Frequently asked questions
Am I too _______ to surf?
Surfing is a sport practiced more and more by women of all body types, ages, and backgrounds. There is no guarantee that you’ll become the next champion surfer or quit your job and search the world for the perfect wave, but splashing around at the edge of the ocean can be a life-altering experience.
How it affects you is personal and not based on anyone else’s perceptions. If you are in reasonably good physical condition and have the desire to try surfing for whatever reason, you can surf.
Am I too old to start surfing?
New surfers may be concerned about their age, but many Las Olas guests are over 40. The diversity of ages makes for a richer experience. Our motto: We make girls out of women is absolutely true and in the end, age matters very little. We’ve had the pleasure of hosting three generations (grandmother, mother and daughter) in one session. Want to meet some of our guests? Tap here.
I’ve never surfed before and feel a bit scared. Can Las Olas help?
That’s understandable, but remember, you’re not alone. Paddling out in the ocean for the first time is scary for anyone. Your enjoyment depends on overcoming fear through knowledge. Our surf coaches teach specific techniques to help calm the anxiety of paddling, surfer traffic, or getting caught in the white water. They’re skilled surfers trained in water safety, but also they’re empathetic and nurturing. Our goal is to mentally prepare you for all types of surfing adventures. You’ll enjoy a comprehensive surf orientation in our clubhouse before paddling out. The main focus is on safety, but we also strive to make the experience as rewarding and fun as possible.
Typically, we surf excellent conditions for mellow longboard rides, but we’ll prepare you for just about any swell. If ever the waves are too challenging, we’ll visit other surf breaks or kick around in the white water. Everyone is allowed to learn at her own pace. Our focus is on water safety, surf etiquette, local conditions, and technique. Beginners will start with the basics–paddling, turtle rolls, reading and catching waves, then standing up. Intermediate and advanced surfers can work on improving their techniques, gaining confidence, and riding waves more skillfully.
Do I have to be a good swimmer?
Naturally, surfing happens in the ocean a short distance from the shore. For a positive surf experience, we require that our guests be in relatively good physical condition, competent swimmers, and comfortable in the ocean, but we’ve heard of guests who started swimming lessons after signing up. Overcoming fear of the water is not only empowering, but learning to swim is an essential life skill that’s never too late to learn.
Each guest is required to assess her own abilities and physical condition before joining the surf safari. Other important considerations include late-term pregnancy, major health problems, existing injuries, or medications that may restrict swimming, breathing, or impair good judgment.
I heard Mexico is dangerous. Is it?
From your arrival at the Puerto Vallarta airport to your villa at Las Olas surf safari, we’ll be traveling the Rivera Nayarit, a modern coastal resort region which includes the Ritz Carlton, Sheraton, and Four Seasons hotels amongst other world class properties. We’ve been traveling that route for more than 20 years and we’ve never felt fearful or threatened. In fact, Mexican people have been unconditionally warm and generous.
As a precaution, we monitor relevant sources of information daily, including the US State Department and private organizations regarding safety for our guests and crew. To date there have never been warnings against travel to the region where we surf. Whether we’re cheering a friend on her first wave or strolling the plaza dodging kids, we’re savoring that our experience in Mexico doesn’t resemble the media’s version. Our Mexico is extended families picnicking on the playa, running their shops and cafes, and doing what all small town people do around the world–enjoy life.
I know how to surf. Is Las Olas for me?
If you know how to surf, you know the ocean never lets up on the surprises she sends us. We’ve been surfing a long time, but learn something new every time we go out. If it’s tiny, we’ll work on pop-ups or cross-stepping. If it’s big, we’ll challenge our fears. Every session is different, no wave is the same.
Can I bring my own surfboard?
Check with your airline regarding extra charges and restrictions– some may not transport long boards. At Las Olas, we offer a quiver of custom-shaped surfboards from 5’10” to 9’4″‘. We also have a rack of soft longboards for more flotation and comfort when starting out, so we recommend skipping the inconvenience of traveling with a board.
What about sharks?
The first step in overcoming galeophobia, the fear of sharks, is to admit there are sharks in the ocean. There, we said it. However, the ocean is big and we surf close to shore. Sharks typically avoid the warm, shallow waters of Mexico’s Pacific coast where we paddle out. In fact, since 1997, we’ve not seen a shark nor heard of an encounter in the area where we surf.
Can I go to Las Olas by myself?
Most definitely! Although we do offer private bedrooms, many guests attending solo opt to share a room. It’s very common for new friendships to blossom instantly. Just know by the time you leave Las Olas, you may have a dozen new buddies.
What time do I schedule my flight and which airport do I fly into?
Although many guests surf Sunday and Friday, the first and last day of your trip are also your travel days. You should book your flight to arrive in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico between the hours of noon and 4pm PV time. You’ll be greeted by a Las Olas crew member who will help you board our shuttle. If you are arriving earlier than noon or later than 4pm, we can give you easy directions to your villa. Local taxis know the way.
¿Necesito hablar español?
No, but if you do, you’ll make even more new friends.
Which time of year is best to join Las Olas?
Safaris run from November through May. Why? Because the Mexican rainy season is from July to October. November through January is generally pleasant with nice north swells pushing through. February through April is mild, also. During May and June it warms up a bit. Further, warm tropical rain showers aren’t uncommon in June, but we always enjoy whatever Mother Nature brings us. Surfing in warm rain is divine.
Do I need a wetsuit?
Water temps average 75–80°F, but February may be more comfy in the early morning and evening in a spring suit or a neoprene rashguard (surf top). For a quick primer on lightweight surf insulation, tap here. We have a small collection of loaners, but to get your own visit Swim Outlet.
What exercises can I do to prepare for surfing?
Push ups, push ups, and more push ups. But seriously, any upper body strengthening is helpful to surfers. Try swimming and weight training, too. Lastly, yoga is wonderful for flexibility and balance.
Ok, I’m coming to Las Olas! What should I pack?
Packing for Las Olas easy, just pack light. Most important–bring your passport with at least six months left before expiration, an ATM or credit card (be sure to set a travel-alert at your bank), and your cell phone with an international plan and charger. And bring flip flops, bathing suit, sundress, and yoga clothes.
Your villa comes equipped with organic shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, and we provide beach towels, yoga mats, and sunscreen. We recommend against bringing jewelry, expensive technology, or a lot of cash.
For tips on packing for your surf vacation, tap here.
And if it’s time for a new tropical travel bag, be sure to visit eBags.
What type of surf break is it?
We surf over a reef that peels to a sandy shore. We’ve chosen this location because it’s one the most forgiving, beginner-friendly waves we’ve found. It’s also consistent enough for experienced surfers looking to gain more confidence through practice.
What is a typical day at Las Olas?
With the exception of a day trip to a different surf spot, all activities are within steps of your villa. • Yoga am • Breakfast • Morning surf lessons • Lunch in town • Afternoon free-surf session with surfcoaches • Massage • Yoga pm • Evening activities • Dinner and surprises
Our goal is to make your vacation fulfilling, but also stress-free. Of course, no activities are mandatory, so if you choose to take a margarita and a good book to the pool instead, it won’t affect your grades.
Who’s a typical guest at Las Olas?
Professional women, artists, scientists, stay-at-home moms– our guests are amazing women from all walks of life ranging in age from 14 to 75. They share a common desire to learn to surf, make new friends, and experience something amazing. To meet a few, tap here.
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