Surfing in Ecuador

Montańita

I see vast desolated areas and complete desert. This is a coast of Ecuador. I get to know a few fishermen and observe how an everyday life looks like in a fishing town Manta. I spend the afternoon in a bar trying to understand a bunch of drunk Ecuadorians and it is not easy. I encounter a peaceful beach of Santa Marianita a bit out of town, but in fact, the best is yet to come. A small tourist village Montańita is at first glance an idyllic and a bit calmer variety of Lao town Vang Vieng, arguably the craziest town on the planet.

Montańita

My plan for the village Montańita is simple. Surfing, non-stop, till the end of strength and energy. Also, having a good time as well. Luisa is a cheerful girl from Colombia with whom I travel the last few days. She has a plan to meet here with her friend. Together we find “Todo Bien”, a laid back bar on the beach with surfboards rental.

Montańita basically has two surfspots. There is an extensive beach with an easy beach-break of about three to four feet high waves. This makes it about the ideal conditions for beginners. There are of course days with a stronger swell. About a kilometer north of the village there is a break-point spot with bigger waves. Due to the dangerous underwater rocks, this place is available only for experienced surfers.

During the subsequent days I surf on various boards. I start from 9′ longboard, then I try two 8′ and 7’6” funboards to finally find out that the classic and perfectly shaped wooden board 7’8” fits me best. This board provides an excellent stability and floating capacity, it is fast enough and despite the large size and its buoyancy it is relatively easy to control.

Icarus over the Pacific

Montańita is a fantastic place. It is difficult to complain about anything here. It may be too loud, but it is us who make most of the noise. Sometimes in the evenings there are hordes of insects the size of a large moth or a cockroach on the streets. They can fly, move and jump and quite often appear in the least expected moment, enter corners of a backpacks, bags and pockets. Anyway, you get get used to it.

Just like any other tourist destination, Montańita has also inflated prices. Shopping around can be interesting and this way you easily find fairly priced local food. For example, the onion soup encebollado con patacones is a delicacy served with fish, chicken, hot spices, limes and roasted plantains.

In the evening, dozens of artists appear on the street, there are drums, guitars, crowds of people, travelers, hippies, concerts, juggling and magician shows. All the action takes place in the area of a few blocks in the center of the village. Tourists have fun dancing on the main promenade along which there are dozens of stalls preparing fabulously cheap, extremely good and strong as you wish drinks made of all sorts fresh tropical fruit and popular or local liquors. There are dozens of drinks to choose from, but you can come up with something original to suit your preferences, for example, take pieces of coconut, a bit of pineapple, condensed milk, a banana, some rum and vodka and mix it together with ice.

Balancing between day and night I lose the track of time, but one point becomes notable. I spend the international Christmas Eve with two Portuguese girls, Luisa and her friend Adriana, an American girl, two Colombian guys and an Ecuadorian, a Chilean and a French guy who join the party the following day. This year, instead of the carp (which is the traditional food for Christmas in Poland) there will be a great seafood diner straight from the Pacific Ocean.

December 2011

surfing