Over 30 used surfboards are destined for warm Nicaraguan waters.
The preloved quiver of boards was collected by Tofino surf instructor Adam Tory as part of a larger effort to develop a sustainable community centre and surf education program in the coastal village of El Astillero.
“I was blown away with people’s willingness and support. I couldn’t believe it. All of a sudden I had too many boards. I didn’t know what to do with them,” said Tory, adding that Storm Surf Shop and Pacific Surf School helped with the shipping logistics.
“The positive encouragement I got from Tofino as a community was really awesome. Businesses were like, ‘Yup we want to do it,’ and not just for the reason that they would get a logo on the page or whatever.”
Tory will reunite with the boards in Nicaragua come mid-May.
“When I get there we’re going to pull the boards out and start running surf lessons for the elementary school there. We’ve talked with the school and the Astillero Surf Club. They’ve already got sign-ups going.”
He told the Westerly that the surf school in Astillero only had one soft top surfboard, yet they still managed to give lessons.
“Some of the boards that kids were riding down there are something we would never even think about surfing,” he said.
This will be Tory’s second trip to Nicaragua. He said he spent a month down there one year ago, and was shocked by the amount of poverty he saw. He hoped to one day return to the area in a more meaningful and productive capacity, which he why he linked up with a new movement called Casa Congo.
The vision of Casa Congo, as described on their website casacongo.org, is to give the community of Astillero the tools to take regenerative development into their own hands.
“My aim as the surf guy for the lodge is to teach kids in the town to teach surfing,” Tory said.
“There are lots of kids who surf there but they don’t necessarily have the skills to take lessons out.”
He also plans on building a surfboard locker where locals can take advantage of a free board rental system.
“The thing is, a board down in Nicaragua will still sell for a decent rate but the average wage is like two dollars a day.”
Additional Casa Congo projects include launching a bamboo bike building enterprise, contributing to the expansion of the elementary school, and conducting art workshops that incorporate recycled materials.
Construction on the community centre and eco-lodge is slated to begin this May 2017.
The building will be made almost entirely of bamboo with minimal impact on the environment, according to the Casa Congo website.
“We want the community that it is set-up in to be dictating how it’s run,” Tory said. “The visitor aspect is only a small portion of what will sustain it. The aim is to have space for the community to use.”