April 11, 2010

Surfing competition is over - but will be back next year

ARROYO SECO, Jalisco, Mexico - The announcers at the surf contest got the loudspeaker going about half-way through the competition today at Playa Grande, just in time to hear that the promoters of the contest - el municipio de La Huerta and Corona Beer - want to make Arroyo Seco into an international surfing destination.

Property owners will likely rejoice at that idea. People who live here might be a little less enthusiastic.

Whatever the case, the surfing today was even better than Saturday, as the surfers went out two by two to compete, one wearing a red jersey, the other blue.

Some very fancy surfing took place, even with relatively small waves again.

In the wave
Riding the wave

There were two mishaps, one minor, one not-so-minor.

In the minor category, a Canadian surfer who winters in Melaque got inspired by the competition and decided to head out and try a few waves. But 25 feet from shore, he got swept north - right to the area where the surfers were competing, effectively blocking the surfers from making their runs.

The announcers told him to move off, but in the wind and waves, he couldn't hear.

He was caught in a terrible rip tide and ended up going out into deeper water to escape the current - escorted by another surfer who passed along the message that he had to move.

Hurt surfer on ground
Hurt surfer getting medical attention

Hurt surfer hauled to ambulance
On his way to the ambulance

In the not-so-minor category, a non-competing surfer stumbled out of the water right in front of the fans, holding his neck and in obvious pain. And because the bomberos and an ambulance were there for the tournament, he was immediately treated by the red-shirted staff.

The medics immobilized his head and neck and whisked him off in the ambulance after only about 10 minutes.

Lois Lane interviews surf officials
Lois Lane interviews tournament officials

Also in the middle of all this was Guadalajara Reporter columnist Jane Gorby (aka Lois Lane) on the beat to gather information for her column.

After watching an hour of the competition, she went over to the judges' table and in very fine journalistic style, button-holed several of the leaders. Button-holed might not be the right expression, considering one fellow was sans a shirt, the other wore a blue t-shirt.

Still, Jane got the story and snapped a few photos, too, before departing in a cloud of dust back to La Manzanilla and her computer.

Photo tower at surf competition
Photo tower at the swim competition

The event was a photographer's dream, providing me with evidence (again) that I need to upgrade some of my photography equipment before next year's competition.

Perhaps I should upgrade as soon as I get back in the U.S. - the land of cheap electronics.

Here is a brief video of some of the action:

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