Can you guys keep a secret? You sure? One of my favorite waves so far here in Costa Rica is a spot called Potrero Grande, more commonly known as Ollie’s Point. (Ok, some of you guys already know of my love affair with Ollie.) I love this wave so much that in one month I surfed this spot four times. This would not be such a big deal if getting to this wave did not require an hour car ride and then another hour boat ride. When Ollie’s is breaking, it is that good…and you may be joined with five other boats (~30 other people) trying to surf the same wave with you.
Ollie’s was made famous by the surf film The Endless Summer II and it is a perfect right point break. (For my non-surfer friends/readers out there, a point break is a surf break where waves wrap around a point of land sticking out of the coastline, creating perfectly lined up waves that peel off down toward the inside of the point.) The wave got its name from Oliver North, the American Colonel who used a “secret” airstrip nearby to land weapons for the Contra rebel groups in Nicaragua. Because Ollie’s is located in one of Costa Rica’s national parks, Santa Rosa, there is no development for miles and therefore the break is only accessible by boat. No development also means lots of wildlife; I have seen flying manta rays, whales, mating turtles, birds, schools of fish, and even a pod of dolphins racing with our boat during my trips to Ollie’s. One minor detail are the crocodiles that live in the estuary…out of sight out of mind. Besides the crocs, it honestly is a magical experience surfing this wave.
Guide to Surfing Ollie’s Point, Costa Rica (Potrero Grande)
OK, so what is the local knowledge?
Ollie’s needs a South swell to really break. I have heard reports numerous times of surfers going to Ollie’s only to find it flat while other spots were 5ft. The beauty of Ollie’s is that even if it is big, the wave is not going to pound you and it is not hard to paddle back out. The best time to usually surf Ollie’s is around low tide. The wave becomes fast, steep, and if the sandbar is just right, it will peel towards the beach giving you a nice long ride. The takeoff point is right by the rock; you can’t miss it during low tide. Most people leave and head to Roca Bruja (Witch’s Rock) for mid-tide, but I have surfed Ollie’s several times all day and the wave is still fun at different tides. Let everyone leave and then you have the wave to just your boat group! Talking about boats, I recommend using La Bruja surf trips, based out of Playa Coco.
My relationship with Ollie started back in March. I could not have asked for a better first date. Like most girls, I was all worried if he would call the next day. It took a couple of days, but a week and a half later, he out-did himself on our second date. After four hours of 6-8 feet barreling perfection, I was one happy and pooped chica. Could it get any better than THAT?!
We were getting hot-and-heavy a little too fast. I decided we needed to cool-off a little bit. Six months of cold turkey, Ollie gave me a ring. It was just as I had remembered: pure perfection. Like a moth to a flame, I could not stay away. In the span of four weeks, Ollie and I gave each other a run for our dinero. Four romps, each so mind-blowing-amazing.
Photos courtesy of Mayan Koren, Diego Mejillas, Chris Castillo, and Chon.
P.S. Check out some other fun spots in Costa Rica to surf: Gone Surfing