Thursday, May 19, 2016

Nica: An Island Point, a Long Beach and a Bay (Part 1)

On the second day, we hit three alternative breaks, each quite different from The Boom, and quite different from each other.

 The Long Beach

As a group, shortly after 5:00, the 12 of us loaded into two venerable, white Land Rovers, Hayley's long board firmly attached to the roof of one.  In the growing light, we drove about 30 minutes north through the rural backroads that lace the Nicaraguan coast.  While we passed a school or playground here, a restaurant or bar there (one plastered building roughly labeled in hand by paint, "Hotel Roma Ristorante"), we encountered no villages.  Mostly, it was one-room, corrugated tin shacks, with roofing of various local materials.  Cows, pigs, chicken, horses and an occasional goat lingered in collapsing corrals, or simply wandered the roads.  However, throughout, lines for electricity were evident.  Many structures had satellite TV dishes and those that didn't had rabbits ears.  Rarely were we out of cell service.  The world is a connected place.

George & Julie; Briguitte - Photos: Bill Schildge
 Eventually, a taste of salt in the air and a small rise to the west hinted that we were back near the water, shortly confirmed by roadside salt evaporation ponds.  A left onto a dirt road took us several hundred yards to a long, broad expanse of dark sand.  It was difficult to see how far it stretched in either direction, but in front of us, maybe 150 yards offshore, was a consistent, shoulder-high+ break.  Gradual humps for peaks - not A frames here - could be seen peeling both left and right.  Many tended to crumble a bit, but some were pretty hollow.  The DMBC crew may disagree, but it was somewhat like Del Mar on a good-sized west, during low tide, when the swell is catching the outside sand bars.

Though breaking far out, the swim out was not at all bad and shortly I was in the line up, getting the feel for the fat swell lifting and dropping.  Much like Del Mar, again, the breaking point for the waves shifted in and out.  This is more difficult for a surfer such as I - a sustained take-off, with more speed rather than quick acceleration is required.  My shorter, whip-like, extra-soft Duck feet are less designed for this than the longer, stiffer UDTs worn by most of the DMBC crew.  No doubt, though, it's unfair to blame the fins, when the principal problem is the skill and habits of the rider!

Struggles to find the right take off point for my style notwithstanding, I got my share of waves in a 90 minute session.  Two will remain with me ... the best two waves I'd had in 2016 to that point.

I had noticed that, every 10 minutes or so, one or two big rights would come in about 50 yards north of the road, as steep and hollow as there were, anywhere in the break, that day.  Most of the pod was surfing a bit to the south, following the lead of Chris, so, with patience, the wave would be mine.  Eventually it came, just as expected.  I was  rewarded with a steep, fast, extended barrel that gave me several seconds in the tube before the inevitable close out.

Bill & Jody; Julie; Drew - Photos: Bill Schildge
 After that, I drifted south to where the rest of the pod was scattered, riding what looked like fun, but somewhat crumbly, shoulders.  I was presented with a left shoulder, bending right where I floated outside and dropped in.  It proved to be my longest ride of the year.  A slow-peeling left took me deep inside, past many of our tribe, along the way.

This was our first real group outing, and it was a real joy to float in the line up and watch 10 bodysurfers, along with Hayley on a long board and Drew, and our two guides, Andrew and Melquing, on short boards, stretched out over a hundred yards, working the waves in the style unique to each of them.  I fear, as is too often the case, I was among the last to find a long shoreboat in.

Bruce; Hayley; Meredith - Photos: Bill Schildge

We had a moment's concern as our Rover refused for a while to permit Andrew to engage the four-wheel drive necessary to release us from the mucky sand, but eventually the vehicle relented and we were on our way back to camp.

At this point, I apologize to the reader, again, for my continuing verbosity.  Again, I've reached the outer limits for a blog entry and will continue with the other two breaks separately.

HHH; Chris; Bret - Photos: Bill Schildge

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