21 October, 2013 21 October, 2013


Following the eternal winter is something Saffa charger Frank Solomon has been doing for the past few years. Fellow big wave hellman Josh Redman joined him in Northern California and Hawaii in 2012, but this year he decided to join Frank from the start, and visited the legendary Puerto Escondido (aka the Mexican Pipeline) for the first time.

Below are some of Josh’s thoughts from the first leg of the journey, as the pair now head to Northern California to tackle some Mavericks monsters.



Getting to Mexico was quite a stretch to say the least. There aren’t many places that are further to travel to from SA, so by the time Frank and I arrived after three days of planes and airports you can only imagine what we looked like.

Stoked to be in Mexico.

Throughout the journey we were constantly checking the forecast, which was showing back-to-back swells for the first two weeks of our trip. This meant three days of psyching out on the plane, which was pretty painful. On top of that, I had some of the worst flying conditions of my life – A 16 hour flight with Frank’s whistling nose (due to a couple breaks) and this old Indian lady stealing my arm rest. And that was just the beginning.

I walk onto the next flight from San Francisco to Mexico City and there at the window seat next to me is a Mexican lady with a baby on her lap. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Frank walked in shortly after I sat down and couldn’t contain the laughter when he saw the situation in front of him. Neither could I, it was really funny for a second, but then it was over. The next six hours I got kicked, elbowed and cried at. I’ll never forgive that lady.

The view from our accommodation at Casa Dan

Frank had told me so many stories about how sick Puerto is, and this together with all the photos and footage I’d seen growing up gave my imagination a picture of what to expect. In this case my expectations were blown away. From the intense midday heat that we were hit with when exiting the plane, to the beauty of the beaches here, the bars that line the beach selling cheap Mexican beers (which are amazing), to the intense power of the actual wave itself.

The first morning we woke up early and it was about 3-4ft. I took my small board out, got smashed and creased it. (Lesson learnt – It’s always heavier than it looks from the beach)

Staring down the barrel on an overhead day at the Mexican Pipeline.

There is a lot of water moving around out there too, with all these rips forming after the sets that are constantly shifting up and down the beach. Because of this, having a bit of board underneath you really helps to get around the line up. It is one of those kinda waves.

After experiencing how powerful the wave was at only three feet, I couldn’t wait to see it at 6-8ft, which is what we got two days later. The same thing happened on both swells – peaking at 6-8 ft with a couple of four foot days on either side. Over the first two weeks we put in a lot of time in the water, caught about 200 beatings and got plenty of shacks.

Lefts or rights – the choice is yours. Frank chooses to go left.

It’s not that easy to get waves out there, though, and with the crowds being worse now than most guys have ever seen it, the locals were understandably getting a bit uneasy. However, like at most spots, if you show your respect, be patient, and give locals first dibs, then you’ll get your waves.

After three weeks of baggies, Coronas, fish tacos, Mojitos, barrels, tequila, coconuts and palm trees, Frank and I are now boarding a plane out of here for the next leg of our trip. It’s going to be all fullsuits and hoods in Northern California for the Mavericks opening function. Frank is an alternate again this year, so it will be sick to go check him strutting around!

I’m sad to be leaving, but I’ll just have to come back next year.


Ed’s note: Josh scored this sweet backhand pit during his time in Mexico, which featured on SURFLINE. The rest of the best shots from Josh and Frank’s time in Zicatela you’ll have to wait to see in an upcoming issue of ZIGZAG.


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