By Yesica Pineda
“And I’ve learned that life is a lot like surfing. When you get caught in the impact zone, you need to get right back up because you never know what’s over the next wave.” -Soul Surfer
Most surfers have a kind of peace attached to their walk–some kind of “Zen” energy that clears their eyes as well as their conversations, especially right after they come out of the ocean.
As a traveler surfer, whenever you decide to venture into any beach around the world for the first time, it is important to choose the right beach, go at the right time of year, know the etiquette, take a lesson if you are a beginner and get the right equipment; however, these aren’t the only things to pay careful attention to.
Choosing your swell point
The first thing to learn is when “swell season” is and choose the specific days that are good for surfing.
The swell points here, both right and left, are famous with surfers all over because Baja California Sur offers two bodies of water on either side of the peninsula. So when the season changes, the surf doesn’t disappear, it drifts between the Pacific Ocean in the winter and the Sea of Cortez in the summer, so you can surf all year.
The ideal swell at the beaches in Los Cabos come from the South, which arrive in the summer. Beaches on the Pacific need swell from the North due to their position and the type of ocean floor. Winter surfing is good on the Pacific shore with a northwest swell from a few kilometers above the Todos Santos area to El migrino, which is just a few kilometers from Cabo San Lucas.
Acapulquito Beach in Costa Azul just outside of San Jose del Cabo is a popular place to learn. There is a great surf shop right at the beach and wave access close to shore. The waves are strong and fast right. The beach breaks from April through November. Punta Palmilla by the Palmilla resort is a right point that only breaks on huge (20ft and up) swells. A very good right reef break is at Playa El Tule.
To find bigger waves, go north of Cabo San Lucas about 40 minutes to Cerritos Beach where there is a sandy beach and strong Pacific waves. Except for the bigger swells, this is an excellent beach for beginners, due to the playful waves, sandy bottom, and left and right breaking waves.
Remember that, in the water, the surfer closest to the peak of the wave has priority. Do not drop in. To avoid collision, paddle towards the whitewater or paddle wide on wave shoulder, whichever is closest to you.
Choosing your board
Short Boards are designed to be light, fast and for plain ripping.
Classic Longboards are smooth, graceful, elegant, fun and classic. They are ideal to learn with.
Performer Boards are versatile and work on any type of wave.
Water Hog Boards are designed to be good wave catchers.
Hybrids are performance boards good for any age or size.
Fish Boards’ design can generate speed from any swell, strong or weak.
Writing about surfing, I thought of India Wood, founder of Baja Botanicals, yogi teacher and herbalist, and mainly a passionate surfer who loves San Jose del Cabo. When I asked her to share her San Jose del Cabo experience she said:
“I love to get up early and surf at Zipper’s, it’s a religious experience, sometimes even sacred! The ‘dawn patrol’ was a fairly steady, albeit, crusty group. We encouraged and enjoyed our early AM sessions. There are days with Patrick, Chris, Proffe, Daniel, Lance; Sweet to be with the guys who know how to share waves. The ‘Aloha spirit’ can be sadly lacking at times, but it is a true treat when it’s there. Fantastic surf, bonfires in the evenings, classic surf mojo. I’ll always have great memories of beach camping in spring and summer. Oh, and the evenings at Zipper’s, listening to Bill and Autumn, dancing into the night with the Rosefields, Phyllis and Gloria, Bob and Chris Gaglia, Lynn and Murray Huggins. Wow, it’s all coming back to me now that you’ve got me thinking on it! The evenings under clear skies, before cell phones, when parties would spontaneously arise. Eclipses would be ‘discovered’ without the assistance of computers; Fun!”
Clearly, when in Baja, what else if not surfing?
Do you have any Baja surfing experiences or stories to share? Join the discussion in the comments.