In light of the two tropical storms that passed through Mexico (East and West coast) this past week and the resulting flooding I thought I would mention how we deal with such events here at Zicazteca Surf School.
First let me say that we fared much better than many other communities across Mexico. Please see the end of this post for info on how to help the victims of the worst flooding and those that have been cut off from help due to landslides.
During the 4 solid days of heavy rain, we had to cancel many classes (fully refunded). We appreciate the dedication of our potential students, braving downpours to come by the shop to set up surf lessons, but ultimately it was determined the conditions were not favorable for classes.
To be honest, other surf schools did take groups out during the downpours. So why didn’t we? We passed by the only beach where the waves might have been calm enough to give a lesson during the storm swell. The waves there were large and powerful, and in such a small bay this can create very strong currents that quickly whisk surfers toward the rocks that line the edges, or out to the open ocean. In addition, during heavy rains, all sorts of trash and debris gets swept out into the ocean. This debris can be rather large, like tree trunks and big branches, car tires etc. which become potentially dangerous obstacles out in the water. Lastly, all that run-off can sometimes cause infections in those with low resistance, especially tourists (infections of the eye, throat, ear, stomach).
We are a close knit community so throughout the weekend we heard from those who had taken students out under these conditions as well as experienced surfers who went to ride the unusually big swell at Carrizallilo beach. All the stories we heard just reinforced our decision to cancel classes. Experienced surfers called it quits after just a few waves because the currents were outrageous, and instructors complained that they spent all their time just trying to keep their students safe.
As Julio explained to the 3 young men who wanted to take their first surf lesson before leaving for Oaxaca City: “Surfing is a beautiful sport, and you should try it for sure. Next time you are on the coast, give it a try. But I don’t want to take you out for your first experience under these conditions and risk you having an experience that is not fun, or even scary and turns you off surf forever.”
Bottom line is, our instructors WANT to work, but we will put your experience and your safety first every time. That’s just how we do it.
If you wish to help the victims of these torrential rains and tragic flooding, please visit the Mexican Red Cross webpage: http://www.cruzrojamexicana.org.mx/