Interview With Nicaragua Camp Manager Alonso Vargas



Get To Know Alonso and His Perspective From AST La Barra

Home Town : Manhattan Beach Ca
Home Break: Manhattan Beach Pier

Tell us a little about yourself, where home is, and what you do when not managing AST La Barra.

I was born in Costa Rica and moved to Manhattan Beach at 9 years old. I'm a Mira Costa high school grad - class of 2000, and I surfed on the team and played goalie on our soccer team for 4 years. I managed Spyder surf shop for almost 10 years, then moved to teaching and coaching surfing for Campsurf.

I'm a music lover that's has toured internationally with several reggae rock bands.  Currently while on off season from AST La Barra, I'm back teaching for Campsurf and playing music with The Lucky Ones band. I'm truly living the life I love and loving the life I live.

How much does surfing play a role in your life?

The ocean is everything to me - it pretty much dictates my every day life.


How long did you manage at La Barra?  Are you going back?

My first season was last year, I arrived March 1st and finished November 1st. I'm there while the waves are pretty much epic! I'm looking forward to my second season, starting March of 2017.

How many times had you been to Nicaragua before you became manager?

I've only visited Nicaragua once before managing La Barra with a group of friends and surfed great waves!

Was it quite a culture shock when you got down there or was it a smooth transition?

It was a little bit stressful adjusting to a different country, but it's a lot like Costa Rica.  I've spent a lot of time there visiting family and surfing throughout the country - the lifestyle down there is very relaxing much like Costa Rica - puravida lifestyle of surfing, sometimes 4 times a day, and also spearfishing for big fish off our boats.


Can you tell us about the surf in front of and around the camp?

La Barra has waves for everyone!  Starting from the south, 25 min boat trip or 30 min drive is El Tránsito - a beautiful beach break much like Huntington Beach, but in a protected cove.  Amazing for beginners to pro levels.

Moving north is Launch Ramps, a 5 minute walk from La Barra, another peaky beach break with some rocks that also caters to both beginners and experienced surfers. Next comes Chicken Bowls, a left reef slab that has one of my favorite barrel sections in Nicaragua!  This wave is for more experienced surfers due to its steep drops onto a rocky reef shelf.  You can only surf this wave at a higher tide because at low tide it breaks on dry reef!

Another 5 min walk from the camp is Miramar Point.  This wave is a tricky left point break over a rock shelf.  I've gotten amazing waves here - it's definitely one of the most surfed spots due to its public access and Surfline camera.  Intermediate to experienced surfers here.  This wave can hold up to 15 feet and barrels top to bottom!

Last but definitely not least is La Barra.  This sand bar break is a quick 7-10 minute boat ride from our camp. This wave is the longest left I've surfed in Nicaragua!  It runs for about 400 yards!!!  You must be in great paddling shape due to its long long paddle back against the current.  I'm working on getting a few jet skies to add to a surf package for our clients.  This would allow a quick tow back to the lineup without struggle.

We have a few secret spots that we can get to with our boats too but can't tell ya until you come down and see for yourself!


Would you say there’s a good mix for every level?

Yes I would say there is a great mix for every level.


If you had to pick a favorite spot…?

La Barra for sure! When that wave is on, nothing comes close to it's perfection.

We know food is an important part surf days.  Long sessions are calorie killers!  Can you give us some insight to the food served there, and your favorite meal?

Our crew in the kitchen makes La Barra surf what it is!  After a long am session, nothing is better than a healthy Nica breakfast burrito or Margelia's famous strawberry and banana pancakes with eggs and bacon and a fresh glass of our home made smoothies or fruit juices.   Our kitchen dishes vary from fresh fish to local beef or chicken, and have organic veggies and vegan/vegetarian options too.

What’s one of the more memorable experiences you’ve had?

There are so many memorable days of perfection out in the water, some days surfing every single spot down the coast - I can't really keep count!  We had a massive swell come through while the Mira Costa surf team was staying with us, and we got La Barra point so good!!!  Sharing waves with Coach Geller and the team was so special!


Is there one particular wave that you caught that you remember – that you can describe in detail for us?

In June a swell of 10 feet + was pulsing and Miramar point was all time!! It was so big and breaking so far out;  top to bottom freight train barrels with no one out!
 I paddled out with my friend and local la Barra surf guide Luis and we scored the best session!

Anything to be worried about as far as safety surrounding the area?

Puerto Sandino is a mellow fishing village with friendly villagers. I never saw anything to be worried about.  Like any country I wouldn't leave valuables on the beach unattended; other than that, thats about it.

What else is there to do besides surfing, especially for those that want to visit the beach but don’t necessarily surf?

We have tours to active volcanos, fishing trips, estuary boat rides, snorkeling, zip-lining, ash boarding down a volcano (yes its a real activity) trips to lake Nicaragua, Masaya, and León city just to name a few.  Lots to do if you don't surf or if waves get small.

You’ve shredded some pretty big stuff during the peak seasons in Nica.  Is there any type of training regimen you have?

Most of the days in Nicaragua all we do is surf!  I train doing underwater laps in our pool.  It's important to be calm underwater when it gets heavy out there.  I like to do yoga to keep limber and to strengthen the body and mind.  But mostly surfing 3-4 times a day is the best regemen.

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?

I would be in the Artic waiting for a massive glacier to break apart and hit the water so I could ride its wave!

Any advice for first time travelers?

Come down to La Barra and let AST take care of everything.  You can trust that your first trip with us will be one to remember!  Looking forward to meeting new friends in 2017!

Pura Vida \!!!/




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  • Kimo on

    Look forward to meeting you in Aug/Sept!

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