Miami to Puro Surf: Three days, two boards, one backpack
Gaudi Castro intended to use Awayco at Red Frog Bungalows in Panama, but as he and his girlfriend packed for the trip, he started thinking. What if he arrived and the boards were terrible? Would using unfamiliar boards hurt his experience? What if all the boards were booked? In the end, he just couldn’t bring himself to leave his trusted quiver behind. So he packed a board bag and took two flights to get to Bocas Del Toro, spending $400 in excess luggage fees along the way. When he got there he saw what could have been — more than a dozen fresh Channel Islands Surfboards, winking at him. “I thought, ‘you know what? I could have just rented these boards and had a great time,’” Gaudi said.*
Flash forward a few months. An early season south swell making its way to El Salvador. Cheap flights. A willing friend. What more do you need? Gaudi and his buddy bought their tickets and decided to “just go with Awayco,” and boarded the plane with only their backpacks.
“I felt a little naked coming without my boards,” he told us. “But it was a good release, like, ‘OK, less…less is great.”
They arrived at the Puro Surf Resort and Performance Academy, their lodging and Awayco location, and of the more than 40 boards on offer, one was waiting for Gaudi.
“I tried the [Channel Islands Surfboards] Fever, which is a performance shortboard, and I hadn’t been on a performance shortboard in a long time,” he said. “It was great, like off the rack from a surf shop. Not like going to Costa Rica and getting this old 1982 rental with one fin on it.”
When the swell faded, Gaudi booked a Biscuit Bonzer, a collaboration between Channel Islands Surfboards and the Campbell Bros, and enjoyed it at the long righthand point break just in front of the resort, El Zonte, and down the coast at the more hollow right, Punta Roca.
With just a long weekend in El Salvador, Gaudi was grateful not only for the monetary savings he experienced on Awayco, but also for the time.
“I saved money,” he explained, “but it goes beyond money. When you do a strike mission, every extra second you get in the water is worth more than dollars. So the fact that we didn’t check boards or luggage…just got off the plane and went straight to the car rental, got here and the board was waiting for me…it was great. It is great. When I leave here, I don’t need to pack a bag.”
*The Panama trip was still a success. He got great waves and more importantly, his girlfriend became his fiancé. Hey-o!