Shane, Mia and friends ready to go SUPing in Punta de Mita

Shortly after arriving in Mexico this Fall, we heard the name Diego Martinez. Since Shane and I love to distance paddle, and we have our business Performance Stand Up Paddle, everybody said that we needed to meet Diego. He is a partner in North Shore Realty and was also on the Mexican National SUP Team.

So, we reached out to Diego and asked him to go for a paddle with us. We met him out front on a Saturday morning and paddled over to El Faro, caught a couple waves on our distance boards, and paddled back. We were chatting up a storm. Diego was excited to get back distance paddling and we were excited to have a new friend. He said that we should do a different distance paddle every 2 weeks, culminating with paddling to Yelapa, 20 miles across the Bay of Banderas. We were so excited about Diego’s enthusiasm to do all these different distance paddles, because this was exactly what we wanted to do as well.

So, we set up our first distance paddle for Thanksgiving weekend. We planned to paddle from Kapuri Beach around the point and back to El Anclote; about 9 miles. Another friend we had just met, Winston, from the Driggs, Idaho area, went along as well.

I was on my SIC RS 12.6×25 wide, Shane his SIC RS 14×24.5, Diego a 12.6×26 and Winston a 12.6×30 . We took off from Kapuri around 8:00 am in beautiful glassy conditions. We all met out front, chatted just for a sec as we paddled out, then like a rocket, Diego took off at race pace.

Oh brother I thought. We are just getting started. But there’s nothing more I like than a hard race pace session to challenge me. I will probably never get over that. So, we all settled in to our rhythms as we watched Diego up ahead. We soon came around the point and boy did the conditions get choppy out there. Shane and I don’t have much experience at all on our race boards in rough conditions like that. Shane was really starting to struggle on his board. Winston on his 30 wide was solid and I was right with Winston, struggling, but not letting it show. I was constantly working on my balance and trying to paddle hard at the same time. I was finally understanding this width thing in the ocean.

Poor Shane was off his board a bit and was paddling on his knees a bit in those rough conditions, but he really started to get the hang of it. I started to get more comfortable as well, as we got further around. At one point, Winston and I looked ahead and saw Diego paddle out around the island, near the Four Seasons. Since it was high tide, Winston, who had done this paddle before, suggested that we cut inside the island and thank goodness we did. We caught up on Diego just a little. Shane went around the island and fell farther behind.

We came across some calmer water in front of the St. Regis and I pulled quite a bit ahead of Winston on my narrower board. But then just past the Cove surf break and nearing the El Faro surf break, it started to get super rough again. On my narrow board, Winston started catching up again. I thought at El Faro we would stop and surf some waves, but the hammerhead Diego, after surfing a wave, kept on going. So, Winston and I kept going too.

Now, all we had was the home stretch to El Anclote. The water gets calm there and once again on my narrower board, I pulled quite a bit ahead of Winston. Diego reached El Anclote and jumped in the water; I came paddling in, then Winston. Shane was a bit behind and a bit frustrated. But we all told him that he did great, and that it would take some time for him to get use to that board in the ocean.

In looking back at the paddle, it felt like a race. I think I only looked at land twice the whole time; once to look at the Four Seasons and once to look at the St. Regis. But other than that, I was paddling hard to try to keep the hammerhead Diego in site. All and all, a great first distance paddle adventure.

Our next adventure will be this Sunday. We are going to paddle from Punta de Mita to the La Cruz Marina to the Farmer’s Market. Can’t wait for another great adventure in the Bay of Banderas.