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Work+Play+Life balanced: Carlos Sanchez. Surf Mei Mei chatted with surfer, skateboarder, Costa Rican, Carlos Sanchez about how he balance his life with fun and work!


Work+Play+Life balanced: Carlos Sanchez

Carlos Sanchez is one curious Costa Rican: a surfer, photographer, a skateboarder, a painter as well as a multitude of other roles. And despite all the fun he is having, he executes these roles well and makes a substantial living from of all of these professions.

Work+Play+Life balanced: Carlos SanchezSurf Mei Mei met Carlos at School Of The World (SOTW) in Playa Jaco, where he teaches Photography, GoPro and surfing for all levels. Spending just one week with this multi-talented man, any individual is sure to be inspired by his devotion to surfing, skateboarding and art.


Carlos is a native Costa Rican with Brazilian blood. And like all good Latin surfers, he has been surfing and competing professionally since a young age.  But don’t pigeon hole Carlos just yet: his passion for life has never been encapsulated by surfing alone. From the rowdy chaos of skateboard shredding, dirt bike offroading and surfboard ripping, this adult emerges to paint and photograph creative expressions stirred from childhood memories.

Carlos sees surfing as part of his life. He believes everyone needs to be passionate about her career in order to have a well-balanced life. Initially, he was to follow in his mother’s footsteps to become an architect.  Life led him in another direction. He received a scholarship from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City where he studied photography. And today, he is a respected photographer in the City that Never Sleeps.


Playa Jaco is a well-developed beach side community, essentially a surfer’s paradise. Naturally, Carlos Sanchez is proud to be a Costa Rican in Playa Jaco, near Playa Hermosa for many reasons – warmth and sun about 360 days of the year, an inexpensive cost of living, plentiful job opportunities, world class surfing swell and friendly, beautiful people.  The proximity to the United States is not bad either. It provides perfect access to work and friends while ensuring a short plane ride to the reprieve of home.

Playa Jaco

Carlos doesn’t need to state the obvious: life as a professional photographer is pretty great. He travels the world and gets paid for it. Yet even with the world as his playground, home – despite the cliché – is most certainly where the heart is.  And after countless miles travelled, Carlos returned home to Costa Rica, choosing to live in Playa Jaco.


Exploring a hidden waterfall with Carlos’ photography/GoPro class at School of The World, Costa Rica

+ School Of The World (SOTW)

At SOTW, Carlos is a force of energy but starts each day simply: he strolls into the School with wet hair every morning after a solid surf.  Students immediately surround him with questions about photography, surfing… everything, thinking he knows the answers for it all. And, in a way, he does. He takes it all in stride, though, answering questions while taking his students to such exotic places as the local scenic waterfalls or to a fishing seaport. His goal for his students is to enjoy the beauty of Costa Rica.  The reason and the secret is simple: Carlos Sanchez knows how to enjoy life. And he wants to share this secret. He knows that empathy, feeling and understanding is invigorated by people’s love for excitement, stories, and emotions. As a teacher, photographer, artist – as a human being – he shares colorful stories that empower his students to aspire to live a happier lifestyle.


“Love what you do and do what you love.” He believes this applies to everyone: “If you work at a bank, you need to love helping people with money and the lifestyle you love should come with it.”

Love + Balanced Life

Despite his various interests, Carlos has managed to stay grounded and happy. He has attained the seemingly elusive work-life balance:

Carlos wants to master all his interests but remains insatiably curious of the world and its constant innovations. His latest obsession: GoPro. “It’s just a f*cking cool camera.”

smm_interview_CarlosSanchez_graffitti portrait

Carlos knows that even if he wants it all – art and sports – it’s impossible to have it at one moment.  Carlos understands that patience and discipline are the keys to progression and mastery. He has a schedule. He wakes up early in the morning to surf. He then goes to School Of The World to prepare for his classes and work. He enjoys spending time with his students. He goes home to enjoy his life and this life is intertwined with the students and staff at the School Of The World. In a way, Carlos is a constant inspiration. Yet Carlos, himself, is a constantly inspired by all that surrounds him: his students, his family, the surf and Playa Jaco.

When asked what advice to give surfers to live a well-balanced life, Carlos laughs and answers the hackneyed question genuinely:

“Life is beach…”


“Surfing is not just a sport but a lifestyle.  Be simple and understand the priority of life.  You can have a really expensive short board but won’t be able to catch one wave on it. You’re better off having an inexpensive longer board that is up to your skill level. Don’t be afraid to break the board because of its price, and surf on it. Surf on it till it breaks. Once you understand the true meaning of surfing, all things in life will come to you. You will surf and enjoy everything in your life.  Even if there is something that seems hard for others; for you, with an understanding of surfing or – whatever it is that you love – you will find a way to embrace and love the challenge.”

Carlos making Surf Mei Mei does a "peace" sign for the photo after the interview.  "(Having) Peace is what we surfers do!" Says Carlos.

Carlos making Surf Mei Mei does a “peace” sign for the photo after the interview. “(Having) Peace is what we surfers do!” Says Carlos. March 2014 at School Of The World, Costa Rica


School Of The World, a boutique hotel that offers learning vacations and provides instruction on everything from surfing to speaking Spanish.


or follow the owner, Zach McDuffie’s blog with his model wife, Natazha, to travel the world @ ZplusN


All images are originated by Surf Mei Mei & Carlos Sanchez
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