Kate Hanley. Photo: Jorge Russell

Kate Hanley was initially inspired to learn how to surf by her sister, surfer and artist Colleen Hanley. Now she owns Pura Vida Board Gear and is an Educator at Support Jacó Youth: “I’ve been addicted ever since! I feel blessed to have connected with so many like-minded surfer girls and to share my passion for teaching here in Costa Rica. The beauty of the waves and nature are a constant source of rejuvenation.” Here Kate’s introduction to the Costa Rican surf girls.

Merary Jimenez. Photo: Jalil El Harrar

Merary Jimenez has lived in Playa Herradura for six years. She is a wife, mother and soul surfer who also competes. Her favourite manoeuvre is the cutback and she loves surfing the beach breaks of Playa Jacó and Playa Hermosa.

Kate how many women in the crew? 

Sometimes it starts off as two or three of us meeting at a break, and then other girls will come and join us. It’s not usually an organised thing – we are very spontaneous! 

What’s the best thing about surfing in a female only group?

We don’t mind sharing waves with each other as much as the guys do. 

Erika and Merary. Photo: Nadine Rosenburg
Erika Valverde. Photo:Jorge Russell
Erika Valverde. Photo: Jalil El Harrar

Erika Valverde is a surfer, business owner, surf fashion model and animal rights advocate. Originally from Playa Dominical, Erika has lived on the point in Playa Hermosa for the past four years. She and her boyfriend, Roger, own the restaurant Bowies Point, which is also the name of the break. 

Where do you surf mainly and what’s it like there? 

Mostly at Playa Jacó, which has lots of good beach breaks with long rights and lefts. We also surf at Playa Hermosa, which in general is more challenging, but fun and peaky. There are almost always good vibes at all of the breaks we surf.

Has the group got larger now women’s surfing is getting more press coverage? 

Definitely, although I’ve never associated the increase in girls surfing with its popularity in the press. I think surfing gives women a sense of accomplishment and empowerment in its unique way. Every day there are more girls taking surf lessons or wanting to meet up for a surf sesh. 

What do you love about surfing? 

What I love about surfing is the people you meet and new friends you make, from all over. Here in Costa Rica we have the opportunity to meet women surfers visiting from all over the world. Also surfing grounds me like nothing else, it’s humbling and being in the ocean makes me feel youthful, challenged, happy, connected and in my element. 

Sarah Roy.  Photo: Nadine Rosenburg

Sarah Roy is from Orlando, Florida, but spent most of her teen years in Costa Rica while her parents were doing mission work here. She lives in Playa Jacó and is a sales representative for Adventure Tours. “I like to surf with other girls because they inspire me to surf with my whole heart and never to give up.”

What would you say to anyone wanting to learn to surf? 

Go for it! Also, watch the waves and other surfers. You can learn so much just by observation. But most of all, just have fun!

Sharon Vargas.  Photo : Jalil El Harrar

Sharon Vargas is from Siquirres, a small town in Costa Rica. The business manager of Happy Almonds and a model, her favourite wave is Terrazas in Playa Hermosa: “It’s a big barrel and perfect right, and sometimes has a long wall to do manoeuvres!” Her boyfriend, Niko, shapes her surfboards.

To follow Kate go to:
Instagram @puravidaboardgear 

Sharon Vargas.  Photo : Jalil El Harrar
Merary Jimenez. Photo: Jalil El Harrar