Enjoy Green Season at Vista Guapa Surf Camp’s YOLO SUP Experience
Written by Administrator
Saturday, 31 August 2013 13:40
Scheduled for October 19th to 25th, the YOLO SUP Experience will make the most of the ample waves of Costa Rica’s Green Season while offering guests an authentic Jaco adventure
Photo credit: Mark Salvetti
Jaco, Costa Rica. (August 27, 2013) – Revel in the lush beauty and fantastic waves of Costa Rica’s Green Season during Vista Guapa Surf Camp’s YOLO SUP Experience set for October 19th to 25th in beautiful Jaco on the Pacific Coast. The YOLO SUP Experience offers an all-around SUP-based adventure where guests enjoy daily surf or flat-water paddling sessions, fitness training, sightseeing excursions, homemade cuisine and much more. Co-sponsored by YOLO Board, the camp offers an intimate experience of the Pura Vida lifestyle with participation limited to 12 guests and features local instructors who provide an authentic insider’s experience.
A typical day at the YOLO SUP Experience begins with a morning SUP surf session followed by a delicious home-cooked breakfast at camp, down time to relax by the pool or enjoy an outdoor yoga session overlooking the Pacific Ocean, lunch before an afternoon paddle or fun-filled excursion and then dinner in town at one of Jaco’s many beloved eateries. Vista Guapa co-owner Alvaro Solano, a seven-time national surfing champion and one-time masters champion, leads all surf and SUP training along with a small roster of experienced instructors and guides.
Photo credit: Mark Salvetti
“The Vista Guapa Surf Camp was one of the best experiences I have had in the past ten years,” said Eric E, a guest of the camp in July 2013 via a review on TripAdvisor.com. “The bungalows are situated on the hillside with beautiful views of the water and I spent countless hours in the hammock on my porch reading. Every morning Wendy made an amazing breakfast for me and the surfing was awesome. I was a first-time surfer and Alvaro was extremely patient with me. Also there is a nice pool to relax in after you surf. In the evenings one of the staff took us to a local restaurant with good food and drink. Alvaro even took me to a beautiful bay to paddleboard for another great time. I was definitely treated like extended family.”
The YOLO SUP Experience is appropriate for all skill and experience levels as instruction will be tailored to the individual and his or her personal fitness goals. Vista Guapa is located on a tranquil five acre tropical oasis with three air-conditioned guest bungalows, each featuring two rooms with private bathrooms and decks with hammocks and views of the Pacific, a main house for group gatherings, a swimming pool and two open air Yoga pavilions. YOLO SUP Experience campers will also receive a Custom Rash Guard, Vista Guapa shirt and other branded goodies.
“The YOLO SUP Experience is designed to allow guests to truly unplug and escape from the daily grind,” said Mark Salvetti, Vista Guapa camp leader and longtime waterman. “The Vista Guapa staff pays close attention to each visitor’s wishes and desires to create a truly customized vacation that will inspire you for days and even years to come. October is a special time to experience Costa Rica and the YOLO SUP Experience will be a life-changing adventure.”
Pricing for the YOLO SUP Experience is $1,700 per person for six nights of double occupancy with additional nights available on a pro-rated basis. Rates include daily stand-up paddleboarding or surfing, transportation to and from the San Jose International Airport, breakfast and dinner each day, an excursion to one of Costa Rica's national parks or similar cultural activity and beautiful air-conditioned ocean view accommodations. For reservations, email
or call 1-409-599-1828. Stay in touch with all camp happenings by following www.facebook.com/vistaguapa.
Photo credit: Mark Salvetti
About Vista Guapa Surf Camp
Founded in 2002, Vista Guapa Surf Camp is a complete surf-inspired resort vacation camp in beloved surf destination Jaco, Costa Rica co-owned and operated by Costa Rican surf champion Alvaro Solano. Along with SUP and Surf packages, Vista Guapa also offers Surf and Mountain Biking adventures during Costa Rica’s dry season and Yoga retreats. The resort’s tropical five acre hillside location is private and sheltered offering a peaceful retreat with sweeping, unobstructed ocean views yet only minutes from the action of Jaco. The facilities include three air-conditioned guest bungalows, each featuring two rooms with private bathrooms and decks with hammocks and views of the Pacific, a main house for group gatherings, a swimming pool and two open air Yoga pavilions. Vista Guapa’s unique, authentic Costa Rican surf experience has garnered recognition in many prominent publications including Standup Paddle Magazine, Outside Magazine, VOGUEand Men's Journal. For additional information, visit www.vistaguapa.com.
Last Updated on Saturday, 31 August 2013 13:52
Written by Ronnie Ayres
Monday, 15 July 2013 21:23
It seemed impossible that a vibrant, translucent green ribbon of cold water could exist in such a hot and arid landscape. But there it was — a river, deep and full of life, sculpting its way through towering desert canyon walls, cutting into the stone heart of a majestic land as it has done for the past five million years.
Paddling up the Colorado River, it was easy to imagine being a member of an ancient civilization heading to a favorite hunting or fishing spot, or a pioneer carrying pelts to a trading post. I also could see myself as one of the men using this waterway to commute to work on the construction of the Hoover Dam. However, there is no evidence that stand-up paddling was part of those cultures, and from the looks we received from kayakers and people on raft tours, it was apparent that SUP was still new to these parts.
Our mission in the Colorado’s Black Canyon was not as noble as my daydreams might suggest. Actually, we were there to have three days of nothing but fun. And in the very first mile on the river, the trials of everyday life began to wash away.
A couple of hours earlier I had been standing on the Las Vegas strip, waiting for the final members of our small group of friends to arrive from California and Texas. Only one of us was familiar with the Black Canyon — Andy Lukei, owner of Austin Paddle Sports. And although he had kayaked in this area, he, too, would be SUPing it for the first time.
The section of the river we spent the next three days exploring is the 12-mile stretch from the Willow Beach put-in to the restricted zone at the base of Hoover Dam. The mellow, controlled flow is host to kayak, canoe and rafting tours, and the highlights of the area are well-documented. I had not done any research on where we were going, and I was amazed by the apparent remoteness of a site only one hour’s drive from Vegas.
In the true spirit of our laid-back adventure, we boat-shuttled the bulk of our gear and supplies up to our campsite. Essential amenities like a grill, beer, guitars and horseshoes were waiting for us after a seven-mile upstream paddle. “Upstream” sounds daunting, but with just a little river knowledge and the ability to change gears through swifter water, everyone cruised right along. When we arrived at our camp below Ringbolt Rapids, it became clear why this site had been chosen: Right behind our tents was the entrance to a dramatic slot canyon and the Arizona Hot Springs.
A short hike into the winding canyon revealed a 20-foot ladder up a waterfall — a hot-spring waterfall! At the top is a series of clear-water pools that increase in temperature by a few degrees the higher you climb. We estimated the third one up at about 105 degrees, matching everyone’s comfort zone. Lounging and discussing the day, we gazed up in amazement at the high canyon walls, only a sliver of sky viewable. “So that’s why they call it a slot canyon,” I mumbled in all honesty.
Mentioning that this was my first hot spring experience, I was quickly informed that not many are as clear and odorless as the Arizona Hot Springs. I also learned that it is possible to hike three miles into the springs from the closest road, but that didn’t sound nearly as much fun as the route we had chosen.
We spent the next days pretty much like kids during recess — paddling our way upstream and drifting back down to camp, exploring, jumping off rocks and ducking into inviting caves. We discovered many other hot springs, and there were spots where you could simply stand on your board in the river and take a hot shower.
When Boy Scout Canyon beckoned to us, we pulled our boards out of the water and climbed up to have lunch to the serenade of spring water tumbling off the cliffs. Small herds of desert bighorn sheep peered at us curiously, either because they don’t often see people standing up on the river or because of the presence of Stella, an Australian border collie perched on the nose of a board.
The furthest upstream you can paddle legally is to the restricted zone below the Hoover Dam. I found it a bit ironic that the zone keeps the dam just out of sight for all but those who have paid for a raft or kayak tour. However, we hadn’t come to see it specifically, so it really wasn’t a big deal.
The aptly named Sauna Cave sits just below the dam. Drilled by workers looking for a diversion route for the river, the narrow, pitch-black tunnel extends about 30 yards underground. Creeping through the shin-deep, 105-degree water with only my hand on the wall as a guide was like being in a haunted house and sauna at the same time.
After paddling and exploring for three days, we had checked everything off our list. As our little adventure ended, we rafted our boards together and enjoyed a nice drift back down the river. It had been a good time, and upon reflection, an important one.
The Black Canyon may not have many secrets left, but it serves an important purpose. As accessible as it is, many people will be exposed to its raw beauty. And as breathtaking as it is, it stands a good chance of instilling visitors with the importance of preserving natural lands for future generations. Let us do what we can to make sure that happens.
Last Updated on Monday, 15 July 2013 22:03
Loften Island Beyond Norway
Thursday, 21 October 2010 00:44
Photos Courtesy Margareta Engstrom/ Starboard
It’s funny how one little picture, seen more than a decade ago, had me
crossing the Arctic Circle in search of a remote wave. Surely there are
warmer options. However, such was the case on a recent trip to Lofoten
Island in the far north of Norway, which is to say far, far north.
That one image of a reeling left-hander was etched into my memory. I
knew nothing more about the place, though, and flying into Oslo didn’t
hint at what was ahead. Nice city, Oslo, if you don’t mind absolutely lunatic
prices for alcohol. I probably should have carried a board with me, because
exploring its waterways and outlying islands would have been pleasant,
I’m sure. But I didn’t, hence the hefty bar tab.
Things became a bit clearer as we flew further north toward Bodo
Airport. From the air, the ground was looking very white. As we walked
out of the heated airport into a stinging cold rain, photographer Margareta
Engstrom and I exchanged mutually shell-shocked glances. What in the
blazes were we doing?
A four-hour cruise on the good ship Hurtigruten was next, and we
finally pulled into Lofoten’s Stamsund Harbor. Even dressed in gray, the
place was stunning: snow-capped mountains morphed into majestic cliffs
plunging into the sea every which way we looked. Meeting us at the port
was our host, Kjell Vaskell, Lofoten resident and surely the last Viking.
Within minutes we were in his comfortable home.
Back in Oslo I got a funny feeling when a mate, Fritjof Opsal, insisted
that the wave of my dreams really isn’t sailable, due to the sea cliffs. I hoped
he was wrong, of course, and when local surfer Ola was more sanguine and
offered to escort us to Unsted, Lofoten’s premier surf location, I was sure I
I wasn't. The surf was a ramshackle, unremarkable head-high,
definitely not my picture. The cliffs indeed prevailed, and the wind
would have a tough time getting in there. Advantage Fritchof.
I went out anyway to see what 7 mm rubber feels like and to
shake the travel with a bit of a paddle. Due to the Gulf Stream,
winter temperatures in Lofoten are very mild, given their Arctic
Circle location. It’s bloody cold, but it could be worse. And it is
when you fall on your face. Avoid it if you can.
With ten days to go, I wasn’t real worried about my wave. We
were on an island deemed one of the world’s “three most beautiful”
by National Geographic, with everything in sight a source of
amazement. It would happen.
OK, our ten days: Every morning we got up hoping to see the sun
shine, but mostly it didn’t. We never witnessed daybreak, per se,
even if we rose at 4 a.m., because it arrived hours earlier. In fact,
from May 25 to July 17, the sun never sets. (From December 9 to
January 4, it never rises.) Every time wind or surf was forecast,
we checked out Unsted for a surf or sail, but it just didn’t happen.
Further up the coast seemed promising. The wind was almost
there on occasion, but that might have been wishful thinking. There
were some waves, but few and small. Driving along, however, we’d
see a stretch of water so appealing that we just had to go for a
flat-water cruise. We’d head down fjords, the wind accelerating
through a mountain pass. Or for a paddle in a protected spot where
the water was sheet glass. Gliding silently over reflected images of
the exquisite landscape was profoundly moving. There were just
so, so many waterways and expanses of water with islands or rivers
perfect for sailing or paddling. Sunny or bleak, it didn’t matter.
Even bitterly cold, this is a place that makes you want to go out
and experience what you can, who you are.
One thing that was pretty cool was to be dropped off at
a certain point and go for a downwind coastal cruise. It’s
super pleasant, a part of windsurfing that I’d pretty much
Snow on the beach, me launching into ridiculously clear
tropical green water mirroring snow-capped mountains: it was a
whole different reality. In fact, it’s like everything is just a little
out of whack with the rest of the world up there. That includes
its inhabitants, self-admitted and ascribed to the climate by
Kjell. It takes a certain hardy type of character to survive out in
After varying shades of gray for about a week, the sun finally
broke free for our last few days. Now the place was even more
beautiful. It sound cheesy saying this over and over, I know, but
the fact is that many times I uttered “bullshit,” purely from what I
was looking at. Unfortunately, the swell never materialized. Like
many a Viking tale, the Unsted left remains somewhat of a myth.
To travel so far and get skunked for waves normally would
devastate me. However, I came away from this trip totally fulfilled
by doing things I’ve never really done, or haven’t done for a long
time, in locations that were a privilege to behold.
Thank you, Lofoten.
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 October 2010 01:48
Japan Land of The Rising Sun
Tuesday, 19 October 2010 00:42
Vienna, Austria: 1989
I am cruising around my school in Vienna’s 1st precinct, where the Vienna Opera House, St.
Stephen’s Cathedral and other historic buildings and monuments are located. It is Spring and the
city is full of people reveling in the end of a cold and gray winter.
A bus stops and a huge group of Japanese tourists flows onto the sidewalk. A Japanese guide in
a colorful hat leads the group toward the inner city. In fact, everyone in the group wears the same
colorful hat, and the lady herds them like sheep. I wonder why the tourists don’t just roam around
and explore the city on their own.
Tokyo, Japan: 2009
I’ve always wanted to go to Japan. Now that I’m here, I have no clue where
I really am, where I am going, or what any of the road signs actually mean.
I cannot order food without help. I understand the Japanese tourists in my
homeland 20 years ago.
Fortunately, I do not need a hat. As planned, my good friend Maro-san
comes to the rescue, and he proves to be a worthy guide for me and my
photographer wife Julia. I have no need to fret. My only job is to enjoy the
ride, and I do.
Our first stop is the seashore north of Tokyo. Famous for its role in Japanese
surfing culture, Chiba is an endless stretch of beaches peppered with tiny
houses and shops. During winter months, offshore winds create beautiful
beach breaks. In summertime, typhoon storms feed the surf. Regardless of
conditions, people in Chiba live to surf. I love that part of this culture. When
Japanese are into something, they are into it heart and soul.
We have some good sessions at various spots in the Chiba area. Surfers
at most beaches offer no negative vibe at all, possibly because we observe
universal protocol by keeping out of their way, paddling to places far from
the pack. The best part turns out to be meeting Narita-san from Hokkaido,
partially paralyzed but loving the ocean nonetheless. We take him out on a
standup board and he catches waves lying down. Awesome.
After a night in Tokyo, we head for legendary Mount Fuji and Lake
Motosuko, known for its mirror image of Fuji on clear mornings. Drab
weather gives us only a brief blink of the mountain, but we make the most of
the day, grabbing our boards and cruising on glass. The low clouds and thin
rain deliver a silence and tranquility that seem rare in today’s world.
We barbeque on the beach and spend the night in one of the little cabins
that dot the lakeshore. Awakening early, we savor one more standup session,
including some fishing off our boards. Then we’re off for Tokyo again,
taking the scenic route along the Shonan coast with its Kamakura and Shuzi
beaches. To a certain extent, the culture of this area resembles what we found
in Chiba. Surfing, windsurfing and standup paddling are all very popular,
and the beaches are easily accessible by car or train from southern Tokyo.
Regrettably, a brisk onshore wind denies our chances to ride the sizable
Ah, Japan. Land of contrasts. Into the heart of the city we go. Julia had
been looking forward to it the whole time — the lights, the action, the famous
high fashion districts of Shibuya and Harajuku. Unloading our gear at the
hotel, we head out with Tokyo-born and raised Maro-san, who glides easily
through the busy streets. We are less agile, and again I think of the guide
in her colorful hat. Leaving the main drag, we weave through side streets
framed with little restaurants and end up having dinner at a kushiyaki eatery
with absolutely exquisite beef served in a variety of Japanese styles. The
notorious fugu (blowfish) is also on the menu, but we take a pass. One wrong
cut while cleaning this delicacy releases poisons that can do some major harm.
I’m sure it was alright, but…
The bed in our hotel room on the 18th floor feels marvelous after our trip
and the excitement of downtown. I am sleeping soundly when Julia wakes
me up in the middle of the night, asking what’s going on. It takes me a minute
to figure it out. The whole building is shaking. I hear creaking sounds and open the curtains and can see that we are actually swaying. We open our door, expecting to find everybody running out of their rooms, but the hallway is empty. The hotel rumbless and groans for a while longer, then the movement slows and everything returns to normal. I peer through the window again
to check for signs of alarm, people running around or anything out of the ordinary, but still there is nothing. Everyone seems to be used to this — a 6.6 magnitude earthquake, as we learn the next morning.
Julia finally achieves nirvana in the fashion district, where all the top international labels vie for our time and yen. What really draws our attention are the styles in the Harajuku district, where young people dress confidently in outfits beyond the imagination of a shorts- and t-shirt-wearing Maui resident.
On our way to the airport I experience another flashback thinking about us taking so, so many pictures of everything we saw, to keep our impressions permanent and to be able to share them… exactly like the Japanese tourists in Vienna.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 October 2010 01:25
Friday, 15 October 2010 02:38
The Black Canyon, just below the Hoover Dam and “Lake” Mead”, is a beautiful escape from the hustle and bustle of life. Not far from the historic town of Boulder City, Neveda, which is about 33 miles from Las Vegas, we started at Willow Beach and made our way upstream. With Dan Gavere behind the camera, the two of us (and my dog, Nui) paddled and explored the quiet meandering section of the Colorado River, a nice break during some of the long drives between stops of my SUP Fitness Boot Camps this summer. In the canyon you’ll find beautiful scenery, big horn sheep, hot springs, and side canyons which one could easily take several days to explore. The air temperature is brutally hot in the summers, but it’s nothing a quick dip in the cold water can’t fix!
NRG Lifestyle Fitness Training Boot Camps
By Dan Guvere
Nikki Gregg, owner of NRG Lifestyle Fitness Training, based on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii has developed the world’s first traveling SUP fitness boot camps to promote her meaning in life: helping people look and feel better while having fun. “There’s nothing worse than a boring workout”, she explains. “It’s really that simple. Committing to a healthy lifestyle with proper eating habits and exercise doesn’t need to be complicated and dreadful. Nobody should feel miserable while they are getting into shape and
losing weight.” From the shores of Hawaii to the lakes in Utah, Nikki has taken her program on the road to help people all over the country and soon around the globe. Not only are people seeing the physical benefits of her boot camps, but for many the combination of working out in the outdoors, having fun, and learning a new sport is a life-changing experience.
Nikki started stand up paddling nearly 2 years ago and quickly realized for herself the benefits of the sport which had a profound effect on her own body and mind. From surfing the waves in the ocean, to paddling through beautiful canyons, to even running whitewater while standing up on her paddle board, “Stand-up paddling has done far more at improving my physique than any gym work I’ve done. Plus, it happens to be fun.” She explains, “Naturally I began incorporating SUP into my workout programs with success.” Nikki began introducing her clients to stand-up paddling as a way to keep her outdoor fitness training interesting and fun. Her clients loved it and instantly saw the results. These results were not just physical, they also felt a transformation of the mind as well . Spending quality time exercising outdoors and on the water has been a great way for her clients to way to wash away the everyday stresses that life can bring and ultimately made her clients feel incredible.
Nikki’s professional stand up paddle technique instruction combined with years of experience as a fitness trainer and SUP knowledge gives her program a unique edge to help and expose people around the country to the life changing opportunities that her programs offer.
Last Updated on Friday, 15 October 2010 09:26
Page 1 of 3
Copyright © 2013 Standup Paddle Magazine | Standup Paddle News, Photos, Video, Gear, Tips, and More.
All Rights Reserved.