Cristian, a 25 year-old Rasta-surfer from Garza, will compete in the longboard category at the World Surfing Games to be held in Peru starting October 19th. This opportunity holds a special meaning since last year he had also been chosen to participate but a groin pull three days before the competition prevented him from competing. But this year his getting his revenge and he's giving it his all!
He started surfing when he was 10, standing up on a boogie board to surf. "I did not like to lay on the table like everyone else, I would stand up and play in the foam of the waves". His uncle taught him several tricks, although his real teacher was the ocean itself.
Fifteen years later, and with an average of four hours of surfing per day, Santamaría will represent his beloved Costa Rica by competing against the very best in the world, alongside world-renowned surfers such as Jason Torres and Gilbert Brown.
The water in Peru is cold and wearing a neoprene suit is essential, "I have worn it several times here but it's very uncomfortable, on the inside it is very warm but since the water there is very cold, it is a good thing [that it's warm]", Cristian explains.
He states that he is happy and one can tell by the smile that won't leave his face, "last year I wanted to compete but I couldn't go, therefore I will surf this tournament with all my soul. I want to catch great waves so that I can advance in each heat. The waves there are left-hand waves and the ocean is deeper and rocky, making them stronger....it will be fun".
Why longboard?, I asked, "diay [well], I don't know...in the National's I compete with both shortboard and longboard but for this I was chosen for the longboard. This year (2010) I came in second place nationwide with the longboard, maybe that's the reason", he answers.
On October 17th, he will travel to Peru with ten other Ticos that will be competing. They will travel a few days earlier in order to train and get to know the waves. Besides taking some flights on local aircrafts, Cristian has never travelled on a large plane, “I have only been to Nicaragua”. There is great excitement and the anxiety can be seen in his shaky hands.
Cristian has been the only surfer from Nosara who has been chosen twice to be part of the National Team. He insists that without the financial support of Steve Reyer (Coconut Harry’s) and everyone at the Safari Surf School, he would not be where he is today. His gratitude overflows and he asks me to write this down in my notepad…”don't forget to mention this”, he asks.
Is this your best moment?, “No, my best moment was when my son, Isaias, was born. I stayed in San José for almost two weeks. I had never gone that long without surfing but I didn't mind because my son's birth gave me the greatest joy of my life”.
Which is your dream after the competition? "I am currently a Surf Instructor at Coconut Harry's Surf Shop but my dream is to be able to do a world tour surfing all the waves, representing a sponsoring brand. And, of course"….he smiles…."that my son surfs with me".