We recently caught up with Phillip, founder of Rise Up Surf Retreat located in Northern Nicaragua to learn more about his surf camp and the reasons why Northern Nicaragua is a great place for a surf trip.
Where do you hail from and what brought you to Nicaragua?
I am from Barbados and originally came to Nicaragua in search of waves in 2004 and moved to Nicaragua in 2007. I came for the surf but returned to live because of the amazing people and incredible vibe this country has.
How long have you been surfing for?
I have always been connected to the ocean since I was a little kid and overall I have been surfing for more than 25 years.
What makes surfing in Northern Nicaragua so special?
Northern Nicaragua is magical because the vibes in and out of the water are so easy going thanks to the incredible local community. We are also lucky that it is a lot less crowded than further south as we do not have the famous offshore all day winds.
How have things been in since the pandemic hit?
There are two sides to it. From a business and employment perspective it was and still is really bad as we had to shut down for 9 months. Even since restarting operations we have only had a few guests and most local people in our community have lost their jobs or been negatively affected due to the loss of tourism.
The plus side is that in Nicaragua there have never been any lockdowns or restrictions. We have had complete freedom to enjoy life and really make the most of the magical waves and environment we are blessed to live in.
It has really made me appreciate Nicaragua and its waves and people more than ever before. Tourism supports a lot of the local community so everyone will be happy when there is a change and more people start to come to visit again.
Where are most of your guests from?
Predominantly the US and Canada but we receive guests from all over the world. Western European countries such as Switzerland, UK, Denmark, Netherlands and Germany also provide a lot of guests.
What services does your surf camp offer?
We are an all inclusive retreat focused around personalized surf coaching for each individual. This includes all transport, accommodation, food and drinks, daily yoga & movement classes, daily surf coaching sessions, all surf equipment, extra activities and an incredible team to host people throughout their stay. Basically you simply have to book the retreat and your flights and we take care of everything else.
How have surf camps in Nicaragua evolved over the last 10 years
Overall surfing and surf camps have grown immensely in the last 10 years which has gone hand in hand with the growth of tourism in general. Nicaragua has improved its infrastructure dramatically making it a lot easier to access the beaches and operate businesses in more remote areas.
Ten years ago most beaches were 4×4 access only in the rainy season and there was no cell phone signal or internet. Those were some incredible times.
What’s the best wave you’ve ever surfed?
Hard to say as I have been blessed to surf many great waves but the wave I was most impressed with and also had a lot of fun at was G-Land in Indonesia.
Longboard or shortboard?
What are your thoughts on surfing as an Olympic sport?
I think it is incredible as I believe surfing is something that is for everyone as I believe it is a vehicle to connect to yourself and to nature which everyone needs in their life. So in my opinion it being in the olympics offers a new motivation for young people to get into surfing which is amazing. Surfing changed my life for the better and I would wish the same for everyone if they have the opportunity.