Pray For Surf

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

First, before we talk about the fabulous upcoming-this-very-weekend Sayulita surfing contest: people, fall to your knees or prostrate yourselves or do your dervish dance to honor whatever god(s) you favor, Jesus, Buddha, Rama, Yahweh, Neptune, Olokun, Pan, whoever, wake ‘em and shake ‘em and tell ‘em to get on the job and send us some waves. The Second Annual Punta Sayulita Longboard & Stand-up Paddleboard Classic is just a few days away-and we need some surf!

Last year, you might recall, the surf was virtually nonexistent for several days before the contest, and then, lo and behold, on Saturday morning the contest started and the waves arrived at about the same time and pretty much stuck around all weekend long. Not big waves, but respectable. Bigger would be better, but given the way the waves have been avoiding us this year, respectable will be just fine. The line-up has changed due to the flooding, the swells have been intermittent due to La Nina and the great whatever, the world has changed and so has everything else. We've had a sketchy and somewhat disappointing season for serious surfers. Let's hope the contest vibe helps change all that.

Ryan Helm

Regardless of what we get in the way of waves, this weekend's competition is looking stellar. The organizers at Punta Sayulita have rounded up several dozen major longboarding and paddleboarding talents not only from Mexico, California, and Hawaii, but also from distant outposts including Brazil and the Canary Islands. In addition to the events, which have been expanded to include more and varied types of paddleboard races, surfing legend Gerry Lopez will be in town to run a three day paddleboard surf camp, and reggae artist Mishka will headline a free concert on Saturday night.

Last year, in support of the first year of the contest, I jumped in as a contestant, survived a heat or two by virtue of luck and somebody's else's hangover, and skulked home to write my story. This year, I'm sticking to observer status. This is as it should be. I can't surf like these guys, so why pretend? There may be some locals-some really talented Mexican surfers-who didn't quite get dialed into this spectacle for whatever reasons, and a lack of surfing talent surely isn't one of them-but that's the way it goes.

Whatever money is generated by the contest-and with a solid crew of big name sponsors and surfers, this should be a significant sum-is going to the Punta Sayulita Foundation and the ocean ecology group Reefcheck. The Punta Sayulita Foundation has already ante'd up funds to train a couple of dozen local Sayulita surfing teachers in the fine art of surf instruction as it is taught by certified International Surfing Association instructors. This represents a real and much-needed commitment to the Mexican community of Sayulita, surfers' chapter. Beyond that, this Punta Sayulita-sponsored contest has generated a ton of good PR for the town and every one associated with the surfing vibe in it.

So let's all raise a flag for Sayulita's own surfing vibe, get out there and support the contest, and party down. This weekend should be a really good show.