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The greatest ride you could hope for

  • TEXT THOMAS KOSIKOWSKI, JOHANNES RIFFELMACHER
  • ILLUSTRATION JANA FEDEROV

Now for the ocean … and quick. San Pancho, our small heavenly time capsule, is waiting. After two years, we’re back – and nothing has changed. The sun is burning down on us as ever, palm trees are dropping their coconuts and the people are happy. The first thing we do is obvious: meet up with the guys. There are hugs and high-fives all around, new tattoos are compared and events since our last visit discussed. It feels a bit like coming home.

To mark the occasion, our best friend Luigi locks up Santa Madre, his surfing shop, and goes surfing with us – a pretty obvious decision. We attach the boards to the roof of our rickety station wagon and off we go to Burros, our favorite surfing spot. The conditions are perfect: relaxed two-meter waves and no wind… While we wait for the next wave the odd turtle pokes its head through the surface of the crystal clear waters. Bulging eyes scrutinize us inquisitively. Luigi tells us he knows an even better spot. Leonardo DiCaprio’s beach in that movie, he says, is nothing compared with the one he’s talking about. Naturally, we have to go make sure he’s not lying.

The next morning the alarm clock rings at 5. Outside, it is still pitch black. We struggle to free ourselves from the warm embrace of the bed sheets and pack our stuff in silence. Those who know us understand how we much we appreciate silence at this time of day. The boards are attached to the roof; the cameras are in the backpack, as are our sunblock, water and provisions. We wait for our Mexican surfing buddies at the gas station, the designated meeting point. The coffee from the cappuccino vending machine is vile. You might as well have dunked a piston into the plastic mug. Best to just down it in one. In the meantime, the others have arrived.

The road meanders through the dense rain forests of Nayarit state. Above the mountainous jungle, the first shades of color announce the imminent sunrise. Fog patches cling to the banana plantations. As yet, nothing is stirring in the villages along the road. When the first rays of light find their way across the mountain ridges and are refracted in the fog above the palm trees, even our early-morning grumpiness evaporates.

After a car ride of roughly an hour, we reach Chacala’s small fishing pier, where a few old rust buckets are moored. The fishermen are still in the middle of their preparations. We get out of the car and stretch in the first warm rays of sunlight.

Where else in the world would you have such a place all to yourself?

Where else in the world would you have such a place all to yourself?

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We wax our boards, put on white sunscreen war paint and throw ourselves into the emerald green line-up

We wax our boards, put on white sunscreen war paint and throw ourselves into the emerald green line-up

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The waves break neatly at the tip of the headland and roll as steep walls of water in the direction of the beach

The waves break neatly at the tip of the headland and roll as steep walls of water in the direction of the beach

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A drone's eye view: the rainforest stretches right down onto the beach

A drone's eye view: the rainforest stretches right down onto the beach

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After some respectful trial-and-error we understand the wave and start doing our thing

After some respectful trial-and-error we understand the wave and start doing our thing

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Exhausted and elated in the hammocks: our Mexican surf buddies

Exhausted and elated in the hammocks: our Mexican surf buddies

© Salt & Silver

 For five bucks a head, the local captains are prepared to take us in their tiny vessels to the small bay which our friends say is absolutely magical. For a further five bucks they promise to pick us up again the next morning. It doesn’t seem like the worst of investments. We cast off and sail out of the foggy harbor.

After roughly half an hour’s tranquil boat ride we sail around the final cliff and see what all the fuss was about: Straight ahead lies paradise. The waves break neatly at the tip of the headland and roll as steep walls of water in the direction of the beach. The wind drives spray over the crests of the waves, which produces a glistening rainbow.

Our fisherman navigates skillfully through the narrow channel of calm water between the rocks and the waves. We jump off the boat into the knee-high water and carry our surfboards and hammocks ashore. The rainforest stretches right down onto the beach. Ripe coconuts are scattered around in the sand beneath the palm trees waiting for us to gather them up. Other surfers have constructed a small sun shelter out of poles and palm fronds, where we hang our hammocks. We have finally arrived where we belong! Where else in the world would you have such a place all to yourself? But there will be plenty of time to relax later. First, we have to get into the emerald green line-up. We tie our leashes to our legs, wax our boards and put on white sunscreen war paint.. Then we paddle out.

The bay is a natural wave machine: One wave after another crashes onto the black rocks that have been ground into rounded shapes by the water. You have to be extremely careful. The walls of water approaching us this morning would make any mistake extremely unpleasant. After a period of caution, we understand the waves and start doing our thing. Each of us gets his fair share of surfing time. It’s the greatest ride you could hope for. Hours later we lie exhausted and elated in our hammocks under the palm trees and sip coconut water. Leonardo who again?

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