Surf Classes in Puerto Escondido.
Photo: Ernesto J. Torres

Playa Zicatela

Surf Classes in Puerto Escondido

Photos: Ernesto J. Torres

God forbid you are drowning on Zicatela or some other beach in Puerto; the good news is that you might not have to wait for a life guard to rescue you. The 52 certified surf instructors have been trained to run into the surf with a safety buoy they can quickly strap to you and then bring you back to the beach where they can administer first-aid.

Each year AMISurf (Asociación Mexicana de Instructores de Surf, A.C.) in Puerto Escondido requires its members to take a 3-day, 2 ½ hour course in ocean rescues. Beyond that, the instructors must take classes in the safest and most effective ways to teach both beginner and intermediate surfers.

The first thing you have to know, according to Julio Soto, a Puerto native who has been giving classes for over 20 years, is that the sea is always changing. This morning’s waves and currents are not what you will find this afternoon. The sand, the wind, the direction of the waves and the distances between them can never be counted on or predicted.

Beginner surfer Alejandra Torres Pérez with AMIsurf instructor Julio Soto in playa Carrizalillo.

Safety always comes first: never jump off a board head-first or paddle too close to another surfer. The boards, which cost between 10 and 12 thousand pesos (around $600 U.S.) also need protection. Beginners start on 9’ long boards. Then typically, after one to three classes, they graduate to 8’ boards. Your progress will depend in part on your sense of balance.

Beginners learn three ways to stand on a board. The student chooses the stance he or she finds most suitable. Next comes learning how to turn the board left and right and how to position it onto a wave. Then you learn how to paddle out to the waves.

There are over 100 people offering their services as surf instructors in Puerto. We strongly recommend that you ask to see your would-be instructor’s AMIsurf photo ID. This insures the highest level of safety and competence.

Even experienced surfers take classes here because the waves are faster and stronger than you might find in Portugal or Costa Rica. As for beginners, you are never too young, age 4 is a good time to start (see ¡Viva Puerto! no. 26) or too old.

AMIsurf instructor Julio Jiménez gives an intermediate class in the Punta to Panima, a visitor from Austria.

Godofredo Vásquez (Godo aka Godoit), another veteran surf instructor and AMISurf trainer, explains that sometimes he has to drive students as far east as Tierra Blanca in Santa Elena or Roca Blanca to the west or beyond. Since there are no surf cameras outside of Zicatela, there is no way to know where the good waves are at any given time.

Surf Classes in Puerto Escondido. Photo: Ernesto J. Torres

Playa Manzanillo. Godo says you’re never too old to learn.

Surf Classes in Puerto Escondido. Photo: Ernesto J. Torres

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