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Patricia Southworth, her husband Paul, and their two (grown-up) children were part of the first Americans who moved to Sayulita to stay in 1996. Twenty-one years later, they are still here. Together they run the very first surf school of Sayulita, Patricia’s Surf School, Capitan Pablo’s Fishing Tours, and beach restaurant. Today Patricia tells me all about the transition from America to the (then) rural town of Sayulita, and about how she fell in love with Sayulita, and created a life here.
Why did you choose to move to Sayulita 21 years ago?
Well, originally we are from Oregon, U.S. We decided we wanted more of a laid back life, home-school our children, and teach them Spanish. We intended to stay for two years, but instead we enjoyed it so much that we are still here.
What can you tell us about the Sayulita you fell in love with?
That is a good question. I could write a book or two about that. When we arrived in Sayulita there wasn’t a proper road to Puerto Vallarta. Sayulita was a small fisherman’s town with just a hand full of stores and restaurants. There was no expat-community yet. In fact, we were one of the first Americans that moved here. It’s hard to imagine, but back then the beaches were empty, and life for the locals was just about coconut trade and fishing.
What role does surfing and the passion for surfing play in your life today?
Surfing is entwined in almost every part of my life. I discovered surfing twenty years ago and I have been hooked ever since. There was no official surf school then, but I started to rent out surfboards and give lessons. I have raised my sons right here, overlooking the point of Sayulita. They are both professional surfers now. Apart from recreational surfing and teaching, I also judge competitions. You could say the love for surfing (or the ocean) is the drive behind our family.
"To me, there’s little more rewarding then getting someone to stand up on their first wave," says Patricia.
How did the move to Sayulita and surfing evolve into Capitan Pablo’s Fishing Tours and a restaurant?
As I said earlier, when we arrived here twenty-one years ago, Sayulita was a rural fishing town. In Oregon we sport fished in the rivers. Out here we bought a small boat and started fishing with the locals. Soon people wanted us to take them out to fish. That’s how slowly, but surely, our jobs picked us. We didn’t come with the intention to stay, but we integrated into the community well. We hire almost only local staff. For us, it’s about making the best out of the Sayulita community.
Where can we find you?
You can find us right in front of the main surf break. The restaurant, Capitan Pablo’s Fishing Tours, and Patricia’s Surf School are all located together, right at the beach. You’re more than welcome to enjoy the view, and have some fresh fish. Or, if you wish to get wet, pass by Patricia’s Surf School any time.