Heavy winds greeted us as we pulled up to the beach. Adam, Jeff, Dane and I got out of the truck and took a long look at the conditions. It was swirling around and constantly was switching directions. The four of us sat in the truck and waited until we saw a few clean waves roll in. There was no one out and the cold wind kept it like that for the rest of the session. After the first session,we headed up the beach to a different spot because it looked better up there. We were pleasantly surprised when no one was out there either, and the waves were quite a bit better. After a short session there, we had numb feet and were ready to hop in the truck and change out of our soaking wetsuits. We stopped by Jeff’s house which was just up a dirt road, rinsed off and changed. We then headed up the mountains, to explore some caves and the peak. As we headed up farther and farther the dirt road became less and more brush over coming the road. It was also very narrow, with sharp turns every so often too. Four wheel drive was very necessary, and it was a good thing we had it. The view as we got farther up just kept becoming better.
As we reached the top of the mountain, we ran up the hill, even though the strong gusts of wind pushed us back. The first glance was an amazing view of all the grassy hills, and a peak of the ocean as well. There were also these little caves on the mountain that varied in size. Some were large enough to walk in, and others were barely big enough to sit inside of. It is really cool to see that there are places so undeveloped and there can be no people or cars around, even when you can see miles and miles of land. The terrain was one of a kind, and I can’t wait to head back up to that spot and other places similar to it.
This weekend was good as far as waves go. Friday the conditions became prime right before dark, and I scored some fun beach break with my brother Colin and his friend Josh. The wind was howling, but it was offshore so it was a good thing. It was great also because there was only one other guy out surfing, and he was down the beach. Fun surf sessions can happen in the least expected places and times, because just a little bit of a change of the tide, swell direction, wind, or a combination of those things can change everything. Earlier that day the wind was blowing very hard onshore, and the ocean did not look promising. But, as the sun got lower, the waves and conditions got better.
Saturday was not great, I surfed Rincon and it was rather small, and there was a bit of a crowd. There was still a few fun ones despite being unmotivated by the majority of bad waves. Sunday was a different story. My friends Adam, Jeff, and I headed up to Hollister Ranch. We didn’t think that it was going to be very good, but we were pleasantly surprised when we got our first glimse of the ocean and saw a solid set of about 5 waves roll in. We were super excited and rushed to the spot to where we threw on our sandy wet wetsuits on and paddled out. It ended up being a fun time with all of us switching off waves and just enjoying the day. We weren’t sure what to expect after our first session, but we headed back down the beach and caught a glimpse of a few good looking waves down the beach. We paddled back out with slowly freezing feet because it was too good of an opportunity to pass up. It was just us three out in the water too, so that made it even better. By the end of the day, I was completely sunburned, surfed out, and ready to go to bed by about 6. The day wrapped up the weekend very well, and was the best day out of those three days.
Last week has been interesting. I’m still not used to the cold weather nor the small, windy, waves. Every time I jump in to the water, it feels freezing, and can only think of the warm water that I took for granted just the other week. It’s funny because before I went on the trip, the water felt absolutely fine, and now that I’m back, it still feels a bit chilly, even after surfing many times since. Luckily, summer is right around the corner, and the water warms up then, but the waves also end up getting a lot smaller in Santa Barbara. A drive to Ventura or up the coast is a necessary thing most days to get any sort of waves, but the drive is worth it.
It’s weird because it felt like I was in Panama for a lot longer than 10 days, but now that I am back it feels like it was shorter, and it also feels like it was longer than just two weeks ago. I definitely miss it, and I was really stoked to meet a lot of new people through surfing. The place we were staying was relatively small, so there wasn’t too many people there, which is nice because you get a chance to really talk to the people and see who they are. By chance, there was also a lot of surfers there that I looked up to and always saw pictures of in surfing magazines and such, which was a crazy surprise after getting off the long plane flight. Scott, our surf guide, told us the epic conditions we had coming our way, and now I really wish that I could have some more of those conditions compared to what it is like here in Santa Barbara.
Coming back to Santa Barbara was a great feeling, but I sure do wish that the weather was as warm as Panama, along with the amazing conditions of the surf. Besides being behind on school work and missing a few days, I would say it was worth the long travels and the longer stay. Very small conditions in Santa Barbara
Fun days in Panama.
One 6 hour 40 minute red eye flight into Panama city from LAX, followed by a 6 hour layover, then a 45 minute flight into Bocas del Toro from Panama City, and finally a boat ride to Red frog bungalows, where we were greeted by our surf guide Scott. It was a long day of traveling to say the least, but was worth it once we arrived. The warm weather was a very nice thing to feel after being in California, even though it may have made it a bit harder to sleep. We were greeted the next day by tropical weather, warm ocean water, and flawless offshore overhead conditions. We were at a wave called Paunch, a reef break. It was a great start to the ten day trip we had ahead of us. And apparently the waves were just supposed to get better, which was a great thing to hear. Later that day we met the owner of the resort, Scott who turned out to be our surf guide and host that we got to hangout and surf with a lot. He knew just about everything about the conditions of the surf, wind, and tide, and would crack jokes with us at the same time.
Everyday there were waves, and Tuesday was the best beach break that I have seen in my life. Everywhere I looked there was spitting barrels, and nearly no one was out either, which blew my mind. It was heavy, breaking on these perfect sandbars. I was stoked to say the least, and paddled out. Everything was great, until I broke my board on my 5th wave. I brought another board down to the beach, but it was my last board for the trip. It was to good not to paddle back out. We surfed for about 6 hours, everyone was going nuts over how good it was. After a long day of perfect waves, beatings, and sunburns we headed back into town. We stopped back in town for some burritos and tacos, then took the boat ride back to Red Frog. It was a great day of surfing, and made all the traveling worth it.