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Product Testing – Summer Surf in Costa Rica

Product Testing – Summer Surf in Costa Rica

Aug 13, 2008 August 13, 2008

We test our gear on a variety of levels. Our athletes and ambassadors are responsible for putting the latest designs and fabrics through the paces before we’ll add a new product to our lineup. But just because something reaches our shelves doesn’t mean testing is over. Once a new item shows up in our catalogs, our Customer Service staff gets busy ground-truthing the latest offerings. They know the questions our customers will be asking, and turn that attention to our gear.


Planeview_2Product Report  –  Short-sleeved rash guard (white), Long-sleeved Rash Guard (white), Minimalist II Board Short, Bathing Suits – Obi Paries Bottoms, Obi Makeba Top, Obi Bayonne Bottoms
Activity – Surfing in Costa Rica
Tested by – Tammy Funk, Patagonia Pro Sales Program
Stoke Factor – Full on

Ok, so, I have never surfed in my entire life being bornand raised in the mountains of Colorado. Some friends of ours started talkingabout a surf trip two years ago and we finally booked the tickets and flew awayfrom Reno bound for Costa Rica. To prepare, we talked with friends andworkmates, watched surfing “how to” videos and other classics, rode the longboard, “ripstick” and indo board a lot, did many push-ups, and thenwinged it from there.

I packed everything I needed into a Lightweight TravelPack and carried it on. No need for massive gear – everything I needed was onmy back except for the surf boards I was renting when I got there. ThePatagonia gear I opted to bring was:

Rashguard* S/S Rash Guard (white)

* L/S Rash Guard (white)

Obi_bayonne* Minimalist II Board Short (mineral springs)

* Bathing Suits – Obi Paries Bottoms, Obi Makeba Top(x2), Obi Bayonne Bottoms (x2).

PlayanosaraWe arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica then took a puddle jumperplane out to Playa Nosara, on the Nicoya Pennisula, or the “Pacific Ocean” sideof Costa Rica. The flight only took an hour and then we found ourselves in themiddle of a rain forest–very lush, green, and humid. You could hear tropicalbirds singing and echoing in the distance.Quite possibly one of the best sounds I have ever heard besides the ocean wavescrashing on the beach.

BoardhouseWe met up with our friends who rented a house on thebeach. They had the opportunity to stay for a month and we got to stay for 8days. We rented surf boards from a little store that allowed you to come backand exchange them for different sizes. We managed to keep up enough energy fortwo surf sessions per day. Our days consisted of waking up around 9am, eatingbreakfast/coffee, surfing in high tide from 10-2pm, eating and yoga from 2-4pm,back in the surf for low tide from 4-6pm. Sundown was at 6pm – super beautifulsunsets we watched from our boards. Nighttime consisted of drinking beer,eating lots of food, playing cards, and/or going to the bar for musicalentertainment, then, falling into bed and sleeping hard. Eight days of this andthen it was time to come home and rest. We were sad to leave, it went reallyquickly.

FlowerThe bathing suits that I brought worked really well. Itended to wear the Obi Paries bottoms because they stayed in place better thanthe Obi Bayonne Bottoms (little ties on side). I truly love the Obi Makeba Topbecause it has a really athletic look to it but it also stays in place anddoesn’t come off, even when the waves hit you over and over. The Minimalist II Board Short has such a nice hand, soft and smooth, and with a low-rise, they fit well butcame untied a few times. I had to stop and re-tie them in the surf. I started todouble-knot them and this took care of it.

Playa Nosara – this is a super great beach for learningto surf because it is all white sand with no rock or reef in the water. Hightide offered big waves but they were spaced out so that you had a chance to getinto them without being hit right away. The biggest waves we encountered athigh tide were 9’9” and could be somewhat overwhelming, but we got used tothem. Low tide offered smaller waves that came at you with more frequency. Our little group of friends surfed all of thetides every day, but it seemed that the guys preferred the high tide sessionsand the girls preferred the low tide.

M_rashguardThe rash guards. They were great forkeeping your bathing suit top in place but also kept me from getting sunburnedas we were in the water 6 hours a day. The one gripe I have about the rashguard is when you came off your board and got hit by a wave, it would slide uplike it wanted to peel off, exposing the midriff. It didn’t really matter so much that itflipped up, it just got annoying to keep pulling it back down. Being able totie your rash guard into your board shorts would be super, especially in longsurf sessions. The Men’s Patagonia Rash Guard that I brought for my husband touse had this option, but the women’s did not.

To sum it all up, this vacation rocked and I want tosurf. It’s all I talk


about at work and I trace the waves in the catalogs withmy finger. Jeremy, my workmate, thinks I’m insane. What do you do if you’vecaught the surfing bug but you live in the mountains?

Kite boarding? Hmmmm . . . . . . .maybe my nextadventure.

[Photos: Tfunk]


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