Monday, May 11, 2009

Memories of Petacalco, the discovery

We had had a long day driving in late 1970 on our way to Central America, and were just looking for a beach to set up our tents. Mainland Mexico was proving to be very hard to explore as the maps did not exist and we had no inside knowledge. We pulled down a long dirt road with no idea where it would end (we knew we were pretty close to the beach), just wishing it was not one of those go to nowhere roads that won't let you turn around without getting stuck. We were tired and it was going to be dark soon.

Low and behold we found sand. Lots of sand. A sand point that we guessed was probably half a mile long. It was getting dark and we could see surf, but we had no idea what we had stumbled upon.

Turns out we had stumbled upon a break that was soon to be legend. We had no way of knowing that Craig Peterson and Kevin Naughton had been here several weeks before and were putting together their legendary Surfer Mag story of the place We had the point to ourselves that evening, and in the morning we had it again. In fact, for the five days we were there we never saw surfboards that were not under our arms.

That first morning it was about 3-4 feet out in front, and there were perfect peaks all the way up the point. The amazing part was it was the same long grinding rights, and super hollow short lefts all the way to the tip of the point, but at the tip you could count the seconds it took for the wave to break. It was hard to judge, but we reckoned it was a solid 15 feet at the tip of the point, and gradually got smaller down the point to where our camp was set up.

New place, no one out, easy call. We opted for our first go out to be in front of the camp. Looks super fun. My first wave pitched me so far and and so hard I saw stars. Now, for those who have seen me surf in the last 10 years I can just hear you saying "what else is new", but honestly I had a bit of game back then and that wave shook me pretty good. The worst part was I broke my Dale Dobson bungy leash and I only had three for the trip. I went in, regrouped, releashed and went out for another. The second wave pitched me further and harder than the first, and now I had two snapped leashes.

As the morning progressed we worked our way up the point. Progressively bigger, perfect and mindblowing. Tom Curtiss kept going up the point long after we had found our limits, and I will always have a mental picture of him on a solid 10' plus bomb. God, where were our cameras (back in the jeep, way too far to walk), and who the hell films when it is this good anyway?

Well, Craig Peterson was filming weeks before, and his photos of that place blew minds when the issue came out. One of his captions was "how can a 3' wave pitch 6'!" I sure found that one out.
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  1. it was 72 when kevin and craig were there.

  2. you were either somewhere else, have a bad memory or you are making this up.
    nobody wore leashes in 70 72 or 73 whenever you claim if you were, you were a kook.
    peta was a false point. with three separate breaks if it was small, you wouldn't have seen surf from the road. it would have looked unrideable that small