Surfers are natural “armchair meteorologists”. Wave size and form, wind direction and velocity, high and low-pressure systems, and so on become routine subjects in an avid surfer’s vocabulary.
“Back in the day” one would have to drive to the beach and look at the ocean to see if there was any surf. But in this day and age with modern computer swell forecasting and live surf cams, one can “check the waves” with the touch of a mouse.
Nosara has two wave seasons generally categorized as summer and winter. In the Northern Hemisphere winter months (Dec-April) waves come from a west/northwest direction and tend to be smaller and well groomed from consistent offshore winds created by descending cold fronts. This is our dry season and even though we are located north of the equator, much of Central America refers to this period as “Summer”. In the Southern Hemisphere winter (May-November), strong storms near the South Pole and New Zealand send much larger and more consistent ‘South Swells’ to our coastline. This season is our rainy season and is referred here as “Winter”. Rainy season also brings frequent unpredictable rainy periods with variable wind directions which can often create lumpy, choppy surf conditions. Keep in mind that weather being what it is these days, quirky out-of-season swells and flat spells can occur at any time!
Ok – with the science more or less understood – there is one factor that we cannot ignore: “Local Knowledge”. Viewed from the air, the coastline of the Guanacaste Peninsula is a spectacular array of scalloped headlands and coves all facing in a variety of different directions. Safari Surf Schools team of instructors possess many years of experience and an intimate understanding of the surrounding coastline. With a massive double-overhead swell banging head-on into Playa Guiones this week, we loaded up the van and went around the corner south finding more user-friendly conditions!