4:00 am came way too quick on Saturday morning. I know I always have trouble sleeping on planes, so I stayed up late the night before and only got a couple hours of sleep, hoping to be able to sleep on the plane. Naturally, I turned off my alarm clock and went right back to sleep. Lucky for me, my parents know me all to well and woke me up about 20 minutes later. I got a quick shower, grabbed my bags, and we headed over to our buddy’s house around 4:45 am before hightailing it to the airport.
We got to the airport around 5:30 am, so traffic wasn’t an issue, but we walked into a sea of tourists heading home from vacation. I’m not sure if you’ve ever tried to navigate the ticket area with a board bag, but it sucks, especially with a 9’6″ board bag! We moved our way through the crowds while sharing some sarcastic humor with people who were asking what we had in the bag (a lot of Disney tourists now think we’re world-famous tobogganers from Sweden) and were lucky enough to get some help from a super nice Delta employee who was having a rough morning. A quick act of kindness from my dad scored us all Emergency Exit Row seats on all four of our flights (two there and two back) for no extra charge! From there we said farewell to our bags, grabbed some quick breakfast, and jumped on the plane to Atlanta, where we caught our connecting flight from El Salvador.
Note: If you ever “check” fragile luggage, don’t look out the window to see how they’re handling your bag(s).
We finally landed in El Salvador around 12:00 pm MST and met up with our driver/surf guide, Amelcar aka Gorilla (everyone down there has a nickname). I was exhausted by this time because my plan of staying up late the night before and sleeping on the plane, didn’t work. Having eaten about eight hours prior, we were starving, so Gorilla took us to this neat El Salvadorian cafeteria style restaurant. For a whopping $4.50 USD, I got: rice, salad, chicken, vegetables, and a Gatorade and it was all delicious. With fully bellies we piled back into the car to sit and do nothing for another three hours; however, I finally managed to catch some sleep.
We pulled up to our residence at Las Flores for the next few days and just admired the surf below us from the cliff where we were staying. We found a little weird to have not gotten room keys due to the group before us being stupid, but we kinda let it go and were stoked to finally be somewhere that had some nice clean waves. We threw our stuff in our rooms, opened our board bags to find our boards just as we left them. Once we got done putting our fins on our boards and setting up our leashes, we ran down the rocky road to the break, Las Flores, and caught some nice rights with a bunch of people. All-in-all there were about 30 people in the water, trying to catch one wave with only about five waves per set. The sets were few and far between, we sometime had to wait up to 20 minutes between sets! We all caught some good waves and were still pretty happy. We called it a night, grabbed some food and went to bed, knowing we had to be on the beach at 6:00 am for our boat trip to Punta Mango the next morning.
Our 5:00 am wake up call from our buddy pounding on the door wasn’t so bad because it felt like it was 7:00 am with the time difference. We rolled out of bed, threw on our baggies and lathered ourselves up with sunscreen before grabbing our boards and hiking down the trail to the beach again. We met up with our boat driver and helped him push his panga boat down the beach before loading up and getting bounced through the Las Flores break. It took us about 20 minutes to get to Punta Mango and lucky for us, when we got there we were only surfing with a hand full of other guys. The other guys out there were from Brazil and spoke some broken English, but we gave them credit because we didn’t know a lick of Portuguese. We had never surfed with anyone from Brazil and it was a learning experience to say the least. I noticed that out of the water, Brazilians are nice as can be, surfing with them is a different story. Apparently they’re accustomed to dropping in on each other (annoying and dangerous) and back paddling people to snake a wave. It was really frustrating at first, but when I learned that it’s part of their culture, some of those frustrations went away.
We all caught some really nice head high waves for a couple hours before heading back to Las Flores. By the time we got back, Las Flores wasn’t surfable anymore and it worked out so we didn’t have to watch awesome waves roll by while we were eating breakfast. The rest of the afternoon was blown out from the wind and tide combination so we just sat and around and hung out until conditions improved that evening. We kept up with that schedule for a few days and were having a pretty great time.
There’s more to come, keep checking back this week!