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OTIS ambassador Hunter Jones recently travelled to Nicaragua in the quest for the destinations famous tubes. We caught up with Hunter to hear about his travels. Here's what he had to say...
What was your main motivation for going to Nicaragua?
This was my 5th trip To Nicaragua and ever since my first time there, I've made it a point to come back at least once a year to try and score waves. Over the years, I've come to feel pretty at home in Nicaragua. With the friends I've made there, the barreling beach breaks and the memories I've made, it's definitely a place I look forward to traveling to.
What was the wildest thing you saw or did there?
Every night after we would walk home from surfing, we'd pass by an empty field with tall grass that was covered in fireflies. Being from Los Angeles, we never see fireflies and it was so beautiful to watch them illuminate the field. It was definitely a special way to end each night
Did anything go wrong and how'd you sort it out?
When we arrived in Managua, my filmer Blake Vigil and I made it all the way through the final security checkpoint and at the last moment security asked to check our bags and found a drone that we had brought. Come to find, the Nicaraguan government doesn't allow drones so they confiscated it and said we can get it back from them when we fly back to California. Blake and I had a bad feeling that there was a chance we'd never see the drone again. Once we made our drive to Colorado's where we were staying, we saw that Stab Magazine had just put out an article titled: "PSA: Surf Filmers Not Welcome In Nicaragua" basically warning surfers and their film crews that their equipment could be seized on arrival and you may never get it back. So at that point, Blake and I were definitely tripping. But I'm stoked to say when we arrived back at the airport to fly home, Blake was able to go to customs to find his drone being stored in an empty candy box and we brought it back home with us. So just FYI, don't bring your drones to Nicaragua, and definitely don't tell them you're a filmmaker or surf photographer.
How do you think that will change your future outlook, if at all?
Out of all the times I've been to Nicaragua, this trip was definitely the trickiest trip I've had in terms of waves. With all surf trips, there's always the variable of having to adapt to what you're given in terms of swell, but on this trip, I definitely had to have a lot of patience and trust that everything would come together. After a few days of not feeling like I had much rhythm and that the crowd and waves were not in my favor, I just had to switch my mindset and just be grateful to be there and know that everything would come together. As a surfer, there's this weird mental game that comes into play and it was valuable for me to go through a couple of tricky moments to know how to handle that feeling. We ended up extending our stay and I definitely got some waves that I was stoked on. Traveling for surf is always a fun game to play.
What did you love / enjoy most about your trip?
I brought my filmer Blake Vigil on this trip and it was his first time in Nicaragua. It was rad to be able to pass on this opportunity to him and be a part of his first trip there and show him around. Blake and I always shoot around California, so it was cool for us to be able to film somewhere completely different.
How did you spend your days in Nicaragua?
Honestly most days were spent just surfing multiple sessions a day! The tide swings were huge during the window we stayed there, so we would surf through the tide swings, take a break, surf again, and rinse and repeat.
Anything you missed that will draw you back there to go again?
I just need more tubes haha. That's really what I go there for, those perfect A-frame beach break tubes.
Where’s the next big place on the list you want to go and why?
I really want to explore El Salvador. I've never been and it's the land of rippable right-hand points. I also want to try and surf the northern region of Nicaragua sometime soon.