Mea Culpa, Lo Siento, Surf’s Up

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Recently it has been brought to my attention that in my zeal to talk about surfing in Sayulita and Nayarit, I have overstepped some boundaries with regard to giving out information on how to get to certain spots that may not be secret in the strictest sense of the word, but are still not on the general surfing radar map. I have had some discussions, heated and otherwise, about this subject with the occasional emailer, and at this point I've had enough, and so...mea culpa. Which is Latin for "my fault" and is another way of saying:  "I'm guilty." I f****d up, and for this, lo siento. I will keep my mouth shut about other waves I might find and ride in other places, or if I do discuss them it will be without directions on how to get there or even where they are other than somewhere in Mexico, in northern Central America or southern North America, in the Western Hemisphere, on Planet Earth.

I used to write travel guidebooks back in the days when people got paid to do that, and still do the occasional travel piece for airline magazines or blogs or whatever. Part of that job is telling people how to get where they're going and what to do when they get there -the basic logistics of travel. For people newly arrived in a foreign country or continent or even the next state over this information is very useful, and is at times an important part of travel writing. But carrying this travel writing habit over into the realm of surf writing perhaps was a bad move, and at least in a couple of instances I gave out too much information. I'm making excuses, I know, and I also know that it is too late for a couple of spots - I have possibly increased by some small percentage the number of waveriders headed to a couple of formerly semi-secret breaks here in Nayarit. Like I said:  lo siento, I'm sorry.

Now that I am done with the self-flagellation, I will report that this past week brought really big, really great waves to this part of Mexico. They subsided for a couple of days, and then today, lo and behold, more bombers rolling in!

Talk about bombers! Last Saturday I went with a crew including a guy who was getting married that very day, and we surfed one of my favorite spots. The set waves, pouring in at regular intervals after short lulls, were often double overhead, as big as I've ever seen them at this spot. Conditions were perfect: glassy in the morning, offshore winds coming up at noon, a crowd of 20 or so in the water but 15 of them anxiously watching or jockeying to stay out of the way and out of the waves--or just getting hammered and floundering. Five of us were braving some very steep, fast drops, on the biggest waves we've had in months.

I made most if not all of my take-offs. But not all. You forget, after an entire season of mostly small surf, what it feels like to blow a drop-in on a big one and go skittering down the face of the wave and crash hard in the trough, then have the wave crash hard on your head. You forget that water can be so unyielding.

But what a rush when you make that initial free-falling drop, find your feet and fire off a bottom turn, set yourself up and fly down the line, leaving it all behind. Leaving behind your own regrets, mistakes, blunders, blown moves, and lost chances. For a moment, at least, you can be free of all that.

These pictures were shot by Kemi Vernon at a local spot on Tuesday. The swell was not quite here, but as you can see there were some sweet little waves to be had. You can check out more of her work at