A Quick Guide to Surfing El Salvador in the Spring with Candice
Every year I travel to a new location to surf with my girlfriends. This year we are headed to El Salvador to surf some amazing right point breaks in 83-degree water. My friend Candice has been there many times and has done a little write up on the surf, accommodations, and community below.
When: March 8th-15th (follow @herwavesco stories to see our adventure unfold)
Where: Sunzal El Salvador, staying at One Wave Surf House
Packing: 6'4" custom thruster by Michael Baron of Byrne Surfboards, Seea bikini, Hurley surf bikini & Boys & Arrows bikini, two Seea rashguards, Raw Elements reef save sunscreen & Shiseido UV Protective Stick face stick
Surfing El Salvador. Where do I begin? Oh Right! Right point breaks, that is, for days and 80-degree water -- this is what keeps me coming back every year for more. Located just 25 miles or so south of the capital, San Salvador is La Libertad. This is where the fun begins.
We will be staying in the One Wave Surf House in a gated community just across from one of the country’s most famous surf breaks, Sunzal. Picture, flawlessly peeling right peaks staked to the horizon. This is definitely the spot of choice for most weekend warriors from San Salvador.
El Tunco, the little village just on the south side of the river mouth here has transformed from a rough backwater to a trendy vacation spot for locals and travelers alike, laid back during the week, and absolutely pulsing on the weekends.
There are at least a dozen excellent waves all within about an hour’s drive of La Libertad, so if you don’t feel like battling for waves in the funky local surf town in El Tunco, a short car ride will remedy that. In fact, I really don’t have to think about much, I just show up and decide what break I want to surf each day.
Almost all of El Salvador’s coast faces dead south, it only really gets south and southwest swell, which means summertime energy hits its myriad headlands at a fantastic angle, generating long, well-shaped point waves and thumping beach breaks. The best time is really March and April, which is when I’ll be headed back for more swell that will likely put some knots in my stomach. It’s officially the last months of the dry season when temps are high but south and southwest swells are starting to arrive.
So here I go, and I’ve managed to convince some of my girlfriends to join because it’s the best place to be, especially during this rainy cold spring in SoCal. Here are the top spots we will be hitting:
Sunzal – This wave is around 15 minutes by foot from El Tunco along the rocky shoreline. Because its broad cobble reef juts so much farther out into the ocean than the rest of the nearby coast, Sunzal will suck in every bit of swell out there. The point is sharply angled and relatively deep, which means the wave will retain its shape in all but the largest of swells, but will also be soft and riddled with fat sections. As a result, Sunzal has become Salvador's hotspot for both longboarders and, when it's small, beginners. Nevertheless, if everywhere else is flat, Sunzal will almost always have something to offer.
El Tunco – The little surf village and most popular beach town is home to a wave called La Bocana. Due to its popularity, the area can get busy, but it’s good for beginners and experienced surfers alike, depending on conditions. Waves tend to be bigger here than at surrounding spots. It can be a powerful, intense beach-break for advanced surfers, and is El Salvador’s best wave at high tide. Expect to see an awesome local grommet scene here in the afternoons. The lineup is friendly but be ready for heavy waves and strange currents, it usually works in the afternoons and almost exclusively on high-tide.
El Zonte – This spot breaks well, whatever the conditions, and you get great views of the headlands from the beach. The setting is truly spectacular, with a huge cliff backed by mountains, and it all adds up to a real gem of a spot. It’s a super chill, smaller version of El Tunco with a good right-hand point break and has beach-break options.
K59 - is a quick, right-hand point that breaks on to the rocks. It is definitely a face-race along the wave when it has some size. It is for more experienced surfers. Around the corner is K61, another right point (you can walk or paddle between the two).
Punta Roca - One of the best right-hand points in the world. This wave also hosted a women’s 6* WQS event in June. It is in the town of La Libertad and is long racey right, over shallow, black boulders with a steep barreling take off. Make the first fast section then it’s a long ride of a perfectly walled up wave… but look out for Mumma Roca on low tide, she (a protruding rock), pops out and gets ya!