Saturday, April 11, 2015

Punta Sayulita SUP Classic 2015

This year, the Punta Sayulita Longboard & SUP Classic became the Punta Sayulita SUP Classic.  The development, Punta Sayulita, stepped down from organizing and sponsoring the huge event held in the past and it was in danger of not even happening in any form this year.  In previous years, this was one of our favorite events to be in Sayulita for as it brought world class talent to town for the weekend's competition, a big name concert on the beach and it was just a great time to be here.

Enter Stand Up Paddle Mexico and the Mexico SUP Tour.  The two came together with Punta Sayulita on short notice and pulled off a very respectable, more local event here in Sayulita and renamed it the PUNTA SAYULITA SUP CLASSIC.  No concert on the beach and the big names in the international SUP and longboard scene didn't come but rather a local, Mexico event including "amateurs" and "Pros".  What people may not understand about the surf community in Sayulita is that there many racers and surfers that are World Class living here in town.  The contest basically was a battle of amazing local "pro" level talent along with a few additions.  Many of the local Mexican competitors will be featured in next month's ISA's World Standup Paddle and Paddleboard Championships here in Sayulita.  If you are a fan of SUP then this event will be the best place to be on the entire planet.

Running out for my first heat
This year I again signed up for the "Amateur" over 35 division SUP Surf competition.  The waves did not cooperate this day and I found it very difficult to feel good about anything I was doing out there.  

I must have showed the judges a few more things this year than last as I unexpectedly advanced from my heat to the finals competing against guys who had a lot more experience than I have.  Most of the guys competing were guys I surf with anyway so it was a pretty fun to be out there.

Well, last place in the finals is at least in the finals and all three of these guys are certainly better surfers than me.  I just wish the waves could have provided some additional energy so I could have played the "dark horse" more confidently and perhaps provided an upset of sorts.  It wasn't to be unfortunately.  All in all, a great weekend and the professional men had great waves and put on an amazing show.  It also gave a great preview of what will be in store in next month's World Championships here in town.  The fire is lit to gain some additional skills and be ready for next year's "old school" contest.  I will certainly be competing in 2016 if the opportunity is there again...maybe I'll convince Ashley to compete in the women's division as well.

Chachin, Paco, John and Ozzy

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Celebrate The Beat 2015

If there is one activity in the world that Alex would choose to do forever it would most likely be "dance".  With very little background, she gets in there, quickly learns the choreography and moves easily from beat to beat.  It amazes me every time I see her at practice and perform.  A genetic gift from her mom I would guess.  The Colorado based, not-for-profit organization, Celebrate The Beatagain brought their program to hundreds of children in the area this winter.  Teaching artist, choreographer and force of nature, Colleen Macomber, arrived once again to teach school aged kids in the communities of Punta Mita, Higuera Blanca, San Ignacio, Sayulita and San Pancho.  Though we live in Sayulita, Alex rejoined her group from last year from San Pancho.

Celebrate The Beat's mission is to teach inspirational music and dance classes that help children discover their potential by motivating them to believe in themselves, to value artistic expression, and to develop a personal standard of excellence.  This year's theme was "Rivers of the World".  Each dance group, represented by colored T-shirts, had their own river to represent in a performance at San Pancho's Plaza del Sol .

The photo above does not even include all of the kids included in the performance.  There were also 30 or so smaller children who were off to the side and in front of the stage.

I wish Alex could work with Colleen regularly during the year.  She would love it and get so much out of the high quality instruction she provides.  We just hope Celebrate the Beat returns to the area again next year.  The major sponsor they had for our local program in Mexico had to step down this year.  It is a substantial investment each year to run this fantastic opportunity for the kids.  If you can help the program continue, please contact them or us.  Hundreds of smiling kids in this area of Mexico would really appreciate it.  

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Living Abroad - A Blog Repost

This article about living "abroad" hit home for me.  Other than thinking about how much the kids have changed and developed in amazing ways, I have not given much consideration to how much Ashley and I have changed until recently.  Check it out.  Only a 5 minute read.  A quote from the article.

"Because living abroad is one of the most satisfying and challenging things a person can do. It altered the core of who I thought I was and who I am now. Living abroad changed me.
... Forever."

From our own experience, all we can say is that the scariest part of beginning your own Adventure is actually deciding to do it. #4 on the list from the article. Whether it is only a month long or an "all in" experience, you won't see things the same ever again.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Schleper Skis for Mexico!

Having watched Sarah Schleper compete back in the day in Park City, I was very surprised that she was still racing AND competing for Mexico!

Click on photo for article

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Only A Matter Of Time

This is freaking awesome!!  Unfortunately, it is only a matter of time before we see this in Sayulita and such a ride probably will not end as well as this one did. What a wave though!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Escuela Del Mundo Scholarships

Our kid's Montessori school, Escuela Del Mundo, is dedicated to helping people in the community by providing financial assistance to families that may not have the means to pay for full tuition.  The school's scholarship program is always in need of donations for families like Laura's.  Laura and her two young children live in town here in Sayulita and get on the public bus everyday to go to school the next town over in San Pancho.  Then Laura turns around and gets on the bus again to produce and sell jewelry back here in Sayulita.  She repeats the trip in the afternoon when it's time to pick the kids up.

We have gotten to know Laura's family this year since we give her children and/or Laura a ride to and from school several days a week.  The are a very nice family, are always smiling and are a great addition to the school.  If you can help out Laura and others like her by donating to the school's scholarship program please contact the school.

Escuela Del Mundo is actively seeking sponsors and financial assistance in all aspects of the school's operations, enrollment and facility development.  If you have an serious interest in making an impact in many people's lives and on a very special organization please contact us or the school directly.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Festival Sayulita 2015

Photo by Derrick Lundy
Once again Festival Sayulita has come and gone this year and it was bigger and better than it was last year.  This year brought more variety to the event with lots of movies, a surf contest, food pairings, fun run, kids events, spirits, nightly entertainment in the Plaza and an outdoor concert.

Our family spent three nights on the beach watching movies.  Two of the nights we watched surf movies as the waves crashed yards away in the darkness.  Oney Anwar Chasing the Dream and Tierra de Patagones. Both were pretty good but the high point of the movie watching was the movie Boxtrolls.  The movie was recently nominated for an Academy Award for "Best Animated Feature".  It resembles Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer TV Christmas specials of old but only 50 years more modern.  Very cool visually.  There were many venues for movie watching throughout town but movies on the beach were free for everyone.  One of the creators of the movie, Mark Shapiro, was even in town and held a Q and A session after the movie.

The Festival added a day for kids which was a big hit for locals as the Plaza became packed with kids, music, performers and parents and it was like a big block party for the community.              
Photo by Derrick Lundy
Even in a small town you don't see everyone all the time but it was great to meet up and meet new people and see friends.

The Festival had a World Class long board contest as well.  Men and women competitors from all over the world came to town and the waves cooperated.  The first day of competition was held on a Friday while the kids were in school so Ashley and I parked on the beach with friends to watch and cheer on local surf talent.

The biggest event of the Festival was the outdoor concert featuring Kongos and Dirty Heads.  I've become a fan of Dirty Heads in the last year and to have them come to our little pueblo was really cool.  I made my way up to the front of the stage.  Close enough that they may have even wondered who the old guy singing along with them was.  The Festival organizers knew I was pretty stoked that Dirty Heads was headlining the concert so the got me this awesome Festival poster signed by the band.

My autographed Festival poster
In only it's second year, Festival Sayulita has become an event we look forward to.  Last year was good and this year was better.  It is very well run, everything the organizers do is professional and it shows.  It is very community friendly since it provides plenty of free events and activities for all ages along with quality paid events for those who want to attend a larger variety of events.  I have to believe it has been received well by the community as a whole as far as how it is run and impacts town since it is bringing folks in during a time that may be a bit slower as far as visitors.  We can't wait to see what the Festival brings next year.


Monday, January 26, 2015

"Those Parents"

I have always been in amazement at "those parents" who schedule their kids every afternoon for activities every single day of the week.  School gets out, the kids gobble down some energy and off they go doing whatever they do for part or all of the afternoon.  I wondered, do the kids ever get down time or an opportunity to actually develop the skills to keep themselves occupied?   Do they just follow orders and report for the next activity whether they want to or not?  Are the parents scared to have them at home doing...gasp...nothing?

Well, my thoughts on this have changed a bit in the past few weeks.  I have come to realize that the kids are older now, can do and handle more activity.  They want to do it all.  I have also come to realize that nothing can compare to what this little corner of the world can offer them each day.  So, unintentionally we are totally loaded up each and every day of the week with the coolest and rewarding of activities.  Even better is that all instruction is totally in Spanish.  Here is what is on tap for the next few months.  Each with it's own link.

I am proud to say that the kids have been in the Capoeira program for over a year and a half and will be graduating again in March at this year's Batizado.  I really like this program and hope they continue with it with all the programs that are out there competing for the kid's time.  It is unique and the group of kids, coaching and conditioning are all amazing.  Certainly without the skills they have learned during their time with Capoeira they would have had a tough time diving into other things.

Alex aims for the knock out kick.

Celebrate the Beat
Alex goes it alone with this one and returns again this year at special invitation from the instructor.  Where Alex learned to dance is a mystery and her ability to control her body, keep the rhythm and remember all the moves is beyond me.  This a fantastic program for kids of all abilities and again, the instruction is fantastic!  We love that she gets to do this.

Entre Amigos Art Program
This one was unexpected and again Alex is attending by special invitation.  She submitted a painting for an art contest at Entre Amigos which is the community center in San Pancho.  For each age group the Entre Amigos staff selected a handful of submissions and those kids were given free art classes to learn new techniques for the next round of competition.  Cool!  Alex is way into it and she gets to take class with one of her good San Pancho friends too.

Alex and Adesha listen to the results.  Yes, Ozzy is in the back row.

This one is really cool!  Circo De Los Niños is yet another offering at Entre Amigos.  You can click on the link to read about the program on the website but here is the short version.  In 2011, Cirque du Soleil co-founder Gilles Ste-Croix approached Entre Amigos with the idea of creating a circus show with the children of San Pancho.

The program basically takes kids out of the community and provides them with training and equipment so they eventually take part in a performance designed, sponsored and choreographed by Gilles Set-Croix and his wife.  It has become a huge fund raiser for Entre Amigos and we attended the performance last year.  It was great!!  Lights, costumes, make up, music, a packed house and we knew many of the kids from school and around town here in Sayulita. Alex and Trace are both in the beginner program this year and a whole portion of the Entre Amigos bodega complex has been rehabbed to accommodate the program permanently.

What is there to do in small town Mexico?  Just soccer and go to the beach right?  Think again!  All of these programs take place in San Pancho so we will be spending a lot of time there for the coming months until each of the programs comes to a climax in late March.  It's going to be a busy time for sure.  

Friday, January 23, 2015

An Adventure In Our Own Backyard - Sorry, I Can't Tell You Where

A friend from Vallarta recently came through Sayulita for the day and in an email the next day he said "I have never seen the big deal about Sayulita. I just don't get it." It's true that Sayulita can be busy and noisy and depending your timing, very crowded. That can indeed be a turn off.  But Sayulita is more than what people see walking through town or the hanging out on the main beach. There are places you can go just around the corner that are another world altogether. We've been going to a great beach very close to our new house in town. It may take all of 10 minutes for us to get there and you never hear the pulse of Sayulita just around the corner. We decided to head that way recently on a weekend day and other than 3 boys playing in the surf, we were the only other people on the beach.

The unique characteristic about this beach is it's jet black sand.  It gives this place a very different look than other beaches in the area.  The kids like to bring magnets with them since the sand also has magnetic qualities.  While were there, Trace decided he'd paint himself with the sand and bury himself in a hole.  It's a "boy" thing I guess.  We considered just leaving him there as the tide came up just for entertainment but we eventually decided against it.  The beach this day was pounded by a consistent beach break similar to Sayulita's north end beach. 

The kids had lots of fun even if they were only comfortable only going waste deep.  Nice to able to get out of the house and avoid the main beach during a weekend.

Not exactly a popular spot on a Sunday and that is a nice change of pace once in a while.  No venders either.  There are a few houses around and we have not been surprised to see some nude sunbathers as well.  

Alex couldn't let her brother have all the fun so she got into painting her body with sand too. So where is this place?  Well, we can't really tell where all our spots are but if you ask around it really isn't a secret.  You just have to know to ask around.

Sayulita has many of these little off the beaten path type spots and the day tripper or visitors who don't leave the the busier areas won't ever see things like this.  We are ok with that.  I have since told my friend who doesn't see the draw of Sayulita that he needs to come back for a personal tour since places like this will likely change his point of view.  This is Sayulita as well.

Friday, January 16, 2015

5 Years Old

Ozzy and Ashley Adventures is 5 years old!  We have always maintained that the blog is a means for us to keep in touch with family and friends but many folks have tuned in for other reasons.  We are amazed that some months there are over 1300 "page views" of our little piece of the web.  Where do they all come from?  Who are you?  (Yes, some hits come from spam)  Some folks want to know what we are up to, see photos, are considering a similar adventure, some find us by accident, some laugh at or feel sorry for us and some may just want to see "what happens next".

Well, we try to tell it like it is without the sugar coating or blissful commentary about how magical things are to be taking on an adventure such as this.  The reality is that it is the hardest thing we have ever done.  This is NO Corona commercial.  We have no intentions to leave so if things are happening we will post them here.