By Justin Porter Biel
The sun is setting over Playa Los Cerritos, and Mario is the only surfer left in the water. Visible from the sand, his body is a black silhouette bobbing up and down with the incoming swell. He floats dangerously close to the point, the sky behind him alive with brushstrokes of magenta, orange, and violet mixing and blurring like a watercolor. A wave builds, and Mario edges closer to the rocks – arms paddling, body sleek and fishlike in the neoprene suit – and then in a fluid, effortless motion, he’s charging down the face in a low, crouched position. He gains momentum, cuts a line across the water, and then kicks a sharp turn at the top. He cuts two more turns, spraying water across the face and then pops over the lip as the wave closes out. But Mario doesn’t head to shore. Instead, he swims back out.
“Looks like I’ll be here a while,” says Mario’s girlfriend, seated beside my wife and I on the beach.
“How many hours has he been out there?” I say.
The blond, sun-kissed woman shakes her head and giggles. “Honestly, I’ve lost count.”
A tent with the logo Mario’s Surf School sits behind us on the beach. Beside the tent are a row of surfboards and a group of young instructors. The surfers seem relaxed, talking and laughing as another day at the beach comes to an end. They haul the boards to a nearby truck, closing up the surf school while Mario gets one last wave.
Mario didn’t grow up in Todos Santos, but like many who have spent time on Baja’s Pacific side, the ocean eventually drew him back. Originally from Mexico City, Mario’s family moved to La Paz when he was twelve, and by the time he was sixteen, Mario had caught the surfing bug. “When I lived in La Paz,” said Mario, “my dream was to have a house in Todos Santos and be close to the surf.” And with each weekend trip, leaving the calm waters of the Gulf behind in search of waves, Mario’s dream only grew stronger.
When he finished college Mario came back to Todos Santos with aspirations to make surfing not only part of his life but also part of his career. “I was giving surf lessons all day at Cerritos Surf Shack and bartending all night at the Sand Bar in Pescadero,” said Mario. “I did this for about six years until I decided to start my own business.”
Mario’s Surf School officially opened in 2008, and Mario has been sharing the joy of surfing ever since. The premier surfing outfit on Cerritos Beach, Mario Surf School, is known for their talented instructors, tested surfing technique, and high-quality service.
For beginners looking to catch their first wave, there is nowhere better to get a lesson than at Cerritos beach with Mario Surf School. “It is the best beach for teaching,” said Mario, “it has a great beginner wave and a soft sand bottom.”
With the weather heating up, and the summer swells rolling in, stop by Cerritos beach for a lesson with Mario and his team. Be sure to tell them Destino Los Cabos sent you.
Mario’s Surf School is located in the Todos Santos/Pescadero area of Baja California Sur, Mexico, on the Pacific side of the Baja peninsula, 45-min drive north of Cabo San Lucas and a 45-min drive south of La Paz.
To find Mario’s Surf School online visit: mariosurfschool.com