There is a span in a man's (or woman's) life where he can lead the life of a surf bum to its fullest without anyone taking notice. In fact, when artfully done, its almost regarded as a commendable path by all those 'working stiffs' the surf bum will later realize were simply diligent, responsible planners who didn't want to end up in dead end careers at 35, or 36. But, from college until that moment of clarity arrives mid 30's, a young man who only takes jobs that can be abandoned at a moments notice when the waves are up is often the envy of those stuffed into dimly lit cubicles. Those desk jockeys with grown up things like 401ks and health insurance and dentist appointments. The surf bum does not fear this later moment of clarity; he has no idea it's coming. No, he lives for the moment and does so with abandon.
It's a sweet existence in its time. Freedom, travel, new, interesting people to meet. Always new people. Never the same crew at the water cooler and local pub. No, the true surf bum has no roots; the minute they begin to take hold and he senses a whiff of routine about him it's time to pack up and hit the road. I lived a somewhat tame variety of this lifestyle for a long time. It led me into woodworking which has had its moments. It also led me, quite frequently to Central America; mostly Nicaragua and Costa Rica. A woodworking buddy of mine at one point had the brilliant idea to combine the dual pursuits (woodworking and surfing) and wrap them up in a trip down south.
The concept was we'd find some sort of good natured organization south of the border that could hook us up with a charitable building project; we'd serve the less fortunate, then go surf our brains out. He in fact did find such an organization and we made several trips to Managua, Nicaragua where we'd build a modest home in a grueling weeks time. Then off to the idyllic beaches of San Juan del Sur or Santa Teresa. They are some of the finest surfing memories of my life; even when the wave conditions were less than ideal. Just the feeling of having spent a week toiling and sweating for a family with few prospects was satisfaction enough. Then to find yourself in a hammock near the beach after a long morning surf, sipping a cafe con leche, half reading and half dozing. It was pure bliss.
On the last of these trips, which at the time I had no idea would be our final voyage together before my buddy would meet his future wife and quickly settle down, I brought a 35mm camera and snapped a bit of film. Posted here are a few of the images from that last trip over a decade ago.