mainland mex

Submitted by Dave Marsden _( on Thu Sep 7 20:55:35 PDT 1995

Country: Mexico

Areas: Michoacan, Colima, Guerrero


Hola amigos,

My intrepid travelling partner Garrett and myself have
just returned from two weeks surfing in Mainland Mexico in
the region of Michoacan and Guerrero, and we thought we'd add to
the information posted earlier this month by John Airey, who
also surfed this region.

We surfed a bunch of different spots, preferring to
explore more as opposed to sticking at one primo spot. Besides
allowing us to get good uncrowded waves this allowed us to
hone our pothole and carcass dodging skills in the car, skills
which are required for driving along Mex highway 200. The carcasses
we can smell but the potholes and topes (mexican speed bumps) were
often cleverly disguised as normal section of road, which added to
the fun. The award for the best pothole of the trip had to
have been the 'craters' which are situated north of the town of
Petacalco in Guerrero. We call them craters because they were
so large it was not clear whether they were some sort of volcanic
calderas, meteorite craters, or just immense potholes. They were
so large you drove down them and had to downshift going up the
backside. You half expected to see someone selling tortas on the
upper slope of the pothole, it was so big.

Rio Nexpa seemed to be the most popular spot we surfed.
A grinding rivermouth left point, like a lot of spots in the region
it seemed to suck in disorganized windswell even when there was
no groundswell working. During a groundswell the lines stack like
corduroy and explode at the rivermouth in gnarly brown barrels
before peeling perfectly into the bay. It was double overhead here
during our trip and we got to use our 7'6"s. There's a cosmopolitan
group of maybe 20 surfers staying in huts or these little brick
buildings at any one time, and electricity and food are available
from the family that runs the place. It has a reputaion for being
a safe place to stay, consequently people tend to stay there a
long time, and get more and more paranoid of bandidos and such as
time progressed. "This is Guerrero man - they kill you here", one
guy we dubbed Stoney told us, forgetting what state he was in. We
found evidence for Aussie occupation at Nexpa in the wood
observation tower built near the point. On it was the inscription,
carved in the wood : "Joe Aussie first bungy jump 9/1/91 - FILTH".

When Nexpa was small or windswelly we took off down
`bandido alley' and drove west to the Huahua river, where we were
successfully able to combine the sprts of whitewater river running
and surfing. As it turns out the road to the rivermouth was washed
out about 200 yards from the break, so we just jumped in the river
with our boards and floated downstream till we reached the
rivermouth, where perfect headhigh peaks were breaking all over the
place. If you could dodge the odd stump in the barrel you were

Another good spot we surfed was Boca de Apisa, on the border
between Michoacan and Colima. Evidently more of a winter spot, we
scored this place absolutely deserted and perfect on two straight
mornings. It's a rivermouth with epic sandbars that work on SW or
west swells, producing A-frame peaks and barrels like you wouldn't
believe. Most of the surf crowd was at the nearby spot of Pascuales,
which was bigger but not as good. This spot is definately worth a

Another spot where we found good surf was at Petacalco
located in Guerrero near Lazaro Cardenas. Although the surf here
used to be better in the past (before development `upstream'), we
managed to get some good uncrowded surf here. The spot seemed to
be best in the *afternoon*, when thunderstorms forming offshore to
the southeast produced perfect wind conditions for the place.
During one such session we had grinding overhead beachbreak barrels
with lightning just offshore in the evening twilight. We took the
odds against lightning strikes over the prospect of being `insect
slurpee' for the mosquitos exitedly gathering in the bushes. To add
to the foreboding atmosphere Garrett came in and said he saw a
large shark. Yikes!

The town of Petacalco alternately charmed and amused us.
We loved the people, but the animals were a different story. We
had this game we'd play called `splash the dog'. We'd be driving
through town and this dog would come out barking and run towards
our speeding car. So we'd try to correlate the dog-arrival time
with the passage through the nearest puddle - and you can predict
the result. Or we'd try to guess how early in the evening the most
eager rooster would start crowing. I think the record was 10pm -
that was a long night! But the most ubiquitous animal residents
of Petacalco were the pigs, which outnumbered the dog population
easily. I'll never forget the time Garrett woke me up exitedy from
a nap saying "Look, too pigs f**king!". I was really dissapointed,
however, as the guy couldn't get it up. I think it made Garrett
miss his girfriend even more.

We met a cool guy at Petacalco named Randy Dale. He's a 35
year old beach bum who travels the world surfing, and told us many
stories of the South Pacific, over shots of Tequilla and Negro
Modelos. He's even had his name mentioned in Surfer's Journal
(Peter Crawford story - Green issue), which makes him to us a minor
celebrity of sorts. I think his great attitude (`still stoked!')
left a lasting impression on us. Another cool guy we met was Ceasar,
a Mexican surfer. He told us stories of Pat Tobin, the King of
Petacalco, whose old boards sit like Roman collums in Alex's
resteraunt. Those boards are about 12 feet long and 50 pounds,
attesting to how big it can get there.

So that's all there is - it wasn't huge but apparently it was
better than San Diego!

-Dave (and Garrett)

David Marsden | 9500 Gilman Drive
Center for Astrophysics | San Diego, CA 92093
and Space Science, UCSD | Phone : (619) 534-6431

Home /