surfing in puerto escondidoPuerto Escondido is one of the world's top surfing destinations.

Surfing the Mexican Pipeline: one of top 10 beaches

From the early hours of the morning, blending with the rhythm of the ocean and its spontaneous and powerful waves, surfers from far and wide trace the seascape of Puerto Escondido to the tune of the wind descending from the mountains. For many good reasons, surfing is big in Puerto.

With water warm enough to remain in it for hours at a time, surfers are constantly practicing, putting their techniques and capacity for control to the test. They must be attracted by the constant learning process since the variety of possible wave formations found here presents a significant challenge.

Like any exercise, surfing requires perseverance, discipline, and patience, as well as respect for the ocean. Visitors who arrive here for the first time may have never experienced the sensation of gliding on a board in the ocean and might consider how exciting it looks from shore. If they are inspired they will find specialized support for getting started, and they will discover an entertaining pastime that broadens their vacation experience.

In Puerto Escondido the ocean is for having fun.

So how does a surfer recognize a good wave?

On the way back from a practice in La Punta, Ángelo Lozano and I shared an interesting conversation about what he experiences and feels when he is in the ocean. Simply put, with the help of hand gestures, he indicated that a good wave is one that is long and doesn’t close out too quickly. “That allows you to ride the wave.” The wave can be of two types depending on its direction, from the right or the left, and that it’s good to take a few minutes to contemplate the ocean. “It needs to be read” to understand when the sets come up, to define what board to use.

In Zicatela, conditions are ideal for the formation of the tubular waves that give it international fame, as they are difficult to find in other places. Since he learned to surf at Playa Marinero, Ángelo and his family, all prominent surfers, have toured the coast, exploring and practicing, and he describes the types of waves to be found:

A sand bank stretches out from Zicatela to La Punta characterizing a type of wave called Beach Break. Surfing is possible at any time in La Punta, as opposed to Zicatela where it is recommended to go in during the mornings or in the evening. Through a small town called La Grava, in El Tomatal, there is access to the so-called Reef Break, a type of wave that breaks with a coral, stone or rock bottom. He says that in May some were six to eight feet high. Outer Reef waves found throughout Bacocho are farther away from the beach and smaller, while in Roca Blanca he has surfed right-handed and short waves.

Carrizalillo (where Oscar Moncada learned) is a good place to start when the waves are small, and there is access from Blvd. Benito Juárez in Rinconada. Marinero beach, which is more open, requires a bit more practice. In La Punta, we are warned, you can only learn if it is calm, while in Zicatela more experience is required because waves can reach more than three meters. (Professionals like Coco Nogales train with these big waves and this is a favorite spot of cousins Christian and Joshua Corzo).

So at any beach where you decide to practice, consider another important aspect. In the ocean there is a code of respect, tacit rules regarding who has priority to take a wave and preference is always given to the locals, especially in high season (June to August), when there can be thirty or forty surfers on the scene.

We said goodbye to Ángelo between storms and positive thoughts for the rest of the Puerto residents who compete in Mazatlan in June.

—Li Valenzuela

For more information:

  • ¡Otra Más!
  • Colorada, Zicatela
  • Miguel "Westside" Diaz
  • Mike Levy
  • RPM Surfer, Lonnie Carruthers
Media credit: Héctor Amézquita