Stab Magazine | Watch: Barge Faces Off Against Central American Bomb-Set, Loses Miserably

Watch: Barge Faces Off Against Central American Bomb-Set, Loses Miserably

“Oh no, there’s a guy on the barge! There’s a guy on the barge!”

cinema // Jun 17, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Blair Conklin is a professional skimboarder, expert surfer, and like many of us, a proponent of Central American tubes. 

On a recent trip to the land of rice n beans, Blair found himself surfing a special sand point with just a few heads out. With a large south swell in the water and offshore winds gracing its presence, Blair’s annual tube quota was filled quicker than your grandma’s pocket-book at a restaurant with free mints. 

But then, on the biggest day of the swell, a couple heavy locals attempted to take back the lineup from this tow-headed gringo. 

No, wait, actually it was just a tug-boat pulling a massive barge RIGHT THROUGH THE IMPACT ZONE. 

Lettuce watch. 

With waves like that around, who could blame the captain for wanting to get drained? Still we had very many questions about this ridiculous encounter, so we chatted up Blair for some answers. 

Stab: So what’s the deal here? Was the wave you were surfing some kind of port as well?
Blair Conklin: Yeah it’s more like a pass. And they use that pass to transport oil and other things from tankers that they have docked off the coast. It’s just pretty sketchy when the waves get big, because they break straight across the channel. I think there was talk of dredging it, but that would probably mess the wave up too.

So did they just kinda chance it and hope there wouldn’t be a set?
That was the peak day of the swell, when the incident happened. I kinda wonder if they even looked at the swell forecast for the day. It seemed like they were just going in blind. I mean I guess you can’t really stop when you’re towing a barge, but they obviously timed it wrong, and they were going very slow, so it didn’t end well.

Had they been doing this all week, or was that the first one you had seen?
They go back and forth a good amount. That was the only one we saw get caught by a set though. That was also the same pass we had to go through with our little boat, and even doing that was kinda sketchy. And we could go way faster than the tug-boat obviously.

And what happened after the chain broke?
The barge washed into some rock on the inside, and I think they were able to dislodge it and take it back to the port. The people on our boat also went to check on the people in the tug-boat and on the barge to make sure everything was ok, and they were all good, so we just kept surfing.

Were you guys all just tripping watching this go down from the lineup?
Yeah it was pretty sketchy watching that set roll in as they were trying to cross the path. They took the first one fine, so we were kinda like, “Oh, maybe they’ll be sweet,” but then the next wave was even bigger and it snapped the huge cable like it was nothing. 


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