Crocs ‘n’ Kooks (Stand Up Paddle Boarding Down Nosara River)

Words by Ru Hill

Words by Harry (Surf Simply), photos by Spencer (Experience Nosara).

One thing you can say about the Surf Simply family, is that we’re always up for some silly shenanigans as long as it involves boards and water. Last Saturday for example found us attempting to paddle down the Rio Nosara, on SUP (Stand Up Paddle) boards.


Our good friend Spencer takes the Surf Simply guests on kayak tours of the river and SUP tours of the coast. “Why not” he suggested “do an SUP tour of the river? After all, if there’s any crocs we can beat them off with the paddles.” This sounded like a good giggle so we signed up immediately. We took some Kayaks as backup in case the rapids proved too much for the SUPs fins. To make the whole trip more exciting, the recent rains had washed a whole heap of crocodiles into this section of the river, 3 of which had attacked and eaten an adult horse just the week before. This meant the kayaks were also going to provide a nice stable safe haven for the SUPers… Just in case.


Spencer took one board and Luke bravely volunteered to take the second. The first 200 meters or so were nice flat water, which gave Luke (an first time stand up paddle boarder) at least 90 seconds to work out how to stand up, paddle and steer before we hit the first rapid. He tackled it beautifully, still, there’s nothing quite like the promise of 9 foot reptiles to keep you on your feet. Shortly after this we saw our first Crocodile. As soon as they became aware of us, they’d slip into the river and swim with just their eyes and noses out of the water. Spencer chose this moment to tell us how they like to watch and study their pray before attacking, which made it even more disconcerting when they sank below the surface as we neared. Happily however, we made it down river unmolested.


Paddling the river at this time of the year is a beautiful experience, the rains have revived all the plants in the surrounding jungle and you lose count of the amazing animals you see. Spencer is a great guide, pointing out all manner of flora and fauna along the way. As we rounded the last corner the sun was just setting and we could all congratulate ourselves on conquering the mighty Rio Nosara!


Many thanks to Spencer and his crew at Experience Nosara and to the guys at Rancho Tico (who let us take some beers on tick when we realised we’d left our money in the truck.) A tour with Spencer is available as part of your stay at Surf Simply’s resort or you can arrange one directly through Spencer at

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