Let's really test hypotheses.
I am standing beneath a coconut palm sipping an ice-cold mojito featuring sugar squeezed from local cane, mint, picked from an on-property farm and a lime wedge that is above average, all things considered.
Behind me, in a sparkling somehow chlorine-free pool, my daughter is working on her backflips, really whipping knees to chest and almost achieving Italo Ferrira-esque full rotation. Before me, my wife is dancing down a warm, shoulder high left on her half-white, half-pink Album asym quad, 5’6 . 19 . 2.32, whipping it into the pocket just like the most handsome shaper on earth Matt Parker promised.
Both are equidistant, each a lime wedge throw away. We are a troika of bliss and to think I doubted the family surf trip. To think I imagined, even for a second much less six years, that it might be the devil’s most insidious contradiction.
Rancho Santana, in southern Nicaragua, is an earthly paradise. A place where belief is born, where all good things come to pass, where family and surf become one.
Oh, my extreme dubiousness persisted until we drove onto the property’s 3000 verdant acres. A family flight to Nicaragua from California is neither easy nor fun. It begins near midnight at Los Angeles International Airport which has, in the last few years, become actual hell. There is no other way as there are no rich Nicaraguan immigrants in Los Angeles and so you must fly to Houston on a red eye in order to wait many hours in that deeper level of hell in order to catch another flight to Managua.
Each is too short to sleep. Both are too long to gain comfortability, especially with a wife and daughter glaring while seated very near the bathroom and since Managua is not Europe, the rich parts of the Middle East, or the good parts of East Asia the airlines take joy in charging for luggage, cocktails and seats with legroom.
Then, in Managua you must drive another three plus hours through countryside, horses, volcanos, goats, sheep, chickens, police traps and the odd naked man who apparently lives in a cave and though his family tries to keep him clothed and locked up, he miraculously escapes naked.
But at the end?
My goodness at the end is 3000 unbelievable acres. A farm that produces most of the ranch’s food. A main building so exquisitely designed as to be confusing. Restaurants that serve steak, bred onsite, with peppercorn sauce made onsite with onion rings grown onsite.
Residences with screaming WiFi, freezing air-conditioning, broad televisions with actual Mtv not the Jersey Shore version and finishes that would make the fussiest Los Angeles interior designer frustratingly jealous.
I don’t know how they did it. I don’t know how they created this place hours from anywhere, fronting perfect paper thin lip’d barreling nuggets and I can see your eye roll from here. Can smell your guffaw.
“Chas doesn’t even surf, that’s why this ‘works.’ He eats peppercorn steak paired with onion rings, soaks in air-conditioning, observes architectural details, WiFis, watches his daughter Italo and wife rip while drinking fussy mojitos.”
Well, I took the early session at Panga Drops on another Album twin fin, matte grey, 5’11 etc. and turned my arms to jelly. Could not surf another minute even with supplemental aid. Even with Viagra.
But my arms were not too jelly to text my best friend Josh. We surfed Yemen together, multiple times, and Somalia etc. after that. More importantly we threw our kids on his sailboat and tried to sail them, without moms, to Cabo.
He would appreciate this. The pain and the reward.
“Come here.” I punched.
“On the next flight out.” He responded after my next mojito.
My rail is dug, I’m pointed and am going to push the idea of family surf trip until it breaks.
Will it break?
Can I break it?
More as the story develops.