Local surfer given dream surf trip to Nicaragua

Local surfer Bree Labiak recently had the trip of a lifetime, courtesy of the Mauli Ola Foundation.

Labiak, a 14 year old competitive surfer from Conway spent 5 days at the Mukul Resort in Nicaragua as part of a dream surf vacation, along with professional wave rider Jamie O’Brien.

Born on the shores of Hawaii, the Mauli Ola Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing hope and confidence to individuals living with genetic diseases. Labiak has Cystic Fibrosis.

The Ocean Bay Middle School student says the ocean helps with her breathing, “It helps my lungs. The ocean water, when the wave breaks, it puts water into the air. When you breathe it in, and it goes in your lungs, it helps you breathe better, especially when you have Cystic Fibrosis,” Labiak said.

Labiak has been competing successfully along the East Coast for several years and placed an equal 9th in the US Surfing Championships in June.

“Bree is a great up and coming surfer who has seen a lot of success,” said Phil Jackson, Surf Dreams founder and contest director of the East Coast Grom Tour. “She has competed with the best surfers on the east and west coasts and can hold her own in any conditions.”

During the 5 days of surfing, Labiak took daily boat trips to local breaks, “Panga Drops was my favorite. It was about 8 foot that day. My favorite part of the trip was how cool it was to get along with Jamie O’Brien. He’s so easy to get along with. That, and the scenery and the waves. The trip was spectacular. I loved every bit of it.”

Labiak’s goal is to make the World Qualifying Series. The WQS is the stepping stone to the Championship Tour of the best surfers in the world. That goal would make her the first pro surfer with Cystic Fibrosis. “If I don’t make that, I just want to surf for the rest of my life,” Labiak said.

Based on her competition results, Jackson thinks she has a shot, “Bree’s competitiveness and drive will help her excel through the amateur ranks and eventually into the pro ranks of competitive surfing.”

Check out the Mauli Ola Foundation here. And watch the video below of her trip.

Photo Credit: Kent Ficklin – NimbusGSS

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