Swell Junkie

Aloe Driscoll surfing Pavones, Costa Rica.

She wondered what it was, this sensation: if it might be called happiness, or whether it would more rightly be called fear.
– Naomi Wood, Mrs. Hemingway

A massive south swell was rumored to be heading for Costa Rica on the first of May. It started as a whisper. As April drew to a close, it gained momentum, building to a crescendo of cackling jesters, becoming a singular, maniacal fixation. I was eager to keep heading north, and began to solicit information about surf breaks on the Nicoya Peninsula that could handle a big south. A tico who had lived in the area for years told me that nowhere on the Nicoya would be able to manage it. I looked at a map in disbelief. How could this be? It didn’t make sense. But the more people I questioned, the more certain the answer became. Nowhere. Nothing. No.

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Surf Town, Planet Earth

Waves in Pavones, Costa Rica

If he looked back on what his life had been lately, he had perhaps managed two or three days when he had woken up, looked at the sun – or the rain – and felt glad to see the morning, just happy, without wanting anything, planning anything, or asking anything in exchange. Apart from those few days, the rest of his existence had been wasted on dreams, both frustrated and realized – a desire to go beyond himself, to go beyond his limitations, he had spent his life trying to prove something, but he didn’t know what or to whom. -Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes

A bunch of girls from Surf with Amigas were taking a boat from Matapalo to Pavones, and offered to let me tag along. The boat would pick us up at Pan Dulce, and one of Michelle’s neighbors generously offered to give me and my boards a ride down on his quad. He dropped me off at the beach parking lot, and I scanned the horizon for a boat. The tide was low, and clean, well-formed waves were breaking around the rocky, cobblestone point on the south end. It was difficult to imagine where a boat would land as the beach break was slamming against the sand and the point was dotted with sharp, shallow rocks poking through the surface of the water.

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