Surf City, Sort Of

Thursday, March 17th, 2011
Paddleboard Racers Getting Ready

Well, the contest was OK. We'd like to say it was great, because the turn-out was huge, the competitors were stellar, the plan went according to plan, and everyone had a good old time getting their picture taken with surfing and paddling legend Gerry Lopez, who spread his cheerful vibes up and down the beach all weekend.

But there was a certain weirdness in the air. Not from anyone at Punta Sayulita, who ran a great show. Yet given the odd behavior of the ocean this week, it felt a little peculiar, to me anyway. First, on Friday, the whole town, or at least those of us who were anxiously dialed in to the internet and its 8 million hits of daily bad news, waited and traded stories and cogitated alone and together, wondering what would come of the possible tsunami-a flood, an epic wave, a little bit of a bump in the swell, whatever. Some people were packing their valuables and heading from the trailer park or sea-level homes for higher ground-for them, the threat was real.

1st and 2nd Place Paddlers Slater Trout and Anthony Vella.jpg	1st and 2nd Place Paddlers Slater Trout and Anthony Vella

What showed up was our Mexican tsunami, and we are lucky there was nothing more, but it was the strangest thing: a tidal surge, high tide, low tide, high tide, low tide, every five minutes, for hours. It never went ultra-high, it kinda went ultra-low, but nothing came of it, wave-wise. The rocks were exposed, the rocks were covered, you turn around, they were exposed again. A week's worth of high and low tides in every hour. Peculiar.

So that was that, on Friday.

Then we spent two days watching really good surfers perform in really boring little waves. Not terrible but tiny, without juice, without much force. The announcers did a wonderful job, attempting to jack up the energy level, accusing us all of being beach potatoes, which we were, but what else could you do, given the anti-epic conditions?

You could cheer the kid, Slater Trout, a buff, sweet-faced teenager from Maui, here with his Mom, who completely ran away with the two distance paddleboarding races, leaving his competitors so far in his wake they seemed to be paddling in some other contest. In both races, he was honorably chased by second and third place finishers Anthony Vella and Zane Schweitzer.

Or you could cheer Darren Eudaly and Mary Osborne, who conquered in their respective longboard divisions. Or better yet cheer the Mexicans --let's hear it for Patricio Gonzalez, Isidro Rodriguez, and Sergio Gonzalez, who took second, third, and fourth place in the men's longboarding. (You can get all the results elsewhere in El Sayulero.)

Gerry Lopez

The concert featuring Mishka, the white rasta reggae man, was great, and the happy crowd rocked all night long. Still, I couldn't help but wonder, standing on the beach beneath the bright lights, the stage all huge and professionally mystic, the music throbbing, thinking, bright concert lights on the beach? Dudes, this is Sayulita. Aren't we a little... out of scale here? Out of sync? I don't know, I liked the whole vibe, but I couldn't help but wonder if this is the future we want for our town: the great lollapalooza of the big time, with corporate sponsors and crowds of strangers and even more big fat cars on our tiny little streets? I know we all need the fun and even more need the money, but I ain't even been here that long and I'm already longing for the old days.

The waves came bombing in Monday morning, answering our prayers for surf 48 hours late. How about that?