Surf Photo Friday featuring Stephanie Schechter in Panama - Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine. Surf photo by Janet Schechter.

Surf Photo Friday – Stephanie Schechter, Family Surf Trip to Panamá

Surf Photo Friday featuring Stephanie Schechter in Panama - Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine. Surf photo by Janet Schechter.
Surf Photo Friday – Stephanie Schechter, Family Surf Trip to Panamá
Photos by Janet, Jason, and Stephanie Schechter

Panamá. Not the first place that comes to mind when thinking of a surf trip destination… But that may be one great reason to choose to go there. While Panamá is known to have good waves and fabulous weather, it is definitely considered an off-the-beaten-path country for surf trips. This is precisely why my family chose to travel there last week for a seven-day trip of surfing, fun, and relaxation.

I had just finished final exams for winter quarter at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and my brother had just finished his finals at UCLA. Instead of going on “MTV Spring Break!” style trips with friends to places like Florida or Cabo, our parents were kind enough to invite us to share some quality time on a surf trip to Panamá! We flew directly from LAX to La Ciudad de Panamá, and the flight was only six hours, a quick hop in comparison to flying to somewhere like Asia, which has flights in the 12-14 hour range. We spent the night in a hotel near the airport in the beautiful capital city, and then set off in our rental car, stacked sky high with our board bags, to Playa Venao. We were told the drive would be four and a half hours, but of course, it ended up being around five and a half, not including the amount of time we spent taking wrong turns!

Finally, we arrived at beautiful Playa Venao. We found the house we were staying in, nestled in the jungle overlooking Playa Venao. It was adorably named La Casa Mango, after the several mango trees providing shade for the house in the 80-90 degree Panamanian heat. We went to see the waves, and our jaws dropped. In front of us were perfect sandbar beach break peelers with only a few people in the water! There were peaks dotting the entire stretch of beach, and while some waves closed out, most were head high, open-faced walls, perfect for riding any type of board. We spent the week surfing and having fun at Playa Venao, while the offshore breeze cooled us off and perfected the waves. We found a wonderful cove for snorkeling, with crystal clear waters and plenty of fish!

Although the trip was only one week long, we spent our time well, by not only surfing and snorkeling, but also doing yoga, walking through the jungle, relaxing in hammocks, and more! There was wildlife galore, including monkeys, exotic reptiles, and LOTS of insects. This trip was one I will certainly always remember, celebrating a successful quarter at UCSB, surfing with my family, and learning about the wonderful culture of Panamá!

Backbend in Panama, Stephanie Schechter, yoga reflection. Photo by Janet Schechter on Surf Photo Friday on Jettygirl.

Backside nose ride by Stephanie Schechter in Panama. Surf Photo Friday on Jettygirl.

Scenes from a Panama surf trip with Stephanie Schechter. Surf Photo Friday on Jettygirl.

Stephanie Schechter scored some fun waves in Panama. Surf Photo Friday on Jettygirl. Photo © Janet Schechter photo.

Stephanie Schecther, nose ride surf photo by Janet Schechter. Surf Photo Friday on Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine.

Thank you for dropping by for another installment of Surf Photo Friday. Have a great weekend everyone …and as always, thank you for your support of Jettygirl. Please consider helping out with a “Pay Whatever You Like” subscription to the site. Every little bit helps!

Photo Credits: Surf photos by Janet Schechter; snorkel photo by Jason Schechter; scenic photos by Stephanie Schechter.

Previous Surf Photo Fridays | Prue Jeffries on a Donald Takayama Quad | Sara Taylor Sequence | Get Stoked on Lady Shapers | The Session That Changed Everything | Justine Dupont and Pauline Ado in California | Role Models, Why They Still Matter | Surfing New Jersey’s Polar Vortex Swells with the K Twins | Mele Saili and Hayden Lane, Cardiff Reef | Jill Manos Surfs the Freezing Water of Nova Scotia, Canada | Malia Ward, Chris Ward, & a Surf Photographer’s Second Worst Nightmare | Chloe Buckley & the Tiny Five Hundred Dollar Wave | A Special Surf Session with Ashley Lloyd Thompson, Julie Cox, Alex Thompson, Chris Cuevas & Sheri Crummer | Kelly Nicely & the Pelican Session | Mary Osborne & Her Beloved 9’10″ Cooperfish Single Fin | Kelia Moniz, Megan Godinez, Geodee Clark & Bruna Schmitz | Kamalehua Keohokapu | Claire Bevilacqua | Lulu Erkeneff | Alexa Frantz |Rebecca Woods | Silvana Lima | Alessa Quizon

Additional Resources:
Stephanie Schechter on Instagram – @stephanieschechter
Stephanie Schechter’s interview on Liquid Salt
Kevin Connelly Surfboards
Swell.com



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Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine on Instagram - collage of surfer girls

Follow Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine on Instagram @jettygirlsurfmag

If you’re on Instagram and enjoy checking out surf photos of your favorite female surfers, we’d be honored if you followed ours at http://www.instagram.com/jettygirlsurfmag. In addition, we’ll be featuring a few giveaways through our feed in the next couple of weeks and we’d be stoked if you joined up so we could keep you posted as details unfold.

Surfergirl photo collage including harley taich, sally fitzgibbons, malia ward, erin ashley, margaux arramon-tucoo, anastasia ashley, cori schumacher, alize arnaud, kylie loveland, shea hodges, jenni flanigan, chloe buckley, reika noro, steffi kerson, kyla langen, stephanie schechter, kaley swift, megan godinez, claire bevilacqua, bianca buitendag, lauren sweeney, alexa frantz, kelsey harris, mallory eberlin, courtney conlogue

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Surfers pictured (in no particular order): Harley Taich, Sally Fitzgibbons, Malia Ward, Erin Ashley, Margaux Arramon-Tucoo, Anastasia Ashley, Cori Schumacher, Alize Arnaud, Kylie Loveland, Shea Hodges, Jenni Flanigan, Chloe Buckley, Reika Noro, Steffi Kerson, Kyla Langen, Stephanie Schechter, Kaley Swift, Megan Godinez, Claire Bevilacqua, Bianca Buitendag, Lauren Sweeney, Alexa Frantz, Kelsey Harris, Mallory Eberlin, and Courtney Conlogue.

Summer Time. A collection of surf photos from our favorite season at JettyGirl.

As we embark on another season of sunshine, we feel that there’s no better way to celebrate summer than to showcase a few photos from our favorite time of year. Our goal here (more or less) is to post an image or two every few days so check back often to see what’s new. We wish you all the best of times this summer and for those of you on the globe who are entering winter right now, I hope these will keep you stoked as you’re pulling on your fullsuits. Enjoy!

Leila Hurst, Newport Beach. Surf photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl.com.
Leila Hurst – Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com
August 9 – A clean turn on a glassy wave will always be a timeless move. Leila Hurst recently moved from the warmth of Hawaii to the every-once-in-a-while sunny skies of California. The highly ranked Pro Jr is a most welcome addition to our shores and I’m hopeful that you’ll be seeing more of the stylish regularfoot in JettyGirl in coming weeks and months.


Claire Bevilacqua barreled in Newport Beach, surf photo by Chris Grant of JettyGirl Online Surf Magazine.
Claire Bevilacqua – Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com
August 8 – This Western Australian loves to punt airs but even more, she relishes the chance to pull in. I wish I could she Claire in action at Backdoor this winter but for now, some thin-lipped Newport barrels need to suffice. A terror in the air and an absolute maestro in the green room, Claire Bevilacqua.


Alana Blanchard and Leila Hurst in Newport Beach, photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl.com
Alana Blanchard and Leila Hurst – Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com
August 7 – Yes, this is summer. Our brief season of warm water arrived then disappeared before our June gloom fullsuits ever had a chance to completely dry out. This August morning was gray and drizzling but even the dullest of mornings brightens up when you’re among friends. Longtime friends Alana Blanchard and Leila Hurst run to greet each other in Newport Beach.


Jasset Umbel, late afternoon Lowers. Surf photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl Online Surf Magazine.
Jasset Umbel – Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com
July 29 – The Trestles area responds differently to each swell. While Lowers can seem like top-to-bottom paradise, some swell directions call for a more lateral approach. Florida’s Jasset Umbel spends quite a bit of time at the famous pointbreak and knows when to hit the gas pedal to get speed for the sections setting up down the line. Jasset takes the high line on a beautiful, sunny afternoon.


Kelly Nicely with 4-Eyed Clyde...before Clyde's last ride. Photo by Chris Grant of JettyGirl.com
Kelly Nicely – Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com
July 22 – Four-Eyed Clyde’s last ride. Tonight I met up with Kelly Nicely who had just returned from France after competing in the Roxy Pro. While she usually just sells her boards in Europe to save in airline fees, Four-Eyed Clyde was so special to her that she paid $300 to get the board back to California. Exactly one hour after this photo was taken, Four-Eyed Clyde was broken in two pieces by a shallow, double-up. Rest in Peace Clyde :(


Shea Hodges, evening surf. Surfing photo by Chris Grant of JettyGirl.com
Shea Hodges – Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com
July 14 – Tonight I had the opportunity to meet up with a good friend who happens to be one of the best surfers I’ve ever seen, Hawaii’s Shea Hodges. We don’t get to shoot as much as when she lived up here in Oceanside but I’m always stoked when we can meet up. Our evening session was small, really small, but as she always does, Shea took apart the mini-lefts running across the inside bank. Looking forward to many more sessions with the stylish Hawaiian throughout the summer…


Marissa Shaw rotating at Lowers. Surf photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl Online Surf Magazine.
Marissa Shaw – Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com
July 13 – A few years ago I was shooting with Claire Bevilacqua at one of Southern California’s busiest point breaks. On this particular day, many of America’s top female amateur surfers were splitting peaks with Claire. When she exited the water she asked me the name of the young regularfoot who launched airs on every wave. It was none other than San Clemente’s Marissa Shaw. Fast forward to last week at the same spot and there was Marissa, punting at every opportunity and even tweaking it into rotations when the opportunity presented itself. A shredding surfer, gnarly athlete, busy lifeguard and dedicated college student, there’s pretty much nothing Marissa Shaw can’t do.


Alexa Frantz surf photo by Chris Grant of JettyGirl Online Surf Magazine.
Alexa Frantz – Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com
July 12 – Summer is in full force but still some gray days remain. I don’t know anybody that loves bikinis as much as Alexa Frantz. It could be freezing …as shown here by the dudes in the fullsuits …and there will be Alexa, throwing buckets like it’s the hottest day of summer. There’s no doubt that Alexa turns heads as she walks down the beach carrying her hot pink boards but it’s the manner in which she hucks spray that I appreciate. Her heart of gold? …that’s pretty cool too!


Ornella Pellizzari visiting San Diego from Argentina. Surf photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl.com
Ornella Pellizzari – Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com
July 9 – Overhead, nasty onshores, and river-like currents…all part of Oceanside during a south swell. It was refreshing to see a pro surfer paddle out in WAY less than ideal conditions, all the while smiling and laughing while taking off on ugly bombs. There weren’t many hittable sections but this right had one and Argentina’s Ornella Pellizzari launched into a nice backside air. So stoked that Ornella will be in town for a while :)


Stephanie Schechter surf photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl Surf Magazine.
Stephanie Schechter – Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com
July 5 – It’s always interesting to meet new surfers and discover their unique personalities. My wife and I often joke that I have both the gift of perception and misperception in equal parts. I love guessing with each new person I meet how their on-land style will translate once they hit the water. Stephanie Schechter is a case in point. My assumption was that her larger than life, gregarious personality on land would translate into an energetic style of waveriding. In contrast, Stephanie’s surfing style is about as calm, cool and collected as can be. Stephanie, relaxed on the nose in Oceanside.


Julie Cox, late afternoon surf session. Surfboard by Dane Perlee with artwork by Thomas Campbell. Surf photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl.com.
Julie Cox – Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com
July 3 – I’ve always loved this shot of Julie Cox…the late afternoon hues, the sunlight bouncing off her wetsuit and the beautiful surfboard shaped by Dane Perlee and painted by Thomas Campbell. As Julie dedicates more of her daylight hours to the California Surf Museum where she serves as Operations Manager, I’m sure she appreciates those extra hours of sunlight that each summer afternoon brings.


Heather Jordan. Surf photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl Online Surf Magazine.
Heather Jordan – Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com
July 2 – While not a fan of the marine layer, I do like those mornings that are “bright” gray if that makes sense. In the half-dozen years I’ve known Heather Jordan, one thing’s for certain, I have absolutely no idea when or where our paths will cross but I’m always stoked when they do. On this morning Heather ventured far from her homebreak and ended up getting some of the best waves of the day. Intelligent and hard-working, Heather will be making her way up to UCLA this fall…meeting up with fellow Bruins, Taylor Pitz and Chandler Parr in what looks to be a formidable surf team in the women’s division.


Kyla Langen surf photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl Surf Magazine.
Kyla Langen – Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com
July 1 – Brains, beauty, soul, and the versatility to charge barrels and draw flawless arcs, my friend Kyla Langen enjoying her favorite local spot. Preparation is key in early summer as the tricky and changing water temps could find you in a fullsuit in the morning and a bikini just a few hours later.


Jenna Balester at Huntington Beach Pier. Surf photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl Online Surf Magazine.
Jenna Balester – Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com
June 29 – Intimate knowledge of your local break pays off when faced with summertime crowds. While the masses were being swept up the coast in Huntington Beach’s Colorado River-like current, Jenna Balester out-positioned the pack and scored one of the better rights of the morning…delivering a beautiful backhand turn on a special quad shaped by her dad, Tom Balester.


Brittani Nicholl surf photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl.com
Brittani Nicholl – Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com
June 22 – Even at California’s most crowded summertime pointbreak there are occasional moments of solitude. Photo-friendly lighting is long gone by lunch hour but that doesn’t mean the waves are done. Brittani Nicholl paddled out for some midday fun and I was lucky enough to join her and her mom for one last session before they left for home last summer. Unfortunately, Brittani like so many of my Australian friends, won’t be coming to America this summer thanks to the ridiculous decision to “upgrade” the US Open to a World Tour event this year. Since the same family of companies basically controls both events, my vote is to return the US Open to its former WQS status and make real progress by adding a Women’s World Tour event to the Hurley Pro at Lowers in September. Sadly though, I don’t get a vote…


Claire Bevilacqua in color. Surf photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl.com.
Claire Bevilacqua – Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com
June 21 – In a world of desaturated images, cell phone one-click recipes, bogus light leaks and every other type of digital treatment (some of which were applied here), pure color sometimes takes a back seat to its trendy counterparts. Unlike photos though, colorful personalities like Claire’s never fade into the background. Reaching out to feel the arc she’s created, Claire paints another masterpiece.