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Serge Dedina is the Executive Director of WILDCOAST/COSTASALVAJE and the author of Wild Sea and Saving the Gray Whale.

Perfect Surf at Baja’s San Miguel for International Competition

Perfect Surf at Baja’s San Miguel for International Competition

by Serge Dedina 

(Want to meet Serge Dedina and find out about WiLDCOAST SALVAJE?  Check out the Baja Bash on June 15!)

More than 80 surfers from San Diego to South Africa enjoyed two days of overhead waves at San Miguel for the 3rd Annual Walter Caloca Open.

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Sunday morning–San Miguel channeling Lowers.

We arrived at the parking lot of San Miguel just north of Ensenada early Saturday morning.

“The surf is pumping,” said my eldest son Israel.

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From left to right: Me, my youngest son Daniel and friends Josh Johnson and his dad Daren Johnson.

Hooting, we rushed toward the water, as we observed an overhead set slam the point, peeling down the beach. No one was out.

We had about 90 minutes before the start of the junior boys heats. So we quickly donned our wetsuits, paddled out and enjoyed some quality point waves with just a handful of surfers who eventually joined us.

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Josh Johnson

My sons and I were in San Miguel, a legendary point break just north of Ensenada, for the 3rd Annual Walter Caloca Open. The Walter Coloca is organized by United Athletes of the Pacific Ocean(founded and run by Alfredo Ramirez) with the support of WiLDCOAST. This year the event included surfers from Mexico, Venezuela, South Africa and the U.S.

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My eldest son Israel.

“With over 80 participants, sunny skies and amazing surf, this was the most successful event yet,” said Ramirez.

A combo swell brought 3-6’ perfect waves to contestants who pleased the large beach crowd with barrels, aerial maneuvers and the best of modern surfing.

The contest was founded in honor of Walter Caloca, a young Ensenada surfer who tragically passed away several years ago. Walter was loved by his peers and is remembered through a weekend of high caliber youth and adult surfing, music, raffles, a beach and arroyo cleanup and many other activities.

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My youngest son Daniel.

On Saturday young surfers competed in junior boys and girls, bodyboard and stand up paddle divisions.

Winning the boys division was Imperial Beach local, Josh Johnson. Also in the final were Daniel Dedina (2nd), Gavin Lache (3rd) and Dakotah Hooker (4th).

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Junior boys finalists including from left to right: Gavin (3rd), Daniel Dedina (2nd), Dakotah Hooker (4th) and Josh Johnson (1st).

Miguel Torres was crowned champion of the very competitive bodyboard division, Mark “Kiwi” Field won the stand up paddle and Arias Chavira dominated the under 16 girls. A beach cleanup sponsored by Pawa in conjunction with Pronatura-Noroeste removed 440 pounds of trash from the beach and arroyo at San Miguel.

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Beach cleanup Saturday.

At a Saturday evening surf fiesta, Ensenada nonprofit Surf-Ens, a driving force behind the recently established Bahia Todos Santos World Surfing Reserve that includes San Miguel, gave a presentation on the reserve.

The party took place at Boules, an art-filled restaurant with an Ensenada-Biarritz vibe overlooking San Miguel. Boules, owned by Javier Martinez, with its boules court and large patio overlooking the ocean, is about the nicest place I could think of to watch waves and enjoy a true international surf fiesta.

Surfers were greeted Sunday morning with flawless conditions. San Miguel did not disappoint with clean walls throughout the day. 44 men from four countries showcased an array of talent on perfect overhead waves for a chance to win the Open Mens division.

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I was in the first heat of the morning for the Men’s Open. At 48, and as an average middle-aged surfer, I have no illusions about my prowess for competitive surfing. But the chance to surf great waves at San Miguel with just a few people in the water was an opportunity I did not want to pass up.

Luckily I was the first contestant to paddle out Sunday morning. As soon as I made it to the outside, a beautiful overhead set rolled through that provided ample opportunity for me to display my hopelessly outdated 70s-style (I was channeling Terry Fitzgerald at J. Bay).

Sunday morning–San Miguel channeling Lowers.

That’s me channeling Terry Fitzgerald at J Bay in 1975.

However, the heat had not started, my set wave did not count, and I could not match it with any decent scores during the 20-minute heat that followed. Still, it was great to get out in the water and enjoy the company of my fellow competitors.

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Israel

South Africa’s Brandon Roberts that took the win over a stacked group of finalists including Cody Sherman (2nd), Jaime Noia (3rd) and Rodger “Honey Duck” Eales (4th). The women and longboard also surfed on Sunday and it was none other than local charger Naara Nunez and Miguel Arroyo winning those divisions respectively.

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Daniel

So thanks Alfredo for another great event that shows why the ocean and surfing know no borders.

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Daniel

Thanks to Zach Plopper for additional reporting.

Want to enjoy the perfect surf at Baja’s San Miguel in Ensenada?  Find out more about the area and places to stay!

Serge Dedina is executive director of WiLDCOAST, an international conservation team that conserves coastal and marine ecosystems and wildlife. He is the author of Wild Sea and Saving the Gray Whale.

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.

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Protecting the Coast: WiLDCOAST’S Ensenada Ocean Art Wall

Protecting the Coast:  WiLDCOAST’S Ensenada Ocean Art Wall

By Serge Dedina

Serge Dedina is the Executive Director of WiLDCOAST, an international conservation team that conserves coastal marine ecosystems and wildlife. He is the author of Wild Sea and Saving the Gray Whale and took his first trip to Baja back in 1969. You can read more at his personal website, Serge Dedina.

Our WiLDCOAST staff in Ensenada (Baja California, Mexico) worked with local artists to create this super cool mural in the surfing and fishing community of El Sauzal. Due to the prevalence of graffiti it is critical to create ocean art that educates the public and inspires people to love our coast and ocean. It was very cool to work with Napenda Love, a hip hop and visual artist who helped us carry out projects in southern Baja.

The WiLDCOAST team is protecting the coast and ocean.

Baja.com is proud to support WiLDCOAST.  Please help them in protecting the coast and ocean!

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.  For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com

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Just Another South Swell in Baja

By Serge Dedina

Surfers chase recent swells in Baja!

 

The surf has been dismal in Southern California this summer so far (we had some fun south swells in May). So, finally we had a little 3-5′ swell to light up reefs and points south of the border.

That’s when the boys and I headed down to northern Baja to catch a few waves with our surfing exchange student Eneko, who is Basque. Let’s just say he thoroughly enjoyed his first trip to Mexico.

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Wouldn’t be a Mexico surf trip without dogs following the boys into the lineup.

 

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Daniel gets a fun one–the light was perfect in the afternoon for photos.

 

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Israel on an inside corner.

 

Just Another South Swell in Baja Eneko

Eneko on the move.

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A post surf session pit stop at El Trailero in El Sauzal is required for northern Baja surf trips.

Do you have any Northern Baja surfing experiences or stories to share? Join the discussion in the comments.

Serge Dedina is the Executive Director of WiLDCOAST, an international conservation team that conserves coastal marine ecosystems and wildlife. He is the author of Wild Sea and Saving the Gray Whale and took his first trip to Baja back in 1969. 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurants, hotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.

 

 

 

 

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Surfing and Dining in Ensenada: A Day in the Biarritz of Mexico

By Serge Dedina

I recently spent the day surfing Ensenada beaches and indulging in Ensenada restaurants at the 2nd Annual Walter Coloca Jr. Memorial Surf Contest organized by UAPO and WiLDCOAST. It was an epic weekend with one of the craziest NW swells I’ve ever seen in April (the surf jumped from 2-4′ in the morning to 6-10′ in the afternoon).

Zach Plopper ripping San Miguel after the surf started pumping when the contest was over.

Besides the great surf, the highlight of the day was strolling over to Boules, a 2-year old restaurant that is perched above the inside break at San Miguel. Located inside a restored vintage building, Boules is a great addition to the Ensenada food scene. Owned by Javier Martinez (Javier’s brother David owns the insanely great Muelle 3) and his wife Galia Ahlborn, Boules is Biarritz meets Mexico. An earthy, unpretentious, and rustic location and similar tasty, simple, but delicious food.

While I sampled roasted zuchini with parmesan, roasted artichoke, mushrooms, fresh yellowtail (jurel) sashimi, and risotto with mushrooms and duck, with my staffers Sofia and Efrain, I watched the surf roll into San Miguel and chatted with Javier.

Surfing is just part of the reason to visit San Miguel. But like a lot of surfers and foodies, I am finding that the innovative and original food being offered up throughout Ensenada is what is going to have me coming back for more. Don’t wait to visit Ensenada before the whole scene blows up. But for now get down to Boules for a pleasant afternoon lunch or dinner. You won’t regret it.

Serge Dedina is the Executive Director of WiLDCOAST, an international conservation team that conserves coastal marine ecosystems and wildlife. He is the author of Wild Sea and Saving the Gray Whale and took his first trip to Baja back in 1969. You can read more at his personal website, Serge Dedina.

 

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Must-try Ensenada Restaurant: Muelle 3

By Serge Dedina

This past week, I spent the day at the WiLDCOAST/COSTASALVAjE office in Ensenada. Our team went out to a delicious meal at Muelle 3, David Martinez’s simple but stunning new restaurant in Ensenada.  Specializing in seafood, the restaurant provided us with a fresh, authentic dining experience.  Check out our photo gallery from our Muelle 3 lunch experience.

 

Serge Dedina is the Executive Director of WiLDCOAST, an international conservation team that conserves coastal marine ecosystems and wildlife. He is the author of Wild Sea and Saving the Gray Whale and took his first trip to Baja back in 1969. You can read more at his personal website, Serge Dedina.

 

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