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We're in the coastal town of Jaco, where a unique love story flowed from the waves.

Daily food & travel inspiration in your inbox

Daily food & travel inspiration in your inbox

Transcript

- [Stephen] If you had a choice to pack up all your things and paint a picture of the world we live in, what would you do? You ask yourself, what do I have to lose? ♪ Baby, let me follow you down ♪ ♪ Follow you down ♪ ♪ I'm all in pieces just waiting for you to come round ♪ ♪ Round ♪ ♪ To sing you this song ♪ ♪ Baby let me sing you this song ♪ ♪ And cigarettes and these hard finger tips are ♪ ♪ What I've sacrificed to deliver you this song ♪ - We find ourselves living on this planet we call home yet we are so disconnected from it all. We feel like complete strangers. The pursuit of happiness, the pursuit of love, the pursuit of adventure, the pursuit of freedom. My name is Stephen Friedman, and this is the story of chasing the sun. Costa Rica literally means rich coast, and with that in mind the definition of rich is the wealth of the landscape, and the people that call this place home. My journey in Costa Rica started off in San Jose, but I headed to the coast to a small town called Jaco. Yeah, there's so many surf shops, old school, and restaurants. There's so much going on in this little town, but do you know what? It's not even about just about the surfing. It's just about the culture and the people. Yeah, it's great to be here. And also the landscape is unbelievable. The backdrops of every beach break around here, a couple of point breaks, but it's just incredible. You feel like you're in the jungle. Meanwhile, San Jose is an hour away. I came to Jaco to meet with Liesbeth and Diego, who are Costa Rica's first professional surfers. I met them years back when I used to compete, so it was good to come to their hometown and spend some time with them. ♪ Take a walk by the river ♪ ♪ To the atmosphere ♪ - I started because of my husband. 20 years ago he, for the first time, he gave me this huge classic, thick white board, you know. And because I told her, I really want to learn how to surf. I was about almost 13. I'll be 33 pretty soon too, same month as when I start surfing. And I catch my first wave by myself. I paddle out, paddle, paddle, and stand up, and right away I found that connection, you know, that feeling that made me feel that, Oh, this is what I want to do for living. I just want to be a professional surfer. I want to travel around the world, compete, surf, find the best waves, enjoy this sport, and that's what I did. I start working on it. I follow my dream. I work really hard on my goals. I train everyday. I surf all day. And I become at that time girlfriend of my actually husband, Diego Naranjo, we start surfing together. We decide to go to California, and that's how our careers begin. We were the first two professional surfers from Costa Rica. Hi, my name is Liesbeth Vindas, I live in Playa Jaco, Costa Rica, and this is where I grew up and I've been surfing all my life. ♪ Getting by the stars ♪ - I think I know my wife for more than 30 years, I believe, 26 years probably. We've been together for 16 years already, and so far it's been great because she understand what I do, I understand what her do, and we help each other in our career. It was good because also sometimes you have this rivalry between your brother or your sister, or something like that, but with us it was all come to the same basket so we try to help as much as we can, each other. My name is Diego Naranjo, and we are in Playa Jaco, Costa Rica, in the Central Pacific of the country. It was very hard for me to try to become a pro surfer because my dad, it was, "You have to go to school, "you have to get a job, this is not a sport, "this is for hippies, or lazy people, you know what." - When we first start surfing, it was a little bit complicated, you know. All the people have this way of thinking about surfing, was just for parties, just for drugs, and we have to start bringing and showing them results to make them believe in this sport. And that was our goal and I think we did a great job. Actually, I have 16 titles for Costa Rica in the National Circuit, in total, and four times Central American Champion. I've been competing with the national team since 1995, I've been in every single team for Costa Rica, and we did a lot of good results, you know. Well, I started surfing almost 20 years ago, actually, this July, will be my 20th anniversary. I can't wait to have a party and celebrate all these years bringing results and happiness for my country. It's just a gift and I feel proud because it's been so much work, during all these years, and I feel that we did a really good job and really good results. - Hopefully my son Julian becomes a surfer, we don't push him to become a pro surfer but if he likes to do it, if he loves the surfing, we definitely we have the knowledge and experience to help him to go as far as he want. - But I would really love him to surf so we can surf as a family, that's my goal. And he love the ocean, he love the waves, and I'm happy we have more choices for him. I hope he's surfing, but it's up to him. These days, to be a professional surfer, you have to keep training hard, full training, a lot of balance, trampoline, a lot of time in the water. It's a combination of a lot of things to be a professional surfer. You have to sleep early, drink a lot of water, eat healthy. A lot of things that you have to do to be professional because it's a lot of competition to keep there, to keep the reading we have to work really hard. Yeah, he's been very important in my life, he make me believe, to follow my dreams, to work for it. And he's been there, nationally now he's a coach, and he work with me a lot, he work with beginners, intermediate, and professional surfers too and he's doing an excellent job and I try to always to listen what he doing, he's helping me all the time. This year I'm working on my campaign to get another title for Costa Rica, and he's there with me by my side, with my family. - I'm not a full-time competitor now, but I still getting paid from my sponsor, I still do some contests every once in a while. I like to put a jersey on, and also I love to go on the surf wave and do videos and photos and doing that with little kids or teenagers help me to keep doing it with a lot more energy. - My grandpa was the first person in this town, Jaco. So he started this town, my family was the first family. My husband family was the second family in town, so they got together and they built this special place, and my mom grew up here, and we grew up here, so it's kind of just our home. Actually, when my grandpa moved, when they were kids, they almost owned all the Jaco, and they started giving it away to trade it for cows, for rice, for food because they were thinking nobody would ever come to this town. It just started growing, growing, growing, growing now we have a city with all the accommodations people need and a lot of tourists, so we try to take care of our tourists, make sure they come back, they enjoy our places, and our Costa Rica. - So far I've been in more than 30 countries around the world, there is very beautiful places, very nice countries, I met a lot of nice people. But definitely there is no other country in the world that I want to live in the rest of my life but Costa Rica. I surfed very good waves in different places, but all together, the food, the waves, the family, people, the weather, everything combined, I don't think there's a better country than Costa Rica to live for me, for my family. Before it was for fun, and now I just love my lifestyle of being a surfer and hopefully I can pass this lifestyle to my child and keep living like that the rest of my life. - When you travel by car sometimes you never know what you're going to see on the side of the road. Especially in a place like Costa Rica. They're thousands of iguanas, everywhere. It's pretty surreal. In the trees, by the restaurant, by the bridge, everywhere. They all have the different viewing points, to check them out, I'm just standing on the bridge trying to not get run over by any cars, but it's pretty crazy. I've actually never seen an iguana. I've only ever seen an iguana in a zoo before when I was a little kid, but seeing them in the wild, this is kind of the wild for them and it's pretty crazy. It's in the most congested part of the town, and I'm trying not get run over by any buses or cars, or anything. They're just so cool, and they're so well camouflaged. There's a couple down there, you barely see, but you just see movement the whole time. There is so much wildlife on the side of the road. Everything from sloths, to crocodiles. You're surrounded by nature 24/7. To say something is beautiful, it's like saying it leads to a captivating moment that really makes one feel taken back, as you admire what lays before your very eyes. Costa Rica is the definition of this, is the true beauty of nature and the people that surrounds you constantly. But now I find myself on a plane as I go to a place where, "One Love" is a lyric that filters through the land. As I've touched down and stepped into a way of life that is Jamaica. I gotta meet Rohan Marley a few years ago. I had dinner with him and we started chatting, and this is at the time when he was launching his coffee brand. And he said if I ever come to Jamaica I need to go to his farm, meet the people that work there, and he would show me around. Unfortunately, he wasn't here, but I gave him a call and he hooked us up. And I think what stood out the most was the fact that the family that run the farm, and the passion that they have for the farm, and the lifestyle that they live, it's more than the coffee, at the end of the day. And that's what I've noticed a lot when traveling, it's the families that you meet. They tell so much more of the place and the story, and being on the farm and learning about the coffee and things like that, I learned a lot more than just coffee. - My name is Renald Walters, living in Shepstone, in Portland, and been farming for about 29 years. And coffee is my number one priority. - The type of farming we do here is strictly organic, no chemical, no pesticides, in the interaction with the whole bugs and stuff that grow around our plants here, we use organic methods to try and get rid of some of them. My name is Roman Walters, I'm a DJ, originally, but a part-time farmer. - The reason why we deal with the organic coffee is because we know that chemical is not good for your health, and Mr. Marley introduced the organic growing with the coffee, first in Portland, and brought Mr. Marley and I come together, and we organize it, and from that time until this blessed day, we are all in the organic coffee business until this day, 15 years. I love it, so much. Yes, I love to grow coffee. I like to, really. When I plant it, I like to visit it every day. I just like to see what it grow each day. If you don't love the coffee, you can't grow coffee. Oh, Jamaican jackfruit. This is a nice food to eat. It's strength, yeah power. It's a good thing, man. - So it's kind of like a pineapple? - Yeah. - Sweet. - Being in the community, having the river around, yeah I guess it's the most exciting thing that could ever happen until I come here for me. Because whenever I'm here and I get a little bit hot, I just . Oh, I could go to the falls, I go to the river, in general, and I get a little swim, and in the night again I go to bed. So it's cool. And the guys are all here, they love the river. Some of the time we have some picnics and we have some cookouts, so we get some beers, and we go to the river, me and the friends. We spend our birthday there. It's cool, I really love it. Something to treasure. - It's so hard to describe what it was, it was kind of like a waterfall oasis, and there was an amazing cliff to jump into this oasis. It was away from everything and everyone and we were just surrounded by this pure nature and beauty of... It seems like an artist came and just painted the perfect setup, and sharing it with the family, it was amazing. Just jumping off the cliff, everything was in slow motion, and it was really, really deep. I remember the first time I jumped I went so far down that everything kind of just stopped and I slowly just followed the bubbles up to the surface. It was one of the places and moments I'll never forget. Lucky, lucky family to have that right at their doorstep. - This lifestyle that I experience is being free. You have a freedom of speech in Jamaica, man. You can enjoy yourself, you're not being like, you know. Where I live and grew up, you're not being like, holding down, you can do whatever is in your head space. So you can go, you can experience things here, it's good. I do two types of farming. And getting into farming, first of all, is like, in a young stage, I used to plant my little garden at my house. So being into school, having agriculture, yeah. I know a little bit about farming, other than being around that before. So I used to plant my little gardens and then finish school, couldn't get a permanent work, so I choose to go with that for a little while. I deal with it now two years now. So basically I am a bit of a farmer, coffee, and a vegetable guy. Two type of farming. - He's my last son. Yes, and I teach him about the coffee. He was in ed whenever time we're working, and he watched me clean it, yes. So when the next one, know how that clean into that thing but a different thing kind of what him is a man who how he has follow my footstep and I rate him for that. I spend my whole time there, night and day. Through the weekend, that Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, I on the farm all these day just to make the coffee come to where it is. Yes, me alone. There are some guys that work five days and we work right through. And I work, I do my time up here, yes. That's my time when you think about peer. You will leave it there, yes, but when I have a free and a clean mind towards the thing Thing good, yes. I see it up with everybody. As do I want you to know. You just have that love, and for you have that love and can share it enough. Things most grand. - I think he started drinking coffee today, so next step maybe try again? - First time for everything, I'm in Jamaica, drinking coffee.