We first met Kent a few years ago in Charleston before she decided to move to Costa Rica to enjoy a slower pace of life and endless waves. Her passions for simplicity, wellness, sustainability, entrepreneurship, and of course surfing quickly made her one of the OG Free Fly Ambassadors. Thanks to Kent, we get to live vicariously through her pursuit of pura vida. And recently, we caught up with her to hear how Costa Rica living and surfing has been of lately.
Let's start here... tell us about your board bag hustle.
Of course! So I started Sewee Board Bags about a year and a half ago, while I was in Charleston for the summer. I wanted to make a board bag that was completely sustainable and unique. Today, I source all the fabrics and sew every bag. I mostly do custom so they’ll fit your board perfectly. The fabric is “dead stock” or scrap fabric. I wanted to get away from buying brand new fabrics and maybe preventing some of these fabrics from ending up in the landfill. The top of the bag is either made out of old sails or old coffee bags. And the liner fabric was coming from a bikini company that went out of business in California. The fabric is made out of recycled fishing nets and plastic bottles.
Okay, so what inspired you to move to Costa Rica from Charleston?
I fell in love with Costa Rica while studying abroad while in college. I kept traveling and surfing in different areas but was always comparing everything to Costa Rica. I was trying to find a home away from home, I wanted a place that had consistent surf and warm waves. Costa Rica became that for me and I have been here for two years now.
Tell us what it's like to live there.
The pace of life is slow and “pura vida” is real. I live in a little cabana on a dirt road, and it's a 5-minute bike ride to the beach.
The town is completely quiet after sunset and the most socializing I get is in the water.
What part of Costa Rica do you live in? And... where's your favorite break — without giving away too much :)
I'm on the Pacific North coast of Costa Rica, in a little beach town called Playa Grande. Not too far south of us is Avellanas, my favorite for a day trip. It has a beach break and two different reef breaks, so when it's too big for Playa Grande to hold, it’s the spot. This coast continues to blow my mind with the amount of different surf breaks, it’s pretty easy to find a place to surf with only the people who rode in the car with you; but I'm always super stoked on a day out front at Playa Grande.
Favorite season to surf in Costa Rica?
When the Papagayo winds start blowing off shore. From December to about February, it blows off shore all day, almost every day. Offshore winds mean clean waves and a lot more hours to surf.
Advice to people who want to start surfing?
You need to put countless hours into it, being in the water and learning to read the waves is a crucial part. It helps living in a place where you can go consistently but once you get that feeling, you’re hooked.
What do you think the future of surfing looks like?
I think the future of surfing is happening now, and it doesn’t matter if you are male or female. The WSL set a high bar for surfing and the sport world wide when they decided to have equal prize money for the females and males. I think this will trickle down into the line up and set an equally high bar for respect that is shown to females in the water. Females bring a grace and energy to the water that is much needed in a line up full of men.
Dream place to catch a wave?
What does your pack list look like for a day of surfing and beach bumming?
A quiver of boards, reef-safe sunscreen, hat, and loads of water, a Free Fly towel, always a bag of plantain chips, and the Free Fly Flex Dress to throw on afterwards.
The one thing you can't miss when visiting Costa Rica is...
Arribada in Ostional. It’s when thousands of Sea Turtles come to one specific mile of beach to dig their nest. Turtles nest in Ostional Wildlife Refuge year-round, but the Arribadas occur once a month during rainy season. It usually lasts a few days, and it is well worth making a trip for.
Favorite sea creature?
Sea turtles. I started volunteering with Loggerhead Sea Turtles in the Lowcountry years ago and there’s not a lot that I enjoy more than an early morning on the beach patrolling, marking new nest, doing inventory on the hatched nest, and if your lucky, coming across some adorable baby hatchlings.
Okay, last question... Lowcountry food vs Costa Rican grub? Who wins?
Lowcountry food, hands down. Shrimp and grits, tomato pie, okra, oysters, boiled peanuts. The list goes on and on.