Bob Esponja, Speed Bumps and Faucet Ass: Kayak Surfing the Ecuador Coast – Part 1

Meet Drew and Spence – click their names for an introduction.

Bob Esponga and the trip to Ayampe. – words by Drew Hayes


Pack! One word describes it. You’ve barely started and it is time to get it done. The problem is you still have work to do at the job. Back on to e-mail you go, providing instructions, to do lists, and the proverbial “have fun” meaning ha ha suckers! Since my flight is at 7am or so I have to be totally ready to go the night before. I finish up work (e-mail), shove some food in my face, and get to work. While photocopying my itinerary for my wife, I make an interesting discovery. My flight does not leave at 7 am but instead leaves at 2:40 pm. All packing productivity now comes to a complete halt.
Back at the computer it’s an intensive search for Ecuadorian surf spots. I leave no stone unturned and go all the way down to the 3rd item out of 2,342 items on Google’s search for “Ecuador surf report”. Good old number 3 delivers a favorable surf forecast consisting of big 12’ and swells early in the week and 6’ swells near the end. Those meager little 6’ swells are the kind of stuff we skip work, lie to family, and run over old ladies to get to back home. To hell with the other 2,339 sites, I’m sure they don’t have anything better to say. I fire off a few more e-mails to Spencer about the good weather and surf forecasts and spend the rest of the night talking to my wife and gathering up my kayak stuff and packing my new IR drydeck.


D-Day. I have about 3 hours to get ready. With a much tighter schedule I’m able to nearly double the rate at which I pack stuff I’ll never use. After a few last minute touches to the boat I’m off to the airport. A couple of kisses and hugs good bye from the wife and it is off to the ticket counter to check in and to pay through the nose for the “surf board” that doesn’t weigh anywhere near as much as most people’s regular luggage and is thin enough to easily fit on top of all the unimportant crap. After getting beat up over the “surfboard” it’s off to the gate. It is a two part flight, first to Houston and then to Guayaquil. The Houston leg is to meet up with Spencer and the Guayaquil leg is to go have some fun in the waves.
All of the usual airplane trip passengers are there. The retired white guy with the fanny pack turned around to his stomach, the fat lady who has to go sideways down the isle while you say the traveler’s prayer, “don’t sit next to me, don’t sit next to me, don’t sit next to me”. She doesn’t. While you did escape being squished by the fat lady with the seatbelt extender, you did end up sitting next to the beer-swilling guy with the peanut sized bladder and diagonally in front of the lady with the screaming kids. You know that lady, the one so preoccupied with the younger crying troll that her other, slightly older brat is free to terrorize everyone else around her. I did get an isle seat and was across the isle from a nice lady. I like to think of us as the two normal people in a coach class sea of freaks, misfits and people who I wish could not afford to fly. A personal highlight of the flight was when nice lady’s brother in law came back from first class to giver her a glass of white wine. I guess the thought of her stuck back with the huddled masses of poor people finally caused enough guilt to well up inside of him to throw off the thick blanket, tilt his leather seat back up, push away the china, and worst of all, pass through the protective curtain at the rear of first class and into the coach jungle. I think the thought of getting robbed, beat up, covered with poor people germs, or the thought of being mauled by the distracted lady’s kid was weighing heavily on his mind. He dropped off the wine, said a few nice words and ran back to Shangri-la like Carl Lewis doing the 50-yard dash. I like to think his conversation went something like this:
“Here drink this! The trip will go faster.”
“Thanks, what year is this stuff? Please tell me it’s not the box wine they serve back here.”
“I saw them open the bottle myself. Christ it stinks back here, are you ok?”
“I’m trying to hold out and think of happier places, like hell or prison.”
“Be brave, I gotta go. I don’t want to miss the ice cream Sunday cart.”
“Bye, tell my family I love them.”
We landed, they lead the nice people carefully off the plane and then released the animals once the jetway was cleared of important people. I met Spencer at the George Bush International Airport. What does that say for this place? An airport named after a one term president whose diplomacy amounted to a half fought war and a pretzel choking incident in Asia.

The second leg, down and to the left was typical for a flight from the U.S. to Latin America. A plane full of Americans happy to get away from that hell they live with called work and a bunch of Latin American’s happy as hell to have work in the U.S. Spencer and I spend the flight cracking juvenile jokes and listening to the Ecuadorian party guys behind us who are going home for Carnival. Carnival is a wonderful holiday of debauchery and drunkenness before they suffer during lent. The country is made up of ninety some percent Catholics. Apparently all of that pent up guilt makes for hell of a great party.
The taxicab experience consists of a ride crammed into a minivan that would be melted into scrap in the states but which puts bread on the table here. Toss two quarters to the kid helping you load up and you’re off to the hotel. The city is asleep. By asleep I mean plenty of people asleep on the sidewalks. The hotel is nice and the Spanish TV is great. And to think, Jean Claude Van Dam speaks perfect Spanish, who knew?

Drew and the friendly hairball we met in the hallway of the hotel


Up at 9am, filter some water and brush the moss off of the teeth. Spencer dropped his friend Bob off at the pool before heading out for a look around town but Bob just kind of hung around and refused to leave. We left a buck for the staff to get bob out of the pool then caught a taxi ride back to the airport in search of a rental car. The taxicab was a rambling wreck with a happy driver who put up with our questions in broken Spanish. “I am make in the United States, where are you not tomato bread?” Like many local taxicabs, his was decorated in full force complete with Sponge Bob hanging from the mirror. Well, it kind of looked like Sponge Bob but with round marble eyes sewn onto his not quite square body. I think it was Sponge Bob’s “special brother” Carl, the sponge who rode on that really short puffer fish bus reserved for the special kids. Carnival struck again and there were no cars at any rental agency. We left our number at Avis and headed back at the hotel, we got some lunch and walked around a cool park. All town squares should have giant iguanas running around and ponds full of tropical fish and turtles.

The Iguana park in Guayaquil

After half an hour or so of making jackass comments about the lizards and their throat sacks we went back to the hotel. Pricilla at Budget got our number from Ruth at Avis and was able to hook us up at with the perfect 4 door SUV to ruin so we loaded up and headed for the beach.

A cool tree we spotted roadside on the drive.

On the ride out of town we were bombarded with water balloons. A tradition with the local kids involves water fights during Carnival. There are water balloons, super soaker squirt guns and my personal favorite are the water bazookas. The water bazookas are these lengths of pipe with a cut off water bottle for a nozzle. The water is drawn in and shot out by a ball on the end of a stick. When you combine this syringe on steroids with a good roadside puddle of waste laden soup you get some truly impressive projectile polio bombs. After Spence got hit by one of these horror streams, we learned to shut the windows when approaching any small town. Now that we know the drill we could happily drive down the road listening to Chris Rock on the I pod while laughing at the bacteria and viruses angrily pounding on our window. We finally arrived at the beach town of Amampe around 11pm and found out that every place was booked. Tired as hell we just slept in the car. It was quite comfortable, kind of like sleeping on a bead of nails while baking in your oven and don’t forget to throw in all of those mosquitoes from the deep woods off commercials.


We woke up early and headed up to the lodge whose parking lot we slept in.
Here’s where we woke up. Beautiful.

Finca Punta Ayampe is a giant playhouse on stilts. It feels like a huge tree house, way beyond anything you have ever dreamed of. It has a balcony with a panoramic view of Playa Ayampe and the offshore islands La Tortuga and La Iguana, a kitchen, dining room, and TV/Lounge area.
The view from the deck.

The 2nd floor is bedrooms, each sleeping four to six people and with their own bathroom.
This was our pet spider in the room they gave us. She was the size of your fist. Scary!

The beach is heavy grey sand with some fist sized stones at the high tide zone. There was a small open pavillion made from local trees, bamboo and palm leaves under which you could hide from the tropical sun. Add in some big coral and rock formations with crabs running all over the beach and you have a pretty cool place to hang out.

The music in the video is by Roy

The water was warm and the waves perfect for the first day; 5’ to 7’ faces with some extra big honkers coming through. Plenty big for fun and a few scary super sized closeouts to avoid. After two sessions totaling about 3 hours we were whipped and left the beach for some sleep in the lodge.
An incredible sunset we saw numerous times.

As if you weren’t already sick of us, or at least sick of Drew, you’ll have to be with us for twelve more days. We had to endure one another for sixteen days and we feel that everyone else should suffer with us. What’s fair is fair. If you’re lucky you’ll get the remaining days in 2-4 day doses, so it will be slightly less painful.

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