After a pretty gross overnighter from Peru into Ecuador the slide exits South America and begins the Central leg. Panama City is a cross between Miami apartment tower and Rio slum and after the mandatory Panama Canal visit we’re pretty keen to get out. Plans to head up to Bocas del Toro in the Caribbean are scuttled last minute when we’re invited on a west coast roadie by DT and Cal. Good lads from Cali and the UK. After a brief unplanned detour through the slums of Casco Viajo where we’re told to 1. wind the windows up, 2. stop taking photos and 3. get the hell out, we find the Pan-American and head north.

First stop the jungle-lined beach breaks of Playa Venao. Spend a few cruisy days getting woken by howler monkeys, surfing small beachies (and a fun reef called Dinosaur) and talking incessantly about how good this place would be with swell. Onwards to Santa Catalina. Famous for a grinding right hander, its smallish and surprisingly crowded. Given my aversion to crowds I opt for an empty right hand reef that’s throwing a few little tubes but the boys battle the crowds and snag a few goodies. With water temps pushing 30 wax is literally melting off the board and surfing in a T-shirt is even a bit warm. With swell charts lighting up for both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts in the next week waves look to be on the way. The only question is which order we hit them in…


Panama City nightlights by ML



Its a jungle out there



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