Panga Drops is one of the top 5 surf spots in Nicaragua. When looking for big waves, it’s the best choice because when waves are knee-high everywhere else in Nicaragua, they are head high at Panga.
We asked our surf guide Alessandro some tips for surfing Panga Drops. He’s surfed the spot many times and was more than happy to share his 8 tips for surfing Panga Drops.
Tip no 1: Best for people with some surf experience
In general, when it gets small at Panga Drops, it can be a really fun wave for every level. But it is mostly for intermediate to advanced surfers because the wave can get massive quickly and it’s quite consistent as well, even when it’s small everywhere else.
You can compare it to the surf spot Playgrounds for the way it attracts swell and to some beach breaks on the Atlantic coast of France. For example Lacanau, a surf spot in France, with a strong current but good quality waves.
Tip no 2: Look for the right way to get there
It’s a wild way to get there. In order to get there, you’ll need to take a boat ride and car through private lands and unofficial roads. For your first time, we highly recommend going with a good guide. Another option would be staying at the lodge, close to the spot, so you can get there easily.
Tip no 3: Surf from low to mid-tide
Panga Drops is in general a spot that works during all tides. We would suggest surfing there from low to mid-tide to take the most out of your session.
There are two channels to paddle out. The first one is on the right side of the left-hander. The second one, the one Alessandro suggests, is in between the far-right hander and the closer to shore slab.
Tip no 4: Try to understand if it is a right or a left-hander
For the slab closer to the shore, he suggests getting close to the peak with a few meters on the shoulder. Try to understand if it is a right-hander or a left-hander because sometimes the left one is not working at all.
For the right-hander far out, stay as close as possible to the peak since the takeoff is not that steep and otherwise you might miss the wave. The left-hander is sometimes a bit steeper but don’t get too far from the peak or you won’t get the wave.
Tip no 5: Know your sections
Regarding the well-known right-hander far out, Alessandro suggests getting down the line after the take-off so that you don’t get caught by the white water.
Then bottom turn and fast snap on the first section and get a bit down the line to get some speed for the second section where sometimes the wave gets a bit more mellow. Bottom turn again, cut back and get the speed back for the last section where the wave gets steeper next to the shore. Try a really fast top turn to finish the wave.
Tip no 6: Go early in the morning for uncrowded surf
There are almost no locals but mostly tourists at Panga Drops so it can get crowded at times. He suggests going early in the morning when the tide allows it and there will be a big chance that you’ll be alone in the water.
Tip no 7: Check the wind before you go
Panga Drops is really exposed to the wind. Don’t forget to check the wind speed before you go surfing because the wind has a big impact on the wave itself. It can get insanely choppy or heavy offshore can hold the wave back from breaking properly.
Tip no 8: Watch out for some obstacles
Be careful of rip currents that move away from shore. They can occur on the beach as the ocean floor gets battered by waves and they can be really dangerous. When the water temperature is at its coldest, stingrays will come close to the beach and enjoy the warmer water in the shallows. It’s recommended to watch out for stingrays when you’re in the water, definitely when getting in and out.
From Las Plumerias to Panga Drops
At Las Plumerias we go by boat and by car through private lands and unofficial roads to reach Panga Drops. Our surf guides will always check the best time for you to go there. They have all the information to know when it’s perfect and make sure you have a killer surf session at Panga Drops.