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We caught up with Let The Sea Set You Free winner and Roxy Outdoor Fitness ambassador after her recent trip back down to beautiful Sayulita, Mexico. She went down south to continue her community work with Project Save Our Surf and attend the Roxy Stand Up Paddle in her and Longboard competition where she met up with fellow team riders Izzi Gomez, Vanina Walsh and Chloe Calmon and Jen Smith.
In Katie’s words:
Although we were all of different ages, from different places, and with different ways of surfing from shortboarding to longboarding to SUPing, we all immediately clicked. As soon as we anchored at the surf spot Burros, all in our Roxy bikinis, we jumped out of the boat into the pool warm water and paddled into the line up. Our local female water photographer flippered behind us capturing our snaps and smiles on every wave. After we sat by the crystal clear waters and stuffed ourselves with fresh shrimp ceviche, guacamole, and chips. Nothing tops Mexican food post-surf, except that post-scarfing siesta. Sleepily we drove back to Sayulita, stopping in San Pancho for a quick surf check and street vendor shopping. Then we performed a minor Cola-Loca surgery to the fin cut on my ankle (AKA we super glued it shut!).
The next day, I was reunited with Coste Verde International Elementary School. I was stoked to see my mural, students from last summer, and the progress the school had made with Project Save Our Surf’s contributions. We had blast reading to them from the books that PSOS brought to donate. After that the school, PSOS crew and I, built a playground by reusing old tires. To step it up from observation to interaction, provides a whole other level of learning and experience.
After a long, rewarding day at the school, I raced off to join the Roxy girls for some autograph signings at Puerto Vallarta’s two Roxy stores. We were then let loose to raid the store and shop till we dropped, literally. We all passed out on the hour drive back to Sayulita and barely made it to the PSOS benefit dinner at a beautiful estate tucked away on a private beach past the point.
In the morning, we donned our favorite new Roxy Outdoor Fitness swimsuits for a shoot at the beach cabanas. We hung in hammocks, sipped from fresh coconuts, and sat in the sand while snapping shots. After, I walked down to the surf contest to participate in a PSOS beach cleanup. I shared a trash bag with a few little Roxy-loving surfer girls I had met at the school last summer. It was awesome connecting with the kids and showing them what a difference we could make.
Wanting a workout before dinner, I joined Sayulita’s own world-class SUP racer, Fernando Stalla, for a paddle past the point and back. I had only stand up paddled once before and the conditions had turned stormy before sunset, but Fernando showed me the proper way to paddle, how to ride waves, and unknowingly the course for the SUP race I would compete in days later.
Contest day arrived and Sayulita buzzed with the accumulation of all the surf contestants and spectators on the shore. After a quiet early morning beach run to a hidden point in my Roxy Outdoor Fitness gear, I watched the contest all day.
That night everyone gathered at the reggae concert on the beach. Before Mishka performed, the PSOS team and I took the stage in front of a massive audience (eek!) and presented a new surfboard to little local girl who demonstrated environmental stewardship. She had been out on the water surfing banged up boards until now. To be part of that gift was so special.
After a long night of dancing, the last day of the contest came. It was time for the anticipated finals, 6-mile SUP race from Sayulita to San Pancho and back, and the 2.2K short SUP race. For fun, I joined local friend and Sayulita surf ambassador, Papas Gonzales, for the 2.2K race. I had no experience SUP racing, but benefitted greatly from paddling the course prior in the exact stormy conditions.
My fitness, yoga, and surfing experience really translated to stand up paddling and helped me balance, navigate, and ride the wind waves amongst the chop and slop. Shockingly, I came in 2nd in the women’s division! That night all the Roxy girls celebrated as Vanina and Chloe both placed 1st in SUP surfing and women’s longboarding. We all took the podium and received the most beautiful beaded wooden trophies and a local versions of a dream catchers that looked like large colorful yarn-woven wands. With all the contestants, we dined and danced in the giant palapa on the peninsula overlooking Sayulita.
The night and the entire trip were truly unforgettable.