swell

surf session

Hurricane Hermine

As with any good swell, Hermine kept us guessing until the last moment and then showed up with a blank check for fun times. The week before the swell arrived in New York, reports called for 12-14 feet at 10-12 second intervals - Pacific proportion with an Atlantic period and almost impossible to believe.

Aaron Austin

Aaron Austin

Jacques Naude

Jacques Naude

What arrived was not 10 feet, but it was nothing short of spectacular - well overhead waves that touched down on a high tide, easy us in gently with wall-y rollers and occasional chucking sections to keep us on our toes. As the tide dropped out on day one (of three!) the waves started to get bigger, hollower and more technical. It's rare that an Atlantic swell lasts for more than a day, let alone two, but Hermine truly delivered with three days of picture perfect waves in warm water and groomed with perfect offshores. 

With the wild swell report came a sense of trepidation from our beloved servant-protectors. Park rangers and police lined the beach, blaring sirens and shouting "the ocean is closed" through bullhorns, but to no avail. The size and the impossibly perfect conditions were too good to resist and New York surfers turned out to take their share. We even did the responsible thing and paused to take a few photos... 

Jeff Anthony

Jeff Anthony

Jeff Anthony

Jeff Anthony

Aaron Austin

Aaron Austin

Will Warasila

Will Warasila

surf trip

Michoacán, Mexico

It being Spring and a very long time indeed since we last saw our swim shorts, we recently made a trip to Mexico to find some Pacific waves and pre-season sunshine. Being New Yorkers, we're not above a little base tanning, but a tanning salon is no place for two grown men with surfboards. 

We landed in Guadalajara and picked a line for the Michoacán coast, driving as fast as our feeble rental car could carry us, stopping occasionally to take photos and to sample the ceviche in Tecomán The report had shown the last shreds of a previous swell lingering for a shoulder-high evening session after the long drive. A fresh pulse swung into the coast the next morning and kept up for the next four days, easing slightly for a few days and then picking up again at the tail end of our visit. In short, we scored. We shared a perfect, peeling left point and occasional crunchy rights with a handful of friendly locals and a passing video crew from Vissla. For 10 perfect days.

As the sun began to climb in the sky each morning we would wait for the 'morning sickness' in the water to pass. Once the air had warmed and the wave settled, we would walk towards the point, first across the river mouth, picking our way over round rocks and then through a dense palm forest, littered with fallen coconuts. On some mornings we startled a nervous donkey tied up to a wooden fence by the beach, setting the creature off on a prolonged bray that echoed up the river valley. 

Eventually, we would emerge on the other side of the forest in a shady patch, dropping off water and something to eat after the session. We figured our way out into the water over seaweed-slippery stones and paddled out to the peak, marked by a huge cactus growing on the beach in front of the jungle. Then, for as many hours as our arms lasted, or until the sun had become so hot and high in the grey-blue above that the water offered no comfort, we surfed in glassy, peeling perfection.

Cam Richards - Vissla Team

Cam Richards - Vissla Team

The tiny village by the river mouth was peaceful and friendly, with a few small, family restaurants serving up ceviche, tacos, gringas and quesadillas prepared to perfection.  

Michoacán province has had a troubled and sometimes violent past due to the growing, manufacturing and trafficking of drugs to America, but the area seemed only mildly tense during our stay, with relaxed checkpoints on the roads and occasional patrols to the beach from Federales and even the military.

Almost the only downside on the whole trip (barring an episode with some seemingly undercooked octopus) was a long walk across hot rocks to access the point and the defensive line of bristling Pacific sea urchins waiting just beyond the rocky water entry. One errant step on the way in or out was a costly mistake we had all made several times by the end of the week. The wave was worth every urchin-spine. 

Above: The palm forest and unfinished shacks standing on the beach in front of the point; the wave itself, viewed from above on the curving coastal road of Michoacán.

Below: Local kids playing in the warm lake at the mouth of the river; Cam Richards picking a high line during an evening session. 

Cam Richards - Vissla Team

Cam Richards - Vissla Team