After being a strong swimmer and always involved in sports while growing up, surfing is the only one thing that I have tried that felt just perfect not only to my muscles but to my mind. I moved to Playa Hermosa, Jaco about 10 year ago and immediately started learning how to surf. I went for one year non-stop to the white fence in Jaco and surfed for two hours a day. No matter how the conditions were. With sun, rain, glassy conditions, windy conditions, good, bad, I was always there.
After moving to a very special place in Playa Hermosa “Reiki Camp”, Carola the owner started introducing Yoga in my life. I completely did not what to think at the beginning. It created a combination of feelings and incredible sensations in my body where I told myself, “Wow this is from another world.”
Carola, Macarena and Andrea, three Chileans – mom & daughters, really marked my life. I wasn’t only learning yoga but learning about aromatherapy, eating whole grain foods and veggies as my main meals. Coming from a family where my Dad is one of the biggest cattle man in Costa Rica, you could imagine that my eating habits were not always super vegetarian since we always had barbeques at home every weekend. Mama was always worried about cooking healthy for the family. Salads and veggies were a part of our meal in the traditional Costa Rican casado dishes, but we were definitely not used to eat brown rice, for example. Those little details started changing me and this was all a new but delicious learning experience.
Costa Rica Surfing Chicas – The All Women’s Surf Camp
I had no clue why but good energy was in the air and Reiki Camp ended up being rented by seven women. All strong, beautiful and passionate for different things. That is in a way how I started Del Mar Surf Camp Women’s Program. I had the need to share all the wonderful things that were happening in my life. Surfing, Yoga and Hiking were my favorite things, so I incorporated a package that would include all this activities.
Also the fact that I was providing a job to my beautiful friends was great. Aidi and I would run the surf camp, Dessi would make them bikinis, Valeria would give the massages and Shelley would help me cook wonderful vegetarian meals.
Many people asked me “How come it is only for girls?” And I would just say, “Why not?” It was just the right time for it. Little by little more girls starting joining the camp. Living the experience and heading home with giant smiles. That gave me all the happiness and energy to keep going. Three years went by sharing my life with incredible women.
My Personal Life – Charlie, Sofia & Alana
My personal life started changing as well and I met a wonderful man. Not only an inspiration for my surfing but a sweet and loving person to share my life with. We decided that we wanted to have kids and we did. In 2005 Sofia del Mar was born. WOW what a trip. This is the hardest but most amazing job that I have ever done in my life. No more surfing, yoga and hiking everyday. And then I started having a few great friends helping me with the camp as hosts. That way I could dedicate more time to my baby and concentrate on different things.
Will never forget you guys, your inspiration and help throughout the years with the camp: Aidi, Dessi, Valeria, Shelly, Michi, Rebecca, Kristin, Maggie, Lacy, Kim, Giannina, Zephyr , Amanda, Shilka. Rose and Alex at Vida Asana for teaching us great yoga and sharing amazing energy with our clients.
Two years later Alana came in my life. My second little baby. Things were now even more intense but the vision I had of introducing my two little ones (girls) to a great and passionate lifestyle was all I needed to keep going.
Growing Del Mar Surf Camp
I made the decision to hire guys as surf instructors as my friends needed to go on with their lives as well. Ismael came to my life to show me how incredible and how much passion he had for teaching. No doubt one of the best surf instructors in Costa Rica.
The team kept growing and having a solid team, allowed me to keep working on other personal dreams and dedicate more time to my family with the tranquility that the campers were always in great hands.
On TV in 2009 – Much Music Canada
Towards the end of 2009, I couldn’t believe the exposure Del Mar Surf Camp was getting. In November 2009, we had a camera crew and selected cast from MuchMusic Canada do a TV segment about Surfing in Costa Rica, with non other than Del Mar Surf Camp! The cast included Abercrombie & Fitch model Nick Bateman & Get Out Canada’s host, Lana Tailor – all going out and catching waves for the first time in their lives with our team!
Growing Again, Del Mar Surf Camp – Nosara Beach
May 2010 and sent by the great UNIVERSE, Angie Miranda and old friend from my neighborhood in San Jose and I reconnected. She was currently living in Nosara Beach, Guanacaste. A place that is magical and has always had my attention to start a second home or location for the surf camp. We talked, got together and decided to partner up. What an amazing fusion of people and energy. Since the first second, I knew that Del Mar Surf Camp, Nosara would be a great camp and a total success. Angie is not only beautiful, but has also been involved with tourism for a long time. Very professional and passionate, she will help me create and keep the same concept of the surf camp in a different beach in Costa Rica. Thanks for coming into my life.
Kelly Slater comes to Costa Rica
After the height of 2009, we welcomed 2010 with long time friend and pro surfer, Kelly Slater. My husband Charlie has several very good surfer friends. He was a professional surfer in the 80′s traveling around the world and competing 3 years in the USA tour and 5 years in the world tour. I have had the honor to meet some of the best surfers of the East Coast, all pretty cool and sweet guys. The swell is hitting and I can just feel the energy around. Kelly Slater is in Costa Rica.
After a few days of having him hanging out with us, I learned how humble and extremely sweet this guy is. He impressed me with the connection that he has with the kids, nature and animals. Sofia and Alana, my two girls were so happy to have him around. Kelly really had a nice connection with them, rolled all over the floor to play and chase them all over the house. A huge massive inspiration for the young ones to follow. Super healthy and happy person and last but not least the #1 surfer in the world. Coming for a visit to Playa Hermosa, Jaco – we were his hosts for the week and he immediately fell in love with our surf. We were privileged to be his surf hosts in Costa Rica.
Del Mar Surf Camp Rebrands & Goes Co-Ed
After running Del Mar Surf Camp for almost 8 years, and after many different requests of people asking “Can I bring my husband, boyfriend, family”, Angie and I have decided to open our market and give more people the opportunity to a real Costa Rican surfing experience. Rebranding was the word that our new marketing girl told us… definitely a new challenge but we were ready for it.
Del Mar Surfing Academy
2010 was hard but also a great year. Our new baby was coming to life in Playa Hermosa, Santa Teresa. Bettina another extraordinary woman and I have partnered up with to start Del Mar Surfing Academy. A company catering to kids & teenagers with special activities for youth from 8 to
18 years old to enjoy a vacation full of exercises and learning experiences. I felt that this is so important, to introduce this type of activities at this age, an age that could be very confusing and full of curiosity to learn more. Parents will be able to feel great to know that their kids will be in the best hands as possible. With Bettina and I as both mothers, will help a lot to plan all this and I am very excited to start this new experience.
With all the changes in the universe, things lined up again for us to start our official third location in Santa Teresa. So lucky and privileged to have a family property available to run the camps. A place that will take your breath away and you will feel like at home! We are looking forward to share this amazing place with you.
So that’s it… So Far.
A bit of my story. I am working as hard as I can to make all these incredible ideas happen. From the bottom of my heart, I want to just say that we are here to share experiences with you and show you the best of our country. A place full of magic beaches and fun waves.
Just give it a try and I guarantee that we will see you again! Pura Vida!
Maria del Mar
Get more info about the Del Mar story here