CAS Essay


At the age of 12, when I first arrived at the beach in my new Costa Rican hometown, I immediately noticed that the sand was beautiful and the waves were perfect, but there weren’t many local people surfing, and no local kids. Over time, I realized only five Costa Ricans came to surf at what’s known to be a “local beach.” 

Growing up in Florida, I surfed every day, and saw many different faces; however, in Costa Rica, only tourists and expats filled the beach. Why? As I connected more with my new community, I slowly began to realize the answer: people didn’t have the resources. Costa Rica is known across the world as one of the best surf spots on the planet, yet people lucky enough to live here have limited access. 



This was the area I wanted to work in, but identifying a solution for this immense issue was very hard. At first, my project was creating an organic, locally sourced and sustainable surf wax. Going through the project, I noticed myself feeling bored, procrastinating and not feeling any motivation towards CAS. After talking with my CAS teacher and past students for advise, I seemed clear I needed to find a way to become excited / engaged with what I was doing.

I found two surf shops close to this beach. 1 – Frijoles Locos sells brand new surfboards. I bought a new board there, the price double what I was used to in Florida. 2 – A smaller shop, Matos, has chipped paint on the walls and the door creaks open. After slowly becoming confident with my Spanish, I worked up the courage to go inside and check out their display. Old, damaged surfboards sat under a sign that said: “For Rent $6.” The difference between these shops was obvious: a shop accessible to everyone consisted of beat-up surfboards and another shop provided high-quality surfboards, but only to a very few.

I knew something had to be done. I brought this challenge to my IB CAS class, and over two years, I created a non-profit Surf and Skate shop, where all rentals are free and where my classmates display products they have created like reusable bags and painted skateboards. I called this shop the Boardroom.


Global Importance

Connections I have in both of my communities facilitated this project and helped kids from all over the community to get exercise, gain increased access to opportunities, find healthy hobbies and become more involved in the community. Reaching out to surf shops and people in Florida and Costa Rica, I gathered donations for boards and materials.  From my current and former teachers, my family, my classmates, and local businesses, I received enough money and materials to launch my project. BlockSkate Jax donated boards, bearings, wheels: enough to build 40 skateboards, giving me the opportunity to organize large events. 



I hosted a community workshop to teach kids how to build and assemble skateboards and how to skate, with the resources I gained from these connections. I got a lot of engagement, so much so that parents thanked me, and asked for this workshop to turn into a regular event. I gave away skateboards, stickers, and many more materials to kids who showed up and participated to once again encourage exercise and give prizes for engaging with the community in a sustainable way.

The planning stage was difficult. I had to abide by covid-19 regulations, which was harder said than done because of the wide range of edges participating in the workshop. I spent a lot of time talking to school staff to make sure this could happen in a way that didn’t expose anyone to the virus. Marketing this project to the students however, was a different story. I had to do very little to get many of the students and parents excited, and the turn out ended up being very successful. Lastly, setting up the workshop came along. I talked and collaborated with another fellow IB student with a CAS project of her own. She manages “LaFeria” which is a market that comes to our school every wednesday. She gave me my own booth free of charge, allowing my event to be even more successful and fun than anticipated.



As this project was formed during the peak of the pandemic, I had to work around many obstacles, and persevere through them. An important one is the restructuring of my goals. Initially, I wanted to drive students to beaches and skateparks after school, and host a surf and skate club. This is something my school didn’t have in comparison to others in the area. However, with covid-19, I wasn’t able to do this. It was extremely demotivating, because it was a large reason as to why I formed my CAS project in the way I did. Aside from my workshops, I wasn’t able to connect with people through these passions.

Instead of hosting the club, I engaged my community in other ways. I focused on receiving donations, and the rental part of the project. I even developed my own sustainable, locally produced, and organic surf wax that I sold for some profit to go back into the business. I made a completely unique wax recipe that surfers all over my community used. I persevered through the initial problem, and although it was challenging, I am extremely proud of what this project currently represents for the school, and the legacy I have left behind through it.


The Boardroom taught me how to write business plans and correspondence in both English and Spanish, to teach younger students, and to be a community organizer.  It has also taught me what connection means.  Real connection means inviting someone in, sharing cultures, helping each other.  Real connection is necessary to build a community.  Soon, another 12 year old will move here from Florida. He will notice a beautiful ocean, perfect waves, and people surfing. I hope he will also see a new community built around the waves, one that includes faces of local surfers of all ages and skill levels. I hope he will notice the beach is full, connected.

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