Central Surf Pro, Big Wave Magic and Painting with Locals at The Mexican Pipeline

Central Surf Pro, Big Wave Magic and Painting with Locals at The Mexican Pipeline

“Some people do not understand the allure of Stand up Paddling; it’s much harder than regular surfing, and at the Mexican Pipeline, it’s borderline insane….”

I have been surfing in Puerto Escondido for over 20 years.  I first made the journey from South Carolina so that I could learn to surf big waves at the Mexican Pipeline.  Instantly, I felt right at home in the waves, in the town and with the people I met there.

My longtime friend, Puerto local Angel Salinas, does a lot of good for the community there.  Angel owns Central Surf, the first surf shop in town and he started hosting surf events many years ago.  Now he puts on invitation only contests for stand-out surfers.  I was stoked when he started his SUP contest three years ago, and I was on the invite list.  Angel may be the first guy who was doing stand up paddling in Mexico.

Even with the difficulty of traveling with big, ten foot surfboards, I always cannot wait to get there to see my friends and the giant waves.  It’s not about winning a contest; it’s a meeting of the tribe!

Some people do not understand the allure of Stand up Paddling; it’s much harder than regular surfing, and at the Mexican Pipeline, it’s borderline insane….

Boards just break here!

Chasing 12 to 15 foot waves on a ten foot paddleboard feels like hunting mountains of moving water.  You see the waves coming from way out at sea, then you race to meet them just as they are standing up, looking their meanest.   You dig in with your paddle against the hard off-shore wind as you teeter on the top of the beast, then free-fall into the tube.

Stuffing yourself, a paddle and a ten foot board into the tube is no easy feat.  The bigger the wave, the better.  You either get a 10 point ride, or, chunks of broken board and paddles as the wave detonates over you.

All of the contestants of last week’s Central Surf Pro caught epic waves and got their turn at hideous wipeouts.  The joy of surfing the event with old friends and new is what it is all about.  Showing the spectators and surfers what we can do in the waves on our stand up paddleboards felt really good.

Stand up surfing and paddling is sweeping the world.  It is a fantastic way to experience any water, lakes, rivers and ocean.  Water is water and SUP gives you access like nothing else.  We don’t go anywhere without our paddleboards.

Even though I just turned forty, this year I’ve been more active than ever.  I celebrated my big birthday by surfing Pipeline in Hawaii, then in May I paddled 225 miles of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.  This summer I paddled uninhabited islands in South Carolina.  I am in the best shape of my life.A lot of people start to physically decline when they hit their forties and fifties.  I plan to be active well into my 100’s.  Besides paddleboarding and surfing, to stay in shape I eat healthy, organic foods and have a full, daily regimen of premium MegaFood whole food vitamin supplements.  I want to continue to live the life of my dreams, charging big waves and having adventures.

Painting with the locals of Playa Zicatela

With age, I feel wiser and I can see the impact of actions from my distant past.  For over 20 years, I’ve been going down to Puerto and have painted surfboards for the local kids.

It’s not easy for locals to earn money down there, and so the kids’ surfboards are always old and damaged.  The only new boards you see on the beach are those of travelers from out of town.

A little Uni Posca paint pen painting on an old board makes it look new again, and that does magic for the morale of kids in a small Mexican town.

I’ve watched people grow up here, and some of the guys, now grown up, tell me that when they were a kid and I painted their boards, it left them feeling pure joy.  Now, they give me waves and they run the place.  They are my friends.  It’s more than just art; it’s giving each other your time.

This year I sat in the grass with my Uni Posca paint pens and painted surfboards while a crowd surrounded me.  We all spent time together, kids, parents, contestants, lifeguards and tourists.  We made something out of nothing.  It was the place to be, there in the grass.  The energy of joy everywhere.

Those young kids got to see how simple life can be.  Plus I just earned another ten years in the Puerto line up!

We are all a part of each other’s stories now.

Life is Good – Drew

For details on the contest (I got third place!):  go to CentralSurf.tv and Surfline.

Special Thanks to:

MegaFood – I’ve never felt healthier.  I am strong and fit, giving me the confidence to do anything!  And, their sponsorship enabled me to be there for the contest.

Hinano Tahiti – For my great clothes, the legend board shorts are awesome.  And, their contribution to my travel to Puerto also allowed me to be there.

Ron House and Riviera Paddle Surf – Mike Muir of Riviera Paddlesurf made sure I had new boards to compete with.  They rode amazing.

Kialoa Paddles – Only the best will do in these waves.

Keen – My Keen Waimea toe guard flip flops rule – no more stubbed toes!

Ocean & Earth – My leash never broke, thanks to the world’s strongest leash. 

Hoven Vision – Boy I needed good shades the sun is always bright in Mexico!

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