Follow Cozy and Jo on their search for perfect waves and meals through Central- and South America.
Starting in January 2014, they will spend the rest of the year looking for charismatic people who are affiliated to surfing and great food. Their mission is to find and show special places, innovative recipies and unique lifestyles, and capture them in film and photos.
It´s been an adventurous first chapter. We had arrived at night at Havanna Airport without cash or accomodation.The only ATM was broke. A Hawaiian photographer gave us a ride, some hours and Mojitos later we bumped into some German and American Pro-Skaters. Which led us to the whole gang of La Habanas skate- and surf-locals. Few days later we moved in to the house of two of them.
Within the next weeks, they showed us their city and life: A worn down Skatepark with obstacles that poor people steal the metal from. Cheap bars with inofficially destilled rum. Innercity surfspots with sketchy climbing entry and razorsharp reefs. Illegal tattoo-parlours with smuggled tattooing machines.10 stair backsideflips at communist marble-monuments. Broken decks, a lot of police, selfshaped surfboards. Selfmade gasoline and printer-ink graffiticolors, used in old occupied Russian buildings. Delicious hidden foodstalls. A looot of rice with beans. Rooftops of 14 story buildings where families live in 7 squaremeter rooms. And most of all – many inspiring personal stories.
Frank, the guy we stayed with, is not only the best BMX-Rider on the island, he also is one of the best bodyboarders, AND surfers. The guy pulls of backflips on the BMX , reverse aerials with his selfmade surfboard, and pretty much every classic bodyboardtrick known to men in 5 m reefbreaks. He was officialy invited to the Panamerican Surfchampionships of 2009, by the International Olympic Comitee and the Panamerican Surfassociation. But it‘s not that easy. He was denied access to the championship by the Cuban immigration authorities. In fact, he never got to surf outside of Cuba. He doesn‘t even have a sponsor. Actually, there are no sponsors at all in Cuba. There doesn`t even exist a single skate- or surfshop. The guys are simply depending on people from outside, who give them their old equipment as a present when they leave after holidays. That means, every board, bike, truck or deck on the island is in fact brougth/smuggled in from the outside.
So if you consider to spend your next holidays in Cuba: bring your old gear, or ask at your local skate-/ surfshop, they might throw in some stuff, too. The guys here truly deserve it, and for sure will introduce you to the exciting lifestyle of the Cuban underground culture in return. The easiest way to get in touch with the locals is to linger around Havanas only skatepark at the hospital de 26, or at the other main meeting point at the crossing 23 y G in the barrio of Vedado. You can also drop us a line, we will be happy to provide you with the right contacts.
When it comes to food, one needs to invest quite some energy to find extraordinary local dishes.The "Cocina Criolla", how the cuban cuisine is called, is anything but rich in variation. A piece of pork/chicken with rice and beans is the base of most meals. And thats simply what the non-touristy restaurants serve. To find more interesting and special dishes, we´ve entered the private kitchens of different Cuban mamas and papas. Some of them know how to use all the spices, fresh vegetables and herbs the few cheap markets have to offer. But there are many restrictions. Beef, for example, they almost never eat – because they simply can´t get their hands on it. All Beef is property of the government, and if Cubans slaughter their own cow, they go to jail for 10 years. So it's not an easy challenge, to find culinary treasures Still, we´ve found some very tasty and special recipes we´d like to share with you in our upcoming surfer's cookbook. Check the Cosita Buena video for the first one!
For now, we´re done with Rum. Next Destination: Tequila! We´ll keep you posted.
Flying into the world's second biggest city feels like landing on Darth Vader's Deathstar. It took more than 20 minutes just to fly over the innumerable barrios of Mexico City without any sign of it to ever end. Even though it was only a quick stop to change our flights, we were happy when we left it again to reach our actual destination Guadalajara, an "only" 8 milion city further up north. Guadalajara is a city with a vibrating urban art- and graffitiscene. It was quite easy to get in touch with the local writers, one stop at the local graffiti store Hook&Loop was all it took. One day later we were painting a wall with some of Mexicos finest writers from VRS CREW and EYOS Crew. At some point at night, some corrupt police officers handcuffed us on the back of their pickup. Good for us, that they dropped us after an hour of driving around just in front of a really good taco place. The tacos on the streets are some of the best food you can imagine. They are really addictive, we think it is because of the special flavor combination. A good taco touches all your tastebuds: the meat is salty, the salsas spicy, the coriander bitter, the lime sour and the rice water you drink to flush them down is sweet. The other great thing about tacos is that there are endless different variations. The more experimental ones we had were with tongue, eyeball, stomach, fried blood vessels and other body parts that we couldn't figure out. There are also ones with fish, ceviche, shrimps, octopus, cactus, mushrooms and so on. Long story short: tacos are awesome! We will for sure show you how to do some on your own really soon. Apart from that, Guadalajara has to offer huge markets with hundreds of different chilis and spices as well as funny and weird Mexican wrestling where we watched a gay wrestler fight a homophobic super fat cannonball dude.
We also visited very poor favelas, where we were invited by an old man to enjoy the incredible view on the city from his rooftop. Of course he wouldn't let us leave without giving us some of his homegrown mega spicy special chilis. After some weeks of urban adventures we felt like it was time to catch some waves at the beach. We picked the tiny surfers village San Pancho to be our next destination. When we arrived, we were pretty much the only non locals in the village. We became friends with the local surfers, some awesome people that showed us all the surf breaks, cooked typical mexican food with us, let us crash on their couches for weeks and helped us on our project where ever they could. After a couple of weeks we bought a chevy silverado and went on south. We have seen empty beaches in Michoacan, rough places like Acapulco (which is one of the most dangerous cities in the world as we found out) and massive barrels at Rio Nexpa. Finally we arrived in Puerto Escondido which is - for the people who don’t know - one of the most famous surf breaks at the pacific coast with a beach break that really deserves the description „massive". We started to work in a vegan hostel as chefs which was kind of a challenge for us, comparing to the stuff that we are cooking and eating usually - meat, meat and meat. Work hard, play hard - the people loved it and we got a lot of new receipes for the cooking book. Our Mexico mission is done, Costa Rica is waiting. See ya!