Creating A Sustainable Surf School

Bodhi Surf was founded to provide for its owners and employees, and more importantly, to contribute to the community within which it operates. We are committed to being an environmentally and socially responsible surf and yoga school in many ways, including these six:

The Importance Of Our Area

Bodhi Surf is located in Bahia Ballena, in the Osa canton, in the area known as Costa Ballena, or “whale coast”. It was Miriam Beard who said,

travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living

and we believe this to be true. Our region is truly spectacular and we love sharing it with those who visit us, and if it impacts them even a fraction of how much it has impacted us, in our eyes it’s a success. Here are some highlights of the region:

  • We are located at the edge of  Marino Ballena National Park, which was designed specifically to protect migrating humpback whales and other marine wildlife
  • Some of the country’s best preserved coral reefs are a mere 75-minute boat ride away, at Caño Island Biological Reserve
  • Our area forms part of one of the planet’s most biologically intense ecosystems, one that is said to hold 2.5% of the biological diversity this side of planet earth
  • Our coastal mountain chain forms the Path of the Tapir, which helps link the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor
  • Nearby are the indigenous reserves of the Terraba and Boruca people, and artifacts of their ancestors “the magical stone spheres” can be found close to the Diquis delta at the archeological site near Sierpe
  • The Terraba-Sierpe mangroves and wetlands, which is a protected and internationally recognized RAMSAR site, is a 40-minute drive south of Uvita
  • Near the town of Golfito is a tropical fjord (1 of only 4 in the world) called the Golfo Dulce, where pods of dolphins sometimes reach the hundreds

We honor, appreciate, and love being able to share the wonder and beauty of our natural environment, and we recognize the importance of preserving this present for future generations.

Minimizing Our Environmental Impact

As a company, we make a concerted effort to reduce the impact we have on our natural environment by taking actions that include, but are not limited to:

  • Using paper in the office only when there is no alternative
  • Purchasing responsibly-made and eco-friendly products as much as possible
  • Separating garbage at the office, including compost and recycling
  • Bringing reusable containers and dishes to our surf lessons for water and snacks
  • Having water-wise consumption habits for washing cars and rinsing boards, rash guards, and yoga mats

We recognize that we live in a beautiful area that has given us the opportunity to create a business that benefits us tremendously in all aspects of life, and we are serious about doing our part to help preserve it so that everyone can have the opportunity to enjoy it and benefit from it as well.

Build Social & Environmental Awareness

We have the great fortune of being located mere steps away from Marino Ballena National Park, and all of our surf lessons take place within the park boundaries. We like to share our knowledge about the park with our guests: its purpose, its importance, and interesting facts about it, and we hope that this will highlight the significance of the conservation movement in Costa Rica.

To be a surfer you must be in tune with nature, and especially with the ocean. This motivates us to do our part and protect our natural resources and to share this mentality with those we teach. In all of our surf lessons and surfing clinics, we try to encourage respect for the ocean and the concept of working with nature instead of trying to dominate it, which we believe is at the core of surfing.

Yoga is another vehicle through which we try to help [re]foster a connection to nature. Yoga encourages both inner and outer awareness: that is, what outcomes our actions produce both in our bodies and in the world we live in. Through our yoga philosophy we aim to inspire others to act responsibly towards ourselves, others, and our environment.

Student volunteering

Provide Tangible Benefits For Conservation

We hold all of our surf lessons within Marino Ballena National Park for two reasons: one, it’s the best place to learn how to surf in the area, and two, we believe it is an outdoor classroom.  The park is spectacular and we help support its sustainable growth by bringing visitors to surf and enjoy its beautiful beaches and waves. Outside of the direct purchases of park entrances, we devote time and energy in beach clean-ups and educ

ational workshops for both guests and community members.

We also support and frequently participate in projects with a variety of groups that work locally to encourage conservation and sustainable use of marine and coastal resources and education programs such as the Marino Ballena Boat Tour Association, MarViva and KETO Foundations, and the GEOPORTER program.

Additionally, we facilitate service work when our guests are interested, connecting them to ongoing conservation projects in the community.  Engaging guests in local community based projects is the best way to share information about these issues as well as give them hands-on experience.

Provide Financial Benefits & Empowerment For Our Community

Bodhi Surf School has several local people who work with us doing surf lessons, photography, and service projects, and as we expand we will be looking to work with more. We also partner with many businesses in the area that not only provide outstanding service, but also are locally-owned or have a locals that comprise the majority of their staff.  By teaming with GEOPORTER, we will begin to use geospatial tools to visually map both our company’s and guests’ community economic impact.

Our service projects also often focus on social welfare within the community, such as getting people involved in collecting and separating trash before it gets to the beaches, volunteering our time to teach small business skills, and helping educate our youth on the importance of their natural resources. We also use our regional, national, and international network to link the community and provide them with different tools that help create the community they want now and in the future.

School bio-garden

Respect & Educate About Local Culture

Our background in the community reflects the time that Travis spent in Bahia Ballena as a Peace Corps volunteer, and as a result, our business approach is one of respect for the local culture. We want to do everything we can to ensure that our business does not take away from the community but rather contribute to it in a welcome and positive way. All four founders of Bodhi Surf speak Spanish fluently, and even the two non-Latin Americans have spent significant time living in and/or studying Latin America.

With that said, we also firmly believe that cross-cultural exchange is one of the greatest instruments for education and growth, so we do our best to promote that between visitors and locals. Having over 40 years of combined experience living in Costa Rica (including 10+ years in Bahia Ballena), we have many connections within the community and act as a bridge between the community and our visitors, linking them to various projects and goings-on here in Bahia Ballena.

We have several activities that we like to promote to our guests, activities that acquaint visitors with the community and the area, such as the Community Walking Tour, the Scavenger Hunt, and the community service projects that we participate in.

Bodhi Surf
700 meters southeast of Restaurant La Fogata Bahia BallenaOsa60504 Costa Rica 
 • +506-2743-8453