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Danniela Benitez

Our next rider lives in an area of Mexico where the 14 mile stretch of beaches are white in appearance and are made of crushed coral so that even in the sweltering heat you won't burn your feet.

Back in the 70's the total number of habitants was only 3 and is host to an underwater museum consisting of over 500 life size sculptures.

It is also home to the worlds longest underwater cave running approximately 134 miles in length and the giant Mexican flag on display took 40 soldiers to raise it up a 344 ft flag pole, you can even swim with sharks, I don't want to spoil it so I will let our next rider tell you more.......

"Hi my name is Danniela Benitez Zavala I am 32 years old

I was born in Cuernavaca, Morelos, a state in the middle of Mexico, but I have been living in Cancun for the last 23 years.

I started bodyboarding when I was 13 years, I was a teenager and sometimes I ran away from school to catch some waves.

I was lucky to have the best friend, Blake, who came from California. He taught me how to read the sea, the currents, how to hold the board and the most important lesson, not to be afraid, he passed away but I like to think that, in some way, he is still with me when I catch each wave.

When I didn’t know any pro rider my crew was my friend Blake. Later on we started to watch some videos that he brought from the United States and that’s how I knew about Mr. Mike Stewart, Tamega, Ben Player and Neymara Carvalho.

In Cancun we have two beach breaks, Chac Mool beach and Delfines beach, although sometimes I go to Marlin beach also, with the appropriate wind (northeast or southeastern) you can find some good waves in the Mexican Caribbean, such as Isla Mujeres, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen and Tulum.

I love Colima, El Paraiso beach –The Paradise- and Boca de Pascuales; but I have been surfing from northern and southern Baja California to Oaxaca, passing through Michoacan, Mazatlan and Acapulco.

With almost 7000 miles of coast, we have a lot surf spots in Mexico!

I have only been to Peru, when I travelled for the Pan American Surfing Games in 2016. It was great! I had never surfed in such cold water, but it was an unforgettable experience, I hope I can visit Hawaii someday.

My first board was a beautiful Custom X in blue and I used to love it! I learned with it and it lasted me for 5 years or more. In those days we didn't have access to buy one on the internet and here in Cancun there’s only one store where you can get one, Koko Dogz.

I’m now sponsored by Custom X Mexico and they send me custom-made boards, clothes and equipmen, I’m a very lucky girl!

Fortunately I have a big crew! I practice bodyboarding alongside my crew “the old school”, with my lifeguards friends and with the groms too.

Yes, I’m still competing! Now I have 3rd place in Mexico, but here is my competitive career as a bodyboarder:

1st place in female bodyboarding in Quintana Roo Surf Circuit from 2013 to 2018

2nd place in National Surfing Games at Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacan 2014

3rd place in National Surfing Games Mazatlan, Sinaloa 2015

2nd place in Los Cabos National Surfing Games, Baja California 2016

2016 Pan American Surf Games in Lima, Peru, as part of the Mexican Surf Team

1st place in the National Bodyboard Championship, El Paraiso, Colima 2017

3rd place in the National Bodyboard Championship, El Paraiso, Colima 2018

I really hope that one day I can compete in an APB event.

I’m a content editor at NexusTours, I write about adventure experiences in Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America.

Two years ago, when I came back from the Pan American Surfing Games, I was blessed with a sponsorship agreement with NexuTours, so now I can compete with the support of this great travel company.

I’m also sponsored by AM Gym High Performance, the professional gym where I train, and by My Paradise, the best beach club in Puerto Morelos, whom support me with the payment of the pool where I train too, as I also compete in open water swimming competitions.

I love cumbia! Jajaja I also listen to tropical rhythms, like reggae or salsa, some rock. I don’t really have a favourite kind or music or group, it depends on my mood.

I have a lot of stories, but one of my favourites is when I was like 14 years old, I was surfing in front of the rock of Chac Mool, the surf point of this beach, when someone said “there is a shark!” We didn’t have time to paddle to get out of the water so we only sat on our boards and we saw the shark passing under us swimming in peace. It was a magic moment as the shark was big, beautiful and majestic, later on but on the same day we also saw a pair of sea turtles.

Now I have my own bodyboarding school, Bodyboard Cancun, with which I give lessons for kids. I used to give lessons for adults too, but now I do not have too much time, so I prefer to teach children.

With my brand, I also sponsor the new generations of riders, I support them to compete in the National Surfing Games and other events.

To close, I would like to highlight that many people think that we don’t have too many waves in the Mexican Caribbean and it is true, but it is also true that when you want to do something, you will find the way; if you don’t, you’ll find excuses. So do the best you can with what you have, with passion and every little thing it will be all right!

Photo credits include:

Juan Franco

Fer Nuñez

Orlando Rasta

Danny thank you so much for taking time out to share your story, I have never associated Cancun with great surf but it seems you guys are blessed, the water looks amazing....

it would be fantastic to see you compete on the APB, fingers crossed those guys will sort out an APB event in Mexico, with some of the best waves on the planet to offer.....

Don't forget the upcoming All Female adventure with the fabulous miss Valentina Diaz and our boy Heriberto Sanchez of The Puerto Experience coming up may 13th-18th 2020, get in touch with the guys to secure your spot.

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