Down in Central America a little country whose name most Americans remember all too well from the days of the Iran-Contra scandal, Ollie North, and Reganomics is back in the limelight. Less than twenty years ago, Nicaragua was the frontline of the Cold War. The United States and the Soviet Union fanned the flames of hatred by funneling the machines of war into the dense rainforest, and the place became a powder keg. But a couple decades later, Nicaragua is emerging as the next undiscovered surf paradise. Those who’ve been there compare the little country sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea to its southern neighbor Costa Rica—a tried-and-true surf paradise. Nicaragua isn’t ready for a Disneyworld Managua yet, but tourism is becoming more and more possible every passing month. We decided to go down and see for ourselves.[IMAGE 1]
Bali is changing, too. For decades a surf heaven of the highest order, last October terrorists’ bombs destroyed two popular night spots, killed over 200, and drove tourism from the island overnight. Bali went from being a place you go to escape the dangers of the modern world to a place the U.S. State Department issued weekly warnings about. Every surf mag on Earth ran an article on the tragedy called “Paradise Lost.” Nearly a year later, Bali stands at the edge of a great precipice—on one side the return of the tourism industry, which employs the vast majority of the island’s population, on the other a future fraught with uncertainty. But stories of uncrowded lineups, cheap prices, and some of the best surfers in Asia drew us back, warnings or none.
Surf videos are changing, too. We have Taylor Steele to thank for that. For over a generation, the creator of the modern surf video has been entertaining us, creating heroes, and inadvertently pushing the limits of what can be done on a surfboard. Films like Momentum, Focus, Loose Change, The Show, Good Times, Momentum 2, Shelter, and Momentum: Under The Influence have been redefining surfing. Taylor’s latest movie Campaign—his first since Hit And Run, which drove him out of the editing bay for nearly three years and he considered a “digression”—is nearly done after a year of filming missions around the world. The much-anticipated production is rumored to have some of the most progressive surfing in it since 1992, when Momentum turned the kid from Solana Beach into surfing’s cinematographer of choice. The question is, can lightning strike twice?—Joel Patterson