What a fine piece of beach Santa Teresa is, with it's white sand, howling monkeys, tide pools and playful waves. We arrived early April to find a swell in the water and pretty light crowd. Our place was nestled up the hill near a big market, twenty minutes walking one way to Playa Carmen and the other way to Santa Teresa.
For how much hype it gets for being a beaten down, overpopulated surf town, Santa Teresa actually feels like a sleepy little village. Until a bunch of ATV's whizz by, kicking up more dust than a Saharan sand storm. The dust is such a health hazard that people wear gas masks, surgical masks, bandannas, or at the very least pursed lips and a pissed off face, while buzzing through town. Even still, once the dust settles and you can look around there is a definite feeling of community. Tons of small shops and restaurants to satisfy your every desire, plus the hand crafted nick nacks and home grown produce displayed here and there for purchase.
Waves in Santa Teresa were nicely shaped peaks, usually good for a few maneuvers or even a tube, but there were a handful of mushy or closed out waves too. Playa Carmen was a strange wave to surf, with its outer sandbar and zig zagging reforms - often on one wave, if you read it right you could go right and left half a dozen times before jumping off on the sand. But if you read it wrong you would go nowhere at all.
Aside from the crazy driving behavior, the pace of life in Santa Teresa is endearingly slow and we rushed around amidst it like a New Yorker late for a meeting. With a dozen new projects on the to do list, we quickly settled into a routine of 4 am alarms and all day marathon working, whether on the computer, painting, surfing or filming.
Both the ALAS Latin Tour and CNS Circuit came through town, and with my mind half on the prize and half on wanting to be free surfing the better wave up the beach I landed in 5th and 4th place. I had been spending my surfs trying to push everything I know to the next level (i.e lots of big funny looking crashes) and not spending any time 'contest training'. In the contest heats I'd find myself looking for a punchy lippy set wave, which worked in my favor for the first few heats, but in both the semi-final of ALAS and final of CNS I could have taken off on a smaller one and done a couple turns to advance. That's the interesting thing about contests, and life- sometimes, you don't always have to look for the best possible score (10), but instead look for the score you need to get by which is sometimes only a 3. This can work in your favor but you have to give up waiting for a better bigger funner wave. Fail.
After the events we chanced upon a really cool group of girls, one of which designs surf bikinis of amazing quality and calibur. Hand stitched, reversible, and one of a kind designs - hand picked fabrics that are sewn into only one or two bikinis so instead of having thousand run orders of a pattern, there are only one or two in the world. Talk about unique! I was stoked to pick up a few suits from her to test drive and all I can say is that they feel like butter, stick like glue, and I love em. If you are in the market for a cute new swimsuit that stays on while you surf I'd recommend buying one of hers: TicaSurf Bikinis - they'll be available online soon too!
Speaking of girls - Santa Teresa is chock full of surfer and traveler girls. It had been a while since we'd seen girls in the line up and boy are they feisty here! Probably the most aggressive surf ladies I've met since surfing with the ASP chicks - word to the wise, don't try to take their waves! I saw a few guys be called not-so-lady-like names....
With our bustling schedule, time flew by and soon we were faced with a decision: do we stay where the waves are pretty fun and we've settled into a decent routine or do face the unknown and head to the next ALAS surf contest in Panama? Only time will tell.....