The following morning we tied down the boards to the roof of the rental car (Ford Escape), and made the 4 hour drive to the coast. We were headed for a small town called La Ticla (the tiger), which was home to an incredible rivermouth sandbar break. When we showed up in the afternoon, the wind was howling onshore, and the chop was fierce but since I had never surfed without a wetsuit before, I had to paddle out anyways. The water was warm and clear. Caught some good waves, but saved my energy for the next morning. We ate dinner at a little place called Casa de Viki. I guess this was the only good restaurant in town because we ate there every night and it was powerful grub everytime. Derek was friends with Viki from all of his previous visits and she hooked it up with the coldest self serve cerveza.
The first morning at La Ticla I woke at dawn with Dave and we were the 2nd and 3rd guys in the water from the whole camp (about 30 surfers from all around the world). The offshore winds helped to carve out some steep shoulder high rights and lefts at the left side of the rivermouth. Guys were talking about the swell that was supposed to show up in a few days. As time went on I got the hang of the wave and more people paddled out. By the time I came in for breakfast the lineup was pretty full and I was still the only longboard in the water.
For the next 2 days I had a pretty solid routine of dawn patrol, breakfast, cerveza, siestas in hammocks, joint rolling, sundowner sessions, and terrible night sleep thanks to the mosquitos. I got some good barrels and the wave of my trip was an accidental cover up that I came out of and earned me some hoots from the locals right before I nearly ran one of them over. Oh yeah, Derek took us over to another beach break called La Llallerna (the crier) for a marathon session that I believe was the main cause of my sun rash. This was a heavy near shore beach break. I didn't catch a single good wave the whole 4 hours we surfed there, Francisco and Derek caught some good rides and it was a beautiful spot. That night back at the camp a lightning storm and rain greeted us on the way back from dinner.
The swell showed up indeed. I heard that back home in Ventura it was going 15 to 20 feet easy. Down at La Ticla is was ranging from 8 to 12 but powerful. We saw broked boards being carried through the camp, Derek hurt his back by getting slammed into the bottom. I spent most of the day hanging with some friends of Dereks from Guadalajara. They took me to a couple of beaches where we swam and drank cerveza. We went back to La Llallerna where I saw the gnarliest surf I think I've ever seen. I was calling some of them triple overhead and fast! Later that afternoon we made it back to La Ticla. I attempted to paddle out the log (after eating and drinking beer...idiot), and after getting worked by 5 or 6 set waves, I finally thought I made it to the safe zone. I thought wrong. I could see a bomb building on the horizon and coming fast, I could only panic and paddle as quick as I could towards it, but to no avail. My leash broke and I had to swim back in the hard way. (video to come)
We skipped the surf on Saturday morning and headed down the road towards our next stop, Ixtapa. Derek had a gringo friend named David that was launching an Eco Resort down the way of Zijuantanajo. We drove down the 2 lane road passing a million palm trees, a cement factory, and about a hundred Topes (gigante speed bumps). We got mixed up, or lost, or whatever you call it. We ended up on quite the off road adventure and drove across a river and through thick jungle before we turned back to one of many small towns of that stretch of road. We found the only landline phone in the town and called David. Man was I glad that Derek and Francisco spoke good Spanish.
It turns out that David was starting up an Eco Resort but had also already built one up about an hour drive back where we came from. We turned around and made it to Casa Viva just after dinner time. This was a very posh cobb cabana on a stretch of beach called Troncones. Right on the beach equipped with an infinity pool, muy hammocks, a cooler full of beer, and best of all mosquito nets on the beds. We had arrived. David and his friends we having a party and we chatted it up with all kinds of cool people. We had just been in the jungle for a awhile so we were glad to talk to other people than our own crew.
One of the locals was telling me and Francisco about how good the surf was at Troncones and the surrounding areas. After coming from the powerful waves at La Ticla, I was in the mood for something a little more playful. I woke up the next morning before the dawn and put together my board. I found a way to attach my broken leash that seemed to work. I walked down the rocky beach until I found a nice stretch of sandy beach and rolling A frames.
The waves were smaller, and I was glad. The water was very clear and you could see the sandy bottom. I felt really good about this spot. On the rights, if you caught enough of the shoulder you could make the section and stall it for a little head cover or speed it up for some carves and turns. The lefts of the A frames were probably some of the best I have ever surfed. Speedy and lined up perfectly for the log, I got my first backside barrel, but didnt make it out. Fancisco met me out there and apparently he like it too, because he surfed it for about 5 hours. I went back for seconds after lunch and then for a sundowner after that. As the sun went down, I caught some really fun waves, but I got the feeling of some other presences in the water. Sharky they call it. I have had this feeling before, so I couldnt tell what it was all about. I kept surfing and made it back in time for dinner down the street at Diegos Bar.
This was our last night in town, and there was a Salsa band, so I wanted to do it up right. We had some Don Julio and chile verde. Derek and I were the only two dudes dancing in a sea of women. Mostly older gringo women. I started jamming with the band by playing my beer bottle with a fork. This was cool for a little while, then the bottle broke. I was that guy.
The last morning of the trip I woke up a little bit later than usual. Nonetheless I was still the first guy in the water. I was hung over no doubt, and sore as all hell. I had a sunrash and a pulled muscle on the left quadrecep but the waves were the smallest they had been all trip. Some fun set waves coming through, but they were few and far between. Eventually Derek paddled out and then Francisco shortly after him. Dave from Oregon chatted it up with some ladies who were staying at Casa Viva.
D, F, and I surfed for about two hours. Mostly just chilling out, floating in the water. Like I said, some fun set waves but few and far between. I caught one long one, and then Derek caught a good one, and then thats when I saw it. It was a black void in the water right next to me. At first I thought it was my shadow, but I quickly realized it was on the sun side of me. I took a closer paddle towards it at the ripples on the water cleared and thats when I got a real good look. SHARK!! It was right under me (roughly 6 feet away). About 6-7 feet long and either grey or brown (im color blind you know). I could see its eyes and I could see it doing a slow shark slither-swim. Instinctively I yelled out "Fuck!!". My next thought was to remain calm (yeah right) and I then yelled to Francisco that there was a shark in the water. Immediately I turned around and thankfully a wave came right away, I caught the wave along with Francisco. I yelled Shark to Derek and he caught the same wave. My heart was beating fast, but I was really stoked on the whole experience. It was the highlight of the trip for me. We laughed on the walk back to Casa Viva and I felt "special".
We packed up and said goodbye, headed to the airport. We made our flight and had a bit of a layover in Mexico City. Flying into Mexico City is an experience in itself. First the smog is for real. You can't ever see the city from the sky. Just brown. Then as you descent you can start to make out the builidings. By far the largest mass of buildings I have ever seen. This place makes LA look tiny. It is awe-inspiring.
After 9 days in Mexico I got back to my house around 2am this morning. I departed last Sunday with Francisco, along with the 9'6 log in a day bag, and a suitcase full of clothes, wax, fins, electronics, and hempbars. We arrived in Guadalajara as the sun was going down. Going through customs with a surfboard that big is a hassel, but I would later find that it was well worth it. After hailing a cab to the Hotel where we would meet Dave and Derek, we chilled in the lobby drinking cervezas and chatting it up. Derek took us out on the town to a free concert where a band from Columbia was playing (i forgot their name), anyways the whole street was packed with thousands of people. Apartently this band was quite a big deal in Latin America some years back, so there was plenty of Mexicans singing along.
By Friday the swell was solid and the period was great. With Derek injured and his surfers ear bothering him, I paddled out his purple fish. I was able to duck the waves pretty well, but my arms were tired, and my back was sore. I managed to catch one and made the drop pretty well. A second later I was off the board in mid air I landed on my back facing the wave and was quickly taken over the falls and into wet oblivion. I was then caught inside, with nothing else to prove and a smile on my face I paddled in.
We had an incredible trip.
First trip to mainland Mex.
First surf w/o a wetsuit
First rivermouth surf
First broken leash
First river rat sighting
First left handed barrel (kind of?)
First close shark encounter
Largest paddle outOne Gnarly case of Polymorphus Light Eruption
soundtrack for the trip:
A tribe called quest-"Anthology"
The shins- "Wincing the night away"
Calexico- "Black light"
James Brown- "Essential"