Carly Brown – Mexico

9th November I hit the third floor – the big 30. The plan was to get back to Mex and live it up Pablo style – I didn’t quite get there. Instead I was celebrating in Sandon, camping. Sitting around the camp fire that afternoon, an opportunity to shoot in Mex literally fell in my lap. Manifestation! I chased it up with Sara from Amilita in early Jan, shuffled some work around and two weeks later, I jumped on a plane to Puerto Vallarta. Sayulita was the destination.

Landing just past midnight after 2 days in transit, I was picked up from PVR by Sara and Christian in a Kombi named ‘Bonita’ – rusted, classic – she purred. We drove an hour to their pad and sat up sipping Tequila until 5am. A few hours later, I woke up on the floor to the windows shaking from the huge swell that had been hitting the west coast. I had no idea where I was. I opened the door… Beachfront, somewhere on the west coast. That’s all I needed to know. Salty I got. A few hours later, we jumped in Bonita (who dropped her muffler on the way) and headed to a nearby Bay perfect for logging. I grabbed a beat up mal for 100 pesos and found a spot with perfect 2 ft right handers with about 5 people on it. Qué Bueno!

The Chinese New Year put all shoot plans on hold. The samples were MIA somewhere between China and Mex. Not much else to do other than edit, surf, eat fish tacos, sip on cheap beers and adventure with locals I met along the way. My kind of trip. I was scrambling for accommodation and happy to take anything. A legend named Sergio answered my email straight away. Equally as desperate to have me stay, he noticed my email signature and asked how much I would charge to take photos of his daughter surfing. We made a trade for bunking in a room below his home where he lived with his 13 year old daughter Sofia and partner Hannah. The pad was on Gringo Hill amongst the jungle. Basic, but all I needed – a bed, WIFI for work, a cold shower and a few bugs. We soon locked in a surf adventure as agreed. Sergio, running on ‘Mex time’, finally got us to a ‘secret spot’ through some jungle and down a rough dirt track. The spot was pure magic, a real ‘locals only’ feel to it. I was the only Gringa. Sofia and Sergio paddled out together and filled with pure stoke, I stood snapping images of them both until dark.

Two weeks on standby (aka living the Mex dream), the stock was finally found. Sara managed to hijack the package from a random Mexican house in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere. The model, Ariel was booked that night, we found a mansion on the hill to shoot the look book, the locations were sorted and the rest is history.

This place, these faces, this experience – mi vida es una historia.

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