The Land of Lefts

I received a loud voicemail just about a week before boarding an international flight to San Jose, Costa Rica from Atlantic City, New Jersey.

It went like this: “Fuuck yeah buddy! Yo it’s Andy yo. Uh, you gotta come to Pavones. Call me back, uh, whenever.”

For little more than a week, Mr. Schussler had been tempting me with talks of a Costa Rican adventure. His call came at about 2AM on Sunday morning while myself and brothers Sean, Dom, and Greg were eating Romeo’s Pizza.

“I think I’m going to Costa on Thursday,” I said to Sean. “Well fuck,” he said. “I need to find your board bag for you.”

The next few days consisted of fixing surfboards, mentally preparing, as well as locating my board bag and machete for packing. By Thursday afternoon, I was sitting on the side of the road in the rain. I had made it to San Jose and immediately passed out in a random Costa Rican woman’s house while waiting for Andy to arrive.

The next morning it was time to fly again. Our destination was eight hours away by bus. With swell looming, we opted to take a puddle jumper flight as far South as the Costa Rican airline known as Sansa would take us. We were appalled to hear the airline’s manager ask us to take our boards OUT of our board bags while checking in…

“You must be confused,” said Andy. “I’ve got three brand new boards in here. This is how they stay protected during travel.”

They weren’t having any of it.

“Do you want to get on this flight? Then you must take your boards out of the bags. They won’t fit unless you take them out.”

A minute later Andy and I could be seen turning our board bags upside down. We spewed everything out on the airport terminal floor, handed it over to the cargo handlers, and said a quick prayer. Amen!

A minute later the flight attendant smacked Andy’s fish on the ground…

Little did we know that this would be the quickest, easiest, and smoothest flight we’d ever taken. Not an hour later we were up in the air with just a few other passengers scoping the Rich Coast at a bird’s eye view.

By 9AM we’d traveled the entire length of the country, ate desayuno with our friendly taxista, and were standing on the beach watching the longest lefts we’d ever seen. As if it couldn’t get any better, we were meeting up with our good friend Ex-Pat Thormann. If I began to tell the tales of Party P’s (Ex Pat) adventures through Central America, we’d be here all day. Let’s just say that this man went from commuting to NYC to falling madly in love with the road less traveled as well as his lovely girl Caro. Maybe one day we’ll give the people what they want and do a full interview/podcast with Mr. T.

We started on the Pavones regimen without any hiccups. Pat and I would wrestle with the hostel’s WIFI while doing virtual business with people in America–hoping they wouldn’t ask where we were. We’d play chess with hostel manager Miguel (and got beaten handily). We’d drink coffee and chat with travelers from across the globe–most notably Shaiman from BVI, Raphael from Germany, Amit from Israel, Chloe from Canada, Jack and Pete from AUS, and many other fugitives hiding from vaccine passports and forced injections–All while surfing at least two times a day of course.

“Pavones midnight is 9PM,” Pat told us. He was right. By that time every night, we were drunk on Guaro, stuffed full of casado, and ready to fall into bed. Wake up time was around 5AM–or whenever the local roosters started screaming.

With two weeks of time, we saw two overhead swells, met some amazing locals/visitors, did a bit of local traveling, and enjoyed living la Pura Vida. On our one and only exploration out of town, we took a boat to Montapalo–right across the bay. There was a sweet right to be surfed, monkeys to be seen, hikes to be hiked, and fish to be caught. Well, just one fish actually. Andy caught the one and only tuna which we got our captain to filet for us–we ate it that evening.

We watched locals surf like Andrey–a goofyfooter with style–who also happened to make some pretty sweet trucker hats (which we had to buy). Andrey knew how to surf the left point very well and he made it look quite easy whether he was riding his fat fish or shortboard.

We also had the pleasure to ride waves with some homies from Portugal who were filming for a Volcom surf part. Diogo, Gui, and Paco were on da program–waking up early and surfing the left all day. They hitched a ride to Pavones with an unlikely skateboarder from California and his wife. In our short conversation, Dan told me that during his downhill skating days he’d only ever wiped out going 55 miles an hour.

“70mph woulda been really bad,” he explained. “At 40-50 you can roll out of it. I was stoned and loosened my trucks instead of tightening them [laughs].”

I told him that I was glad for the sake of his own health that he’d taken up surfing.

Whether it was time to surf or drink a cerveza, the town gathered by the beach. Everyone was cool and Andy even got to sell his handshaped surfboards to some of these individuals before leaving. He was stoked to see a board heading to Morocco, and two other boards staying put right in Costa Rica.

On the way back to America, we chose to save some money and spend our time on the bus. With just a few delays, we boarded a five hour bus that turned into a seven hour ordeal. By hour five we woke up to the local policia boarding our vessel. They asked for everyone’s passport and if they kept your passport you were getting deported or something. About 20 people had to get off the bus and we were able to head on our way to San Jose after that.

During this ride I had time to reflect, “Damn I’m kinda bummed I didn’t get any shots of me surfing.”

“Well you didn’t really surf that much,” said Andy.

I almost smacked the shit out of him.

Alas, I was excited to come away with some shots of the trip. And here they are below. Whoever is reading, feel free to reach out to claim some hi-res shots. I’ll gladly email them to you. Drop a line to urnsurfco (@) gmail dot com.


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