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Kustom

Stormrider Guide to surfing Central Baja

Mexico, CENTRAL AMERICA & CARIBBEAN


Natividad, Hump

Summary

+ Numerous right pointbreaks - Lack of lefts
+ Natividad tubing waves - Upwelling
+ Miles of uncrowded surf - Bad roads and remote Natividad
+ Offshore trade winds - Basic accommodation

Baja California is a long, narrow peninsula extending south of San Diego, barely linked to the Mexican mainland by a thin strip of land. This arid, rocky finger has long been a playground for surfers from ÒUpper CaliforniaÓ seeking righthand pointbreak perfection, without the urban crowds that dominate the USA line-ups. Central Baja is where the main highway heads inland, making the treasure trove of rights in the huge Bahia Sebastian Vizcaino and the beachbreak barrels of Isla Natividad harder to reach.

When to Go

Only spots above Punta Blanca or below Natividad can rely on the long-travelled, clean S-SW swells. The Seven Sisters only wake up when winterÕs W-NW swells hit from Oct to April. Winds blow NW-N. Upwelling keeps water temps lower than North Baja in winter. Tide range reaches 2.8m.

Surf Spots

Punta Eugenia and Cedros Island conspire to block S swells from much of Bahia Sebastian Vizcaino. Punta Canoas is one of the last spots able to pick up direct SW swells onto a series of points, where an outside reef and high cliffs offer good N wind protection. Punta Blanca is one of the series of seven major points known as the Seven Sisters. ItÕs a fine right climb and drop pointbreak for able surfers, working best on a SW-W swell, offshore-ish in NW and is definitely among those requiring a 4WD. From Punta Cono south, only W to NW winter swells can be relied on. Cono bends these swells a full 180¼ and fans out endless carvable walls into the wind protected bay. Punta Maria is a class act; a long wrapping right, which can only be seen on major W swells that usually coincide with winterÕs offshore NE winds. El Card—n may be one of the smaller headlands in the area, but rides are actually really long and it is always bigger than Maria or Lobos. Rocky at the tip, sandy at the tail. Next door, Punta Lobos looks like an elongated version of El Card—n, complete with wind protection and an even sandier bottom. Sharks have been spotted among the guaranteed numbers of surfers in the line-up. Yet another good right pointbreak, Punta Negra enjoys offshore winds early and late in the day during the winter months. Puerto San AndrŽs receives strong offshores that attract a few windsurfers and surfers looking for real hollow waves. Whenever a really big W swell comes in, Punta Santa Rosalillita is an obvious choice with the point delivering truly classic, extra-long rides plus thereÕs several other breaks around the bay, including waves beside the new harbour breakwalls. Punta Rosarito is so consistent, it has earned the nickname of The Wall, but winds, even if offshore, can get too strong to surf these powerful west-facing reefs. Plenty of camping among the rock wall windbreaks. Cruise around El Tomatal fish camp in the area known as MillerÕs Landing to find the nice cobblestone right point and a neighbouring left/right reef. A big island like Isla Cedros seems attractive but itÕs really windy and breaks like Playa Elefante are only of medium quality. If youÕre gonna fly you should head to Isla Natividad. Located on the east side of the island, the dredging barrels of Open Doors are offshore every afternoon, but be prepared for powerful, board-snapping lefts and rights. Other breaks include Siren BayÕs big wave option, Old Mans and Frijole. Back on the mainland, Bahia Tortuga is a seldom surfed area with numerous breaks, requiring S-W swell to penetrate the deep bay. From there air and water get warmer as you enter Baja California Sur and another bunch of excellent righthand points like Abreojos and Scorpion Bay.

Statistics

J
F
M
A
M
J
J
A
S
O
N
D
dominant swell W -NW W -NW W -NW W -NW W -NW W -NW
swell size (ft) 4 3-4 2-3 3 3-4 4
consistency (%) 80 75 55 55 65 70
dominant wind NW -NE W -NW W -NW W -NW W -NW NW -NE
average force F4 F4 F4 F3-F4 F3-F4 F4
consistency (%) 74 80 72 76 85 72
water temp (C) 11 13 16 20 20 17
wetsuit 4/3 4/3 3/2 springsuit springsuit 3/2

Travel Information

Weather
Central Baja weather is a cool and damp coastal desert climate, with periodic winter rains, and the summer is long and warm. If it gets really hot inland, the nights will get chilly on the coast (10¡C/50¼F). The hurricane season, stretching from June to October, may bring in some rain, but the cool ocean waters of the area limit storms northward trajectories.

Lodging and Food
Camping is the only type of accommodation available if you want to be close to the breaks. If youÕre willing to put in an hourÕs driving for more comfort, thereÕs several places to stay in Guerrero Negro (El Morro) or try the hotels in Bahia Tortuga. Fresh lobster and cold Pacificos make a stylinÕ surf meal.

Nature and Culture
Besides fishing, main visitor attractions are the whale-watching tours to the nearby lagoons (Laguana Ojo de Liebre ) between January and April, or exploring nearby Sierras for Indian art. Nothing to do but surf on Natividad.