We crossed the border at nightfall and were all buzzing with excitement. Our first stop was Hotel La Salina where we'd meet the rest of our crew and continue our caravan south. After a bit of dancing, karaoke, Pacificos, chips and salsa, we hit the highway towards San Miguel. The next morning would kick off the San Miguel Coalition Surf Festival, which the Windansea Surf Club hadn't put on for several years. We were excited to see what this Baja point break had in store for us.
The first heats were pretty wild with the high tide whomping on to the unforgiving rocks. Rides were tricky but the competitors put on a great show and maintained flow and control. Noah Cardoza made it through to the next heat along with his brother Ben Cardoza. Wiley Archbold and Kyle Perez, also surfing incredibly, were just shy of making it to the semi finals. Next up we had Finn Walen and Arlo Kraus repping it for the younger generation of shredders. Finn cruised his way through heats, making it into the Sunday final. Arlo impressed with his talent in the Open Men's Shortboard, competing against guys twice his age. Hallie Rohr cross-stepped her way through the first heat and straight into the final. With half of our San O Surf Co. crew making it to finals, we were amping!
That night we had an epic bonfire and enjoyed a fresh fish dinner on the beach, thanks to the Windansea Club.
Sunday heats were on! Finn logged the challenging conditions on his Nick Melanson single fin, eventually earning himself a solid 3rd place finish in the Boys division. We had some time to kill before afternoon Men & Women heats. This gave us the chance to have a fantastic breakfast overlooking the point... sussing out the conditions over chilaquiles, machaca and fresh squeezed orange juice.
Hallie paddled out for the Women's Final and the conditions were certainly the best they'd been so far. Waist to chest high, perfect tide with a slight offshore breeze. With fiver other ladies battling it out for the best waves, she held her own on the borrowed Dextr 9'5 log that Ben would later ride in his final. She came out with a first place finish and the satisfaction of a successful weekend in Baja.
Ben was up next in a stacked Men's Final. Truly incredible surfing combining switch noserides with long, perched tens. We all cheered as he absolutely dominated. Our talented goofy footer earned himself a first place finish and was the perfect representation of our traditional logging finesse.
We wanted to stay a few more days so badly! But with a lack of funds and a very uncertain border situation due to the attempted breach in Tijuana, it was time to go home. Bye for now, Baja!
Special thanks to Hope Ranch Surf Club for getting us spots in the contest. Also to Windansea Surf Club for running this event. Huge thanks to San Onofre Surf Co. for supplying us with plenty of tees and hoodies for the trip, and to owner Joe Lambert for entrusting us with his truck and continual support!
1st Place - Ben Cardoza (24)
1st Place - Hallie Rohr (24)
3rd Place - Finn Walen (13)