Scoring in the Gulf of Mexico
It takes a rare breed of surfer to track storms from Texas south to Veracruz and the Bay of Campeche in Mexico. Hours and hours on the road, beyond fickle conditions, and agonizing 60 mph wind storms are all a part of it. But when the conditions all come together, it holds plenty of potential. Who knew the Gulf of Mexico got this good?
Blowin' In The Wind
Locals call the winds that whip through Veracruz "Nortes," and they usually only take a day to blow through. Right after that is when the surf typically turns on. The ocean glasses off and the lingering wind swell can light up the area's unique nooks and crannies.
An Indo-looking reef pass in the Gulf of Mexico? Yep, believe it. But without a 60 mph "Norte" blowing the chances of it turning on are slim.
Give Respect, Get Surf
"The surf scene in Veracruz has changed a lot in the past 10 years," recalls longtime local Jan Bernard. "The surf scene really started here about 20 years ago. At first it was a small group of friends who really pushed each other to surf bigger and better waves. They were pretty crazy too. Today it's pretty mellow. Every foreign surfer is welcome to surf our breaks. It is pretty simple, show respect and you'll get your share of waves."
Off The Bottom
Nate Floyd finds purpose in his bottom turn while a local fishing crew head out to ply their trade.
Know Where To Go
With so many variables at play, finding the right spot at the right time is the trick. Tracking wind, tide, swell direction and interval are enough to turn a routine surf check into a full-on adventure
The most consistent season for surf is late fall through early spring. In the summertime, the waves are usually small or flat, but will get the occasional tropical storm and hurricane swell. And that is when the Gulf can really deliver some solid waves and epic days.
"When the waves are pumping you will see guys out that you hadn't see'n in months, sometimes years. It's like if they throw out a piece of cheese and all the surf rats jump out of their rat holes or something. But most of the time you will find only a small group of surfers out. It's pretty cool," says Bernard.
Floyd's Happy Place
After all the hours on bad roads and storm tracking, things came together for Floyd.
Wireless Surf Check
Rather than waste their time driving around in circles, the local crew have gotten very adept at finding floating wi-fi signals and checking the latest weather charts to see what the winds and swells are doing.
Sharing is Caring
While it's not the easiest trip to make, "the pay off is friendship, empty lineups, good food, and tired arms from paddling -- I can't wait till the winds start to blow again!" says Floyd. "The local people were so stoked to share their waves with fellow Gulf surfers. We grew up in the same waters sharing the same passions."
Beyond Yonder Cactus
It's out there, all you have to do is go find it.