For several years I have toyed with the idea of hosting an event that combines painting (with me as the instructor), and surfing. My dream was fulfilled this October in Nicaragua at a fabulous stretch of beach known as Popoyo. The Popoyo Surf lodge, established in the late 1990s, was our base of operations. Their experienced surf guides, with a fleet of trucks and boats, daily introduced us to a variety of surf. Our group of about 10 people made up a wide range of surfing ability. From beginners who actually learned to surf at the retreat, to skilled surfers after Popoyo's famous barrels. This part of Nicaragua has an amazing climate. Fairly dry on many days, due to the offshore winds that blow consistently as a result of the "lake effect" (Lake Nicaragua, a very large body of water, sits just east). Some days felt like California during a Santa Ana with offshores grooming the waves to perfection. Of course not everyday was perfect since we were there at the tail end of the rainy season. But we were able to surf fun waves everyday. The average wave height was about chest to head high with overhead surf for the more experienced. The water temperature was around 83 and the air ranged from 80-90.
Popoyo Surf Lodge provided a large, air conditioned recreation room which became our art studio. People were so into their painting that they worked at all hours of the day and night, crafting beautiful ocean scapes with new found skill, experimenting with the new techniques that they were being taught. Everyone took home a number of paintings, that both they and I were proud of! Some of the artists did some outdoor painting as well. We also had a number of guests of the lodge as well as workers who would sit for portraits and figure painting.
All guests found the accommodations very comfortable. We slept in private, air conditioned casitas. We were served 3 meals a day and the food was great. The bar was popular late night gathering spot to discuss art and let off steam. Many of our surfer/painters became fast friends. Even though we had painters from all over the U.S., I anticipate they will stay in touch. Many are asking about when and where the next SURF & PAINT will be. I hope we can return to Popoyo, and we have been invited back. I am currently working on plans for a local (North San Diego) weekend SURF&PAINT for early Spring 2017 and will keep you all posted.