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Baja or Bust

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Baja or Bust


It was the third shooting star I had seen tonight, whilst tucked up in my sleeping bag I worked my back into the sand and closed my eyes. This was possibly the first time in over a week I had time to recuperate and sort through my thoughts. Working back through the last week I tried to add the hours of travel my three longboards and I had been through together.

Leaving my home in Newquay for the winter season is never a quick exit; another “last night out” with friends before we depart to different countries around the world, usually ends up with a less than productive following day.

This time round it was straight from Newquay to my old home the Isle of Wight for the White Air festival. After the contest John Hibbard, Meagan Chapman and I drove straight to London. At Heathrow we commandeered a plane to take a combined luggage weight of nearly 180KG (Three longboards, three shortboards, Johns windsurfing kit and six wet, smelly wetsuits).

After plenty of smiling and joking with the females behind the check in desk we boarded our plane and headed straight to Chicago. From Chicago straight to LAX and LAX straight to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, after an hour and a half in a jeep we found ourselves here, sleeping under the stars waiting for the morning to come.

Morning arrived a little too quickly and had I been anywhere else I would have closed my eyes tighter and carried on dreaming of good waves, girls and sunshine. For a brief moment I had no idea where I was, just as I was about to close my eyes tighter it dawned on me that I was on the West Coast of Baja, Mexico.

Like a bolt of lightening, my body jolted into action mode, scrambling through my board bag (which resembles Mary Poppins bag for holding stuff) I hunted down my wax, fins, leash and my board shorts.

Piecing my equipment together, the sun was slowly starting to shed more light on the situation. From what I could gather this beach resembled a similar set up to that of Durranbuh on the Gold coast of Australia. Short but barrelling peaks, not to mention that at 5:45am it was hot enough to jump into the ocean in nothing more than a pair of shorts.

John, Meagan and I surfed till our fingers started to wrinkle; the waves although not big nor powerful did provided us with a playground of opportunities. John surfed with a good top to bottom flow that must have transferred across from his windsurfing. Meagan was tearing apart the waves with a new-found passion for surfing in warmer waters and I was just happy to be surfing in shorts again and started to grow gills.

Returning back to camp we gulped down tortillas filled with cheese, beans and shredded meat. Luckily after growing gills in the ocean I was able to munch my fair share of tortillas, coffee, fruit and still be able to discuss our surf all without losing a single breathe.

The plan was pretty simple, search for waves, eat, surf, eat, surf and sleep, all tasks I excel in, especially in foreign countries. We spent a few days at this beach after which we drove north on a hunch that the swell was building and we would be better off finding a reef or pointbreak that could hold the swell.

As boy bravado started to grow between John and I, we decided it would be a great idea to pull off the main road and follow a dirt track as far as our 4×4 would allow. Swerving in between cacti and dead cows we arrived at the end of the track, after unloading our boards from the jeep we headed deeper into the forest by foot.

At first the jokes of scorpions, spiders and snakes were quite funny, that was until the forest got thicker and the jokes got thinner.

We finally arrived uneaten at the beach although the swell hadn’t picked up we chose to surf all the same. My new longboard really started to come into play with this wave with a good section for nose riding followed by an inside barrel section.

The tide started to drop and the swell started to increase, as the swell increased so did our smiles. What was a good nose ride section was soon turning into an amazing barrel section from the moment you got to your feet you could draw your line and tuck into a barrel. The wave would then mellow out before warping into the inside barrel again.

Dragging our toasted bodies up the beach we rested in the knowledge that sometime between now and nightfall we would have to trek back.

Out of nowhere a small wooden fishing boat loaded with a powerful outboard came steaming towards the beach. Not a word passed anyone’s mouth as the boat sped into view, we realised that the captain had no intention of slowing down. Hitting the beach at full speed he landed his craft a good fifteen feet up the beach.

We made our way over to the captain (who had an uncanny similarity to Captain Pugwash!) to see what goods he had reaped from the ocean. He took to us well, considering no one could speak great Spanish and he didn’t speak great English. It probably had more to do with Meagan being in her bikini rather than a general interest in John and I.

Pugwash handed Meagan a raw, but very fresh bit of fish forcing it into her hands with a big smile on his face. He used his hands to show that she should eat the fish. As Meagan looked back to John and I for support she was greeted by nodding heads from both of us, as if we could both telepathically tell her “eat it”.

She did and she didn’t even flinch.

We decided to stay on the beach and set up camp with a blazing fire, fuelled by dead cacti. We chatted late into the night as one by one John and Meagan fell asleep. In the knowledge that morning would come quick, so we could surf again, I closed my eyes tight and started to dream of good waves, girls and sunshine.

Chris Thomson

Errant Surf

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