UPDRIFT ADVENTURES: FEATURING JARETT JUAREZ
By Charlotte Austin
Jarett Juarez is a man who can’t help but dive in. Whether he’s chasing turns on his dirt bike, paddling into a gnarly surf, or fishing with his family on the Pacific Ocean, this Oregon local lives and breathes his passion for adventure.While Juarez is clearly confident in the path he’s carved, it’s been a winding road to find his purpose. Shortly after graduating from high school, Jarett Juarez seemed to be living the dream: days after finishing his senior year, he packed up his things, signed a modeling contract, and moved from rural Tillamook, Oregon to Los Angeles, California. But after a successful year in Hollywood, he was reeling. “The culture shock was crazy,” he reflects. “At age 18, I had moved from a town of four thousand people to a city of thirteen million.” More than the population difference, though, was the lifestyle. “I was a wide-eyed young man from rural Oregon. I was so lucky, and I learned so much from being around those working creatives. I wouldn’t trade my time in California for anything. But at the end of the day, I needed a different pace than that community allowed. It became clear pretty quickly that it was time to move home.”
Home, to Jarett, is the Oregon coast — and it’s easy to see why. Despite being less than a two-hour drive from Portland, it feels like a completely different world: sandy beaches stretch for miles; lush trees drape the rugged hillsides in verdant green; the Pacific ocean shifts and glitters in the ever-changing light. It’s immediately clear that this place has a certain kind of magic. You can smell it in the salt air. You can hear it in the waves. And — maybe most of all — you can see it on the faces of the people who call this place home.Today Jarett Juarez, 26, is one of those people. When he moved home after his stint in California, he didn’t have a job lined up — but he did have a dream. “I’d always envisioned being a photographer. I’d had a camera in my hand since I was nine years old. Anything I could do with a camera — I was there.” So, naturally, he pointed the camera at the things he loved to do: surfing, dirt biking, spearfishing, and adventuring. It took years to build up the skill, gear, and client base to make photography a full-time career, but today his images almost vibrate with excitement and vitality. He’s making a respected name for himself in the community, too: Moment, the local surf company, frequently uses his images and video to share a love of the coast; his Instagram account reflects his many passions; and when he walks into Pelican Brewing, he’s greeted with high-fives, friendly heckling comments, and smiles from the locals.
Now, despite his success, Jarett doesn’t see himself leaving any time soon. “I’m so happy here,” he says. “It’s a natural fit. I was born and raised in Tillamook, so my roots run deep. My dad is a professional fishing guide, and this is his thirty-second season on the water. My mom runs the business side of things. I was raised around self-employment and the outdoors and hunting and fishing my entire life. Outdoor enthusiasm came very naturally to me.”When he’s not adventuring or shooting photos, Jarett works with his other flaming passion: Roxy, his Volkswagen bus. She’s his fifth VW, but the one he’s restored with the most heart and soul. “She took an incredible amount of work to get to where I wanted her,” he grins. “But once I finished her, she became this aesthetic vehicle that incorporated so naturally into my photos. I wasn’t planning on it, but the van started becoming a natural focal point. She started gaining publicity as people recognized her, and then I started actually selling prints out of the van at markets. In the summer months, I’ll actually use her as a booth: I’ll pull the van into local markets and open up the side slider door. I have tables that go out, and I set out and sell prints.”
Jarett drinks Pelican beer, he says, because it’s an important reminder of his connection to the coast. “I was born here. It’s part of who I am. I grew up going into the ocean before I could walk. It was totally normal to me to fish with my dad, surf my backyard waves, and just breathe in the coastal air. Pelican symbolizes all of those things to me. My best friends work at the brewery, and — well, it wouldn’t be a Pacific City surf session if it didn’t end at Pelican.”He vibrates with energy as he talks. “I never realized how special this place is until I left, and it’s so important to me to have made the conscious decision to come back.” Also, he wants you to know: he and Roxy can often be seen in the parking lot of Pelican Brewing as Jarett surfs, spear fishes, or enjoys a beer on the deck. “If you see the van,” he says, “I hope you walk over and knock. That’s the ethic of this town: just come say hello.”
Charlotte Austin is an award-winning adventure writer and mountain guide living on Bainbridge Island, Washington. She works for International Mountain Guides, where she leads climbing and mountaineering expeditions around the world. She is a Wilderness-EMT, a Leave No Trace (LNT) Trainer, an extra class ham radio operator, and holds Level 2 certification with the American Institute for Avalanche Education and Training (AIARE). She has written for Outside Magazine, The New York Times, Seattle Met, and many more national and international print and online publications. She summited Mount Everest on May 22nd, 2019; since then, she has been icing her knees, drinking cold beer, and falling off her surfboard.
Alexandra Pallas is a freelance photographer based out of Pacific City, Oregon. A native Oregonian, she was skiing by the age of three and backpacking by the age of seven. Her life-long love of the outdoors and an adventurous spirit inspires her photographic work. When she isn’t behind the lens you can find her skiing, surfing with her husband, hiking, and playing with her Sheepadoodle Napoleon.
To learn more about our Updrift Adventures or for media inquiries please reach out to Natalie@PelicanBrewing.com.
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