North of Mazatlan is the small beach side pueblo of Celestino Gasca. Once known for aqua culture with large warehouses and factories, those are slowly being replaced by small independent beach resorts where you can enjoy beautiful sunset walks on sandy public beaches and world class surfing at two point breaks. Having a number of resorts near perfect surf you might get the idea that as a surfer ,which I happen to be, this would be a dream come true.
For anyone surfing there prior to the introduction of the Cardon Adventure Resort, this was true. Mexican surfers had been going there for years along with a few hardy travelers that just happened to stumble upon it. Everyone getting along, totally stoked .....living the dream.
Initially when the Cardon Adventure Resort opened things were pretty much as they had been before, but
it didn’t take long before the owners of Cardon decided they owned the surf. Their mandate became “Only our guests are allowed to surf here “. Access for local Mexican surfers was seriously restricted and anyone else showing up to enjoy the surf was bullied out of the water. Within just a few short years this dramatic change has resulted in an escalation of terrorism by the owners of Cardon Adventure Resort and their employees. Some of the employees just happen to be surfers from California.Two years ago after an altercation in the surf with an employee of the Cardon resort, a well known visiting surfer was escorted from his resort at gunpoint by thugs.
My wife and I have been going to Celestino Gasca for years, always staying at the original resort right in front of the main point. On a recent trip we had planned on staying for ten days. The first day went great; just a few Mexican surfer friends sharing the waves, just like the good old days. The second day my friends and I were enjoying a repeat of the day before until Jeff Phillips, the American thug employed by Cardon, paddled out. When I was sitting by myself he began his normal tirade, screaming “I’m going to F___K you up! I’m gonna take you out”. As usual I just tried to ignore him. Day three my wife and I decided to wait until the Cardon crew had finished their session before paddling out. Watching everyone walking by our palapa including Jeff, I thought this may be a good way to handle things. Just taking turns, sounded like a good plan to me. We paddled out into an empty lineup. After about half an hour Jeff comes paddling back out on a hugh long board and proceeds to put his newest battle plan into action. This time he never says one word to us. At first I thought it was kind of a relief, but that didn’t last long. I have been surfing all my life and what happen next was beyond anything I have ever experienced before. It was like some sort of absurd pro surf contest where the rules have been changed without telling of all the contestants. Now the Cardon team scored points by sitting on the shoulder, blocking us from ever taking off on a wave, dropping in front of us if we even tried to take off, finally we gave up and paddled in. It was like constantly being cut off on the freeway by a mad man.
After this fiasco we were in our beach front palapa, where we had previously spent many happy hours, relaxing and watching the surf, with friends we had met in the water, including guests of Cardon. Soon Omar, one of the owners of Cardon Adventure resort walked by to tell us “NEVER COME BACK”. Beating his chest he said “THIS IS MY BREAK” That no other resort on the beach is allowed to rent to surfers. If we didn’t leave “We would see his power”. Fearing for our safety we left the next day, leaving behind friends and a place we had loved for years.
Cardon Adventure Resort has created is a very dangerous situation for everyone. If this continues it will only be a question of time before some unsuspecting surfer following their dream is seriously injured or killed. Whether it be a guest of one of the other resorts, someone at Cardon, or the general public, no one is immune to the violent situation they have created.
It is my hope those reading this will rethink their support of the Cardon Adventure Resort. Be it a business association or a vacation to the resort.
Hopefully with the help of the global community we can convince Cardon to end this sad and violent path they have decided to go down. Then we can all go back to living the dream.
Embassy officials in Mazatlan told us our report was not first they had received. Anyone with any knowledge of similar behavior by Cardon Adventure resort is urged to contact the following authorities.
- Also Known As:
- Cardon Adventure Hotel Sinaloa
- Cardon Adventure Resort Mexico/Sinaloa