Taking a Tour of Caribbean-based Oshii’s Surf School

Author: Meghan Jessiman
06.01 / Travel

What do you get when you cross a picturesque tropical locale, a solid crew of surf and adventure seekers and a tour company that hooks travellers up with the inside intel on all the must sees and dos? The Oshii’s experience.

Now five trips deep, the Canadian owned Caribbean-based Oshii’s surf school has evolved into a thoughtfully curated, high-end take on a local surf bum (in the best way possible)’s way of life. Whether camp is in session in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, Playa Venoa or Bocas Del Toro, Panama or the soon to launch Sri Lanka, participants can expect to catch some killer waves, get their sweat and stretch on and tap into local gems that you won’t find in any guidebook. Hard working gals (and guys, for that matter. Oshii’s trips are not exclusively female) looking for a little fun in the sun with a fitness and adventure focus, will do well to treat themselves to an Oshii’s retreat. It's no lounging-by-the-pool cocktail fest, but a once in a lifetime chance to learn to surf from a national champ, make friends with other fun, fearless folks and get off the beaten track in some of Central America’s hottest surf destinations.

The Digs
No surf shacks on the itinerary here, it’s high-design boutique abodes for Oshii’s campers. On the nights in San Jose (going to and from the Caribbean) you sleep easy surrounded by hundreds of pieces of thought-provoking fine art in the Studio Hotel. On the coast, the unrivaled beauty and serenity of Le Cameleon is where you’ll call home in Puerto Viejo. As the name indicates, change is a constant in this jungle escape and you’ll be thrilled to return to a room accented in a different tropical hue every day after your surf sesh.

The Crew
If we are keeping it entirely real, more than half of what makes Oshii’s a standout experience is the like-minded folks you share it with—your fellow travellers and the staff, alike. Founder, Amy Kapitza, is a Canadian girl who spent a decade living in Puerto Viejo and has the local connections and insights to prove it. She’s staffed her camp with five-time Costa Rican national surf champion, Gilbert Brown, and his equally skilled colleague, Rigo Hawkins. These two have even the most novice of surfers catching head-height waves by the end of the week and they’ll have you laughing the entire way through.

Add in Panamanian hippie chick, Amira Richa Holmes (an architect by trade and an organic farming surf goddess at heart) to help wrangle the clientele and facilitate any extracurricular fun your surf gang may be seeking, and you have the coolest group of “camp counsellors” an aspiring mermaid could hope for.

The Grub
With multi-hour surf sets and a yoga and/or fitness class each day, the hunger is real on an Oshii’s trip. Luckily, Puerto Viejo is chock-a-block with exceptionally good food influenced by the flavours of the Caribbean. From the fresh fish buffet and live calypso performance at Restaurant Maxi’s, to the ridiculously addictive curries at Stashu’s ConFusion, and the elevated beachside vibe of Koki Beach, each night the gang hits a different local establishment for a uniquely delicious dining experience and often a taste of Puerto Viejo’s culture in the form of live music or visits to a local art gallery.

Beyond the Boards
Though wave catching and chaturangas are the top priorities on the Oshii’s experience, these tours offer a lot more than just workouts and beach time. From a jungle hike to a secluded waterfall, a visit to a historical cocoa farm, getting up close and personal with the local wildlife the Jaguare Animal Refuge or busting out your best reggaeton dance moves at LazyMon, keep your camera handy as it’s these unexpected outings that result in the most memorable moments.

The Oshii’s gang will be hanging ten in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica again July 2nd to 9th, 2016. For complete details or to get in on the adventure visit oshiissurf.com.

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