Frank is just a boy with his fish. Co-founder, Gabriel Lanoix, and Frank first met as coaches giving river surf lessons through KSF. The two began as co-workers and soon became friends, bonding over their love of surfing and travelling. Eventually, they became roommates in Quebec and now see each other part of the year on Nicaragua’s Pacific coast, running Barefoot’s surf retreats.
What was your introduction to traveling? Did surf or travel come first?
Every summer during my childhood, my parents took a family trip. It was always a road trip around Canada or the US, and we did a lot of trekking and mountain biking. My interest in the ocean grew as I got older, and I started going closer and closer to it. Then, I started surfing!
What has the biggest lesson been in your travel experience? Do you think you’d be the same person without having traveled?
I found that a lot of unexpected situations happen while travelling. Those situations are not always nice at first impression, but after dealing with them I realize that I learn more about myself, and they make me feel like I’m growing up. So no, I don’t think I would have been the same person as I am now. Travelling in the unexpected helped me become the person I am today.
Where has been your favorite place & why? Where has been your favorite place to surf & why?
Last year I went to New Zealand, and I think it is my favourite place now. It was a perfect mix of surfing and camping with some of the best scenery I’ve ever seen.
But for the surf, it’s definitely Nicaragua. It’s where I learned and where I have pushed myself the most. I’m sure I’ll find another place that I will prefer, but for now, Nica has brought me a lot.
Do you have a favorite type of surfing style?
I love all styles of surfing, but I think what suits me the best is a classic fish. I find it really fun just gliding through the wave and admiring what is right in front of me.
What was your biggest challenge when you first started surfing? What’s your biggest challenge now as an experienced surfer?
When you start surfing in a country that is landlocked, it takes more effort to improve. Maintaining that perseverance was definitely the most difficult at the start. I remember going surfing in the river every single day so that I could potentially improve.
My biggest challenge now is to try to stay healthy even though I’m still young. I want to surf until I am 80 years old, and with a lifestyle of social beer and good restaurant food, it’s easy to fall into the dark side. The body can do a lot of things, but it’s important to not take it for granted.
What is your favorite surf product?
Definitely a Retro Fish from Boreal Surfboard – a friend of mine who started his surfboard shapes.
What do you hope to accomplish with your job in Nicaragua with Barefoot?
My goal is to make people feel comfortable in the water so they can continue to practice it after they return home. I want to show them that the only thing they need is to be out there.
What do you want people to take away from the surf trips in Nicaragua?
A positive mind and the liberty of taking time for yourself. It’s important to stop thinking too much about the future and taking all the opportunities to live the most as you possibly could.
Where do you think you would be had you not started traveling and/or surfing?
My plan before going all-in with Barefoot was to be a college teacher, camping around, practicing skiing in the winter and mountain biking in the summer.
You can find Frank on our Nicaragua Surf Trip. Toñas on him.