Editor’s Note: We were not compensated by Sayulita Surf School publish anything about them. The surfing classes we did with them are complimentary. All opinions are our own and based on our experiences from years of living in Sayulita.
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Sayulita, in Nayarit, is one of the most beautiful beach towns I’ve explored in Mexico. It has retained its small town charm but still offers top quality accommodation and restaurant options. I headed there with my family looking to spend time chilling out after a long and miserable 2020 lockdown at home in Yucatán. We were determined to make the most of our time and we were all pretty keen to take surfing lessons since our side of the country doesn’t have much opportunity for surfing.
I have to admit that I like to think I’m a total surfer-dude. I kinda feel like a surfer. I have a tattoo, an undercut and I’ve always been a water-baby. All those things should add up to my being a natural and brilliant surfer. Except then there’s the reality that I’m also 40 (grrrr), I’ve been surfing maybe ten times in my life and I’m an actual wuss.
Surfing with Sayulita Surf School
When I was in Sayulita, I was determined that I would prove to myself that I am absolutely the surfer I think I am. Hahaha. How do you think that went?
Well, it started off fine. I was lucky enough to have a lesson with Sayulita Surf School so I had high hopes since they’re all champion surfers, surely their brilliance would rub off on me. The lesson began with us showing the teachers our style and ability to lie in the correct position on the board (in the sand). I rocked at this. I was seriously excellent. I know, right, good start. I also carried my board to the water like an absolute pro. So far so good.
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We were instructed to get in the water, get on our boards, and paddle out a short way. And then that’s where my bravado fell down. I remembered that I’m actually a teeny tiny bit scared of the sea. I was a lifeguard and did competitive lifesaving competitions when I was younger so I really understand the dangers of open water and as such, have a healthy suspicion of it. For the four of us in the class, we had three instructors, which was great. It meant that not only were we basically receiving one-to-one instruction but that my wussy self could stop being pathetic since someone else was concentrating on potential tide changes for me.
There really wasn’t any need for me to be worrying about tides or Cassie-eating sharks because obviously, no surf school is going to take their students anywhere dangerous. I really do know that but it really helped to have the instructors taking such good care of us. They were great at telling us exactly when to paddle, stand up, and shouting instructions at us each time we set off for shore.
I’d like to claim that by the end of my class I was surfing like the champions but um, I was still falling off. The instructors were unrelentingly positive and never once gave up on me. I did absolutely get to the shore without falling a few times and I’m pretty sure that had I had time for more lessons I’d have improved more. Every time I got to my feet and promptly toppled over I just laughed at myself, turned around, and paddled back to try again. Those few times that I made it all the way to shore we celebrated my wins together, oh yeah!
Obviously, I’m totally poking fun at myself here but I hope it’s obvious how much I enjoyed my surfing lesson and that Sayulita Surf School is excellent. I loved my class and even sent my kids and husband for classes when they also expressed a desire to surf. My kids are six and eight and had never surfed before. I don’t actually know whether my husband had ever been surfing before (whoops, bad me) but everyone came back from their class very happy. My six-year-old daughter apparently was better than me and could surf her way to shore from the first attempt, which is of course awesome. From now on I shall live my surfing dreams vicariously through her. She actually had such a great time she went back for more lessons and got us to hire a board for her to practice alone too. She apparently caught the surfing bug in Sayulita and has requested that all future vacations include surfing classes for her.
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Note: Surfing as a beginner is exhausting and you really must have a plan for what you’re going to do about food as soon as you get out the water. We went to Choco Banana on the plaza where I gorged on a delicious vegetarian breakfast bagel. Phew! (Side note, Choco Banana is super serious about sustainability. They source local ingredients wherever they can and don’t use non-recyclable products. They even offer mugs for rent so visitors to Sayulita can not add to the trash problem when getting take away coffees/elotes/ice creams, isn’t that awesome?)
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- Where to find Sayulita Surf School: On the main beach slightly to the right is a well-marked of a shack. It’s pretty obviously a surf-school.
- Take with you: It’s a good idea to show up with a swim shirt. If you don’t have one they’ll have some to loan you though. I took my GoPro with me, which was great as I now have a ton of hilarious photos and videos of me falling off the surfboard.
- Cost: We paid $800 pesos per hour per person.
- Language: We all speak Spanish so took our classes in Spanish but the instructors are perfectly happy to give their lessons in English too.
- Top Tip: You can also rent surfboards and bodyboards from Sayulita Surf School.
Well, as I said, we were in Sayulita to chill out and take a break so we didn’t have huge plans. After the surfing class, there was very little I wanted to do except eat, drink coffee, and hang out. The kids, obviously, had other plans. They needed ice cream (easy win). They needed to play on the beach, obviously another easy win.
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In Sayulita, there are plenty of beach options. My kids are kinda wild explorer kids so they love climbing so once we’d filled ourselves up we grabbed our water bottles and took walk over to Playa de Los Muertos. This beach is easily walkable from town so the kids barely even whined at us as we walked – win!
The rocks at both ends of this small beach cove are perfect for kids who like to climb and play and of course, once they were hot and sweaty we jumped in the sea to cool down.
What a perfect day!