(Riptide Magazine) Panama! A land of contrasts… actually, who knows, that’s just a cool phrase. We do know that it’s a pretty neat place – this editor ventured there in 2011 and was blown away by the waves, lush forests and the goodvibes from the locals – but much cooler and more important people have ventured there in recent times too. Isabela Sousa got some fun waves there earlier this year (we shared this clip with you, remember?) and a few years earlier Nick Gornall, Matt McArthur, Ewan Donnachie and Jem Cresswell ventured there for Riptide, coming back with some of the more perfect images to grace our pages in the past decade.
So when Panamanian photographer Ahmed Saturno hit us up this week with a few images from the southernmost country in Central America, we figured why not pick his brain on what the place is really like.
Yeah, they got pointbreaks.
Ahmed: Bodyboarding in Panama is an up-and-coming sport – not exactly the most known for the Panamanians, but every day we see more and more people enjoying waves on bodyboards. At this time you can see girls and children passionate for it and having fun in the ocean. I can certainly tell you guys that the bodyboarding level in Panama is going up so quickly because we love it, we support each other and we work as a team. Now you can see many flying foam boards in the air jajaja.
Bayron Moscoso bracing for impact.
The negative part of being a bodyboarder in Panama is that there’s no support from sponsors at all – NONE! Most of the best Panamanian riders are humble guys who love the ocean and waves, and they have to work hard in construction, farms, etc. to save money and buy their gear. No one can even think about making a living from this sport in Panama, at least for today. Bodyboarding’s under the shade of surfing and other sports.
Rey Castro and a beefy one.
At this time we have Los Convivios Naciones de Bodyboard competition, which consists of three events a year for bodyboarders from all over the country, and recently this year the bodyboarding was integrated to the National Surf Circuit from the Panamanian Surf Association. Back on April 24, the APB released the 2014 APB World Tour Calendar of events (tentative Schedule) where it presented Panama as a new stop on November 18-22 called Bodyboard Pro Festival / Panama. Good news eh? 🙂
*Drools over keyboard*
What the waves are like in Panama (what kind of set-ups are there – reefs, wedges, beach breaks, etc.). How much size do they handle, is it easy to get waves or is there a lot of driving involved, what seasons are the best, etc.?
We are blessed with two coasts in our country. In one hand we have the Pacific Ocean and at the other the Atlantic Ocean [Caribbean side]. It’s easy to get waves by car or even by bus in some places. If you wanted you could have two sessions at different oceans in one day by driving three-to-four hours, depending on the spots, and that’s pretty awesome. We have warm water almost all the time, except for January to March/April. We have reefbreaks, beachbreaks, rocky points, shallow breaks and gnarly ones, which receive almost constant swell from three-to-eight feet. Some spots get even bigger…
What a Panamaniac.
What can you tell our readers bout Panama in general – is it a heavily-populated place? Is it naturally beautiful? Is it a dangerous place?. A wealthy place? A poor place? What do you love about your country, and what don’t you love about it? Is the political situation there stable? How would you describe the Panamanian people?
For those who aren’t familiar with Panama, I can tell you that it’s a great place, naturally beautiful, surrounded by nature and oceans and consisting of two seasons: Winter (rainy season) and Summer. Panama is the southernmost country in Central America with a population of 3,661,868 habitants at the last census in 2013. It has one of the largest economies in Central America and is one of the safest countries in the region. Here in panama we have great food, great and kind people, gorgeous Latina women, a stable democratic government and a growing tourism trade. Personally, I love our nature – it’s beautiful – but I only wish the government paid more attention to our natural resources. In conclusion, Panama is just great!
And not a soul in sight… other than of the avian variety