by Derek Dodds April 28, 2018 3 Comments

Everyone said I shouldn’t go. 

“It’s dangerous down there right now,” my friends and family told me.

In fact, just a few kilometers from where we stay, two Australian surfers disappeared and lost their lives in a horrific story of injustice and brutality.

According to reports, they were pulled over by assassins dressed in police uniforms and shot. The assailants lit the Ozzy van on fire and the bodies were burned—hopefully not still alive.

The authorities had to do a DNA analysis of the remains to identify the surfers. This happened at the end of 2015, just as I was sending my deposit in for my first surf trip to the notorious state of Sinaloa.

Sinaloa, the land of Billionaire drug kingpin El Chapo.

The first time around, I almost backed out of the trip a few times. It's difficult to fight that internal struggle between fear and stoke. It seems like the world is getting more violent—or perhaps I am just more sensitive to it these days.

Regardless of the internal struggle in my brain, stoke keeps winning out and this year marks my third salt water rodeo to the magical state of Sinaloa.

Why Mexico

Ranked 15th in the world for coastlines, Mexico has 5797 miles of beachfront.

Much of the Mexican coastline is surfable at some point in the year. She likes south swells, north swells, hurricanes and micro-weather systems. 

She will eat you alive in Puerto Escondido and crush you in the channel near the island of Todos Santos. She has many playful sides and walks the line between violence and joy, between life and death.

She is wild—perhaps a mirror into out own psyche.

We love her.
We fear her.
We hate her.
We desire her.

Mazatlan & Caring

We fly into Mazatlan airport and shuttle north to the small fishing village in the middle of nowhere. Half of the trip is on a sandy, solitary, and sundry dirt road. If there wasn’t a surf camp in this town, I doubt any gringo would ever know or care that this place existed.


However, the people of Sinaloa are nothing like the land.

There are waves—great Mexican waves. Thus, we gringos care, and we care a lot. We care so much we open our gringo leather wallets wide open and drive into the heart of the Mexican drug cartel country. The country we only know from late night news programs, Netflix specials, and poorly written surf magazine articles.

We travel into a land that looks and smells like places we would never visit in our own country because we long for that perfect, desolate, oceanic experience.

We crave the surf trip experience like a junky—we can't wait to taste freedom, inject it deep into our veins. We spend our entire lives chasing the opportunity for another mouthful of salt water.

Desire & The Buddha

In Buddhism, understanding desire lies at the root of the Buddha's teachings. The Buddha said of desire, "When we free ourselves of desire, we will know serenity and freedom."

It is complex for me to understand what a life without desire would mean—would I still want to surf?

Is surfing simply an expression of movement on the sea? A dance with energy? A way to connect with something greater than ourselves?

Or, is surfing a way to lose ourselves? Surfing gives us a chance to disappear momentarily from all the suffering and worries of this life. The misery. The pain.

Only A Surfer Knows

Ask any surfer what dwells at the root of his addiction and I guarantee you that if he searches deep enough, he will discover this mysterious dichotomy.

Music Sinaloa

Both the desire to exist and not exist play tug-a-war on the edges of our soul. Surfing is a magical and demonic interplay between both realities, an expression of life's vitality and a journey into nothingness—potentially even death.

Surfing crosses a boundary within ourselves that we know little about—it reminds us of our insignificance—roaming the high tide and low tide lines of our lives.

We intuit that the potential for death is always there while surfing, lurking in the background, waiting patiently to surface and show itself.

To remind.
To frighten.

But mostly, surfing is there to free us.

This is why we travel to dangerous places, take off on life-threatening waves in front of sharp rocks and razor reefs. We surf with great white sharks for fuck’s sake. We frequently push aside our fears and even our logic.

“Surfers are crazy,” many non-surfers say. 

Are we insane or are we more alive because of our relationship to the sea? 

Maybe we’re just caught in that dance of learning how to know life? Simply trying to find ourselves in the chaotic mess of existence.

Desire to be free.
Desire to know me.

Know Your Desire

The Second Noble Truth of Buddhism suggests that we should spend some time and energy knowing our desires, not, as many believe, getting rid of them.

Love to surf? Surf your brains out!

Surfing reminds us that we are still alive, still exist, and yet strangely don’t exist.

We surf and travel to experience life, to bring out that part of ourselves that frequently lies dormant in the shadows of our everyday existence.

Surfing invites that mysterious part of ourselves to the surface, and we fucking love it.

Want it.
Desire it.
Crave it.

Ecology is about the relationship to things in and around us, and you can’t have one without the other.

The outer is the inner.
The inner is the outer.

Honor your inner ecology and magical things will happen, even in the badlands of the Mexican cartel.

Derek Dodds
Derek Dodds


3 Responses

Max Scott
Max Scott

June 04, 2018

Surfing is an attempting satisfaction and it is an attracting data to surf and there are two or three focuses which need to review and consistently utilize the best surf board for surfing. https://www.supshed.com/

Satyajeet Avila
Satyajeet Avila

May 04, 2018

Thanks for this inspiring article. It helps me to understand my soul surfer girlfriend a little better. We’ve been wanting to travel to México and surf (I have family there, unfortunately not near the beach), but we have been wondering about the safety of two women traveling alone to surf. Would love your thoughts and advice!

Andrew Greenman
Andrew Greenman

December 31, 2017

An inspirational piece of writing and captures the true essence of surfing very well. Very much a pleasure to read thank you.

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Size Chart

Surfboard Leashes

You Break It We Replace It in First Year. 

Buy a leash closest to your board size—i.e. for 6'4 surfboard you need a 6' leash. 

All leashes are 7mm thick, competition leashes which are lighter/thinner 5.5 mm. 

Pioneer Day Boardbags - Fits One Surfboard

All boardbags have +2 inches. Thus a 6'6 board fit's perfectly in a 6'6 boardbag. All Pioneer bags have expandable fin gussets, so you can keep your fins on your board in the bag—or you can roll with glass-on fins.

Pioneer Sizes:

All bags have interior pockets (fins, leash and wax), bags fit industry standards. 

Our 8'6, 9'6 and 10' bags have fin slots and round noses. 

Pioneer bags also have an exterior pocket and zip all the way to the nose.

Travel Bags - Fits Two Surfboards

All Global boardbags have +2 inches, so if you buy a 6'2 boardbag, the real length is 6'4—thus you have a bit of room to play. 

Global Travel Bag Sizes:

Travel boardbags are 6'-8' inches deep to accommodate two boards—though you can travel with one in these bags without a problem—there are two interior pockets for leash, wax, and fins.

Surfboard Travel Bag Pockets Fin Wax Leash

Travel boardbags have two padded boards separators and two pockets for your gear. 

* Travel boardbags also have 13mm + 13mm of extra padding in the nose and tail.

Travel Bags with Wheels - Fits Two Surfboards

New in 2016 is the double travel bag with wheels. Sometimes you want a smaller bag with wheels, now you can have it. All Global boardbags have +2 inches, so if you buy a 6'2 boardbag, the real length is 6'4—thus you have a bit of room to play. 

Global Travel Bag Sizes:

Travel boardbags are 6'-8' inches deep to accommodate two boards—though you can travel with one in these bags without a problem—there are two interior pockets for leash, wax, and fins.

Wave Tribe Wheelie Surfboard Travel Bags

Travel boardbags have two padded boards separators and two pockets for your gear. 

* Travel boardbags also have 13mm + 13mm of extra padding in the nose and tail.

Boardbag Material & Hardware - All Bags

Side A of the bag is made from a strong density Rugged Eco Hemp exterior which is one tough fiber and naturally built to last with high impact padding protection with Rebound Foam Dynamics including open-to-nose technology.

Side B is the reflective (rental-car-roof-side) made from Reflective Energy Shield for "Cooler Surfboard Safeguard" protecting your surfboard from the sun's harmful rays made from an alloy-steel mesh weave.

All Sides are guarded by our Japanese Never-Rust-or-Break Nickel Platted Zippers streamline zipper trails and our trademarked Easy Flow Zip System.