Stab Magazine | How Badly Is Nicaragua Really Burning?

How Badly Is Nicaragua Really Burning?

Rory Parker heads down to Central America to investigate. 

news // Aug 7, 2018
Words by Rory Parker
Reading Time: 2 minutes

It’s difficult to tell, from the humid safety of my semi-hermit existence on the island of Kauai, what exactly is going on in Nicaragua.

Hundreds of people have died. Precise numbers, who they were, and why it happened, is a matter of debate. Especially if one relies solely on online resources.

Ideological agendas paint pictures that are diametrically opposed. Sources of violence depend on the political slant of whoever delivers your news. Is it the students? The paramilitary forces? The police?

Are bad actors performing false flag attacks, burning businesses in order to turn public sentiment against protesters?

Can a gringo find answers? Does it matter if he does? Considering the history of American interventionism in Central America, and in Nicaragua in particular, mightn’t it be best to stay the hell out of things? Leave Nicaraguans to sort it out for themselves?


But I love Nicaragua. I love Nicaraguans. Their black bean gallo pinto. Their slightly reticent hospitality. The country is one to which I keep coming back. Despite the fact that trekking there from the remote archipelago I call home is a torturous ordeal requiring multiple airlines, a detour through Texas, and seemingly countless hours trapped in too small economy-class seats wishing I’d had the foresight to score some Xanax prior to boarding.

Tourism is nearly non-existent at the moment. Fear of violence has led to cancellations, changes of plans. The majority of hotels, camps, hostels, and resorts have been forced to close their doors, or cut staff down to skeleton crew, due to lack of business.

For approximately the last decade Nicaragua has been the go-to destination for those looking to score offshore winds and thumping beach break barrels without the crowds or cost of Costa Rica. What was once a country wherein solitude was a matter of course has become more than slightly crowded, whether you’re battling the crowd at Manzanilla, slogging through wasted GAP years in San Juan Del Sur, or enjoying the spectacular foodie scene in Granada.

One of our vicious comment leaving nerds called me out last month when I first wrote about the unrest.

“just to be sure, Rory, are you planning a trip in Nicaragua in the near future? 🙂 ” [sic]

                                        – Yael Fregier

It took a moment to suss out details, but the answer is ‘Yes.’

I’ll be in Nicaragua for the next couple weeks. Attempting to understand how bad the situation has become, from the fighting in the population centers, to the difficulties faced by communities that have become increasingly reliant on tourism to survive. I’ll be talking to operators and employees of surf camps, picking Nicos minds about their government.

And, hopefully, scoring a few empty beach break barrels along the way.


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent


Can A GQ Cover Boy Take Out Teahupo’o?

Kauli Vaast is your incredibly handsome Tahiti trials winner.

Aug 11, 2022

Watch: Ramble On With Caity Simmers 

An action-rich tour behind the scenes of her triumphant first voyage to Oz.

Aug 11, 2022

PSA: Surf Filmers Not Welcome In Nicaragua

Cameras and drones are being seized on arrival, Stab spoke with two recent visitors.

Aug 11, 2022

Inside The Alternative Surfboard Marketing Machine 

Two of the biz's best — Matt Parker and Blake Peters — spill many beans.

Aug 10, 2022

The Tragic Parallels Between The Murder Of Ricardo Dos Santos & 8x World Jiu Jitsu Champion Leandro Lo

Two Brazilian sporting icons killed brazenly by off-duty police officers.

Aug 9, 2022

The Pick-Up, Vans US Open: In The Belly Of The Beast

Finger flips, shaping with Zion Wright, slurpees, Hawaiian takeovers, and the king of Surfline rewinds.

Aug 8, 2022

Albee Layer Discusses His Not-So-Budding Acting Career And The Upcoming Film “Sweet Adventure”

"Matt and Nora were tripping a little harder than I was just because they weren't…

Aug 8, 2022

Zeke Lau & Bettylou Sakura Johnson Win The Vans US Open Of Surfing 

Hawaii dominates HB.

Aug 8, 2022

How A Former CT Surfer Gets “Absolute Beginners” Barreled In A Matter Of Months

Luke Stedman elaborates on his Blackball surf programs.

Aug 7, 2022


Sweeter Than Stolen Honey 

A versatile Haydenshapes x Dylan Graves HP (and soft board) tested in weird waves.

Aug 7, 2022

15-Year-Old Ladybird Erin Brooks Makes Final In All-Men’s Tuberiding Event

And Clay Marzo takes the dub.

Aug 6, 2022

Are We Looking At Reef Sculpting The Wrong Way? 

The pros, cons, possibilities, and mechanisms of changing reefs to suit our surfing desires.

Aug 6, 2022

The Gudang Trio Discusses Brotherhood And How To Make It To The Mountain Top Together  

Positive sibling vibrations we should all aspire to.

Aug 6, 2022


Everyone’s Local Zone Has A Mythical Wave

Kai Lenny, Imaikalani DeVault, Eli Hanneman and friends get to surf theirs.

Aug 5, 2022

The Pick-Up, Vans US Open: Harry Bryant Vs. The Wedge

A lot of swell, stolen identities, surf masochists, mutilated noses, The Wedge, skull-crushing pylons, and…

Aug 5, 2022

When Gabby And Kolohe Pull Out, The Hog Pulls In

Tahiti wildcards named.

Aug 5, 2022

First Look: The 2022 Electric Acid Surfboards

Did our questionable EAST gamble pay off for Mick Fanning's Maldivian quiver ?

Aug 4, 2022

How Boardshorts Work

They are your one chance to look cool while actually surfing. Don’t blow it.

Aug 4, 2022