When Ben McCue and I arrived in Acapulco to launch the WiLDCOAST Blue Ocean Film Festival—“Blue on Tour”—we immediately asked the Avis airport agent for a recommendation on the best surfing beach. “Playa Bonfil,” said the agent. “That is where everyone goes.”
So, on our second morning there (our first morning there was spent doing a television interview), we loaded up our rental cars with our surfboards and headed south from our hotel at Playa Diamante, which is at the southern end of Acapulco, Mexico’s oldest coastal resort destination. After a 15-minute drive we arrived at Playa Bonfil, a collection of palapas and one-story beach houses. At the first available beach parking area we pulled in, jumped out of the car and ran down to the beach. And what we saw was every surfer’s dream: 3- to 5-foot offshore A-frames and not a surfer in sight.
For the next two hours we caught a variety of lefts and rights (Ben is a goofy-foot so he was very happy), and eventually one other surfer paddled out. “I can’t believe we are in Mexico’s largest coastal city,” I said to Ben, “and there are virtually no other surfers around.”
Ben and I agreed that Playa Bonfil was southern Mexico’s cousin to Baja Malibu. “The next time we come to Acapulco,” said Ben, “we are going to stay in Bonfil. No more high-rise hotels.”
After our surf, we stopped at the 100% Natural restaurant, where we gorged on strong coffee, tropical fruit smoothies (zapote and guayaba), papaya salads and veggie omelets.
Another perfect mainland Mexico morning that offered up hollow waves and perfect surfer food for breakfast. There is a reason why Mexico’s southern Pacific coast is arguably one of the world’s best surf destinations.
After our session at Playa Bonfil, we headed into Acapulco to pick up Sergio Flores and Natalia Parra, the WiLDCOAST Southern Mexico coordinators. We were on our way to visit IB locals Cat Slatinsky and Kristy Murphy of Siren Surf Adventures, who had helped to arrange our tour stops in the surf villages of Saladita and Troncones, six hours north of Acapulco.
After a long drive along the beautiful coast of Guerrero, Ben and I picked up another rental car in Zihuatanejo. Sergio and Natalia headed into town to arrange our tour date at the Institute of Technology of Guerrero for the following day. Ben and I raced to make it to Saladita before sunset. I don’t like driving rural roads in Mexico at night.
Luckily we found the beachfront home that Cat and Kristy had set up for us and spent an evening catching up with IB’s two most positive and stoked surfers before joining their neighbors Lainie and Mike for a round of beers and surf talk.
The following morning Ben and I dawn patrolled Saladita’s left point that Ben excitedly described as a “reverse Malibu.” Ben had fun working the waist-high long walls and I tried to trim the waves on my 6-foot-6-inch Novak quad (but really needed a longboard).
That evening I gave a Wild Sea book-talk in Spanish and English to about 60 Mexican and American surfers under a palapa at Lourdes’s Bungalows. Included in the audience was Alan Weisbecker, the author of In Search of Captain Zero, and Pato, a local community and environmental activist and surfer from Michoacán who promised to take us north to a river mouth that he promised would offer up a bit more size and power than Saladita.
Pato delivered on his promise. I loved the 4- to 6-foot rivermouth rights and lefts that reminded me of the Sloughs shorebreak. Pato was a classic power surfer, specializing in deep bottom turns and power snaps. Kristy, a former women’s world longboard champ, ripped the long left walls on her 5-foot-10-inch Novak hybrid egg-mini Simmon’s. Ben ate up the overhead waves, although he seemed to enjoy the more lined-up Saladita point surf. It was just another mainland Mexico morning with warm water, good vibes and fun waves to remind me there is nothing better than a great day of surfing with good friends.
A special thanks to Cat and Kristy of Siren Surf Adventures, Lainie and Mike, Pato, Roberto’s Bistro, Lourdes’s Bungalows, Sergio Flores, and Natalia Parra for hosting us and making the Blue on Tour possible during our stay in Guerrero.
Serge Dedina is the Executive Director of WiLDCOAST and the author of Wild Sea: Eco-Wars and Surf Stories of the Coast of the Californias.