TEAM-BUILDING RETREAT
 
 
 
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TEAM-BUILDING RETREAT

  • subtitle: ESA All-Stars Venture To Nicaragua

Written by  Allison Arteaga
Friday, 10/25/13

Schlepping a group of almost 20 teenagers halfway across the globe and keeping tabs on each of them throughout the course of a week on foreign soil is surely most people's idea of a horrific nightmare. But when that group is a capable, respectful, and professional crew of teens like the ESA All-Stars, it's a totally different story. Which is why, to All-Stars coach Pat Emery, venturing off to Nicaragua with his team in tow this past August simply sounded like a fun adventure and an opportunity for individual growth as well as group bonding. And sure enough, it was. But don't take it from us. Here's what the All-Stars had to say about their experiences throughout one incredible late-summer week in Nicaragua...

Day One (08/04/13): “It took a three-hour drive to the first airport, a thee-hour flight to the second, a 12-hour layover, a two-hour flight, and a three-hour bus ride to get to Nicaragua.” –Simon Hetrick

“I thought that Nicaragua would be similar to Puerto Rico… It’s different than Puerto Rico. It’s always a weird feeling being in a new place. Their culture is so different here.” –Jessica Kwiecinski

“Today, we arrived at Nica Waves resort around 8:30 a.m. after a whole night of constant red-eye travel. We then unpacked our boards and waxed them up and put our fins in to prepare for our first session.” ­–Hobie Sears

“The team was split into two groups. Each group went to a different break. I learned to respect the locals and let them have their waves.” Kai Nichols

“Surfed at Mag Rock for two hours and caught some really fun rights. On my last wave, I tweaked my back knee and had to sit out the rest of the day.” –Piper Austin

“Popoyo was the best wave! The lefts were sooo long! They had so much power, and if you stayed on the inside, you could catch all of the waves the 30 people on the outside missed.” –Cassidy McClain


Day Two (08/05/13): “Today we woke up at 5:30 a.m. and walked to a break called Santana’s. When we got there, it was overhead and punchy, kind of closing out, but you could find an end section. The entire team surfed the break, so it was crowded, and everyone was catching waves.” –Kai Nichols

“Once we got there, it looked really good, and it was worth the walk. I got a couple good barrels, and there was a photographer shooting down the beach.” –Liam O’Regan

“A good day on the East Coast could never match these waves! Santana is a beachbreak and just barrels like crazy.” –Cassidy McClain

“I got to watch the sun set over the ocean, which is new for me, being an East Coaster.” –Simon Hetrick

“We surfed until we couldn’t see the waves anymore.” –Georgia Cook

 

Day Three (08/06/13): “Woke up at about 5:00 a.m., hoped in trucks, and drove to a new spot about 30 minutes away. It was a cool experience to sit in the back of a truck and see the country of Nicaragua.” –Liam O’Regan

Today we ran a mock contest between the All-Stars. We never finished the comp, but it was great surfing such stacked heats for practice. Afterwards, we took team pictures at the Magnific Rock.” –Simon Hetrick

We headed back to Nica Waves for food, and I was starving. On the way back, I realized how lucky I am to be raised in America and to have water, food, a bathroom, clothes, and a nice home.” –Kai Nichols

“Spoke some Spanish with a local. Big pasta dinner and team meeting. Learned a lot!” –Piper Austin

 

Day Four (08/07/13): “Coach Pat gave me some tips on my backside turn and bottom turn that helped a lot. Now I can go much more vertical, and my turns feel much better.” –Simon Hetrick

“Surfed some slabbing reef break that was so sketchy in the afternoon. It was three feet from reef on take off and two feet deep. Buckled my favorite board on my first wave!” ­–Piper Austin

“Super early session! Had to get up at 5:30 a.m. to surf Santana. It was so fun because no one else was out.” Cassidy McClain

“Whatever Pat said to me on the beach pushed me to stop accepting a bad session and to really put forward all of my effort to make it a good one.” –Jessica Kwiecinski


Day Five (08/08/13): “This morning we walked across the river mouth to go to the Popoyo Beachbreak. The walk there and back was three hours, so it was quite a workout.” Simon Hetrick

“During the walk to this new break, I really took a look around me and soaked it all in. We are not in the states anymore. Jessica Kwiecinski

“It was head-high with over-head sets. Pat told us this break is usually two feet bigger than everywhere else.” –Kai Nichols

“There were a few locals there that I could tell were angry with our group coming, especially because we brought 20 or so people there and made the crowd much worse.” –Liam O’Regan


Day Six (08/09/13): “Today was the ESA All-Stars against the Nicaraguans contest. It was a fun-filled, action-packed day!”–Cassidy McClain

“All of us walked down to the beach early today to run our contest. It went really well, and the locals were all so stoked.” –Jessica Kwiecinski

“There were some very good surfers in my heat from Nicaragua. I was the only ESA member in my heat. I had heard that some of the other competitors were on the local ISA surf team.” –Liam O’Regan

“A local named Mario won the All-Ages division and a brand new board for the scoring the best wave of the day.” –Simon Hetrick

“We handed out all 100-plus pairs of shoes, 50-plus T-shirts, and 75-plus stickers that we brought with us. The little kids there were so stoked to receive all the stuff. To see the smiles on their faces was priceless.” –Georgia Cook


Day Seven (08/10/13): “Today we took a boat trip to surf Playgrounds and Lance’s Left. We split up into three groups, and when our group arrived at Playgrounds, we had it perfect and all to ourselves.” –Simon Hetrick

“Lance's Left was so fun. Spent six hours on the boat, but it felt like two. Got so sunburned, though, in the shape of my tank top.” –Piper Austin

“Goodbye Nicaragua! I'll totally miss you. Guess I now have to check my bag for scorpions and any other unwanted creatures.” ­–Cassidy McClain

“This was probably one of the most fun surf trips I have ever taken. Not only were the waves good, but I also made a lot of new friends that live all up and down the East Coast.” –Liam O’Regan

   
 
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