Sessions in El Salvador
When planning a surf trip, one typically tries to avoid places that get pinged on Google as one of the murder capitals of the world. I was immediately skeptical when Shea insisted that we plan our next surf trip to the Country I just finished watching on Vice titled "Gangs of El Salvador". Shea had spent some time in the area years ago. His argument was as follows, "I went to El Salv, planning to stay for 2 days ... I spent 3 weeks there. The surf was that. good." Knowing that I was a sucker for point breaks he went on. "Dude, right hand, cobblestone point breaks as far as the eye can see." Anxiety aside. We booked our tickets.
4 hour drive + 5 hour flight + 40 minute drive. El Salvador is by far the easiest surf destination I've ever traveled to. We arrived, unpacked our boards and were in the water for the next 8 hours only to come in to reapply sunscreen. The point is far from perfect, but reminded us all of the best parts of waves back home.
On trips like these I typically bring a standard shortboard and my go to central coast groveler. I left my standard CI, in its bag the whole trip. The MLP was too good to trade out.
The majority of the sets swing wide which keeps the crowd towards the cove. On the right tide, you can sit deep and sneak around the first section and extend your first turn where the crowd sits. Seeing that I'm not a super quick surfer down the line, I get caught behind more than most. I credit most of my sets to the flat(ish) profile of the board, the thing shines as a quad as well.
The surf tourism completely supports and sustains the small community that lives on the point. Which makes for the nicest locals I've ever encountered. The people were so grateful for us and we were grateful for them. I had to travel to the violence capital of the world to find the vibe/people that surfing should be.
I planned to surf several different spots while I was here. The wave had so many different looks that I never left. Nine days,
I couldn't get enough.
The secret to crowds at destination breaks is the shift change. Most of us in the lineup were tourists staying on the point. Which means exhaustion can easily beckon you to the hammock and frosty beers. At places like this you'll find the most dedicated surfers getting sucked into "island time" while they watch perfect lines peel through the line up.
Typically you'll find windows of bliss around late morning and lunch time, where the lineup is sparse. Eat at odd times. Let breakfast get cold. Cliff Bars are your friend. Know before you paddle out that you're not coming in for at least 6 hours and that you came here to be in the water.
Above all embrace the weirdness that comes from hours in the water.