Teacher, surfer, contest organizer, friend, Chelsea Lisaius does it all

Written by Mariano

Most of the kids in Tamarindo know Chelsea Lisaius, if not from attending her TIDE Academy then from the many surf contests she organizes in the area. For Chelsea, it is imperative that she impart knowledge and fun to those in Tamarindo. Perhaps she developed this trait from her years growing up—and acting—in her family’s theater troupe, which traveled and performed all over the United States.

Perhaps it’s the education she acquired to become a teacher. Or perhaps, simply, it’s her motive to give something worthwhile to this community she adopted seven years ago.

THE Tamarindo News interviewed Chelsea this month, and the conversation was extremely revealing:

THE Tamarindo News: Chelsea, you are involved in many things, are a great surfer, organize many surf contests and run TIDE Academy. How do you manage everything?

Chelsea Lisaius: Good question. I am really good at time management. I am able to divide and prioritize my time in a way that makes it possible for me to complete everything

TN: Do you manage to have fun as well? CL: Yes! If I don’t have a surf contest on the weekend, then the weekend is for me. I make sure my life is balanced with work, social life, and personal activities. If it isn’t balanced, it doesn’t work.

TN: What is your background?

CL: I am from Warren, Vermont a small town an hour south of Burlington.

TN: Not exactly a surf community…

CL: No, I didn’t learn how to learn until I moved to Costa Rica. I attended Skidmore College where I studied to be a science teacher and then ended up moving to Costa Rica right after. TN: What drew you to Costa Rica?

CL: I came on vacation and loved how happy everyone was. I’ve always been attracted to positivity and I saw how happy everyone was especially in Guanacaste and it was something I knew I needed to be a part of.

TN: Why did you start TIDE Academy?

CL: 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 and the majority of the schools in the area do not adapt to these families’ lifestyle choices. I wanted to create a school that not only accepted, but promoted alternative lifestyles. My family owns a theater company and I used to tour with them across the United States doing theater performances from the age of 4 to 18. I performed in front of thousands of people. To this day, I learned more from those experiences than most of what I learned in school. So for families that do want to travel or kids that are professional surfers they shouldn’t be penalized for having a once-in-a-lifetime experience

TN: Is theater an important part of TIDE Academy?

CL: We don’t have a theater class, but I do see a lot of similarities between teaching and acting: As a teacher you want to engage students in the subject being taught. If students are not engaged or entertained, they won’t pay attention. The only difference is you have the exact same audience every day.

TN: Let’s talk about surfing. You learned when you came to Costa Rica; how many years ago was that?

CL: Seven years ago. I always liked sports. I was recruited to play field hockey in college. I like surfing because it’s an individual sport and I can continue to push myself and improve. I also love the feeling of being disconnected from everything and just being in the water.

TN: Were you compelled to share the stoke with your students?

CL: Most of my students were stoked before I was. One of the great things about TIDE is how many kids do love surfing and we promote it not only as a sport but also as a lifestyle.

TN: Can you tell me why you organize surf contests?

CL: It allows kids and adults to have goals to achieve. I love watching kids practice and improve. I organize two different surf contests: CGS (Circuito Guanacasteco de Surf) which is a professionally run 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.

TN:You have a lot of friends down here and are also well respected in the community. What does Tamarindo mean to you?

CL: My parents always taught me to be involved in your community. I think giving back to others is one of the greatest rewards you can give yourself and that is something I have aimed to do where ever I live. I am not only grateful for all the opportunities Tamarindo has given me, but I am extremely lucky to call Tamarindo my home.

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