By James Murdock
Holy smokes where do I begin??? I could write a whole novel with all the shit that went down in Mexico but I’ll do my best to keep it relatively short! I hadn’t been on a trip for a few years due to injuries and scrapper times so I was amping for a month long stay in Puerto Escondido.
Puerto was hosting a pretty big IBA contest with a $10000 USD purse, so that was some extra incentive to make a campaign. I tried my very best to round up the Pismo crew for the mission and got major support from Statom, even with his intense work schedule! I booked my ticket asap and was slaving at my restaurant for extra funds. I decided to head down a couple weeks before the comp to get a good feel for the spot again. I hadn’t been there for four years and I almost forgot how special that wave is! I went to California for a family reunion a few days prior to heading down to Mexico. Scrapper times forced me to fly into Acapulco and take a 10 hour bus ride to Puerto. I enjoy mobbing the bus, it’s a full little trip in itself. You get to see a lot of shit from the bus during the day, and if you’re sitting in the back you also get to smell a bunch of shit from the bano!! Before I knew it I was in Puerto!
I headed straight to hotel Aquario because that’s the place I’ve stayed almost every time that I’ve been to Puerto and it’s g-man! I hooked up a scrapper deal with Aunty at the front desk. I was solo, so I had to go for pretty much the most scrapper room in the entire place! Straight no AC with only a slow rotating fan and happened to be co-occupied by the main mosquito population of Puerto! Fuck man the heat along with the mosquito factor was a bit intense and forced me to consume booze to adjust to the harsh bungalow environment. I can’t forget to mention that Puerto is a full scene now!!! I was tripping ballzzzz on the development and tourist population since I had been there last. I had to take it all in with a few quick hypo-v’s before I could properly adapt! I headed to Beto’s shop Colorado to get some contest info and chat with him about Puerto blowing up. Beto’s all time, super good vibes! I ran into a few familiar faces one being Jose Ramirez who if anyone has put in time at Puerto they should know how guru Jose is!
Shit lets talk waves. First day was three to four kind of weird wedgy wind swell with nobody out except me and two boogies from Southern California. After that it was game on as Caldwell says!! A big time southwest swell fired up Zicatela! The Quicksilver Pro was going down so I was kind of stressing because I thought they would be running the comp all day during the swell. I woke up early the morning that the swell peaked and was walking out to the beach and all I could see was waves barreling top to bottom – solid 10-12 feet. I was like fuck those are some massive waves and there’s no one out.
I checked it for a bit and actually saw a few lone warriors down at Far Bar. They were getting some mean lefthanders that were sick but kind of sketchy. Every other peak was closing out but still firing for a Central California beachy. I was fucking on it! Threw down a quick little stretch and water pound. I sat on the beach and stretched some more checking out the paddle out situation. I waited til this massive set came through and started the paddle out during a nice lull and handled a few minor duckdives. It took me almost a half hour to get to Far Bar because the current was pushing north freakshow status. I surfed for three hours and caught five waves, which besides one were all closeouts. It was worth it to get one makeable one when Puerto is that big, even if the ratio isn’t too good.
The next day was just a hair smaller but so much peakier! They only ran the comp for three hours in the morning and it was still sheet glass style out there afterwards. I watched the comp and I think I saw ten surfboards break this day. As soon as the last heat ended I was out there. I was tripping ballz due to the fact that it was 8-10 ft and there were only four guys out. I caught a couple big waves this day including one righthander that was one of the better barrels that I have scored in my life!!! I almost went in after that wave but was amping so hard and I knew I could get one more nug.
I paddled back out and scrapped a big right that didn’t really barrel well and I had to punch out the back. I instantly put the head down and started paddling back out to make it under the other set waves. I weaseled under the next two waves and was scrambling big time. These waves were solid ten foot and sucking up so hard that it kept pulling me back every time I ducked them even though I was making it under. I came up from that second one and saw the next scud coming in like 15 yards further out than the last one. I knew I wasn’t going to make it so I just stopped, froze and for a couple seconds was like holy fuck will I be able to take this thing and make it! That wave is the most distinctive memory I have during the entire trip. That wave had so much power I must of done eight or ten flips under water! My ears didn’t pop because I always clear them before I surf big waves but the pressure made it sure feel like my eardrums were going to burst! The first one is never the end; I had to deal with a couple other scuds full hypo-v status. Enough said, it was a humbling experience that ended my session. Puerto has intense power especially when it gets over six feet!
The swell kept declining but stuck around for a good week. I was surfing during mid day at high tide on one of the smaller days, like 4-6 ft but still pumping. The winds turned more south, opening up the right tubes with a few left ramp sections. I was having a really good session, boosting and pulling in to some deep ones until I hit this big roll accompanied with some massive high tide backwash! I landed in the flats straight into a 2-foot backwash whitewater wave. My right shoulder dislocated instantly upon impact! I gimped it to the beach and saw D-Hubb running over to investigate the severity of the gimpyness! I scored a ride to the tower with los salvavidas! They couldn’t pop it back in and I ended up getting juked into an ambulance because they said there would be someone on the ambulance who could pop it back in. I ended up having to go to the Puerto hospital and having a doctor do the job. D-Hubb had mad support and accompanied me to the hospital, guy is all time! So… gimpy shoulder and contest in six days? I had no idea if I as going to be able to handle.
I went into super chill mode: no booze and mass stretching/water consuming! Statom rolled up four days before the waiting period and I was able to make my departure from the mosquito layer. We moved into this nice upstairs two-bed room with a high quality fan at Acuario. Life just got a lot better when College Kid arrived. I had Pismo support and not just any Pismo support but College Kid!! Statom was fucking stoked to be in Mexico and let the brain hibernate for a while.
It was Monday when Nick arrived and he surfed his brains out duel session style! Monday night just so happens to be one of the best nights to hit the scene along the Zicatela strip! There was a massive local gathering outside our hotel with heavy pre-buzz going down. Cabo Blanco was the spot that rocked on Mondays! They say that’s where legends are born!! Statom and myself broke down; we knew we had to go big. It started with a few beers then turned into an onslaught of Bacardi rum due to the Arubian thugs we were rolling with! Four of us took down a 750ml of Bacardi in ten minutes just as a top-off – straight gangster shit! We hit the club with no desire for more buzz. Shit was cracking, I let loose on the dancefloor and changed a few lives with my moves. I burned out and had to abort back to the hotel not before stopping at my late night hamburger stand and stuffing the face hard. I lost contact with Statom and figured he was on his only little trip good to go style. I passed out maybe around 4am and come 6:30 college kid comes rolling in with sand all over his face and head. Guess he passed out on the beach and was awakened by the federales who bogarted him for every last peso he had! I was fucking losing it when he rolled in first night in Mexico and he goes massive man!!! Shit amped me out so hard! Man when u work your brain like Statom u need to let loose every now and then. Amazing first night for Statom!
That was the last big night until the comp was underway. It’s quite a task to avoid the nightlife in Puerto because something is cracking every night. Statom and myself hit the water and Danskin mat hard for competition prepping! The check in for the contest was at 6:30am so early pass outs were critical! The first few days of competition were underway, with the first few rounds of women’s and dk running. Statom and I would be scrapping in the first round of the men’s open due to not having any real IBA points. The waves for our first heat were pretty scrapper. Statom went down early because no wave came to the peak he was sitting on. I barely made it through my heat with a pretty scrapper performance. My next heat went a little better and I was able to win the heat. The next heat I was in was with D-Hubb who is a guru competitor. I got second to Dave in that heat but advanced through in second place. Next heat was man-on-man and I was surfing against this little local ripper Cesar Petroni, who was only like sixteen but the kid is sick. I won that heat with some solid Puerto righthand tubes.
Next heat was quarterfinals and I had to surf against D-Hubb in a man-on-man which meant there was no scrapping second place this time around. D-Hubb opened up the heat with some good scores and I couldn’t really find any waves. I got a good right barrel and needed like a high seven but it didn’t happen. It was a good campaign and I was bummed to lose but as a consolation it was to Dub who ended up taking the whole event – prone and dk. It also meant I could relax and drink a cold one!! I also scrapped some USD prizemoney which was clutch.
The afterparty for the comp was sick!! Everyone was pretty tanked and having amazing times. There was a couple other big nights before and after the comp but it would take massive amounts of text to tell it all!! A couple of nights after the comp we did score one of the best chicken bbq’s I have ever attended. It was Andres Petroni’s 40th b-day and he cooked up like 20 full chickens open flame style. He used some guru seasoning that he brought back from Venezuela! Massive mahalos for his feasting support and the four bottles of Bacardi that got drank!!
I met some super good people on the trip and saw some familiar faces as well. The comp was insane and Puerto must become an IBA stop!! The quality and consistency of the wave with the top 32 busting it apart would be a sight to see and be huge for the sport. The lodging and nightlife is amazing as well, no need for a car or bike or anything except your feet! Much support to Beto for making it happen as well as all the sponsors! A few last shout outs (and if you actually read all this up to hear that’s amazing and I give you mucho support!!!): Ardiel Jimenez. Jorge, Babby and all the Puerto Ricans. Gregory, Len, Jeremy – mass Aruba representation. D-Hubb good times and sick domination. And all the other people who I had good times with!!! Shoots!!