When we first moved to Nicaragua in 2009 and started building the Surf Ranch, the only skateboarders in town were my brother and I, along with a few local skaters. Every night we would skate in the basketball courts, then get kicked out at 7pm when the soccer matches started. Then they made a rule that they would not turn the lights on at night for us to skate unless we had 6 skaters. The thing was, that there was not 6 skaters in San Juan Del Sur. With all these rules and no where to skate, we decided to build Nicaragua's 1st skateboard park at our resort. The day we started building, there were no skateboard parks in the whole country, now there about 5. Ours took the longest to build, but was worth it. The other skate parks in Nicaragua all look the same, as the government built them, and half of the parks are not physically skate-able (no run up, tiny down ledges, spines with no curve, just a wall, etc).
Once the 1st park was built, they unfortunately decided to copy the same park in other cities of Nicaragua. Things have now changed with the opening of the Surf Ranch skate park, and with Nicaragua's 1st actual professionally designed skate park, I just hope more skate parks are based on this style of design, the same style we see scattered throughout North America. The building of the Surf Ranch skate park took about 2 years, and was a very fun but expensive project. I never thought that we would ever build our own skate park, but our dream has come true and we want everyone to come skate. The best part about having this skate park at our resort, is after skating, you can cool off in the pool and have a drink at the swim up bar, order food, hang out at the skate shop on site and even skate at night with our new lights in place.
Below you will find 100 photos in order from Day 1 until the final completion day of the Surf Ranch skate park...enjoy!
More Info on the Surf Ranch Skatepark - www.surfranchnicaragua.com/skateboarding.html
Growing up skateboarding, we idolized this guy, Kenny Anderson, along with a bunch of other pro skaters who showed up one day to skate.
More Info on the Surf Ranch Skatepark - www.surfranchnicaragua.com/skateboarding.html
Watch ISA World Masters Surfing Live Here - July 14th to July 22nd - Click this link to open in new browser
The decision was made after weeks of analyzing swell charts and weather patterns from previous years surfing for that week. Fernando Aguerre, the President of the ISA (International Surfing Association) said “Playa Colorado has the world-class beach break waves we were looking for to compliment the former world champions and big-name pros expected to attend the event”. Those names include five-time world champion Tom Curren (USA), eight-time world champion Layne Beachley (AUS), four-time world champion Juan Ashton (PUR), two-time world champion Heather Clark (RSA), Ross Williams (HAW), and Fabio Gouveia (BRA) will be just some of the big names competing in this event. “The waves at Playa Colorado are some of the most sought after by international surfers because of their perfection, consistency and warm water,” said Lucy Valenti, the Executive President of Gray Line Nicaragua who are helping organize the event. “The setting at Hacienda Iguana is perfect, the beach is practically virgin, the tropical forest surrounding it makes it exotic, and the accommodation infrastructure is first class” added Valenti.
Pacific Ocean waves are groomed daily by the country’s virtually non-stop offshore winds that flow across the massive expanse of Lake Nicaragua. This gives the Pacific side of the country offshore winds for 300 plus days out of the year. "We, the people of Nicaragua, are very excited and proud to have won the bid to host the 2012 ISA World Masters Surfing Championship. Such a prestigious event is a wonderful opportunity for our country, where tourism has become one of the most viable economic sectors with great potential for investment and employment," Minister Salinas said. "It gives us the chance to show not only our beautiful natural landscapes, beaches and waves, but also our culture and warm hospitality. This event will be a historical landmark in Nicaraguan beach culture. This event will also contribute to the growth of Nicaragua and to its positioning in the world of surfing and tourism."
Surfers and visitors can also visit the popular town of San Juan Del Sur, only a 45 minute drive away, to experience more nightlife, skate at the Surf Ranch Skateboard Park, or even stay in hotels in town, as Tola and Rivas seems to be filled up. If you can´t make it out here in person, you can watch the ISA world masters surfing championship LIVE, above. Enjoy!
10 things you need and should know about the event:
1 - The Nicaragua ISA World Masters Surfing Championship is the biggest surfing event in the world for over-35-year-old surfers, with nearly 150 competitors from more than 20 countries.
2 - The event gathers the best Masters surfers from every continent to compete for their National Teams in an “Olympic-style” event. The surfers compete for medals and the honor of representing their respective countries. There are no cash prizes awarded. Athletes compete for individual and team Gold, Silver, Bronze and Copper Medals, as well as for the coveted Eduardo Arena Trophy, which is awarded to the Gold Medal-winning National Team. Peruvian Eduardo Arena was the founder of the ISA, doing so in 1964.
3 - The Nicaragua ISA World Masters Surfing Championship is an annual event, in its sixth year of existence. The ISA introduced the Masters event in 2007 in Puerto Rico, but did not run the event in 2009.
4 - The Nicaragua ISA World Masters Surfing Championship will mark the first time that Nicaragua will host an ISA event. Nicaragua won the hosting bid over other candidate nations because of its commitment to a better surfing future, its ideal high-performance wave conditions, the dedication of its Tourism Department and its Minister, Mario Salinas, and also as a means to help develop surfing in the region.
5 - Athletes from over 20 countries will surf the waves of Colorado Beach at Hacienda Iguana, located in southwest corner of the country, two hours south of Managua. Powerhouse teams including Australia, Brazil, France, Puerto Rico, South Africa and USA (the defending team champions) will be seeking a place on the podium in the five individual divisions (Men’s Masters [over 35 years], Men’s Grand Masters [over 40], Men’s Kahunas [Over 45], Men’s Grand Kahunas [over 50], and Women’s Masters [over 35]) and, most importantly, in the overall team standings.
6 - Last year, in its first year competing in the Masters event, Team USA won the Team Gold Medal, behind an individual Gold Medal from Tom Curren. A three-time ASP World Champion, Curren has also had past ISA success, winning the Gold Medal in the inaugural ISA Junior division in 1980 in Biarritz, France.
7 - The venue for the event is a tropical setting with air and water temperatures on par with summer in Hawaii, and located on the Pacific Ocean side of the country. The waves at Colorado Beach at Hacienda Iguana, depending on the tide, can be hollow beachbreak barrels or perfect, rippable left- and right-handers. The wind conditions are ideal almost year-round, blowing offshore due to the Lake Nicaragua effect.
8 - The fifth edition of the championship will officially open on July 14 at the traditional ISA Opening Ceremony, which will include the Parade of the Nations and Sands of the World Ceremony. The Parade of the Nations is a colorful and energy-filled event, complete with teams chanting, waving flags and the cheering of the locals who come out to watch the spectacle. In the Sands of the World Ceremony, alongside a team flag bearer, each team sends one athlete to pour the sand from a favorite beach from their country into a custom glass container. The layering of the sands represents the peaceful union of the nations through the love of the sport of surfing.
9 - Past individual and team champions of the ISA World Masters Surfing Championship are:
2007 – Rincon, Puerto Rico: Juan Ashton (PUR)
2008 – Punta Rocas, Peru: Juan Ashton (PUR)
2010 – Santa Catalina, Panama: Andrew Banks (RSA)
2011 – Punta Roca, El Salvador: Mark Richardson (AUS)
Men’s Grand Masters
2007 – Rincon, Puerto Rico: Magoo de la Rosa (PER)
2008 – Punta Rocas, Peru: Rob Page (AUS)
2010 – Santa Catalina, Panama: Juan Ashton (PUR)
2011 – Punta Roca, El Salvador: Juan Ashton (PUR)
2007 – Rincon, Puerto Rico: Chris Knutsen (RSA)
2008 – Punta Rocas, Peru: Marc Wright (RSA)
2010 – Santa Catalina, Panama: Rob Baldwin (AUS)
2011 – Punta Roca, El Salvador: Tom Curren (USA)
Men’s Grand Kahunas
2008 – Punta Rocas, Peru: Chris Knutsen (RSA)
2010 – Santa Catalina, Panama: Chris Knutsen (RSA)
2011 – Punta Roca, El Salvador: Craig Schieber (CRC)
2008 – Punta Rocas, Peru: Heather Clark (RSA)
2010 – Santa Catalina, Panama: Heather Clark (RSA)
2011 – Punta Roca, El Salvador: Layne Beachley (AUS)
2007 – Rincon, Puerto Rico: Team South Africa
2008 – Punta Rocas, Peru: Team South Africa
2010 – Santa Catalina, Panama: Team Australia
2011 – Punta Roca, El Salvador: Team USA
10 - The most decorated ISA World Masters athletes include Puerto Rico’s Juan Ashton (four gold medals in four years), South Africa’s Heather Clark (two gold medals, one silver medal), and South Africa’s Chris Knutsen (three gold medals). Former ASP World Champs Tom Curren (three world titles) and Layne Beachley (seven world titles) won their first ISA World Masters Gold Medals in their first year of ISA Masters competition last year in El Salvador.
The Nicaragua ISA World Masters Surfing Championship is made possible with the backing of the following sponsors: Nicaragua Tourism Institute, Gray Line, AmericanAirlines, Canal 13, Amnet, Hacienda Iguana, Taca, VOS TV, Municipalidad de Tola, Flor de Caña, INISER; the following cosponsors: Movistar, Dollar, Alamo, Comité Olimpico Nicaragüense, Hilton, Nuevo Diario, Guacalito, Condor, Servipro, Aqua Spa, CDNN canal 23, Nicasurfing; and the following supporters: Surfari Charters, Corona, Paso Pacifico, Renisa, Parmalat, Credomatic, Cruz Roja, Pantaleon, Canatur. The media partners are Pasión Xtrema, SurfersVillage and Surfos. The Official Forecaster for the event is Surfline.
The Surf Ranch Action Sports Resort is still under construction and the skatepark is about 50% done. Lucas & Travis Boychuk who funded and designed this resort and skatepark, take an hour break from the constant stress of getting things done in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua, and test out the new sections of the skateboard park. Phase 2 (bowls), are coming soon. Enjoy the video!
The skatepark is open everyday, and open and free for everyone - http://www.surfranchnicaragua.com/gettinghere.html for directions.
130,000 foreign tourists visited Nicaragua during Easter and the rest of April, also there was an International Tourism Fair in Managua, business sources said today.
The president of the National Chamber of Tourism (Canatur), Silvia Levy, today told reporters that at Easter the country promoted as their main destination, in addition to the beaches, a tour of the volcanoes, ometepe and the St. Juan, bordering Costa Rica.
"The San Juan River is discovered little by little and when the airport opens in San Juan de Nicaragua, it is going to have a spectacular" increase in tourists in the area, he said. Levy, who did not specify the number of tourists visiting Nicaragua during Holy Week last year, said this season is "of great economic value to the companies' premises.
The International Fair of Tourism of Nicaragua, which brought in 130 local companies and 40 from U.S., Canada, Central and South America. In this regard, the president of the Association of Producers and Exporters of Nicaragua, Enrique Zamora, reported that the fair also will develop a business round between the hotel industry and crafts and food producers in this country.
Levy, meanwhile, said that in 2011 Nicaragua received 1,060,000 foreign tourists and this year they hope the visit of 1,120,000. The teaching Nicaraguan Executive estimates that on average, each tourist spends $ 44 per day.
The authorities reported that last year tourism investment by nationals and foreigners, amounted to $ 121 million and by 2012 plans to attract $ 140 million.
Nicaragua had at least 64 deaths during the Easter holidays (Semana Santa 2012) and 890 cases of attacks by jellyfish on the beaches of the Pacific, according to relief agencies, local media and police.
The Nicaraguan police spokesman, Fernando Borge, told Efe that, according to a preliminary report this week 12 people died in traffic accidents, and 21 for murder.
Meanwhile, the official Radio Ya estimated that 31 people have died by drowning in the last week on the beaches, rivers, ponds and lakes throughout the country, a figure confirmed by the Nicaraguan Red Cross teaching.
Some victims have been identified, one as Spanish citizen, Santano Santiago Romay (33 years) and one from Honduras, Fausto Lopez, who died by drowning, according to the Red Cross.
On the other hand, rescuers confirmed that from Holy Thursday have treated 890 cases of jellyfish stings, organizations that have tentacles with stinging cells that cause redness, inflammation, first degree burns and even bleeding.
According to the Red Cross, such attacks are rare and are due to climate change, which requires the jellyfish, also known as jellyfish or sea tears, seek cooler areas, in this case the teaching Nicaraguan Pacific, where thousands of people enjoy the time Easter.
He said those killed in vehicle collisions, and the murders and homicides so far occurred outside the resorts and beaches, and are non-religious activities held this week, thousands of worshipers crowd.
Last year 66 people died from traffic accidents, drowning or murder at Easter, according to official figures.
This year some 16,500 Nicaraguan police officers deployed on the roads of Nicaragua to implement "rigorous controls" with breathalysers and speed cameras, while some 2,000 Red Cross volunteers monitored 134 beaches.
Google Glasses & Extreme Sports
The future of computers is already here. Google is working on implanting a computer screen into your glasses and even contact lenses. Imagine the possibilities that will come from this?
This concept is great for people who want to be free from sitting at a computer all day. Now you can get back outside and enjoy the outdoor world that you once lived in. Imagine skateboarding with these glasses and checking your face book or sending out emails in between tricks. Imagine rock climbing, mountain biking, and even snowboarding with these glasses on? Imagine taking a photo of a trick you are doing in mid air, with the quick snap of the button on top of the glasses, and then tweeting the photo right after you land it. Whether you like it or not, this may be the immediate future.
You can wear the glasses and look around normally, except now you will have transparent weather forecasts, face book updates and various apps all in your line of vision. Terminator style!
Project Glass will also turn from the current modernized style into aviators, stylin beach sunglasses, snowboard goggles, installed in motorcycle helmets (maybe), scuba masks…you name it. The glasses are still in testing, and might be too early to release them to the public as they still have to work out the kinks.
Whenever they come out, if they even do, sign me up for a couple pairs!
A-Z list of things to do in Nicaragua at the Surf Ranch Resort - www.surfranchnicaragua.com
Air Pad drop
Launch Ramp to Airbag
Mountain Biking, MMA
Rappelling, Rock Climbing, Restaurant
Surfing, Skateboarding, Scuba, Skimboarding
Umbrella Lounge Chairs
I have been living in San Juan Del Sur for 3 years now only on a 90 day tourist visa. This may sound familiar to everyone reading this. Every 90 days you must leave the country and get your passport re-stamped, or get it re-stamped at the Metro Centro mall in Managua. You can get it stamped at the mall, but 90 days later you have to leave the country.
The fastest way from San Juan Del Sur is obviously going to the Nicaraguan/Costa Rican Border.
Now for those of you who have done it multiple times, you know it sucks, it’s completely disorganized, filled with beggars and corruption. It’s not a fun place to be.
I have not found any info on the internet on how to make this process easier for people, so below I am giving you all the info and a basic map, and what you have to do to cross for only 30min – 1 hour and return.
First off, if you are looking to leave Nicaragua and go to Costa Rica, it’s fairly simple, the same steps below apply, but when you get to the Costa Rican side, you need to look like you have money, or they will ask you for a bus or plane ticket, so they know when you will be leaving Costa Rica.
I am writing this as an expat of San Juan Del Sur, with a vehicle. Also the steps below are for you to do your 90 day visa run with only spending 30 minutes in Costa Rica, instead of spending the 2 days in which you are suppose to.
1. Drive from San Juan Del Sur, to the Pan Am highway, take a right and drive all the way down to the border (30 min drive). Don’t bother waiting behind the semis, they are parked there for 1 – 2 days, drive around them. When you get to what looks like the border, park your car to the right. (On map where it says parking). Now there are about 10 guys sitting around waiting…they will swarm you, get out of your car, don’t hesitate, just walk through the gate and towards number “2” on the map, which is the duty free shops. By this time, most of the swarm will have vanished and you will have 1 or 2 really consistent guys which will follow you the whole way through. (There intention is to help you through, tell you where to go, wait for you while you go to the costa rica border, and come back….they are teamed up with the guy who lets you back in the country, and he wants a bribe ($5 - $20), he brings you aside with your original scammers, you walk and pay them….more details below).
2. Duty Free Shops, this is a great place to do some shopping, but also to lose the swarm of guys trying to scam you, they are sometimes not allowed in, and you can walk through and out the other side, but they usually follow you regardless.
3. Walk to the “check out” which is number 3 on the map. You need to pay around $1 for a small ticket before you are allowed to wait in line and being surrounded by beggars. If you are lucky or go on a weekday, the line should be short. Wait in line….
(now if you extended your welcome of 90 days, don’t wait in line, go straight to number “4” on the map, it is a small ghetto photo copy place, where you need a photo copy of your pass port (2 – 4 cordobas). Walk back to number “3”, don’t wait in line, there is a small office on the top part in the photo, and you need to walk inside, talk to the lady, and then pay $2 or so for everyday you stayed over 90 days. Then after that you can walk back to “3” and wait in line. You will need to show him the photo copy if you needed it, or just show him your passport; you will need to pay him as well…then he will give you a stamp to leave the country.
4. Photo Copy Booth – This is where you get your photo copy of your passport if you ended up staying over 90 days.
5. After getting your stamp in step 3, you walk through the parking lot of semis and dirt, until you get to “5” where there is 1 angry guy checking your passports for the stamp to leave the country, then you must walk through a small hallway with 2 guards who quickly double check, they give you the okay, then you are in Costa Rica. There is just a long road, you need to start walking down, it is about a 5 minute walk until you reach step “6”.
6. This is the Costa Rica entry and exit of the country. Right now as of (Mar 25 2012), they are doing renovations, and narrowed it down to 1 room for entry and exit, making it a lot harder to sneak by, so you have to get your stamp to enter the country in 1 room, then somehow get them to believe you where there for 2 days or not remember you, to get a stamp back in. This is the tricky part. Before there were 2 rooms with 2 different crews of staff. By the time you go, it might be changed back. But either way, the following applies. You walk in, tell them you are going to Tamarindo for a few days, they stamp you, and then you walk outside. You will be immediately confronted by a few people who want money to help get you back in to Nicaragua. Talk to these guys, they are your only way back in. They then tell you to wait, get on their phone and usually teamed up with someone on the inside, most likely the person you just talked to get your stamp into the country. They then tell you hurry go now, and talk to this person…do as they say, don’t question, go in, their inside guy will stamp you, then you leave immediately, walk back towards Nicaragua, while handing over $20 to the guy who helped you. You spent $20, but at least you don’t have to spend 2 days in Costa Rica and all the money to go along with it. Walk back towards “5” on the map.
7. Now it will be about 30 min – 1 hour since the last time the guy at the Nicaraguan side talked to you, so he still remembers your face. Your guys from the Nicaraguan side, who helped you the whole way through, will be waiting there for you like obedient dogs. This is where it gets messy. You walk through, the guy stops you and says, no or hey “call the police” to his friend, or “you aren’t allowed back in,” then you look at or talk to your helpers from before, then the guy will see that and whisper, move aside. That is your key to talk to your helper, and he will ask for a $5 - $20 to let you back in on behalf of all of them in the scam together, you agree….they then tell the guy, then he says okay go through, you walk with them back into Nicaragua, then give them their money. If they said $20 originally and there are 2 of you, at this point, they will try to say $20 each. Tell them to @!%$ off and only give them what you agreed, they will then threaten you or threaten to call the cops, so depends how much experience you have, you can give in, or keep walking. At this point you will be pissed off, so you will have more confidence to tell them off.
8. Walk back to Number “7” on the map, this is the entry point back into the country, where you need to get your passport stamped. This one is fairly easy. Pay $10 a person to enter the country.
9. Walk back past the duty free shop and back towards your car, have your keys in your pocket, walk straight, the guys will confront you but never fight you, keep walking, get in your car and take off. Meanwhile they will be telling you to give them money for watching your car, which you did not agree originally. They usually just end up giving you the middle finger while their buddies laugh at them.
You made it! You may be reading this and thinking that you may be nicer to them, but after being ripped off, touched by greasy hands, tired, hot, then harassed, you will do the same thing. Overall, for 2 of us, we ended up spending roughly $150 total for bribes, entry and exit fees, etc…
Doing this definitely sucks and I do not recommend it, but if you have to, the steps above will get you through. Once you do it, 90 days later, remember you can go to the Mall in Managua (Metro Centro) to get it stamped, then 90 days after that, try to plan a trip to leave the country by plane, a lot easier.
Hope this helps.
www.surfranchnicaragua.com - Today was an awesome day, we finished constructing our new 20ft tower with 2 levels, 1 at 12 ft and the other at 20ft. There is plywood on the base, so you can skateboard off the tower into our giant inflatable airbag. There are only a few of these around the world, we had to get it custom made, and it didn't come with instructions...so we are learning as we go and we found the perfect formula for how many vents we need open and the time period between jumps. We brought out the GoPro Video and did some filming...check it out! Saturday March 3rd, 2012 is the Grand Opening of our airbag, and we will see you all out there