Photographer:Austen Sweetin
Camera:Olympus OM-1
Film:Fujifilm Velvia 50, Kodak Portra 160, Kodak ELITE Chrome 400

The Balance Project in Costa Rica

Two weeks in Central America filming for DCP's latest skate/snow/surf film

When you think of Costa Rica you likely imagine world class beaches filled with perfect point breaks. Or maybe the Central American country's vast jungles populated with every species imaginable. What you aren't likely to think of, is skateboarding, and for good reason—temperatures steadily reaching into the mid 90s with 80% humidity isn't exactly ideal weather to be crammed in a van searching for skate spots, especially when you could be in the ocean catching the best wave of your life. Though this trip was an exception; we were on a film trip for DCP’s new snow/skate/surf movie “Balance,” along with a few of our favorite skateboarders: Paul Hart, Mark Appleyard and Louie Barletta.

Being welcomed into the van by Louie—one of the most creative skaters of all time—we set off to take on Costa Rica by storm, scouring each and every little surf town and jungle getaway for spots—we even found a few, though mostly they came in the style of cement vert ramp vestiges from the 1980s, Argentinian bowls, or wooden jungle miniramps. Regardless, over the course of a week we skated every crusty spot and jumped in every body of water we drove by. Enjoying the days just as much as the nights, we skated until we could skate no longer, then we drank cervezas on the ocean shores and in jungle bungalows, sharing stories and reminiscing on the day's adventures throughout.

After a fulfilling week of skating with the Globe guys it was time for them to head off to their next destination and for DCP and I to head down south to paddle out with a few of the local boys for some waves. After a long drive made even longer by bumpy dirt roads we pulled in to our oceanside house. Here, with thick jungle in every direction but one, I first met our hosts, Sam Reidy, an 11 year local grom that surfs triple over head on a 5’0’’ and Leon Glatzer, who landed one of the biggest airs I’ve ever seen. Watching these guys, along with DCP, surf the most pristine left point break was a real treat. There was no lack of excitement in the water as they fired down the line railing deep into bottom turns, following each up with powerful backside slashes.

We stayed with Sam’s family for the week surfing all day from dawn patrol and into the evenings. Knowing that we would soon be returning to the cold, dark waters of the Northwest only amplified the excitment.

Born and bred in Seattle, Austen is a professional snowboarder, emerging photographer, and all around purveyor of good vibes.
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