A Moment on the East Cape

A Moment on the East Cape

How does the old saying go “you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family”? With surfing, you can’t always pick the people you share a line-up with, but you can choose who goes on your next surf trip.

As in life, a surf trip rarely goes as planned. No matter how hard you try, things happen that you least expect. You need to travel with people who get this, that can go with the flow, and know not to sweat the small stuff. Shit is going to happen, guaranteed….

This is just what happened on a recent trip to Baja, and luckily I choose the right guys to go with. It starts with choosing your bros that have as flexible schedules as you do. I will be honest; I probably have the greatest job in the world. I work hard in the shop every day during the summer season, but have a very flexible schedule the rest of the year. This affords me the freedom to travel and search for swell. With waves being on Mother Nature’s time frame and not yours, the ability to adjust your time is crucial to scoring the best swells. Two of my favorite travel partners have similar schedules, and we’ve gotten great surf because of it.

We originally planned to go the week prior. Airline tickets had been purchased and the hotel room was reserved. Keeping an eye on the surf forecast a couple weeks before departure however, started to create some concerns about our timing. The models were showing flat conditions the whole week we were going to be there. As disappointing as this outlook was, the long term graphs were also indicating a huge storm making its way around New Zealand and heading towards Chile. The swell forecasted from this monster was big and powerful. So solid in fact, that organizer’s gave the green light to run two professional contests along its path. First, the Volcom Pro in Fiji was run as it traveled through the lower South Pacific. Then, the Big Wave Tour sent out word they might run the Quiksilver Cerimonial Chile at Punta De Lobos (it was later put back on hold). By the time it made its way to Baja we would need to push our trip back exactly one week to catch it. I made a call to the boys to fill them in on all the details. There was no hesitation on either of their parts. Pay the extra money and change our reservations. We were going there to surf, and no other explanations were needed.

We scored! The swell arrived during the evening of our first night in San Jose Del Cabo. We were up at 4am, out the door by 5, and made it to the East Cape and in the water at first light. This is another important factor when choosing your travel crew. Are you all going to be on the same surf schedule? Is everybody willing to wake up early, paddle out in the dark, surf for 3 or 4 hours then rest and do it again? This was our routine for the first 4 days while the waves were pumping. When a swell this size and strength hits the East Cape all the points light up. Spots that normally aren’t surfed start to fire. We had several sessions by ourselves, just 3 friends trading waves all day. Sure, the stand-out spots of the area were going off. But we weren’t the only traveling surfers that came down hoping to surf this swell, and those line-ups were busy. We all agreed we would rather surf by ourselves. Maybe the waves were less than perfect, but we were perfectly happy being alone!

The final few days of the trip were spent surfing in town. The swell was dying but a good time was had and several beers were enjoyed while sitting at the bar at Zipper's. The line-ups were crowded but we no longer cared. By this time we were surfed out and content with the waves we had caught. We had ridden the swell from its start to finish. I am now back at the shop and watching the live webcast of The Los Cabos Open of Surf. The waves are still small there. It looks like we made a great call to change our plans and caught the best window of swell. I guess it’s now time to work and wait for fall, when my schedule loosens up and the northwest swells start pumping……      

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