No doubt you dream about places on the planet, where you want to go, what you want to see, and experience, and even places you have been and want to return to. As you're thinking and dreaming, no doubt you're talking to friends and getting some beta on what to expect and best time to go especially if your motivation is related to a sport or something that is weather dependent like snow or water or wind.
Time to open a map to get your bearings, figure it all out and if you're into surfing, the maps you are looking at can be pretty complicated - a bit like learning a new language. It's not like you're looking at a trail map, or a map to climb a peak, or a topo map to run a river. We're talking full on constantly changing weather maps, ocean charts, and topo maps from around the world to try and figure out when to go surfing because it changes so much and then, you can spend all that cash and hard earned time off only to get skunked by the time you finally arrive. Not cool at all.
When we found Morrillo, we had heard there was surfing here but we had NO idea how much surfing, and just how good it actually is. All year, every day. It turns out that is quite unique. Needless to say, that's been the main reason this place is so awesome. Well, that and the trees, oh and the monkeys, and why we are enjoying it here so much and our guests too.
Ryan and I have now been here for almost 9 years. That's a long time and I feel like I am only just starting to grasp this challenging sport but I have only just scratched the surface on figuring out why the surfing is so good here. So, I started asking around and it turns out most people here don't really know either, they just know it's pretty much always good to go for those that have the skills. It's quite complicated - all the different elements that create a good, consistent surf break.
Thankfully, one of our guests who travels to surf a lot has been clueing me in a little on how to learn what makes Morrillo such a consistently magical place to surf and so I'm going to start today by introducing you to a few geographic details and then next week more. The cliff hanger!
The vintage map of Panama at the top shows you the location of Morrillo and then just above, a zoomed in version that shows where we are in relation to all of Morrillo Beach. Looking at this zoomed in topo map of Morrillo you see a couple things happening here: the Pacific Ocean to the west and Morrillo Beach runs from NW to SE so when we are out waiting for waves to come in, we are facing southwest which makes for awesome sunset sessions too.
The topo map also shows you what we call Main Morrillo and Beginner Beach and how open and unprotected Main Morrillo is versus Beginner Beach that has an outlying small island. The reason this is important is because Main Morrillo, as you see on the map, is a long and wide open beach. It's a sandy bottomed beach break that is about 4 km wide flanked by an island on its southeasterly end and a small jutting land peninsula on its northwestern tip. The beach is steep making for a strong outgoing undertow and the openness of the wide open spanse creates about 4 different breaks to surf.
The swells that come in, which are predominantly from the southwest, have nothing obstructing their arrival as you can see in the top vintage map, so Main Morrillo is a wide open, heavy, steep, barreling beach break that is good to surf during almost any time of the tide. The sandy bottom is particularly nice because it doesn't break up or really slow down the incoming waves and it's great for people like me who are consistently being stuffed face down on the bottom. As I said...still getting a hang of this sport and it's freaking hard! The sand does shift though a bit throughout the year and the different storms vs being over a reef, but it's a heck of a lot softer too. Okay, that's enough to digest and read for now. Next week, we'll cover more about the swell, and where it comes from so you can start forecasting for your sweet surf trip to Morrillo! Speaking of those places you dream of, I hope we are on the "where you want to go list" and even if we aren't please do share with me where you do dream of going. It's always so fun to hear what parts of this beautiful planet others want to explore. We say it's a small world but is it really?
Your Friends in Morrillo, Cari and Ryan Mackey Owners and Hosts Morrillo Beach Eco Resort