This year’s 9th edition of Mexilogfest was held in the beautiful Sinaloan City of Mazatlán, also known as the Pearl of the Pacific. Mazatlán is located on the Pacific coast across from the southernmost tip of the Baja California Peninsula.

Less touristy than some of the other cities along Mexico’s coastline, it is well known for its Old Town or Centro Historico, cultural authenticity, surfing and the warmth and friendliness of its people. 

Los Pinos Beach Umbrellas & Surfers

Los Pinos Beach Umbrellas & Surfers

Twenty Five years ago, Mexilogfest founder Israel Preciado had a dream to create a professional Longboard event that would open opportunities to those like himself, having come from a low economic background this subsequently resulted in him not being able to travel and compete in the top competitions around the World. He adds, “ the whole point of this event was always about creating opportunity for those that grew up like me and my surfing friends that dreamed of competing at a high level, world class events, and at the same time to showcase the beauty of my Mexico Lindo, its culture, art, traditions, music, cuisine, and the most important, our people”

NATALIA WUNDERLICH

NATALIA WUNDERLICH

This year’s festival has been a year in the making with Izzy coming to Mazatlán in May ‘23 to get the ball rolling for this year’s Logfest. The amount of time and effort by him, his family, and the wider team to make this year’s festival what it was cannot be underestimated. This was evident in the organisation and setup of each day, with heats being run and managed tightly to ensure early finishes each day so that contestants, friends, and families could get out and experience Mazatlán in the afternoons and evenings. 

Suggestions on where to eat and what to check out when not surfing were provided each day so that everybody could experience the local culture and community before each evening, which invariably kicked off with an event. These events were carefully curated and thought through, being held at very different and beautiful locations around Centro Historico. The events generally also coincided with the announcement of heats for the next day which would send those with an early start home earlier while those not surfing or surfing later in the day, could enjoy the live music and locations on offer. The diversity in locations and subject matter on offer throughout the days and evenings ranged from the famous ‘Lucha Libre’ wrestling, Surf short films on a closed off street in Centro Historico, a photography and art exhibition, beach cleanups, the Therasurf paddle outs, Live surfboard shaping, Art workshops, Sunset at the Observatory 1873 and of course Live DJ sets at Patio Escobedo. 

Los Pinos Beach scene - Rachael Tilly.

Los Pinos Beach scene – Rachael Tilly.

These carefully selected locations along with the format of the surfing over the Week, makes this unlike any other surf competition, because at its core it is not a surf competition, but rather a festival that provides a textured backdrop from which this community can create, connect, and reconnect with friends new and old alike, whilst celebrating a shared love for surfing and creativity amongst each other and the local community.

This is the first time that the Mexilogfest has been held in Mazatlán and is the continuation of Israel Preciado’s wider strategy to showcase the beauty of Mexico’s coastline with its many diverse cultural communities. On Mazatlan, he puts it simply, “Mazatlan has some of the most welcoming and heart warming people, I fucking love Mazatlan”. As with all the past locations of this surf event Los Pinos, Mazatlan is very old and has so much history, the land, its people and their culture all deserve to be celebrated.

Friend and Head Judge Vice Felix adds, “Our forefathers of surfing Greg Noll, Bing Copeland, Reynold Yater just to mention a few surfed Los Pinos in the late 50s and/or early 60s as documented in knoll’s surf film “Search for Surf”, which makes this location a worthy destination of longboarding celebration. Israel has built an incredible team that is passionate about the longboard surfing culture, as well as an undying love for the Mexican country in all its abundance of beauty on land and sea.”

ROGELIO ESQUIEVEL JR

ROGELIO ESQUIEVEL JR

Mazatlan is blessed with a number of beaches both in and around the City centre with endless point break’s and shorey’s to explore. Los Pinos beach, a firing left point break, was the chosen spot for this year’s festival, with El Cameron just ten minutes away the designated backup break. There was in fact no need for El Cameron as the surf Gods provided a pulse that arrived with solid 8 ft surf for the first few days of the contest, slowly dropping off to a respectable 3-4 ft for the last couple days. 

The take off zone at Los Pinos whether it be at 3 feet or 8 feet faces over a table of top rock reef that is littered with large black urchins with dancing spines. As the Waves stand up and the water rinses from the rocks, a large boil at the take off is created. This is a take off zone where a mishap makes for a long swim, small cuts on the feet from a sharp coral or the seashell rock bottom and for the unlucky few, sea urchin spines.

Vince Felix acknowledged this element of the location in relation to the judging and added, “This different aspect of the location gave our judging panel an aspect of a high risk equals high reward zone when the competitors utilised the judging criteria in the most critical section of the take off. Those competitors who met the challenge of the first half of this wave definitely reapt the rewards of higher scores when combining the wave selection and connecting the second half of the wave with fine tuned stylish surfing in the pocket.”

Izzy with Longboarder Volume Two.

Izzy with Longboarder Volume Two.

The variable surf also provided the judging panel with a good all-round view of the competitors ability to not only read the waves, but how they went about riding and scoring on the critical sections across the surf that was on offer over the Week. The judging panel is a core group of surfers who have been judging the festival since its inception. Despite their different origins, they all have a very similar lens and view on traditional Longboarding and subsequently how they score the heats in the contest. In 2017 the judging panel created a criteria that kept to the traditional style aspects of basic board design to prevent the modern longboard/shortboard style from playing a factor in the scoring system.

A small couple of adjustments have been made subsequently as they do want to see  surfers styles evolve with the future while keeping true to tradition. Judging panellist, Wiley Archibold adds, ‘the ability for a rider to read the wave making sure to stay in the pocket through their movement and turns, and then making their way to the nose on the critical sections of the wave is key, but also doing it in a manner that is authentic to each riders nature and style is critical’.

TAKAHITO SAKAIRI

TAKAHITO SAKAIRI

This year’s contest like those before was made up of a field of Surfers that was as diverse in makeup as it was in all the different styles that were on offer, with a good mix of current and new names making up the field. The contest is run so that each surfer gets to surf 3 times across the first three rounds, with the top two scores getting added together and counting towards the total. The top 16 surfers with the highest tabulated scores then go through to the quarters. The heats are then lengthened to 25 minutes through to the Finals, with the top two waves of the heat being scored for the quarters. This year’s last 16 was announced at Patio Escobedo on Thursday evening with the quarters and semi-final being held on the Friday. The Ladies and mens finalists were then announced on the Friday evening at The Observatory.

MENS 2024 WINNER JOHN MICHAL VAN HOHENSTEIN

MENS 2024 WINNER JOHN MICHAL VAN HOHENSTEIN

The Observatory sits atop a vista in Centro Historico providing 360 views of Mazatlán and an epic setting from which to view the sunset over the Pacific. This year’s Ladies finalists were Sophia Culhane, Sivelia Mata’utia-Jarrard, Lily May Whatley and Keani Cannulo. The Men’s final was made up of Johnny Pitzer, Rogelio Esquievel Jr, Mauricio Nunez, and John Michael Van Hohenstein. All the finalists surfed a phenomenal event throughout to be in the final, but it was Keani Canullo and John Michael Van Hohenstein both representing Hawaii who came away with the win.

WINNERS SHOT BY TOMMY PIERUCKI

WINNERS SHOT BY TOMMY PIERUCKI

In summary, firing surf, endless tacos and Pacifico’s, water teaming with fish, fiery sunsets, the pulmonia’s & insane locations around Centro, the classic cars parked against colourful backdrops, the Mazatlán tax (Urchins), some of the best Longboarding I’ve seen, and good people all added up to an insanely good Week in a beautiful City, that provided both a rich cultural and surf experience. 

Thank you to Izzy, his family, the whole Mexilogfest team for all the work that went into this 9th edition, and to the people of Mazatlán for opening your doors and City to the Longboard community. Based on the success of this year’s event, it is difficult to see past Mazatlan playing host to next year’s 10th edition. But, whether it does or doesnt return to Los Pinos beach, l like many others who attended this year certainly left richer for the memories made and the shared all-round experience that was on offer,  making this year’s edition the best Mexilogfest yet!

WOMANS WINNER KEANI CANULLO 4

WOMANS WINNER KEANI CANULLO 4