18 June, 2014 18 June, 2014

The Mex Diaries – by Brenton Heron

Wearing tequila blankets, dancing for Neptune and getting 500 metre barrels is all part of the Mexican experience. This story by Brenton Heron is another rad entry into our Write to Surf competition, which has some great prizes up for grabs (see below for details).


THE MEX DIARIESby: Brenton Heron.


Tuesday 28th
After our usual lunch/cards session in the cantina, we were heading back to camp when we noticed some swell lines appearing out at sea. The swell was only one foot, but definitely well formed with long periods. I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up; could it be possible that waves were finally on their way? The points had enormous potential, I had hoped. It could have been a figment of my imagination from staring at the ocean for days on end, conjuring up images in my brain of what would happen when the swells finally arrived and wrapped around the headlands.

I had a few calming beers to stem the growing excitement of possible waves. However, containment was futile and cracked after sunset when I did “the dance” for the surf god, Neptune, who I may have cursed on my first surf here. Ok, I cursed a little when I waited over 30 minutes for a wave and then gave up and paddled in. But hey, he has paid me back over the last week and I seriously did not mean what I said about the little mermaid (should I see her). It was a half-way around the world, lack of waves, in the moment kind of thing.


Wednesday 29th
I was up early for the dawn patrol surf check. There were already eight surfers out and Team Mexico had to make the call of whether to stay or go. While we were debating the pros and cons: suspect swell predictions, mileage, fekked-up gravel roads, dwindling food/tequila supplies and wind directions, a 3-foot set wave came through and silenced us. No way were we leaving and I came out of Scorpion Bay surfing retirement.

I waited for the early morning crew of surfers to come in before I paddled out at third point, directly in front of our camp where head high waves were coming through. The wave starts off fast and hollow then slows right down to allow you to pack in the manoeuvres. You can get speed over the first section, maybe a barrel or long floater, then put six-plus turns in afterwards. I came out the water stoked. It was my best surf session of the trip and I made a mental note to dance a little harder for the surf gods later that night.

When the slight onshore kicked in, I retreated to the van (Sweaty Betty) and kept a lazy eye on the surf. In my half comatose state the crowd thinned down to one person. It was Birdy time and I was out there in a flash; obviously sneaking by the rest of Team Mexico, who were in different states of snoozing. Out of surfing etiquette I had a chat to the only other surfer, who just so happened to be a good-looking woman. It was “only” her eighth hour in the water. She had been surfing since 7:00am. Shame on me for only managing a mere two hour surf in the morning. I asked her if I could borrow her arms for the long paddle. She laughed and replied, “If your arms become wasted you can come to my caravan for a massage, huh.” It was my chance to laugh, albeit a little nervously. “I’m a physio,” she said.


I was contemplating the idea of getting a deep sports massage, but then her partner paddled out with a chocolate and some water. He looked like a tough bugger with crazed eyes, so I thought better of it. I’ve been known to have foot-in-mouth disease and something like, “is this the place for a banana massage?” could slip out before thinking, resulting in me occupying a six by three-foot plot of land there. My headstone would probably read, “Here lies Birdman. His time was too short to become an underground charger and so he just lies underground.”

Back to the action and I had six or seven cooking waves. Opened my barrel account and had three on one wave. It felt good and I could confidently say I was back on the surfing scene.

That evening we had the surfer budget dinner of tuna pasta, washed down by beer. That first beer went down a treat as it was my first well deserved beer in Mexico for a surfing job well done. The talk of the camp was that it’s a hurricane swell and could get better. I danced harder for the surf gods. Cheap tequila helped for enhanced dancing and for applying the tequila blanket.

Thursday 30th
Peered my weary head out of the tent flap at about 6:30am and had to give my eyes a good rubbing. The waves had doubled in size and were reeling down the point. After glugging down half a litre of water, I let my throaty voice foghorn go: “Wakey wakey you lazy buggers, surfs cooooooking.”


Just about then I saw the ‘Green Lantern’ paddling out. He’s a doos with a hideous lumo green-ish looking wetsuit. The day before he chooned me:“You an OZZIE, HUH???” I guess he missed my Stilbaai stink eye when I replied, “NOOOIIT!!!” because he then paddled around me and caught the next best wave. I can still feel my blood start to boil thinking about it. Me, an Ozzie! and then steal my wave? What the fek!

Decided to stay in camp (perfect vantage point) to protect my zen and film the rest of the lads surfing, with intent to go out when the Green Lantern returned to his bat cave or whatever. I couldn’t film for long before I had to get out there. The Green Lantern did not let me down,“late riser again?” There goes the blood pressure. So I am now a lazy Ozzie that deserves no waves! FUCK that… If only I had the balls to choon him the reason: that he is a doos with a hideous 90’s lumo-green wetsuit, kak attitude, worldly ignorance and, and, and… CHOP.

Had a couple of waves and then a strange thing happened; the Green Lantern started taking a shine to me. He was in position and called me into a smoking hot set wave. Who says the Stilbaai stink eye has no merits? It was my best wave to date in Mexico and I surfed it to the best of my ability doing about ten manoeuvres. Would have used words like I was shredding, ripping it up and gouging turns, but must remember my own *Rule 8. I made a telepathic note to the Green Lantern: Thanks for the wave. All is forgiven. Being mistaken for a lazy Ozzie isn’t that bad. IS IT? The vibe for the rest of the session was awesome and everyone had their fair share of waves.


Went up to the cantina for a large brekkie and on the way back to camp there were only three people still surfing at the point. I was back on it. Got seven waves in quick succession and spanked them to pieces. It’s on video tape so I can veto Rule 8. Did not see the women from the day before and thought maybe she was suffering from dehydration. That’s a negative; she was at second point having another marathon surf session on 500 metre rides.

At around 5:30pm when the late evening offshores kicked back in, I went out for another session. Got some good rides, then found myself on my own on a flat ocean while the sun was setting. It was at that moment when everything slowed down after the last two frantic days. I was able to reflect and take in the surroundings, getting a grip on my emotions. Mmmm, sigh, big glug of beer, long pause. Sorry, can’t describe in words adequately what I saw and felt (got an E for English at school).

Maybe I’ll copy and paste some blah blah blah from a travel magazine at some stage and make it location specific. Just like my lack of poetic writing, there was a lack of twilight and therefore it was best to be on dry land shortly after sunset. I praised Neptune for a day of good surfing and asked him for one more wave, which he sent. It was a small wave in. I guess I had enough good waves for the day and Neptune was still in charge.


Around the dinner table the Team Mexico camp was buzzing from an awesome days surfing, re-living all the wipe-outs, barrels, Green Lantern encounters, long rides, un-ridden set waves connecting both points (1km ride) and great manoeuvres. Everyone was stoked from the day and any issues that had arisen from travelling together for the last six weeks were instantly washed away. Also work, mortgage loans, money and (dare I say it) girlfriends left behind, suddenly became very unimportant when you just had one of your best sessions ever. At least I imagine that would be so if I had any of the above.

Finally, I collapsed into bed very contented, even though my shoulders ached and my nose was radiating like Rudolph the red nose reindeer. Fell instantly into a blissful coma for at least five hours before the naughty physio crept back into my dreams. Nudge nudge, wink wink , she didn’t start out naughty.

Great day, great waves, great mates. Maar more is nog ‘n dag.

P.S. Scorpio star constellation appears immediately after sunset (a cosmos alignment thing).
P.P.S. Saw no scorpions.
P.P.P.S. A dodgy local Mexican dude left about fifty pearlemon shells arranged in a pattern outside our camp in the middle of the night to impress the girls. Didn’t hear a thing, or was it him? Spooky. Did the hills have eyes?
P.P.P.P.S. Team SA spanked Team Brit 9-2 at beach soccer and I claimed “shit head” card champion, not that I am competitive or anything.
RULE 8: Never ever brag, talk yourself up or lie about your surfing ability unless you are 100% sure they will never see you surf. Even if she is stunning, just don’t do it!
FYI: Rule 1 is the cooler box must be stocked with beer and ice at all times.

Click here to check out all the entries so far >>


Send your stories to calvin@zigzag.co.za. One submission will be selected every six weeks to appear in Zigzag magazine. The selected submission will also receive a hamper from Billabong. Zigzag retains the right to use any work submitted for the Zag Surf Journo competition on zigzag.co.za as outlined in the rules and terms of the competition. Zigzag reserves the right not to award a published winner in the magazine every six weeks, depending on the quality of entries. Zigzag is not obligated to run any and all entries submitted, either online or in print. Zigzag retains the right to edit all work submitted for brevity and / or clarity.

For the next three issues the Billabong prize hamper includes: 1 x Billabong Wetsuit; 1 x Billabong Boardies; 1 x Billabong Cap; 1 x Von Zipper Sunnies; 1 x Set of Kinetic Racing (KR) fins. After which the hamper will get a shake-up with new product of equal value for the following three issues.


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