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Surf Exploration: The Best of Oaxaca, Mexico

By: Chris Wilson + Save to a List

After living in 4 different countries and travelling to a number of others, the yearn to explore and experience new places, cultures and people has rapidly become a part of my subconscious. Taking up surfing has dramatically changed my motives behind visiting new areas; the potential of scoring epic waves in unexplored territory weighs in heavily on vacation decisions. As a surfer you are inevitably going to travel to pursue your dreams and desires, the media exposes you to countless locations that show so much potential providing a great deal of spots to add to the bucket list. The only down side is that surfing conditions can be tricky and it requires a number of variables to line up in order to get those special days, but when it happens it can make for one of the most memorable days of your life.

Having watched video footage and seen photos of the surf in Oaxaca I have wanted to visit the area for a few years. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to go there a couple of weeks ago and it did not disappoint. Photographs can only do so much to capture the experience of traveling to such special places, but hopefully these do to a sufficient job of showing people what an amazing part of the world it really is. The culture, weather, people, food, and (of course) the waves all added up to this being one of the best trips I have ever been on. Surfing conditions were not always 100%, but the exciting, yet relaxed atmosphere made the experience every bit as enjoyable.

To see the coastline properly, it is best to take guided tours from local surfers who have grown up in the area and have golden knowledge about what spots work best in the given conditions. Many of the breaks are inaccessible by road, so taking a boat out to these hidden gems is well worth the investment. On the final day of the trip, we took an excursion down the shoreline, finding a number of beautiful deserted beaches with no sign of civilisation to be seen. The coast is so underdeveloped that the only signs of life are the flourishing wild animals that can be seen in every direction, from the vultures soaring hundreds of meters above, pelicans cruising along the waterline, to dolphins, sea turtles, tuna and mahi-mahi darting around beneath us. There were a number of spots that our guide wanted to check out to show us what the Oaxacan coastline had on offer.

We checked out three main breaks that were only accessible by boat. Unfortunately, it was the wrong stage of the tide and none of them were quite surfable. At this point the decision was made to go fishing and to try to see some wild ocean life. We drove out about 2.5km from the shore passing pods of dolphins and schools of tuna jumping out of the water. We ended up catching wild tuna and eating ceviche (raw fish cured in lime juice combined with onions, chillies and a splash of soy sauce) with fresh fish that we had caught right there on the boat. We then began to head back and call it a day, but not before checking out the surf spots one last time. To our disbelief, we got back in to shore to see the waves were clean and barreling head-high tubes right down the point. We couldn’t jump off the boat soon enough and paddled straight into the empty lineup. Just the three of us out and no sign of human intervention in sight, it was like being on another planet, or going back a century in time. I ended up getting one of the best waves of my life, from the beginning of the headland and breaking almost all the way into the beach. There really is nothing quite like the feeling you get from riding a wave like that. Oaxaca is one place I shall definitely be visiting again.

Follow more of Chris' adventures on his website.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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