There were Mexican beaches, marlin burritos and Machado brothers. Just no waves.

The Pacific was generous with her seafood, stingy with her swells. The team zigged and zagged down three Mexican states in search of breaks, but found instead an inner chill. Rules. Deadlines. Pants. Out the rent-a-van window. The mellow vibrations cranked to 11, and everyone embraced max chilo.

The first spot: Little Bananas Beach. Rob Machado, Justin Machado, Tim Curran, Kalle Carranza and a squad of photo bugs, cinema heads, creative brains, word nerds and layabouts were all there. The pros paddled out to meet the modest waves, barreling and busting air like they were at Monster Mush. With boards and cameras put away, everyone melted back with Pacificos and waxed poetic about surf vid soundtracks, shark encounters and trips of yore.

Rob exercising his license to chill in some Mexican shade. Photo: LifeProof
Rob exercising his license to chill in some Mexican shade. Photo: LifeProof

Day two: mistakes were made. Word spread of a nearby waterfall, so the squad mustered enough energy to break an early mañana session to explore. Hiking down to the Nesquik-colored pool was easy enough, and backflips off the ledges had the crew hootie-hooing. But the bitter reality sank in — all those RED cameras weren’t going to hump themselves out of the ravine on their own. So began the slog. JP the PA was nearly lost on the ascent. Back at the vans, riders and crew signed an unspoken pact: no more needless sweating on dry land.

The trip then turned south to Sayulita, a sleepy bohemian village of vivid colors and laissez-faire locals leaning and loafing about. When in Rome, chill like the Romans — and the crew obliged. ‘Round about sunset and among much yawning, they caught a boat to Marietas Islands. Military exercises kablooeyed a huge hole into one of the volcanic islands, creating a hidden beach. Usually crowded, it was abandoned when they stormed it. The pros posed for pics while the rest of the crew explored caves, collected shells and gawked at the eerie aerial view.

The Sayulita respite was short lived — the schedule demanded a day of driving. Seven hours down the coast, the crew reached Pasquales and checked in to Paco’s. History hung heavy in the hotel’s hot air — every sticker on the windows and signed surf poster on the walls was an artifact from some moment of awesomeness at the break behind the joint. Rob and Justin got the penthouse suite. Everyone else took the leftovers, grateful to be staying at the one place in town with A/C.

Something about the warm water in mainland Mexico stimulates mellow vibe flow. Photo: LifeProof
Something about the warm water in mainland Mexico stimulates mellow vibe flow. Photo: LifeProof

Over the next two days, the crew spent the mornings chasing shade on molten black sands and documenting the riders as they carved the heavy surf with deft moves. Afternoons and evenings were reserved for honing chilling skills — chair leaning, sandfly swatting, sea staring, beer sipping, yarn spinning, shut eying, camarones snacking, board waxing and UNO dealing. Laying back brought everyone together. “Spending time with family and friends with the ability to surf in two distinctly different spots is a memory that will not be forgotten,” waxed Justin.

Then it was over. The week felt like a day. In their attempt to slow time through slow motions, the good vibes sped the clock ahead. In the words of Kalle, “Surfing brought us together, but being able to laugh, learn and share stories in the company of great people made this trip unforgettable.”

Unloading at Puerto Vallarta airport, surrounded by the bustle of cabbies barking for fares and tourists rushing for flights, the squad took in the fast-paced spectacle and smiled at its senselessness. The cosmic truth behind their sleepy epiphany was simple: let not life harsh your mellow.