06/15/17 by Maggie Magellan
A proper adventure doesn’t always mean bags packed and a plane ticket to a faraway land, sometimes the best adventures are right in your own backyard (especially when your backyard happens to be Mexico!). We recently headed down the coast to Baja with Mizu Advocate, Skye Walker and his good buddy Curtis for a weekend strike mission in the name of catching some waves, camping under the stars and recharging their internal batteries. “Curtis and I have been itching to get down to Baja for a surf trip for a while; we were planning on heading down a couple months ago, but the fuel strikes closed the border and blocked our window. When the opportunity presented itself again, we jumped at it,” says Skye. From San Diego, Baja is a quick two-hour road trip south, but as any experienced road-tripper knows, a pair of solid wheels is crucial. So, the two braved the journey in Curtis’ oversized Dodge truck equipped with a pop-up camper on the back; it also holds up to 40 gallons of water, perfect for refilling their reusable Mizu bottles while on the go (and when safe drinking water may be inaccessible). “We were fully self-contained and that was our goal - use everything we bring and leave nothing behind.” And so, with the truck loaded to the brim with boards, gear, groceries and 40 gallons of water, the two hit the road on a Friday morning just as the sun came up and headed south.
As many native San Diegans know, driving into Mexico is always exciting; there’s an element of adventure around every corner and there’s no shortage of things to keep your attention: street vendors, cars honking, sirens ringing – you name it. But once you cross the border and drift beyond the hustle and bustle of Tijuana, the drive takes a different shape as you pass the vast Pacific Ocean to your right and the catch sight of the boundless rolling hills in the distance. “As we headed south of Ensenada and drifted inland, it gave way to lush, green rolling hills filled with millions of wildflowers - it was like old California before the suburbs and industrial revolution moved in,” Skye explains.
After a quick detour inland, the road led them back to the coast, where they cruised along the cliff until they came upon a spot perched on a small bay with no one for miles by land or sea. With only a two day mission on the books, they couldn’t journey too far for that perfect surf break - but with surf on the brain (and empty surf at that) they found their home for the next few days. They set up camp, threw out the chairs and watched the waves roll in. As night fell, they sparked up the campfire, talked morning surf plans and stared up at the big night sky that gave way to billions of stars undiluted by the bright lights of San Diego.
The next morning gave way to a heavy wall of fog, but the hot Mexican sun quickly burned through the clouds and the two took to the ocean; in the distance they scoped 6-8ft sets rolling in - beckoning them to jump in. “Paddling out was a bit sketchy at first as we didn’t know where the rocks were located, or how big they were. But, we quickly learned that the middle of the bay was all sand,” says Skye. Five minutes into the paddle out Skye recounts a brief encounter with what looked like a fin jut up next to him out of the water’s surface. With panic taking over, he turned his board around and quickly headed to shore; it wasn’t until he looked behind him that he saw the fin dip back down and return with a baby dolphin swimming alongside. “Your eyes can play tricks on you when you’re in a foreign place…I had never been happier to see a dolphin than in that moment!”
About an hour into the session, the set of the day rolled in and Curtis scratched into a 10ft bomb on a 9’6” longboard. The guys decided to ride their long boards at the bay, as the wave moved in slowly and they needed some extra volume to get into each wave. Skye remembers watching in horror and excitement as Curtis made the drop on that giant log; he stuck the landing, made it to the shoulder then turned out into the flats. “Wave of the day for sure – it was even worth taking a 10-footer straight to the head shortly thereafter.” Toward the end of the session, it was Skye’s turn to land his own wave of the day. He snuck into an inside left with that sweet, perfect pocket; he managed to get a little cover up before it hit the inside and turned into a hollow close out drainer. “It’s always interesting surfing a spot you’ve never been to, especially when you are out of your comfort zone. This wasn’t the best point break in Baja, and the tide shifts gave it a funny warble at times…but it was empty. And there were certainly some fun corners to be had,” says Skye. After almost three hours of epic waves and a few beat downs, the tide shifted and the waves started to back off, so the two headed in only to see the giant fog bank returning to engulf them once more. It was time to call it quits for the day; the guys booked it back up the hill to their campsite, stashed the boards and lit up the campfire just as the fog stole the last bit of sunshine of the day. They sat in the shade of the truck’s awning and marveled at the fog that sat right at the cliffs edge, moving in and out, as if the earth was breathing right in front of them.
On Sunday morning, they woke up to a dying swell and headed back to San Diego – good rule of thumb: the earlier the better when it comes to getting back across the US/Mexico border. The two made a quick breakfast, packed up and bid farewell to the little cove. “We had high aspirations to sneak through in an hour or two, but arrived at the boarder only to sit in line for 4.5 hours,” says Skye. Once finally across US state lines, they shared some laughs over poor timing and headed north, back home to sunny San Diego. “Was it worth it? Yes. Always is. We came back safe, caught some fun waves, had some good food, met new friends and most importantly, we left nothing behind except for some echoes of laughter and tracks in the dirt...”