We’re happy to share a story about Project WOO to follow up on the Surfing For Change documentary. Thanks to Trent Gorden for keeping us up to date. Please support Project WOO’s crowdfunding campaign.
We’re building a health center in a small coastal village in Nicaragua. If you’ve yet to visit Nicaragua on a surf trip – while a good deal of your readers won’t have, nearly everyone will understand how massive a surf destination it has become – it’s said to have more quality surfable days than anywhere else in the world. Superlatives aside, Nicaragua’s giant swell window, year-round offshores, and a multitude of generous breaks make it one of the most consistent surf destinations on the planet. Three-hundred days a year, the locals say.
As this struggling democracy – the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere – still strives to recover from a civil war that took place nearly twenty years ago, the country has hung its hopes on tourism. Surfers, being the intrepid explorers they are, were the country’s earliest adopters and they continue to be ambassadors between an impoverished country and its increasing amount of international tourists.
This has left us as surfers in the precarious position of exploring and settling this new territory while protecting it from some of the ills that often accompany tourism in developing countries: overgrowth, environmental degradation, drugs, prostitution, corruption. Nicaragua has certainly not been immune, and despite its pristine beaches, there is a “cowboy” element to much of the development down here.
Project WOO (you may know us already) is a 7-year-old non-profit founded by ex-Peace Corp volunteers to ensure that our surfing footprint in Nicaragua is a sustainable one. Operating out of the small town of Playa Gigante (in the middle of the Tola surf zone, with Colorados, Manaznillo, and Panga Drops just a short boat ride away) our non-profit has already started a surf-mentorship program where kids can earn donated boards through community service, initiated a waste management program, and procured a school bus that facilitates education. Our next project is a health center and we’re using the crowd-funding site indiegogo.com to help raise money from surfers who have been touched by this beautiful paradise. Please support our campaign!