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Photo: Photographer Meredith Davenport
Photographer Meredith Davenport
Surfing the New El Salvador
After two earthquakes and twelve years of civil war, El Salvador is shaking off its rough image and remerging as a world-class surfing spot. By Rachel Scheer

For the feature "War's Over, Surf's Up, Gringos Welcome" in the May 2005 issue of Adventure, photographer Meredith Davenport and writer Eliza Griswold entered the local surf scene in El Salvador to see if the world-class breaks can help the country overcome its rough reputation, lingering since the civil war ended in 1992. For the surfers who seek to ride the country's waves during the rainy season (June to November), paddling out past the dynamic swells is a major obstacle—especially for beginner surfers, like Griswold—who prevailed.

Though Davenport didn't surf on the trip, shooting the surfers in action while keeping the equipment—and herself—safe was a challenge. "I would stand in the water, and the crashing waves would toss me around," says Davenport. "To avoid loosing my camera, I developed this gizmo that involved using a strap to leash the camera to my wrist. It did the trick."

Working with Griswold for the second time was a perk of the assignment. "Professionally speaking, it is amazing to work with someone like Eliza," says Davenport. "We understand each other so well. It was a blast." They've now done five stories together.

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Map: El Salvador


May 2005

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