Sunday, November 22, 2009

Costa Rica = Inspiration

I'm back from a brief trip down to Costa Rica.  I stayed in the remote surf town of Playa Hermosa south of Manzanillo and just north of Santa Teresa. It's near the southern tip of the Nicoya peninsula on the pacific side.  The intention of the trip was to enjoy some time with my family, surf, fish and just relax. Although, I managed to bring a camera on the trip and shoot a few things  I was inspired by.

   Most "surf camps" include a few damp, shabby bungalows within walking distance from the beach. However, this trip proved to be different than my experiences from the past. In 
the summer of 2007 I was staying in Puerto Escondido, Mexico at a little surf camp on the out skirts of the world famous Mexican pipeline. One night I awoke to go pee.  As I turned on the light I startled a rat the size of a Chihuahua that was chowing down on my toothpaste. It jumped from the sink to the shower, ran up the wall and out a crack near the ceiling. I think the rat was just as frightened as me.  I slept with the lights on for the rest of my stay. Surf camps are usually nothing more that a hard mattress, hanging light bulb, mosquito net, lousy fan and cold shower. Yet, our accommodations were unlike most surf camps. We stayed at the Shaka surf camp.  It was the kind of place you could bring your girlfriend without worrying about her leaving after the first night to go find a 5 star resort.

  While staying at Shaka surf camp, I was introduced to a surfer named Christiaan Bailey. The first night we sat around the rancho exchanging stories about swells, surfboard design, & changes coming to the WCT: just two surfers feeding off one another. Christiaan showed me a new video clip he just finished of him surfing 3rd reef pipe, Mavericks, and the mutant wave Ship Sterns bluff. These are a few of the heaviest waves in the world and are only surfed by an exclusive group of big wave surfers. I was floored by this video because Christiaan is unlike the other surfers that charge these waves. He is a unique case.  Christiaan was injured in 2006 skateboarding back home in Santa Cruz.  He told me, " I went up to do a 360 boneless. A trick I've been doing for years at a skate park that I'd been skating for years. I landed and blew my knee out in the process. During the fall I fractured my L3, L4 & S3." This damaged Christiaan's spinal cord & has left him paralyzed from the waist down. Since Christiaan's injury he has been working as an ambassador for The Oceans Healing Group a non-profit organization that works with wheelchair bound children teaching them that there are no limits to their abilities. 

   Inspiration comes in many forms. Some may find it in a sunset, the birth of a child, or the will of another. I took this trip to Costa Rica in search of new inspiration, not knowing what that source might be.  It is a power that you must seek out in order to grow. I’m thankful to have brief moments of inspiration and I hope that those moments can inspire others.

Here are a couple of moments that inspired me while on the trip:

Christiaan Bailey

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