Watch: The Bull's Mouth

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

"Man cannot live on trade swells alone"

So said a longtime commenter on Swellnet about seeking those lesser trodden east-facing coastlines. To his mind, the only purpose tradewinds serve is to put an airbrush over groundswells; blow them clean as happens on the south-west coasts of Indonesia or north-west coasts of Hawaii

No doubt our commenter friend, had he a time machine at his disposal, would've been of a mind to search for waves on Panama's west coast first, as it faces into the might of the Pacific, both the South Pacific and North Pacific. Surely that'd be where the country's real action lies?

However, he wouldn't be the only surfer surprised by the waves found on Panama's east coast. It's got a narrow window open to seasonal trade swell, and it faces into the relatively small Caribbean Sea, but what happens there overshadows anything on Panama's west coast - overshadows most anything anywhere.

The stretch of coast has been on the travelling surfer's radar for at least a decade, it's had low-key visits from numerous pros, was shown in Mick Fanning's film 'Missing' - shown on the cover in fact - but only recently are all the details made public. C'est la vie.

Hawaii's Smith brothers travelled there this season, filmed it, also filmed themselves doing an ice bath on the way to the airport, as you do, before filling two-thirds of the film with manufactured drama.

The waves, when they come, don't dissappoint.

In fact, they're the kind of waves I could quite easily live off. Groundswells be damned.

 

Comments

saltman's picture
saltman's picture
saltman commented Saturday, 8 Feb 2020 at 10:37am

Fast forward to 7 minutes to see the first footage of surf

The Fire's picture
The Fire's picture
The Fire commented Saturday, 8 Feb 2020 at 4:29pm

^^ its called a vlog, boomer.

Ride anything.

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake commented Saturday, 8 Feb 2020 at 6:47pm

Deffo appreciate the heads up salto. Just show me the surf, the rest is boringly shite..

The Fire's picture
The Fire's picture
The Fire commented Saturday, 8 Feb 2020 at 8:31pm

I enjoyed the whole clip.

Ride anything.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Saturday, 8 Feb 2020 at 12:05pm

A time machine for surfers should come with default factory settings for Bali 1970.

Recently enough so that the technology benefit / detriment is still in positive territory. Before the hordes have descended. Shape a modern quiver for yourself . Gorge on pristine lineups of which only you know the existence.

Set up a Back to the future style pivot of history whereby you intercept the Morning of the Earth crew when they get to Ulus . Smash Alby’s camera and threaten to do the same to him if he tries to blow the joint open to the world . Convince him to forget his dreams of exploitation , leave his commercial Imperative behind and just come surfing with yourself and the boys in that untrammelled lineup.

Watch the pretty flutter of the lip line , smell the frangipani and clove cigarettes drifting on the wind as they blow from land to sea....the only proper use for a trade wind.

Bob Hawke Surf Team's picture
Bob Hawke Surf Team's picture
Bob Hawke Surf Team commented Saturday, 8 Feb 2020 at 8:16pm

That would be so great Blowin. Bloody excellent. I'd be with ya the whole way. But maybe set it first to 1969 instead when the US Advanced Research Projects Agency invented the internet, smash their equipment first so maybe everyone would have had to learn to read a weather map to get the best waves. Good 'ol days indeed. Then saunter over the Pacific via Hawaii to Bali at our leisure to take on Alby in 1970. Jump forward to '91 maybe to sink the Indies Trader and rough up Martin Daly a little while we're on a crusade (we'd need at least two of us for that). Slip into a few quiet ones out front of Katiet village with Lance maybe. Should have been here yesterday everyone you all really missed it. Seriously :)

bobhawkesurfteam

Jamyardy's picture
Jamyardy's picture
Jamyardy commented Saturday, 8 Feb 2020 at 1:26pm

The first time I went to Panama was in 2003, great waves. In that area shown on the vid, there weren't' many locals at all, mostly Panamanian surfers from Panama city or the pacific coast, and a very few international travelling surfers. lineups on small days were a little busy, but as soon as it got to 6ft, they all scattered. Surfed solo several times in those conditions. Although I heard all the stories about Silverbacks, I never made it there, its a little mission to get there from the town, and no one else wanted to go. They also have their own version of, south Stradie, an awesome heavy peaking beachy. To put it into perspective, the Caribbean Sea is larger than the Tasman Sea, they get little lows, and in the season hurricanes are not uncommon. But that coast has a very short season. Also to say it overshadows anything on the country's Pacific coast is a stretch, there is a well known big wave spot, that gets much bigger than Silverbacks and is much more consistent. Donovan, Benji, Kalani etc hit the same Caribbean coastal area in one of there "Drive Through" series of surf flicks a good while back.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Saturday, 8 Feb 2020 at 7:07pm

Call me cynical, but I find Koa S incredibly annoying.

Guy can surf, though.

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Saturday, 8 Feb 2020 at 8:10pm

totally agree

simba

Distracted's picture
Distracted's picture
Distracted commented Saturday, 8 Feb 2020 at 8:22pm

Can’t believe how solid that wave is for there. Travelled through that area but was obviously in the wrong spot at the wrong time!

Billyw's picture
Billyw's picture
Billyw commented Sunday, 9 Feb 2020 at 7:52am

couple of 5 footers out there. ya don't hear that very often, would pretty much always say 4 to 6 foot, or 4 foot with the odd bigger one. 5 foot is such a weird size. like saying its 7 foot. its always 6 to 8 foot or maybe, a solid 6 foot. but 1 foot and 3 foot are OK.

B Dub

The Fire's picture
The Fire's picture
The Fire commented Sunday, 9 Feb 2020 at 8:59pm

Agree with this.

But i will say i enjoy throwing out calls of 5,7&9 when warranted.

So under utilized in surf size talk.

Ride anything.

eastcoastbuoy's picture
eastcoastbuoy's picture
eastcoastbuoy commented Sunday, 9 Feb 2020 at 4:59pm

Started in Belize and made my way to Panama over a 6 month period in 1998. Good waves both coasts in a number of countries in between the two above. El Salvador worth a visit....

eastcoastbuoy

Numbatt's picture
Numbatt's picture
Numbatt commented Monday, 10 Feb 2020 at 9:21am

Vlogs suck

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 19 Feb 2020 at 9:31am

Part 2.

Good but not good enough for a stand alone article. All talking till 4:10, few good waves at Silverbacks after that.