Saturday,1 Dec 2012


Justin Henderson is responsible for most of the the text on this site. Justin is an established writer, having published six novels as well as many non-fictions and travel guides. When he’s not writing, he’s usually riding waves on a surfboard or a paddleboard in Sayulita or Punta de Mita.


Sayulita’s beautiful waves—not spectacular, not epic, but super-fun and challenging when the swell hits—have grown a bit, well, thorny of late. We have a lot of good surfers in town, more every year, and they occupy a fair amount of space out there in the water. So those of us who are not shortboard “shredders”, as it were, find our waves on the edges, at times, when there is a swell. And there is a swell RIGHT NOW, this week, in Sayulita. The first northwest swell of the season, showing up a few weeks later than usual, perhaps, in the first week of December. The ocean is heaving these big fat lines at us, and we who are surfers gotta get out there and ride ‘em.

So this morning, at 6:30, I found an edge. With a three-quarter waning moon hanging like a lovely magic lantern in the southwestern sky, I got up and put on the boardshorts and rashguard, waxed the board in the street, and headed for the surf in the not quite dark, for there was moonlight. Rode the bike down the bumpy road, board under arm, and then, all by myself, at the town left, for an hour, I surfed backside in the white soft light of the moon. I could see the waves coming, black walls lifting off a dark horizon, but there was no way to judge whether the wave was “makeable” or not. A dark beast, surging ahead of me. You turn that way, go, and hope the wave shapes up. You ride the wild horse.

Lucky me, the first five or six waves I paddled in to were perfect peeling lefts, caressed by the light offshore breeze that blows at dawn, and I carved down the line in the faint moonlight, each time riding almost onto the beach, pulling out smoothly and paddling back out. Amazing.  A dream session. As dawn broke, a boogie boarder and a longboarder appeared, and my magical solo surf session was over. By 8 AM, there were 13 people in the water. And it was fine, for I had had that hour of surfing alone in the moonlight.

In the PM I took my daughter to surf at Anclote over at Punta Mita. She rode her longboard, and I surfed my paddleboard for an hour. The waves were pretty: soft, slow, and forgiving; the wind and sun were warm, there were maybe 15 surfers and paddlers in the water, and it was another…well…you hate to burn up these words with overuse…lovely day in our little Mexican slice of paradise.

Top it off? Well, we came back from Punta Mita, and, not having been challenged enough by the Anclote waves, I paddled out right smack in the middle of the downtown Sayulita beach wave, solid overhead sets bombing in every five minutes, two dozen bodies on boards in the water, three dozen flounders and swimmers—and grabbed six good rides before reality set in, and I saw the crowd for what it was. A crowd of rocking Sayulita surfers, good, bad, and everything in between.

Another Sunday in Sayulita.