World-Class Wave Under Threat

Anyone who surfs knows Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca, Mexico as home to some of the biggest heaviest waves in the world, but what you may not know is that alongside the chaos of Zicatela (Mexpipe) lies what’s considered to be one of the best bodyboarding waves in the World, Punta Colorada. However, with Marina developments confirmed, the future for Colorada is in serious danger.

The plans were given the go ahead after the nearby marina in Marinero became overcrowded. It seems that Procamar, a Mexican construction company that specializes in jetties and marinas, who are the company taking the plans forward, not only overlooked the abundance of wildlife here but also the effects on travelling surfers have had on the local economy, during a 3 week study.

Check out these empty wave shots from Colorada: Photos By Grant Nutter unless otherwise stated.

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It’s not just the surfing community that will loose out if the construction goes ahead, the area is a sanctuary for all sorts of wildlife. The lagoon is well known for its crocodiles as well and various species of birds and the surrounding waters are home to an abundance of sea life including turtles, yellow fin tuna, mahi mahi, sailfish and dolphins.

Proposed plans for marina at Punta Colorada Photo from http://www.e-consuta.com/oaxaca

In 2010 I  was lucky enough to spend 6 weeks in Puerto, of which I spent the majority of my mornings copping beatings and the occasional nugget at Colorada, and afternoons avoiding the sun. The wave blew me away, wedging peaks pop up all over the place offering big pits and air sections just meters from the shoreline. Loosing this wave and it’s natural environment would be a real shame.

“It attracts anyone who rides a bodyboard, the joint is made for it, it’s short and intense and right on the shore….pure fun!,” says professional Bodyboarder Matt Lackey in a recent interview for Movement magazine. “It would be a tragedy, that wave alone brings thousands of bodyboarders into puerto each year, which means thousands of dollars spent into the towns economy. Plus that wave is a breeding ground for up and coming Mexican bodyboarders…it helps shape the future for bodyboarding in Mexico.”

Unfortunately with coastal developments becoming more frequent this kind of destruction is not uncommon, and this wouldn’t be the first time a Mexican wave fell victim to human construction. Petacalco, located at the mouth of Rio Balsas on the Guerrero coast, used to be known as a perfect hollow A-frame.  In 1975, Japanese financers funded the largest steel mill in the third world, and constructed a hydroelectric dam upstream of Petacalco on the Rio Balsas, stopping the necessary flow of sand to maintain the sand bars. The harbour and accompanying jetties combined with a large south swell in August of 1975 resulted in so much sand being removed from the beach the wave was ruined for ever.

A Battle has begun between the International surfing community and the Mexican government to save the Punta Colorada. Petitions have been set up and professional surfers all over the world have been contacted to make noise for Colorada, and the wave was recently added as an endangered wave to be protected to the ‘Save The Waves Coalition’ website.

If you hope to surf Punta Colorada one day please sign the online petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/punta-colorada-natural-reserve-puerto-escondido-oaxaca-mexico/

And check out the Save Colorada Facebook page for updates:http://www.facebook.com/Save.Colorada

For more information about waves in danger and those already extinct take a look at: http://www.savethewaves.org/

Here’s a little clip from Josh Garner at Punta Colorada: