Gear That Got It Done: Surfing Winter Swells in Sayulita, Mexico

March 23, 2017

  • by
  • Morgan Mason

Some folks prefer the winter rush of carving silky powder on the mountain. Others head south to feel that drop and bottom turn of a set wave. This year’s annual snowbird migration took Active Junky testers to mainland Mexico: La Lancha, Anclotes, Burros and other breaks in the Sayulita area were all explored.

On this trip, we decided to be as self-sufficient as possible, keeping out of rental shops and more on the beaches and in the waves. Take a look at what testers brought along to get after our version of Bruce Brown’s Endless Summer 1960s surfing pursuits.

NSP O2-Inflatable Allround 9’

Forget the rental fees and pain of getting in and out of town to drop off gear at the rental shop. The NSP O2 Inflatable Allround Surf model is the ticket to wave freedom on your travels. Sitting at 9’2” long and 29 ½” wide, this is a great longboard SUP shape.

We swapped out the included larger fin for a smaller 4.5” longboard style. Otherwise this little rig is ready to ride once air fills the double-stitched inflatable chamber. Deflated and rolled up into its traveling carry bag, it’s easily checked at airports, weighing in at 30lbs.

This board screams for the party waves and could handle someone jumping off their board to stick the landing mid-wave on this craft. Waist- to shoulder-high waves cultivated hilarious riding options. From walking on the board, cheater fives, riding backwards and beyond, this deck is built to do it all.

Best For: Handling waist- to shoulder-high waves with excellent stability

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Werner Paddles Ripstik 89

Wernerripstick Werner Paddles Rip Stick 89 Starting at: $317.55
With over a decade of paddling sport experience, our Active Junky tester has never experienced a higher-performance travel paddle than the Werner Paddles Rip Stick 89. This carbon fiber, 3-piece paddle travels with ease and tunes to attack when that wave set rolls in.

This Werner paddle is lightweight and features a double dihedral power-face blade that allows for minimal taxing of the arms and maximum forward thrust. The travel paddle is meant for high-cadenced, short and precision strokes – Rip Stick is an appropriate name.

This ultra-lightweight paddle is built for performance, but not rock-solid durability. You’ll need to do your part in taking care of it. We recommend a cheap paddle-blade cover for protection while traveling. Enjoy this one; paddles don’t get much better.

Best For: Precision paddling with minimal weight

Patagonia Men's R1 Lite Yulex Front-Zip Long-Sleeved Top

Patagoniar1lite1 Patagonia Men's R1 Lite Yulex Front-Zip Long-Sleeved Top $135.59 - $141.55
Recent NW swells had pushed colder waters into the Sayulita region just before our arrival. While not quite cold enough for a full wetsuit, there was a need for more protection from the chilled water than a rash guard could offer.

In true Patagonia form, the R1 Lite Front-Zip includes eco-friendly and recycled materials, most notably the natural Yulex rubber used in 85% of the long-sleeve top. Durability is solid with 100% of seams triple glued, and high-stress points are internally spot taped, shutting down water intake. While this stealth-black top eases up on the environment, it also doesn’t lack in protection and performance.

Best For: Cold-water protection when more than a rash guard but less than a full wetsuit is needed

Astral Filipe

Astralfilipe Astral Filipe $66.00 - $70.50
Your everyday flip-flops are registered irrelevant from this point forward. Astral, a brand well known and respected for PFDs, is plunging into the adventure footwear industry. The company has kicked in the door and is becoming the best footwear for aquatic environments.

Built for escapades with the free spirited in mind, the Astral Filipe never failed us on the path from our casita south of Sayulita through the nearby jungle. We weaved through palm fronds, explored paths through sprouting coconut trees, snuck up on jungle birds and waded through a shallow river to access the local beach for our surfing mission, all accomplished with ease and a free-spirited nature with these Filipes.

Best For: Free-spirited escapades through jungle and water

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