written by Chase Kosterlitz
Chase Kosterlitz describes his process to improve his skills on SUP Surfing and how he transfers this knowledge to clients during coaching sessions in Costa Rica. Read his report below.
For the last month I’ve been living the ‘Pura Vida’ life, surfing everyday, coaching SUP surfers and living in board shorts and sandals. If you told me this would be my life a year ago, I’d be quite sceptical. It was a rather serendipitous moment this past June that led my family and I to move to Costa Rica for half of the year. All thanks to a JP sales meeting and some good timing.
Erik and his family needed to get out of the country to keep their travel insurance current. After an invite to the JP North America’s dealer meeting in the Bahamas, Erik now had a fun and practical trip to get out of town. Erik is the owner of Blue Zone SUP in Costa Rica, producer of the Paddle Woo Podcast, the Progression Project and all-around huge figure in the world of SUP surfing and coaching.
Our paths would cross on the first day of the dealer meeting. I found myself having dinner with him and his family on the first night of the action packed week. I explained how my family was quite nomadic and that we were thinking to spend the winter somewhere like Costa Rica or perhaps Hawaii this year.
As I said this I could see Erik’s mind working as his eyes lit up with an idea. “I’m just thinking out loud here and this is kind of a half-baked idea. What if you moved to Costa Rica for the winter and ran our Blue Zone SUP surfing camps?” Erik asked. “Yes!”, I exclaimed while trying not to appear over eager for this amazing opportunity.
Erik and his family recently moved back to the United States to deal with a family health issue. He was planning to put the Blue Zone SUP Surf Camps on an indefinite hiatus. Now he had a willing and experienced SUP surfer and coach ready to step into his recently vacant position. It was a win-win situation for us both.
Before even speaking with my wife, I knew she’d be excited for this great adventure. We were ready for a new and exciting chapter in our vagabonding lives. We continued our travels through the western United States where I was racing and coaching downwind camps in Hood River, Oregon. In the beginning of November we sold or donated everything we owned and made our way to Costa Rica. Getting rid of all of our worthless possessions was another added benefit of the move. Talk about taking a load off!
The idea is that we will spend 6 months out of the year working Blue Zone SUP Surf Camps here in Nosara, Costa Rica, and the rest of the year traveling throughout the United States for SUP races. I enjoy the challenge and competition of SUP racing, but there is no better feeling than painting the canvas of a breaking wave with a SUP surf board. The Nosara area has dozens of world class waves that can often be surfed with no one else out. We’ve been here a little over a month and I’ve surfed waves that were at least waist high every single day.
Admittedly, I’ve never actually coached someone in SUP surfing before taking the job with Blue Zone. I have coached SUP technique and racing for nearly 6 years and knew the transition to SUP surf coaching would be a natural one. What I didn’t know is how gratifying it would be to help clients improve their SUP surfing skills.
Sure, teaching someone to draft or use proper paddling technique is fun. However, watching the absolute stoke on someone who learns to bottom turn or pump down there line is incomparable. The dynamic aspect of surfing will always be more exciting than flat water paddling. It’s what draws so many people to the waves.
Each SUP surf session is filmed so that we can analyze each ride post-session. There is no better way to learn anything than through video analysis. I’ve personally improved my surfing dramatically in the last month simply through seeing myself surf on video for the first time.
One of the many draws to Stand Up Paddling is the new challenge it presents to participants. Once we master standing up we often want to learn to go faster, paddle correctly or try downwinding or surfing. This progressive learning is what can keep a paddler hungry for that next session on the water. I know it’s what keeps me excited and eager for time on the water. I love this journey and love sharing it with others. Join me in Costa Rica for a SUP surf camp or just shout at me if our paths ever cross. Chances are that I’ll have a huge smile on my face while I drop into yet another perfect wave or downwind glide.