Archives for March 2013

Day 2: Living the life, learning about the love and seeing the hope at Mission Mexico

Rising to the songs of the peacock wasn’t what I had planned for the morning at 5 am but I was wide awake from the 2 hour time change to begin with.  I was quickly being introduced to all the kids as they would come up to see who the new guest was.  Jake and Shane are kinda rockstars here so as soon as the kids came out to the common areas they ran over and pursued hugs and laughs.  They kids have all bonded to them from past visits and it was really interesting to see how the connection inside Mission Mexico was so strong.  After the morning greeting and questions from all the kids who I was it was decided that we would be traveling with a couple of the older kids by van out to the property on the beach to drop the workers off.  Mission Mexico has a piece of property that they are building to eventually house a surf camp to raise money.  Jake and his awesome crew have come down numerous times to help in the entire process in many ways, including building the house that will one day be the camp, and raising a lot money for the orphanage.  Today we were just driving by to drop some workers off to continue the work and then we were able to surf with about 6 of the older teenagers for almost two hours afterwards!!  What a great time in some really  waist to chest waves!  All smiles!  I shot just a little but really wanted to engage in doing an activity with the kids.


After the surf we headed back to the orphanage in the Town of Tapachula about 30 mins away to get to work on the days photo workshop and presentation of the art of photography and what I do for a living.  We gathered everyone in a room and hooked up a laptop to a tv and I presented my work and taught the kids the basics of photography and about cameras.  From there we took our first group out into the field with the donated cameras!  The “field” was the streets of Tapachula.  A colorful town in southern Mexico filled with culture, old buildings and smiling locals!  A perfect pallet for young budding photographers!  We would take 5-6 kids at a time for 1-2 hours.  Each would have a camera and we would journey from one spot to the next testing and honing the skills needed to become a photographer.  The kids were so intrigued and interested!  Instantly it made my trip to see all these kids so stoked on picking up a camera!  I was out there shooting alongside, tipping them off for spots to shoot, angles and of course, reminding them to always have fun!!

The first photo group we took out.
Darkness came after our first two groups and I was one happy teacher, to be able to spread the stoke of photography into the fresh minds of these awesome kids!  Once we trekked back to the orphanage Jake, Shane, Pam (mom), Momo, and myself joined as we drove to an eatery.  We had to of been there a couple hours as Pam filled us in and told some crazy stories about the latest at Mission Mexico.  The entire time I was happier and happier that I was here with an awesome opportunity provided by Jake and The Compound to share my knowledge with these amazing kids!


Day 2

Day 1: Photography and Surfing brought to Mission Mexico. Live Love Hope


Welcome to another series of blogs to start off 2013!  This trip like many others is derived around surfing but in a whole different perspective.  Perspective is what this trip is all about.  Surfing is a unique sport that brings people together around the world and this is a prime example where it has not only accomplished that and so many others things.

We are in Southern Mexico in a place called Tapachula, a small town near the ocean with a very special orphanage called Mission Mexico residing within.  Mission Mexico has been around for a while but 12 years ago an Australian couple,  Allen and Pam came to volunteer and never left.  It was nearing a shut down and they just couldn’t let that happen.  Fast forward 10 years later and that is when I learned about it through my good friend Jacob Shields who runs The Compound Boardshop on the West coast of Florida where I grew up.  Jake is one of those guys that doesn’t have a mean bone in his body and of course is a surfer.  He has been coming down to help the orphanage for years now, building, spending time with the kids, donating and putting in lots of time and effort to help make a difference in a kids life.  These kids have pretty horrific stories.  Stories you and I can’t even imagine.  They land here and have an opportunity to have a life.  Every Sunday is surfing day and they take the kids surfing……all 50 of them!  You think your life is tough taking your two kids to the beach?  Allen and Pam are heros.

Mission Mexico has about 40-50 kids at any time run by just a handful of dedicated volunteers that come in and out except Allen and Pam which sometimes are nearly taking care of 40 kids by them selves.  Jake called me up a few years ago to ask if I was interested in having a few pieces of my work in a little photo show at his shop.  I was happy to hear his support of the photographic world and even more to find out all the sales from the show would go to and orphanage in Mexico.  In April the photo show will be in its 3rd year and we are here to make it a little more special and try and raise a bit more money in an effort to support Mission Mexico.  His idea to bring me hear was to show the kids the world of photography and get them involved in the show as well as the awesome art of taking pictures.  Jake and I got a handful of cameras donated by some awesome people ( Andy Shear, Sara Gomez, Nate Hamler, Lauren Guzzi and Christy Mari )  for the kids to use and keep.  During my trip I will be introducing them to the cameras, how to use them and explore their area with them and their new camera.  We plan on then taking some of the images the kids take, printing them and then involving them directly into their own fundraiser back in Florida alongside some of my images and other great surf photographers.  Sounds pretty rad?

I am writing this in our bunks stacked 3 high, sass we are staying at the orphanage, listening to the peacock call somewhere nearby.  Along with us on the trip is another friend of Jake’s and huge supporter of MM, Shane also from Sarasota, Florida.  He is directly involved in a lot of the construction of the work they are doing building on a piece of property the orphanage has on the ocean.  They have both been here many times, up to two weeks at a time doing hard labor helping to build the surf camp building at the beach.  The orphanage is in the town which is a short drive from the beach.  They are striving to extend to the beach.  Shane will be here working on that and also teaching the kids some art as well.  Look for more as Day 1 is promising to have a start to this enlightening experience.

Learn more about where I am at:

Ben Hicks

Pompano Beach Concrete Skate Park Meeting @ the Civic Center Public

483245_10151365101153008_1960538429_nIt’s our chance to show the city officials how bad the residents of Pompano Beach want a legitimate skate park. Come out and show your support and we could end up with a concrete skate park.


Ankle to knee high north swell in Broward county this morning. Nothing rideable that I saw.

Wave models are showing a little something for this time next week.


Flat with a trace of north swell.

Killer moonset and sunrise this morning!


Another full moon high tide killer this morning. Waves are coming in but only a couple of sandbars were picking it up. Might be worth a look around low tide.


Knee to waist high and building in south PBC. Full moon high tide had a hurtin on it early this morning but It should get bigger and better as the tide drops.

Looks like waves for the next few days.


Glassy flat this morning in Pompano.

The buoys upcoast are blowing NW pretty good. Good sign for us down here tomorrow. We might even see a little something before dark.

BTW, Spanish Mackerel are being caught on the Piers.


Starting off to be a killer beach day. Light sideshore winds with a little knee to occasional thigh high swell in the water. SUP and longboard is the call for today.

Forecast looks good for Tuesday morning.


Knee to thigh high north swell this morning in Broward and PBC. The east winds are on it but not too bad. Not sure where this swell is coming from but it’s big enough for a longboard session.

Noon photo update:

Waves have picked up. Some chest high sets coming into North Broward. Not sure how long it’ll last.