I just got back from Surfari Charters in Nicaragua where we scored some insane waves, unbelievable fishing and a bunch of stories I can’t publish on the internet!
I didn’t snap many pictures, actually left my phone packed in my bag the entire trip except for a couple of shots.
The first pic is of our group right after our last trip. (Left to right): Travis Brown a good friend of mine who runs Watermen’s Bar & Grill, the restaurant onsite with REAL and Watermen’s Retreat in Cape Hatteras. Travis is a food service genius, who came to work with us committed to “Charge Like a Grom”. In the water, he’s the same way. First one in, last one out every session! This was Travis’s 4th trip to Nicaragua. Next to Travis is longtime friend Stephan Roussan. Steph helped us develop the first set of REAL logos back in 2001, including the “Flying R” logo we still use today. I’ve been sessioning with Stephan for over 25 years now in 5 different sports. Never a dull moment or short session, ever. That’s me next and then “Big Hair” Dave Brisacher on the right. Big Hair is one of the lead men in Dub Island Sound System and also runs his own production company that helps us run music weeks at REAL including the Triple-S Invitational and Slickstock. Last year Dave landed us YELLOWMAN for Slickstock, for 2014 he’s working on Tanya Stephens and Mix Master Mike from the Beastie Boys! What?! Boy’s got connections!
We had such an epic day the day this photo was taken. Here’s a brief clip of how the day went down: Wake up “door bang down” at 4:30am. Breakfast finished by 5am. At the beach loading the boat 5:30am. In the water surfing at 6am. Absolutely flawless overhead beach break barrels, blowing offshore at 5mph for over 3.5 hrs, oh yea just us, totally private session! Then we head 13 miles offshore and catch 5 of these dorados, plus two big macks and another 2 super strong jacks. Then we took this picture. After that we got our Land Cruiser stuck in a ditch and had to get towed out by a front end loader…5 minutes total elapsed time! After that?! A different beach break, by then totally glassed off with sunset pink oil and a lightning storm on the opposing horizon. Felt like we were filming a surf movie to AC/DC Thunderstruck. Then we had our “Last Supper”, got super loose and partied it up with the other crew at the camp from Long Beach, Long Island (John, John, Mike and Chet…What’up???!!!!) Killer day, I THINK we made it ‘til 10pm that night, but I can’t remember, nor could I even focus on my watch after all that!
The second pic shows the boards I took on the trip. This is my third year going to Surfari, so I’ve been able to match the reports to the forecasts to what actually shows pretty well over that amount of time. This year’s trip was showing consistent surf, not big, with afternoon onshores and then a dip in size later in the week. Looked like chest to a few feet overhead for most of the week and then dipping to waist to chest, maybe a touch smaller by the last day. In summary, you could probably take only one board and it would work for everything, which is way different from last year where we started with waist high and ended with double overhead. (For reference I am 6'2" x 215lbs)
The first board on the left is my trusty ...Lost LayZboy 6’0 with glass/resin by the Lucky Bastards (6’0 x 22 x 2.75 @ 41.7 liters) I threw this in my bag at the last minute when I saw the drop in the swell end of week and also some onshores springing up in the afternoons. My thought was to max out my low-end range and also be covered for bumpy slop. Funny that I got my best barrel of the trip on this board when Friday’s surf was twice what they predicted. This board has surprised me so many times, it’s stopped surprising me. I just expect it to work in everything now. The LayZboy also worked really well on days when the onshores filled in and everything got bumped out. I’m on vacation and want to surf every minute I have, not wait for it to “get better”.
The next board is a ...Lost V2Shortboard 6’3 x 20.75 x 2.75 @ 37.5liters. We got these into the shop right before I left for the trip and the big claim was that the domesticated version was a really accessible shortboard design made to get old people off funboards. Damn that sounds like me! I surfed this board at a break appropriately nicknamed “Nestles” which is a mash up of Nicaragua and Trestles. Since this board was conceived, designed and tested at Trestles, it didn’t disappoint on the perfectly lined up reef walls with smooth offshore winds. This board was really impressive with its paddle power, confident balance and loose turning. I normally don’t like HP shortboards for my own surfing, but this one immediately felt confident and ready to go. The biggest difference I felt compared to hybrids was a faster rail to rail turning and acceleration, plus less nose to catch on late drops and faster swing in the turns. Not as fast as the MC Metro, but looser off the top and more forgiving in critical situations.
The next board over is a Maurice Cole Metro 6’3 x 21.25 x 2.75. No volume on this one, I would guess around 38.5 liters as the massive concave pulls a lot of foam out of the board. This was definitely the fastest board in my bag with incredible drive down the line and insane carves where you can really load up the entire rail through the turn. With the deep single concave and sharp rails, you can high line with total confidence and really feel the edge holding you in up there. Crazy feeling. I rode this board at the more crowded reefs where the extra speed allowed me to sit deeper and pick off some really good set waves I don’t think I would have made on any other board in my bag (or that I’ve ever owned). I rode this one with the Roberts Futures fins which I normally like the best for all my Tri’s, but with how deep the concave is and how sharp the rails are, I think I can size down to normal large fins like the Mayhems on this one to loosen it up off the top a bit more. This one’s glassed up with S-glass on the deck, team schedule, so really light. Since all my boards are big, the lighter glassing makes them way more reactive and easier to throw around. It’s an addictive feel, you just have to be willing to sacrifice longevity for noticeably better performance.
Last but not least, is my V2 Rocket 6’1 x 21 x 2.75 @ 38.6 liters. I took this board with me to Nica last year and rode it waist high to a couple feet overhead. Great single travel board for a place like this. This year, Stephan and I swapped a board and traveled with each other’s back up board in the event the airlines lost our bags. The V2 Rocket was my “back up board” for this trip because I knew I could surf it in almost anything if it were my only board. (The first year I went to Nica, Delta lost my bag and I had to ride a 7S plastic fish for 5 of the 7 days I was there.) This V2 is a Hydroflex Natural with Teamlite glass schedule. Really light and springy in the turns. Still holding up well for how many sessions it has on it. 5-fin, but works way better as a tri.
Beyond my boards, three things I never leave at home on this trip are my coffee thermos, my sun hoody and a white REAL hat. The thermos is clutch for taking a coffee break on the boat in between sessions. The sun hoody and white hat rule in the tropics for keeping the UV down when you’re not in the water. I basically wore the sun hoody from 4:30am until 6pm every day of the trip.
Choosing Your Crew
Whether you’re at home or traveling, your sessions are 50% dependant on the conditions and 50% on who you’re surfing/kiting with. This means with the right people you can still have fun in total junk and with the wrong people good conditions won’t seem all that fun. Choose your travel partners wisely as they add a lot to your trip on and off the water. Our crew and everyone at Surfari Charters really added to every day. Such an epic trip!