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Born in San José on June 26, 1949, lives in Sabanilla, known in the Surfing World as “Japay or Chepe”. Begin surfing at age 18 in 1968. I started to surf with Mario Salazar when we bought 2 foam boards without fins at the Universal Bookstore and went to Boca de Barranca. Of course I could not catch a wave. I shared my first board with Mario Salazar; I bought it from a North American that came by Javier (el pana) Palacios’ house, who at that time lived in Panama. We went to Boca de Barranca and we lost all the waves because we did not know how to do it. Surfing is like therapy, you only think of the wave and I got sunburned, spending hours in the water.


The bad times came later seeing people fighting and hitting each other among surfers. In 1975 there were 100 surfers in Costa Rica. In 1970 or 1972, while in a swell, a North American was cut in the head by a fin and got 6 stitches. The next day she came surfing with her head wrapped and got back in the water to surf.  Back then the best was clean water, few people, friendships in and out of the water, trips to look for waves in other places, camping out, bonfires, night surfing, and memories that I will never forget.  There is a story about Steve Love. I saw him take the biggest swell that I have ever seen from the 4th point of Doña Ana to the Boca Barranca point. He rode the wave about a mile. He was a master and a good person. My thoughts and feelings as a Surfer: very proud, athletic, passionate, you can not live without going to surf.


The country of Costa Rica needs controls, there should be an adequate way to manage the surf. It has its positives and negatives. The Surfers from back in the day were the best. You enjoyed riding the waves more. I surfed many places in the Pacific and the Atlantic, like Pavones, which is an incredible place. I traveled to Salamar in Ecuador, Río Tetas in Panama, Peru and Brazil. I did not participate in tournaments  and if they would have invited me and I would not have done them. I was a judge in a local tournament.  The last time I went surfing was in 2002 in Playa Grande. I went to Louis Wilson’s and he loaned me a board and I went to ride some waves. I was an active surfer the first 8 years, later I was very sporadic. I lost the desire with so much fighting.

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I was a naturalist expert for 22 years. I would tell a young surfer to look for a place with few people, enjoy it, do not do it to compete and show off. I would go back to surfing if my friends invited me. I do not have a board. I would begin with 6 foot waves to gain some confidence and warm up. With 2 days in the water I think I could ride a wave well, I am a goofy surfer. Something I cannot forget was when we went to Puntarenas to have a famous “churchill” at night, play guitar and make bonfires.

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