erosion took it’s toll on the rock and a few years ago a piece collapsed into the ocean. The howling stopped but the place retains the name.
How was the surf? Freaking awesome. One of the top five sessions of my life. Like many spots in Costa Rica once the tide gets right conditions go from good to great and Witch’s Rock is no exception. This beach break had A-Frames that were giving 45 second rides. We stayed for hours. Basically surfed until my muscles cramped up so bad I couldn’t paddle. Check out some of the photos.
My trip was a short one – 4 days. On my last day I met up with Robert August for some breakfast. We talked surf for a couple hours and I asked him what else he’s got going on. As it turns out there is a big charity tournament he runs called the Robert August “Surf n Turf” Charity Challenge. The concept is great. You start out the day playing a 4-man scramble, shotgun start golf tournament. After, you head out to the beach to show off your surf skills. You want to make sure you chose the right team members as each team member contributes to the overall total surf and golf score. There are winners of the golf tournament and the surf contest, and an overall winner of Surf and Turf. The real winners are the charities all the money goes to. Over the last 13 years Robert and team have raised over $200k for various orphanages and schools in CR.
Tournament dates for 2013 are March 15th – March 18th. It’s a $200 entry and all the proceeds go to charity. https://www.facebook.com/RobertAugustEvent?fref=ts for more info:
Friday, March 15:
6 pm: Registration Cocktail Party & Live Music – WITCH’S ROCK SURF CAMP + Silent auction
Saturday March 16:
9 am: Golf Tournament
7 pm: Bikini Fashion Show & Party at Diria
Amphitheater, with food, drinks and silent auction
Sunday, March 17:
3pm: Surf Contest at + Silent auction
7pm: Awards Ceremony at Witch’s Rock Surf Camp
Monday, March 18:
Catamaran Sailing Tour, 2-6pm
Solspot will have a team this year. We have open slots. If you want to join us, email Aron at Solspot dotcom.
You can also follow Robert and all of his past, present and future adventures on his blog, www.robertaugustsurf.wordpress.com. And if you are thinking of getting one of those custom, beautiful Robert August boards, contact his niece Lisa, email@example.com, for more information.
Tags: Boat Trip, Costa Rica, Ollie's Point, Pura Vida, Robert August, Surf, surfing, Warm Water, Witch's Rock