Combining technology and sustainability elements into its design, Surf Simply Resort is a haven for surfers around the world. The resort takes advantage of technology to teach surfing.

Located in Nosara, a village in Costa Rica known for its Pacific beaches, Surf Simply Resort isn’t your average resort or typical surf school. The 1,200-square-meter coaching retreat is well known for its simple and highly efficient design. The property consists of 12 villas, a pool, restaurant, kitchen, bar, lounge, employee facilities and other amenities and basic services.

Inspired by the phrase “surf can build happiness”, the Gensler team made use of common spaces and Surf Simply’s teaching values as the core vision behind the design. The founder of Surf Simply, Ru Hill, who moved from England, used to teach out of his car before opening a coaching resort not far from Playa Guione, where the current Surf Simply Resort is located.

Hill and his business partners wanted to inject new life into the resort – one that would bring the environment and technology together. He had a vision of creating a haven for surfers where they can be inspired by nature while benefiting from modern technological advancements. Now, Simply Surf Resort is a premium destination for renowned surfers around the world, with slots often running out quickly even with advanced booking a year ahead.

The Gensler team drew design inspiration for Simply Surf Resort from its surrounding nature and technology. Using methodical, systemised pattern language as a concept, they also included a constant of human scale, raw materials, modular spaces, and open areas to promote social interaction amongst users. Here are the key concepts behind the boutique surf coaching resort in Playa Guiones.

Data Rules:
When surfers are catching a wave at Surf Simply Resort, they are videotaped by eight different cameras – as part of the tech-based coaching. At the end of the session, the videos are uploaded onto a private server and edited into a personalised showreel, where guests get to review their performance on a giant screen in the video-coaching suite.

Looking After the Environment:
Surf Simply Resort was designed by Gensler to be the world’s first purpose-built, premium surf coaching facility. The resort was built to not only boast elegant design but also be Platinum L.E.E.D Certified – the highest title that any building can be awarded for minimising environmental repercussions during construction and everyday operation.

By incorporating technology into its design, Surf Simply Resort has modern capabilities such as rainwater harvesting, wastewater purification, high-efficiency faucets, and photovoltaic panels to minimise energy and water use. While it was unfortunate that 11 trees above 30cm had to be removed during construction, the surf resort made it their mission to give back to the environment by planting 70 new trees surrounding the resort and giving it special care to preserve existing monkey trails. They also give back to the community by investing efforts into the water infrastructure of Playa Guiones. Through this initiative, gone are the days of water outages that previously troubled locals.

Guests First:
Surf Simply wants to provide a home for guests and surfers. While each room has its own dedicated features and amenities overlooking the nature reserve, the main highlight of the resort is its shared living and dining area where guests can gather. With a pool, hot tub, sofas, and a fire pit, the area has been designed to facilitate conversations amongst guests. Users can easily find their own space in this common area while helping themselves to drinks, homemade snacks, or fruits. The resort also provides guests with three meals a day, prepared by their own chef, which is served around a single, large dining table in the common living space.

Besides the common area, guests are also free to explore the stretch room, where the iconic Surf Simply Tree of Knowledge is displayed along the wall. In this room, guests are able to practice some surfing skills, while checking out board design and the latest forecast updates on upcoming waves.

With all the inspiration, ideas, and design coming together to form one surfing resort, the result is an intimate and minimalist building hidden under a jungle canopy. Simply Surf Resort aims to provide guests with surf coaching sessions like no other and it has successfully created a sanctuary for surfers to call home.

Project: Surf Simply Resort
Location: Nosara, Costa Rica
Design Studio: Gensler
Photo Credits: Andres Garcia Lachner

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