Jazzys River House

Steve Fergus – Jazzys River House

AUTHOR: Greg Gordon

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I met Steve in 2001 when I was the director of the Spanish school – Adventure Education Center. He lived two lots over, and we shared a water line, so our first conversations were about fixing well problems. His laid-back attitude and perennial smile made it easy to become friends quickly.

Back in the day, he and his wife Ruby Kim (also an amazing local) would host dinners on Wednesdays and cook and entertain 40 people each week. It was a packed house, and after the dishes were done, the guitars and drums and the occasional fiddle or keyboard would come out, and we would jam until midnight.

But at dawn, Steve would be one of the first guys you would see on the beach. Most often, in the company of a happy dog, whether it was Ocean or Rio, he would check the surf and report back whenever I drove by and stop to say hi to him in the street on my way to paddle out. When he was younger, he would join me for some glassy dawn patrols, but these days he keeps busy with yoga classes, massage, giving guitar lessons, and writing for Medium.

Twenty years ago, things were different in Dominical. The unpaved road, often muddy in the rainy season or dusty in the dry season, kept the pace slow. The smaller community meant you would see the same faces every day, and when the power went out, or the town flooded, neighbors would help each other with food and water. Before the giant stone dike was built, the Baru river flowed right behind Steve’s house, and you could jump right in at high tide.

The favorite meeting place for surfers was the San Clemente restaurant, owned by Mike McGuiness (where the Krazy Kinkajou is now). You could come in each morning for a ‘starving surfer’ breakfast – rice, beans, eggs, and toast, and watch the two small television screens at the end of a row of benches. One had CNN on, the other non-stop surf videos. The ceiling was covered with broken surfboards from Mike’s offer of a free shot and a taco for each broken board. The heavy beach break definitely took its toll. Not just on boards but on bodies, too.

Steve has always stayed involved in the Dominical community. Because of his EMT training, he was often called when someone was severely injured. He helped organize the original lifeguard group and has been on the board of directors for many years. And for years, he provided surf advice in his monthly column – Dr. Shark.

I hope that every expat who decides to move to Dominical will be like Steve – friendly, caring, creative, and protective of the environment and our community.

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