Surfer and Teacher Chelsea Lisaius Organizes Contests for the Kids

Chelsea Lisaius is known around Tamarindo as the founder of TIDE Academy School, but she’s gained even more notoriety as the helpful young lady who organizes the Circuito Guanacaste de Surf contest, and the Surf the Tide circuit as well.

Surfer and Teacher Chelsea Lisaius Organizes Contests for the Kids
Chelsea Lisaius.
Por: Ellen Zoe Golden - Portada: BAD Fish Photography - 12/10/2016

As a teacher and surf contest coordinator, she draws on her experience as part of her family’s traveling theater troupe back in the United States. She’s dedicated to providing her adopted community of Tamarindo something worthwhile with her school and extracurricular activities.

Growing up in Vermont, Lisaius learned to surf when she moved to Tamarindo seven years ago. With her love of the sport, she opened TIDE Academy in town as a place where kids could learn around schedules of travel, not only for the high and low seasons, but for the youngsters’ desires to surf both recreationally and professionally.

“I studied to be a science teacher, but when I came on vacation, I loved how happy everyone here was,” Lisaius recalled. “I’ve always been attracted to positivity and I saw how happy everyone was, especially in Guanacaste, and I knew I needed to be a part of it. I saw there was a need for an education that worked with the Costa Rican lifestyle. There are a lot of families that move here with other priorities, whether it be surfing, traveling, careers. I wanted to create a school that not only accepted, but promoted alternative lifestyles. Families that do travel or kids that are professional surfers, they shouldn’t be penalized for having a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Apart from her school, she joined up with Toni Vandewalle, a retired surfing industry professional, and Andrea Diaz, a national surfer, to create the Circuito Guanacasteco de Surf (CGS) three years ago.


“These contests allow kids and adults to have goals to achieve,” she said. “I love watching kids practice and improve.”

“I organize two different surf contests: CGS (Circuito Guanacasteco de Surf) which is a contest that is affiliated with the Circuito Nacional de Surf. Then I run Surf the TIDE, which is for those who are first-time competitors and are just learning the ways of competing. This one is a learning platform and all CEPIA kids get to surf for free in it. In addition, offering free inscriptions to all surfers under 12 will help our younger surfer population grow and get more young surfers excited to compete at a younger age.”

Last year, Tamarindo’s Tomas King won the CGS, and has moved on to international tournaments with the World Surf League Qualifying Series and participated as a member of the Costa Rica national surf team when the International Surfing Association brought the World Surfing Championships to Jacó in August. The team place 5th among all the nations who participated.

Surf the TIDE 2016 is currently running in Tamarindo. Lisaius just finished the first date this year last weekend in Pico Piqueño. She cites Ruby Brownell and Jacob Sampson, two locals who participate in that event as a perfect example of what she is trying to accomplish with these kids. “Ruby has improved so much this year and these competitions have really improved her confidence and overall level of competitive surfing. Jacob, who began competing last year, won Groms this past even. These events help him better understand how to compete and improve his level of surfing.”


Tide Academy and some locals heroes such like Malakai Martinez and Coral Wiggins from National Junior Surf team.

According to Lisaius, both these events are also extremely beneficial to the kids in the community organization, Surf For Youth, that works with at-risk youth via surfing and spiritual practice. She notes that Surf For Youth kids usually pass one or two heats, and Abdul Alvaro, and Francisco Coronado
Johan Diaz “have promising futures.” As a matter of fact, Coronado has jumped to the Circuito Nacional de Surf and placed 5th in that last date in Hermosa.

“I organize these competitions because I love seeing the community together and to watch the young surfers improve and become competitive surfers that represent Guanacaste,” she concluded.



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