The wave in tamarindo is very easy for noobs. Just a bit crowded. it is kind of slopey and breaks mostly over sand. My daughter surfed it when she was 13--during her first summer of surfing--and did fine. I like the break on the north end of town at the river mouth. There are tons of nice breaks within easy driving distance from tamarindo.
To answer your question, yes clean waves are easier than choppy. However when the wind is howling offshore and the waves are freight-training, conditions are tecnically clean, but this presents a challenge, too. Howling winds shouldn't be a problem in CR during april, though.
Costa Rica is wonderful. Walk a lot--there is a lot to see, and try to get on a day trip into the mountains for hiking and ziplining. Have fun!
Tamarindo is a great place, I've been 4 times, are you doing a surf camp or on your own? As Mikey said it is crowded, but there are lots of noobs there and a good vibe overall. I think practicing and learning on the waves in Galveston is good training, as when you are in good waves in CR you'll be amazed and stoked.
Surf camp for sure. There only 2hr lessons, so Ill spend the rest of the day working on what I learned.
Glad to hear, Galveston gets frustrating at times...
Going to only surf first 5 days, if I sprain my ankle, or (Ive had 3 rotator cuff surgeries w/in the past 18 months) shoulder doing something OTHER than surfing, I may drown myself! GF will do the other stuff, Im going to scratch this surfing itch Ive had for YEARS!
I've been with my non-surfing wife, she found plenty to do. One thing, try to get a ride to Avellanes, nice beach break about 20 minutes away. There is a bar/restaurant called Lola's on the beach your gf can hang out sun bathe etc. while you surf. I've done Witches Rock Surf Camp, but do their tours, always a good time. Their happy hours at sunset are a good time.