SURFER’s ‘Wish You Were Here’ Highlights Panama’s Bocas Del Toro

This is the first episode in a series that showcases surf zones at their best.

This story originally appeared on SURFER and has been republished with permission. Words by Pete Taras. For more stories, visit SURFER.

Back in February, Balaram Stack, Luke Davis, Jake Kelley, Oliver Kurtz, Nicola Lugo and Layne Stratton saw a swell with all-time potential festering off the coast of Caribbean Panama. They booked tickets with the hope of scoring Panama’s beachies and even Silverbacks – the mystic right slab.

The crew arrived on the island of Bocas Del Toro after a half-dozen exchanges between planes, boats and taxis. It became quickly apparent that this swell might be too big for the beachbreaks because Kurtz snapped both his shortboards early in the trip. So out came the step-ups, which allowed for some slab scouting.

"This swell was different from a lot of past trips, the beachbreak was way too big the entire time, but we got to see a bunch of reefs light up that normally don't break. It felt like a mini Indo because the swell direction was so perfect," says filmer Stratton.

Luke Davis brought a quiver of smaller boards – 5'5's and 5'7's – and focused his talent on the punchy beachbreaks. Kelley and Stack feasted on a slabby left that is seldom surfed, where they both locked into multiple gems.

What was supposed to be a five-day strike turned into a ten-day score because of the firing surf. Even though the crew didn't score Silverbacks, most of them extended their tickets, which made for an amazing opening edit for Surfer’s new series "Wish You Were Here." Enjoy!

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