With the right conditions and people who know what they’re doing in the water, surfing can be the most spectacular sport of them all. Nothing compares to watching someone riding monster waves or doing tricks that look impossible to do.
Now, imagine you are the one catching the wave. Would that be too difficult? Let’s hear from David Wanamaker, surf instructor and owner of the 360 Surf School Cancún, who tells us everything we need to know about this sport. After all, 12 years spent teaching surfing and 24 practising it makes him an expert in the matter.
David’s story is that of someone who got into surfing from a very young age and had to do something about it later on in his professional life. “I started out as a Foreign Currency consultant but my passion for surfing was so great that I had to get into some career that involved surfing,” he says.
I wonder if a passion like this wasn’t triggered by some sort of transcendental episode? In David’s case, he moved to Barbados – a world-class surf destination – when he was 12. “When I arrived and realised that you could surf there I was hooked. I needed to surf. It looked like such a great and attractive sport.”
He thinks being addicted to surf is natural, and you don’t need a revelation of anything like that, just to try it.“The feeling that you get from riding a wave is unlike anything you can get elsewhere,” David says. “Most people get hooked to surfing after there first wave – it feels that good.” Doesn’t he sound a bit like Mark Renton talking about drugs in Trainspotting?
Being hooked and having skills is not the same thing, but David is confident about what one can learn at his schools in Cancún and Isla Mujeres: “We can get you up and surfing within 10 minutes of entering the water after the beach lesson.” He explains that not everything comes down to physical aptitudes, rather, it lies on strategy or in “the ability of watching a swell from the horizon and, as it approaches the shore, decipher where it will break and where the surfer should be to take off on the wave.”
The kind of wave is important too. “For beginners, optimum conditions are either small white-water wave [broken wave], or a nice small 2-3 foot mushy wave.” Whereas for him, an experienced surfer, the real thing comes with a “a nice workable 6 foot wave going right.”
Cancún offers good conditions for beginners all year round, while the nearby Isla Mujeres is better during the winter season.
But if you already have some surfing experience, there are a few other places you should check out. David’s favourite is also in the Caribbean: “Barbados has some of the most beautiful waves, breaking on the west coast during Christmas season. The shape, the colours… It’s perfect.”
An extra tip from David is a break under the radar one hour away from Puerto Escondido, Mexico. “One of the best spots in the world is Barra de la Cruz, which was a secret spot only eight years ago. It is a super long right pointbreak that barrels at the beginning.” Got that down?
If you, too, want to get hooked with this sweet (and legal) drug called surfing, book a holiday to Cancun with Kenwood Travel and pay a visit to David. “Most people have wanted to try surfing at one point in there life or another,” he says. “Try it! The feeling is incredible. Surfing is my passion. Surfing is my life.”