Detonation Down South

The rugged variety of pristine sandbars and pummeling beachbreaks in Mainland Mexico went critical in June, where tropical storms bookended the Puerto Escondido Challenge BWWT event for three weeks of unforgettable conditions at California's favorite retreat. Santa Cruz's Kyle Thiermann, finding himself off the wall on an entirely different coastline.


A few days before the contest. A lightweight beachbreak, it's not. Mexi-Pipe's a full-blown K.O.


Puerto Rican Alejandro Moreda settles into a precarious position.


Alex Gray has a knack for finding the pulse of every big Mainland swell at exactly the right time. No surprise who's inside this crystal palace.


Jamie Mitchell, pulling the covers overhead during a sunrise sesh.


Anthony Tashnick stuck around after the BWWT event, since the swell was still pumping and was even cleaner at times. Here, his patience pays dividends on a rare glassy evening.


Othmane "HotMan" Choufani, a Morrocan regular at Puerto, nabbing a wave to remember on the morning of the event's second day.

Austin Smith-Ford

Shallow and square, this particular sandbar lasted for just two or three days. Austin Smith-Ford, beating the clock.

Koa Rothman

After a red-eye flight to the mainland, Koa Rothman was wide-awake after snagging this morning bomb, his first wave of the day.


The peak of the swell had died down, and while most surfers had booked their tickets home, Alana Blanchard - shown here putting on a progressive clinic - and Leila Hurst had this sandbar all to themselves.


Winds down south can easily be your friend in the morning and your foe in the evenings. Depending on how shallow your sandbar is, though, a clear inside runner can be yours on a day of onshores. Koa Smith, content in conflicting weather patterns.


Greg Long finished runner-up to Twiggy Baker in the contest, but he challenged the savage beachbreak, clean and warbling alike, for days afterward, showing again why he's one of the steeliest chargers in the business.

Greg and Twiggy

Two Puerto Kings, refueling with hot tacos and a well-earned beer after the contest.


Matt Bromley with plenty of room for his tall frame inside this second-floor tube.


This was during the morning of the first day of the Puerto contest. Event organizers buzzed around, coordinating logistics before the horn sounded, while surfers like Matt Bromley snuck in and caught one of the cleanest giants of the day.

Starry Night

A starry night, Matt Bromley, and the patience to wait for an uptick in swell, all coming together.


Leila Hurst, digging two fins into a playful set.


Oscar Moncada, not a drop out of place.


As crowded as Puerto gets when it's firing, positioning makes all the difference between the wave of the day and a missed opportunity. Moncada, dialed in.


Built-in AC for Rolando Montes on a day that flirted with triple digit temperatures.


Another rare onshore racetrack on the inside, and wave number 300 or so for a frothing Timmy Reyes.


Wavecheck, number 301.


Michael Dunphy, grinding down south.


A dreamy evening bar, scored by lauded purple blob-chaser Rusty Long.


Great Britain's Tom Lowe developed his big-wave chops on punishing Irish breaks like Mullaghmore and Reillys, which trained him well for hounding barrels south of the border.


The waves in Mainland Mexico need not be overhead and towering to make an indelible memory. Torrey Meister, ripping in a fun, high-performance setting.


Toro, a guide from Hualtuco, uses some insider knowledge to find a spinning inside section.


A few days before the contest, sets piling out the back, and a fortuitous scene for Twiggy Baker, who had this glowing sunrise greeting all to himself.