Category Archives: Surfing

I Lost My Dream

I Lost My Dream – Trailer from Stefan Hunt on Vimeo.

We are so proud to share the trailer for Stefan Hunt’s (Somewhere Near Tapachula) new short film I Lost My Dream which follows the true story of our very own Moacir Zeledon. And trust us when we say, it is another beautifully filmed and extremely moving piece of art I Lost My Dream premiered at the Heart Of Gold Film Festival (Australia) AND picked up a.n award at the DC Adventure Film Festival (USA) this month! Further screenings are taking place at the following film festivals prior to release:

Grab your amigos and come and be inspired! Watch the full length movie of I Lost My Dream

Congrats Stefan Hunt on creating another masterpiece, and to his super talented crew behind this production including Campbell Brown, Jonny Higgins, Matt Fehrenbach, Robbie Warden, Joel Russell, Mark Blondel, Jonno Durrant, Moacir Zeledon, Pamela Skuse, and the kids of Mision Mexico.

Community development through tourism at Misión México

Junior and Meche

The 27th September is World Tourism Day and this year the theme is Tourism and Community Development, focusing on the ability of tourism to empower people and provide them with skills to achieve change in their local communities. The official celebrations are taking place in Guadalajara, Mexico in a day dedicated to different understanding the value of different forms of tourism, whether it be volun-tourism, eco-tourism, agri-tourism or adventure tourism.

At Misión México we have seen first hand the huge benefits alternative types of tourism can bring. Pam and Alan and the children have been truly empowered by people who choose to volunteer with us. From teachers, to engineers, builders, to surf instructors, each and every one of them have contributed towards Misión México’s education program, surf program, work training program and youth transition program. Each of them is specifically designed to improve the lives of each and every child, and in turn contribute towards achieving change in the local community.


Of course the benefits of volun-tourism also extends to the volunteers themselves; our previous volunteers have described their time with us as ‘the most amazing experience of my life’ ‘incredibly rewarding’ ‘truly inspirational’ and ‘a life enriching experience’.



Jacob and Marli in 2013

Our firm belief in the power of tourism underpins the thinking behind our work training program, Misión Surf. This project aims to build a sustainable surfing community, complete with a Surf School, Surf Camp and Retail Shop, Surfboard Repair Workshop, Life Guard Services and a Restaurant. Not only will it become a top tourist destination for new surfers, it will benefit the lives of the children and bring change to the local community.


It will provide exciting tourism opportunities for those who visit the complex  – our waves and location provide the ideal opportunity for surf lessons – and our burritos will be the best in town.  Our complex will include football, netball and a skate park as well as a pool and cafe to relax in!

Mision Surf

Misión Surf will provide the older children with the opportunity to develop important work skills like hospitality, tourism, business and retail. It will share the excitement of surfing with the local Mexican community by teaching them surf skills, sea safety and the importance of our environment, particularly around beaches and oceans.

By sharing knowledge on surfing techniques, conditions, awareness, safety and environmental issues with the local community it will lead cleaner, safer, friendlier beaches as well as bringing more business to the local impoverished areas. And the icing on the cake? This program will eventually lead to Albergue Misión México becoming self-sufficient.

We are inviting local and international professionals and tradesmen to volunteer and share their knowledge and expertise with the refuge’s young adults in what promises to be a challenging and rewarding experience.

Maria surfing

Maria surfing

Thanks to the amazing support from Guzman y Gomez in Australia, Compound Boardshop in Florida and the Norm Innes Foundation in Queensland, as well as many other fundraisers and donors we are on our way to completing this program.

We are hoping to open the doors in 2015! More support is needed to complete the project  – if you want to get involved please visit our website, contact us or donate here.

We’d be stoked to have you part of our program and look forward to welcoming you to visit us at Misión Surf.

Builder required to complete the Misión Surf building!

house up

Misión Surf becoming a reality

We are building a new surf school and complex here in Tapachula, that will equip our refuge’s older children with valuable work skills as well as help the home they grew up in, Albergue Misión México, to become self-sufficient.

We need YOUR help!
new balance 801 mens
We are looking for an experienced individual in the building trade to come and spend 3 to 6 months with us at Misión México to help finish the Misión Surf building. This is an opportunity of a lifetime for a truly rewarding experience.

We are willing to offer accommodation and a missionary salary to whoever takes on this position. This person must have leadership qualities and an enthusiastic spirit. For more information and to apply for the position please contact

OUr work training project getting built

Missed the big wave surfing feature with Andrew Cotton? Watch the full program here…..

suring the big waves

Our UK surf ambassador, Andrew Cotton, featured on 60 Minutes Australia last Sunday night. He was interviewed about his passion for big wave surfing.
For those of you who missed it you can watch the full program here.
We asked Andrew about being on this popular program:
“I couldn’t believe it when I got a email from the guys at 60minutes Australia saying they wanted to interview me, I thought they we’re kidding.
They came over and spent 3 days in North Devon where I live and work.”
He hasn’t seen the finished piece yet but was really “stoked by the feedback it received from everyone in Australia who watched it.”

Well done Andrew – we’re ‘stoked’ to have you on board with us!

Riding the wave

new balance 645 mens

Riding the Monster Waves – our UK surf ambassador Andrew Cotton talks to 60 Minutes Australia

Not the surf break at Mision Mexico!  Andrew Cotton big wave riding

Our UK surf ambassador, Devon born Andrew Cotton, talks to 60 Minutes Australia’s Tara Brown about mastering the world’s biggest waves on Sunday night 8pm Sydney local time.

Andrew hit the headlines surfing a monster 8oft wave last October at Nazare, Portugal.

Andrew Cotton was born in Plymouth and grew up on the North Devon Coast where he first started surfing at the age of seven. Ever since then, catching waves and being in and around the ocean has been his life.
new balance 374
When he left school he worked in a local surfboard factory until the age of twenty-five. He then re-trained as a plumber, but along the way began to realise that his real passion lay in big wave surfing. Initially Andrew focussed on helping to pioneer big wave spots in Ireland, and more recently he turned his attention to Nazare, Portugal. Numerous Billabong XXL entries followed and he came to wider attention in 2012 when he towed American surfer Garrett McNamara into what the Guinness Book of World Records confirmed as the biggest wave ever surfed.

Since then Andrew has a number of indisputably big waves under his belt, one or two of which have caused debate in the press as to whether they are even bigger than Garret’s record. With the national and global media coverage that followed, it might be said that he has been helping to push the boundaries as to what was thought possible and put Great Britain firmly on the surfing map.

Andrew became our UK surf ambassador in 2012 after the UK charity was established to raise funds for the children in Tapachula.

Andrew also said it was the passion for surfing and the great story behind Misión México that enticed him to get involved with us:

“Seeing the video Somewhere near Tapachula about the kids at Misión México and what Alan and Pamela Skuse were doing there really inspired me. Surfing has brought so much happiness into my life and seeing it do the same for these kids was amazing,? said the big wave professional surfer.

Andre’s sponsors include Tiki Surf Company Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport SunGod Sunglasses Bay Fitness Lifedge @dryrobe Mercedes-Benz South West and Island Tribe UK


Andrew and Katie Cotton with their children

Andrew’s wife, and mother of their two children, is not a surfing fan; “surfing doesn’t float my boat?. But she understands Andrew’s approach to what he does:
It’s a strong drive that he’s got and a fierce passion. And that’s admirable – he’s a good role model,? she said.

We’re delighted to have Andrew representing our surfing programme and supporting our efforts in the UK.

Our new Mision Mexico Surf Board

Surf’s up! – Celebrate International Surf Day at Mision Mexico

Kick off the work shoes, put on the swim-suit and prepare yourself for a day of fun in the sun and a bunch of waves on Friday, June 20 because we’re celebrating International Surfing Day!

This International Surfing DayFriday 20 June, we encourage you celebrate how the ocean has not only influenced your life but our children’s lives too.

Our kids heavily depend on the ocean not only for fun, but also as a form of healing and an escape from their traumatic pasts. Our unique surfing program has helped our children find confidence in themselves and a belief that they can achieve anything they want to.

“It excites me and fills me with adrenaline, being on the water is a special feeling

International Surfing Day is a celebration of the sport and the lifestyle it has created around the world, as well as the sustainability of our ocean’s resources.

Our very own surf ambassador and famous professional big wave surfer, Andrew Cotton, echoes these thoughts and loves the celebration of International Surfing Day each year.

Surf ambassador Andrew Cotton

Surf ambassador Andrew Cotton

“It’s a great way to promote and educate people about surfing and all the positives it can bring into peoples lives,? he said.

“Sport in general has a really positive impact for health and mindset. There’s no better way to spend time, it keeps you fit and healthy but more importantly it’s so much fun,? Andrew added.

Andrew also said it was the passion for surfing and the great story behind Misión México that enticed him to get involved with us!new balance mr 870

“Seeing the video Somewhere near Tapachula about the kids at Misión México and what Alan and Pamela Skuse were doing there really inspired me. Surfing has brought so much happiness into my life and seeing it do the same for these kids was amazing,? said the big wave professional surfer.

You can help Misión México and Andrew celebrate this great day around the world by sharing your favourite surf photos with us on Instagram  and Twitter  or why not come and volunteer with us and join the Mision Mexico surf community!

So have a surf, have some fun, and know that on International Surfing Day we at Misión México are thanking you from the bottom of our hearts – hopefully with good waves and plenty of sun!

Surfs up!

Thumbs up for Andrew's teaching skills!

Thumbs up for Andrew’s teaching skills!

What will you wax for Misión México?

JuniorWax on, wax off!

Have you got some hair that should probably be removed? Yes? Great! No? Well do it anyway!

We’re pleased to announce Misión México is tearing ourselves off our boards as we’re being featured on the Big Wax Wednesday, a new fundraising challenge helping to raise money for great causes.

In order to get involved, all you have to do is nominate a part of your body you’ll wax, start raising money, then take part in the Big Wax on Wednesday, 25 June!

Andrew Cotton, professional big wave surfer and Mision Mexico ambassador, is supporting this campaign;

“It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, you can participate from where ever you like!”

What are the Big Wax Wednesday rules?

Want to learn the rules? You can find out all you need to know on the Big Wax Wednesday site.

And if you participate and have a hairy friend, you shouldn’t forget to ‘Wax & Nominate’. It’s the right thing to do… because it’s for charity! Make sure you take some photos to share with friends to help raise money. Read more on Mision Mexico’s fundraising tips.

Tell us here what you intend to wax and we look forward to seeing some silky smooth skin all over the globe on Wednesday, 25 June.

So go on, wax on, wax off!

Papa on his surf board...what will he wax?!

Papa on his surf board…what will he wax?!

Fundraising event for Mision Surf – Sarasota, Florida

Maria, Pam and Alan at the event

Maria, Pam and Alan at the event

On the Weekend of April 11th and 12th, the Sarasota community came out for a weekend of good times, live music, art, food, drinks and fun not only for their own enjoyment but to also do some good in the process. The Compound Boardshop hosted it’s 3rd annual Mision Mexico Benefit Dinner and then following that up the next day with the Compound’s annual Anniversary Party! This Year we celebrated 11 years of business in Sarasota! We were blessed with the outpouring of support from our local community as well as the surf industry with special help from our good friends at  Volcom, Rvca, Reef, Vans, Hurley, Sweetwater Brewery, Spy and Electric! The weekend was a total success, all who came had a great time, we were able to accomplish the two most important things, host a fun, family friendly event for our town, and raise some money for our family south of the border at Misión México! We look forward to making this bigger and better year after year!

Sombrero Amigos!

Sombrero Amigos!

Maria, who represented Misión México at the event said ‘It was amazing! I am really proud of myself for being able to talk in front of so many people.

My favourite moment was when the MTV video finished screening and everyone stood up for me. Meeting so many awesome people who were just so interested in helping my family was great!

 And would I like to do it all again? Yes, yes, yes, SUPER yes!?

Thanks to everyone who made this event a success – we can’t wait for next year!


Our charitable friends from Compound Boardshop in Sarasota, Florida, are organising their third annual fundraising event on Saturday 12 April to raise much needed funds to get Misión México’s Work Training Program – Misión Surf up and running.

Misión México founders, Alan and Pam Skuse, as well as Maria, one of the young adults living at Misión México and one of their young ambassadors, will be attending the event. This will be Maria’s first public speaking event as an ambassador and she is incredibly excited about the prospect.

One hundred percent of funds raised will be donated to the refuge, and guests can enjoy food, drinks, live art, raffles, music, films and much more.

“Local support has been incredible for the event with Rvca, Volcom, Vans, and Spy who have really stepped up this year” says Jacob Shields.

Compound Boardshop are also celebrating their 11th anniversary at this event. Director Jacob Shields not only regularly fundraises for Misión México through this annual fiesta but is also instrumental in organising teams of volunteers from Florida to visit the refuge in Tapachula and help with building projects, including Misión Surf.

Muchas gracias Compound Boardshop and good luck in raising lots of money and support.

For more information about the event head to the event page on Facebook here.

Seafarer surfboards

Jacob Sheilds ay Mision Mexico

Jacob Shields at Misión México

Jacob and Marli in 2013

Jacob and Marli in 2013

Scott Kennaugh: Why I love Misión Surf

At Misión Mexico we rely on volunteers to bring love, life and hope to the children that live at the refuge in Tapachula.  Every year volunteers from all over the world head to Mexico to surf with them.  One of these spray-chasers  is Scott Kennaugh from Australia, who started surfing with the children in 2012 and has volunteered with Misión Mexico twice. To celebrate International Volunteer Day we asked him to tell us why he does it.

Why do I love Mision Mexico?

The first time I volunteered at Misión Mexico I was totally unsure of what to expect and really nervous about how an Aussie that could not speak a word of Spanish would be treated  by all the kids. Those fears were immediately thrown out the window as I was welcomed with huge smiles and a thousand questions in little Aussie accents!

Scott Kenaugh

I came to Mexico to experience Misión Surf first hand and nothing could have quite prepared me for it! My first Sunday at the refuge I watched in amazement as four vans were loaded up with shortboards, longboards, foamies, bodyboards, life-saving equipment and then crammed full with 50 kids + volunteers.

I will never forget that first day at the beach, playing in the shallow water with the younger kids, pushing kids onto waves and chilling out the back sharing waves with the older kids. The smiles on the faces of the youngest to the oldest was infectious. It is so refreshing to escape the angry crowds of our culture and be caught up with the pure joy the kids experience simply from being outside and at the beach.

Sunday surf days

From that day onfamily beach day, I spent my weeks looking forward to Sundays: family beach day! I would make deals with the kids, giving them the chance to use my ‘cool’ surfboard or come with me surfing first if they behaved well.

girl surfingWhen I tell people about my time at Misión Mexico people often ask me what my favourite surfing memory is. I have a tough time picking as there as so many different experiences I will never forget! I loved being able to go out surfing with the older kids just like I would with my best mates at home and hoot and holler when someone got a rad wave and laugh when they got smashed. I loved the enthusiasm with which the older girls muscle their way into the lineup and how their spirit has caught on and the younger girls are just as excited to go surfing.

kid with surf board

I loved teaching the young boys that the ocean was to be respected but not feared. We definitely had some laughs as I threw them around in the shore break and then took them further and further out the back and pushed them into waves.

surf wave

Every time I paddle out for a surf now I think back to my time at Misión Mexico and remind myself how lucky I am to do what I do and to be grateful for every surf and every chance I get  to share that experience with someone.

surfing collage