Baja beach

Shoplifting and Surfing in Baja

How far will we go for surfing in Baja? Far enough that we feel like we are at the end of the earth.

We take rugged roads full of loose rock, steep grades and ruts, evidence of a recent rainstorm. We’ve been on the dirt roads for about three hours when we arrive at what we think we’ve been aiming for, one of several big points in Central Baja. A surfers dream on the right swell—these hooked points fire perfect right hand peelers.

As we set up our camp just before dusk, we survey the scene. There is a rickety fish camp that consists of a small shack, a pile of lobster traps, a half finished cinderblock building, two abandoned pongas, an old cooler that has been turned into a planter with a cactus in it, and a small shrine that sits halfway up the hill. The lobster traps look like they have been used in the not so distant past, so we know that this camp is not totally abandoned. But for now, no one comes around.

Surfing is the ultimate exercise in patience. Today is Friday and we arrived here on Tuesday, knowing there was a substantial swell coming. So we set up shop and we wait. We bide our time with reading, writing, campfires, cooking, fishing, hiking up and over hills and going to bed at Baja midnight—7:30 in the evening. Chris does some home improvement projects such as fixing the camper door that keeps jamming. I collect sand dollars on the beach in front of our spot. We are people of leisure.

In four days, we have seen exactly zero other humans on this patch of red dirt that is dotted with a few agave plants and other spiky plants. No Mexican fisherman, no gringo surfers, no ranchers. No one comes to ask for money in exchange for camping. At night, there are absolutely no other lights. It’s unbelievable and exhilarating.

When the waves finally arrive, I feel super shifty, like I’m shoplifting. I’ve never shoplifted before, but I wonder if this is what it might feel like (It would never occur to me to shoplift. I’ve been a good girl my whole life.). You know you are stealing, but you can’t help yourself. You want it so you keep looking over your shoulder to see who is coming. But there is never anyone coming and you pocket the goods. And it’s kind of a rush.

That’s how it felt while Chris and I surfed for four hours at this lonely spot. We giggled the whole time, still looking over our shoulders, waiting for some indication that it would be all over. It is confusing that it is a perfect day and we are the only people here.

You see, I forget that surfing is kind of like playing the slot machines. Every time you surf, you put a nickel in that stupid machine. You may get a little back, but most times, you don’t win big. Like, this summer in Oregon, when the water was 48 degrees and the surf was crappy with a 20 mile an hour wind and all you want to do is take those stupid thick gloves off your hands. We call that big time gambling. When the waves and water were perfect in Sri Lanka, but we were surrounded by Israeli gangs and Eurotrash kooks? More nickels went in the slot.

If you play enough times, you do win and hit the Jackpot. Today, we win.

For now, I will enjoy my fix.



Baja sunset

Sunset on the point

Baja beach

It was tough to find a spot to camp around here.

agave in bloom

Agave in bloom

Halibut fishing Baja

Chris fishing for halibut.


Ponga in Baja

Beached ponga.

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