Yes! We finally had a chance to interview Dkoko brand ambassador and pioneering Costa Rican female surfer, Andrea Díaz. As a former Roxy girl turned entrepreneurial surf coach and surf mom-of-three, Andrea has been on the international surf scene for decades. Here she shares some behind-the-scenes details of her life story, the evolution of women’s surfing in Costa Rica, and the blessings and challenges that come with living the surfing lifestyle dream.   


Andrea Díaz 2001

Fangirl confession: We've been admiring your surfing life as one of Costa Rica's pioneering women surfers now for decades. How did you get into surfing, and what was it like in the early days for you and other women surfers in Costa Rica?

 Thank you! I used to be a competitive swimmer, and some American friends invited me to the beach one weekend – that’s all it took for me to know I wanted to do this for the rest of my life. The freedom and belonging I felt in the water made me get obsessed with surfing. For a big part of my life, it was all I could think about.


I was so blessed to surf most breaks free of crowds, where in order to “survive” rainy season we had to feed ourselves from the land and ocean. Adventure in an undeveloped place, free of massive buildings, camping on the beach for days, getting stuck in rivers just to get ourselves to the surfing breaks. All of that was the norm. Being welcomed by locals to eat at their houses, since there were no restaurants. It was magical, the real Pura Vida!

What was your life like as a Roxy-sponsored surfer girl? Do you have any favorite memories from your worldly surfing adventures?

 Andrea Díaz Roxy
Oh man, it was living the dream. All I did was surf and train to surf. I got paid a monthly wage plus a travel budget, which was unreal. The surf industry was run differently back in the day, and I was happy to be allocated funding within the North American budget - very spoiled!
My fave memories were jumping on the Quiksilver Crossing and traveling with the top Roxy team riders to amazing destinations, with the likes of World Champ Sophia Mulanovich, Kassia Meador, and so many other girls who inspired me to push myself and my surfing that much further.

How do you define your signature surfing style?

I was known as the “female Occy” of our team riders [– referring to legendary pro-surfer Mark Occhilupo, who is known for his signature power-surfing style –] because I charged hard, charged big waves and charged the lineup. Now entering my 50’s I am blessed to still rip, and I am way more relaxed. Most of all, I feel blessed to share the lineup with my kids and teach others something I am so passionate about.

What made you want to start surfing competitively? What did you love about the professional competitive surfing lifestyle?

Andrea Díaz International Surfing Association
I just have a competitive nature, despite not really beginning to compete until later in life when I was in my early twenties. It’s important to understand that when I began this magical adventure of surfing and competition, there were only a handful of us competing in Costa Rica – three girls: Lisbeth [Vindas], Brooks [Wilson], and myself. So, contest organizers didn't even want to hold a female division. But we showed up to every single contest and fought for our space – to the point that if they would not open a women’s heat, I would just compete against the boys.

As a mom to three incredible kids (we love them!), how do you balance your life as a surfer, professional surf coach, entrepreneur and mother? 

Surfing has brought immense richness to my life, especially as a pioneer in an industry where surfing was once unconventional, particularly for women in the lineup. Being part of the first wave of professional surfers in my country opened up new opportunities.


Andrea Díaz Motherhood 
Raising my children within a culture of sports discipline and fostering their connection with nature through surfing has been incredibly rewarding. Thanks to surfing, I've been able to navigate single motherhood without the constraints of a traditional 9-to-5 job, granting me the time and flexibility to wholeheartedly focus on being a dedicated mom. It's a blessing and a crowning achievement in my life.

Your daughter, Lia Hermosa Díaz, has been making headlines lately with her up-and-coming international surfing career. What's it like watching Lia follow in your footsteps as one of Costa Rica's top female surfers?

What can I say? Her happiness is mine, but her pain is, too.
Andrea Díaz y Lia Hermosa Díaz
Watching Lia’s commitment and focus on her goals is inspiring, mind-blowing, and stressful all at the same time. As a mother, you want an easy dream life for your children. Surfing as a competitive sport requires you to be so mentally strong, since it can be devastating to lose a heat, not because you don’t have the surfing performance required, but simply because the waves just didn’t come through during those 15-20 minutes.
It is really tough, so I have to confess I do not watch her compete. When I know she has a heat, I will turn the TV off, or walk away from the beach, wait for a call from her coach and come back. Then, calmly and analytically, I’ll watch her heat on replay. I want to make sure this is “her” goal, and that she can navigate and make her own decisions on how she wants to lead herself along this path.

This doesn’t mean I’m not there for her, or that I don’t support her or help her in any way I can. When she has needed me to step in for her, I do. She knows very well – I got her!

What are some challenges that you, Lia, and other Costa Rican women surfers confront in your everyday surfing lives?

More than daily challenges, I see them as blessings. We are nothing but truly blessed to be able to live this lifestyle.
Competition-wise is another story. The national Surfing Federation has serious issues, and it’s been a major setback for competitive surfing in Costa Rica. We went from being world champs and hosting a world championship contest, to having ZERO funding for athletes.
The lack of sponsorship in this country is very sad - there is really no Costa Rican business culture supporting athletes in our country as you would find elsewhere.
Knowing Lia has the potential to make it to the Olympics in 2028, but having to scramble to get the funding, has been tough, since she cannot currently devote 100% to her goal. If she were to have the necessary support, we could be helping her build a proper foundation toward achieving her goals.


Can you tell us a bit about the inspiring work you've done coaching at-risk youth and supporting young surfers in Costa Rica?

Refugio entre las Olas
Well, one of the biggest achievement metrics of the Surf 4 Youth program has been that we were able to break the cycle of poverty through surfing.
It has been so rewarding to watch the surfers of our program not only achieving their goals as athletes by becoming part of the national team and traveling abroad to represent Costa Rica, but also becoming managers of top surf schools in the area or graduating from university.
They’re able to achieve these goals because the program taught them that through hard work, accountability, discipline, and integrity you can change your life.
Watching these success stories from the Surf 4 Youth program is the engine that has kept me doing this work for more than 14 years.  LINK SURF 4 YOUTH


How do you and your kids spend your time when you're not surfing?

 We are very homey. We love spending time together at home, building our house and little by little our homestead. We love going on adventures discovering un-surfed breaks or doing BBQs on the beach.

Finally, what advice do you have for women looking to improve their surfing skills? 

Don’t surf to train. Train to surf. If you are really serious about taking your surfing to the next level, you should live by this motto.
As cliche as it sounds, remember that the best surfer out there is the one having the most fun. That is what surfing is about. It's more than just riding waves, and it’s a personal journey for everyone!
Adriana Díaz