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Sirena Surf Lodge in Nicaragua

Warm water, perfect waves, and empty lineups… does surfing get any better than this!?

I had the best surf session of my life on this Nicaragua surf trip, no exaggeration.

I’ll tell you all about it, but to sweeten the pot, Greg decided to give away a trip for 2 to his Sirena Surf Lodge… but only if I could get barreled! 

Pressure’s on.

Getting to Nicaragua
Flying from Los Angeles airport to Managua, Nicaragua

We’re from San Diego, so usually it’s cheaper to drive to the border of Mexico, walk across through CBX, and fly out of Tijuana.

But this time, flights out of TJ were around $1500. Apparently some airlines are still whacky from the Covid days.

Flights from San Diego had looooong layovers, so we drove up to LA for our $900 flights. I was hoping to pay only around $400-$500, but what can you do.

LA to a quick connecting flight in El Salvador, and then we landed in Managua, Nicaragua.

Greg was there waiting to pick us up in his white truck, and we drove about an hour and a half back to his surf lodge.

It’s nice that airport pickup (and dropoff) is included in the price, because usually we have to pay extra for this service on our other surf trips.

Greg, the owner of Sirena Surf Lodge Nicaragua

Greg turned out to be a more interesting man than the Dos Equis guy.

He had nonstop stories to fill the drive, and good ones at that. From flying planes, to racing motocross, to sailing his boat from San Diego to Nicaragua, this guy has some life experiences!

One of his many talents was making Pina Coladas, which we enjoyed many of.

One of many Pina Coladas of the trip

I had read stories of people getting their camera equipment held at airport customs, so I just packed my GoPro in my backpack. Greg let us use his Canon with a long lens… because if I get barreled but nobody sees it, does it even count?

Also, drones are not allowed in Nicaragua, but you might be able to find a local with one 😉

Nicaragua Surf Spots

We timed our surf trip perfectly, because it was the slow season but we still had some fun swell to play with.

It was just our crew surfing almost every spot we went to. Crazy. A couple times we surfed with just a handful of other people.

As part of the surf trip package, you get one boat trip every day, which is pretty cool!

Our daily boat trip to the surf

Sirena Surf Lodge is right on the beach, but the break out front wasn’t really working for most of our trip. Still fun to wake up and swim around first thing in the morning though.

Beach out front of Sirena Surf Camp

Some other beaches were walking distance, but mostly we would take the boat to some better spots. 

Apparently Puerto Sandino can get really good (long left), but it was verrrry laid back and mushy when we were there. Fun to cruise on Greg’s pink longboard though.
There was never anyone else at this spot when we surfed it, but I’m told it can get a bit of a crowd on it during the busy season.

Stevie surfing a Nicaragua beachbreak

We explored a couple other beachbreaks that had more punch… one of them with nonstop barrels. That’s where I had the best session of my life. What a dream. 80 degree barrels (our wetsuits are nice, but boardshorts are better) with nobody else out.

Oh did I mention that Greg rips?

Greg surfing
Crocodiles or Sharks in Nicaragua?

I’ve heard stories of people getting attacked or killed by crocodiles when crossing rivermouths in Costa Rica or Nicaragua, so we were keeping our eyes peeled.

Greg claims to have seen crocodiles in the lineup before, but we didn’t see any while we surfed.

(Greg claims the sharks keep the crocs under control, but we didn’t see any sharks either)

Beginner Surfing?
Wifey B searching for a beginner friendly wave

None of the spots that we surfed were very beginner-friendly, but wifey B gave a good effort!

On a smaller day at my favorite beachbreak, she rode a couple waves on the pink longboard.

Sirena Surf Lodge Review

When you stay at Greg’s surf camp, all you need to think about is surfing.

Greg will pick you up from the airport, take you to the surf spots, and feed you 3 delicious meals per day. There’s a couple other restaurants nearby if you want to explore, but let’s be honest, Greg’s team provides the most delicious meals.

One of 3 daily mouthwatering meals

All this for about $125/night if you book a 6 night stay.

The surf lodge is super nice, and it’s even more impressive that Greg built most of it himself.

Sirena Surf Lodge

While we were there, he was working on a new bar area and talking about plans for an infinite pool.

Greg working on the new bar at Sirena Surf Lodge

There’s a pool and ping/pong table (essential for a surf camp), tons of different lounge areas and chairs, comfy hammocks and bean bag seating.

Pool table and ocean front view

They provide yoga mats which we used on the upstairs “balcony” area, with a gorgeous view of the ocean.

Yoga time

The bedrooms all have air conditioning, and in the bathrooms you’re allowed to flush toilet paper!

(This is actually really nice because in most Central America surf camps you are supposed to put your used toilet paper into a trash bin).

Greg brought the American amenities to Nicaragua.

And you know internet is a necessity, so we could work a little bit every day to make sure all of your orders and messages were taken care of.

Solid WiFI so we can work a little

Like I said, just show up and be prepared to surf, and Greg will take care of the rest.

Ho Stevie! Surf House
Ho Stevie Surf House?

A mile or less from my favorite beachbreak, we found some new condo type houses being finished. These were the only modern looking houses we saw in Nicaragua, and I was very interested!

How cool would it be to have a brand new house on your favorite empty beachbreak?

We got some more information, and prices start around $170k, which isn’t bad, but keep in mind that financing isn’t available in Nicaragua, so that would need to be a cash purchase.

Ho Stevie! Airbnb surf house maybe?

Did Stevie Get Barreled?
Did Stevie get barreled?

Well, if it’s not a “hell yes” then it’s a “no”. 

While I didn’t make it out of a proper barrel, I got some head dips, and Greg said that’s good enough for his giveaway.

Watch the video at the top of the page to see how you can win a trip for 2 to Sirena Surf Lodge.

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Imperial Motion Lux Premier Wetsuit Review

Cheap, high quality wetsuit, just one thing missing… (I’ll tell you in a second)

Another wetsuit review!

It’s fun to try new wetsuits, and this Imperial Motion Lux Premier 4/3 fullsuit is a winner.

I actually got this wetsuit in January, but I’ve had to wear it in August and September because San Diego water temperatures are fluctuating like crazy.

Fluctuating water temps in San Diego

So I’ve put it through probably 5 months total of almost daily use. And guess what… the Lux Premier wetsuit still looks brand new.

Surfing in my Premier Lux wetsuit

No holes, rips, or deteriorating seams.

And the best part? The price.

I think this Lux Premier 4/3 wetsuit was around $200 when I got it.

Currently it’s $120 on Imperial Motion’s website, but it’s also sold out, and I don’t know if that’s some sort of promotional price.

I talked to JJ at Imperial Motion, and he said
“new models drop in like 2 weeks.  We will have an updated 3/2 and 4/3.”

So we’ll see what the price is for the new models of wetsuits.

The new wetsuits still don’t come with a key pocket / key loop, my only complaint about the Imperial Motion Lux Premier wetsuit.

It can’t cost that much to add a key pocket, right!?

Almost all wetsuits have a key loop in the neck area, or a key pocket somewhere on the leg.

No key pocket on the Lux Premier wetsuit

It makes it really inconvenient if you have to drive to your surf spot… and then figure out where to put your key.

So I usually just wear the Lux Premier wetsuit when I surf by my house.

(JJ did say they might make this revision in their next run of wetsuits, because other people have requested it as well)

Everything else about this wetsuit is perfect!

It keeps me warm, and I’m a baby with cold water. Water temps in San Diego are mid to upper 50’s in winter.

Easy enough to get on and off (it’s a 4/3, so obviously it’s more difficult than a 3/2 wetsuit).

They use a limestone based neoprene (instead of petroleum based) which is apparently better for the environment, and I’m all about that.

The Lux Premier wetsuit honestly feels just as good as my $500 Xcel wetsuit, for half the price.

So I’m happy to say, I won’t need to buy a new wetsuit this winter ?

I’m keeping the Lux Premier hanging up and ready for action ?‍♂️

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Casa Mirador review

A lot of pro surfers have been dropping edits from Salina Cruz in 2019, and I think most of them stayed with Cesar at Casa Mirador surf camp.

Stab even tackled The Dock 2.0 there (check the credits at the end for the Casa Mirador shoutout)

It’s really no surprise everyone chooses to stay with Cesar… he kinda seems like the mayor of the town.

Casa Mirador is perched atop the highest hill, overlooking all of Salina Cruz.
Beachbreaks to the left, pointbreak (can’t remember which one) to the right

Casa Mirador rooftop view

He has the nicest trucks for the surf guides, and you truly feel like a VIP when staying there.

Now, I haven’t stayed at any of the other surf camps, so I guess I’m kind of biased, but I think I’m being fair ?‍♂️

Here’s the video version of my Casa Mirador review, check it out and then I’ll get into more details below.

Why Casa Mirador?

The beauty of staying at Casa Mirador is that everything is taken care of for you.

Airport transfer, meals, transportation to the surf spots, anything you need.

So all you have to think about is surfing.

Casa Mirador surf guide

Getting to Casa Mirador

We live in San Diego, so we flew out of Tijuana to save money on flights. Our flights were $330 round trip with Interjet.

There is something called CBX (Cross Border Xpress), where you get dropped off just outside the border, and walk across to the airport. It costs $30 round trip.

And the thing every surfer fears… surfboard baggage fees…

We didn’t pay a penny to bring our surfboards with Interjet! Thought it was going to be $30 each way, but it was completely free.

After landing in Huatulco, we had a van taxi waiting to take us 2.5 hours to Casa Mirador. This cost $160, so $32 per person (5 of us). We also paid this when we left the camp, for our departure back to San Diego.

The Casa

Casa Mirador surf camp
Casa Mirador entryway

The five of us shared one room. I think there are 4 or 5 total rooms. There were one or two other surf groups there at the same time as us.

We didn’t use the TV at all, but the air conditioner was nice at night (the rest of the casa is not air conditioned).

Casa Mirador bedroom
Casa Mirador bedroom

Bathroom was basic: sink, shower, and toilet.

In Mexico and other central American countries, the trend is to *not* flush your toilet paper, and it can clog the septic system.

You need to put toilet paper in the wastebasket next to the toilet… this was super weird to me at first ?

Casa Mirador bathroom
Casa Mirador bathroom

The downtsairs living room area is where you can store your boards and hang out.

We found a guitar and Josh serenaded us while sitting in the window ?

The window has the same view as upstairs, beachbreaks to the left and pointbreak to the right.

Casa Mirador living room
Casa Mirador living room
Casa Mirador views

Upstairs has ping pong and pool tables, and is where we ate our dinners.

The fridge has beers, drinks, and snacks. Just take what you want, and write it in the log, and you pay for it at the end of your trip.

Pool and ping-pong tables
Casa Mirador rooftop

There is WiFi at the Casa, but it was pretty spotty during our stay. The modem broke at one point, and they were working on getting it fixed… not a huge deal for most people, but when I’m trying to run my business remotely, it’s a big thing for me.


3 meals a day are included with your Casa Mirador package.

The breakfast is pretty weak (cereal and fruit), and usually lunch is just PB&J sandwhiches and/or tuna sandwhiches

Breakfast at Casa Mirador

We could choose to come back to the casa for lunch, but since the spots are an hour drive away, usually we just stay and surf all day.

A couple times we actually bought some fresh fish from the locals and made ceviche for lunch at the beach.

Dinner is where it’s at

I’m a plain eater, so basically all I want is meat and rice haha, but the kitchen staff always whips up some bomb dinners.

Tacos, fish, mole, rice, fresh squeezed/blended fruit juice, etc.

Salina Cruz Surf Spots

Casa Mirador is different from other surf camps you might visit, because no surf spots are walkable here.

The beachbreaks are about a 30 minute drive, and the pointbreaks are about an hour away.

Each evening, you coordinate with your surf guide what time you want to leave in the morning. You meet in the morning and he tells you which spot(s) should be working, and you go from there.

Load up the truck with boards, canopy for shade, chairs, and food (usually just PB & J, bread, and tuna).

Usually we leave around sunrise, and stay out until 3-5pm.

There are palapas at certain surf spots, otherwise the surf guide will set up a canopy for sun protection. It gets HOT here folks.

Palapa at the beach in Salina Cruz

What I Packed for Salina Cruz

  • Surfboard (Firewire Moonbeam, but I ended up not surfing it because the waves were too small), fins, extra leash in case one broke, towel
  • Laptop
  • Clothes – boardshorts, couple tank tops, couple shirts, one pair of shorts, shoes (I forgot my sandals ?), hat
  • Lumix G7 camera, bendy tripod, batteries, GoPro, Mavic Pro drone
  • Toiletries – toothpaste, floss, contacts, glasses
  • Metal water bottle (filtered water provided at Casa Mirador)
  • Sunscreen
  • Passport, wallet, US cash and some pesos

Total Costs

  • Flight: $330
  • Airport transfers: $64
  • Casa Mirador: $900 ($150/night)
  • Tip: $50. Tipped our guide Juan, and the kitchen staff
  • Misc spending on snacks: ~$25. Usually on our way to the surf spots in the morning, we would stop at a market or gas station to get some junk food snacks and drinks.

Total Cost: $1,319 for 6 nights.

Worth It?

So was it worth spending $1,319 for this Salina Cruz surf trip?

Well, we surfed uncrowded loooong pointbreaks with 85 degree water temps. ☀️?

Unfortunately the waves weren’t as big as we had hoped… we wanted some head high barrels, but we mostly got 3 foot mushy slow waves.

It was still super fun with the boys, but I think we’ll wait and check the 2-week forecast before booking our next trip, if possible.

If you decide to go with Casa Mirador, tell Cesar Ho Stevie! sent you ?

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7TILL8 Wetsuit Falling Apart

UPDATE: We now produce our very own Ho Stevie! wetsuits… after years of testing other brands’ wetsuits like this Hurley Advantage Plus, we have crafted a premium wetsuit that is WARM, STRETCHY, and DURABLE. (And only $199.97)
Keep reading to see Hurley’s flaws, which we make sure to avoid.

“What wetsuit should I try next?”

It’s always hard to decide.

Luckily I won this Hurley Advantage Plus 3/2mm fullsuit from a video contest, so the decision was made for me ?

(If you’re curious, my winning video was Pokemon Go, remember that one?)

It was perfect timing to get this wetsuit, because the water temps were dropping in San Diego, and I was getting chilly! My Xcel 3/2 is a couple years old and letting in some water, and even my 1-year-old 7TILL8 4/3 wetsuit is pretty ragged.


So I put the Hurley Advantage Plus to the test, to see if this 3/2mm was warmer than my year-old 4/3 from 7TILL8.

FIT: 10/10

How The Wetsuit Fits
LOVE the fit on this wetsuit!

I’m 6’1″, 155lbs, and the Medium Tall size fits me perfectly.

Good length on the ankles and wrists, and it hugs the jewels nicely ? (Unlike the baggy-ness on my 7TILL8).

Really easy to get on and off. PS… do yourself a favor and cop a changing poncho.


I’ve gotta say, I think this 3/2 Hurley Advantage Plus is just as warm as last year’s 4/3 from 7TILL8.

I was surprised!

It’s really easy to move in, and of course it has a key loop pocket in the leg (some wetsuits don’t, for whatever reason)
Ho Stevie! leashes have a key pocket in the ankle cuff, but I prefer to keep my key in my wetsuit.

Key Loop Pocket in Hurley Advantage Plus


It was all going so well…

But after surfing in this wetsuit for about a month, I noticed that the stitching on one of the knees is starting to unravel.

Hurley Advantage Plus unraveling knee

I’ve contacted Hurley about this, but they haven’t gotten back to me yet.


Besides that problem, I really like the Advantage Plus.

Oh, and the white stripes on the leg are subtle, yet help your friend on the beach pick you out from the crowd.

I’ll update this post if I hear back from Hurley about the knee stitching.

Who’s on the Hurley bandwagon?

*** UPDATE 2/22/19 ***
So Back in December, I DM’d Hurley on Instagram and Facebook, and they gave me an email address to contact ( if you need it yourself).

I emailed them December 7th explaining this situation, with a link to my video.

And waited…

Finally, 5 weeks later (January 15th) I received a response.

After a little back and forth (they needed more pictures, model number, etc) they agreed to replace the wetsuit.

I sent the damaged Advantage Plus back to them (they paid for the return shipping label after I asked them to) and my brand new wetsuit arrived about a week later, with no loose threads this time ?

Now, did they only give me this treatment because of my Youtube channel and blog? Quite possibly. I always wonder in situations like this.

Either way, I have a fresh wetsuit for spring, so I’m stoked! ?

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7till8 Wetsuit Review

Surfing wetsuits can be expensive.

Earlier this year I reviewed my O’Neill Psychofreak, Xcel Drylock, and Need Essentials fullsuit:

The first two suits cost around $500. The Need Essentials is around $200, but I didn’t like the fact that it doesn’t have a key loop. What am I just supposed to hide my key somewhere while I surf?!

So this fall/winter I got a wetsuit from a new company 7till8, and I put it to the test:

I’ve been wearing this suit almost every day for a few weeks now, and I like it!

It’s warm (I got the 4/3 version), easy to get in and out of (even with the front-zip), AND it has the key loop!
(I could just use the key pocket in my leash, but I prefer to keep it in my wetsuit)

Key Loop in the neck

No rips or seams/threads coming undone in the short time I’ve had it, and hopefully it stays that way.

My only complaint is about the sizing.
I got size MT (I’m 6’1″, 165lbs) and my other MT wetsuits fit me great. This one was maybe a tiny bit short around the ankles, and pretty baggy in my “junk area”.
Not a huge deal though, as I mainly noticed it when walking up and down my stairs, not when I was actually surfing.

A little loose...

Overall I’m super stoked on the suit, and would recommend to anyone! (Actually my neighbor bought one just a few days after he saw me with mine)

7till8 Wetsuit Box

For $225 you get a nice warm wetsuit delivered to your door. Click here to check out the wetsuit that I got.

Oh, and 7till8 are great people with excellent customer support, so that’s always nice 🙂

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Point Break 2015 Review

There has been a lot of hype building up to this movie, but a lot of people predicted disappointment.

That didn’t stop me from seeing it though. If you’re a surfer, you probably feel obligated to see the new Point Break, even if you know it’s going to be painful to watch. And if you thought Keanu’s acting was painful to watch in the original, you better set your expectations very, very low for this one.

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Laird Superfood Creamer review

Surfers love coffee. It’s a well known fact.

I’m actually sipping on some right now, as I write this.

But it’s really about that early morning coffee, heating you up and stimulating your mind and body while you check the waves in the chilly morning air.

I’ve been cutting sugar, dairy and artificial crap out of my diet, so Laird’s Superfood Creamer was a pretty interesting find for me.

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Kelly Slater has been a part of many projects/companies, and Purps is one of those companies.

He started the company about a year ago, with two other partners, PM Tenore and Dr. Chris Schaumburg.

There are three different products in the Purps lineup – Fuel, Hydro, and Vita.
I will be reviewing Fuel, which is basically a healthier version of Monster or Redbull.

It’s not really a surfing product, but since it comes from the mind (or wallet) of Kelly Slater, I thought I’d try it out.

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Surfing with Lifeproof case

There’s really no point in taking your phone surfing when GoPros exist, right?

That’s what I thought… until Periscope.

If you haven’t heard of Periscope yet, it’s a fairly new mobile app for live streaming.

It hasn’t quite blown up yet, but there’s a lot of buzz around it, so I wanted to get in early.
(Follow me @hostevie if you have Periscope)

I upgraded my phone from a Samsung Galaxy S4, to an S6. So I can have the highest quality stream possible.

After doing some research, the Lifeproof case is pretty much the only high-quality option for a waterproof case for my Galaxy S6.

(After upgrading my phone and seeing the poor results with my Lifeproof case, someone recommended a Watershot case. Unfortunately they don’t have a Galaxy S6 version, only iPhone 6. Hopefully they will make one for the S6 soon)

Back to the story…
So I threw down $80 for the Lifeproof case. Other options were water resistant, but not waterproof. It’s a somewhat clunky case, and apparently the audio is greatly affected, but I am only using it when I surf.

Galaxy S6 Lifeproof case
I bite on the floaty when paddling out.

I attached a GoPro backdoor floaty to the back of the Lifeproof case, so I could hold it in my mouth while paddling out.

I took it out on a small day, when the waves were probably only 2 feet.

I started the Periscope broadcast on the sand, and paddled out with the phone in my mouth. As soon as water started to splash on it, things got funky.

The phone thought the water was my fingers, so random things would get “tapped” by the water splashes. Very annoying, and honestly I don’t think I even submerged the phone all the way.

At the end of my first wave, some water splashes made the Periscope app close, and my broadcast was ended. Sad times.

So I didn’t try using the regular photo or video functions on the phone, but I can’t imagine it works any better with those.

Of course I emailed Lifeproof and told them this story, and asked if they had any recommendations.
They replied with the following canned message:
“Thank you for contacting LifeProof. We are excited for the opportunity to assist with your request, and we look forward to exceeding your expectations.

All we need in order to process your replacement is a photo of your LifeProof product. Please follow all directions to prevent any processing delays.”

I did not request a replacement, nor did I say anything was damaged (nothing was). I just asked if they had any suggestions.

So if anyone from Lifeproof is reading this, please leave a comment or email me if you can help! I would love to do some live Periscope broadcasts while surfing every week.

Galaxy S6 waterproof case

I’ll keep trying to do broadcasts (usually weekends with small waves are when I will try this) and maybe Watershot will make a case for the S6 soon.

Please share any advice you might have!

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Proctor Pipsqueak surfboard review

The Pipsqueak has quite a bit of single concave underneath, given the fact that there’s not much rocker. Usually if there’s a lot of concave, it’s because the board has a lot of rocker.

So with minimal rocker and lots of single concave, you get a board with lots of grip and drive. That helps you do really critical turns.

The step-rail, wing in the tail, and channels on the bottom of the tail, all allow you really slide the tail around easily.

The Pipsqueak will work really well in mushy 3 foot waves, allowing you to bring shortboard style ripping to small gutless waves.

Men's Surfing Wetsuit