Day 5 – The day has come

A lot of anticipation was riding on today!  It was our last day and also the first day of a major swell to hit the entire coast of Central American and eventually the US west coast.  Waking up in the dark its always hard to tell if it is indeed bigger.  It was though.  I swam out with my housing and not a flash, as the flash adds almost double the weight and severely hinders my mobility in the water.  It was just myself swimming, Matt, Chip along with floridians Christian and Ben.  The sets were getting bigger by the hour.  I swam for about 3 hours in the increasing surf.  With the strong rip currents it was very hard to position myself to lineup with the.  Christian and I linked up on one as well as catching the others on some pretty good wipeouts, that I will hold back from embarassing them ;).  I got lit up a couple times by jellies again, not so fun.  Pretty good sand burn on my back from slamming on the bottom once too!  The sun was out though finally!  It was a super nice day out.  As the swell rose more and more people came out with their boards and sat on the beach.  hmm.

We all went in to go eat.  I went right back out with my land gear to shoot lineups.  The swell just kept increasing as well the high tide.  For those that paddled out it was either getting a super sick barrel like local Carlos, whom got a couple or get totally pounded in the process.  The peanut gallery increased.  Eventually Matt came back out as the swell was surging and caught a few bombs.  Tucked into a couple but the backwash was keeping it from firing.

The other half of the crew took a cab to check out Popoyo, a nearby break.  They came back and said it was good, but no one had paddled out. Outer Popoyo was firing I had heard later.  Matt and I should of probably headed there.  Colorados was so close to firing.  If we would have left then it probably would of gotten good.

We both went back to the condo started packing and then I went back out to shoot the sunset as the swell pulsed.  Saw some good sized bombs today and Matt and I were both little bummed we couldnt extend our trip to catch the backend of the swell.

 

Thanks to my awesome supporters!

www.PacSafe.com  – Providing me with the best travel bags and gear
www.TrustTheBum.com – Sun Bum – Protecting my skin in the sun!
www.SolveSunglasses.com –  Buy one pair of Solve’s and give one person clean water for life!

www.CompoundBoardshop.com – The boardshop for all your advendtures!
www.SeafarerSurfboards.com –  World class surfboards made in Florida!

www.Aquatech.net – Aquatech SLR water housings
www.Watershot.com – Making the best Water Housings for my iPhone!
Cressi dive gear

SlaveToTheWave.com

See more of my work: 
Commercial: www.BocaRatonPhoto.com
Fine Art: www.BenJHicks.com
Instagram: @benjhicks
Facebook: www.facebook.com/benhicksphotos

Day 4 – Electricity is a luxury

Flashed tube

Flashed tube

Waking up to sweat dripping down your face is never fun at 3:30 am.  The power has pretty much not worked most of the time we have been here, but we have a generator which is not always on.  This morning was the first time the air also did not work.  Well it was time to get up anyway and try to catch up on work and also images from the trip after being behind already.  Going non stop, either editing, prepping gear shooting or eating.  I try to maximize my time here and shooting as much as possible is key to getting what I am trying to achieve.  At the same time I am also covering a trip for the guys that brought me here.  Usually after day 3 it really starts to get physically demanding.  Today I swam about 6 hours with the rip currents really not working with me, lol.  As like most mornings I was out there by myself.  This morning everyone slept in.  Samer and Jerry eventually paddled out.  I was just about done, putting in almost 4 hours but decided to stay out to get them a few more shots.  The tide was getting too high.

I went in and had to get some food in me!  After loading up with eggs rice and a lot of water, I downloaded all the images.  The laptop was getting low on battery with no power so I held off on editing.  The internet and power went back on as I was able to upload the blog from the day before.  Did a little surgery on my heal that had a stone lodged in and then worked on cleaning some of my gear.  We then went back and hung out at the beach club to check the waves again.  Back at it, I swam out with a 50mm lens, the third setup of the day.  I started out the a 8-15 fisheye and Flash, then 70-200.  As soon as we got out there the wind came on shore.  Frustrated we all went back in.
The evening session has a little bit of wind some no one really went out except me.  It was the first evening with clear skies, so I had to take advantage of the light.  Swam until dark and couldn’t see.  Went in and the power was off again, lol.

Thanks to my awesome supporters!

www.PacSafe.com  – Providing me with the best travel bags and gear
www.TrustTheBum.com – Sun Bum – Protecting my skin in the sun!
www.SolveSunglasses.com –  Buy one pair of Solve’s and give one person clean water for life!

www.CompoundBoardshop.com – The boardshop for all your advendtures!
www.SeafarerSurfboards.com –  World class surfboards made in Florida!

www.Aquatech.net – Aquatech SLR water housings
www.Watershot.com – Making the best Water Housings for my iPhone!
Cressi dive gear

SlaveToTheWave.com

See more of my work: 
Commercial: www.BocaRatonPhoto.com
Fine Art: www.BenJHicks.com
Instagram: @benjhicks
Facebook: www.facebook.com/benhicksphotos

Nicaragua Day 3 – Weather rules

Daytime dark peaks.

Daytime dark peaks.

I rose to cloudy skies in the dark and major lighting offshore.  The guys had arranged for a boat trip to Playgrounds surf break.  I made the call not to go, as lightning is no joke.  Watching it offshore , while the clouds rolled in thick the weather continued to get worse.  We all stayed in and made a big breakfast.  Once the storms passed Matt and I paddled out for a surf.  While the weather kept me from shooting, once the tide started to switch it turned on.  I went in to get my camera, as the power was out and was unable to edit or catch up on work.  Shot flash for a bit but it was already done by the time I got back out.  Went in and the guys had gotten a taxi to go to Santanas.  It was only 8am but this time.  We drove to Santanas as the guys hadn’t been there before.  Waves weren’t exactly better but just different.  Jerry and Chip paddled out in the hazy glassed off conditions.  I shot long lens from the tower for a while and listened to the local expats tell stories.  Once they came in we all headed back to where we stayed about 30 mins away.  Driving across the countryside here always keeps my mind in check how good we have it.  I wish that everyone in this world experiences 3rd world poverty.  I am not saying these people aren’t happy, in fact they are probably much less stressed that most of you reading this.  Life is simple here.  Our needs(wants) are not even understandable to them.  Think about it.

After a little lunch (PBJ) I explored down the beach to shoot some lineups.  No one wanted to paddle out, which seems to be a reaccurring pattern on this trip.  I continued to explore the beach and shoot in the hazy conditions.  It wasn’t easy trying to get a shot.

As the sun dipped I went back in to get the water housing and swim for the sunset session.  Didn’t get much as the wind was light onshore, a rarity here.

Thanks to my awesome supporters!

www.PacSafe.com  – Providing me with the best travel bags and gear
www.TrustTheBum.com – Sun Bum – Protecting my skin in the sun!
www.SolveSunglasses.com –  Buy one pair of Solve’s and give one person clean water for life!

www.CompoundBoardshop.com – The boardshop for all your advendtures!
www.SeafarerSurfboards.com –  World class surfboards made in Florida!

www.Aquatech.net – Aquatech SLR water housings
www.Watershot.com – Making the best Water Housings for my iPhone!
Cressi dive gear

SlaveToTheWave.com

See more of my work: 
Commercial: www.BocaRatonPhoto.com
Fine Art: www.BenJHicks.com
Instagram: @benjhicks
Facebook: www.facebook.com/benhicksphotos

 

Nicaragua Day 2 – Jellies!

Good morning from Nicaragua.

Good morning from Nicaragua.

I am stoked to be naturally an early riser and become a photographer.  Getting out there early is key to finding really good light or getting skunked.  I alerted the crew that I was going out and no one got up.  Swimming out in the dark is always just a tad intimidating.  The wind was gone from yesterdays afternoon session and was all glassy.  Since I was out by myself I just focused on shooting empty waves.  Shooting full manual with a flash setup as the sunrises is a constant mission changing the settings.  Not long into the swim I started getting tagged by jellyfish.  Really bad.  I held out until it was too light to shoot flash and then had to swim in about 6am.   Went in to change the camera setup and get a top to hopefully keep from getting stung.  Shot with Chip and Matt for another couple hours.  It was time to go in and eat.  I knew I had to put my water time in the morning as the forecast called for onshore in the afternoon.  Jerry and Samer were watching the whole morning from the restaurant.  They kinda missed the best session for shooting so far but also avoided getting stung.

After eating an acai bowl for breakfast the boys head back out.  I shot from land and we really didn’t get much in the not so ideal conditions.  We all went back to the condo and borrowed the owners truck and headed to the local tiny market to stock up on food and try to avoid the American prices on meals.  The market (1 person shack) nearly had everything we wanted to make food the next few days.  It used to be driving almost 2.5 hours roundtrip to getting food in town but the area continues to grow from tourism.  I got a little nap in before working on my housing to try and get a malfunctioning trigger button to work.

The evening sesh was a little disappointing with the conditions not really improving.  I swam out anyway to try and salvage my time here until dark with the flash but didn’t really get anything.  Not very often can I say that down here.  Atleast there weren’t any more jellyfish!

Back at the crib, Matt and I made a big dinner for the crew in the kitchen, hopefully tomorrow mother nature will come through.

Thanks to my awesome supporters!

www.PacSafe.com  – Providing me with the best travel bags and gear
www.TrustTheBum.com – Sun Bum – Protecting my skin in the sun!
www.SolveSunglasses.com –  Buy one pair of Solve’s and give one person clean water for life!

www.CompoundBoardshop.com – The boardshop for all your advendtures!
www.SeafarerSurfboards.com –  World class surfboards made in Florida!

www.Aquatech.net – Aquatech SLR water housings
www.Watershot.com – Making the best Water Housings for my iPhone!
Cressi dive gear

SlaveToTheWave.com

See more of my work: 
Commercial: www.BocaRatonPhoto.com
Fine Art: www.BenJHicks.com
Instagram: @benjhicks
Facebook: www.facebook.com/benhicksphotos

Nicaragua Day 1

Not a bad sunset view.

Not a bad sunset view.

Florida has been hot and flat for weeks – I’m not complaining though as smooth conditions just result in more underwater time to explore south florida’s amazing creatures of the sea.  It severely cuts into surfing though.  We are all accustomed to living on Lake Atlantic this time of year but no one is really ready for it.  This is why you should have a really good excuse to travel and find some waves.

 

As usual this was a very last minute trip timed around and incoming pulse in swell.  It really wasn’t ideal for me to travel this week, but I was ready to go swim is some real waves and get pounded with 10k worth of gear.  Its photography and I love it.

The trip gathers some new faces and old.  Matt Oberman, chief and potty mouth king, Samer “sledgy”, Chip “sippee” and Jerry, whom will most likely earn a nickname on the trip.  Traveling to Southern Nicaragua which many have you have read about my travels before will always find good waves, no matter what.  We traveled in the middle of the night and arrived at our stay with 1.5 hours until sunrise.  Perfect time for a quick nap before hitting the ground running, or surfing.  The first session is a wake up call for Floridians, especially this time of the year.  I too surfed for a good three hours on my SeaFarer Surfboard, since it was small and not exactly pumping.  Fun waves though.  Thank you to the crew for letting me steal some under priority, according to Matt.  Session tow was followed by a pile of choco banana pancakes.  I shot from land as the wind clocked around becoming onshore.  Naps and then into the sunset session and complete darkness.  Matt and I continued to shoot until we couldn’t even see each other.  It was great to get in the water, but my shoulders were beat after swimming with the flash setup!  Dinner, edits.

Thanks to my awesome supporters!

www.PacSafe.com  – Providing me with the best travel bags and gear
www.TrustTheBum.com – Sun Bum – Protecting my skin in the sun!
www.SolveSunglasses.com –  Buy one pair of Solve’s and give one person clean water for life!

www.CompoundBoardshop.com – The boardshop for all your advendtures!
www.SeafarerSurfboards.com –  World class surfboards made in Florida!

www.Aquatech.net – Aquatech SLR water housings
www.Watershot.com – Making the best Water Housings for my iPhone!
Cressi dive gear

SlaveToTheWave.com

See more of my work: 
Commercial: www.BocaRatonPhoto.com
Fine Art: www.BenJHicks.com
Instagram: @benjhicks
Facebook: www.facebook.com/benhicksphotos