Monday, January 24, 2011

SUPing, SURFing, Tacos's, Cerveza's and Sharks in Sayulita, MX

For the past couple years, my girlfriend Rachel and I have been heading south to Sayulita, MX in January for a short vacation to get away from the winters chill. Sayulita has a pretty mellow surf break for aspiring Surfers or Stand Up Paddle borders. Just the ticket for us. The break can sometimes get pretty big, so keep an eye on the surf report.

This year we decided to bring along an inflatable SUP board. We got the C4XXL from Colorado Kayak Supply. The C4 XXL is ideal for any paddler wanting incredible stability out of a inflatable SUP. Designed for riders up to 250 lbs. This extra wide inflatable stand up board is perfect for beginners and big boys. But also performs and paddles really well for smaller framed people. The 34-inch width gives it both extra volume and provides a very stable ride. It comes complete with unbreakable thruster fins, deck pad, pump and travel bag.  This is the one that anyone will have fun with. On the ocean, lakes or rivers of your choice.
I was pretty excited. The board came up in a nice package and we checked it onto the plane. We also took our own 2-piece SUP paddles. The C4 iSup comes with a nice bag to carry it around and we just walked to the beach with it and pumped it up. pretty darn easy.

I have been Stand Up Paddle Boarding for a little over a year now. I'm pretty decent on our local lakes and mellow rivers. So I basically thought that I would kill it on the ocean. Catch waves, do cutbacks, cruise around, look good, etc. Wrong! I totally sucked. I had a hard time even standing up. I was watching rank beginners cruising all over, some of them even catching waves, I was in disbelief. My girlfriend was awesome, loving the board and going up and down the beach. She would then give the board to me and laugh hysterically as I tumbled off over and over.
I finally figured out what was wrong. I have a morbid fear of sharks (don't worry, there are none in Sayulita). Every time I would stand up on the board, I would look around at the vast ocean surrounding me, gulp, look down into the dark deep depths and start to shake. I would shake myself right off the board and into awaiting huge serrated jaws of death. I would hit the water, panic, fly prone back onto the board like something wet sprung from a slingshot and pant and pant!

So I stuck to surfing the foamies on a regular surfboard. Being able to touch bottom after wiping out had a great psychological affect on me. I loved it. No deep water. I'm determined to SUP the ocean again. Xanex maybe? But for now I enjoyed surfing, watching everyone else tear it up on SUP boards, including my girlfriend and getting away from the winters chill.
Rachel absolutely loved the C4XXL iSup board and I'm super excited to try it out on our local rivers this Spring as I (no fault of the board, I tried every kind available on the beach) didn't do it justice on the mighty ocean.

The best place we found to hang out on the beach in Sayulita was at Patricia and Pablo's. They have a restaurant right on the beach with SUP and SURF rentals by the hour or day. A bucket of beer on ice is super cheap (cheapest on the Playa), the food is good and the views outstanding. Patricia runs the Surf side of things like rentals and lessons and her Husband runs the boats. He does fishing, snorkeling, whale watching trips. Both of there sons are Mexican National Surf Champs, so you can't go wrong with a lesson. Pablo and Patricia are good people. Look them up and say hi from me. Beers, Atom....

Nothing like being at the beach

The turtle release every evening in San Pancho

Typical sunset in Mexico

It's a dogs life

Local Iguana's. Look up in Sayulita, you will see them

SUPing and vending

Good waves

Misty morning

Awaiting the swell




Local artwork

Early morning before the crowds

Surf's up

Ocean eater

Shade y Cerveza

my favorite shot

A little airtime

Rach ready to give the C4 ISUP a go

heading down the beach to the sandy break

Rach cruising

Rach enjoying the solidude

Nose SUP

Patricia taking a break to surf

ISUP also good for napping & reading

This guy was doing flat spins all day

Patricia and Pablo's setup

Patricia and Pablo soaking in the rays

This is me, after getting beat up in the surf. Till next year. Adios, Atom...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Winter kayak self support on the Lower Box, New Mexico

So with Northern New Mexico not getting much snow, It was time for a nice overnight trip down the class 2-3+(at flows of 600cfs) lower Box. The Lower Box is a great 15 mile wilderness run deep in a basalt gorge just west of Taos, NM. My friends Nate and Duke had never been on a kayak self support trip before and were amped to give it a try. We headed out Dec 10th, 2010. Although the 2 days were fairly warm, the night time temps were still getting down below freezing. So we packed tons of firewood, duralogs, food, beer, very warm sleeping bags and bivy's. Our kayaks probably weighed about 100lbs each. This was not a lightweight trip by any means. I was excited to just get away for a couple days and enjoy the beauty of the basalt canyon. We saw tons of Bighorn sheep. They were reintroduced to the area a couple years ago and are thriving. In our kayaks we were able to slowly drift by them as they were feeding. Pretty darn cool. This a great mellow run for a first time self support. The new Burn handled the tons of gear great. A must have in the winter time when kayaking is a good Drysuit. I slept in the fleece that I wore under the suit in the day, and I was totally dry. Helps in the event of a swim or rescue also. We had a fantastic time. Now I wish it would snow like crazy! happy New year. Beers, Atom....

A vid of our good times...

Keeping an eye on our progress

Our camp just below Ski Jump rapid...

Nate and Duke enjoying the great outdoors courtesy of a kayak...

Nate got excited by seeing all the Rams....

Morning at camp......

The big Ram....