something you really love

Christian Winther came to Costa Rica in 2004 and skated with the guys from Perez Zeledon. These are his impressions from that time.

In 2004, after seeing a photo of a beach with palmtrees and a wave that seemed to go on forever, I decided to go to Costa Rica. I didn’t know much about the place except I really wanted to go there. I’m not well-known for doing research before I go places so I packed up a few things, brought my surfboards and my skateboard and left the dark and cold Swedish November behind me.

Once in San Jose my skateboard had been lost in transit, so I spent the first month or so travelling around and surfing as much as I could. After that I ended up renting a small house in Dominicalito. The place is pretty much a couple of houses situated on a beautiful beach a few kilometers outside of Dominical on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. There was no ATM in Dominical at the time so you had to catch the local bus up to San Isidro everytime you ran out of money. Those busrides were long. Not in distance but timewise, but I loved every second of it. The views of the mountains, people’s everyday chit-chat and laughter and the endless number of stops in small villages. It wasn’t your average western-world busride where people think you’re crazy if you try to strike up conversation and this suited my personality more than well.

Christimas was coming up and since I was there by myself I figured I had to get me my own presents. I was fed up with territorial, all-too-serious and sometimes agressive surfers so I went and got myself a skateboard and a guitar. It took me a day or so of asking around to find the local “skatepark” Poli Deportivo, the communal recreational area. I looked up at a massive but only 2 meter wide U-ramp in concrete with potholes the size of tennisballs. After a few rides and even dropping into the thing I decided to let the dinosaur sleep. As I stood there looking at this monster I suddenly heard rolling wheels on concrete and moved in the direction of the sound. Just a short distance away under a roof was a bunch of curbs, flatrails and ramps (that definitely had seen better days) and a few guys skating.

I introduced myself in very poor spanish and aksed if it was ok to join them in which they replied with a bunch of ok’s and big smiles. I started going back and forth like a commuter to hang out with the San Isidro skaters and before I knew they showed me their city and every spot it had to offer. Compared to agressive surfers this was something entirely different. I mean it’s not like someone will yell: Go home, this is my spot! as you approach a curb or ramp. These guys were in fact stoked that I was there and wanted me to skate their spots. Big difference.

I think what impressed me the most, apart from their friendliness, was that no matter how crappy their boards and ramps were (you and I would probably get nightmares just looking at them, let alone skate them) they never complained, ever! It reminded me of how important it is to never let anyting get in the way of something you really love.

I made some great friends in San Isidro and was once more reminded of what an amazing friend-maker this little piece of wood with four wheels on that we call a skateboard is.

Little did I know that some 8 years later I would get an email from a German guy who, along with some friends, had started a project to help build a skatepark in San Isidro and by doing so, inevitably ran into my friends who told him about my relatively short presence there. I can’t tell you how happy I was to hear about this project. I’m sure that it will make such a big difference for the San Isidro skaters and they truly deserve it because they have paid their dues. Believe me!

JC Winther

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