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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkTravel & Outdoors 

To Surf, or Not to Surf, That is The Question
email this pageprint this pageemail usEd Schwartz - PVNN
January 28, 2010

Originally a tiny fishing village, Sayulita was discovered by surfers some 30 years ago. Now, tourism and a community of international retirees have spawned cafes, shops and galleries. (PromoVision)
And here is the answer: don’t. Not when the waves are like the ones that have been pounding the beach at Sayulita the last few days.

I am not a surfer — I have never even lifted a board, but I am a keen observer. For the past three days I have seen huge waves, undertows, a big trough near the beach and rocks strewn all over the shoreline. So, it was with some fear that I watched a senior citizen get ready to hang ten. He could have guessed it was dangerous because few people were in the water and the surf shop lads were not finding any takers. But, who knows, maybe this guy had been a ranked champion.

He got himself all greased up with suntan lotion, hooked the Velcro fastener to his ankle and trudged off toward the ocean. But, he was called back by his wife and sister-in-law so that they could take some pictures of this momentous event. He looked very proud holding the board upright as a gladiator might hold a sword in the Roman Forum. His smile would soon change.

Fine. Photos done. Back to the water. As he stepped in, I could see that his feet hit the stones; I could tell by the contortions on his face. He took two more steps, and dropped into the deep trough, up to his neck. As he did this tricky maneuver, a large wave came up to hit him dead in the face. The surf board reared up, flipped over and knocked him on his head. No style points, yet. At least he was in the water.

He recovered, brave soul, and plunged back in and started swimming out. He got about ten feet in and another wave knocked him backwards, off the board. The next wave knocked him sideways, off the board. My thoughts of his being an ex-champion were losing credence. This guy was dud, not dude.

Meanwhile, the two ladies had risen from their chairs and were laughing hysterically, as if this were some kind of comedy routine. After a minute or two, he staggered back to the safety of the beach chairs. However, not before being smacked in the back and falling down again. This he was good at. He had his lumps; he was rubbing everywhere and describing his battle with the waves. His brother-in-law took over and was similarly knocked about.

Maybe today they were heroes for trying. Unfortunately, in this vale of tears, determination alone does not win the day. As he went limping off, I was reminded of the last line of Coleridge’s "Rime of the Ancient Mariner."

He went like one that hath been stunned,
And is of sense forlorn:
A sadder but a wiser man,
He rose the morrow morn.

He should have stood in bed. And, likely, he may.

Ed Schwartz has been involved in many aspects of fine wine for 30 years and has worked with top wineries in California, Italy and France. His writings on wine, food and travel have appeared in the SF Chronicle, LA Times and Image magazine.

Click HERE for more articles by Ed Schwartz

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