Tag Archives: Surf Mexico

Global Warming and its Odd Ways – We may all be surfing indoors soon

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global warming and surfingAfter about a week of flat flat flat, finally a swell has hit my part of mainland Mexico! Going a week just staring at the ocean, wishing for something to come has paid off! Yesterday, my friend informed me with the fantastic news, “Oh my god, did you see the waves today?! They look f***in rad!!” Unfortunately, my job didn’t get the heads up of the awesome waves, so the surf would have to wait til the next day. The night before I was going to surf,  I woke up in the middle of the night (I kind of live in the jungle where you can hear the crash of waves and you are surrounded by all sorts of insects and jungle life). The air was unusually calm, the bugs were biting like they hadn’t seen human flesh in years, and there was a hot (lately its been pretty chilly at night), odd, uncomfortable stillness in the air. In the morning, I woke up and it had rained! Talk about calm before the storm! Now, for all of you who live in the North, rain is very common in February, but where I live in Mexico it is almost unheard of. Something along the lines of global warming must be the cause of it, which also made last year in Mexico the coldest winter it had seen in 50 years. That’s some crazy sh*t right there! I don’t want to surf indoors because its too hot, or sunny or because its perpetually flat.

When a Surfer Becomes a Lifeguard: Stormy Seas (Part 2)

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…(Continued from part 1) …The waves were pretty strong and just kept coming in with almost no lull between sets. l was definitely not in shape for bigger waves after waiting a week for something decent. There was a really friendly vibe in the water between the few people that were surfing. The non-territorial locals were out, luckily, and we were all having a good time. Suddenly, from down the beach we heard yelling. I wasn’t really paying attention because I was into catching some choice waves, until Patricio Gonzales, national longboard champion of Mexico, comes whizzing by saying, “Alguien ocupa ayuda!” (Translation: “someone needs help!”). In about 2.5 seconds, he had paddled all the way to the end of the beach, saved the people, and was back rocking 360’s and noserides. I actually hadn’t even realized he had left! Thanks Patricio, for being not only a sweet guy, but a great lifeguard too!!

Stormy Seas: When a Surfer Becomes a Lifeguard (Part 1)

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Lately, it’s been stormy seas here in Mexico where I live. I was starting to have enough of the mushy random swell, wave after sloppy wave, and to top it all off, (our favorite) onshore winds. However, yesterday there was a break in the sloppiness when the tide dropped super low, the wind stopped, and all of a sudden the waves became gorgeous and glassy. FINALLY!!! I went out to the left break on my 5’7 quad fin fish, and it took a bit to paddle out because the current was extremely strong and kept pushing everyone left. The waves were amazing! Nice big faces, long rides and not only was the point break going off, but the beach break was out of control too! It was surprisingly uncrowded for this time of year, so I was just having my pick of great wave after great wave. (To be continued)…

That One A**hole in the Water

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As much as I hate to admit it, he is usually a great surfer. He is usually a local. He feels that it is his God-given right to be taking every wave. He also feels that it is his God-given right to be dropping in on everyone else’s wave. He is that one a**hole in the water.

In my town, there is a small handfull of them, but there is one who is by far the worst. Just yesterday, I heard him yell to another surfing buddy, “nada para nadie,” a.k.a, don’t let anyone take any wave. He is always telling girls (no matter if they can surf or they can’t) to get out of the main line-up and sit on the sidelines, and he’s always getting in fights with other guys in the water (he is the guy in one of my previous posts who started a fight in the water). What is the point of bringing all this bad energy to the water? Why can’t he just play fair like the rest of them? Some of the locals are way chill and it’s a much a better surf sesh when it doesn’t feel like there is a war going on in the water. All I have to say is, play fair; you might be better than some, but that doesn’t mean you have to be that one a**hole in the water.

Spiritual Surf

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Finally, after much waiting and wishing, the surf went from flat to a gorgeous shoulder-high. In the winter season here, the water gets colder, the days get windier, and I find surfing at sunset the most pleasant time to surf. We went out around 4:30-ish, the tide was pretty high, and the left point breakand beach break were both looking beautiful. I paddled out on my 5’8 little fish shaped by ‘Pronto,’ a guy who lives here in town. Surprisingly not that crowded for a Sunday, there were plenty of waves for everyone, and I even caught some random rights that were shaping up. All of a sudden, a guy sitting on the outside starts making a bird-call type thing and making praying gestures* to the ocean.

*Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being spiritual and thanking Mother Earth for all of her goodness, but while he was making bird-calls to summon waves that were already coming in consistently, he was missing some choice waves. Hey, I guess whatever floats your board…

Revisiting the Foamboard

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The surf once again has decreased to a knee-high (but fun and rideable) wave where I live in Mexico. The longboarders, foam and fiberglass alike, are out with a vengeance, leaving me with my 5’7” fish in the spray. By now, I’ve gotten used to small wave days on my fish, and catching them depends solely on being in the right place as the wave breaks (i.e. the late take-off). My buddy (who usually shortboards) happened to paddle out on a foam longboard and asked if he could use my fish. “Why not,” I said as I mounted myself onto the 9 footer sans leash. I had forgotten how easy it was to paddle out and catch waves. One-two strokes and you are already in the wave. The only thing that was hard to get used to was the clumsiness of the huge ship that my 5’2 body had to move around, and the foamboard rash that scrapes your stomach and inner thighs, leaving them raw and stinging. All in all, it was fun to change it up a bit, although I really realized how much I prefer my fish to a longboard.

Ocean Pollution Update/Follow-up

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A few posts ago, I wrote about how the river in my town dumped waste into the ocean. I informed everyone that I decided to go surfing a little while after they fixed everything and that I’d report back letting you know if I caught Hepatitis or a serious rash. Luckily, the water was safe enough that I didn’t catch anything, not even a rash. The waves were perfect: 6 feet, long rides, offshore winds, and to make it even better, there was barely anyone in the water. October is a great month here because the tourists don’t really come until beginning of November (the heat and prevalence of mosquitoes makes October not that inviting to tourists) and usually there are some swells that we catch from the hurricanes. Unfortunately, you never know when the swell will actually hit us–we gave up on the weather report a long time ago. One day we have great waves and the next it is completely flat. I especially love it when the tourists comment to me that there are no waves whatsoever, and I have to be the bearer of bad news and tell them that 3 days ago the waves were pumping. Anyway, the waves are pretty mellow right now after that gorgeous swell and we are patiently awaiting the next one. Hopefully it comes soon!

When Pollution Kills Your Surf

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After taking a little vacation back to the States to visit the family and friends, I was stoked to get back to my warm water and good surf in Mexico. Much to my dismay, a sewage pipe broke and flowed into the river (it is only a river in the summer rainy season), rushing turds and white toilet paper pieces into the beautiful ocean. Of course it had to happen now, when there is a gorgeous swell hitting the right and left break, instead of June/July/August when there are no waves. What a downer! At the time of the sewage leak, the risk of hepatitis, staph infection or gnarly rash made me not go near the water. Now, it’s been about two weeks and I see surfers out in the water, some may know about the problem, some may not. The water has definitely cleared up, so I think I might join the others tomorrow morning and take my chances. I’ll keep you all posted on my health status!

Travel Diaries: The Interesting Wave

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About 5 hours from where I live, there is this tiny, but interesting surf beach.This beach has a gorgeous right point break, but the way the wave shapes up is very unusual. There is a mini island (on your left in the first picture), that is slightly separated from where the cove juts out. This slight separation creates a mini wave that eventually becomes perpendicular with the main wave. When the two waves hit, they form a gorgeous, (and bigger) right break that goes on forever. It wasn’t huge, maybe chest high, but it was such a blast. So, you would just wait for the two waves to join, take off from that exact point, and you got a great ride. It is kind of like a river mouth-type deal, but different. There were also the occasional beach breaks that were also fun, but that one wave was so much fun……….

This is where 2 waves form
ride it, ride it
Ride it, ride it
This is where 2 waves form
keep on ridin'

keep on ridin'

Travel Diaries: Trip with the Surfer Family Part 2

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Where I almost drowned. The picture doesn't do the waves any justice.

Where I almost drowned. The picture doesn't do the waves any justice.

…(continued from last post) …I followed him out, trying to duck dive under these monstrous 10 foot waves. I’m only 5’2, so they were monstrous for me. The water was freezing, colder than up North, and each time a wave came, no matter how far down I duck dove, it pushed me way back. I was almost breathing like they do in Lamoz classes, trying to make it outside, past the sets, to wait for a wave. The first wave I dropped into took me by surprise, making me miss the bottom turn, causing the wave to eat me like a whale eats a sardine. The wave pushed me deeper than I thought and I was losing my breath and panicking as I struggled to make my way to air. Finally, almost feeling like it was hopeless, I broke the surface, took a huge breath, only to realize that one just as big was going to break right on top of me. I felt the pull of my leash, got to the surface and grabbed my board to make it past the next approaching sets. Feeling beaten down, I duck dove unsuccessfully under the next few sets, my board ripped from my hands on each wave, until I finally reached the outside. I would not give up until I caught one good one, I told myself, almost wheezing. For as strong as the waves were, they were pretty hard to catch if you weren’t right in the pocket, so it took me a few times to catch the next one. Finally, I felt the wave take me, pop up, bottom turn (very important), ride it, cruise it, until it closed out. Yes!!! It felt like such an accomplishment. I got out of the water feeling like the only survivor after a battle: beaten, tired and hungry, but with an indescribable feeling of satisfaction.

Travel Diaries: Trip with the Surfer Family Part 1

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As I have written before, I am a private teacher for a little surfer kid. One time, I got lucky enough to travel further South with their family to camp and surf. I kept a journal during the trip, so here is an edited version of the beginning:

The beach we camped at for one night

The beach we camped at for one night

We were driving up a cliff, looking down at waves that I’ve only seen in surf videos. They were closing out fast but looked beautiful, giving me hope of what was to come. We kept driving through the mountains, sometimes seeing the beach down below for miles, sometimes only getting a small glimpse. The closer we got, the less it looked like a swell was in our favor, but I was eager to be proven wrong. As we made a turn from the highway to our destination (which remain nameless to preserve it’s purity), we ran into a hitchhiker with blonde dreads, who told us that there were barely any waves and that it was better down south. Damn. We passed through the beautifully painted plaza and already I could hear the thunder of the waves crashing. We finally reach the beach/campsite where the kids were skateboarding on a small ramp. The waves were huge, Dready was obviously smokin’ something! I’ve only seen waves like that in videos and magazines, full on barrels, one after the other, all over the place. I got my 6’3 Roberts out and followed the kid’s Dad into the water…….(to be continued)

Travel Diaries: Hitchhiking with Surfers

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Trying to attach the backpacks on top of a surfer car

This summer three girlfriends and I decided to take a trip from our town in Mexico all the way to Nicaragua. We spent 2 months hitch-hiking and bus-ing it, with no exact plan except for a Lonely Planet guide. We started in Mexico with a 9-hour bus ride to Manzanillo and then decided to hitchhike. Our first ride was a bread truck, then some other short trips, but the most memorable was the ride we found in this teeny-tiny town. We were sitting down, drinking beers, waiting for the next ride, when all of a sudden this surf-mobile passes by. Their car already looked packed, so we let it pass by. Then, ten minutes later, the car passes again and this time we do not miss our opportunity. We wave our thumbs like it was a matter of life and death and the sweet guys pull over. They were traveling with another van and they both stopped for us, stuffed our things in the car (or tied them to the roof as the picture shows) and we headed to Nexpa, a nice left break. We had a slight problem with a flat tire, but we made it before dark. They were from all over the place from Italy to England, and we decided to camp with them in Nexpa. The waves weren’t that good when we got there and it soon got dark. Then next morning, we got up early, surfed and they dropped us off at a gas station to find our next ride.

View on the way to Nexpa

View on the way to Nexpa

Sunset Surf and the Beauty of Warm, Virgin Water

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I love the warm, virgin waters of mainland Mexico. Sometimes I’ll be surfing and sting-rays fly up into the air and slap back down into the water. At the nearby beaches, I’ve seen turtles pop up for air right next to me. When the waves are just peaking, you can see schools of little fish, surfing the clear blue wave. Sometimes you have to worry about jellyfish, but the sting is minor and it goes away within the day. I love the way the water just glides against your body, instead of the feeling of restriction. I feel like it kind of makes you a better surfer, because you are not as cautious when you decide to catch a wave due to the brain freeze that might ensue. Not to mention the obvious fact that you can just stay out there longer because your toes aren’t numb from frostbite. The best thing is surfing at sunset, staying in the warm water until it gets dark, and then riding that last wave, that’s almost too dark to see, back inside.

Right break and Left break from above
Love it!

Love it

Surfin’ the South

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Hola, I’m Julia, the South of the Border Surfer! I live in mainland Mexico, in a small surf town with a nice right and left point break. Unfortunately, the waves aren’t always epic and surf lessons and territorial locals take over the right break, but the swells are tight and the people (aside from the territorial locals) are really nice. In the summer, it’s pretty flat, except for occasional rad swell, so I took a trip down to Central America, from Mexico to Nicaragua, and surfed in a surf competition in El Salvador after not surfing for months (that’s a whole other post). I can’t wait to share all my crazy stories about surfing South of the border!

Small but fun

Small but fun