Taking a little breather. From left to right:Cody Purcell, Andrew Vandermark, Dylan St. Germain, Sara Kohrogi, Jordan Wible, and Sidney Sartini
All photos by Damon Brown
Instead of soaking the rays poolside in Palm Springs or being flipped around an inner tube in tow on one of the southwest’s desert lakes or waterways, for the fourth year in a row the Mira Costa Surf Team spent their spring break bopping around the playful breaks of central Nicaragua.
What differentiated this trip from the previous years was that the surf team joyfully handled a tiny bit of adversity and found a deeper meaning in giving back to the local community.
Normally, a surf trip to Nicaragua landing at the Managua Airport is a smooth six and a half hour flight with only the only major stress factor for surfers – getting surfboards through check-in and hoping they arrive in one piece.
“It was a 16 hour trip with us leaving at 1:30 a.m.,” team co-captain and senior Jordan Wible said. “We landed in San Salvador with an unexpected long lay away on Managua Airport.”
Paint on face equates for a good time as Matt Hodges knows.
The 17 person surf team, plus a few parents, took the two hour ride from the Airport to Playa Miramar to stay eight days and seven nights at South Bay operated AST Adventure’s LA Barra Surf Camp. The camp is situated around a smorgasbord of tasty point breaks, reef breaks, and beach breaks.
“One of my favorite waves was a hollow left named Chicken Bowls,” Wible said, “AST took us out and about on Panga boats almost every day to surf new breaks.”
Surf trips to such world class destinations usually are singular in focus — to eat, surf, and sleep are primary activities. Things were literally shaken up on the Mira Costa team’s trip.
“We were hit by back-to-back earthquakes, a 6.1 and a 6.9,” said senior Codee Stamis. “For two days, the town was out of electricity and water, so no showers.”
With the 85 degree humidity-drenched tropical air, the lack of air conditioning caused the hotel rooms to become saunas.
“The team spent the nights outside sleeping in hammocks,” Wible said. “It was nice to be under the stars.”
Sara Kohrogi on her backside. One of Sara’s favorite parts of the trip (besides giving back to the community) was getting her Dad back in the water
“Another perk of having no electricity was being cut-off from wifi,” junior Sara Kohrogi said, “I enjoyed not checking emails or any social media.”
After electricity and water was restored, the surf team put down the surf wax and grabbed paint rollers.
“We spent an afternoon painting over graffiti and worn paint at a local elementary school,” Wible said. “It was rewarding to give back — more than surfing the perfect waves.”
The team also arrived stocked with giveaways for the town’s children.
“We handed off stickers, t-shirts, and donated sporting equipment,” Stamis said. “Thanks to Body Glove, Becker, Zico, Dizm, and Spyder, we stoked out the groms.”
After giving back to the local community, the team was back in the water paddling into Central American perfection. Epic waves were caught and life lessons were taught.
“I’ve never experienced volunteering before,” junior Dylan St. Germain said. “It was crazy how each kid valued each sticker like $100 bill. I can’t wait to do it again.” ER