Day 8: Sleep, shoot, eat, edit, repeat

Day 8:  Sleep, shoot, eat, edit, repeat

Up at the call of Matt knocking at the door at 430am.  Its about time he got up to shoot sunrise flash!  Everyone except Byron woke up for the dawn patrol session.  Conditions weren’t pipe.  Atleast we were by ourselves!  Swimming three sessions a day was starting to take a toll and this morning I was sore!  It was pretty difficult to link up in the shifty lineup but we made it happen.  Once the tide got too low we all went in to grind on breakfast.  I had three breakfasts, literally.  Session two I shot from the shade on land for a different perspective (and a break for my body).  The ladies of the house,, ran, did yoga and worked out.  The house parrot didn’t like the heavy breathing exercise and started squalking!  Since the waves were small everyone left to take a road trip to Rancho Santana while I got caught up with work. I did some promo work for World Turtle day where I am giving away some awesome gear from my sponsors on my facebook.com/benhicksphotos page.  Half the crew (Matt, Jasmin, Woody and Doug) came back and we made a feast of fresh lobster, fish and rice for dinner.  The others must have stayed out to hang with friends.  We planned out a boat trip the following morning to head to Playgrounds and do some fishing in the area.  We all hit the bed early as we need to swim out to the boat at 4:30am.

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.Aquatech.net – Aquatech water housing

www.Watershot.com – Making the best Water Housing for my iPhone!

Cressi dive gear andFanatic Paddleboards
See more of my work:
Commercial: www.BocaRatonPhoto.com

Fine Art: www.BenJHicks.com
Instagram: @benjhicks

Facebook: www.facebook.com/benhicksphotos

Day 7: Blisters, barrels and beers

Day 7:  Blisters, barrels and beers

The day begins with my usual sunrise session shooting waves.  Today I was joined by Doug and Woody as no one else usually gets up that early (lazy moos).  Matt eventually rolled out and Mackinley joined just hours after getting in on a red eye.  I shot fisheye until the sun was too high and then swam in to shoot with the 70-200 in my Aquatech Delphin housing with the Canon 1dx.  After the morning session I came in to get some more work done while the rest of the crew ventured around the area.  Nearly falling asleep at the computer I took a little nap.  A land crab on my chest provided by Matt woke me up.  In the heat of the day the wind has been coming slightly onshore/sideshore  sidelining the crew from surfing.  It has provided me time to catch up!  Evening session came before I knew it and I was back out to swim with the flash until pitch blackness.  Another day in the books with Mackinley getting the shot of the day, especially for his first time shooting in the water!  Dinner was pretty epic again as the beers flowed as well.  My blisters on my feet were pretty good by now with atleast 2 swim sessions a day!

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.Aquatech.net – Aquatech water housing
www.Watershot.com – Making the best Water Housing for my iPhone!
Cressi dive gear and Fanatic Paddleboards
See more of my work:
Commercial: www.BocaRatonPhoto.com
Fine Art: www.BenJHicks.com
Instagram: @benjhicks
Facebook: www.facebook.com/benhicksphotos

Day 6: First in, last out.

Day 6: First in, last out.

I began the day waking at 4am to prep my flash housing and shoot sunrise in the water.  Swimming out in the dark in solid 6ft is not for the faint of heart.  Knowing my boundaries in the things I do in life, preparation leads me to be ready for occasions like this.  I swam out and shot another start to an amazing day.  By 5:30 I was back in switching my housing for the long lens to shoot with Matt and everyone else.  When there is a crew of more than 2-3 people its a lot easier to shoot from land to get shots of everyone as you can imagine.  Doug and Woody were getting the hang of the challenging conditions with smiles from ear to ear.  Matt caught his first wave and snapped his last board #4.   He went in to grab my Kechele and pulled in to more tubes than that thing has had in a while.  After the afternoon shack fest we headed in for a few rounds of pool volleyball at the house.  Matt, Doug and Woody are all Lifeguards that play daily together at work so the competition was on in the multiple games we played.  Its too bad that Jasmin and I beat them the first round!

Conditions declined in the afternoon as everyone started to call it a day and begin the cocktails.  I went back out to shoot the sunset until it was completely black out in the water with the flash.  Between the rip currents and the constant adjustments of my camera and flash, I was on my toes the entire two hours.  Came home and Byron and his assistants were prepping a huge feast with roasted chicken, plantains and rice with beans.  Solid meal felt great!  Tonight Mackinley and Karina will be arriving off the red eye from Florida to fill the house with all 8 of us.

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.Aquatech.net – Aquatech water housing
www.Watershot.com – Making the best Water Housing for my iPhone!
Cressi dive gear and Fanatic Paddleboards
See more of my work:
Commercial: www.BocaRatonPhoto.com
Fine Art: www.BenJHicks.com
Instagram: @benjhicks
Facebook: www.facebook.com/benhicksphotos

Day 5: The crew swells and the swells continue

Day 5:  The crew swells and the swells continue

After squeezing all of us in our rental car half awake we drove south to Colorados at 5am and got a look at the waves at sunrise.  We were all pretty tired but the guys charged it.  I shot from land since conditions weren’t all time and got a few of everyone with my long lens.  They eventually came in and I worked on some edits while they ate breakfast.  Session number 2 started as soon as the tide dropped and it turned on for a bit.  I fought the currents for two hours before heading in after being completely spent.  We finally were able to move into our house we rented after waiting until 1pm.  I moved my stuff into one of the kids rooms and fell asleep for two hours.  Felt amazing!  The days have been soo busy for me on this trip with so much going on back home.  Getting a chance to take a nap is priceless.  I haven’t got up after 5 and gone to bed before 10:30 yet.

I was pretty excited to finally get my care package with gear I needed from my wife that was sent with Jasmin that included a pair of flip flops.  Up until now mine were pretty much a ball of duck tape.  Not too mention she included a secret note and chocolates!  What a great wife!

My nap was followed by a long swim out into the sea during sunset.  One of the hardest thing to shoot in waves as the sun dips and I constantly adjust my settings to the light and my flash.  Its amazing to swim into the night as the sun sets.  What a great feeling.  Back in the crib and back to editing.  Everyone else went out to dinner while I worked and then went to sleep.  Set my alarm for 430 am to shoot sunrise.  Problem is my phone is still on east coast time and we are two hours behind here in Nicaragua.  Thus making it 2:30 am.  Took me 30 mins to figure this out.  FML!

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.Aquatech.net – Aquatech water housing
www.Watershot.com – Making the best Water Housing for my iPhone!
Cressi dive gear and Fanatic Paddleboards
See more of my work:
Commercial: www.BocaRatonPhoto.com
Fine Art: www.BenJHicks.com
Instagram: @benjhicks
Facebook: www.facebook.com/benhicksphotos

Day 4: Return to the Green Rooms

Day 4:  Return to the Green Rooms

Rise to the best sleep yet and grind on a huge breakfast as the crew we were staying with were leaving and had to get rid of all the food.  We parted ways with a few of them while Mike and Brian followed us up to Colorados to score one of the best sessions of the trip on the low tide.  There were barrels all over the place.  The only downside was Matt breaking his third board of the trip and only had one left for another week.  Brian and Mike even traded off a few and I was able to get them some water shots.  It was a very successful session shooting wise with a bunch on nuggets!

From there we all chilled out at the pool after a late lunch.  Of course I was catching up on editing the hundreds of photos.  All my gear was working great except one of the flash cables cracked since I hadn’t gotten the newest housing yet and had the old cables.  This was a problem I had before the trip, but fixed the issue to shoot again for a morning sunrise or sunset to come.  We parted ways with Brian and Mike as they flew home to Cali and we ventured north to Santanas for dinner with Mateo(a So Cal transplant).  There was a rodeo in the nearby town of Salinas but by the time we were done with dinner the long day had taken its toll.  We headed back to Nica Surf house for the night with no AC again.  I was not stoked about this!  Took a cold shower before hand to hopefully fall asleep.  We woke at 3:30 am to the another part of the crew arriving from home, Jasmin, Doug and Woody.  They had taken the red eye.  I was awake by then and went down stairs to the patio to edit while everyone caught another hour of z’s before the sun rose at 5am.  Earlier in the day Matt had pushed me into the pool nearly into a girl so it was time to get him back.  A toad place on his chest while sleeping in the hammock was my shenanigan of choice.  Good times!  Sun was up and the 5 of us were off….

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.Aquatech.net – Aquatech water housing
www.Watershot.com – Making the best Water Housing for my iPhone!
Cressi dive gear and Fanatic Paddleboards
See more of my work:
Commercial: www.BocaRatonPhoto.com
Fine Art: www.BenJHicks.com
Instagram: @benjhicks
Facebook: www.facebook.com/benhicksphotos

Day 3: Tour De San Juan Del Sur (lay day)

Rising from bed because your sweating at 5:30 am is not my cup of tea!  We woke to the electricity never coming back on.  Everyone was up early and the first thing I did was jump in the pool.  Once cooled we hoped in the trucks and headed to Maderas to eat breakfast and hopefully surf.  The waves were not working but we ate and then went back to the house to relax for a bit.  This was something I personally needed as we had been on the move constantly for almost 4 days.  I had swam most of the sessions, which takes a lot out of me.  Around lunch we moved on to check Yankee, another break south of town.  It almost seemed like a race in the trucks as I grasped the “oh shit” handles most of the time.  Once there, it took was not working and we had to make the call and drive all the way back to Maderas.  I first came to Maderas 9 years ago on my voyage from Southern California to Panama.  Thats a whole story… (a book!)  Today the place has a few different buildings and a lot more people.  Its a backpacker stop along the Pan-American highway near the hub of San Juan Del Sur.  People tenting around the area with a lot of free spirits roaming around.  The problem is there are also a lot of locals roaming.  The vibe from them kills the lineup.  Its a sad mixture as the locals are supported by the surfers coming there but they treat them terribly.  We had guys saying locals only in Spanish before the guys even paddling out.  With a  session under there belt the guys got out quickly to escape the localism.  I shot from land and got a couple, with Pete ripping up the chest high sections.  A set moved into the small bay and nearly flooded the beach.  While escaping the surge I broke my flip flop.  First time I only brought one pair on a trip.  FML!  Driving back to the house to in the afternoon the rest up, recharge and listen to the stories of Vince.  Aka Wince, Uncle Mofo Wince, etc.  As he put it, buffoonery followed throughout the day.  I finally had a chance to start writing these blogs as well, since we hadn’t been in one spot for more than an hour or two for three days.  I also duck taped my flip flop up for a temp fix, so I had shoes again!  Just before dark we climbed up to the top of the cliffs behind us where a giant 100ft tall statue of Jesus over looks the entire bay of San Juan Del Sur.  The breeze swept through the air as the sun set into the waves below us.  After our hike back down we went to dinner at a pizza joint in town where it felt similar to an oven inside.  Great pizza but it was so hot inside.  We finally all got our pizzas and got out of the hot box, going across the street for a round of Patron shots as this was the last night for the other crew.  The bill was $137 for 10 shots. Pretty steep for a third world country.  This was followed by a  heated conversation with the manager.  Eventually the bill was lowered.  Sad that they were trying to take advantage of us.  We all headed home to sleep except Mike and Vince whom stayed out for a story of their own the next morning….

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.Aquatech.net – Aquatech water housing
www.Watershot.com – Making the best Water Housing for my iPhone!
Cressi dive gear and Fanatic Paddleboards
See more of my work:
Commercial: www.BocaRatonPhoto.com
Fine Art: www.BenJHicks.com
Instagram: @benjhicks
Facebook: www.facebook.com/benhicksphotos

 

Day 2: Tube times

As we awake from our sauna room at 4 am it appears that both of us had little sleep.  Atleast there was a fan and it was quite.  Hitting the road with a full moon lighting the way in the dusty dirt roads we arrived at the break about 40 mins later to it pumping.  Matt was out there quick as I had to prep my housing  before I could swim.  We once again posted up at the house with the crew and had a front row seat to Colorados.  I swam for a few hours still recovering from a less than stellar sleep.  Matt and I linked up a few times.  The rip currents were once again the worst I have seen it out here.  I was constantly swimming trying to stay out or in.  Usually I don’t build up blisters until the end of the trip but I had already had one on my left and a broken toe nail on my right from the constant kicking.  It was worth it though.  We headed back in for breakfast and then right back out.  This time I shot with the 50mm from a bit further back while Matt had the bite mount Gopro in his mouth.  Another couple hour session in the barreling waves and I headed in to pass out for an hour on a lounge chair.  With a little sleep under my belt I decided to shoot from land for a bit and listen to the peanut gallery around me.  Our house was the hang out spot and there were all walks of life enlightning us.  To say the least it was an interesting twist to the trip.  As Vince would say the “buffoonary” started to erupt as we all hung out after each session.  Around 4 p.m. we all decided to head south to San Juan Del Sur (SJDS) where our friend had an amazing housing up on the hillside just behind the giant Jesus statue, just like Brazil.  On our way the local authorities decided it was time to mess with the gringos.  We go pulled over at a checkpoint while the other two trucks made it through.  After a bunch of harrassment we made it through without paying them anything.  They were claiming I passed someone in a no passing zone.  Funny thing is they were at a checkpoint and there is no way they would have known anything up the road.  Typical in Nica.  We made it to our friends house down south and then headed to dinner in town at an Italian restaurant.  Matt and I thought is was kinda odd to go there instead of eating local food but it was good.  We got ice cream afterwards and even had front row seats to a street fight and eventually made its way very near us.  Everyone walked away alive.  Back to the house we went in the convoy of trucks.  We were stoked to get a nice sleep in an air conditioned house!  Just as we went to bed (Matt and I slept on couches) the power went out….. all night!  Yes, another one of those sweat box nights.

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.Aquatech.net – Aquatech water housing
www.Watershot.com – Making the best Water Housing for my iPhone!
Cressi dive gear and Fanatic Paddleboards

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

Nicaragua Day 1: No Sleep….

Matt Oberman and I head to the airport late at night for our red eye.  After getting all my gear past the latest guidelines with carry on gear and a couple secrets with my Pacsafe bags carrying all my new gear we were through the gates.  Matt checked 5 boards with minimal $100 charge.  Our 12:15 flight got delayed three times until 3 a.m.  We slept on the floor until we were called on.  Once to Nicaragua we had to wait until 5 a.m. for the car rental car office to open.  First inline, we were on our way south to the peaking swell hitting Colorados.  I drove straight there 2.5 hours on hardly any sleep from getting up the previous day for a photoshoot at 5 a.m.  Its light about 5am so the barrels were already churning without us.  Made it in 2 hours to the beach and swam straight out to shoot for 3 hours fisheye in 6ft barrels.  Came in and noticed some friends of ours had rented the house on the beach right out front.  We posted up at their house all day, going back out for two more swim sessions, including a flash night session.  Thanks a ton to those guys for letting us base camp at their super nice house.  Matt and I were beat by the time we took off to get to our hotel about 30 mins away.  We rolled in and the air was broke in the room.  Not what we were planning on but had to make it work.  Before bed we had to find some food.  Went to a little local place and it took 1.5 hours to get our food.  Matt and I had both fallen asleep at the table.   We finally got our food and left promptly.  Drove back, went to bed by 10:30pm (12:30am EST) and set the alarm for 4 am.  Woke from the alarm at 4am from a light sleep in sweat and then woke Matt up.  Almost ready to leave I realized the phone clock had never changed to nica time.  So it was 2:15 am.  Not too pleased!

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.Aquatech.net – Aquatech water housing
www.Watershot.com – Making the best Water Housing for my iPhone!
Cressi dive gear and Fanatic Paddleboards

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