If Tosh Talbot had gills, he would live full time in the ocean. From the time he took his first steps, he has been in the water. His diapers stayed wetter from saltwater than anything else. Talbot lives on the Osa Peninsula on Playa Plantarnares on the Golfo Dulce.
Born in Costa Rica of Canadian parents, Cory Craig and Cara Huckabay, a fishing captain and a school teacher, he passes most of the year. Summers he spends in Canada, where in the short summer months, his father fishes. Tosh is a citizen of both countries.
Talbot first got my attention around five or six years ago when, by the time he was 10 years old, he had caught more bucket-list fish than many adult anglers. Many of those were bigger than him. He also entered his first surfing tournament at 10. Today, at 16, he owns and operates his own kayak fishing business, surfs competitively in several countries and has fan base on Instagram and his own YouTube channel.
Being a school teacher turned out to be a bonus for home schooling when the schools closed down for the pandemic. Mom could adjust his studies according the tides for Tosh to have the full benefit of all worlds: fishing, surfing and a good education.
A proud mother, Cara describes her son, “Tosh is a true waterman. His spirit is very connected to the ocean. If he is not surfing, he is fishing, and if he is not fishing he is surfing. If he is not doing either of those, he is dreaming of them and planning for the next time.”
The short beach break at Playa Plantanares is where Talbot began to surf. It is very short and fast, but with enough power to squash a little guy and teach balance and reflexes a good surfer needs to master.
The Golfo Dulce, on the other hand, has several world-class breaks. Like certain areas of country produce the best of Costa Rica’s world renowned coffee, the Golfo Dulce seems to produce some of the country’s best surfers.
The west side of the gulf has Matapalo, Backwash, and Pan Dulce breaks, which range on a big surf from bone crusher to a nice overhead glassy ride. On the east side of the gulf is the world famous Pavones, the second-longest left breaking wave in the world.
Brisa Hennessy, Noe Mar and Leilani McGonagle, and Leon Glatzer all grew up on the Golfo Dulce. Brisa and Leilani will be surfing for Costa Rica in the Summer Olympics, And Glatzen will compete in the Olympics for his home country Germany.
Talbot recently competed in an event in El Salvador. He placed first in the Junior division and fourth in the Men’s division. His talents sparked interest in both the Costa Rican and Canadian National teams.
Talbot has caught the eye of International Surfing suppliers and they gladly give him product to use. Silverbay, Ranch de Surf, and Fu board wax — all Brazilian companies — Fin Puller from the US, and Carton Surfboards and Pura Vida sunscreen here in Costa Rica see the value of recruiting a rising star.
Talbot´s father taught him at a very early age the importance of the value of things and that you have to work hard to achieve your goals. He supports his surfing with earnings from his kayak charter fishing tours.
He is quickly finding competitive surfing is not a cheap endeavor. He has already snapped four surfboards, though Carton Boards in Jaco is kind enough to build his boards at cost.
When he has a kayak charter, Talbot is up before the sun getting his gear ready and out fishing bait for the day. He already has a couple hours under his belt before the charter starts a 6 a.m. Fortunately, there is a reef very close to his home beach as well as nearby schools of sardines, blue runners, and goggle-eyes that predator fish like roosterfish, snapper, and jacks hunt.
Although he is quite proficient with convention or fly gear, he is right at home side by side with his fellow Tico neighbors fishing with a handline. He has tested his handline talents on species most people wouldn’t even try, like a 50 pound tuna, a roosterfish over 50 pounds, and he has even landed and released the fastest fish in the ocean, the sailfish on handline.
When not surfing or guiding himself, you might find Talbot working as a deckhand for his dad who runs Tropic Fins Adventures. Tosh has a kayak section on their website at www.tropicfins.com .
A guided trip lasts for five hours, and Talbot picked the 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. fishing time wisely. Early mornings are cooler, and five hours in the tropic sun is plenty for anyone. The gulf is usually slick calm in the morning and gets a slight chop almost daily between noon and 1 p.m. when the sea breeze kicks in.
There is also a lot of other sea life to see where he fishes in the morning. Dolphins will often stop by to check out the kayaks, turtles will pop up. You may get lucky enough to see a docile whale shark, and at certain times of the year, mama humpbacks will pass by in eyesight with their calves.
He seems more focused than a lot of kids his age and has a great personality to work with people. He understands charter fishing is not just taking people to and catching fish; it is also entertainment. Tosh Talbot is a name to remember. Whether your passion is surfing or fishing, it is a name I am sure we will hear much more frequently in the future.