Thursday, September 11, 2008

Shredded Feet

Earlier this week it seemed I couldn't go to the beach without coming back with some new lacerations on my feet. Amid calls to not put my feet down when I get off the board, I was pretty adamant there was little I could do to avoid it. The further north you go on the two waves in Sayulita the closer you get to the shallow entry covered in rocks laced with flesh from my feet.

The safest bet for me is to constantly make sure I'm working the southern shoulder of the wave which serves two purposes -- staying out of the locals way and leaving less blood in the sand when I leave. The dog and iguana population have ensured that the roads here aren't exactly the cleanest surface for open wounds, so I'm glad I seem to have found a way to avoid getting new ones.

Tiempo de Cerveza

There is one interesting side effect to having endless days of sunshine and humidity: a seemingly bottomless thirst for ice cold cervezas. It's no surprise that most Mexican beers are light and refreshing, they are perfectly suited to dull the edge of the incredibly hot and humid afternoons and evenings. They are also so easy to drink that Eric and I find ourselves polishing off a six pack per day, and that's when trying to exercise some restraint. Meanwhile, Jen was born with some kind of immunization against beer and prefers the water.

To this I say "Nonsense", when a bottle of beer can be had for 80 cents (compare that to bottled water) it is simply a fool's game to drink anything else!


Surfing Etiquette

Probably the biggest thing I was concerned about coming into this trip was dealing with experienced and/or local surfers.

I had worries that a newbie as well as a blindingly white tourist would do a lot to cramp their style. I'm totally okay with a fair amount of localism. It's only fair really, I could imagine living and surfing here and constantly fighting with new surfers who know little if anything about the sport. Nic coached me a bit on the finer points of surfing etiquette and my pal google tried to fill in the gaps.

The most important thing is to not drop-in on anybody. This basically means whoever is closer to where the wave is breaking (and on his feet) gets the right of way. At the same time, some level of respect should be given to the local surfers who are capable of ripping up every wave they come across. It is generally bad form to join a lineup of experienced surfers if you are just learning, so it's better to hang out on the shoulder of the wave or closer in to shore and try to gain balance there. The problem here is that the good surfers use the entire wave and pretty much any time there is a surfer to your left -- which is almost always, you are considered to be dropping in on them.

I was starting to get frustrated to the point of not wanting to surf after getting called off 4 or 5 consecutive waves which I had caught. Thankfully it turns out there seems to be a bit of an unwritten rule out in Sayulita -- or perhaps it just works out this way naturally. The early morning is apparently gringo hour. There is only a handful of surfers and only a couple pretty good ones. None of the really aggro guys are out which makes it much more mellow and fun for a beginner. By starting early, the day's schedule gets bumped up and your post-siesta surfing can then take place while everyone else is resting. But man, there are a few REALLY good surfers here, and not coincidentally they are the most aggressive as well.