Taking advantage of the relative lull at Rouser's HQ (as our factory finalizes production), Matt jetted south for a month of surfing in Santa Teresa, a small town on Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula.
A slight delay out of Newark turned my 38 minute connection in Panama City (a vibrant metropolis of 1.5M with less-than-intuitive airport signage) into a 12 minute mad dash. I made the flight but apparently outran the baggage handlers, so arrived in San Jose with nothing more than my passport, a credit card and the overalls on my back. And that was all I needed.
Santa Teresa is a laid-back surf town, strung out along several miles of dirt road near the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. The beautiful sand beaches, surrounding nature preserve and consistent year-round waves attract an array of visitors, yet Santa Teresa maintains the air of a place that doesn't much care what's happening in the rest of the world. Daily life is a melange of 'stay awhile' visitors (many of whom return year after year) and local Tico culture, oriented around the ocean.
The hot, heavy air in the tropics invites a slower pace of both thought and action. Morning and evening have a slight bustle— street-side vendors spray their sidewalks clean early and re-pile their heaps of fruit and fish. Evening grows in intensity again as shadows lengthen and cervezas are cracked open. But midday, beneath the hanging heat of a beating sun, is almost languid. People walk with an unhurried amble. A truck rolls slowly through town spraying a mixture of molasses and water on the dirt roads to keep the dust down. There is less sense of 9 to 5 intensity here.
Surf culture is fundamentally a tropical mindset, even in places where the societal pace is more bustling and 'modern.' Being out on a board, early mornings and late afternoons, inspires a daily acceptance, both literally and spiritually, of our place in the natural order. Surfers can't control the swells, or the wind, but know they can paddle like hell when the right wave comes along. Even then though, once I'm committed and pouring energy into the water beneath my board, the wave might close-out or not break at all.
So surfing becomes a form of meditation. And a community like Santa Teresa constantly feels the flow of that meditation— dictated by nature's power and ultimate uncertainty. A 'good session' can mean catching one or two great waves and a bad session... well... you can always just bob around in the warm water, chat with the other surfers and watch the sun melt into the darkening ocean.
Many thanks to Kate Baker for the majority of these beautiful images. And to Morgan Boek for sharing his Go Pro shot. And to Santa Teresa for the daily good vibes.