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OC RegisterPunta Mita is Mexico’s Malibu

June 25, 2011|By LAYLAN CONNELLY

Surf legend Gerry Lopez stood next to me on a stand-up paddleboard, watching a bump in the ocean grow as it inched toward us.

"Paddle, paddle, you got it," the "Pipeline master" said in a gentle, encouraging tone.

I dug my paddle deep into the ocean's clear blue surface, trying to maintain my balance, and the wave picked the board up under my feet. Soon I was gliding down the line clutching my paddle with Lopez, one of the best tube riders and most respected surfers in the world, behind me. A party wave. Until I nearly nailed the guy sitting on the inside, and I bailed out of the wave to avoid a massive collision.

It would be my last wave during a magical surf trip to Mexico that introduced me to an upscale and unexpected side of our neighboring country – a coastal haven that gave me a newfound perspective on a region that has suffered blows to tourism and its image over the past few years.

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“This was exactly what I needed — an escape to a tropical paradise filled with fun people, delicious food and a great mix of activities.  I’m already scheming about how I can do it all over again!”
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