Why? Beachbreak barrels by sea, looseness by land.
What you need: GoPro to make My Eyes Won’t Dry 17.
Boards: You’ll break em but they’ll repair em by dinnertime.
Get there: London – Puerto Escondido this summer from around €1500.
OK, Mexico isn’t in the Southern Hemisphere… but the swell that makes the Mexican coastline sing and Mexican surfers squeal generally originates south of the equator. Looking at the coastal orientation from Baja California to the Oxaca province, tripping in Mex is better during the Austral winter, no doubt about it. With more than 5000 km of surfable coastline on its Pacific flank, Mexico is geographically a surfing Mecca with a choice of wave and scenery for everyone.
In the North, Baja is mostly desert-like, can be uncrowded and offers mainly pointbreaks. Some areas on the peninsula are hard to reach and still throw a bit of adventure and magic for intrepid surf trippers. Mainland Mexico is more colourful, culturally rich and less dusty, and a lot more beach break orientated when it comes to world class set ups. That was before the infamous Search contest shed light on some of the funnest right hand points anywhere, obviously cementing Mexico’s reputation as one of the great lands of rights. From the powerful and cavernous Puerto Escondido & Pascuales to the numerous Punta Somethings in the south, there is something to put a smile on any regular foot’s face.
Mexicans are generally friendly people, not many surf but the ones who do will be getting the bombs, so be sure to show them plenty of respect both in and out of the water. Don’t panic if you see a road block, basically they are their local tolls, watch out for those fucking ‘topes’ (speed bumps) you can’t see.
Most of the surf areas are far from those cartel hot spots you see on the news but keep a low profile at all times anyway, as dollars and surfboards present a soft target, especially in the most remote areas. Chris Ingram tells a cautionary tale about the time he and his mates got robbed at gunpoint, beaten up and anally probed. Bad times, but in truth an unlikely eventuality.
With most spots blowing off-shore in the morning then going onshore a couple of hours after breakfast, early rising pays dividends, and that’s why most tube seekers will be out of the scratcher in the dark most days. If that’s not your idea of fun, there are points and bays that work on the onshore, although generally holding softer waves for turns. Getting up early can also be tricky after a night on the tequila, so feel free to pour the bros at the surf camp another shot or four while you sneak off to bed for an early night. Pulling into a gorgeous blue heaving keg at first light while they snore off a skinfull, you’ll be glad you did.