Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Paddlesurfing Baja: Cerritos

We rolled into Todos Santos early in the afternoon and after checking in at the rancho WW (a friend owns a nice piece of property just to the North of town) and peeking at a local spot (no surf) we pointed the truck down the road to Playa Cerritos- the old standby.

The Good:
•Gin clear, warm, blue water.
•Knee to chest high peaks breaking left and right, the lefts into the channel which made it an easy paddle back outside.
•A cooler full of icy cold Pacificos, an umbrella and a bunch of buddies on the beach making for an interesting peanut gallery.

The Bad:
•The new roads cut into perfect quadrants in the desert just behind the beach- the houses are coming... the real question is: Where will the sewage go???
•Big ol' chainlink fence, with big wrought iron gates that you've got to drive through to park, hmmmm.
•Ranting, drunk gringa sitting at the beach bar. Bad, but also comical.

The Ugly:
•Gringo super-mansion being cut into the bluff directly over the beach. The local palapa that sat just inside the point is gone and will probably never return; too bad.

Change is inevitable but you don't have to like it. I'm not saying I didn't enjoy stand up surfing for 3 straight hours, walking up to the new beach bar, ordering a round of Don Julio blanco and still being able to sit on my tailgate and drink a beer- it's just that all this has taken a little of the magic away from the place. The lawlessness has been lost. Order has come to Cerritos, that and a pretty good lunch menu.

It's also taken away the dirt-bag, freeloading, littering, norteno, euro-trash, Bob and Doug Mckenzie clones that used to migrate there like maple leaf lemmings heading to the sea. Cerritos used to be the hepatitis hills, it's clean now. My opinion? I'll take clean over hippy beach.

Ranting aside, we had a great time surfing Cerritos. The place is made for high tide stand up paddling. On most waves you'd get in early, crank a turn, step it up to the nose, hold it and then back down fast for the inside close out. The best part was riding out the close out, stroking hard to angle across to the channel- and then paddling out with the rip- my kind of surfing.

If it's flat everywhere- Cerritos will provide entertainment (did I mention the excellent people watching?)- there is usually something to ride at Cerritos. Provided over course that you come equipped!

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