Day 4: The food chain

Just got the bat.  Heavy!

Just got the bat. Heavy!

Another early morning swimming out to sunrise about 5 am.  Didn’t get much as the sunrise didn’t really exist.  Waves were fun but lining up to shoot fisheye has not been very successful while we have been here.  Along with gear hickups its always keeping me on my toes.  Ended up putting wax into my main housing seal to help seal it while I am here.  Pretty sketchy with all the gear inside and possibly getting a leak.

After the morning session, I headed to breakfast as the boys had come out later and stayed out later.  I was on my laptop emailing about to eat my pancakes and fruit.  A bunch of comotion up in the corner of the giant palapa I was having breakfast under started.  I thought it was a bird nesting or something.  Then all the sudden whatever it was fell to the ground 5 feet from where I was sitting on the ground.  Ran over to expect a bird or something.  To my surprise it was a Boa constrictor strangling a bat!  Couldn’t believe was I was watching.  It is sad to see but that is how mother nature works.  The food chain is a part of life.  We all watched the snake slowly kill it and then swallow it whole, wings and everything. Definitely the craziest thing on this trip.  After that I went for a hike up the coast to the point to explore.  Pretty hot!  On my way back I was near a line of palm trees walking around and two dogs came out of nowhere running at me.  I had a monopod I pulled out and defended them off.  Pretty sketchy.  Got back near the water line quickly.  Headed back to the compound and the guys were heading out.  Didn’t look that good but I decided to swim out anyway with my 24 lens.  Wasn’t out long before I realized it wasn’t shootable.  Went in to trade my camera for a surfboard and then caught a bunch of waves before lunch.  Afternoon came quick, as well all took a quick nap.  A little cornhole action and then the evening session was approaching.  Hooked up my flash and headed out by myself as no one wanted to surf.  A couple bodysurfers joined me for the sunset session.  Good way to watch the sunset, in the water!

Thanks to my awesome supporters!

www.RVCA.com – Providing the best boardshorts, clothing and wetsuits, supporting artists from around the world.

www.PacSafe.com  – Providing me with the best travel bags and gear
www.TrustTheBum.com – Sun Bum – Protecting my skin in the sun!

www.Gitzo.us  – Gitzo Tripods – Supporting all my dry cameras!
www.SolveSunglasses.com –  Buy one pair of Solve’s and give one person clean water for life!

www.Manfrotto.us – Professional camera support gear

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!

SlaveToTheWave.com

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

Day 3: Swell stories

What a storm!

What a storm!

Headed out this morning after a lovely sleep on bare springs (aka my bed) to shoot flash in the dark.  The swell had risen over night as expected but wasn’t ideal.  But we are here and have to make the most of it.  I was the only to go out which left me no one to shoot except empty waves.  Nothing panned out too well but there was a pretty sweet sunrise!  I headed back in just as the others decided to paddle out.  The tide was pretty high by 7am.  I decided to shoot from land until about 830.  Unorganized peaks came in and handed out a bunch of denied attempts.  One by one most everyone came in from either breaking a leash or having no energy to paddle back out.  Lots of good wipeouts.  The aussies were down the beach rooting them on.

We all came in to eat breakfast and wait out the high tide for hope that it would fire with the outgoing tide.  I didn’t come to perfection like we had hoped.  We still went back out.  The blisters on my feet were raw.  I think the left ankle bone was visible.  Burned!  All I could do was just think about shooting.  I swam back out to try and get a fisheye shot.  Luck wasn’t on my side as my housing had a small leak somewhere forcing me to swim back in soon after.  Almost 10 min later I finally made it in past the rips.  Headed back and switched out the housing for land gear.  Headed up the yoga tower and shot from there!  Nice shade a breeze and excellant view of the break.  The waves weren’t cooperating and the guys headed in.  Lunch was soon after with the best yet, chicken bocadillos.  A piece of fried cheese, grilled chicken on a plantain!

The afternoon came with a storm rolling through.  Amazing what mother nature can do!  Really neat clouds before the lighting started and I rushed back inside.  Once storms passed it was time to go back out, as the waves glasses off.  Thinking I had the housing fixed with a re lube of the main o-ring.  Good thing I tested it in the pool before going back out.  Started leaking again.  So frustrating at a moment like this.  Of course the waves started to pump and I had no housing that would work.  Eventually jammed wax into a seal groove and temporarily fixed for the session.  By the time I made it out, it was almost dark.   No one seemed to care I nearly lost 15k worth of gear to salt water once I got out there.  I kept swimming until almost dark in the pounding waves.  One guy left out there and said, “Man you must get pounded swimming like that.”  I said yeah I do.

 

Thanks to my awesome supporters!

www.RVCA.com – Providing the best boardshorts, clothing and wetsuits, supporting artists from around the world.

www.PacSafe.com  – Providing me with the best travel bags and gear
www.TrustTheBum.com – Sun Bum – Protecting my skin in the sun!

www.Gitzo.us  – Gitzo Tripods – Supporting all my dry cameras!
www.SolveSunglasses.com –  Buy one pair of Solve’s and give one person clean water for life!

www.Manfrotto.us – Professional camera support gear

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!

SlaveToTheWave.com

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

Day 2 – Peak battles and long sessions

Lots to hear from this one.

Lots to hear from this one.

Set the alarm early this morning to be on it.  Woke up to cloudy skies and waited until the sun rose as the early flash session will have to wait until another day.  I swam out about 5am with the 1dx and 70-200, a heavy combo.  Its not my everyday surf rig but wanted to shoot a little different that the day before.  It turned out to be a good call.

I went in about 10am, yeah almost 5hrs.  Both Matt and Jimmy stayed about another hour.  My battery had died along with my legs from swimming.  They stayed out as it was still getting better and the wind was still offshore.  Low tide wasn’t until 1:30.  I headed back out with my long lens to shoot from the beach for a bit before they came in.  Just after arriving Matt and another “individual” decided to “share” a wave.  (See photo)  Story goes, (from Matt), the kid paddled around him as a set came and said going right, since Matt really only goes left, he thought, “cool.”  Turns out the kids then decided to then go left after Matt had committed.  Well, as you can see in the photo, either the kid was giving him the thumbs up or not so happy.  Matt got a pretty good barrel.  Jimmy and I, (before we knew the story), thought there was gonna be words at breakfast since we were all staying at the same place.  Turns out the kid works here and was burning all the guests all day.  Spoke with some other guests and they were all stoked to hear the story as he was burning them as well.  Turned out to be a funny photo!  The kid didn’t say a word at breakfast, lol.   Huevos rancheros was on tap, along with a smoothie and large water.  We were all beat and had to take a rest.  My back issue had gotten better but still making it hard to swim, especially since the waves had gotten a lot bigger.  The rest of the day we all did various things to keep busy.  I did some work, watched the new john john movie and more work.  In the evening before dinner, I hiked south to the huge palapa you could see on the beach in the distance.  There was no one there, looked like a beach club or something.  Dinner came fast and by 8pm everyone was asleep and yours truly was editing and writing this.  Swell is suppose to be even bigger tomorrow, fingers crossed.

Thanks to my awesome supporters!

www.RVCA.com – Providing the best boardshorts, clothing and wetsuits, supporting artists from around the world.

www.PacSafe.com  – Providing me with the best travel bags and gear
www.TrustTheBum.com – Sun Bum – Protecting my skin in the sun!

www.Gitzo.us  – Gitzo Tripods – Supporting all my dry cameras!
www.SolveSunglasses.com –  Buy one pair of Solve’s and give one person clean water for life!

www.Manfrotto.us – Professional camera support gear

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!

SlaveToTheWave.com

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

Day 1 avoiding Zika and looking for waves

Today started yesterday as we flew from Fort Lauderdale last night and traveled until 4am this morning.  The ride from the airport (with the windows open) was filled with smells of burning trash, dead animals, skunks and Matt’s farts.  We arrived and slept about an hour until the light came in.  We all headed out for a first session as the swell was suppose to be rising.  I have been gimping around with a stiff neck since pulling my back out the day before.  That left my first session open to attempting to stretch it out.   Luckily the swell hadn’t filled in yet and my poundings out there swimming with my camera will be saved for another day.  Within a few hours the wind started to come onshore at 8am.  That was not a good sign.  I was the first to go in and take more ibprofen. Breakfast was banana pankcakes, can’t beat that!

Since sleep hadn’t happened in over 24hrs it was time to snooze a bit.  Matt and I slept for a good 4hrs while Felipe (Jimmy) was still running on jet fueled coffee.  By 2pm the wind was super hard onshore and it was back to finding other things to do. Naturally I had a bunch of work to catch up on.  Soon after I had to beat Matt in Cornhole.  As the wind came down we all went out to surf and evening session.  I even grabbed a board but unfortunately could hardly even go down the line with my back.  Atleast I got wet again.  The food here has been awesome and cheap!  Hopefully the wind stays off a little longer tomorrow!

Thanks to my awesome supporters!

www.RVCA.com – Providing the best boardshorts, clothing and wetsuits, supporting artists from around the world.

www.PacSafe.com  – Providing me with the best travel bags and gear
www.TrustTheBum.com – Sun Bum – Protecting my skin in the sun!

www.Gitzo.us  – Gitzo Tripods – Supporting all my dry cameras!
www.SolveSunglasses.com –  Buy one pair of Solve’s and give one person clean water for life!

www.Manfrotto.us – Professional camera support gear

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!

SlaveToTheWave.com

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

Following the predictions of mother nature.

After being home just two days this month I head to Nicaragua to a new spot I have yet to explore.  We have our fingers crossed as the southern hemi swells increase this week. Tonight we will fly and drive all night to hopefully wake to magic.  Stayed tuned for more this week.  IMG_7300Gear

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