As promised, I found some of Jimmy’s articles for you. I couldn’t find my carefully copied and preserved versions. They must be in a storage bin somewhere. Instead, I spent the day at the Manhattan Beach library, going through the hard-bound archives of the Beach Reporter. The article below is one of my favorites, for so many reasons. If some of the phrasing is a bit off, it’s because I couldn’t decipher what was squished in the stiff leather hard-bound pages. Any mistakes are strictly mine, not Jimmy’s.
I hope you enjoy this November story and if you have the time, perhaps you can take a “Hot Tip’ and head south for some great adventures. Happy Thanksgiving. We are so thankful for all of your support this year.
“The Hot Tip “
Getaways for Surfers
By Jim Miller
Go South Young Man: Surfing the Many Waves of Mexico
All right. Summer’s creeping up in the South Bay with its blocked south swells, red flags and frat-bros on mini-longboards. You know the entire southern hemisphere from South Africa to South America is pumping. Uluwatu, Reunion and Puerto Escondido. The names are starting to blend, but it doesn’t really matter. You are dying for a trip, but it doesn’t look financially feasible and busting out the Visa and going two grand in debt doesn’t quite work because you still have to pay for the round of tequila shots and the Bud you generously bought for the crew last Thursday night at Sharkey’s. But it’s time for a surf escape and I can feel it.
Time to grab a few friends, $40, lots of bottled water, peanut butter and take a trip to local Mexico. I’m not saying let’s go rage at strip bars and drink beer, or let’s go scam chicks, I mean a real surf trip. With a little bit of effort and a passion for adventure, you and your friends can find empty waves in beautiful surrounding in a three hour drive away.
The first good spot south of the border is Baja Malibu. Although the name draws thoughts of a long right point break, actually there is a hollow beach-break that can good a good imitation of Puerto Escondido. Many San Diego based surfers are tuned in and cross the border at dawn whenever the conditions are on, so it can get crowded. But plenty of wedging peaks go unridden, and if you are craving a thick tube-ride, this is the place.
South of Rosarito, the well-known right point-breaks at K-38 and San Miguel pump on both south and north swells. Both waves are long, rippable walls that occasionally barrel; and provide fun, racy sections. Long-boarders and Mexican locals usually crowd these spots, but if you find yourself in Mex on weekdays from late fall to early spring, you may pleasantly surprised and find the lineups nearly empty.
La Fonda is another well-known spot where you can camp on the cliff or stay at the eccentric La Fonda Hotel. Fun, challenging beach-break walls peak in clear water and break onto a nice, white sand beach. La Fonda may be the most consistent break in the area, and you can almost always get in a fun session, even after the onshore winds pick up in the afternoon.
Local Mex, from the border to Ensenada has so many nooks and crannies between the well-known spots that if you keep you eyes open, follow your instincts and pay a few bucks to pay a local to open a gate on to his property, you could luck into a session as good as any you’ll find halfway around the globe.
Over Thanksgiving this past year, a few friends, my brother and I ventured down to Mexico and rented a house south of Rosarito. There was a solid 4-6 foot swell sunny beaches and glassy conditions. We surfed at Malibu the first two mornings and scored some filthy barrels, despite the weekend crowd. On the second day we drove south and noticed good waves, but there were crowds at K-38 and La Fonda.
On our way home for a siesta, we spotted a point-break from the highway that was barreling with solid 6-foot sets and nobody in sight. I’d seen that point before, but never with anyone surfing it. It definitely looked good, so we went to check it out. The gate leading to the headland was locked and we were going to walk the half mile by foot, when a chubby man ran down the street. He had the key, and I offered him a few dollars and a Pacifica for his troubles. We drove to the top of the headland, bouncing down the dirt road and park atop a drop-off cliff. Jaws dropped as our suspicions were confirmed and a five-wave, solid 6-foot set pushed out of the deep water and churned along the reef. We mapped out a way to safely scale the cliff to a hidden rock cove below and paddled out. Kelp beds lined the glassy point. The late afternoon sun shimmered off the deep blue ocean faces. Overhead set waves broke out beyond a big rock and would push for 50 meters into the bay. Smaller waves sucked up and broke in a dredging hollow section right off the rock. The headland jutted into the lineup and formed a natural bridge where the surf and wind passed underneath and reminded me of Santa Cruz.
The five of us surfed for about three hours, hooting and yelling and getting the waves wired, while my friend’s girlfriend filmed us from the cliff above while standing on our ice chest. Some waves barreled and others left a big wide open-face to carve. The amazing part was that we could see other surfers bobbing around at an average beach-break to the south of us, and countless cars passed on the highway, but no one else clued in that this spot was going off. The session was all ours.
At sunset, we made our way back to the car, and saluted the day with some cold beers and cruisy Hawaiian tunes. Standing there with my brother and friends, watching a final set roll in and blend into the pink and orange haze of the sky, I realized I had found the session I’d searched the world over for, by plane, train, automobile, motorcycle, donkey, horse cart, boat, canoe and foot. I’d found good friends to share good waves, adventure and perfect conditions; and I’d found it all just a three hour drive away in Mex.
@Copyright Jim Miller 1996