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MARIO ARTURO SALAZAR ZÚÑIGA

- FIRST SURFER -

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Born November 11, 1947 in San José, lives in  Brasil de Mora in Ciudad Colon, known in Surfing as “Polaco”, begin trying to surf in 1958 in San Isidro of Puntarenas, then later in 1967 in la Boca de Barranca. The idea to go surfing was because in the 50s there was a documentary about astronauts. A scientist spoke about the capsules and that it would be good to utilize surfing for equilibrium, balance, coordination and physical fitness. My grandfather Arturo Zúñiga (RIP) had a furniture store and he had a balsa board. After forming it into a surfboard I went to San Isidro. I was never able to stand up very well, I just glided a little bit. A North American from California came and I was with José Segovia.

 

The three of us went to Boca de Barranca to ride waves with a fiberglass board and I bought my first board from that foreigner. Back then there were a lot of sharks that passed under our boards, and you could see lots of fish between us and the waves. One time we went to surf at the pier in Quepos; it had a good break back then. This enormous shark came towards us, the size of a big boat, and in another boat there was a dead shark with a bite in its belly and our opened arms were not long enough to measure the size of it. My father was a pilot and he liked to travel to Jaco and there was absolutely nothing, just the Madrigales that had a place for people to stay on cots with a blanket.

 

I brought my board and propped it up in the plane’s cabin. We landed during low tide there in Jaco, in the 70s, and we surfed the whole zone of Jaco. My father flew all over Costa Rica and along the Pacific coast and I saw Playa Hermosa from the plane and thought that more than 10000 surfers could surf there, but there was no access to that zone, only by plane, because there was no bridge in Boca de Barranca, nor was there a highway from the coast from Caldera. The most beautiful from that time were the waves in Boca de Barranca during 1968. They were 10 to 15 feet and the waves at Doña Ana were 7 to 9 feet but they were faster.

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I brought my board and propped it up in the plane’s cabin. We landed during low tide there in Jaco, in the 70s, and we surfed the whole zone of Jaco. My father flew all over Costa Rica and along the Pacific coast and I saw Playa Hermosa from the plane and thought that more than 10000 surfers could surf there, but there was no access to that zone, only by plane, because there was no bridge in Boca de Barranca, nor was there a highway from the coast from Caldera. The most beautiful from that time were the waves in Boca de Barranca during 1968. They were 10 to 15 feet and the waves at Doña Ana were 7 to 9 feet but they were faster.

 

When Roy Quiroz and I glided across the wave, there was a guy they called “Tarzan” that learned to surf those waves. I am so Costa Rican and all of my family went to live elsewhere and I stayed in this beautiful country enjoying her waves. My thinking as a Surfer is that it is a direct link with nature, and because of that I never participated in tournaments. For me, it is more spiritual than competing with another Surfer.

 

 

Alexa Salazar, the granddaughter of Mario Salazar with 5 years Surfing in Jaco Beach. Is father Sergio Salazar and Carolina.

Surfers back then, we were like brothers, we helped each other out, when someone did not have a board, the other made it easy for him to still ride waves; there were plenty of waves then. I have surfed many places in Costa Rica and I would like to be able to ride a wave at Roca Bruja and Pavones. I went to Mazatlán in México in 66 with José Segovia. We rented a board to be able to stand up but we could not maneuver. I currently work in tourism with the Costa Rica Tentation agency. I would tell a young surfer to give your heart and soul to a very physical sport.

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