Sunday, April 29, 2012

Peru, I'm in love.

Evening Peruvian sessions.

We got off to a rocky start. Flight delayed by six hours, I think it took more than 30 hours of travel to finally reach our Peruvian destination. Luckily Taca hooked us up with a sweet overnight hotel. Even if only for six hours it was still pretty darn good, and included a complimentary three course dinner. I could get used to this work trip thing.

Flying with the flu blows. I spent many hours curled up trying to sleep, body aching and nose running. At one point during descent I thought my head was going to explode. My ears wouldn't equalise and there was air coming out my eyeballs. No fun.

It was worth it though. It's different here with a very barren landscape, almost like home in Western Australia. We have been rising early for dawn patrols and surfing alone in the glassy mornings. Resort life is such a treat too. Used to staying in the most lowly budget accommodations, I'm on cloud nine. Check out the place I'm in now - Samana Chakra. Pure luxury.

Yesterday I shot surfing around sunset. Within a minute I had a whole bevy of locals around me checking out my camera gear. They all whipped their old phones out and started taking pictures with me. In return I took portraits of them. Only one guy had an email address and I promised to send him all the pictures, they were so excited. It was the best experience I've ever had with my camera. Everyone here is so friendly. Check out their pic below.

The main break in Mancora is good fun. Not too big at the moment but still super playful. It’s a left (naturally) with great shape - a little point break that wraps along the beach. Crowd factor is a bit brutal though. Since it’s small it’s a breeding ground for learners and surf lessons. Yesterday every good wave I caught someone dropped in on. It was usually a teeny tiny little kid too. Can’t run those ones over. Their local parents would push them onto the wave, even though I was already on it. What can you do? It was like playing “dodge the kid”.

Yesterday while our group was sleeping I paddled out by myself. All the locals were so friendly. By the time I paddled back in I had about 10 new friends and an invite to a birthday party. Maybe the little bikini I was wearing had something to do with it.

We have one more night at Samana Chakra, then it’s off to a different surf resort for two more days. Then we hit up Chicama. That’s what I’m looking forward to, the worlds longest left. I’m ready to cross it off my bucket list. I’m not looking forward to decision making though. I have to decide whether to take my free flight back to LA, or scrap it and stay down here alone. Just me, my painfully large amount of luggage and my constantly dwindling bank account…

I haven't been this happy in a long time. The kind of happiness that overwhelms you from the core of your being. Peru, I'm in love.

Impromptu beach jams 

My room. Not too shabby.

Because everybody needs an infinity pool.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Island Daze

I. Am. So. Tired.

But time on the internet is like gold. It's been days since my last visit to Port and business needs tending to.

My eyes are trying to close while I'm writing this....

Today on the island was dreamy. We woke our seven Peruvian guests at the dark hours of morning. Together we swam by the light of headlamps across the swollen river to reach the far edge of sand bar. There our boat waited to take us to the island.

We surfed all day. I'm back at Port now dropping the clients off after a week at camp. Two new ones arrive tonight, then it's up early for a 4am boat launch.

But it's worth it. All the sleep deprivation. The bug bites. Because sometimes everything aligns and this is what you get. Waves. Perfect waves.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Diaries of a Surf Guide

After one hour on a tiny local boat, 3 busses and one border crossing by foot I was ready to arrive. I sat squashed under the sweaty armpit of one large Panamanian male so the journey couldn’t end soon enough. The bus dropped me off with my surfboard, guitar and suitcase. It seems however, that I wasn’t left at town, but an army checkpoint with a sunny little bus stop.

“Take the bus from town to Port” was next on my directions. Nice idea in theory, but after hours in the relentless sun playing guitar with a bunch of locals it seemed obvious - there was no bus stopping here. I hitched a ride in a truck with about 10 people and various objects in the back. I rode up front with an obese lady breast-feeding her baby and tried my best to explain – “I’m going to the surf camp. I’m the new surf guide”. The driver just shook his head and continued to mock my lack of Spanish. But as always with us surfers, the sight of dreamy island waves erases all remembrance of hardship.

Arriving finally to my surf destination by boat we were greeted with beautiful peeling lefts winding their way playfully around a small island. I had under my guidance a large group of Panamanian surfers, resulting in what I like to call an “insta-crowd”. Around 15 people bobbed about the peak, one by one picking off racy overhead sets under the gaze of a hot tropical sun. We surfed until our arms were dead. 

The boat would not drop me at camp, my assigned home for the next month. Laden down with bags they left me at the far sand bar, as the swell was running too high for beach entry. I felt part of a bad movie, stranded on a hot and sandy desolate island with no water and only half a bottle of rum. After a long and sun soaked trek across the sand I could see it, like a beautiful mirage off in the distance - the thatched roofed huts of camp.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Into the Jungle

So I was bumming around in Dominical, Costa Rica, when by chance I discovered a cool guy by the name of Kyle. Kyle is around my age and has just built and opened his very own jungle hostel with his best friend Brain. Situated in the remote Osa Peninsular, Celvante Jungle Hostel (and I'm not exaggerating) is the best place I've found in Central America. The boys are two of the funniest blokes you'll ever meet and the place is just stunning. The hostel is still a work in progress, right now they are trying to fundraise for solar power so they can stop relying on an unfriendly generator. Because of the remote location the guys will come pick you up from the Puerto Jimenez bus stop, or you can catch a $5 taxi up there. It's about a 15 minute walk to the main road where you can then hitch a ride to the local surf breaks. And there are GOOD waves out there.

For only $10 a night you get free coffee and pancakes in the morning, and the cabinas only sleep four people so it feels like private accommodation. Plus their cat just had kittens. Really, do I need to say anything more? I spent a week up there working for the guys taking photos and video, and I can't wait to go visit them again.

To get in touch with the guys, email them  at or give them a call on
506 86693061

Family portrait. Brian on the left, Theo the dog in the middle, Kyle and Jeremy the cat on the right.

Brian teaching me to harvest bananas. Can I please keep the boots?

Louis the 17yr old English bartender. The boys found him drinking at a local Costa Rican bar and recruited him. Really smart cookie - great for late night political discussions. Will also pour you a good strong rum drink. 

The dorm rooms. Not too shabby huh? 

Hooligans. Here is the wheel pump that supplies the hostel's water.