April 29, 2010

1st Annual Punta Sayulita Classic Benefits Reefs


The 1st Annual Punta Sayulita Longboard & Stand-Up Paddle Classic was held on April 17-18 in Sayulita, a quaint beach town located 30 min north of Puerto Vallarta on the west coast of mainland Mexico. Proceeds raised from the Classic benefitted the Punta Sayulita Foundation and the local Chapter of Reef Check (RC). Mary Luna, RC’s Mexico Program Manager and an avid surfer, was on hand to help with the festivities and thank the organizers, Punta Sayulita Development for their support.

Building on this effort, RC will work with the Punta Sayulita development to launch Sayulita’s Adopt-A-Reef Program this summer. As part of this program RC will train a team of local divers in the RC EcoDiver monitoring methodology. Plans are also underway to build a coral garden inside the bay, and to transplant some coral fragments to an area near Punta de Mita that was devastated by a hurricane a few years back. Annual surveys by the local RC team will provide feedback on the conditions of Sayulita reefs and others nearby. This data will help managers make more informed decisions over the management of their reefs.

Event organizer Kevin Roberts of Punta Sayulita said “We are very excited to launch The Classic contest with the overwhelming support and assistance we have received from our professional surfers, sponsors, volunteers and the Sayulita community. Sayulita is the ideal location to hold an international surfing event like the Classic and we are pleased it has attracted some of the top professional longboard and SUP surfers to the field seeing that this is the event’s first year. We look forward to growing the event each year and raising as much money as possible for Reef Check and Punta Sayulita Foundations. We feel the mix of a surf contest showcasing some of the best professional and amateur surfers with a variety of Stand-Up Paddle distance races will give spectators plenty of action to watch and also enjoy time with their friends and family in Sayulita.”

During The Classic, the international field of professional surfers from the United States and Mexico was led by Honorary Ambassadors James Pribram of Laguna Beach, CA, renowned Mexican big wave surfer, Carlos “Coco” Nogales of Puerto Escondido and Mexico’s current national longboard champion, Patricio Gonzalez of Sayulita. Invitees and amateurs competed in various stand-up paddle and longboard surfing categories. Other participants included big wave rider Chuck Patterson from Dana Point, CA, professional longboarder Mary Osborne from Ventura, CA, and professional stand-up paddle surfers Scott Bass from Encinitas, CA and Ekolu Kalama and Ikaika Kawai from Hawaii.

The opening ceremony on Saturday included a blessing ritual performed by a large group of Huichol Indians who traveled from the mountains of Nayarit to attend the event. As they carried out the ritual, one of them narrated the meaning of each part. Also in attendance were the Secretary of Tourism, the governor of the State of Nayarit, and Andrea Legarreta, a famous Mexican actress.

Kudos to Kevin and his crew for bringing together such an eclectic mix of people! Stand-up paddle races were held on Sunday which included the “Punta to Punta” 2K and 10K open ocean distance races. That same evening the Classic Awards Dinner Fiesta was held at the Don Pedro’s ocean front,  palm roof palapa where attendees were treated to a stunning view of the bay, delicious local cuisine, and live reggae music.

RC thanks organizers, sponsors, and participants of The Classic for their support. The event was a huge success and is bound to grow more successful every year; please click here to view pictures. More information on the organizers, the Punta Sayulita residential community is available here, and for The Classic results click here.