In January 2015 a couple of our LBS crew decided to take a surf trip to Nicaragua, tossing around ideas and locations. We settled on playa Montelimar, which was an all inclusive resort on the pacific side of Nicaragua that had its own private break in the backyard. It seemed best for the various levels of surfers on the trip. When the dates were set, we announced our departure to our big local crew, and one by one, they started to jump on. Usually when one says they are going on a surf trip, it is with 5, 8, maybe 10 friends. We went from 4, to 10, to 18, to 26 and ended at 32 people. Granted, some didn’t surf, some were newbies, some were little groms, and some are pros, so it made for an interesting mix.
As the weeks came closer and anxiety set in, we would check the forecast by the hour. Day after day the forecast looked great. 4-6 ft and clean off shore winds. Everyone was pumped. Until about a week before, when we checked the forecast, it was calling for 15 foot swells and a hurricane off the coast, heading north to Mexico.
A few arrived before the main crew and were sending pics of some giant waves, but huge closeouts. Disappointment set in, but hopes were still high.
The day came to leave and 26 of us boarded the same plane! Have you ever been on the same plane with 25 of your best friends??? This was epic.
When we landed our two vans were awaiting outside the airport, one for us and one for the 20 board bags we had. We jammed all our bags in and on top of this van and sent it off in front of ours just incase it tipped over or boards came flying out!
We pulled up to the resort at 3am, and got about 2 hours of sleep before the anxiety kicked in and we headed out for dawn patrol.
The first three days were insane. The nice south swell that usually cruises by this break was meeting with the north rebound from the hurricane and smashing into a gnarly straight on 15 foot pound. A few of us managed to get our surfboards to the outside and catch a nice few fast drops before the closeouts. The water was a orange brown color from the storm churning up all the dirt. The first day my longboard was hit by a lip and buckled, luckily I had backup, and my Coreban platinum, although the first three days it was near to impossible to paddle out a SUP.
The first three days were proof that no matter how much you planned for a great trip with clean glassy waves, sometimes Mother Nature throws you a curve ball, but instead of disaster we took it as a challenge to push ourselves in tough conditions. Good news for us, it was sand bottom, so charge away!
The trip undoubtedly brought amazing scenery and nature. Every day we were greeted with songs of millions of birds while taking that dawn patrol walk down to the beach.
When we weren’t in the water we were exploring the land and climbing the rocks that surrounded the area. We spent the days until sunset in the fresh air, and when the sun went down we danced the night away together, sat on each others bungalow porches and told amazing stories.
As we woke up on day four, we were finally greeted with calm off shore winds and semi glassy swell, somewhat still bumping with the north mix, but nonetheless more manageable. The orange water cleared up and the sun came out.
I grabbed my Coreban platinum and headed out. The swell was still very consistent so timing was important, but after a short paddle I was out and ready to catch some party waves! This was one of the first times I was able to ride my Coreban in some ‘real’ waves, and man was it fun! It held onto some steep drops and was lightening fast.
We logged about nine hours each day in the water over the next two and a half days, most of us only taking a break to eat. Everyone was stoked. It was finally not a hassle to paddle out, the newbies were able to make it out and practice catching waves (some who caught the biggest waves of their life as of yet), you could get a SUP out without too much trouble, and the waves were endless.
The sky finally cleared and the sun became viciously hot, but luckily when you have a crew of 32, there are some ‘survivor types’ out there. A couple of the crew, headed by Coconut Dave, ventured off and grabbed palm fronds, and broken stalks and created a shade tent that lasted for the remainder of the four days!
One afternoon we took a break and ventured into a small fishing town for lunch to hang with the locals. It was really cool to see how they trailered their boats out of the water, by rolling huge rollers down to the shore, lifting the boat on it and about 8 guys would push the boat and rollers up the sand to park. Talk about man power. We ate some awesome fresh ceviche and drank some ice cold beers and then hit the afternoon session to close out the day.
The second to last day one of our crew members took her fin to the head and had to take a short trip to get some stitches, but there’s nothing a bag and some duct tape couldn’t fix to get her back in the water for the last day of wave!
As the last day approached, we took it all in. Everyone was out by 5am in the water. We surfed under the hot sun all day, ate some amazing fresh food, made toasts to each other and of course sang happy birthday to Bob! The waves were finally perfect and no one wanted to leave, but reality was calling.
We all packed, and once again jammed our boards into a small little van and packed in. Laughter and the scent of sunblock and salt filled the midnight bus to catch our red eye. This time, even the local Nicaraguan driver was laughing with us, as we made friends with him throughout the trip.
We made it safe and sound to the airport and all 26 of us crashed out on the floor while waiting to board the plane.
As we all boarded and took our seats, while the plane was backing up and going over the safety rules, they ended it with “and we want to welcome aboard the LBS crew”. Cheers echoed through the plane, and we all glanced around and smiled…
32 South Florida surfers, 15 foot hurricane swell, one broken board, a set of stitches in a head, and memories to last a life time.