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Body Surfing Mexico: Catching Big Waves in Puerto Escondido

3 min read

Body surf Puerto Escondido

Bodysurfer Mark Drewelow a Leblon Fins athlete from Encinitas California, went BIG in Puerto Escondido Mexico.

A dream swell hit the coastline of the mainland Mexico destination Puerto Escondido aka "The Mexican Pipeline" the week of March 7th 2018 and Mark was lucky even to score some epic bodysurfing waves.  

Slyde couldn't wait to share the inside scope with you below ⬇️

Did you plan the trip to Puerto Escondido in advance?

It was a very last minute decision, I purchased my ticket on Sunday March 3 at 6pm for a March 4 departure at 7am from San Diego.  I needed to get down to Puerto and Bahias Huatulco to work on some client tasks and the timing worked out that the swell happened to be really good.

What did traveling there look like?

I traveled down and back solo with flight from San Diego to Puerto Escondido. I had a 3hr layover in Mexico city which then connected to PXM, and I arrived to the hotel about 5pm.

How would you describe this wave for bodysurfing on an average day?

World class, powerful even when small.  Work hard at it and there are in and out tube rides up and down the beach.

How would you describe it on a Big day (like it was)?

There were two big days,  March 7 and March 13.   My actual riding confidence goes up to a Surfline 8 to 10 feet at Puerto, which for a bodysurfer is like triple overhead . I will swim out at Puerto bigger, maybe up to 15 feet but probably would not catch waves at that size, really hard to ride a successful wave with a clean exit at the end at that size and if there is no clean exit the risk of injury is high. 

At 8-10 feet the wave is a formidable beast.  Getting caught inside is dangerous. Powerful riptides churn through the lineup constantly.  If you read the rips properly and early before they get to full draw, you can be in position to catch more waves more often.  If you get caught by a rip, it can mean 15 to 20 minutes or more of hard swimming to get out of it and back into position. Some rips start out as a lateral current then pull off shore, others just pull directly out.

How were you treated as a bodysurfer in the line-up?  Were there other bodysurfers out?

Bodysurfers are fully respected.  However, I sit a good 25 to 50 yards inside the surfboard, so its not a very social scene lurking around in the danger zone alone. The local lifeguards were out there too,  Isreael and Jorge and a couple more I can't remember their names.  Also another gringo from Manhattan Beach named Troy had a big handboard looked self shaped.

What was your experience like with the locals? 

Fantastic,  the locals are friendly and want to show off their place and the magic it holds.  Respect the locals and they will respect you like just about everywhere

What are 3 highlights from the trip. 

  1. Connecting with the lifeguards.   
  2. Having front row seats at times, a arms reach view of world class surfers on world class big wave tube rides.  
  3. First wave of my last session, in early  with 3 others in the water, a big double overhead left peak, deep fast freight train tube ride 150 yards down the line all the way into knee deep water at the shoreline, it was incredible.

What are 4 recommendations you'd give to someone traveling there to bodysurf or handboard for the 1st time? 

  1.  Contact head lifeguard Israel in advance and find out what can you bring  to him and his team email is israelreyessanchez@gmail.com 
  2.  Dawn patrol is key, get in the water at first light and have an hour or 90 minutes with only a handful of guys in the water, this is the time to take off on the peak and catch your best waves, deepest and longest tube rides.  
  3. RESPECT THE POWER,  be very cautious on the first couple days, get a feel for the wave, speed of rides, the shallow water, and how to navigate the constant rip tides.
  4. Visit the Mercado Municipal up on the hill near the airport, this is  where all the goods are sold, meats, produce, seafood, clothing, everything you can imagine, very colorful and a core local experience, great spot for a meal too.

See more videos like these by Youtuber @JacuzziSurfer

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