Custom Surfboards in Sayulita- An Exercise In Surf Holiday Wish Fulfillment

Bottom of the Board – Buddha Face

Having a wonderful time in Sayulita?  Check.  Trying to figure out a way to get back sooner than later?  Check.  But how will I make this happen? Hmmmm.

I’ve got it!!  I’ll arrange to have a custom surfboard made for Cooper!  That’s PERFECT!  Not only will it be useful (I am already envisioning all the myriad of things that we can do with the board – coffee table, shelf, hood ornament for Stuart’s ungodly big car), but it will be ready in...a month! Awesome! My surfing muscle memory may still be in tact and it gives me time to work on my abysmal Salsa (don’t get me started on this one)!

Enter Rogelio Ramos – surfboard maker extraordinaire.

Rogelio – surfboard designer extraordinaire

We were introduced to Rogelio by Nando, our beloved surf instructor, adopted son and all around outstanding young man, who unselfishly, without any questions or retort, spends hours and hours each and every day with Coop, shooting the breeze, hanging out, looking for the perfect break and deflecting hard core locals from shredding my poor son as they jump onto a 5-footer.  Coop shadows Nando like a groupie, and to his eminent credit, Nando is such a good kid, that he is happy to put up with it.  He is a local treasure bordering on iconic in status, and likely accounts for a significant portion of Sayulita tourist dollars.  But I digress.

As we walked up the dusty street – barefoot – to Rogelio’s studio one bright day last month, we weren’t exactly sure what to expect.  What we found was a serious and dedicated artist.  His understanding of surfing and knowledge in crafting a board to meet specific capabilities, to enhance and indeed, improve your surfing ability, was obvious.  As I inhaled the toxic fumes of fiberglass and airbrush ink, I knew this guy had the goods.

Nando, taking the big brother lead, discussed Coop’s surfing ability with Rogelio, his style and preferences.  Coop input enthusiastically, eliciting more thoughtful conversation.  Jesus, you would have thought they were solving the climate crisis, with such seriousness did they undertake this interview.  I watched with interest and pride and just the slightest notion of yet again, being the oldest person in the group by two decades.  Feeling confident that Rogelio was up to the task and that Coop would be able to provide the artwork via email, I counted out the 50% deposit, and set my sail on how I was going to essplain this to Ricky. I mean Stuart.

Coop & Nando Debating & Discussing

Arriving at Rogelio’s Studio

Fast forward – Rogelio finished the final artwork of the board yesterday and it is truly a work of art (even Rogelio thinks so).  The experience – which could have been iffy – was anything but.  Communication was a breeze, which I take full credit for as I carefully and painstakingly translated all my emails into espanol, a task I took enormously seriously for fear I might accidentally mistake a word for another, like buddah and, well, doodah (clearly, a common example) and end up with a completely different design.  Again, another case of perception vs reality as each laborious, painstakingly exacting email I crafted in Spanish to Rogelio was met with an equally accurate English response, using actual contemporary jargon versus my high-school antiquated and hokey nonsense, giving me every reason to believe Coop when he said, “mom, he speaks English really well.”  Aye, Dios mio!!

Most importantly though, Cooper is thrilled.  The board is completely custom, down to Coop’s specific artwork choices, sort of a poo-poo platter of Hindi, Buddhist and traditional Kaizen symbols, initials, and a personal message from the artist.  In 72 hours, its a safe bet that Coop will be tearing up the Sayulita surf on his new board, with Nando politely running interference.  With any luck, I’ll be right alongside, patiently designing My custom board to pick up in August!

Author’s note – while this strategy ultimately worked for me, I would not necessarily recommend this ruse to everyone.  Thankfully, I have a husband who, for reasons that I cannot fathom and test constantly, simply wants to make me happy.  As confounding as this is, he quickly got on board (sorry!) with the plan, and is looking forward to riding his new investment this weekend.  And of course, when I say riding his investment, I am referring to the surfboard (get your mind out of the gutter).

Artist’s Message

Top of Board

Another View of Bottom

4 comments for “Custom Surfboards in Sayulita- An Exercise In Surf Holiday Wish Fulfillment

  1. Summer
    July 8, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Aloha Leslie,

    This is Summer, Rogelio’s wife. I just read your article and love it! You are a witty writer and I really loved the story….

    Thanks for sharing.


  2. Myrtle (aka - KoKo)
    July 8, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    You are so funny! Do I smell another trip, sniff-sniff, sniff-sniff? But, not August, we’re busy! Do I hear October or November? What is Swill’ to do without her Salsa instructor, moi?

  3. July 9, 2010 at 12:14 am

    Hi Summer. Totally my pleasure. Rogelio has been so great to work with. Its very cool when people come together and by doing something creative, we can give my son something that will shape his life. Hope to meet you over the weekend. Thanks for reading! Lesley

  4. Craig
    July 16, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    OK now I am seriously thinking of learning to surf – or drink coffee on the new ‘table’ if that doesnt work out! Great story – great board!


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