Welcome to beautiful Popoyo, Nicaragua!
When you smoke gold, you get to do some pretty cool shit. We took the opportunity to visit our friends @Fatboysurfcamp on the south pacific coast of Nicaragua for their second annual Fatboy Surf Camp Classico. What's better than gold joints and tasty waves?
Surfing has long been a traveler's sport causing young surfers to venture out for the best waves they can find. 12 years ago, Dana Seagraves, Albert Singleton and a few friends found themselves in that very search. On a trip through Central America, they stumbled upon the beautiful break that is Popoyo. If you have ever traveled through Central or South America, you know that there is much that is still underdeveloped. This is the case for most of Nicaragua. Dealing with an unfortunate political history and bloody wars, much of the country has been left in an economic drought.
The boys purchased land and set out to build a place to come and stay and enjoy the waves. As they set out to build the first house on the property, they learned firsthand the struggles of living and building in such a remote area. They enlisted the help of several locals to help them source, build and maintain the property. Very quickly these relationships strengthened. They learned that these people were more than help, or friends. These people were family, a family that creates a network of "co-habitation". Helping each other where aid can be provided so that everyone can exist together.
It didn't take long to see that the community had revered them highly and felt great about their project. We could tell that this community meant just as much to them as their own blood and certainly made sense as to why the boys wanted to put on a surf competition for them. It's all about them. They're going to be stoked, said Albert as he smiled to himself, imagining the excited faces of local contestants. Stoked they were. In such a small area, nothing much happens. So little of tangible pop-culture comes through and when it does it's a big deal. The boys had reached out to their local surf shop @parrotsurfandskate who donated a myriad of surf goods and wears, @nectar (sunglasses) donated a bunch of their sunnies and of course, there were a few gold j's.
Over the years Popoyo and its adjacent beaches have slowly started to garner a reputation for its waves. A small surf bar has been built on the cliffs over hanging the break and the ISA has helped to build an additional platform for competitions providing for a perfect set up. The entire week the waves were holding a nice 6-8ft height with little wind and did not fall short the day of the competition.
We showed up early to help set up only to find that much of the community was also there ready to help. It was going to be a very collective effort to put on this competition. 30 contestants spanned between senior and junior age groups. Local surfers were represented from four different towns. It was awesome to see that even with a competition in play, surfers from different towns were not afraid to support each other in and out of the water. Without a doubt this cultured one of the best, most fun displays of surfing we've seen in a long time.
In the end, 1st 2nd and 3rd places were awarded for both age groups. Winners were presented with trophies and goodie bags. A beach clean-up competition was also held in which the juniors worked to clean up the most trash. The winner blew it out of the park by filling up an entire heavy duty trash bag and received a board for his efforts!
It was a truly awesome day. Everywhere you looked people were smiling, high-fiving and laughing. We all relaxed at the surf bar, ice cold Tona in our hands, puffing on gold j's to a truly golden sunset.