Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Another letter

I recieved another letter from the Mexico surf shop guys:

Beto, Javier, and myself have been taking a break from surf camp and I will tell you why.

In the context of running our surf camp, the safety of our guests always supersedes every other consideration -- and, it is always a privilege to take you all surfing.

We have enjoyed exploring Mexico's hidden coves and points looking for surf for our guests for over 10 years now.  

We've even taken our clients gold hunting in the foothills of the Sierra on flat days using state of the art gold detectors, and we've traveled the area with impunity for years.

But a steady erosion of safety along statewide travel corridors leads us to a firm conclusion:

Northwest Mexico is not safe right now.

Other regions along the southern coast of Mexico are not doing measurably better.

We are taking a 6 - 8 month break right now from surf camp due to the fact that Mexico is teetering towards a near, "failed-state." --

At the very least, a state of lawlessness now exists over widespread areas of the country...

We may explore the possibility of moving full-time to Puerto Vallarta if Sinaloa continues to implode.

In the context of our business plan, we can run our surf school in Mazatlan, but unfortunately, this makes up only about 1/3 part of what we do.

It requires the "tandem" of running surf school + running a core surf camp that makes it possible for our business model to succeed.

It it simply too dangerous to do surf transfers on Mexico's rural road system right now - [surf camp] and to repeat, "this" is a huge part of what we do.

I can give you more details in an additional email if you are interested in a more complex explanation, but violence in Mexico is widely, under-reported in the United States - even if you make a habit of watching Lou Dobbs on CNN.

I am dissapointed about this curryently... But, despite what local surfers who run our area surf shops might tell you, it is extremely unwise to surf this region of Mexico at this time, unless you are inside the safety net of Mazatlan's/Puerto Vallarta's tourist zone.

We greatly appreciate that you took the time to contact us about surfing Mazatlan.

At some point in the near future, we may be able to provide a SAFE surf camp experience for our customers.

Right now this represents a challenge that we simply, are unable to meet.

Please consider us again in the future.


Allan McIntosh,  
Javier Arumburo,
Beto Salazar, 



I'm stoked!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cam Surfin'

I can see myself on that wave.

But i can't see myself paddling through that mess!

Sunday, February 1, 2009


So, I'm pretty stoked about my mexico trip in early march. It's hell though trying to work out how to go about getting the surf you need without spending a shit ton of cash on rental cars, airline board fees, rentals whatever. Paying for board fees just doesnt seem feasible since I really don't know the conditions and therefore what I am going to be ride. Renting a board just seems easy and just as costly as bringing one. So I email a popular surf company thats in the business of boat trips to the epic surf since its usually flat in the city of Mazatlan. So I email the guys at http://www.eastpacsurf.com/ and get this reply:

Dear Mr. WetandCold,It has always been a privilege to serve our
customers.Despite the economic downturn, requests for bookings are robust, and
its come as a big surprise !!The safety of our clients comes first, and outside
of a few cuts from surfboard fins requiring a few stitches, and 1 client needing
medical attention for a sea urchin in 2003, and many thousands of tired and sore
bodies...We enjoy a perfect safety record.That is saying a lot... considering
that we have provided services to over 4,000 people during the past 11 years.We
will always take the appropriate actions that increase the safety of our
clients... But, Mexico's war on drugs has cast a shadow on the best of
Mexico: Mazatlan, the state of Sinaloa and [us] are all caught in the
crossfire.A safety net around Mazatlan is provided via a coordinated effort by 4
security police agencies:Mazatlan Police, Sinaloa State Police, the Mexican
Federal Highway Police, and Armed Forces keep tourists safe from criminal gangs
that operate in other parts of Mexico,and such gangs do, indeed, view tourists
as targets of opportunity.This has presented us with a challenge to [your safety
and ours] when we provide surf transfers OUTSIDE Mazatlan's "tourist safe"
zone.At least, temporarily, we are not able to meet this challenge,and I am sad
to confront our friends with a sobering conclusion, that the loss of [even the
"perception" of your safety] along our highway corridor north of Mazatlan is
more than enough reason to take a rest from running East Pacific Surf Camp.We
are not happy about it and some of our customers are angry at us for our
temporary withdrawal from Mexico's surfing life. But, we've seen parts of
Sinaloa turning violent recently.The situation can improve anytime. But, at this
moment, we're "turned off;" not in any hurry to launch the 2009 camp/school
season.Political observers are calling Mexico a failed state by the end of
2010.This might be a bit drastic however, we recommend you proceed with caution
or surf elsewhere, in 2009.As for me personally:I'll be turning a few practice
laps at Sebring International Raceway in my Porsche during the next few weeks,
talking to surfers in Florida, and sipping a few cold ones on the sidelines at
the 12 Hours of Sebring during Spring Break... I have not yet decided when or if
East Pacific Surf Camp will be starting the 2009 season.Beto, Javier and I are
optimistic, yet we're concerned by a naive attitude we're seeing in tourists,
often unaware of what has been going on.I will continue to keep a positive
attitude about Mexico but,We won't conduct business if the safety of our clients
isn't sure. Stay tuned.Allan McIntosh, Javier Arumburo,Beto Salazar,

Not exactly the news I was hoping to hear!

I guess I'll just wing it.