Too many waves…

When we were living in Southern California I fell in love with surfing. It was a love-hate relationship, with far more HATE. My frustrations in California stemmed from the following…

1) Surfing is hella inconsistent. In kayaking the river ALWAYS flows. In rock climbing the rock NEVER changes. But in surfing you have to wait for swell, and when it arrives you have to factor in swell direction, wind, tides, and location.

2) Once the waves actually arrive and all the other variables come into alignment, you still have to compete with dozens of other surfers to catch one wave. Hassling for waves is at best a nuisance, and at worst a danger to your health. I had some interesting experiences surfing the pier at Venice Beach. And of course there was Tunco, El Salvador.

Nevertheless, I always got in there, usually right in the middle, and tried my best.

One of the most exciting aspects of leaving the USA was to find uncrowded and consistent waves. It wasn’t easy to find. Although we surfed our way down the entire Pacific coast of Mexico and Central America, all we ever saw were glimmers of hope. That is until we arrived in Peru.

Northern Peru has the most consistent surf I’ve ever seen. And it is completely roadside, which means I can go out for a couple hours and be back at work in no time. No driving, hiking, or F’ing around.

Check out this arial shot of Huanchaco…

When there is no crowd and you can catch any wave you want, a 2 hour session is all you need.

But after weeks of surfing, I’ve had to take my self out of the game. I’m just too tired. Today it happened, I benched myself.

I got nothing left to give. Yet the waves keep coming. 

Most people think/claim that surfing was invented in Hawaii, but few know that the claim is actually in dispute. Many believe that surfing was first practiced in Northern Peru. 

I’m not going to debate the origins of the sport, but I can certainly see how the indigenous people of Peru would have been compelled to ride the swell here in Huanchaco.

So today will be a rest day. And tomorrow… back out there.


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  1. Wow – that overhead shot is just amazing. And yeah, on rivers you just have flow; weather, wind is irrelevant (within reason), and at places like Bob’s, paddlers wait their place in line so even gups get their rides.
    In the US I’ve been lucky enough to surf to exhaustion when crowds aren’t around – I’d be meaning to paddle in, but that last ride was just so fine, just gotta have one more (this would go on for at least another hour *grins*)

    Uncle Mick

    • Ah yes, the idea of waiting in line in the eddy. I guess nobody cared about the kooks because their ride only took 1 second. In the ocean you may have to wait 5 minutes just for the next set to arrive.

      I’m looking forward to the kayaking down in Chile. I plan to look up Spelius and Tom Long is down there too.

  2. Kenneth Dingsor says:

    I want to find where these rivers are ALWAYS running 🙂

  3. olassss. olassss….. ke buenooooooooo

  4. That picture of the crowded line-up sent shivers down my spine. I won’t be able to surf California ever again after this trip.

  5. Sean Vierling says:

    Tree, if you were going to live in a town with great surf and colture for 6 months in Peru, where would you go

  6. Tree you read my mind!!! I am sooo in that space with surfing right now where there’s more frustration and anger than enjoying the stoke. It’s probably bc I can only surf every few months and it takes 6-8 hours just to GET there (take a ferry then drive but most of the time is waiting around for the damn ferry). The beach break I surf (in Tofino on vancouver island) can be incredible dumpy, messy and it’s not the easiest thing in the world especially in wild winter surf. Just getting out there sometimes beats the life out of me. Add to that a super thick wetsuit for the awesome cold water, hood, booties and gloves, well my mobility is as much as a pig in mud. not to mention my fitness isn’t really up to snuff but that’s another story. I’m also transitioning to a much shorter board and I’m having a hell of a time with even just basic paddling, so never mind catching anything =(.

    Now where in the WORLD is that first picture from? I can’t imagine fighting for a wave in that crowd! I would never get anything.

    thanks goodness I’m going to Hawaii next spring for some decent surf!!

    • Oh Liv, booties and a hood? I bet it’s a 5 mil right? BURRRRR!

      Stoked to hear you’re heading to the islands! have a great trip and catch one for me.


  7. Uh oh, Scott might want to skip all of Baja, mainland Mexico, and central America now that he’s read this post. Certainly that crowded photo is fixed — that’s not for real!?

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