Nestled in the most southern corner of El Salvador far, far away from the violence filled streets of San Salvador lays some of the most beautifully spectacular and untouched coastline in the Central Americas....and it just happens to home two of the best right hand point breaks on the planet. Bordering nearby Honduras this isolated stretch of coastline is astoundingly breathtaking to say the least. It is where vast golden sand beaches are lined with row upon row of towering coconut trees which gradually lead their way to ruggedly beautiful lush jungle covered headlands where gorgeous untouched golden bays nestle in between.
For some strange reason this part of El Salvador goes under the radar and so has far has escaped over development from the greed fueled tourism industry...but I fear unfortunately that this will not be the case for much longer.
While this stunning scenery alone is excuse enough to visit this region however once you take the two world class point breaks of Punta Flores and Punta Mango into account any avid surfer surely has no excuse not to visit this wave rich region. These two waves generally require a solid swell before they break and they will not truly light up until the swell hits the 2m mark. While there is also rumoured to be many other quality but fickle waves in the region if one is willing to explore further by boat.
Punta Flores is a classic sand bottomed point break that peels off a rocky coconut tree riddled headland. When the conditions are right this wave can run a couple hundred metres before it ends halfway down the beach. While Flores is usually more of a fast down the line wave on low tide on a good day you can snavel the odd chunky barrel section on the outside while there are also some sneaky barrels on the inside thrown in for good measure. In comparison to Flores's more Northern cousins in the El Tunco region Flores although crowded at times (predominantly with wave hungry Brasilains) has more of a low key vibe and it is easy enough to get your fair share of waves. Unfortunately the same can not be said about it's close neighbour Punta Mango. [Story continued below]
Despite it's isolation and difficult access the world class wave of Punta Mango is deceptively crowded. Imagine our horror after boarding out fishing boat at 6am and traveling over 20 minutes along this beautifully isolated coastline to then arrive at this fabled point break only to be greeted by a horde of close to 40 frothing Brasilian surfers already clogging the line-up. I could not believe my eyes and despite the well groomed 3-4ft lines of swell I would have paid the captain to turn around and drop me back at Flores if I only had my board with me.
Fortunately for me I had my trusty camera on hand so I was gifted the chance to document this famed wave while my Brasilian counterparts all battled away for their share of glory. The crowded lineup was overflowing with bravo and greed with everyone snaking, dropping in and getting constantly sucked over the falls while many a barrel went begging.....a truly unfortunate sight to behold. I don't want to sound like Brazilian hater, I love Brasil, have many Brasilian friends and clearly many Brasilian surfers rip but unfortunately that was not the case this day. However, I had traveled with a crew of solid surfers including Hawaiin Benny Ferris. Benny is a ripper from the Island of Kauai who completely dominated this session and gave me something of quality to shoot....a stark contrast to the rest of the line up who quite frankly were making my eyes bleed with their inept surfing and atrocious water etiquette.
In my humble opinion Punta Mango is tied neck and neck with Punta Roca for the title of the best wave in the country. Punta Mango offers up a slabby ledgey barrel on the outside and then another hollow section on the inside but what tips it for me is the jaw dropping jungle covered mountainous Punta Mango backdrop, absolutely gorgeous to say the least. I absolutely loved my time spent in this picture perfect paradise..... well all barring one small thing......scorpions! [Story continued below]
There are many perks about living in and visiting Central America but I can tell you that being stung by a 10cm long Scorpion is not one of them. Unfortunately for me I was to experience just that late one night in Flores. I had climbed into bed to relax and enjoy a well deserved movie after long hard day of surfing. Suddenly I felt a sharp stabbing pain in my right arm and I rapidly jumped out of my bed only to be confronted by a 10cm long brown Scorpion (similair to the one pictured) sitting gleefully on my pillow. Naturally I started shitting my pants and knowing nothing about scorpions at the time (but some strange reason now I am an expert) my immediate thought was I was going to die and I had to get to hospital fast, real fast.
Fortunately for me the local Hotel employee was an expert on scorpion attacks and after the quick collection and disposal of my angry friend they calmly informed me that I would not die, would only be in pain for three hours and that it was only medium sized one anyway.....like wtf hahaha! Apparently this worker had been stung six times in his life and he said that I was lucky that it was not an albino or a black scorpion as they can be deadly...ok so it's all sweet then? While I did not want to be overly rude and question his local expertise I still felt the need to consult a local medical specialist. The local Doctor merely confirmed the story and informed that I would be in for a wild night and all I could do was sit back enjoy the ride.
So my next six hours were spent going through a whole host of symptoms ranging from numbness in my mouth (at one point it felt like I had popping candy exploding under my gums), tongue, arms and legs to extreme nausea and hypothermia. Not fun if you ask me but thankfully I made it through the night and have a hell of a story to tell. :-)