We sat down with our head surf instructor, Marlon, to hear his tales of surfing, vision for the future and his favourite part of being an instructor at Olo Alaia. Read on to see just how stoked he is to be the head instructor this season.
When did your love of surfing kick in?
Marlon: Five years ago I started surfing Guiones every spare minute I got and was hooked. In between school and working 3 jobs, I’d be out there, now I’m taking something I love and teaching others – it’s the perfect gig.
At 12 I got to ride a wave for the first time. A man from San Jose gave me and my friends a board we’d walk down to the beach together, this 6’3 fisher bros swallowtail board, and surf day in and day out. Every other week there’d be one less friend, so I ended up calling the board my own.
Any wipeout tails?
I stopped surfing when I was 13. It was rainy season, a big swell day, and of course I went out. There wasn’t anyone to guide me when I was growing up, I was just a kid who wanted to surf big waves. I ended up breaking my board and almost drowned, swimming to shore I was just happy to be alive. After that, I didn’t surf for 3 years, but soon enough was back on a board loving every minute of it.
When did you become a surf instructor?
At 16 I became a certified ISA surf instructor, taught at Surfari Surf School for 4 years and last year started working as a coach at Olo Alaia. The opportunity to be the head surf coach at Olo Alaia came up this season and I was stoked for this new experience as it was something exciting for me.
What’s your favourite part of being a surf instructor?
Surfing humbles you. When I’m out there teaching I’m transmitting something I love to someone who is willing to take that knowledge and appreciate its lifestyle. Everytime I’m teaching, it helps with my surfing, as you always learn more when you’re trying to teach someone something new. Teaching calms and centres me, and the best part of it is you get to see how happy people are to be out in the water. As a teacher I’m doing what I love and sharing that with others, I’m giving them the chance to spread the stoke.
Any future plans?
Growing up as a cowboy and spending days on the farm, surfing, as you can tell, isn’t typically apart of the Costa Rican culture, I want to change that. I’d love to create a non-profit for troubled youth in Costa Rica who want to learn how to surf. It’d be an orphanage where kids would get homeschooled, learn to surf and be self-sufficient; a space for kids to be active, stay out of trouble and live a healthy lifestyle.
When I was a kid, I took to surfing instead of getting caught up with the wrong crowd and was happy I did. I want to help other kids in the same situations by creating a positive surf community for them.
As a surf coach at OA I want to set an example for kids in town, give them a different perspective to show them that surfing can actually help you, and you’ll have an awesome time out in the water.
What does the surfing lifestyle mean to you?
Being a surfer is what everyone should be proud of, it’s a culture of healthy living and respecting one another. What I really love about Olo Alaia is how it’s creating a surfing lifestyle community in Nosara, and spreading the stoke in everything they do. They showcase the true essence of surfing.
The idea of the surfing lifestyle to me, is that it affects everything you do in a good way. I’m not a morning person, but if there’s a morning swell, I’m out there right away. It gives you strength and confidence and catapultes your energy.
Top 3 tips for first time surfers:
- Be mellow-minded: Don’t get frustrated about not standing up right away. Surfing is a very complex sport that takes time to get the hang of and so by bringing a mellow-mind out in the surf, you’ll see just how cool that can be.
- Set Goals: When you first start surfing, set realistic goals for yourself to help you become a stronger surfer.
- Enjoy the surf: Just go out there and have fun, it’s a lifelong process to learn how to surf, and by just having fun, you’ll soon be hooked on its lifestyle.