Ashley Blaylock is the founder of CHICABRAVA. Born and raised in a large family of 8 children in Houston, TX, Ashley came to Nicaragua in 2003 and immediately fell in love with San Juan del Sur. She is the reigning 6-time National Nicaraguan Surf Champ, holding competitive title as National Women’s Champion in the Nicaraguan National Surf Circuit for 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011. Ashley competed for the Nicaraguan National Surf Team, obtaining 4th over all of Central America in 2007. Ashley has surfed all over the world including the Mentawai Islands and Bali in Indonesia, Spain, Mexico, Oahu, Maui, Kauai, California, Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua. Ashley is a licensed attorney in the State of Texas and resides full time in Nicaragua. As we’ve grown, her role as camp founder/owner has led her to become more involved in the administration/ development side of things and less able to be involved in the day-to-day operations of the camp. However, she does still keep in close, direct contact with her staff throughout camp and tries to hang and get in the water as often as possible!
Camp Operations/ Marketing Manager
Candace Pattillo was raised on the sunny beaches of southern California and fell in love with the ocean and surfing at an early age. Candace completed her Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Merchandising and Marketing from Cal State Long Beach in 2007 and then set out in search of perfect surf. She has traveled along the entire coast of California, and through Australia, Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Levanto, Italy, and Nicaragua! Candace came to CHICABRAVA in March 2010 originally as a surf instructor, then became Products/Merchandising Manager with an offsite location in San Clemente CA in 2011, and returned to San Juan Del Sur in March 2012 as our Camp Manager in charge of Operations and Marketing.
Colleen “Mama Brava” O’Leary Blaylock is from Houston, Texas, she’s the owner’s mom and our bookings manager! There is a reason why we call her “Mama Brava”. Colleen keeps all the balls in the air. She dots all of our I’s, crosses all of our T’s, and makes sure that no man, woman or child is left behind, stranded or out. Colleen is a professional organizer who honed her skills by successfully raising a family of eight (yes successful, they all got out alive, didn’t they?) and as President of an aerial mapping company serving the Real Estate development industry. She gets her high energy spicy personality from her fun-loving Irish heritage. Colleen rolls with the punches and the waves. It is to our tremendous advantage that she brings her diverse bag of tricks to CHICABRAVA as booking manager and collaborative marketer/organizer. Colleen is based out of the United States and she answers the phone quicker than a flash and checks her blackberry in museums, restaurants, movies and yes…the car. She can allay your fears, ease your concerns and answer your questions. We might be able to run the business without her but it wouldn’t be as much fun and let’s face it… we’d rather surf.
Surf Instructor/ Host
Shelby Mons is from Jacksonville, Florida. She picked up a board at age 9 and started competing at the age of 14. Shelby has traveled all over from North Carolina, California, Mexico, and up and down the coasts of Florida. She has lived in Kuwait, California, and now Nicaragua! Her love for the ocean is a gift that she will never lose sight of. Shelby’s goal is to share the joy and peace surfing has brought into her life to women around the world, while teaching them how to rip just as hard as the boys!
Surf Instructor/ Host
Elsi Marin is a full-on local chica, born and raised in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. She surfed as representative for the women’s division of the National Surf Team for 2006-2009. Elsi is one of the first Nicaraguan women to ever surf in Nicaragua. A pioneer in women’s surfing in Nica and a true example to the other local women and girls, she brings invaluable local knowledge and energy to the team. In addition to surf instruction in English, Elsi offers bilingual surf instruction for our guests who would like to learn some of the commands in Spanish while they’re here! Elsi is also currently pursuing a bachelors degree in Tourism at UPOLI University in Rivas.
Surf Instructor/ Host
Noelani Anderson was born and raised a water baby on the Big Island of Hawaii and has been surfing since age 14. Between a sailor dad and a mom who loved to swim, the ocean has always played a huge role in Noelani’s life. Noelani went to school in Southern California and studied abroad in Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua and Spain. She has also surfed in France, Chile and the Island of Oahu. Noelani has a bachelors degree in Peace Studies and Sociology with a minor in Spanish from Chapman University but considers life and experience to be her constant classroom. She loves to teach, whether it be yoga, surfing, music, language or any of her other passions. Noelani finds that the best way to constantly show gratitude for the things you love is to share them with others.
Surf Instructor/ Host
Lauren McFarland was born and raised in the artsy coastal town of Encinitas, California. She was in the ocean before she could walk and has been surfing for over 15 years. Early on in her surfing career, Lauren won several state and national competitions, competing throughout junior high and high school. Lauren has traveled all over her home state of California and in Mexico, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Ireland and Nicaragua. She earned a bachelor’s in psychology from Antioch University Santa Barbara and is a licensed EMT and professional photographer.
Madison Slaughter hails from Charleston, South Carolina. She learned to surf when she was 11 years old while living in Virginia Beach, VA. She is a recent graduate from the University of South Carolina, where she studied Public Relations and Spanish. Madison has been teaching surf lessons on Folly Beach, SC for the last five years, and she has traveled to Costa Rica and most of the East Coast of the United States to surf. Madison joins the CHICABRAVA team in May of 2013 and is excited to show her side of what being CHICABRAVA is all about!
Lauren Wallace grew up in Boca Raton, FL. She starting surfing at age 10 and started competing shortly thereafter in NSSA and ESA surf competitions. Lauren has been surf instructing since the young age of 15 and started traveling internationally for surf even earlier at age 14 on her first of 6 trips to Costa Rica. She has since surfed Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and California. Lauren recently graduated with a major in Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management and a minor in Hospitality Management from Florida State University, where she competed on the surfing and wakeboarding teams and served as President of the Surf Club. She studied abroad in Valencia, Spain, from where she was able to travel throughout Europe and go bungee jumping and skydiving in Switzerland! Lauren joins the CHICABRAVA team in July 2013 and is excited to meet like minded women from all over and to share her love of the ocean and surfing!
Vanessa Pattison is the owner of Zen Yoga studio in San Juan del Sur and our beloved yoga instructor. Born and raised in California, she moved to San Juan del Sur with her husband in 2005 in search of a different way of life. She spent years as the town’s only yoga instructor and is certified by School of Yoga out of San Francisco. Vanessa is passionate about yoga and is always expanding her knowledge of the art, taking classes and participating in retreats which exposes her to different teachers and styles. Her teaching style at the camps is to cater to the specific needs of each group.
Surf House/Storefront Manager
Fabiola Solis was born and raised in San juan del Sur. At age 17, she began working with the store “Variedades Joseph” as a store clerk. Fabiola studies Finance and Banking at Uhispan University in Rivas, and studied English at Orlington language school. Fabiola joined the CHICABRAVA team in Summer 2010 as our storefront clerk. We were stoked to be able to promote her in Summer 2011 and she now works as Manager of the Storefront and Surf House facilities!
Surf House Cook and Housekeeper
Walquiria is our amazing Surf House cook and housekeeper. She is a local from San Juan del Sur and married to our awesome camp driver Tomas! We’ve known her since the beginning and she is loved by us all. We were only just recently lucky enough to get her to join the CHICABRAVA team in 2011 once her sweet baby girl was old enough so she could come back to work! Walquiria has a tender heart and spent years providing in-home personal nurse services. She is an amazing cook and is always smiling!
“Tio” Jose is another San Juan del Sur, born and raised in the small community of Las Delicias. Tio Jose has worked for years as a caretaker during day and night and joined the CHICABRAVA team in May of 2010 as a nighttime caretaker and guard.