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Sayulita has come a long way, growing fast from a tiny fishermen’s village into a popular tourist destination. Although everything seems new and somewhat Western, there are some things that spring forth from the very heart of Sayulita; like the talented top athlete Felipe Rodriguez Lorenzo (owner of El Punto Surf School) and his remarkable career.
Filipe, before we move on to your career, will you tell us a little about growing up in Sayulita?
I was born and raised in Sayulita, and you could say my family has been one of the cornerstones of the Sayulita that once was just a tiny fisherman’s village. When I was growing up (I am now 27 years old), there wasn’t much to do for kids. Also, tourism wasn’t there to provide work for our families. In all truth, I believe my life could have turned out a lot different if I hadn’t found my passion for Stand-Up Paddle (SUP) boarding.
How and when did you discover this passion and talent for Stand-Up Paddle boarding?
In comparison to a lot of top athletes I had a late start. I was already 25 years old and was working at a local surf shop. I vividly remember being given a paddle board to use and going out in the water for the first time. I had surfed since I was 12, but had not paddle boarded before. I didn’t have any expectations, but from that first moment I felt a certain rush and desire to learn more. I learned quickly, and paddle boarding became my present and future.
Have you always been so driven and focused?
That is an interesting question. In 2012, I had an accident that dramatically changed my way of being. I was working and standing on a roof terrace when I fell down. I had a very serious back injury, and when the doctor told me I could possibly never walk (or surf) again, I immediately realized that my mental state of mind was going to determine the outcome of this tragic accident. I decided I was going to get better and go after my dream of becoming a professional athlete in SUP boarding. The doctors didn’t have much faith in my full recovery, but I endured the pain and worked hard on my recovery. Up to this day, I face a lot of pain, but it’s my drive and focus that has gotten me through this.
You have an impressive career. In 2016, you went to the SUP World Championships in Fiji. How was that experience for you?
Going to the World Championships in Fiji was a dream to me, to be the only one there to represent my country. I never traveled that far before and I believe it has been a very defining moment in my life. I learned so much, as a human being and a surfer. I ended up in the top 8, which is a huge achievement to me. In August 2017, I am going to Denmark for the World Championships on a mission to make the community of Sayulita proud.
Apart from being a great athlete, you also own and run El Punto Surf School. What can the people of Sayulita expect from your surf school?
Yes, with El Punto Surf School I am able to turn my passion into work I absolutely love. I love to be in, or around, the ocean. When I’m not surfing myself, I love to give back to others what surfing has given to me. The most rewarding thing is seeing someone catch their first wave or seeing the smiles after a beautiful day of fun and exercise in the water. I have been very blessed in many ways, and I feel it is my obligation to pass on that blessing.
I welcome everyone to come and take a lesson or rent a surf-/SUP-board. Surf board rentals are $100 pesos per hour or $300 pesos per day. Paddleboards are $200 pesos per hour and $700 pesos per day. Surf lessons are $40.00 USD. I also organize surf and fishing trips.
Where can we find you in Sayulita?
You can find me either in the water or at El Punto Surf School, which is located at the South end of the Sayulita beach, where the fishing boats are.