So last week I spent a couple days in the Popoyo region of Nicaragua. It’s a pretty cool little town.. not much to do other than surf and drink beer. I’ve been to Costa Rica a few times but it was the first time I had been to Nicaragua. I figured Nica would be a lot like Costa Rica but I was completely wrong. First of all, Nica is a lot more rural than Costa.. there’s a lot less development throughout the country. However, the lack of commercial development and fancy hotels in Nicaragua makes for a pretty unique country.. unlike anywhere I’ve ever been. The town of Popoyo has a really cool, mellow vibe.. just a few small surf hostels, a couple small restaurants and some nice beach houses. Within a few miles north and south there are some A+ surf breaks with non-stop offshore winds. The people I met in Nicaragua were some of the nicest human beings I have ever encountered.
On my third day in Nicaragua I paddled out at a fast, barreling right hander that breaks over a really shallow, rocky bottom. I surfed excellent waves for about 2 hours without a single other human around. At the end of this session is when my trip took a turn for the worst.. I took a pretty bad spill and came straight down on my heel at a really weird angle. I immediately knew that something terrible had happened. I was in such shock that the initial impact didn’t really hurt much but as soon as I looked down at my heel I knew it was badly broken. Luckily there were a couple Americans hanging out on the beach that had a car and they rushed me straight over to the local clinic. When I got to the clinic, the nurses took one look and immediately knew I needed to be rushed to the hospital which was about 45 mins away on bumpy dirt roads.
After a miserable drive we finally arrived at the hospital in a town called Rivas. When they carted me into the hospital the fear began to take over my emotions when I saw how dirty and overcrowded the hospital was. I tried my best to remain calm, but some of the things I saw in that hospital have completely scarred me for life.. after waiting for about 3 hours I finally got an xray on my foot and saw the local orthopedic doctor. The verdict was I could either stay there in the hospital for a few nights and get the operation there, or I could fly home and do it SD. Done.. no brainer.. I was on the next flight out.
After a miserable 3 hour drive to the airport and 3 long flights I finally landed in San Diego where I went straight into the hospital. The doctor took one look at my foot and knew it was really bad.. luckily I went into surgery shortly after. They put a couple pins in my heel and casted me up. I spent the night in the hospital and the next morning I was back home in my own bed. Finally getting home was the best feeling in the world. Those 2-3 days were the most miserable, painful days of my life. Now I’m extremely thankful that it’s all over and I’m finally on the road to recovery. Luckily, all the people I met down there were so awesome. I can’t believe so many people went out of their way to help me out when I was in need… I am sooo so thankful that there are such amazing, kind people in the world. Even American Airlines took good care of me.. they upgraded me to first class for free, waived my surfboard bag fees, and gave me wheelchair assistance throughout the airport on my layovers. I am so extremely thankful for everyone who helped make my miserable experience a little more tolerable.
Below are some of the photos I took during the short time I was down there.. I didn’t take many, but hopefully soon I’ll be able to drop the film off at the lab and post those up as well.
Pounding beach break in about 2 feet of water
Playa Guasacate with Popoyo in the distance
A moody, offshore morning
The midnight sky
Non-stop offshore winds=non-stop barrels
Sea turtle heading back toward the shoreline
And last but not least…this is when it all came to an end.