The Promised Land

An adventure down the dirt roads of Mexico

After a restless and sweaty night of sleep, we awoke the first morning in Mexico and decided our course of action: We would drive down every dirt road until we found a right pointbreak. With boards and people loaded, the crew—Nathaniel and Taylor Curran, Jake Kelley, myself, and photographer/videographer Kyle MacLennan—headed off in our little red rented minivan.

The drive down dirt road No. 1 was coated in suspense. “Oh my gosh,” I barely hear Nathaniel say over a blaring 2Pac song. A right point firing off a group of rocks appeared in front of us. I glanced south only to see a wedging left barrel across the sand. We piled out of the car and surfed until we couldn’t move. The right off the rocks was like trunking Steamer Lane on steroids except with a perfect air section on the inside. There was no one out except a few locals but they would all go in as soon as the wind went slightly onshore. We returned the following day, and the day after that, to finish off the swell. Needless to say, we scored. Lefts, rights, tubes, airs, point, wedges…we started to lose our minds. We heard about a man that got waves so good that he eventually lost his mind. We found this amusing until a few days in, when signs of insanity began sneaking up on all of us.

We all wanted more. The insanity was addicting. With little geographical knowledge, we went searching for more points. Nathaniel had been fixated on a headland that we’d seen on the plane as we flew in. At this point, we were clueless how to get there, or if it was possible to get there, or if there was even a wave there.
Lefts, rights, tubes, airs, point, wedges…we started to lose our minds. We heard about a man that got waves so good that he eventually lost his mind. We found this amusing until a few days in, when signs of insanity began sneaking up on all of us.

After an hour or so, we discovered a dirt road headed west. After spending 30 minutes driving down a dirt strip, we were spit out on an empty beach. Out of nowhere, a young man appeared with a fire in his deep brown eyes. As Kyle, Taylor, and Jake headed down the beach to check the surf, the man began chasing them. From the safety of the minivan, Nathaniel and I burst out laughing. “Chopa Chopa Chopa!” we could hear him cry.

There was something about him that told us he wasn’t truly dangerous, but as he chased Jake around the van, pulling at his shirt and grabbing his hands, we realized he wanted to give us a message. With butchered sentences none of us could understand, he pointed in the southerly direction. Kyle, fluent in Spanish, did his best to communicate. All Chopa seemed to get across was to leave and go south. Who knows why, but we listened. We left our new friend behind and continued our search.

With Chopa’s urgency in mind, we drove south. We went down a half-dozen dirt paths before finding the headland Nathaniel had seen from the plane, but how to get there remained a mystery. We got far enough into the middle of nowhere that we almost gave up hope. We agreed that we would try one last road and it would be our final venture of the day. Asking directions to la playa led us to what we deemed “the promise land”. A right point over a mile long, hidden behind miles of desert.

The view was similar to something you’d see in a movie about some mythical desert in Africa. But this mile-long, sand-bottom point right was here in Mexico. A fact that was enough to drive even the sanest men senseless.

The last dune we drove over was like going from Mars to Malibu. Confused why this wave was empty, we approached the beach uneasily. We deemed the wave safe, and were in the lineup in an instant. The lulls were long, but every 15 minutes or so, lines rolled in. Sets would stack as if a master artist drew them onto the ocean. Taylor and Nathaniel both meticulously carved art out of these perfect lines. Jake, with the technical precision of a machine on his backhand and a hint of Occy-esque power, destroyed the best sets. The quality of surfing rivaled the quality of the waves.

The next afternoon was bigger, cleaner and only more flawless. If I had a dollar for every textbook cuttie or stylish blow-tail I witnessed that afternoon, I would have already have another plane ticket down there. Sunburnt, sore, and drained, we stayed there until dark. We sat at night wondering if we found those waves with pure dumb luck or if we were just that on it. Either way, we surfed waves so close to perfection I wonder if it was even real. If it was, will I ever score that hard again? Did we all lose our minds in Mexico, or were the waves just that good? —Logan Rauhut

Watch: The Promised Land
  • Armando


    Cabo? Oaxaca? Near Puerto Vallarta?

  • Jo

    You do not need to be told where it is. Go search.

  • Mike Curtis

    Sure, sometimes you get lucky. Sometimes luck deserts you. When luck deserts you in orange county, you grab a cup of coffee and go home. When it deserts you in the Mexican dessert? well, that’s where being prepared can pay off. Big time.
    In my 35 years of prowling the Mexican coast for surf I’ve seen all manners of bizarre and unseen turns of fortune.
    In my experience, fortune favors the brave but chance favors the prepared.
    So I’ve learned to leave as little as possible to chance.
    Mexico plays no favorites. I’ve seen grizzled veterans dealt bad luck and clueless bros sail through unmolested to score.
    However when the chips are down for the veterans they have options. For the bros? Well, they’re the ones wandering around sunburned, stuck, and out of water.
    I’m stoked you guys scored, but for all you bros out there figuring you can just freewheel along and score as well, good luck.

  • Mike

    Looks like a good day in Florida to me.

  • Ha

    Looks fun….but the video didn’t show what the words described. I guess when it’s just your friends out the surf gets 10X better than it actually is. Froth fest.