International Surf Day in Nicaragua

The other day the electricity went out all day long from the lightning the night before–shocking I know. So Jonathon and I decided to take  advantage of it by spending the whole day down on the beach. Since we’ve moved here, we have yet to spend a whole day at the beach with just too many other things to do. We headed down to our favorite part of the bay at the more private end toward Saint Cristo, expecting just a quiet day of relaxation. As we walked down we saw a group of locals with large white bags picking up trash along the shore, which was nice to see because there’s always quite a bit of trash throughout this beautiful beach. We were both instantly inspired and wanted to know where these people were coming from.

We walked down further and started to hear loud music–up ahead was a Quicksilver tent and Nicaraguan flag with speakers in front. We slowly walked past it, trying to understand what this was all doing here on the beach. Along with the tent and flag, there were surf boards and paddle boards, a small Red Bull tent and other signs in the sand of the local surf companies like SurfNica.

This was a surf competition in celebration of International Surf day organized by the Surfrider Foundation! There was a DJ playing the music and announcing the upcoming competition in Spanish. And then we saw them. The same white bags we saw the group of locals holding were there in front of the DJ. We went up and asked if we could grab one to walk around the beach with. The guys under the tent eagerly nodded their heads, smiled and said, “Si, muchas gracias.”

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We walked around the beach for a couple of hours finding everything from soda bottles to even a deflated plastic mini-pool! The most common items we picked up were bottle caps and snack wrappers. We walked all the way down the beach and back to the tents with our bag full of garbage. By then, the other group of locals we saw earlier had already dropped off their bags–there were about 20 big white bags full of garbage picked up from the beach. I’d never seen the beach so clean, it was wonderful!

They offered us some water and food to thank us for our help.  We grabbed an enchilada and set up our towel next to the festivities.  Several local families brought their umbrellas and lunch out for the day to watch their kids compete. There were also lots tourists siting around drinking beerand enjoying the entertainment. There were two events: a surf competition and a skimboarding competition. Most of the competitors were from Nicaragua, which brought out a large crowd of supporting fans.

As the competition came to a close, the event coordinators asked all of the little kids there if they wanted to learned how to surf from the older surfers they had been watching all day. When the last heat of surfers finished, all of the surfers grabbed big yellow longboards and gave the little ones lessons near the shore. The parents were all so pleased and anytime one of the little guys got up on their board, the whole beach would cheer and clap.

It was a warm sunny day filled with great surfing, skimboarding, family picnics, music and fun. The best part was that with the fun came a little bit of giving back to the town. When giving back and fun  come together, there’s no better combination in the world. Cleaning the beach before the competition made everyone feel better about using the beach to have a good time. Do good, feel good. It’s that simple.

P.S. Giving back is not as hard as you might think it is. We encourage you all to do something like this in your own hometown. Here are some tips to help you get the ball rolling: Organize a Community Service Event!


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