Tuesday,11 Mar 2014


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.


As a five-year resident of Sayulita and a surfer with decades of experience in the water, my surfing expectations are high. We who surf all the time around here expect good waves, either here in town or at one of the nearby breaks. Over the years I have had hundreds of memorable surfing sessions in Sayulita at the left or the town right, and at half a dozen other surf spots in the area. I guess you could say we take good waves for granted. Or took them for granted, until this year.

Word is out on the waves of Nayarit. As a result we have seen the crowds grow exponentially. How could they not, with the Puerto Vallarta airport less than an hour away? You shrug it off and move on, surf earlier, surf later, surf farther away, bite the bullet and surf with the mob. Most of the time, you can get good waves, if you work the seams of the crowd, take your time, take your turn.

But this year, something has changed. There have been far more people in the water, which is OK as long as there are waves. But the crowd problem has been seriously exacerbated by a basic lack of waves. At least from the point of view of the “serious” surfer as I am, and as many of my local friends are, we are in the midst of a surf drought of epic proportions. Whether this relates to global warming, is cyclical, or is just a bad patch, surf-wise, nobody really knows. But there are a lot of frustrated waveriders around town these days.

However, what is easy to forget, from our perspective, is that for beginners, many of the days we shrug off as no-surf days—waves too small, too mushy, too shapeless–are actually GREAT surfing days here in Sayulita, for beginners. The waves are soft, small, close to shore, easy to catch, completely forgiving, and if you fall, you fall in warm, shallow water. For beginners, this really is a paradise, with the fun surf, the warm sun and sand, and everything that Sayulita has to offer right there, from great food and drink just steps away, beautiful boys and girls to give you surfing lessons, boards of all kinds to rent, and a generally friendly, colorful vibe. The good vibe that is Sayulita.

These photos were all shot on Thanksgiving Day, in the morning, on Sayulita Beach. The waves are what they are. I almost paddled out, but it wasn’t quite challenging enough for me. There were a few of the good local surfers and paddleboard surfers out, working over the little waves, but most of the surfers you see here are visitors, out having a great time learning how to ride waves. We love our big, scary surfing days, but we love as well that people can come here and learn how to surf in friendly little waves like these, without being afraid or putting themselves in danger. This is one of the many things that make Sayulita special. Happy Thanksgiving!!