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Sublime/Surfing in Costa Rica late 80's early 90's


Hey, I have a kind of tricky question that may not have a direct, absolute answer.
So I'm going to see Sublime w/ Rome next week and I was talking to my girlfriend and her dad about it, because we're HUGE Sublime fans. He then told me that he actually had the pleasure of meeting Bradley and the band, but wasn't certain if it was actually him, Bud, and Eric.

My girlfriend's dad had taken a surfing trip to Costa Rica in possibly the late 80's or early 90s. He and his friends had taken a boat to one of the parts of the island that isn't open to the public by driving or what not. I'm not certain on the location, but he had said something about the word for "wave" in Spanish. So at the "surf spot" he ran into three dudes with shaven heads, on their surf boards, out in the water, who told him that they were musicians from California. and he mentioned he was from Florida. He then told us something about "catching a wave and riding it right between two of them".

Then later on that day he and his buddies ended up meeting the "musicians from California" at the only bar in town, and greeted each other as "Florida" and "California".

A few years later he discovered Sublime and saw their pictures, and he thought it was them whom he met in Costa Rica.

 So the QUESTION is: what year(s) did Brad and whomever else visit Costa Rica to surf? And if you've heard a story in any relation to this about the band meeting people (or surfers) in Costa Rica, please share.  

We'd like to verify this story because if it was actually them that's the coolest thing I've ever heard. This might not be the most reliable place to ask; but its certainly cheaper than buying back stage passes lol.


I would say that you asked the right person this question.  I clearly remember when Brad told me about his adventure to Costa Rica.  Of course I didn't ask him the right questions about it but that's okay.  Then about a year after he went, my wife and I went on our honeymoon to Costa Rica. Brad did make it to our wedding with Troy but I don't think that we talked about our impending trip to Costa Rica.

So Brad, Eric, Miguel and Kelly Vargas and a few other friends went to Costa Rica in February of 1993.  I'm pretty sure that Bud wasn't on this trip. Brad was struggling with heroin at that time so the trip was partially a chance to get away from the Long Beach drug scene, relax, surf and just casually play music.

I'm not sure really exactly where they surfed but I have a clue as to one spot.  When my wife and I were surfing there on our honeymoon in July/August of 1994 we unexpectedly and randomly came across some Sublime grafitti in a little hut on the beach.  It was so weird and cool.  I don't remember why we were in this little hut but on one of the beams, Brad or Miguel or someone had written something to the effect of "Sublime was here."  We were totally cracking up.  I'm not 100%  sure but I think the spot was Boca Barranca which is near the town of Puntarenas.  Brad did mention the town of Puntarenas to me too which is not really your typical town to hang out in.

Most North American surfers at that time generally surfed the same spots as each other in Costa  Rica so running into other gringo surfers was really common.  There are probably hundreds of spots now that surfers in Costa Rica access via boat.  I remember seeing a spot from the highway around either Quepos or Jaco that was a common boat ride surf spot.  I can't remember the name of it and I never surfed there.  There's a super famous wave in the far north of Costa Rica called Ollies that is also only accessible by boat.  I don't think Brad and the boys made it up there but they could have.

So Brad and the boys did not bring all of their musical gear on this trip.  They might have brought an accoustic guitar or something simple like that but they didn't bring their amps, electrical guitars or a drum kit for Kelly Vargas.  They would just borrow guitars if they came across them.  This is what they did for their Leaving Babylon "show" which was in Alajuela, Costa Rica.

So yes, Brad and the boys met tons of other surfers and travellers and Costa Ricans (they are called Ticos) there.  So if your girlfriend's Dad was there in February of 1993, it is very possible that he met the Sublime crew.

Have a blast at the upcoming Sublime with Rome show!

Take care,



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Andy Hill


I lived with Brad for two years and I was a close friend of his so I feel like I am pretty qualified to answer some questions about Sublime. I will do my best to answer questions about Bud, Eric, Miguel and of course Brad. I should also be qualified to answer a few questions about Brad's lyrics that are in Spanish. With many topics though, like merchandise, bootlegs, and many other things I am completely under qualified. Refer these questions and any others that require extensive research to Matt (ha, ha, ha.)


Most of my experience in the area obviously comes from living with and hanging out with Brad. I've read the Crazy Fool book twice and I've also watched Stories, Tales, Lies, and Exaggerations along with countless other interviews and videos. When it really comes down to it though, I have not become a Sublime scholar like Matt has. If you want a personal insight on some questions then I am your man for the job.

Some of my writings about Sublime have appeared on the Sublime Forum and on the Sublime Wiki.

I am not sure if it matters but I am a college graduate. Adequate writing skills combined with my personal experience enable me to answer many questions. If I don't feel like I can answer a question well, I will tell you so or refer you to Matt.

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I do not financially benefit from anything Sublime. I do not sell or deal with Sublime merchandise, bootlegs or other recordings. My interest in being a Sublime "expert" is mostly altruistic. I've seen a lot of lies, half-truths and exaggerations out there about Brad and Sublime so I would like to debunk some of these myths or falsifications if possible.

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