LEARN HOW TO SURF IN LOS CABOS AT MARIO SURF SCHOOL ON CERRITOS BEACH“The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun." That's a quote from Duke Kahanamoku, the Hawaiian born Olympic swimmer famous for spreading the sport of surfing from Hawaii to Southern California and all around the globe. When you first meet Mario Beceril, owner and lead instructor at Mario Surf School, you can't help but get the feeling that he too subscribes to that belief. Mario could have taken the route many accomplished surfers have. Competing professionally for cash and notoriety. Instead, he opted to take his talents a different direction – teaching others and sharing his passion for the sport and the spirituality of the sea. In the ten plus years he's operated Mario Surf School hundreds of his students have gone from curious beginners to avid and accomplished surfers. If you've ever thought about giving it a try we can't think of a better place to do it, nor a better instructor.
A Mexico City transplant at age 12, Mario's school days took place in La Paz where his studies centered on a career in tourism. At age 16 part of that education included learning how to surf, and where did he do that? Cerritos Beach. The same beach he uses to teach his students because according to Mario, "It's a safe wave."
CABO SURF SCHOOL OFFERS PROGRAMS FOR INDIVIDUALS, GROUPS AND FAMILIES - SURFARI TOURS, TOO!
FROM COLLEGE TO THE COAST OF SLEEPY TODOS SANTOS
After graduating from college with a degree in foreign business, Mario moved to Todos Santos to follow his passion for surfing. After a few years of teaching for a small surfing business, he decided that he could best use his surfing and people skills by opening his own school. He's since perfected a method of teaching that's as simple as it gets. He calls it MIST – Mario's Infallible Surfing Technique – and we were fortunate enough to be at Cerritos Beach in December of 2012 to see it in action.
MARIO'S METHOD WORKS!
Some of you may be familiar with the acronym, K.I.S.S.... Keep It Simple, Stupid! Mario apparently follows that philosophy. That commitment to simplicity that is at the heart of his teaching. Simplify a lesson by breaking it down into as few steps as possible and the learning process becomes easier. Less to think about, less to remember.
We won't pretend to be qualified instructors, but after watching Mario guide a father and his 3 kids through their first lesson, even we could see his system focuses on understanding and developing 3 basic skills:
1) Where to position yourself on the board;
2) How to paddle into a wave;
3) Using proper footwork and body dynamics to get from laying down to standing up.
Mario does this by having staff instructors demonstrate those basics with boards firmly planted on the sand. Each step is explained by Mario as his instructors perform the moves slowly and surely. A couple of run-throughs – with Mario answering any questions along the way – and it's the students turn. With Mario and his staff positioned at the head of the boards, the trainees are walked through each step, corrections made and explained, repeat, repeat, repeat.
Once an acceptable level of skill is attained, Mario goes over a few rules on safety, most dealing with how to avoid having the board, leash or waves dish out some punishment. Don't turn your back on the ocean. Don't place the board between you and the incoming waves when entering the water. Don't grab the board by the tail end or near the leash. Do have fun.
Are we making it sound too easy? Probably, but that's just how Mario designs his lessons. Simple. Unthreatening. Easy to understand. On our last visit to Cerritos in December, 2012, Mario was starting a family lesson so we watched the process as a father and his three kids took part. Mario's system had them looking and feeling comfortable very quickly – it wasn't long before they headed off to the water to try out their new skills. The group was kind enough to let us film them during their lesson. We just wish we had enough time to capture their first moments in the water, but from what we saw, we're sure they all got up on their boards that day. You'll find that video in the next column above.
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A VARIETY OF SURF LESSONS AND TOURS
For beginners, Mario offers private lessons for individuals or groups. Fees range from $45 to $60 per person for one hour classes, those rates are reduced as the group size increases. Two hour classes run $80 per person and 3 day clinics are $150. All prices are in USD. For that you'll get a bilingual instructor, soft top board, rash guard or wetsuit and a shady spot to sit if the sun's too hot. If you want photos taken for your scrapbook, that can be arranged.
Experienced surfers should take a look at Mario's Surfaris. These are full day trips to the East Cape north of San Jose del Cabo and to Punta Conejo north of La Paz. On these surfing tours, you'll be taken to some of the best surf breaks there are in southern Baja, and you'll do it comfortably and conveniently. You're picked up at your hotel by your guide, taken to some pristine breaks for a 3 hour surf session then it's a stop in either La Paz or San Jose del Cabo for lunch. You'll be back at your hotel around 2:00. Rates run from $120-$160. Non-surfers can come along for just $60.
If gear is all you need, Mario also handles rentals. Boards (both soft top and standard) rent for $20 a day, wetsuits are $10. A boogie board with fins will cost you $25. Mario cuts you a discount for multi-day rentals so ask for his best deal. If you ding your board or need wax, leashes or even a new or used board, he's got you covered there as well.
If you're driving, just head north from Cabo following the signs for Todos Santos. The turnoff for Cerritos Beach is at Km 65 on Hwy 19. If you don't have a car, the Cerritos Beach Club offers a shuttle service that provides roundtrip transportation at no charge. Visit their website and use their contact form or give them a call to arrange your ride.
GETTING IN TOUCH WITH MARIO SURF SCHOOL
Visit them online at MarioSurfSchool.com