Looking for a reprieve from team sports, Florida native Nick Fairman ventured into surfing when he was a teenager. Although raised in Orlando, his love of the ocean didn’t stop at his favorite surf break in New Smyrna Beach. “It’s where I have all my first memories of something so great.” He also traveled to Costa Rica on a regular basis as a child, instilling in him a love of the country that would later inspire him to move there and open up a juice bar called Go Juice, where the signature drink is banana coffee: “I always felt a connection to my surroundings here whether it was the waves, the people or the solitude that seems to be hard to find in such a busy world.”

As for his fondest memories in the ocean, “I will never forget the sun rising almost at the exact time I first rode down the line of an open-faced wave,” he recalls of surfing Florida’s Atlantic coast. Indonesia was also memorable for him, which he describes as “mind-blowing for its scenery.” But his love of surfing certainly transcends locale. “It never ceases to amaze me how raw of a feeling surfing is in terms of transportation. Moving forward with only a plank and a wave under your feet is almost beyond being comprehensible,” says Fairman. When asked about the most unusual spots he’s surfed at, he replies: “If I had to pick a place, hands down it would be Taranaki, New Zealand. Mount Taranaki is looming down on you like a watch dog and you surf chilly, deep blue waves that garner so much energy and strength.”

Even though surfing the warm, hospitable Costa Rican waves on a nearly daily basis still feels exotic to him, Fairman’s definitely put himself in slightly hairier situations. “Getting called out of the water by the Shark Patrol at Nahoon Reef, South Africa was pretty scary. You hear a siren and see these guys waving white flags with sharks on them. Luckily, it was only bull sharks, but still.

Costa Rica though, at least for now, will remain his home. “I’m learning to understand that Pura Vida is much more than just a phrase here.”

Name: Nick Fairman

Age: 26

Where do you live: Nosara, Costa Rica

Years surfing: 15

Surfing is: “Respect. Being involved with a force as humbling as the ocean has always helped me understand what respect is. I respect that I will never have the upper hand in the ocean.”

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