Mexicanos Amigos

25 Sep 2008 0 Share

Sunny Garcia and the gang gallivant across Mexico hitting and missing swells.


Words, captions and photos: Dan Russo
From the latest issue of Surfing Life - OUT NOW!

The gang on some mexican transport

The gang on some mexican transport

Last year I spent almost two months traveling through Mexico, chasing what seemed to be a never-ending source of quality swell, but this year the season was different.

I had everything sorted, ready and prepped for the last-minute dash when the elements aligned, but each time all the arrows pointed to classic waves, things turned bad at the last minute. Forecasts that looked epic for Puerto Escondido and the points seemed to deterioriate just as I was about to book tickets, so I figured the only way I’m going to get what I’m after is to spend a few weeks actually based around Puerto. Staring at a computer screen is one thing, but walking down to the beach and staring at the ocean is the only way you’re really going to know what’s happening and besides, the Pacific moans and groans a lot this time of the year and the steam she blows is right in our swell window. Just sit tight and wait. The goods will come.

Joining me on this quest for sweat and barrels was Sunny ‘Hack ’em’ Garcia, Danny ‘Happy Times’ Fuller, Reef ‘inc.’ McIntosh, Sebastian ‘Bad Arse’ Zietz and Torrey ‘choker’ Meister. Game plan was… well, there was no game plan. This is Mexico and whatever happens, happens.

Sunny Garcia mid-way through a morning snap and mid-way through his WQS comeback.  He was about to leave for the Maldives right after this swell and went on to blitz the field.

Sunny Garcia mid-way through a morning snap and mid-way through his WQS comeback. He was about to leave for the Maldives right after this swell and went on to blitz the field.

Once you leave Puerto Escondido there’s only one highway connecting all the good spots to the north and south.

Drive by night and you’ll be confronted at checkpoints by the Mexican Army, who will do what they please. Rip you off, scare the crap out of you, take your goods, whatever tickles their fancy, really. Drive by day and you’ll be dodging cows, goats and the odd human being doodling along the road by foot.

We were searching for a different wave, and word was out. Just around the corner, over the hill, through the jungle was the gurgling of a below sea-level monster. As we passed through the ancient vines, glimpsing crocodiles and pink flamingos in our trusty speed-boat, we rounded the last corner and low and behold; our first sight of exploding lips and waves running for 900 metres with not a surfer in sight. All lights say go go go.

Sunny was the first one out there, showing the rest of the Mariachi band how to link together 50 ‘spray the stars’ turns on one wave. His grin from ear to ear washed off on Reef, who under strict instructions busted a huge front side air right in front of me, while Fuller hacked apart some gold light sections. The sun had just positioned itself on the perfect angle creating a controlled, studio-like setting. A royal flush wouldn’t have beaten this combo.

Reef McIntosh, taking flight at a secret right in evening light. While he’s made a name for himself charging big waves, there’s a bit of Young Gun in him if you can drag him away from the Casa Escobar.

Reef McIntosh, taking flight at a secret right in evening light. While he’s made a name for himself charging big waves, there’s a bit of Young Gun in him if you can drag him away from the Casa Escobar.

Early morning Puerto check

Early morning Puerto check

With the fading sun working its way behind the coconut trees towards the horizon, it was full speed-boat-throttle-ahead out of there. On nightfall the insects come out to play to feast on you alive. In deep mainland Mexico on the coastal fringe, you can’t surf till dark because there’s thousands of insects’ waxing their teeth, waiting for your fresh skin and blood. There’s a story about a gringo who took a nap on the beach one evening only to wake up screaming in agony with a severe batch of insect bites so bad he had to jump on the first plane back to civilization and a first-world hospital due to the flaming itch and burn.

Back at the Casa it was stuff your face then feet up, eyes closed for some zen time. With the hidden port possibly breaking the boys were waxing some bigger boards except Sunny. Sunny and his mysterious clear stuff which he swears is better than wax.

Reef McIntosh pulling into some of the barrels on offer.

Reef McIntosh pulling into some of the barrels on offer.

Accustomed to raw Atlantic swells at home on Hawaii’s big island, Torrey Meister made short work of this Pacific right, just north of Puerto. It’s a great place to shoot flash because it's always cloudy in the afternoon. Torrey is a great guy to shoot, there’s plenty of style and he has all the new school moves in his bag of tricks.

Accustomed to raw Atlantic swells at home on Hawaii’s big island, Torrey Meister made short work of this Pacific right, just north of Puerto. It’s a great place to shoot flash because it's always cloudy in the afternoon. Torrey is a great guy to shoot, there’s plenty of style and he has all the new school moves in his bag of tricks.

But rise and shine the Puerto beachbreaks were on. Not big, but somewhat workable.

For some reason the band were all playing on different strings and not syncing up. Fuller locked into an early morning gem. Just what everyone wanted to clear the haze in the morning, but only the few found them in this unpredictable, hard to manage location. It’s one of those places were you’re better off sitting for two months waiting for that epic day, because when you do get the one, it will keep you coming back every year. There were plenty of gringos searching for their first one this day, but only ‘happy times’ Fuller pockets himself a green pipeline.

Even though the swell was not overly large, you definitely need to be in good shape to be swimming out there. With swirling currents dragging you in and out, pushing you up and down the beach out of contest for the primo spots – you really have to be on your game to get the money shots.

Sebastian doing an evening tail waft. This is the same right Torrey was surfing. It was just those two and Reef out for three days and we scored non-stop.  This is how Seabass won the Oakley Junior Pro. The kid is about to blow up!

Sebastian doing an evening tail waft. This is the same right Torrey was surfing. It was just those two and Reef out for three days and we scored non-stop. This is how Seabass won the Oakley Junior Pro. The kid is about to blow up!

With several days of relentless onshore winds, our band of gringos lose hope in the land of possibilities, and just as the south Pacific starts to flair up and the winds turn offshore, our plane tickets slapped us across the face with reminders of our sudden departure. The first time Mex-travellers couldn’t hide their disappointment. They’d thought this trip would be a walk up win, but it was back to our resting places, but not for long – with a quick recharge on the cards and a red blob morphing up the coast it will be back to the laid-back land in search of uncrowded perfection just as soon as we can get there.

- Dan Russo

From the Latest Australia's Surfing Life - Out Now

Spring is in the air …The north easters are blowing on the east coast, the swell is all but drying up, surfers are beginning to frown, morale is down, but never fear – ASL is here.

It’s the time of the year when we can lose our minds from the lack of straight lines but at least we have someone to turn to. A stylish, occasionally knowledgeable friend who’s always there for you, through highs and lows, bluebottles and windswell.

We knew this weather pattern was just around the corner, and no matter what state you’re in, you will be affected. So something must be done about it. Something to make readers realise the world won’t end now spring is here.

It’s why we went roaming through Indonesia with Rob Machado to un-cover exactly what makes the mellowest of shredders tick. Whilst in Indo, we dropped into the Rip Curl Pro Search event ‘Somewhere’ in Bali, say ‘see ya’ to Brucey and discover why anyone would sacrifice their left toe to be at the Search event. We drift through Mexico, Panama and Uruguay slayin’ lips and tortillas and if that’s not enough for your appetite there’s all the usual suspects and a bonus Aussie road-trip DVD courtesy of Hurley.

Grab your copy, find a nice quite spot in the recent kick of sunshine and enjoy. - www.surfinglife.com.au

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