Rip Curl Nelly

“His eyes got big as he described the huge tubes he’d scored there in the past, and he quickly rekindled everyone’s stoke.”

“The road weaved off the highway through the mountains, and we ended up at a deserted mansion with miles of empty beachbreak stretching out in front of us.”

“Tigre explained to us that the mansion used to be owned by a Mafia kingpin who smuggled out large amounts of drugs from his private airstrip and helipad.”

“Piling out of the air-conditioned vehicle into the stifling midday heat, we watched a little A-frame peak come in and grind right toward us.”

“Driving down the final stretch to Coco’s, everyone started screaming as massive A-frames unloaded and grinded across the sandbar.”

“We loaded up the vans again and were beelining it to thebungee spot when we hit our first roadblock: no brakes in one of the vans!”

“One of the lightning bolts hit a telephone pole directly behind us, which sent sparks flying as heavy thunder shook the car.”

“When I walked up to the platform, I started getting really dizzy. I tried to back out, but the guy who ran the thing just laughed at me and strapped me in.”

“The next thing we knew, the gate was thrown open and Tommy came bucking out of it full tilt. He made it pretty far before the pissed-off bull threw him up into the air and onto the dirt below.”

VamosAfter a long morning of stacking boardbags and battling hectic L.A. traffic, we somehow had all made it to LAX and checked in on time. Our destination: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Our crew consisted of Dane Reynolds and Sean Taylor from California, Tommy O’Brien from Florida, Kekoa Bacalso from Hawai’i, Clint Kimmins and Travis Lynch from Australia, and Rip Curl USA Team Manager Damea Dorsey leading the posse and keeping things in line.When Sean told me Tigre was picking us up at theairport, I knew we were going to be psyched. Tigre and his brothers Regis and Diego are well-known for being three of the best surfers to ever come out of Mexico. They’re also some of the nicest people you’ll meet.Sure enough, when we got through customs in Vallarta, Tigre and Diego’s smiling faces were there to greet us at the gate. Our journey had begun.Sean’s dad, David Taylor, owns a super-fat pad in Sayulita¿arootsy little town about an hour north of Vallarta, so we moved in there and made it our home base. The sun was setting by the time we got settled¿we all grabbed our boards and ran down to the beach for a quick surf.

No Me Gusta Las OlasThe waves were two feet and dribbling, but no one seemed to care. The water was like 90 degrees, and the boys made the best of the little left reforms. Tigre and Regis came out and showed off their local knowledge by blowing the top off every crumbly little lip in sight. They must really have this wave dialed, ’cause it was so gutless that it made Lowers look like Teahupoo.That night Tigre sensed our skepticism of the waves as we sat around the dinner table, and he told us about a little spot nearby (we’ll just call it Coco’s). His eyes got big as he described the huge tubes he’d scored there in the past, and he quickly rekindledeveryone’s stoke. We needed a sacrifice for waves, so Damea put up 35 dollars for anyone who ate a heaping tablespoon of the deadly hot salsa sitting on the table. Tommy didn’t think twice and downed it. We all laughed hysterically as he swiped the money from the table with tears pouring down his face. Now it was on.After loading up the vans the next morning, we headed northtoward Coco’s and everyone was amped. It was a long drive, so we happily pulled off on the way to check another one of Tigre’s nooks. The road weaved off the highway through the mountains, and we ended up at a deserted mansion with miles of empty beachbreak stretching out in front of us.

Smuggle Beach And Coco PuffsTigre explained to us that the mansion used to be owned by a Mafia kingpin who smuggled out large amounts of drugs from his private airstripnd helipad. After checking the view from the castle, we drove straight down the abandoned airstrip to the middle of the beach. Piling out of the air-conditioned vehicle into the stifling midday heat, we watched a little A-frame peak come in and grind right toward us.Clint was the first guy on it. After he airdropped into his first wave and got drilled in the shore pound, everyone was hooting and fin keys were flying. The waves got better throughout the day, and what started out as a “just get wet” surf turned into a full-on three-hour session. After a few tubes and multiple huge airs, we decided it was time to get back on the road. Mexico’s not the safest place to drive at night, and we knew if we left now we’d barely make it to Coco’s by nightfall.Driving down the final stretch to Coco’s, everyone started screaming as massive A-frames unloaded and grinded across the sandbar. The Aussies were freaking and paddled out there before we even shut off the car. Travis got the first one¿a double-overhead bomb. A stand-up barrel on his first wave! Clint then grabbed a nice one and pulled in, but it didn’t hold up like Travis’, and we watched him get crushed by a two-foot-thick lip.A huge storm hit in the middle of the night, bringingstrong offshore winds with it. We woke up to perfect peaks grinding and spitting in front of our camp. Everything was sweet until some local gringos started hassling us and dropping in on everyone, so we moved farther up the beach and took turns standing in barrels all morning.After a huge breakfast of banana pancakes and fresh fruit,we headed up the coast to a left-hander that breaks well on south swells. The waves were a little softer and more forgiving, so everyone really cut loose. Dane won the heat with a lofty backside grab 360 air, with Kekoa’s lien air in a close second. After a couple hours, we decided to go back to Coco’s and get some grinds.The next day suffered from morning sickness¿the wind hadn’t blown offshore the night before, so the waves were jumbled and closed-out. Mid morning the wind turned offshore, and the waves were once again groomed to perfection. The boys clocked in some more serious tube time. Everyone was happy, and we got some pizza in a nearby town. No Brakes On The Rainy Road Back To BungeevilleBy the time we got back to Coco’s, the wind had turned onshore, and the waves were blown to bits. The swell seemed to be dropping, too, so we discussed our plan. We chose to hang ’til the next morning, surf, then get back on the road to Vallarta. Clint also had his mind set on doing this bungee jump we’d spotted after originally arriving in Vallarta.The next morning was sick! The swell had held up for ourlast day, and the rights looked like a mini version of Backdoor Pipe. One of the local goons dropped in on Clint during the wave of the day and Clint came up snapping. After a very heated yelling match, Clint opted to just go in rather than rip the guy’s head off, so the rest of us decided to get the hell out of there, too. Nothing’s worse than bad vibes while surfing good waves. It’s the biggest contradiction in the world, if you ask me. Wake up and realize how lucky you are!We loaded up the vans again and were beelining it to thebungee spot when we hit our first roadblock: no brakes in one of the vans! Our van decided to go on, and we tried to make it to the bungee jump before they closed up for the day. Halfway there, our van was bombarded by the hugest thunderstorm in history! We pulled over to wait it out ’cause we were hydroplaning all over the road, and quarter-size balls hailed down from the sky. The storm was right on top of us.We sat there watching in disbelief as lightning struck all around our car for twenty minutes. One of the lightning bolts hit a telephone pole directly behind us, which sent sparks flying as heavy thunder shook the car. I’ve Got That Bungee Feeling In My StomachThe storm mellowed out after a little while, so we pressed on and finally made it to the bungee spot. It was like the storm had never been there¿the sun was beaming, and the bungee place was open for business. Damea talked the owner into a group rate, and what began as Clint’s idea soon became a reality for all of us.I don’t know about the other guys, but I’m afraid of heights. When I walked up to the platform, I started getting really dizzy. I tried to back out, but the guy who ran the thing just laughed at me and strapped me in. What began as a face-first launch to certain death turned into the biggest rush of my life! My face came like two inches from hitting the water before the bungee’s recoil sent me flying upward again. The second van caught up with us at this point, so eveyone decided to bungee. It was insane! I was still shaking every time someone launched off that platform. By the time we got back to Sayulita we were exhausted, and everyone crashed out early.On our last day we cruised down toward Vallarta to a little spot called Dinosaurs. The place was plush, and with little waves out front, we kicked it there all day surfing and relaxing by the pool.

Loco BullridersOn our way back to Sayulita, we spotted some action at the local bullring and decided to pull over to check it out. It turnedout the locals were having a bull-riding contest, and they wanted a gringo to try it. We sat around and watched as guys were thrown and bucked off time and time again. It was pretty heavy, to say the least. All of a sudden, Tommy jumped up and said, “I’ll do it!” We all looked at him like he was nuts. I mean, those things were gnarly! And Tommy was wearing thongs! What was he thinking? The Mexican cowboys were so stoked. Before he could change his mind, they rounded up a bull and helped Tommy lower himself into the cage and on top of the bull. The next thing we knew, the gate was thrown open and Tommy came bucking out of it full tilt. He made it pretty far before the pissed-off bull threw him up into the air and onto the dirt below. The whole arena erupted in cheers and laughter!Tommy came away with only a couple of bruises and cuts on his hands. Clint couldn’t resist after that, and the local boys were more than happy to round up another bull. We couldn’t believe it when he rode all the way to the middle of the ring without getting launched off. He somehow got off the thing and landed on his feet before the bull turned and chased him out of the ring.The local cowboys roared with laughter again. We were a hit, and now it was Travis’ turn. They found him another bull, and he charged it as well. But when Travis got bucked off, he dropped his boardshorts down to his ankles and ran around the ring with his bare ass hanging out. Then the bull turned on him and he ran for his life, just barely making it up the wall before the beast caught up with him. He was still naked and the locals rolled on the ground from laughing so hard. Bidding farewell, our newfound cowboy friends waved back at us as we drove off into the sunset to go pack for our flight out the next morning.

Mandatory Night OutWe decided it was probably mandatory to go out at least onenight in Vallarta, so the boys, decked out in their cleanest gear, headed off to town. The bouncers denied us at the first two clubs we went to ’cause they didn’t think everyone in our crew was eighteen or older. All of us made it into the third place we tried, so we decided to post up there rather than risk trying to get in somewhere else. The Aussies were psyched ’cause techno was playing, and they hit the dance floor instantly. We ran into Jason Weatherley, who was traveling with Gravis for a photo shoot and a sales meeting. By then it was getting late, so we grabbed some tacos outside. I guess Kekoa got really tired somewhere along the line, ’cause I looked over and he was fast asleep on his burrito plate. We all made it to home base safely.

Adios AmigosThe next morning, Tigre and Diego came by to say their goodbyes, and we thanked them flly made it to the bungee spot. It was like the storm had never been there¿the sun was beaming, and the bungee place was open for business. Damea talked the owner into a group rate, and what began as Clint’s idea soon became a reality for all of us.I don’t know about the other guys, but I’m afraid of heights. When I walked up to the platform, I started getting really dizzy. I tried to back out, but the guy who ran the thing just laughed at me and strapped me in. What began as a face-first launch to certain death turned into the biggest rush of my life! My face came like two inches from hitting the water before the bungee’s recoil sent me flying upward again. The second van caught up with us at this point, so eveyone decided to bungee. It was insane! I was still shaking every time someone launched off that platform. By the time we got back to Sayulita we were exhausted, and everyone crashed out early.On our last day we cruised down toward Vallarta to a little spot called Dinosaurs. The place was plush, and with little waves out front, we kicked it there all day surfing and relaxing by the pool.

Loco BullridersOn our way back to Sayulita, we spotted some action at the local bullring and decided to pull over to check it out. It turnedout the locals were having a bull-riding contest, and they wanted a gringo to try it. We sat around and watched as guys were thrown and bucked off time and time again. It was pretty heavy, to say the least. All of a sudden, Tommy jumped up and said, “I’ll do it!” We all looked at him like he was nuts. I mean, those things were gnarly! And Tommy was wearing thongs! What was he thinking? The Mexican cowboys were so stoked. Before he could change his mind, they rounded up a bull and helped Tommy lower himself into the cage and on top of the bull. The next thing we knew, the gate was thrown open and Tommy came bucking out of it full tilt. He made it pretty far before the pissed-off bull threw him up into the air and onto the dirt below. The whole arena erupted in cheers and laughter!Tommy came away with only a couple of bruises and cuts on his hands. Clint couldn’t resist after that, and the local boys were more than happy to round up another bull. We couldn’t believe it when he rode all the way to the middle of the ring without getting launched off. He somehow got off the thing and landed on his feet before the bull turned and chased him out of the ring.The local cowboys roared with laughter again. We were a hit, and now it was Travis’ turn. They found him another bull, and he charged it as well. But when Travis got bucked off, he dropped his boardshorts down to his ankles and ran around the ring with his bare ass hanging out. Then the bull turned on him and he ran for his life, just barely making it up the wall before the beast caught up with him. He was still naked and the locals rolled on the ground from laughing so hard. Bidding farewell, our newfound cowboy friends waved back at us as we drove off into the sunset to go pack for our flight out the next morning.

Mandatory Night OutWe decided it was probably mandatory to go out at least onenight in Vallarta, so the boys, decked out in their cleanest gear, headed off to town. The bouncers denied us at the first two clubs we went to ’cause they didn’t think everyone in our crew was eighteen or older. All of us made it into the third place we tried, so we decided to post up there rather than risk trying to get in somewhere else. The Aussies were psyched ’cause techno was playing, and they hit the dance floor instantly. We ran into Jason Weatherley, who was traveling with Gravis for a photo shoot and a sales meeting. By then it was getting late, so we grabbed some tacos outside. I guess Kekoa got really tired somewhere along the line, ’cause I looked over and he was fast asleep on his burrito plate. We all made it to home base safely.

Adios AmigosThe next morning, Tigre and Diego came by to say their goodbyes, and we thanked them for a great trip. They gave us a ride to the airport and helped us return our rental cars. We all ate at Little Caesar’ s together and then jumped on the plane. The rest is history.em for a great trip. They gave us a ride to the airport and helped us return our rental cars. We all ate at Little Caesar’ s together and then jumped on the plane. The rest is history.