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By Mario Vargas

Reporting from Turrialba, Costa Rica
Written by: Alejandro ‘Alex’ Fernandez
Mario ‘Huevo’ Vargas and COSTA RICA KAYAK TOURS (CRKT) continues to foment the sport of whitewater kayaking in the valley of Turrialba, near the world-famous Pacuare River in Costa Rica, Central America. Although outdoor sports are quite popular in Latin America kayaking is economically not accessible to most people. Mario and CRKT are determined to offer local youths a chance to learn the sport and expose them to top quality JACKSON KAYAKS. As a weekly Sunday routine, Mario offers the Turrialba community free kayaking lessons, including roll sessions and intermediate play boating at the local pool plus ‘river running’ instruction at the nearby Pejibaye River.
The local ‘balnerario’ (pool) serves as an excellent venue for Mario to teach roll classes as well as for advanced boaters to hone their freestyle technique. Mario provides participants with all necessary equipment including spray decks, paddles, pfd’s, helmets and of course a nice selection of JACKSON KAYAKS. If weather is good the class often heads towards the Pejibaye River for fun on the water and great chance for novice paddlers to get their feet wet on class 1 and 2 rapids.
Many years ago a community project was initiated in Turrialba by the late ACA Instructor Ray McClain and by Roger Madrigal, whom represented Costa Rica in the Olympic Games of Atlanta. Using the same community pool they started a free children’s kayak learning center, one from which many professional kayakers today started. Previous pool owners however banned kayaking sessions at the pool for various reasons. Although that school no longer exists, the original concept inspired Mario to re-vamp that tradition, partly in honor to Mr. McClain, whom influenced the kayaking community in Turrialba tremendously.
Kayaking is exploding in popularity in Costa Rica and more competitive events are taking place annually. Of course, JACKSON KAYAKS’ presence is felt and seen at each event as Mario continues to play an essential role at the competitive and organizational level. Now with Mario’s project to influence and create access to the sport for youths in we shouldn’t be surprised to see more and more Costa Rica boaters on the international competition scene in the years to come…

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