Posted by In Nica Now
On Sunday afternoon the San Juan del Sur Youth weekend was approaching the grand finale of events – the Youth Surf Competition.
We had some free time left until the competition started and I noticed things got a little quiet on the beach. I thought that maybe the group was fatigued after all of the weekend activities, but when I took a closer look around at the young surfers I realized they were getting their game faces on. After all, there were 4 brand new Firewire surfboards on the line. To put things into perspective the value of one Firewire surfboard is equivalent to four months of the average Nicaraguan salary.
The best waves of the day were forecasted to start around four o’clock so we tried to relax and wait for the show to begin. Time seemed to drag in anticipation of the competition as the young athletes sat quietly gathering their thoughts.
Finally it was time to go! The contestants and coaches grabbed their boards and made their way to the water.
Just minutes had passed between quiet reflection time and kids riding their first waves of the heat. There was no lack of energy now. There was hardly a time when there wasn’t at least one surfer up riding a wave.
There were four heats in the competition:
- Juniors (14-16 years old)
- Groms (11-13 years old)
- Super Groms (10 & under)
- Girls (all ages)
All the kids saved their best rides of the day for the competition, but a few of them really stood out. The volunteers and competitors whistled and cheered from their places on the beach. Some rides were so spectacular we just looked at each other in surprise and admiration and at times almost forgot to cheer.
Once all heats were complete the pressure switched to the judge’s table. Cory and Kelly knew the significance of the Firewire boards to these kids. Kate from Chica Brava stands behind the judges with a look of trepidation on her face.
The young surfers paced back and forth trying to relieve some on their nervous energy. Looking at their faces you could tell, that for them, time was standing still.
Just when it seemed like the winners would be announced the draw started for the raffle. There were a dozen prizes to distribute amongst the spectators. The grand prize went to one of the young surfers. He won a beautiful Eberly board that was donated to help raise money for the weekend activities. For this one surfer the wait was over, but there were other competitors still waiting patiently to see if they too, would walk away with a new surfboard of heir own.
One by one the top four surfers for each heat were announced and we had another first for the Share the Stoke Foundation. The first board that they gave to a girl internationally was here in San Juan del Sur.
I’m still not sure how it happened, but I had the honor of presenting the board for the Super Grom (10 years and under) category. Gabriel was one happy 8 year old!
Our Junior winners Norlan and Sebastian were equally as excited to receive their Firewire boards and were happy to pose for photos and do some interviews.
The 1st Annual San Juan del Sur Youth weekend was a great event for everyone involved and I’m happy to report that the Share the Stoke team is already talking about next year’s event.
Please remember to vote for Share the Stoke Foundation on the Chase Community Giving contest on Facebook. The charities with the most votes are eligible to receive grants valued between $10 000 – $250 000.
I would like to give a big shout out to In Nica Now’s stand in photographer – Nicole Williams from Share the Stoke. These last three posts would not have been possible without your amazing photos. Thanks pal!