National team surfers Kevin Cortez

Nicaraguan surfers chasing local waves

Surf documentary crew kicks into action and gets set to start shooting in Canadian waters.

  • Mar. 9, 2016 8:00 a.m.

Nora O’Malley


There will be a couple fresh faces in the lineup and around Tofino-Ucluelet this month as the crew from the surf documentary Frio begins shooting in Canadian waters.

Starring two young Nicaraguan surfers, Kevin Cortez,19, and Jackson Obando,18, Frio is a coming-to-cold water story boasting the highest quality surfing action.

“These guys rip. They live in overhead waves back home so there’s nothing that these guys can’t handle,” director and producer JP Veillet told the Westerly News from his home in Montreal.

“March is always pretty decent for waves, so we’re just praying to the surf Gods that we’re gonna get the right conditions.”

Cortez and Obando are on the Nicaraguan National Surf Team, and have already done some international travel in the name of surfing. Obando, who Veillet says is the straight-laced of the pair, was twice crowned the Junior Central American champ.

The boys live in Gigante, Nicaragua, and the small town’s world class waves, which the boys grew up surfing, suit its otherwise ironic name.

Much like Tofino and Ucluelet, the tiny town thrives on the fishing and surf tourism industries.

Frio was dreamt up as one can only imagine. Two years ago on a past surf trip to Nicaragua, Veillet found himself swaying in hammocks with new found friends, Cortez and Obando.

“I asked them, What’s the coldest thing you’ve ever felt,” said Veillet.

“I don’t know, this glass of water I have in my hand I guess,” answered Cortez.

“Then we started laughing about them coming to Canada; seeing them in a full wetsuit with their little brown face,” said Veillet.

“There are good waves in Canada,” asked Cortez, which quickly led to an Internet search of Vancouver Island surf spots.

And the rest, as they say, is history: Wetsuits have been sponsored, travel funds have been raised, work visas and filming permits have been acquired, and the Frio team is due to touch down in Vancouver on March 8.

“We will spend a couple days in Vancouver so the boys can see the city and then we will take the ferry over. A friend from Relic will pick us up in Nanaimo,” Veillet said.

“I don’t know to what extent they understand fully what’s coming. They are trusting us so much where I’ve never had a question with, ‘Are we gonna be cool with jackets, Are we gonna have a place to crash.. It’s just cool, let’s do it.’”

Veillet has garnered tremendous support from the surf community here on the West Coast. Relic Surf Shop hooked the team up with an oversized van and Aftanas gifted the rising surf stars two custom boards for their inaugural submersion into aqua frio.

Cortez and Obando will spend the better part of March surfing the breaks about Pacific Rim National Park. They’ll be residing in Ucluelet for the most part, but will undoubtedly drive to Tofino to surf Cox Bay and Chesterman Beach as Wick Rd still remains closed.

If time and conditions open up, the Frio crew may even venture south Island to explore the breaks around Jordan River.

“It’s gonna be an interesting story that’s unfolding,” Veillet said. “We’re looking forward to meeting anyone that wants to come and say hi. They are part of the story.”

Frio is the first Quebec made surf movie ever produced. For photos and videos of the project, visit their Instagram      @friosurf or



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