Field Notes: SUP Nicaragua with Livit Water
Travel to Nicaragua looking for SUP and you'll find: there aren't exactly copious rental or tour options available. Granada, Nicaragua's Livit Water is a hidden gem SUP rental and tour company run by Scott and Gea Schmid. Scott--a lifelong surfer, and Gea--a hardcore yogi, are Southern California natives turned Granada locals pursuing their love for the outdoors by means of SUP. Here, we get to know Nicaragua's first dedicated SUP rental and tour company, and the couple behind it. --Shari Coble
SUP: What inspired Livit Water?
Gea Schmid: In 2014, Nicaragua hosted the ISA WSUPPC in Granada. At the time, Nicaragua didn't have a SUP team. Scott's longtime friend, Carlos Deshon, (president of the Nicaraguan Surfing Association), began gathering locals to represent Nicaragua and asked for Scott's help. Scott was a fundamental part in obtaining the SUP gear so the team could start training, then began training the team. They were able to solidify 11th place out of the 28 countries that participated.
The flatwater portion of the ISA's took place in Las Isletas. These 360+ islands are located in Lake Nicaragua, just offshore from Granada and are the number-one tourist attraction in Granada. Before Livit Water, the only way to see the Isletas was by a motorized boat or kayak. Scott saw the potential of offer SUP tours and so, Livit Water was born.
What causes does Livit Water stand for?
Livit Water is an extension of the apparel brand that Scott and his brothers started 20 years ago, called Livit. The word 'Livit' stemmed from the brothers traveling to far reaching places, connecting with others and inspiring people to live with a sense of purpose. Livit collaborates with small community projects around the globe to bring awareness and raise funds for different causes.
We wanted to continue to use the name Livit and combine it with our passion for SUP because we're firm believers that you can have a successful business that can positively impact the community you're in. We aim to use Livit Water in a socially conscience way by donating proceeds and helping the local communities as well as preserving the natural beauty of Nicaragua.
Tell us about your tours.
The Las Isletas tour in Granada is our most popular. You'll see various species of birds, lush vegetation, and the occasional local Nicaraguan paddling their wooden canoe to a neighboring island; in the distant trees you'll hear howler monkeys. This is a great tour for first-time paddlers. Attendees also visit Laguna de Apoyo, the largest crater lagoon in Nicaragua and a protected Nature Reserve spanning six kilometers. In the crater of this sleeping volcano, we paddle to an area with natural hot springs and take a dip.
Livit Water also offers five- and seven-day all-inclusive packages. These trips include adventures in Granada, the area that surrounds Livit Water that hosts some of Nicaragua's gorgeous beaches. The multi-day tours also include SUP in Las Isletas and Laguna de Apoyo, as well as daily yoga. Mixed into these trips are authentic Nicaraguan experiences, including a visit to a local pottery maker, chocolate-making, and a city tour of Granada by horse and carriage. We also include outdoor activities like hiking Mombacho Volcano and horseback rides on the beach.
What rentals are available?
We rent inflatable all-around SUPs hourly, daily and weekly. We have a retail shop in Granada where we sell Rogue and Riviera surf and all-around SUPs. The paddles we use and sell are also by Rogue and Riviera. We plan to bring in other brands in the future.
How have you been received by the locals?
We've been able to offer SUP to a growing community of affluent Nicaraguans looking for new activities and ways to explore their own country. With the assistance of social media, this eager group is expanding, and we've seen growing interest in the sport. Many of these first-time paddlers become returning customers that bring their families and friends to SUP for their first time.
Other SUP options in Nicaragua: