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I am almost embarrassed to admit that I have lived in Sayulita for nearly a year, and Tuesday was the first time that I have gone surfing. I am a runner, but it was long overdue that I hang up the running shoes and grab a surfboard.
I showed up at Wildmex Surf & Adventure at 2:00 p.m. for a beginner group surfing lesson. Upon arriving, we were told that there had been a change of plans. While Sayulita is known for having great surfing waves, there are still days when the ocean is smooth and glassy with no waves in sight. Tuesday was one of those days. However, rather than cancel our lesson, our instructor, Alvaro Gutierrez, loaded us up in a WildMex van and drove us to Punta Mita.
The 15 minute drive gave our group (all ladies) a great opportunity to get to know each other. Lata Nott, from Washington DC, Soula Kalamaras, from New York, Diana Requena from Sayulita, Camilla Fuchs with Camilla Fuchs Photography in Sayulita and me were all excited to get on a board for the first time.
Upon arriving at Punta Mita, we took a small motor boat to La Lancha, a well-liked spot of local surfers. Alvaro informed us if any place around had waves, it would be there.
We were all given rash guards, which we soon realized we’re multi-functional and ideal to block the sun and keep our bikini tops in place. We were also given foam surfboards, which are perfect for inexperienced surfers. These boards float more easily in the water and are also safer in the event of a surfing accident.
As we jumped from the boat and paddled to shore on our boards, I noticed what a perfect day it was for a beginning surfer like me. There were waves, but they were gentle and not quite big enough to cause alarm. The water was warm and inviting, the sun was high above us and the sky was a beautiful shade of blue with cotton candy-like clouds. To top it off, we had the beach to ourselves.
Alavaro, with over 10 years of surfing experience and excellent English, knows his stuff. He taught us the correct terminology for the parts of the board, how to position ourselves on it and what to do when a wave breaks while paddling. He instructed us to fall like a starfish into the water to avoid hurting ourselves and to keep our heads covered if we did get a good tumble in a wave. He stressed the importance of safety and told us that we always needed to be aware of our surroundings and the people around us.
In the water he was patient, encouraging and helpful, telling us when to paddle, giving our boards a push and telling us when to stand up. He was great at having us in the right spot at the right time and getting us up on our boards.
It was a great afternoon for all of us as we cheered each other on, laughed at ourselves and enjoyed the humor of each fall and mistake. Every single one of us caught a wave and no one crashed into one another; that’s a major success.
I woke up the next day with a welcome burn in my upper abdominal muscles and an urge to hit the waves again. Who knows, I might just have to hang up those running shoes more often.
To experience this surfing adventure for yourself or for information about other surfing and adventure options, contact Javier Chavez at WildMex Surf & Adventure.