Posted on March 20, 2014 by Marc Miller
In January one of the Isle team ambassadors was in Sayulita Mexico for a yoga paddle retreat and noticed an upcoming event the Punta Sayulita Classic. After hearing first hand of how beautiful and SUP friendly this place was the Isle crew started planning their trip and involvement in the upcoming event.
The event has both a surf SUP contest and multiple SUP races as well as a longboard surf contect. The Isle crew chose to test their luck in the Paddle Board Elite race using the Isle Racer 12’6.
Traveling with two new Isle 12’6 race boards was our first challenge. Since this was our first time flying with these beasts we just bagged them up and crossed our fingers.
Our flight was on Volaris airlines out of Tijuana to Puerto Vallarta. Upon arrival to the airport we hired some baggage handlers to help us schlep the boards to the ticketing counter. After practicing our Spanish with some bartering at the counter we learned that each board was going to cost about $80 dollars US but they were a go and would fit on the plane.
The ride too and from the rental car was tricky but other than that transport was a breeze. For transportation from PV to Sayulita in Mexico we reserved a mid size jeep with roof racks so we could strap down the boards. Using Isle roof pads and straps, we put four boards on the roof and were off to the races.
We arrived in Sayulita Friday afternoon in time to find a parking spot on the beach, prep the boards, and jump out for a paddle. The landscape is perfect for this type of event with a rock reef that breaks both ways right out front of the town and the main beach. South of the main break is a point that shoots out due west protecting the south end of the bay offering some smooth water for paddlers. After a prepping all of our gear we went for a paddle out to the point and back then in the surf until it started to get dark.
After the sun had set we took our stuff to an open-air apartment up the street that our friend had rented. Since there are only a couple hotels in Sayulita some of the best lodging is attached apartments or rooms to some of the local residents houses. Once we were settled we were invited to a pre-race dinner at a Local surf and SUP shop, Stand Up Paddle Sayulita.
The owners had prepared an extra larger pasta dinner for their crew, visitors, and sponsors along with a stocked bar. The Isle crew could not have been more stoked on a wholesome meal after our travels and surf. After some ping pong and other yard games to help settle the Pasta the crew was off to bed to rise early for the Elite race on Saturday.
On Saturday morning we jumped in the water with the race boards right out front for a quick warm up paddle. After a few waves and practice turns for the Buoys we retreated to the shade to wait for the 12:00 race start. By mid morning it was already in the high 80’s with the water temp somewhere just below the air. Registration was easy but expensive. All we had to do was walk up to the registration tent the day of the event with a crisp $100 US or $1,300 pesos. Your entry includes your race tank along with some other swag and free meals in the event athlete lounge in the shade.
The elite race is 5k course in and out of the surf with a crown shape. There were only about 24 racers in the group this year but all capable and competitive paddlers. The Isle boys were off to a good start but got cleaned up by the set of the day rolling in and breaking in front of us in route to the first buoy turn. We still held our own and finished strong in the middle of the pack and were pleased with the experience and already eager for next years redemption.
That evening the event hosted a concert featuring G love and Special Sauce right on the beach. The town had a great vibe and came to life with people from all over the world enjoying great food and perfect tropical temperatures.
Testing out the Versa SUP while adventuring Punta de Mita and Isla Marietas
Once the race and festivities were over in Sayulita we booked a hotel room in Punta de Mita for Saturday and Sunday night. We arrived Saturday with time to jump in a Ponga that we hired from a local surf shop practically attached to our hotel. Mitclan surf, has a friendly crew of boat captains and surf guides that all speak good English and wont try to rip you off. Our first captain Po took us out to a near point break called lighthouse about a 15minute boat ride from the harbor. We scored empty perfect waist to should high right point waves again until well after the sun had set. The cost of this fist boat ride was only $40 US dollars for 3 of us with boards.
On Sunday we woke up and rallied some friends to join us on the boat again on a trip out to the Marietas islands. We went equipped for the day with food, beers, boards, SPF, and camera’s including a Drone. We were there just on the tail end of whale season so on approach to the island we saw a young humpback whale surface for air. From there our captain Caesar took us to a couple of waves he had always wanted to try on a SUP. Thanks to his local knowledge we scored some shots of a crazy natural blowhole with a small reef suck up wave in it. Although I wouldn’t recommend it without practice we launched and landed the drone from the boat. Around the islands we also discovered some bigger point breaks and another active blowhole to cool us down from the tropical mid day sun.
After traveling around the entire globe in search of SUP perfection I think it is safe to say that these locations are easily some of the Isle crews favorite thus far. We greatly appreciate everybody that was a part of our trip and look forward to going back again next year for this event if not sooner.
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