Watch: Oscar Langburne Chronicles An Array Of Central American Corners - Stab Mag

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Watch: Oscar Langburne Chronicles An Array Of Central American Corners

A diverse buffet of empty slabs, wedgy sand, and cobblestone points.

cinema // Jun 25, 2024
Words by Holden Trnka
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The coastline of Central America stretches nearly 9,000 kilometers total — 6,000 on the Pacific side and 2,800 on the Caribbean coast. 

As a relatively narrow landbridge between North and South America, the coastline-to-land ratio from the northern border of Mexico to the southern stretch of Panama is 0.011 — a remarkably high percentage, which contributes to the region’s monumental biological diversity.

“Despite the fact that the region has a restricted latitudinal range of approximately 12° significant climatic variations occur due to the topographic complexity rather than to latitude,” reads the Encyclopedia of Biodiversity. “For example, within a latitudinal range of only approximately 2° and an area of approximately 51,000 km2, the country of Costa Rica harbors 12 distinct life zones (vegetation types), one more than in the eastern United States, even though Costa Rica is only the size of West Virginia,”

Local surfers and regular visitors will know that this diversity extends to the coastlines of Central America — with cobblestone points, shallow reef breaks, offshore rivermouths, rippable rock shelves, and brackish beachbreaks dotting every alcove from K38 to Bocas del Toro. 

Above, 21-year old Oscar Langburne displays two months spent cataloging setups across Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama, and Costa Rica.

“I basically just got invited down to Panama through a mutual friend,” he tells me. “I just based there for about two months and  hit places when it looked like there was going to be a swell. I didn’t get the best waves, to be honest but it amazing to see all of the different countries and explore new zones. I filmed all these sessions over maybe two weeks all up, but I was there for almost two months.”

The standout session above was at an outer reef better known for handling gargantuan Southern hemisphere swells. At slightly overhead, it’s dry, clampy, and spooky — seeing as you’ll likely be surfing it alone. 

“No one was out there at all,” Oscar recalls. “It was kind of sketchy, that end bit goes super dry, but I never hit the bottom. I was out there for four hours just by myself. Ben Bagley swam out to film, which was gnarly [laughs]. It was a pretty short window, and then it just turned off. It was kind of tricky. The first few waves I was pretty skeptical. It was hard to read at the start, pinching on the wrong ones, but then toward the end I got more comfortable.”

Oscar will be following this surf clip with a section from a Fiji strike mission in a few weeks.

“Attention spans are so short these days it kinda feels like not many people can sit through a 40-minute movie. I just kinda wanted to break it up and make it two different parts.”

Above, enjoy his languid approach through an array of Central American bathymetry.


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