Surfing In Nicaragua

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Nicaragua is our new favourite place. Bordering Honduras in the North and Costa Rica to the South, the Nicaraguan coastline is a tropical, jungle hideaway. It boasts incredible waves, atmosphere and a fraction of the crowds.

We suggest staying in Playa Gigante. This quaint local village has a few restaurants, a hostel (including a variety of rental properties for long and short term) and best of all surf camps. Even if you aren’t staying with the camps, there’s surf board rental and you’ll be able to jump on the boats (for a small fee) frequenting one of the 14 local and amazing breaks.

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If you love to practice yoga, there are also daily classes run by the Papaya Wellness girls (who you’re sure to meet out in the water). Carly and India run incredible retreats including delicious nutrition courses.

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Volunteer:

There are also lots of opportunities to volunteer with the locals to give back to this awesome community. Check out The Sweet Water Fund and Project Woo.

Wildlife:
There are 3 groups of Howler Monkeys around Playa Gigante and you’ll hear them early in the morning. There’s also an abundance of local seafood, pigs that wander the streets and local dogs and kittens who are all very friendly.

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How to Get There:
Catch a plane to Managua, or enjoy a delightful bus ride (sarcasm noted) from one of the surrounding countries. For safety reasons we suggest you take a King Quality (ask any local tourist tienda). If you like living on the edge you can catch Chicken buses all through Latin America for a fraction of the price.

Currency:
They take both US dollars or Nicaraguan Cordobas.

Language:
Spanish

Things to pack:
Sunscreen
Swimmers (make sure they are tight as the beach breaks can be heavy!)
Board
Wax (can be hard to get in town).

Remember:
Don’t drink water from the tap! Sadly, it’s only bottled or purified water. (Please try and recycle your bottles to save the environment).

If you want any more information – head to www.playagigante.com

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Swim with Turtles in Tullum, Mexico

There’s many cool things to do in Mexico, other than drinking Margaritas and lounging on the beach. If you are heading down south and looking for adventure, skip Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Instead, park your booty in Tullum. Although still touristy in high season, Tullum has a relaxed vibe and maintains some authentic Mexican charm (unlike Cancun and Playa).

 Tullum is the closest town to Akumal beach, where you can swim with one of these cute critters for free!Image

Swimming with Turtles in Akumal
There are many, many turtles chilling out in Akumal beach and if you decide to go, it will take your breath away. During breeding season (April-May) the bigger turtles come to feed in the area and are simply enormous!

Akumal is a small beach, about 10 kilometers away from Tullum center. Get there early to avoid the crowd and swim within the designated zones (marked by bouys). It’s quite touristy, so save your dinero and hire snorkelling gear in town (shouldn’t cost you more that $70 pesos for the day).

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Getting There
Catch a collectivo bus (local bus) from out the front of the bus station. It will cost you $20 pesos each way and will give you a good opportunity to practice your spanish! When you get off at the bus stop, it’s a 5 minute walk down the road towards the beach. Otherwise,  you can catch a cab $100 pesos one way.

Things to Remember
It is rumoured that this area is to be turned into a marine park as it is a hot-spot for turtles during breeding season. This is bad news for thrifty travellers who don’t want to pay to swim with the marine life, but excellent news for the turtles and the locals. The large influx of tourists has meant that the environment is slowly suffering from the impact.

If you go, be friendly to our flippered buddies. When swimming, it is recommend that you keep a 2 metre distance from the turtles and don’t chase or touch them.

If you go to see them, keep the turtles happy and healthy, you will have an incredible time!

NB- $70 pesos = $7 U.S or $5 AUS

The first female surfer in Iran

Irishwoman Easkey Britton has made waves, surfing in Iran.

When she climbed onto a surfboard on a beach in Iran, the whole of the local village turned out to watch and I’m sure they were impressed. Easkey is the five time Irish surf champion and is a natural in the water.

“They were just so friendly and so curious – they hadn’t seen surfing before,” she said.

You can see Easkey and her journey in a new documentary about being the first woman to surf in the Islamic country.

Initially, she and filmmaker Marion Poizeau were unsure of their reception in the country.

As they got on with their surfing in the sea close to Chabahar, southern Iran, last September, a police car pulled up and they became more concerned.

But there was no need.

“The police were just checking we were okay. They were worried about the rocks on the beach and whether we knew about them.”

Easkey – named after a famous surf break off the west coast of Ireland – is passionate about the ocean.

“I have been fortunate, I was born into surfing. There is no other experience like it for me,” she explained.

Easkey travelled to southern Iran last September.

“We headed off to this Islamic Republic as two women looking for waves,” she said.

It seemed a little bizarre and they had a few preconceptions that were quickly squashed.

“The moment we landed, people were incredibly welcoming and Iran has an amazing heritage. Yes, as women we had to have our heads covered and it was incredibly hot.”

The other issue was one of respect for the local culture and rules.

“I bought a lycra hijab which had not been designed for the surf. But it covered me,” explained Easkey.

“The water was so hot … but it was certainly no place for bikinis and board surfing.”

Now Easkey wants to bring her love of surfing across the world, to cultures where women do not normally get the opportunity to enjoy the sport

We think this is an awesome achievement and applaud Easkey in her goal to give more women a chance to experience the joy of surfing. We look forward to hearing more about her travels.

Read more about Easkey’s story on the BBC News. Or check out the documentary!

If you have surfed in any unusual places we’d love to hear about them! Send us your stories and pictures. 🙂

Billabong All Girls Surf Camp with Surfista Travels Summer 2012 by Steph Jarina

Billabong Surf Day in the Phillippines!

Surfista Travels Siargao, Philippines

As I was browsing through the internet, mainly on Facebook, I came across a photo with a huge “Learn to Surf” sign on it. At first I wasn’t interested, I mean, who has the time, right? But then I always seem to find it on my newsfeed somehow. Out of plain curiosity, I clicked on the photo and took down the details of this all-girls’ surf camp that was set to take place in San Juan, La Union.

My first time to ever “catch” a wave and balance on a surf board was also in San Juan, La Union, last May 2011. A few months after that, I booked a ticket to Siargao just to, well, surf. But it did not push through because I decided to join the rat race instead. At that time, I was obviously unaware of what I missed. So when the Billabong All-Girl’s Surf Camp…

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Florianópolis, Brazil – Surf Travel

Florianópolis, Brazil – Travel to Surf, Surf to Travel.
Florianopolis (or Floripa, as the island is known by locals) is a must visit if you are planning to surf and travel around Brazil. Located in the South of Brazil, this beautiful island will take your breath away and surfer’s will be spoilt with over 40 pristine beaches to choose from. With waves, gorgeous scenery, soft white sand dunes and sparkling lagoons, Floripa is not to be missed.

Surf: Floripa has some of the most consistent surf spots in Brazil. It picks bigger swells coming from the South Atlantic and Antartica. The best surfing periods are from early March to late May, and late September from early November. Always take your wetsuits, even in summer as the currents are cold!

Photo by Bruno Matos

Places to surf: Most famous beaches in the area are Joaquina, Praia Mole, Praia Brava and Naufragados.

Beginners: Barra de Lagoa, it’s a beach break with a sandy bottom and breaks both right and left. Lot’s of fun. Best during the week at any tide, with an easterly swell and south facing wind (3ft).

Photo by Bruno Mato

Intermediates: Canasvieiras, Galheta, Ingeleses and Praia Mole. These breaks are all different, but all provide great waves, make sure you check the surf report before you pick!

Photo by Bruno Mato

Experienced: JoaquinaNaufragados and Caldeirao. These breaks are powerful, fast and demanding. However, if you paddle out you will be rewarded.

Photo by Bruno Mato

Travellers tip: Be friendly and beware of hostile locals (these guys deal with massive influxes of tourists to their home breaks). The guy to girl ratio is 9:1 and while you don’t need to worry about anti-girl sentiment, the guys may snake your waves. Prepare to challenge and call people off your waves, be assertive and you’ll get more waves.

Relax after a surf!

Places to stay: I stayed at Back Packers Share House Floripa, which was incredibly fun. Located on the beach front at Barra da Lagoa, the area is stunning. They rent free surfboards and are only a bus ride from popular surf beaches like Moçambique, Mole and Joaquina. Other great hostels include Floripa Surf Hostel (closer to breaks), Backpackers Sunset (incredible view, great facilities) and Submarino Hostel (more bang for your $$$).

Travellers Tip: Make sure you try the ice cold Acai with granola and banana at the beach hut on Barra da Lagoa. It’s healthy and delicious!

Other things to do: There are loads of other adventure sports to get involved in such as sand-boarding, diving and dune racing. Check at your hostel for more information. The nightlife in this area is also fantastic and you will find a good number of dance floors.

Enjoy the beautiful view.

Getting there: If you want to fly, Hercílio Luz International Airport is the closest to the city (12km). Catching a bus from there to Floripa is easy as it is a well known tourist destination. Alternately you may want to travel by bus from Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro, many companies service this route and your closest bus station will offer tickets. For more information check out ‘how to travel to Florianopolis‘.

More Information:
Check the Surf Report and find more breaks.
When looking for places to stay in Brazil, don’t miss Hostel World.

Have a travel question?
Feel free to add your tips or ask any travel advice in the comments. Or you can email us your travel stories. 🙂

Photos by: Carmen Angerer and Bruno Matos. Bruno is a brazilian surf photographer who’s blog we loved. Check out his other photos!

Wave Watch – Photos of Local Breaks

Here are some shots of a wave called Impossible’s or known lovingly as “Posso’s” to the locals. Off the beaten track near Victoria’s famed West Coast. Posso’s is a great wave for experienced and beginner surfers (depending on the conditions of course).

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We’ve recently gotten our Tumblr up and running, so send us your local break and we’ll put them up here and on our awesome Ola Tumblr! (Don’t worry all locations will remain secret! Unless you don’t mind a few more lady surfers at your break!)

~ Love Ola

Stoked to Surf

When did you catch your first wave? Were you instantly addicted?

This is Živa, she recently went surfing for the very first time. She loved it so much that 2 weeks in the water just wasn’t enough!

4 days after she came home from her very first surf trip, she booked her next one straight away.

We understand the feeling. Once you start surfing it’s hard to think about much else!

Good luck on your surf journey Živa!

Thanks to deepsoulsurfer for sharing Živa’s story. If you would like a photo or story posted, send us an email or contact us via Facebook.

Lake Atlantic

This is why Mal riding is awesome. You can surf even when it’s 1ft! These sessions are always super fun and there is rarely anyone else out there!

arcsurf

Oh how I miss St. Augustine, FL! Such an awesome sleepy surf town. Summer cruisin’ log style. Vids by Drew Miller, and congrats to Justin Q. for making the finals last week in Huntington.

LAKE ATLANTIC from Drew Miller on Vimeo.

Justin Quintal // Mid-Length Shred Sled from Drew Miller on Vimeo.

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