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Over the Christmas and New Year holiday’s, we had the pleasure of meeting and working with these two adventurous spirits and showing them all that Rise Up has to offer. Read on to hear what they thought of their stay and keep an eye on the blog for a video with Connor Guest coming soon! 

 Do you love the ocean, and could you love the ocean with me?

We are Keli Moore and Karson Lewis. Although we’re from opposite coasts (California and North Carolina, respectively) and a generation apart, we soon discovered we share the same spirit. We met in a Sri Lankan surf camp in December 2016 while surfing epic reef and beach breaks on its Southwest coast. Surfing, and a deep connection to the ocean is what brought us together. Eight months later, we reunited in Morocco for a two-week surf trip. From that point on, our life-long friendship was solidified, and we started planning our next excursion.


Through our social media networks, we discovered Rise Up Surf and set our sights on Nicaragua to spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve. For many, Nicaragua might be seen as a little too off-the-beaten-path. As women, safety while traveling is always our top concern. However, our experience in Nicaragua and time at Rise Up was one that changed our own preconceived notions. The hosts treated us as though we were an extension of their own family, providing transport to and from the airport in Managua, outstanding hospitality, and concern for our safety at all times. As any traveler knows, you should never let your guard down, but with our Rise Up hosts, we felt a great sense of ease.

Typical mornings at Rise Up begin with chia seed pudding topped with fresh fruit and more smiles than we could count. Soon after, it was poolside lounge time with Toñas in-hand (the local cerveza). A perfect warm-up to the day’s surf-outings. In chatting with other guests, we soon noticed a trend — many were repeat visitors. Some even returning for the last six years! 

Morning Surf Rise Up

Our first afternoon was like a scene from Endless Summer. We loaded our vintage Land Cruiser for the sunset surf that lay ahead. The first spot we hit was this beautiful bay with a black sand beach. We pulled up to discover perfect peeling rights and lefts — with no one in sight. Every longboarder’s dream!

Nicaragua is not known to be a longboarder’s first choice, but we scored during our two-week stay. The quest to find loggy surf in this part of the world was not as challenging as the perception. Yes, there were some days that we traded in our logs for fishes to surf the Boom (a pitchy fast wave well known among avid surfers), but for the most part, we were pleasantly surprised by long, cruise-y, mellow rides. Once you dance on water, it can be hard to want to do anything else 🙂 Our adventures were not limited to days in the ocean.

Rise Up - Sunrise Volcano

Nicaragua is a lush land of lakes and volcanoes. For the New Year’s celebrations, we really wanted to commemorate the event. Early one morning we woke in the dark to climb Volcán Consequina (one of Nicaragua’s 13 volcanoes). As we stood on the top of the crater, we watched the 2018 sun rise over Nicaragua’s largest volcano, San Cristobal. Of the volcanoes, 7 are currently active. It was a postcard moment to say the least, and will forever be etched in our memories.

Rise Up is a place where you naturally wake before the sun to eagerly explore empty coastline with your guides. The air around the camp is dense with the songs of thousands of birds. It forces you to be silent and allow yourself to be enveloped by the wild landscape. It becomes a second home where you conquer fears, laugh-out-loud with new friends, and dance late into the night.


When you visit, don’t pass on the opportunity to boat through the wild and tangly mangroves at sunset. Our group had to stop on the shore for a brief mud-fight … then some tow-surfing behind our Panga boat to wash it all off. As icing on the cake, we ended that day by watching the sun dip into the Pacific as the sky turned radiant shades of orange, red, and pink. Getting to share that moment with our Rise Up crew solidified our collective relationship as ‘Rise Up familia’.

If you’re looking to get away, learn to surf, to hunt for untouched waves, or just reconnect with the essence of being human … there is no better choice than the Central America haven that is Rise Up. It goes without saying that we will be back. 

Arriba abajo al centro adentro (a toast to all our friends at Rise Up)! We love you, and look forward to our return. 


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