Punta San Carlos is what people mean when they talk about Baja.
It’s a very desolate place, on the edge of nowhere with the nearest shop a 4 hour drive away. No mains water, no mains electricity, no mains sewage systems and camping is the only option. Why would you go there? Only to experience the most awesome down-the-line wave sailing in the world. Dave Horrocks was there in MAY…
How to get there
You need to get to San Diego and then you have three options.
- The crazy option: hire a vehicle from the airport to drive you and your kit the 8-10 hour dirt track drive to San Carlos or if from the States, rent/buy an RV for the road trip of a lifetime.
- The sensible option: hook up with Solo Sports (the only company that looks after you down there) who will take you and your kit to their Camp at San Carlos in a huge truck.
- The pimp option: For $600 fly down (and back) in a little plane and land 20m from the beach, taking 40 mins. Your kit follows in the Solo Sports truck and if it’s windy on arrival, you can hire kit off them until yours shows up 10 hours later.
Flights to San Diego
Average cost from the UK: £400-500. All sorts of airlines fly this route including charter.
How the wind works
It is windy all year around but most consistent between April and November. For 3.7 to 5m weather you need the ‘system’ to be working. Don’t ask me exactly what this is, but it’s something to do with high pressures out in the Pacific! But being on the edge of a huge desert, you also get a decent thermal wind so if the system isn’t working the thermal will at least give you 5.8m, floaty board, drift out, ride in weather. The thermal tends to pick up at two in the afternoon and dies off around seven in the evening. However if the 'system' is working, the wind will blow from as early as 7am right through the day. The wind is always cross-offshore from the right (starboard tack riding - like the south coast of England and Maui!)
The best time to go for swell is the spring as you get a southerly swell and ‘system’ wind but you can get waves all year around. The average size is between shoulder to head high which is perfect for ‘beginner wave sailors’ at the Camp section (see below). However, it can get bigger, a lot bigger. When I was there for 10 days in May we had everything from shoulder high to mast high and it can get bigger so you just have to pick your day and your location depending on your ability.
The 4 Breaks
Bombora: The break upwind of the Camp. This is a one hit wonder wave then a big shoulder. Not for beginners and not that popular.
The Camp: The next section downwind is right opposite the Solo Sport Camp. This I beginner wave heaven: a soft, long wave and super easy to get in and out. Pick your day swell wise and you’ll learn loads.
The Point: Around the corner from the Camp section. A more taxing wave that breaks with more power but usually gets more wind.
The Chilli Bowl: Pretty full-on break for practising that one aerial, although I got about five turns on the wave. You’re up in the teens at The Camp and The Point!! The wind can get a bit light on the inside so you need to be a wobble master and pretty handy in waves.