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Meet the real legends, history of surfing, kayaking and rafting in Costa Rica



The history of Surfing in Costa Rica, is a historical guideline, about the evolution of Surfing from 1967 to present time. Barranca and Doña Ana beaches, on the central Pacific coast of Costa Rica, are the birthplace of surfing here. At the end of 1967, and the beginning of 1968 you could surf gigantic waves of more than 15 feet in Boca de Barranca. Although, before 1968 there might have been a few adventurous visiting surfers that enjoyed the sport of kings in Costa Rica there is no evidence of any local or foreigner who enjoyed the sport on any regular basis. Barranca had a terrible reputation: The locals believed that the river brought food for sharks. It was a beach where many people had drawn because of strong currents and huge waves. 20 year old Mario Salazar’s father, was a pilot, and on one occasion while flying to Puntarenas with Jose Segovia they were able to observe from the air, a place where the waves broke in perfect form for surfing, dawn below, the river Barranca went into the ocean and made a current like an (F) leaning towards the right producing a sandbar in the middle that made the wave brake with perfect shape all the way to the Puntarenas hospital which was under construction at the time.​


Note: To try to find all the information on the history of Surfing and all the people, was an exhaustive job of more than 16 months of research. We were able to find many, but others we tried to contact and could not. The information and each description of the Surfers that followed were authorized by their own person, with their own photos and testimonies. Also for the interest and importance of Surfing in Costa Rica, in this section we will include the following names of Surfers with whom we were unable to obtain information, or they are out of the country or they have passed on.


Gathering the information on the history of Surfing and interviewing all the surfers, was an exhaustive job that took  more than 8 months of research. We were able to interview many surfers. The information and description of the Surfers that followed was authorized by their own person, with their own photos and testimonies. On behalf of the historic importance, of Surfing in Costa Rica, in this section we will include the names of Surfers with whom we were unable to contact,  they live out of the country or they have passed on: Albin Acosta Begin Surfing 1968, Otto Cataricho Begin Surfing 1968, Macho Rodríguez Begin Surfing 1968, Guillermo  Miranda Quesada Begin Surfing 1969, Oscar Eduardo Ruiz “El Nica” Begin Surfing 1969, Carlos Sayan Begin Surfing 1970, Carlos Alfaro Begin Surfing 1971, Larry Hustler, Gordon, Cristofer, Bret Harter, Ken Matley, Jan Larsson, The “Troglodita” A huge gringo, Eduardo Gerry, Javier Valverde (RIP), Alberto Mantilla, Ricardo (Chino) Solano, Richard Chileni, Kike Albarrazin (Care Gato), Heiner Morales, David Arguello, Mario Urpi Rodríguez, William Rodríguez (Seco) Begin Surfing 1971 (q.d.e.p), Rodolfo (Tabito) Torres Jimenez (RIP), Álvaro Coto (El Burro/ RIP), he was a great athlete and surfer, there is no doubt the Point of “Burro” at Roca Bruja is named for him, Álvaro Vizcaíno, Fernando Figuls Begin Surfing 1972, Javier “Pana” Palacios Begin Surfing 1972, Walter Kelloy Begin Surfing 1972, Delbert Deni More Begin Surfing 1972, Alvaro Vizcaino Begin Surfing 1974, Diego Carranza Begin Surfing 1975, Roger Jaggli Begin Surfing 1979, Carlos Zaya, Rolo Masis (RIP), “El Indio” of Boca de Barranca who surfed with a wooden board from the beginning, Otto (Catalicho) López,  Fernando Rodríguez, Alfonso Martínez, Cundino Arias, Jorge (Koki) Reyes (RIP),“Cangrejo” (RIP), one of the first to fix boards in Costa Rica, the one called “Tarzán”, Pedro Odio, Cesar (Rock & Roll), José (Pepe), Kenneth (Chereveco) Ávila Rodríguez, Luis Armijo, “Chino” Harold, Yanco Aponte, “Chino” Asan, Richard Loeb, Juan Carlos Burgos, Marco Salazar, Eladio Castro, Sergio Leiva, Rafael (Fabeto) Montejo, Eduardo Lizano, José Mafio (RIP), Rafael Li (Pecho/ RIP),  Luis Chow (Maguito), José Chou, “Milory”, Ricardo (Chato) Valdepera, Mario Montero, Carlos Mateo, Francisco (Chico) Castro, Diego Carranza, Alberto (Cubano) Jiménez, Cris Withman, Oscar (Chicharrón) Sánchez Solano, Alberto Quevedo, Federico Alvarado, Walter (Teca) Fallas Angulo, Javier (Tigre) Fallas Angulo, Hugo (Gory Negro) Chollett, Carlos Matarrita, and possibly many others who surfed but we did not hear of them again.​​

History of Surfing in Costa Rica


Surf legends history


History of Kayak Surf


Rafting History


Kayaking in Jaco with Neil Kahn


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