Learning and writing about those who make up La Cruz is a gift I covet. It was a delight to learn more about Dudley Douglas. In 1967 Dudley came to Mexico to surf. His mission in life was to surf, and work became a means to an end… which always included… surfing!
Dudley spends ‘his other time’ on the California/Oregon border. That’s where the story begins of life in La Cruz; his friends asked him to be their tour guide to Puerto Vallarta and he agreed. Eager to get them out of the city, Dudley was taking them on an excursion to Punta de Mita when they saw signs for a development project in La Cruz. They decided to check it out and his friends bought. Dudley helped them settle all the details and even met their first renters when his friends couldn’t make it. That was about twenty-five years ago and Dudley has been visiting every year since.
A helper by nature, between surfing and his carving and painting projects Dudley has helped others with construction projects. When his son was young he could only visit for two months or so a year. Now as a ‘seasonal resident’ he’s loved his six months a year here for decades. Recently he bought a plot of land and built himself a home and studio where he plans to supplement his retirement funds creating, selling and teaching art.
Dudley’s carving all began when he watched a man with a chain saw create a tobacco store Indian in Oregon. He says he was flat broke but was so inspired he got a job to pay for a chain saw, grinders and carving tools and his career began. He says, “This was the perfect job to support my surfing lifestyle. When carving I work from the outside in taking off just the right amount. When sculpting I work from the inside out adding just the right amount“.
Dudley’s larger than life La Cruz creations include a Jesus Christ monument he carved that resides next to the Alamar development and a grand Buddha that lives in a friend’s garden and is looking for a home. He also does smaller driftwood carvings.. He creates in wood, stone and concrete.
One of his most recent gifts to the community is in honour of Philo; it’s a replica of Philo’s guitar that he created so kids could rock and roll into the future! Folks who appreciate his style commission many of his pieces and the rest are ‘just what he wants to do’. Painting has become a more recent passion preferring painting ladies, nudes and abstracts.
Some Mexican friends gave Dudley his nickname ‘Tequila’ during a drinking contest when they were surprised he could drink as much tequila, or more, as them. Lucky to see La Cruz as it was before it grew Dudley told me he still loves the beautiful people; all who work so hard, singing, happy and “good with what they have” delights him. He says the Marina seemed to bring an extra pride to the community, folks cleaned up the plaza and it seems like all is going smoothly for most.
What’s he most proud of is that he’s still living a great life. “I couldn’t think of a better place to live within four to five blocks of everything I need.” A wonderful day for Dudley is sipping tequila with great music in the background and creating his art.