Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Baja Surprises

The thing about Baja is you never know what you're going to get. You could score offshore, cobalt blue barrels or you could sit on a wind blown cliff staring at white caps wondering if 8am is too early to start cracking beers.

The only things you can count on are the flies and the dust- and they both get everywhere. If you're going to make peace with Baja you've got to accept whatever comes your way. Even better, you've got find the fun in it all. If you can do that you'll come back and if you keep coming back, someday you'll hit it just right.

This trip was a return visit to a favorite Northern Baja point break. The spot's known for pulling in hard south swells and turning them into A-frame left peaks. Down the beach, a long rock shelf shapes the surf into long, right, reef-point runners. It's a "something for everyone" kind of place that we really like.

We jammed down on the rumor of a late season Southern pulse that was synching up with a big north west ground swell. With that much activity in the water, we were hoping to find something rideable down there.

Day One was definitely surfable. There were fun waves wrapping in over the rock shelf serving up fun, short lefts, and longer workable right handers in the chest high range. As we pulled up over the last hill into the spot we could see that the high pressure system was doing it's thing to the Point. The water was mirror smooth without a breathe of wind- it was a beautiful, still, Fall day.

As soon as we stopped the truck I grabbed my board and jammed down to the water. And here was surprise number one. The water was unbelievably warm. So warm, in fact that we all trunked it. Even Doctor John, who has .001% body fat was out in surf trunks. We were giddy, riding fun, rights and lefts and splashing around like a kids in a pool.

But it didn't last. As we watched the sun set that night we could see that the swell was slowly trying to swing around the headland. There was a change in the water and on the horizon. The NW swell was coming and and it was dragging along a front that hinted at rain. But rain in Baja usually means a light misting that leaves some dew drops on your tents and nothing more- so we cracked open another round of beers, threw Mark's rib eyes onto the grill and got ready for a big night of bragging, boasting, laughing and lying.

Photo:If you're sitting here enjoying this view, do yourself a favor and don't look down.

It dumped on us.
I've never seen so much rain outside of the summer hurricaine season. It was pretty ridiculous listening to the pounding on the outside of my borrowed tent, hoping that the thing was water proof (it was) and happy that I was up off the floor on my big, specially ordered, Cabella's hunter's cot. The rain came in waves, maxing out the second night. The surf never did match the fun factor of that first day but some of the boys did paddle out a bit further down the beach for a fun session the last day of the trip.

Here's the Baja-truth: down there, it's give and take. You give the fisherman a quart of outboard oil and a carton of Marlboros and get a dozen lobsters, you score a beautiful day of surf and pay with two flat tires on the road out, laugh out loud with a crazy crew of dirty surfers and huddle in your tent hiding from the rain, share a couple of Teriyaki chicken wings and snag a couple of fresh quesadillas, suck down ice cold Pacificos and pull urchin spines from your foot.

Give and take, it's just the way it goes down there. And you'll never know about it unless you put yourself out there and give it a shot.

Stand up paddle surf lessons available now! If you're dying to try stand up paddle surfing now's the time to do it, get yourself ready before the warm waters of summer come back to our San Diego beaches. We've put dozens of people on stand up paddle boards- we've got it down! Email: or call 619.213.6622 Stand up paddle surf lessons in San Diego- don't wait!


JD said...

Nice. I haven't been there in awhile. I usually surf the fun little zippers off to the side. Fun at low tide.

Did you guys take the hour jaunt over to the beach break?

Nice shot from the Growler. Best room with a view there ever was.

Chris said...

I recognize the view from that outhouse... I've been here myself a few years back. PST that weekend was not as nice as you caught it. The wind was blowing about 30 MPH making camping a adventure. I also recognize your walk down the path past the huts. When we tried a vicious hound tried to have us for dinner so we had to scale down the front side. Overall we still had a great trip and have wondered how a trip back would go given the current security situation. Glad to see the pictures and relive the memories. Keep it up.

John Ashley said...

Hey J:

Yeah, that little wave with the sketchy ladder and the rope to get down the cliff?

That was working too on the first day. But a friend was having a killer session by himself so all of us SUP clowns just stayed on the peak up top and goofed around.

The growler huh? That thing is NASTY but it's better than the Hep Hills just behind the campsites.

Keep me posted - would love to hear about your trips down there!

John Ashley said...

Hey Chris-

Vicious hound huh? Maybe you should've done the what the Mexicans do and thrown a rock at it. Even though I'm a dog lover, when I'm down there I do like the locals and just pretend to reach down for a rock- that usually sends 'em running.

Yep, wind can be nuts down there- we lucked out.