By. Trevor Brown
Pictures by Jack Edwing and Camaleon Studio.com
Surfing in Dominical exists because of the Barú River. A lot of famous beach breaks around the world are near a large river mouth. Dominical is no different. The mighty Barú pumps out a lot of water as well as sediment from higher elevations into the river’s mouth. The combination of tides and currents spreads the large deposits of sand into underwater banks. The sand banks allow the incoming energy from the swell to take shape and create the waves we surf. In Dominical, the waves and the shape of the beach change with the seasons, and the Barú dictates their future.
In the beginning of the year, Pacific Costa Rica experiences dry summer conditions. During this time, the Barú River carries a minimal amount of water. The storms and the transfer of energy from the waves also stop.
The river’s mouth is saturated with sand from the heavy rains and now the calm seas gently push the sand back up onto the mellow beaches over the course of the summer. You will notice that the beach at Dominical has much more sand during the summer months. Small
currents still remain and the surfers enjoy a gentler style of surfing.
As the rains begin in late April and May, the once calm Barú River again rages with fresh waters from its tributaries in the mountains. The tides are much higher during this time of year, and the conditions around the river’s mouth get a bit more extreme. The summer sand still blocks the river from efficiently exiting and can very easily flood a large area near its banks. Before long, the river mouth is forced wide open thanks to the rushing water and the sweeping currents become commonplace. As the river blows out sands, many of
the surfers look for newly-formed banks as new-wave forms.
Without the Barú, we would not have constantly changing and growing sand deposits. As surfers, we thank the Barú and hope that no future developments upstream disturb the natural flow of its waters.