30 August 2015

Las Gaviotas

Night had not yet yielded to day when Jason and I arrived at Jon's house to begin our expedition across the border to surf in Baja. Jon had mis-set his alarm and the house was dark, but my deliberate pounding steps on the entry deck woke him. Soon we'd loaded our gear into his Jeep, strapped the boards on top, and pointed south.
The day was still new when we turned into the gated community of Las Gaviotas ("The Seagulls")  where a few of Jon's friends had rented a house. Access to the break out front is generally limited to people in the community, yet there were already close to twenty surfers in the water by the time we paddled out. Fortunately the numbers dropped steadily over the more than two hours we were in the water and it never seemed too crowded.
Jon's friend jumped off that rock; we walked to the beach
The waves were head-high with some power. I'd brought my 6'2" since my shortboard didn't get me into any decent waves the last (and only other) time I surfed Baja and the tide was rapidly filling in to a high high. The first wave I caught steepened faster than expected and swept me off my feet. After that, I rode a lot more with better success. Several were really fun and put a grin on my face.

It was Jon's first time surfing in months, after he'd badly hurt his wrist. When he was in position for his first wave, all four of us yielded and called him into it, then hooted when he popped up and rode. So stoked for him! I can only imagine how good that must've felt.

A few times during the session I was punished on the inside, glad of my booties for the rocks I felt underfoot near shore.
Once I was stuck on the treadmill for at least five minutes before I could scratch my way back to my friends in the lineup.
"I asked the ocean for a lull but didn't get one," I told Jon, who's fluent in Spanish (whereas I only studied it for two years long ago in escuela secundaria). "Maybe I need to say it in Spanish. Que es la palabra?" 
"Tranquilo," he said. 
Or "siesta," Jason called from farther away. 
"No!" I said. "The ocean's been taking a siesta for weeks. We don't want any more siestas."
Jon's Jeep, and Jason waiting on the street in the gated community
The thermometer on the bottom of my surfboard read 73° but when a light breeze came up, I started to shiver a little in my 2-mil long jane. After more than two hours, we caught our last waves in. Mine was a right, heading back toward the beach. I had a nice run on the face but it ran out of energy before taking me all the way, so I belly-rode whitewater to shore and washed up happy and tired and stoked.
View from Las Rocas, our post-surf second-breakfast spot

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