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Building Grit and Resistance in Kids, One Wave at a Time – Why kids that learn to surf are more successful in life…

Kids learning to surf.

“Learning to surf at an early age can translate to success in a broader spectrum of skills later in life”

Building Grit and Resistance in Kids, One Wave at a Time Why kids that learn to surf lead a more successful in life…

Written by Victoria Ross

As a parent you do everything in your power to ensure your child’s success and happiness in life. This can include selecting the perfect school, preparing healthy lunches and cheering for your child when playing their weekend sport. What exactly ensures a kid grows up into a fully functioning adult with an assured future?

Kids learning to surf.

The freedom of the wave to try it on your own…

Throughout history numerous studies have been conducted to try and answer this important question, with many of them by Diana Baumrind, a clinical and developmental psychologist at the University of Berkeley.  According to Dr Baumrind in an article by the New York Times ‘the optimal parent is one who is involved and responsive, who sets high expectations but respects his or her child’s autonomy. These “authoritative parents” appear to hit the sweet spot of parental involvement and generally raise children who do better academically, psychologically and socially than children whose parents are either permissive and less involved, or controlling and more involved.’

Surfing with kids.

Gaining confidence and skill with every wave- learning to surf as a kid.

Therefore the ideal parent essentially walks a strategic line between being lenient and controlling. So you’re probably wondering what kids learning to surf has to do with any of this? We want our kids to have grit and resilience, to be willing to take responsible risks, and to persist in the face of challenging situations. These are the qualities that predict success and happiness in life far more than GPA. Learning to surf requires kids to draw on all of these skills, and they are rewarded with the thrill of riding a wave. Essentially the environment, process and practice of learning to surf provides the perfect forum for autonomy for a child’s development cognitively and physically and in turn assists in developing skills essential to a successful and fulfilling life.

Whether you’re a kid or an adult, you are never too old to learn to surf. The practice and process of being surf coached provides an ideal balance of fun, personal challenge and independent learning. Working with a professional surf coach kids are provided specialized theory on pop up, wave selection and safety and are then suitably coached and supported in the water providing the perfect environment for autonomous learning.

Surfing in Costa Rica with kids.

Lifelong skills achieved through play on the beach and waves of Costa RIca

According to research by Carol Dweck, a social and developmental psychologist at Stanford University, kids that are told they are ‘bright and capable’ are less motivated to succeed.  As stated in a New York Times article, this theory was established in an experiment where ‘Dr Dweck takes young children into a room and asks them to solve a simple puzzle. Most do so with little difficulty. But then Dr. Dweck tells some, but not all, of the kids how very bright and capable they are. As it turns out, the children who are not told they’re smart are more motivated to tackle increasingly difficult puzzles. They also exhibit higher levels of confidence and show greater overall progress in puzzle-solving.’


This study is quite enlightening as it reveals unnecessarily praising kids abilities and skills seems to unnerve their confidence. It is believed for the kids that have been praised, in trying more difficult puzzles brings the risk of losing the title of ‘very bright and capable’ and deprives kids of the thrill of choosing to work simply for its own sake, regardless of outcomes.Family surf camp in Costa Rica makes it easy for kids to learn to surf.

As an experienced surf coach this theory is true in the process of learning to surf for adult and kids alike. As a surf coach it is your goal to bring your student to their surfing potential in a safe, fun and supportive environment. You provide all the supporting feedback and encouragement required to bring the best out of your student, however when they are on the wave it is just the individual and the wave and you have to trust they will apply the methods, safety and technique described to successfully stand up and surf. The pride kids feel when they catch a great wave is intrinsic and does not require any validation from the outside.


Family surf camps for learning to surf with kids.

So many different skill sets are utilized while surfing making it an amazing activity for kids.

As a surf coach you can’t hold your clients hand through the entire process, as once you push them onto that wave it is just the individual applying all the techniques you have shown them, for a beginner this solo time on a wave could be from 5 to 20 seconds. This is where the independent learning kicks in, and for kids they thrive and embrace this moment to shine and learn independently. This process of learning to stand up can also be very humbling, even for the most athletic kid and in turn assists in developing the child’s persistence, grit and character.


Family surf camps for learning to surf with kids.

The youngest surfers at the surf camp walk away from the experience with so much pride.

In the interest of safety for kids during this learning to surf process at Peaks and Swells we offer a 1:1 child/surf coach ratio. The primary surf coach assists the child into the wave and the secondary coach on the shoreline is ready to ‘catch’ and come to the child’s aid once finishing their wave and provide helpful feedback. This feedback the surf coach provides for the student is essential to their learning development and particularly with kids we make sure we are sensitive to their feelings in delivering this information. However from surf coaching with kids for years I assure you they respond very well to constructive criticism as long as it is delivered in a fun manor. For example if Noah (8 years) is riding the wave with his legs too straight which is causing him to wipe out due to instability, as an experienced surf coach you would say, ‘Noah on your next wave let’s try bending your knees, and tell me what it feels like.’ As for Noah, once he lowers his Centre of gravity he will find more stability and in turn get a longer ride and improve his surfing. By setting new challenges for Noah and asking for his feedback you’re including him in the learning process and fostering his independence.

Family surf camps for learning to surf with kids.This surf coaching technique is aligned with Dr. Dweck’s and that of Dr. Baumrind work, who also found that reasonably supporting a child’s autonomy and limiting interference results in better academic and emotional outcomes.

Therefore the process and practice of a child learning to surf provides them with character building experience and according to child psychologists provides an ideal foundation for living a happy and successful life.


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5 Reasons Chia is a Surfer’s Best Friend.

Written by Victoria Patchell, Director of Surfing – Peaks ‘n Swells

When it comes nutrition, Chia is a surfer’s best friend. As any best friend, they get this title as they are there for you when it really counts. When no one else can be, Chia will come to your aid.

If you’re feeling a little confused or curious; no we are not talking about Chia Pets, in fact the seeds in the Chia Pet package and the Chia seeds in your local grocery store are not the same. The Chia seeds us surfers are so fond of are from the mint family originating from the shores of Central and South America. It was a very important source of energy for the Aztecs and Mayans back in the day. They believed Chia gave them incredible strength, endurance and nutrition and was highly valued, even to the extent of being offered to the gods in religious ceremonies. In fact the word ‘Chia’ is the ancient Mayan word for strength.

Why Chia is a Surfer's Best Friend

Kelly Slater swears by his morning ritual of Chia seeds soaked in Coconut water.

Kelly Slater is wise to the incredible benefits of Chia and its aid in performance of surfing having stated he eats Chia soaked in coconut water every morning for breakfast. The Aztecs and Mayans and Mr. Slater are definitely on to something as Chia offers many health benefits such as, Omega-3 essential fatty acids, antioxidants, protein, calcium, iron, potassium, vitamins A, B, E, and D, as well as other key minerals. 

With this all-star cast of nutrients and vitamins, Chia is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the market. Just two tablespoons of chia seeds contains 10 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, more calcium than milk, more Omega-3s than salmon, more iron than spinach, and more antioxidants than blueberries. So with all these staring qualities Chia is quite impressive, however, we surfers hail Chia our best friend for several other reasons.

1. Provides sustained energy. Due to the extremely absorbent nature of Chia seeds, with the capacity to expand up to ten times their original size when soaked in water and forming a gelatinous substance Chia has the ability to provide sustained energy to surfers when they need it most. Because of this gelatinous action, chia seeds slow the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar, meaning the carbs you eat will be able to fuel your body for longer periods of time. The regulation of carbohydrate release also stabilizes blood sugar levels. Therefore, as a surfer, Chia can help you surf better for longer. What a great friend!

Surf nutrition for optimal surf performance.

Chia Seeds- surf nutrition.

2. Combats dehydration. Chia has the capacity to absorb thirty times its weight in water and in turn combat dehydration. Surfers are one of the most dehydrated athletes on the planet, therefore this is an amazing asset of this humble little seed. How it works is the surfer can continue to draw hydration from the seed once it’s ingested, from its expanded and gelatinous exterior. Also Chia seeds help regulate body fluid levels and retain electrolytes, both key in the battle against dehydration.

3. Reduces inflammation and joint pain. Chia can relieve those burning paddling arms after a long surf session. With more Omega 3 essential fatty acids than salmon (gram for gram) and a proven anti-inflammatory, Chia seeds will help support and restore you for your next surf session. The Aztecs knew Chia’s special healing qualities and ate chia seeds to relieve knee pain. In addition to battling aches and joint pain, the essential fatty acids found in chia seeds can assist in healing sun damaged skin which is unfortunately a regular occurrence for surfers.

4. Accelerates post-surf recovery. As a surfer, if the conditions are right you will endeavor to surf sometimes 2 or 3 times in one day, therefore your post surf recovery is essential. Consuming Chia seeds after surfing can greatly assist in this process. Chia seeds are nutrient dense in amino acids, which are the “building blocks of protein” and also are a great source of antioxidants, which are the ultimate defense against free radicals. Eat them soon after your workout to jumpstart recovery and rebuild muscle and fight off those free radicals.

5. Promotes weight loss. Surfing if you’re overweight is a challenging practice as it is all about power to body weight ratio. That’s how those scrawny groms can score so many waves. As Chia seeds are so dense in fiber and protein, they help you feel fuller faster and longer. The absorbent qualities regulate carbohydrate conversion, preventing blood sugar spikes and providing sustained energy. Recent studies have shown Chia seeds help prevent high cholesterol and high triglycerides along with reducing body fat.

 The best way for a surfer to eat chia seeds?

Chia seeds - best for surfing nutrition

Chia seeds will keep you hydrated while surfing.

A surfer can eat chia in many forms from mixing the seed in with their cereal, oatmeal or muesli to throwing it in to their favourite smoothie. As chia can be eaten straight from the bag and does not have a strong flavour you can even sprinkle a tablespoon or two over your salad, quinoa, rice or pasta. Another popular method is making ‘chia pudding’, this is where you soak the seeds overnight in coconut milk or water, almond milk etc and it naturally forms a delicious gelatinous puddling.

In order to gain the greatest benefit from this incredible little seed I recommend allowing the Chia to soak up hydration before ingesting. You can even get creative with this and soak with other nutrient dense foods such as coconut water, spirilina and almond milk. HOT TIP- If you come to join us at Peaks and Swells in Costa Rica you can sample the Costa Rican version of Chia, called Chan. It looks very similar to Chia and has very similar properties except it is not as potent in the Omega 3 fatty acids. The Costa Rican natives hydrate on Chan regularly in a traditional sweet drink. 

Luscious Raspberry Chia Smoothie

1 Banana

¾ Cup Frozen Raspberries

¾ Cup of Rice Milk

1 Teaspoon of Spirilina

1 Tablespoon of Chia Seeds

1 Teaspoon of honey or agave (optional)

Place peeled banana and raspberries in blender; add rice milk to just cover the fruit. Then add chia seeds, spirilina and honey or agave on top. Please note it’s important to add the spirilina, chia and honey on top of the other ingredients as otherwise they have a tendency to get stuck in the corners at the bottom. Blend ingredients until all combined. Let mixture rest in blender for 5 minutes to allow the chia to take on the hydration of the smoothie. After chia is hydrated, blend mixture for a few seconds to ensure it hasn’t separated. Serve and enjoy before or after an epic surf session.


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5 reasons you should visit PNS as an Experienced Surfer…

Technical surf coaching at Surf Camp Peaks n Swells5 reasons you should visit PNS as an Experienced Surfer…

Everyone knows that booking a vacation to surf camp is a great way to introduce yourself to surfing but, like most other sports, even experienced surfers can dramatically improve their performance with the right instruction. Unlike some camps who hire great surfers as coaches, we’ve hired great surfers who are also passionate about teaching. Our head coach, Martin Reynolds, is equally comfortable working with beginners who have never surfed, as he his with competitive surfers looking to improve their maneuvers—and everyone in between.

As a former pro mountain biker, one of my main goals when I started PNS was to offer the quality and standard of coaching that is commonplace in other sports, such as skiing or snowboarding, to surfers. As an athlete, I like to know what I need to focus on in the moment and where I am aiming to get to next. Our coaches pride themselves in their ability to identify any “bad habits” or holes in the foundation of surf skills you possess and from these create a logical plan for maximum progression with specific and attainable goals. They empower and motivate you by concentrating on breaking down skills into body mechanics and decision-making and back that up with amazing teaching tools, like video and spilt screen coaching.

Here are five ways we work with experienced surfers looking to take their performance to the next level:

Peaks n swells surf camp for experienced surfers - surf video analysis sessions1. A Professional Team– Our team includes some of the industry’s best coaches. Our head coach, Martin Reynolds is an ISA Contest Judge, surf coach and lifeguard with over 15 years of experience under his belt. Martin and his team have coached everyone from kids to CEO’s, celebrities to pro athletes, and have a tried and tested curriculum that can fast track any surfer who wants to learn to surf or surf better.

2. We are Surf Geeks – Our approach to coaching includes a technical approach that breaks down where and how each surfer can improve.

  • Video Analysis: We review video footage to really get an understanding of where subtle changes in positioning and timing might be improved (and of course to capture footage of you catching the wave of your life!). This kind of analysis has proven to be invaluable.
  • Technique Sessions: We incorporate technique sessions in the pool, so that you can work with the coaches on specific skills that will improve your surfing in the ocean.
  • Surfboard Expertise: We provide a variety of quality board shapes and sizes for you to experiment on. Martin is our in-house surfboard designer and shaper, and always more than willing to get in-depth about how different boards will perform. He can also offer consultation on finding you the perfect board.
  • Surf Culture: If there’s a professional competition going on, you can bet we’ll be watching it at camp! You’ll be amazed how much you can learn watching the pros when you have an experienced judge breaking down each point.

Experimenting with different boards does help to make you a better surfer.3. Individually Tailored Coaching – Here at PNS, we have devised our own system of “Surfing Levels” so that we can focus on providing you with coaching that is specific and relevant to where you are and what you want to achieve.
We group surfers together based on their surfing level, if you are the only surfer at your level then you will receive individual coaching, simple as that. If there are other surfers at your level, then we have a ratio of 4 surfers:1 coach, which is actually how the pro’s train. While it is nice to have one-on-one coaching, it has been found equally as effective to work in small groups so that you not only learn from your own mistakes but those of others and if you see someone getting it right, you get to learn from that too. Win : Win!

experienced surfers surf camp peaks n swells4. Local Knowledge – As a more experienced surfer, you will know that we are at the mercy of Mother Nature and there are so many factors that go into finding the perfect conditions on any given day. With over 20 years spent in the area and plenty of surf spots to choose from, we know where to go depending on the time of year, swell direction, stage of the tide or direction of the wind. Our camp is located on the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula with access to beach breaks, point breaks, and a few incredible breaks we access by boat. You can simply concentrate on improving and we do the rest. This may mean we get you up and out of bed at 6 a.m. some mornings but there is no better feeling than sitting on your board in warm tropical waters, watching the sun rise in Costa Rica, just ask Kathryn & Gloria! (

peaks n swells surf camp5. Whole Body Approach – We offer all the usual extras—daily yoga sessions, massage, and lots of super fresh, healthy meals and surf snacks—but go beyond the “resort” approach to really offer guests tangible ways to achieve their goals. Our fitness director, Gem Yates, is a certified personal trainer and specialist in fitness nutrition, who works with guests daily offering cross-training and nutrition tips that will make you a better, stronger surfer athlete overall. (

Don’t worry, you will have plenty time to relax and rejuvenate too…unless of course conditions are perfect at Cedros. Then we might have to bag the pina coladas for one more afternoon session…

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Double Paddle Dilemma

surf coaching lessons from peaks n swells surf camp

We’re all guilty of it at least once, putting all of our energy into a double arm paddle for that last burst of speed to push us over the edge. The last ditch effort to try and catch the wave we’re about to miss..

But does the double-paddle actually help our ability to catch waves? Or hinder it?
Let’s break it down..

surf coaching lessons from peaks n swells surf campPaddle speed is crucial when catching a wave, the faster you are traveling the less steep the wave has to be for you to catch it. That’s one of the reasons why you have to catch much steeper waves on a shortboard than you do on a longboard, because a shortboard will plane much slower across the water than a longboard. When you are paddling with one arm after the other, you have a constant planing speed -which is what you need to catch a wave. If you decide to do a double-paddle, your surfboard momentarily loses momentum as your arms leave the water, and is then jerked forward as both arms push, and then you slow again, and then jerk forward and so on and so on…So in effect, it actually slows you down. Meaning that you either come  off the back of the wave, or, get stuck up in the lip as the wave gets steeper and steeper. Either way, not what you want to happen.

video-analysis-surf-campThis isn’t as true for a longboard. Longboards have much more surface area, and a lower rocker than a shortboard. This means that during the moment where both arms leave the water before putting in a double-paddle, the board does not lose as much of it’s momentum, because it will keep planing more efficiently for longer. Regardless, the alternate arm paddle is still more effective.Before a coaching session, I will ask the surfer what their immediate surfing goals are,  and more often than not, catching more waves is one of them. Although there are lots of factors that go into increasing your wave count, avoiding the double paddle (especially if your a shortboarder) is something you can do to help. Most of the time surfers don’t even realize that they are doing it and it’s only during the post surf video analysis that they see that the double paddle is one of the reasons why they are missing a lot of their waves. Next time your sitting out the back, play around with the two types of paddling. Do 10 alternate arm paddles, and consciously feel the constant momentum you generate. Then try 5 double-arm paddles, notice the start-stop motion, and how you cover less ground (with more effort).

Video analysis during our surf sessions is incredibly effective in revealing habits like these that really limit our wave catching potential. Many experienced surfers shy away from the idea of a coaching session but this kind of analysis could be instrumental in upping their surf game in a hurry.

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Live longer, be happier: Visit a Blue Zone. Surf Camp benefits.

bluezonesmapLive longer, be happier: Visit a Blue Zone

There is so much talk about “happiness” in today’s world—how to be happy, how to raise happy children, how to live a happy life. We are all so caught up in our busy lives, jobs and responsibilities that happiness can seem elusive. But there are places in the world where happiness thrives, and according to the Happy Planet Index, Costa Rica is the happiest country in the world.

At first we took this with a grain of salt—I mean who wouldn’t be happy living in a tropical paradise with perfect surf? We sure are. But then the Nicoya Penninsula, our little corner of the country, was identified as one of only five “Blue Zones” in the world, meaning people are happier and live longer here on the Nicoya. National Geographic, medical researchers, anthropologists, demographers, and epidemiologists teamed up to gain an understanding of why people living in Blue Zones live longer, happier lives. Here’s what they learned, and how we apply the Blue Zone philosophy to our surf camps here at Peaks N’ Swells:

surf-blue zone costa rica1. Keep moving
…find ways to move naturally.

People living in Blue Zones don’t pump iron at the gym; they live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving. Here at PNS, we spend most of the every day in the ocean, surfing, walking to a break, swimming under a waterfall, or practicing yoga outdoors. Like most things, proper instruction makes a huge difference with surfing. Our coaches have the expertise to help your progress so you can find the joy of the sport.

2. Find purpose
…and pursue it with passion.

The Nicoyans call it “plan de vida,” which essentially means “the reason I wake up in the morning.” More than one unsuspecting guest has discovered they’re waking up before dawn ready for their next surf session, and finding true passion for the sport.

Get ready for your best surfing yet!

3. Slow down
…work less, rest, and take vacations.

Routines that shed stress are key to happiness and longevity, and vacations are a wonderful way to take a break from stressful habits. Gorgeous gardens, ocean-view villas, hammocks and sun loungers, a tropical swimming pool, fresh, gorgeous meals prepared for you, daily yoga, and massage are all part of the package.  Although we do have WiFi, we encourage you to unplug and unwind and we’ll take care of the rest.

4. Dine on plants
…eat more veggies, less meat and less processed foods.

Here in Montezuma, we are surrounded by a plentiful bounty of natural goodness. With fresh fruit falling off the trees on the property and a local organic farm nearby, you can be sure that you will only dine on the best produce available during your stay. For that boost of protein we have the Pacific Ocean lapping at our doorstep, full of fresh fish and other delicious seafood.

girls-surf-trip5. Feed your soul
…engage in spiritual activities amongst nature.

There are so many life metaphors in surfing. Many of us have experienced an “ah ha” moment sitting on a board in the warm tropical waters, looking back over the unspoiled beauty of the Costa Rican jungle. It is almost impossible to not feel a sense of serenity and awe. On land there are humming birds and butterflies hanging on the breeze, families of monkeys in the trees and, if you are lucky, you may even get the chance to see baby turtles hatching from right out front of the camp. If you find spirituality in nature, then Costa Rica is a true Garden of Eden.

Family time at the beach is all part of happiness.6. Love your tribe
…Make family a high priority.

Blue Zone cultures invest in their children with time and love. Perhaps that’s whey our family camps are our favorite weeks. Working with amazing families and seeing them encourage each other, laugh together, celebrate accomplishments, and connect over family meals is so gratifying! Our family has been in Montezuma for 24 years and we love sharing our Costa Rica experience with other families. Everyone at PNS– from the tico family on property, to our internationally recognized surf coaches, and our growing alumni—is part of the PNS family.

7. Join a group…create a social network that supports healthy behavior.

Whether you’re traveling solo, or booking the entire camp for your family, the group dynamic at Peaks N’ Swells is a huge part of the experience. Fast friends are made in the water, and lasting relationships are formed on the waves. You’ll be hooting and hollering for friends who were strangers the day before, or finding new connections with old friends and family. At PNS, it doesn’t matter what job you have or how much money you make, the baseline commonality is that everyone has come to surf in Costa Rica.

We can’t guarantee that you’ll live a long, happy life after a week in the Blue Zone at Peaks N’ Swells…but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. Pura Vida!

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22 of the best surf movies you can find on You Tube.

22 of the best surf movies you can find on You Tube.

Well the PNS season is almost upon us and for those of you who require any additional psyche up (we are already far too excited), here is a list of our favorite surf movies available on You Tube.

We have tried to compile a list of movies that covers many different aspects of surfing so put your feet up and enjoy your night – it’s all here, with Two All – Female Surf Movies too!

1. Moments –

Quiksilver’s team riders. Beautifully edited. Make sure you do not miss Clay Marzo section.

2. Moments 2 –

This time it’s the Craig Anderson section that will have your jaw on the floor and it’s got one of our favorite Kelly sections too.

3. The Distant Shores –

Surfer magazine’s movie with an inspiring section about a lone movie making former pro, surfing in Iceland. If this movie doesn’t make you want to go to Indo and get barrelled then we don’t know what will.

4. Electric Blue Heaven –

A short conceptual piece from Globe of Dion Agius in the Dubai wave pool. If you like that sort of thing.

5. Get-N Classic Vol. 1 –

The first movie from the guys at Vans. We particularly love the Shipsterns section in Tazmania.

6. Get-N Classic Vol.2 –

A great all round movie from Vans again, this time it is the HUGE Cloudbreak in Fiji from last year that will blow your mind.

7. Leave A Message –

The most high performance girls surf movie out there – Watch Carissa Moore get towed in at Jaws for a big wave moment too.

8. Dane Reynolds Surf Film –

25 minutes of everyone’s favorite free surfer. Pop it on repeat and Enjoy!

9. Cancer To Capricorn  –

A glimpse in to the life of Mick Fanning, Rob Machado and the rest of The Reef team as they travel the World in search of waves.

10. Hurricane Sandy South Florida –

A cool little short of what can happen before a hurricane hits land. East Coast represent!
11. Cypher Vision –

It’s a few years old now but we still love this footage of Dane, Kelly, Jeremy Flores and Julian Wilson shot in super slo mo way down in Mexico. We love the bit where you can see how much Julian Wilson’s board flexes when he lands an air on the lip.
12. Biggest Teahupoo Ever on Phantom Cam –

No explanation necessary with this one. It does what it says on the label – Mind blowing stuff.
13. Kelly Slater 11 x World Champion –

If you don’t know who Kelly Slater is then you need to watch this. Footage from Kelly’s world title campaign highlights of 2011.

14. 2012 Hot 100 –

Surfer magazine’s annual round up of the movers and shakers in the Grom division. It will either make you wanna surf or cry these kids are so good.

15. No Filter –

Fox team riders Ian Walsh, Damien Hobgood and Bede Durbridge.

16. Dispatch –

Oakley team surfers Jordy Smith, Sebastian Zietz, Adam Melling, Bruce Irons, Kolohe Andino and Julian Wilson among others get up to the usual wave riding shenanigans all over the world.
17. The Dark Side Of The Lens –

Relentless Energy Drink fuels this short Surf Story of cold water surf photographer, Mickey Smith made this stunning short film in Ireland about what he does and why.

18. Shimmer –

A few years old now but after Leave a Message, our favourite girls surf movie for sure. Check out teeny wahinie Carissa Moore rippin’ already at age ***

19. Daze at Sea –

Documenting a year traveling to destinations like France, Indonesia, Australia, California and Hawaii, it’s not a bad gig for the Billabong sponsored youngsters.

20. Blow Up –

Another Billabong movie, this time showcasing the next generation of talent starring Creed McTaggart, Ryan Callinan, Ian Gentil, Jack Freestone, Laurie Towner and Granger Larsen. The future of surfing is here.

21. Kerrazy Kronicles –

He’s an up and comer on the WCT and certainly up in the air above the lip for a lot of his career too. This is an aerial surfing extravagantza by Aussie, Josh Kerr.

22. Seven Ghosts –

You have to see it to believe it – Witness the greatest river bore tubes ever surfed.

Let us know if there are any you think we have missed…

If this doesn’t cure your surfing fix- not to worry! We still have a few spots open in our fall sessions!

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Why every mom should go to surf camp.

Adventure Travel Mom, Emily Bradbury, (center) has found that surfing can change your life.

Peaks N’ Swells guest Emily Bradbury wrote this post for her blog, Adventure Travel Mom, and gave us permission to share it here.

There are a lot of reasons a bunch of moms hovering around 40 should NOT go to Costa Rica to learn how to surf. There are jobs to manage, kids to shuttle, groceries to buy, houses to clean. There’s the guilt that comes with spending money on a vacation just for you. There is fear of leaving your family, fear of flying, fear of the ocean, fear of failure. But, earlier this month, a group of seven friends left all those reasons in the cold, snowy mountains of Vermont, packed their bikinis, and boarded a plane to Peaks N’ Swells Surf Camp in Montezuma, Costa Rica. And it was the trip of a lifetime. So, here are my top 10 reasons why every woman should learn to surf:

#10 No grocery shopping, no cooking and no cleaning. Glorious platters of tropical fruit, huge salads, fresh grilled fish, and local specialties like ceviche, gallo pinto, and arroz con leche served three times a day.

#9 Really leaving our “to-do” lists and web of possessions behind creates space for true relaxation and rejuvenation. More than one of us felt an almost spiritual release of tension and emotion during the week.

#8 A little tropical sunshine and vitamin D in the dark months of winter is good for the skin and good for the spirits.

#7 It is physically challenging—your muscles will be sore, your body will be tired, and you’ll look better in your bikini at the end of the week.

#6 We can afford good quality instruction. While at 20 we might have “winged it” and skipped a pricey lesson, at 40 we are more than happy to hire the 24-year-old British surf pro to show us the ropes.

#5 Having the courage to try something new, to push out of our comfort zone, is the best way to encourage our children to push out of theirs. We have to model the adventure we want for our kids.

#4 Researchers at UCLA discovered when women are confronted with a challenging situation, they will and encourage and support each other. The sudden release of oxytocin is more likely to inspire a “tend and befriend” reaction (vs. the classic “fight or flight”). In other words, you will be hooting and hollering for your girlfriends, sharing in their success and excitement, and learning in a supportive environment.

#3 Setting goals, taking risks, and overcoming fears keeps life interesting and adventurous.

#2 It feels REALLY, REALLY amazing to stand up on a wave.

#1 And the number one reason is borrowed from the book Surf Sister—“Surfing serves as a metaphor for life. It’s ultimate lesson: can you stand calm, amidst the chaos, and take a bite out of joy.” What mom doesn’t need that?


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One Secret to Add Speed and Power to your Surfing


Every surfer wants more speed. It’s like a surfing currency; the more speed you have, the bigger and better maneuvers you can buy.

There are many different ways to gain speed on a surfboard, here we want to focus on a simple method that is under-used by the majority of surfers, the art of compression and extension.

So how does it work….

Water has the second highest surface tension of all common liquids, which means that you can compress against it and use it as a platform to propel yourself like a spring as you extend away from it. Much like you can on a trampoline.

Compressing down (bending at the ankles/knees and partially the waist) as you enter your turn stores POTENTIAL ENERGY through your legs and lower body. Then, by extending out (straightening the whole body) as you go through the apex of your turn (often, but not always the geometric center of the turn) you change that stored potential energy into KINETIC ENERGY, again like a spring. This accelerates you out of the turn with more speed and power. The harder you extend out of the compression, the harder you are stepping on the gas pedal and the more propulsion you will gain.

During the Quiksilver Pro Snapper Rocks 2011, the contest directors put GPS devices into the rashguards of some of the competing surfers. As well as measuring things like distance traveled while paddling and surfing, they also recorded the surfers speeds.

In the clip below, we can see Kelly Slater start his bottom turn crouched down low at 22kph, before extending his body as he goes up the wave face and through the apex of his turn to a maximum speed of 32kph. Remember, he is moving UP the wave face on the brake (tail) of his board, but is still accelerating due to this efficient use of his body mechanics.

View example of Kelly Slater’s extension/compression video here.

It is very important that you are in a stance on your surfboard that allows you to do this effectively, if your knees are apart when you go into your compression you will find yourself leaning over with your upper-body and pushing your butt out and not gaining anything. However, if your knees are in the correct position with your back-knee dropping in towards your front, you will compress with your lower-body, leaving your core and shoulders aligned over your board and find yourself gaining more speed whilst still being balanced.

Compression, extension, compression , extension, is the key to putting more power into your turns and getting more speed out.


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The Experience of Learning to Surf translated into Art

Learning to surf.

A person’s connection to the natural world through surfing can be a powerful catalyst for positive change and growth” – Kara Sparkman, Surf Coach and Artist at Peaks ‘n Swells Surf Camp, Costa Rica

For those of you who visited Peaks ‘n Swells this past spring, you will remember our amazing team member Kara and if you are coming to camp in the Fall, you are sure to enjoy your time with her.

Kara is not only an awesome long boarder but she is an incredibly talented artist and key member of the Peaks ‘n Swells Team. During camp, Kara works closely with our head surf coach – Martin and provides support in the water, attentively looking after surfers both in the white water and out at the point breaks of Cabuya.

Kara finds the environment at Peaks ‘n Swells Surf Camp very unique and takes the opportunity to use the down time in between surf sessions to get adults and kids alike to translate their experiences of learning to surf into art. During Kara’s art sessions, she encourages people to express themselves in a playful way. Being in the plentiful “rich coast” of the Costa Rican jungle with all it’s stunning flora and fauna and experiencing so much in the ocean surfing, it is easy to find inspiration to create amazing pieces of art.

Learning to surf in Costa Rica at surf camp.Putting yourself out there and showing your artistic abilities can be an intimidating process. Just like trying anything that is an expression of your inner self it is easy to let the ego get in the way. There are so many parallels with the process of learning to surf and creating art that Kara’s art sessions are an incredibly calming and reassuring way to process all that you are experiencing during your stay.

Kara says of her art sessions; “It is so amazing to see parents and kids work together to create pieces, and then gain the confidence to work separately on their own images. Groups of adults whom don’t usually draw or paint may experience access to an aspect of their creative mind that may not have been exercised in years.”

The pieces of art you create during your stay are great to take home as amazing reminders of your time at the camp or great gifts for family and friends. Kara also has some her own pieces available for you to take home as well.

Kara is passionate about the ocean and sharing this passion with others. She believes that a person’s connection to the natural world through surfing can be a powerful catalyst for positive change and growth. Kara LOVES surfing, especially on longboards and at a right hand point break, and she loves it when someone she is working with experiences this stoke too.

Peek in on Kara’s awesome outlook on learning to surf in a video here! 



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Surf Contest Jargon – Demystified

Surf Competition Jargon demystified by Peaks n Swells Surf Coach Martin Reynolds

Bali Oakley Pro comp happening now- learn all the surf jargon here.

With the ASP World Championship Tour in full swing right now in the tropical perfection of Bali, watching the world’s best surfers via the live webcasts is a great way to spend a few hours… However, getting your head around the jargon and technical lingo that the commentators use can be a real challenge sometimes!

 So here is a quick glossary of terms that often get thrown around the commentary booth…

Peaks n Swells Surf Coaches demystify surf competition jargon

ASP commentators in the booth.

” Riding the Foam Ball ” : When a surfer is so far inside the barrel, they are riding on the white water under the lip of the wave.

” Combination Situation ” : A surfer needs to replace both of his wave scores with a combination of 2 higher ones to overtake their opponent.

” It’s Pumping!! ” : The waves are consistent and of high quality

” Ah, he came unstuck on that one!! “ : The surfer has just wiped out and not completed their manoeuvre.

” She ‘pig-dogged’ that barrel..” : Riding the barrel with your back to the wave, grabbing your outside rail with your back hand to pull your board into the wave face / barrel.

” Priority “ : Surfers take it in turns to have the choice of any wave that they choose, without being challenged by their opponents.

” ‘Surfer 1’ took that wave under ‘Surfer 2’s’ Priority “ : When Surfer 1 has priority, but Surfer 2 sneaks a good high scoring wave anyway.

” Look at him hanging out in the ‘green room’!! ” : When a surfer spends a long time inside the barrel.

” Chuckin’ Buckets!! “ : A large amount of spray is generated by a surfers turn.

” He went over the falls! “ : When a surfer falls from the top of the wave, with the breaking lip, into the flat water in front.

” the ASP “ : The Association of Surfing Professionals. The governing body for professional surfing.

” the ‘CT “ : An acronym for the World Championship Tour. The best 32 surfers competing in 10 events around the world to crown a World Champion.

” the ‘QS “ : An acronym for the World Qualifying Series. The lower tier tour made up of hundreds of surfers and multiple events around the globe, the top surfers from the end of the year get a place on the WCT for the following year.

Are there any terms that you’ve heard that baffle you? Post them in the comments section below and we can translate them for you!!

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