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Chasing Hurricane Enrique Up The East Cape

Posted by Steven Wilcox on
A landscape shot of the waves near La Foturna, near Cabo, just after sunrise
It's pretty taboo to head out into the desert of Baja California without some sense of what you're in for. Normally, a seasoned vet with some basic understanding of the Spanish language and a geographical understanding of region is helpful, more or less required, but every so often caution must be thrown to the wind. Why? The waves are calling and I must go.

To be honest, of all the times I've headed south to Cabo I've been skunked for waves. I've mostly chalked up the town as "touristy heaven," great for kicking back in a cabana, being served endless margaritas and fresh fish tacos. Maybe throw in a fishing trip if the group is up for it. Good to Epic surf is very far from my mind. If there's waves at all, it's more about the warm water and enjoying the reef breaks near the resorts simply to catch a few and cool off from the hot desert sun.

Circumstances can certainly change expectations though. Upon arrival, a hurricane had formed off the southern coast of Mainland Mexico. The storm took the perfect track to send waves to Baja's southern tip. My friends and I both looked at each other with the same thought. Thank the lord we packed our boards, but did we pack the right ones?

We have a few days to track the storm as it continued to move it's way across the tropical waters of southern Mexico. Bouy readings continued to improve too. 8ft at 12 seconds! This is our chance to explore a region we've heard so much about but never been lucky enough to experience for ourselves. The call is made, hands in, it's time to find us some wheels.

We meet Earnesto, he runs the car rentals at the resort, great guy, poor negotiator. We lock in a Jeep Wrangler with 4x4 for cash and a healthy discount. Gracias Amigo, we'll have her back in one piece. We hit the market for the necessary supplies (water & snacks) enough to get through a day if we get stuck out there. I can't caution this enough, if something goes wrong out there, you're pretty S.O.L. We're mostly focused on the rain, if the rains come, and wash out the roads there's a good chance we'll be stuck out there until it drys up... fingers crossed that doesn't happen.

Sunrise, we roll out the gates of the resort and head up the cape towards our first spot. Cross the bridge over the estuary, we leave civilization behind. Cell service drops, the road turns to dirt, we're in it now. Fully disconnected, 4x4 vehicle, a pulsing hurricane swell, a couple of surfboards, water, and food. Oh and a camera to document it all.



We pull up to the first spot, a long right hander that looks familiar to one of our local north county San Diego spots. Its steeper outside take-off gives way to a drawn out tapered wall. The wave breaks with the perfect pace for long wrapping turns, finding speed and flow in synchronization with the waves running down the point. As the tide rises, the waves break further up the point. The steeper takeoff becomes a a bit too soft for our liking. On to the next spot. We have the whole day to explore what hurricane Enrique has to offer.


Up the desert coast of the East Cape we go. The sun is high and the heat is smoldering. A few cows line dirt road and I feel awful for the heat they're stuck in. Not to mention, there's little food on offer for them in this climate. We pull up to a donkey and her new born. Shane decides to jump out and throw some food their way. It makes for a great photo-op but Shane returns to let us know he almost lost a finger. Hungry little burro.

We pull down a few dirt roads to get the lay of the land. It seems like everywhere we looks is something surf-able. It takes a keen eye to find the hazards underwater. With the tide still near its peak, we're cautious about a few zones. Boulders litter the line-ups in this region. You'll be going down the line on a wave and surprise, a boulder appears just ahead of you and only a few inches or so below the waters surface. The last thing we want is to destroy any of our boards on the inside rocks (or even land on one yourself)



After an hour of driving up and down the dirt paths that spine off the main coastal route, we pull up to a wave that shocks us. We park right on the waters edge to find a long, reeling right hander that breaks about 30 feet from dry sand but runs perfectly parallel to the beach. Down the way, towards the take off zone, is an out cropping of rocks, a few small homes and to the north is a large sand dune. It seems like the wind had pushed the sand from the dune into the water and filled in the coastline perfectly in time for the swell from Enrique. Surfers in the water are locking into set waves and racing down the beach about 100 or so yards. It's eerily reminiscent of Sandspit in Santa Barbara, with a few more boulders to dodge instead of people. We load up on food and we're quickly out the back of the rock outcrop at the top of the point. We wait patiently for pulses of Hurricane Enrique to deliver the long runners we'd seen opon arrival.



This session does us in, 3 hours in the water, multiple loops up the point on foot and we're back into the water for. We exhaust all the energy we have but the adrenaline keeps us going. The sun is roasting. We finally decide we've have enough of this spot, it's been incredible and just want we had hoped to find.

In driving back towards the resorts of San Jose Del Cabo, we can't help ourselves and hop back in at another spot for good measure. We don't last long. Our arms are shot and our energy is simply nonexistent. But how does one say "no" to 80 degree water and fun sized rights with nobody out?

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With a full day, 3 sessions to our name and tons of photos, we agree that we'll need to get back here. There's too much to explore to call it one and done region. All this time, we thought the surf of Cabo was overrated. We'd just been missing the right swell conditions. Each of us felt the
 post adrenaline relief of pure satisfaction (a bit of sunburn too). As the 3 of us return to civilization, the dirt road turns to pavement, cell service comes back, the town of San Jose Del Cabo is in our sites. Our little escape has run its course. Till next time...

#EnjoyTheExploration

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