Sayulita is a vibrant beach town on the Pacific coast of Mexico, just 30 miles north west of Puerto Vallarta with cheap flights into its international airport, you’re able to get to it’s powdery beaches, great food and epic margaritas from most places in the States within a few hours.
Discovered in the 60s by American surfers looking for somewhere new to shred the waves, this once sleepy, hippy town has become a popular, (yet still small!) destination for American tourists, yet still retains an authentic Mexican vibe with great local food and friendly residents. A strange phenomenon is the golf cart – the favoured form of transport for “gringos” staying in some of the more distant casas on Gringo Hill.
The surf in Sayulita has a lot to offer all abilities, with nice gentle breaks for learning and also some bigger waves for intermediates and pros. I’ve seen guys pulling 360s and doing handstands on longboards. These guys make it look so easy so I thought I should probably learn something new and book some lessons.
I came across David’s shop – Surf’n Sayulita on a walk through town. It’s 2 blocks back from the beach and David is usually hanging out front waxing his boards or chatting to some locals. I had a quick chat to David about learning to surf and he told me that while Sayulita is great for beginners it can get a little crowded. For $3000MXN David offered to take my better half and I on a trip out to Punta Mita and find the perfect spot to learn, somewhere a little quieter with nice breaks and not too many people. As I have a (perfectly understandable) fear of taking out some poor swimmer with a loose surfboard, this sounded great.
We were picked up in a comfortable 4×4 with boards strapped to the roof and a chiller full of drinks in the back, at a not too early 10am. A short drive down to a viewing point in Punta Mita, David picked out the best spot to catch some waves; “Stinky’s” had the best breaks apparently so we headed down there. I have no idea why it’s called Stinky’s but it didn’t smell and the waves were great, so don’t be put off! The beach was pretty much deserted with just a few other local surfers out – we set up camp and started the lesson.
Although we’d both had lessons previously (not to much success) – David and Luar took us through everything from the beginning. I’m really glad they did as they showed us perfect positioning and technique, together with the best way to get up on the board. After studying our pop-up technique on land, they offered great pointers on how to improve – even giving us 3 different methods to get up on the board if we couldn’t master it. After a few more hints and tips we paddled out 500m or so to find the best break for learning and took it in turns to try and ride our first waves properly.
After great guidance from Luar, I managed to get up and going after about 2-3 fails and rode at least 4 good waves (with a few more fails in between) almost all the way into the beach. I was even able to try a few turns after some great tips from Luar who would watch closely and offer great feedback – giving tips on how to select a good wave, how to ride a left and right break and how to turn using positioning and shifting your weight between the rails.
Finally catching a good wave and riding it for some distance felt great and made all the tiring paddling totally worth it.
Landing back at the beach to a nice cold drink and a big high five from David I was really tired after over 2 hours out in the water, but having learnt a new skill and feeling pretty good about it – the buzz was great.
David and Luar were great fun and both excellent teachers, I don’t think I’ve ever picked anything up as quickly as I did with surfing and that has a lot (pretty much everything!) to do with the Surf’n Sayulita guys!
After a tiring morning shredding the waves (yeah right) we headed for some amazing tacos at Naty’s Kitchen in Sayulita. The chicken mole and chipotle chicken were great, together with some nice refreshing strawberry and guava water. We’ll definitely be heading back here – it must be good as the locals queue up for it!
David and Luar were both great instructors and had a great rapport both with each other and us – teaching us not only surfing but a little bit of Spanish and plenty of local info about Sayulita and the surrounding area.
Check out Surf’n Sayulita