Surfing is not like riding a bike. I quickly realized this after surfing in Australia for a year (2005), to then only surfing once or twice a year. The sport is extremely technical, and when done well looks way too easy.
I think anyone who has surfed before would agree that it is a difficult sport but also one that brings so much excitement and satisfaction when done well. For me, catching a good wave is like riding a fresh line through the trees on my snowboard; for others it could be scoring a goal, hitting a touchdown, sinking a hole in one. Another great thing about being in the water is watching those around you surf, and I have never seen so much surf style as I have in El Tunco, El Salvador.
The El Salvadorian surfers, tanned from a lifetime under the hot sun, arrive by foot or bike with their short board under one arm. They hit the water and it only takes them seconds until they are in the ripple of waves, shouting in Spanish at their friends. A simple two strokes and they’ve caught a wave, one second and they are up and quickly descending the wave as it crashes around them.
But their style.. that is the most incredible thing to watch. They maneuver quickly, slashing up and down the waves, dodging other surfers in the water. Many have playful tricks up their sleeves: 180’s, riding backwards, toe grabs, some would turn harshly back into the surf and get kicked up high in the air then dive back into the water. It was absolutely incredible to watch.
My favourite time to surf in El Tunco was during sunset. Watching the reflection glitter off the water, catching a wave and riding beside the setting sun.
Many traveller’s choose to avoid El Salvador because of the danger they hear in the news. I encourage anyone who is or will be travelling Central America in the future to consider El Tunco in their travel plans, truly it is a little surfing paradise.