Did you know that kids have an actual right to play?
Article 31 of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child states that “… the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.” (UNICEF)
We all know that regular physical activity is essential for our physical, mental, psychological and emotional good. According to UNICEF, the world’s leading organization focusing on children and children’s rights, “sport, recreation and play are a fun way to learn values and lessons that will last a lifetime. They promote friendship and fair play. They teach teamwork, discipline, respect, and the coping skills necessary to ensure that children develop into caring individuals. They help prepare young people to meet the challenges they will face and to take leadership roles within their communities.”
Facing challenges, promoting friendship and fair play while having fun, are core elements of Del Mar Surfing Academy’s classes for kids and teens. Based on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific Coast, Del Mar Surfing Academy offers surf lessons and also surf vacations for youth and teens (up to age 19). They specialize in week-long surf camps, day surf camps, private surf lessons and customized grad trips. Del Mar Surfing Academy grew out of Del Mar Surf Camp, which was founded 10 years ago by Costa Rican surfer, Maria del Mar.
“Surfing united kids together” in the classes, says Del Mar Surfing Academy co-director, Bettina del Rio. The ocean welcomes everyone and doesn’t discriminate. She said that children as young as 5-years-old can start to learn how to surf in the Academy’s day camps or private surf lessons. Bettina’s own son, who is age 5, is learning to surf. Some of the benefits that kids receive from learning to surf, she said, are learning how the ocean works with its currents and waves, and being connected to nature.
“Surfing is a way to express yourself; to get out in nature and enjoy the outdoors while exercising,” said one long-time surfer who began surfing at age 8.
Children’s development studies cite that swimming produces a wide array of health and social benefits. Not only is it important for safety, swimming also teaches good coordination and athletics. Due to water resistance, children can burn fat and tone their muscles with less effort. Direct sun rays on beaches also help children’s bodies make Vitamin D, and a seaside climate positively impacts the respiratory system and brain with fresh air to inhale. Salt, iodine and other minerals contained in sea water are also beneficial elements.
The staff and directors at Del Mar Surfing Academy are all surfers. They also are parents and created the academy to ensure high standards for surfing. They say that surfing increases children’s self-esteem and confidence. Reports also show that kids who participate in the thrilling activity of water sports usually show better grades and better behaviors.
Surfing is increasingly popular with families, and can be an activity the whole family can enjoy together. In surfing hotspot, Hermosa Beach on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific Coast, families can enjoy a unique and memorable vacation together combining surf camps or surf lessons at Del Mar Surfing Academy for the kids, and surf vacations or surf lessons (also paddle board lessons) at Del Mar Surf Camp for the parents. They have classes perfect for both beginners and advanced surfers.