Tales from the Baja Blood and Waves, Part 2

By Oscar

You’d think I would have learned my lesson, but I would find myself once again staining the ocean with my blood on the next trip down.

We were out surfing over some reef, which provides good waves — not to be daredevils, catching some bigger waves. As the large sets rolled in, we scrambled to get outside. I was still getting the feel for the spot when I seemed to be in a great position to catch the first wave of a bigger set.

I dropped down the 15-foot face of this beauty and held my line. I made a few turns — up the wave, snap and then back down again for a bottom turn. I was really feeling the flow and one of my comrades who was paddling out gave me a yell of approval. I was feeling really good now and while the little voice inside my head told me to pull out, the more daring surf mentality took over. I ducked down into the curl of the wave, now tubing up on the inside. I planned to punch through the backside, but got worked inside the wave.

This was one of the most powerful hold-downs I’d ever experienced. I could feel rocks with my hands and feet as the churning water ran me through the spin-cycle. When I finally got up for air, I could feel the leash of the surfboard yanking on my leg while my board bobbed like a buoy. I was sort of gasping for air, wondering how bad I’d been cut on my leg when the rest of the set came roaring up on me. I couldn’t get untangled in time and I was only in knee deep water, so I bear-hugged a rock, held my breath and held on for dear life, literally. After I withstood the one wave, I unhooked my leash and tried to pull it out from the board end. It worked, and I managed to paddle out and check out my new free tattoo — a reef gash about seven inches long on the top of my thigh.

Despite the injuries, the blood and the pain, I always wanted to come back to the Baja to surf. Getting home, again, was never easy.

Just when I thought the surf gods had thrown enough at us, we were pulled over by one of Tijuana’s finest on the way home. Now it’s often said that you can bribe the police in Mexico with doughnuts, but you have to be very careful about the subject. My advice is to wait and let them suggest it.

On this particular occasion, as we were being pulled over, I estimated the cost of the offense — keeping up with traffic down a hill in a Skylark with four surfboards strapped to the top — would be $30. But we waited to hear what this Federale would say.

He talked in quick Mexican as our interpreter — a spacey surfer who had a few years of Spanish in high school — followed intently. The translation: “He says we can speed up the hill, but not down the hill.”

The officer talked about taking us downtown. But when we explained that we had jobs to get back to, he paused, looked at us, looked out across the hills of TJ and said two words in broken English: “Thirty dollars.”

While I was right in my prediction, I unfortunately had to fork over my last $10. It all worked out, though. Another friend had enough cash to fund our feast at the famous fish taco spot in Rosarito.

Funny, but despite the trouble we always found, I never once hesitated to hop into a car and head back down. Those cold waves were like sirens, calling us back.

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categoriaFitness commentoComments Off dataSeptember 6th, 2012


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