The Gallant Tale of Gallo Loco
By Jonathan Griffin
Find joy in everything you choose to do. Every job, relationship, home… it’s your responsibility to love it, or change it. – Chuck Palahniuk
How it is a kid from Gloucester finds himself wearing a sombrero at a bus station in Nicaragua whilst looking more conspicuous than a streakier running through the White House lawn wearing a vest of road flares? Seems that truth is much stranger than fiction. Yet, that kid, being me, would soon manage to open up an exclusive surf camp hosting big names like Quicksilver and more. I was blessed enough to know what my passion was from a young age–surfing everyday and flirting with gorgeous women every night was the life for me. But to make this a reality meant I would have to relocate. So that’s what I did.
Making the colossal move into the unknown was certainly trying, but I was dead set on finding barrels and beauties. Nicaragua seemed to fit the bill. Scouring the shores, I searched the roads less traveled for my “El Dorado.” Nicaragua is underdeveloped in many parts so one is still able to capitalize on perfectly isolated surf spots. Finding prime locations to surf whilst only sharing waves with a few friendly locals gave me the drive to make my dreams a reality no matter what unorthodox methods I had to take.
Finding work in kitchens, I started using my free time to surf and explore the shores on a dirt bike with a surf rack dangling off the side. This means of transportation gave me the freedom to explore. With the kitchen work not panning out, I soon found myself having to find a way to earn income. Ultimately, I swindled a way into making money off of getting guests to the hostel where I was staying. Being the only “gringo” at the bus terminal was odd enough, but it seemed to only attract the attention of locals and not tourist. I stepped it up a notch by wearing a huge purple sombrero. The plan was so stupid it worked, brilliantly, like a marketing strategy setup by Mad Men.
During my off-time I surfed and gave surf lessons. With one student and friend named Alberto, we began throwing ideas around about creating a surf destination. Alberto had several successful businesses including a tour company and it was becoming apparent to him that more surfing travelers were making their way through Leon, thus making a nearby surf camp actually sound like a viable venture. Today ThunderBomb Surf Camp is a thriving, all-inclusive destination that takes care of its guests and allows them to focus only on beautiful un-crowded waves. As I have worked to make my dream a reality, ThunderBomb Surf Camp makes for unforgettable surf experiences for all those who partake.
*Photos by Matt Clark