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Fireflies & Guns: Paige takes in Central America

Paige Hareb : Courtesy Image

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Adventures through Central America with Bec Woods, part 2

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 1 July, 2013 : - - Turning up to Miramar Surf Camp, being the only two females staying there out of about 20 Brazilians, it was a little bit intimidating. However, Bec and I are used to this scene in the surf industry. It was also only US$20 a night including breakfast, Internet and air conditioning.  We paddled out from the beach to hop in a little boat to take us to a left hander that breaks up a river mouth.

After a few days out of that salty liquid I was pretty excited to have another go. Since the surf camp was in the middle of no where, I assumed there wouldn't be too many people in the water. Wrong! We turned up to this super fun wave with about 100 other people out. To put it as nicely as I can, they were all sitting in an area where their ability allowed them to sit i.e in the channel next to the boats.

So I just had to paddle deeper and make the most of the start of the wave. It was pretty fun but after a few days, the swell had dropped and we were bored of the place so we teamed up with Casey Rossi, (Filmer/photographer currently living in Costa Rica and knows the language) and headed North to an area in Nicaragua called 'the boom' Chinendago and stayed at another camp also in the middle of no where called Chancletas (sandals).

One night we went out for dinner and had to walk back along the beach when it was pitch black with only one little phone light amongst a whole lot of crabs and fire flies(the first I've ever seen). Next minute a huge lightening storm started making us drowned rats. When we thought things couldn't get worse, the phone battery died leaving us to navigate blind which we lead ourselves off trail into the bush with spiders, snakes and who knows what else!


                                                  Rebecca Woods & Paige Hareb

Dogs started barking at us and finally the security guard came to help us. His big gun was pointing right at us but he laughed and said 'its just for show, I don't even have a bullet in it'.

The black sand beach here reminded me of home but the actual waves reminded me of Duranbah on the Gold Coast. With lots of peaks coming in everywhere and a few fun little barrels. After a few days the swell was getting too big for this place so we decided to head to El Salvador. We heard you could get there by boat as it was quicker than the nine hour bus ride, so we asked around and made it happen.

Customs at the border of Nicaragua was pretty much a small shed with three staff. We got a pretty dodgy stamp in our passports that you can hardly see which Casey wasn't happy about and argued with them making sure we were going to be allowed in El Salvador when we got there. The two hour boat ride was pretty amazing. We could see all three countries at once, Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador.

Boating through big, lush, green islands where you could see at least one big volcano in every country. I almost forgot to mention that I have no photos of this because the boat was very small and we got saturated. Then it was a three hour drive to Punta Roca, La Libertad., which is 30 minutes away from the capital San Salvador. Still a much better option than the nine hour bus ride.


                                                      Paige Hareb : Courtesy Image

La Libertad is a cool little town on a beautiful stretch of coast with a slew of points, beach breaks and other little towns within about 10kms. Knowing the big swell was on its way we decided to make sure the jet ski was working properly. It was a perfect evening, blasting out to sea and along the coast getting amazing views of the cliffs, mountains, local villas and resorts. It reminded me a little bit of Tahiti.

The next few days we got 6ft Punta Roca, a super fun and long right hand point break that allows you to do many turns and pull into the odd barrel. The swell was getting bigger and going to be too big for here so we drove three hours south to Las Flores for a few days. Casey had been here before and knew it was going to be good but we didn't know how good he was talking.

The next three days Casey and Bec decided we should wake at 5am to my disgust but it was so worth it, no matter how tired, grumpy and hungry I was , it all seemed to disappear as soon as I saw the first set roll in. Las Flores is the right hand point break right there with a beach so you can paddle out to it so lots of people surf here but to get to Punta Mango you need to hire a boat or lucky for us, use Casey's jet ski.

We did surf Las Flores a few times with a barrel from take off and then five plus turns down the line but with a swell like this, Punta Mango was the place to be. With a 20minute ski ride the tension was building. We rocked up to about 50 Brazilians in the water, all sitting wide and struggling to stay out the back because of the strong current. Idling in the channel and seeing the first 6ft set roll through gave me such a crazy feeling. The wave looked so scary but perfect at the same time.

Bec and I tried to be as subtle as we could, not showing everyone how excited we were and slowly paddling past the guys and out the back without being rude. Sometimes you get no respect being girl surfers until they see you on your first wave. After that Bec and I could catch nearly any wave we wanted, although it did help that the current got so strong to paddle against that they all went in leaving just a few of us out there.


                                                    Point perfection © Paige Hareb

To be honest with the waves on the women's world tour, I don't think I have had a proper barrel for about five years. That's a long time for a professional surfer. So when I first pulled up and into one, it was like learning to surf all over again, especially since I haven't had too much practice barrel riding on my backhand. We spent a solid six hours there that morning catching wave after wave, barrel after barrel. I can't even describe to you in words how my body was feeling with so much energy around me, it was some of the best waves and barrels of my life that I will never forget.

With only two other people out, we even got to do a few whip ins with the ski. I whipped Casey into one wave and when he pulled off he said "thank you Paige! You just whipped me into the best wave I've had in three years!" I don't think I'm that good at towing in or wave selection so the waves must of been that perfect!
On one of the last sessions I decided to try Casey's board. I should never have said "I'll just get one wave on it".

This bomb came through so I had to go, I was late getting into it from take off as I was under gunned on a 5'8. Fell off and came up to just the tail part of the board with the fins on it. I then turned around to dive under the biggest set of the day. In 6ft surf I quickly got washed way down the beach having to dive under atleast 30 waves. Bec and Casey were out the back on the jet ski but couldn't see me anywhere.

Bec was worried I was knocked out so paddled to shore to ask people. About 1km down the beach from where I first caught the wave, I finally found a rip to get out past the breaking waves, I was now in the middle of no where, had been swimming and diving for 20minutes and completely knackered. Waving my bit of 1ft board in the air, Casey still couldn't see me from the ski.

Finally he spotted me and blasted to pick me up only for me to collapse on the back of the ski. It was the longest, hardest swim of my life. I guess it was time for me to take the bad with the freaking, incredible, amazing ness!

I can't wait to go back. I love Central America. To finish I give you Spanish I learnt in Costa Rica last year. Pura Vida! Pure Life!

Check out Central America Part 1

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Source: Paige Hareb

Tags: New Zealand, Central America, Mexico, Paige Hareb, Bec Woods

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