We are Bodhi Surf Sociedad Anonima (or, Bodhi Surf Limited Liability Corporation in English) , a surf and yoga camp located in Bahia Ballena, Osa, Costa Rica. This small town is still relatively untouched by the development that has taken place in other regions of Costa Rica. Here, you can experience the “Pura Vida” way of life amidst the breathtaking scenery, where the jungle, the ocean, and the mountains meet.
The word “bodhi” is Sanskrit for “awareness”, and that is exactly what we at Bodhi Surf hope to illuminate for our students: the importance of a mind-body-earth awareness. Through surfing and yoga, we aim to bring you closer to nature; and by sharing our knowledge and observations of the area, we hope to instill an appreciation for this small town that Bodhi Surf calls home.
We are a surf and yoga school and a travel business, but we tend to think of ourselves as much more than just that. We are four individuals who want to offer people the most holistic and unique travel experience that we possibly can: one that promotes responsible tourism, one that enlightens you on both the issues and virtues facing the region, and one that encourages you see the world in a new way.
Bodhi Surf: A Certified B Corporation
Bodhi Surf became a Certified B Corporation in November 2016 (read the blog post). B Corps are a type of company that utilizes the potential of business to figure out solutions to social and environmental problems we face as a community, both local and global. For a business to become a Certified B Corp, it is akin to a coffee trader being Fair Trade Certified.
Since its inception, we have worked to build Bodhi Surf into more than just a business that sustains its owners and employees. Our business has been guided by and is a reflection of our own principles, initiatives, and the examples set by those we admire. To have Bodhi Surf certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency is by no means a pinnacle of performance. Rather, it is a testament to the fact that the standard is changing, and it is up to individuals to use their business for positive social and environmental action.
There are currently 1,966 companies in 50 countries that are B Corp certified; a number of them which we’ve looked up to (e.g. Patagonia, KleanKanteen) and some of them we’ve collaborated with (e.g. Indosole, Terra Global) for many years. We are proud to join these businesses in harnessing the power of business to solve social and environmental issues, and to redefine what it means to be a successful business. In the end, regardless of what industry you are in, we are all connected to one another on this planet, and thus we must all have a vested interest in each other’s well-being and the health of our natural environment.
View our public B Corp profile to learn more about our certification and to see our score.
Why We Do It (And Love It)
The South Pacific coast of Costa Rica has some of the country’s most bio-diverse and important terrestrial and marine conservation areas. This not only provides a great attraction for visitors to the area, but it also gives us a one-of-a-kind learning environment. While the activities that we provide are fun and satisfy the various expectations visitors may have, we consider the most important element to be a guest’s opportunity to learn. Whether this learning experience comes from riding waves, a yoga class, snorkeling off Caño Island, or watching whales breach, we believe the experiences will reconnect individuals with nature — something that we hold very closely to our collective heart.
An important underlying point in the development of Bodhi Surf School has been to create a company that does more than just teach the basics of surfing or cash-in on an opportunity. As a surf camp, Bodhi Surf utilizes and depends on the ocean as its grounds for surfing experiences, so it is only fit that we give back by working to build awareness for important issues such as marine conservation. As hosts, our goal is for our guests to experience Costa Rica, be exposed to the sport of surfing, and leave with a profound sense and understanding that it is important for places like Bahia Ballena to be developed in a responsible way.
How We Came Together
The four “founders” of Bodhi Surf School were all born in different countries, and many wonder, how is it that we all came together to form our business? It was Gibran Garcia and Travis Bays who first met in 2002 during a study abroad program in Madrid, Spain. Although it was nearly the end of college for both, they began a friendship based on mutual values and interests: surfing, entrepreneurship, ecotourism, community development, and social justice.
Next, Gibran and Adrianne Chandra-Huff met in San Blas, Nayarit — Gibran’s hometown, and they realized that Adrianne had actually met Gibran’s family 7 years prior. Needless to say, they were [happily] married within 16 months of that. Travis and Pilar met in 2007 as they were both living and working in San Jose, Costa Rica, and they were also [happily] married in 2009. They had their first child (and fifth permanent member of the Bodhi Surf team), Maya Paz, in 2011. It’s safe to say that all five have a shared conviction about what they want to see happen in the world, and as a smaller-scale reflection, how they want to run their business.
These four individuals also have had very distinct life experiences, and thus each is able to offer their respective approach in the development and implementation of Bodhi Surf School. Accordingly, Bodhi Surf members are stoked to be running a truly international business, and are open to the suggestions/opinions/experiences/stories from their visitors (who, excitingly, come to Bahia Ballena). As globalization makes the world smaller and brings us closer together, it’s likely that teams such as Bodhi Surf — with members that have very real and extensive “international” experience — will be proliferating around the planet.