Big Swell in Nicaragua!

SDB Pioneer Andrew Bennett Scores in Central America

All Photos by Seth de Roulet.

We found a cool vantage point to check out the outer reef and saw Koa Smith get a perfect one.
We found a cool vantage point to check out the outer reef and saw Koa Smith get a perfect one.

There’re are very few surfing destinations that consistently have offshore winds all day long and one of them is Popoyo, Nicaragua. With that rare fact in mind and a storm off the coast of Chile producing 30-40ft seas directed toward Central America, photographer Seth de Roulet and I were packing our bags (full of boardshorts and tee shirts) to meet the swell head on.

Avianca, operated by Taca flies directly to El Salvador and a puddle jumper takes you to Managua, Nicaragua. A two hour drive from Managua to Popoyo and you’ve arrived at an all day array of slabs, reefs and breach breaks in under 10 hours of travel!

Just of the jet and in a whole other world. Rush hour traffic in Nicaragua.
Just off the jet and in a whole other world. Rush hour traffic in Nicaragua.
I rode a 6’5” Channel Islands proton which was borderline for some of the biggest sets on Saturday morning. The swell peaked mid morning on Saturday morning with the long intervals.
I rode a 6’5” Channel Islands proton which was borderline for some of the biggest sets on Saturday morning. The swell peaked mid morning on Saturday with long intervals. The outer reef reminded me of heavy waves in Tahiti and Fiji!
The medium sized waves were the roundest.
The medium sized waves were more round than the bigger ones.
Andrew Bennett_Nicaragua_7
The beach breaks had some amazing right tubes on the backside of the peak of the swell.

Our casita for our three day stay was at the 2,700 acre Rancho Santana. It was a perfect place to relax after surfing all day. This private property gave us access to two barreling beach breaks and a little known left reef/point tucked under the cliffs. With a variety of surf spots all going off at the same time we found ourselves surfing and searching nonstop.

A hidden and unridden left reef/point.
A hidden and unridden left reef/point.
The best rental car of all time facilitated our constant surf checks.
The best rental car of all time facilitated our constant surf checks.
Some awesome backdrops amongst the beach breaks.
There were some awesome backdrops at the beach breaks.
Far down the beach away from the pack on the main peak.
Far down the beach away from the pack on the main peak.
Far down the beach away from the pack on the main peak.
Far down the beach away from the pack on the main peak.
Barrels for days.
Barrels for days.
Unridden Santana peaks.
Unridden Santana peaks.

The combination of the friendly locals I surfed with, safe and contained private ranches, variety of surf breaks, perfect wind conditions and amazing food make Nicaragua one of the most appealing places to go on a surf trip. I’m looking forward to one day returning during the wet season when everything turns tropical green and the flowing river mouths create even better sandbars!

I can't wait to head back down to Nicaragua during the rainy season to surf all the sandbars!
I can’t wait to head back down to Nicaragua during the rainy season to surf all the sandbars!

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