Swinging a hard right off of a freshly paved section of Mexican Highway 1, a lifted 4×4 Ford van outfitted with an industrial package of off-road racing hardware barrels into the first section of grueling washboard. The van, its driver and the cargo trailer being towed behind are no strangers to the hairpin turns, steep arroyos and tire-eating potholes that line the two-hour drive to the Pacific. The only landmark indicating the turnoff is a trashed metal sign, the name long camouflaged under a chaotic smear of haphazard surf stickers. In Baja, greedy surfers try to conceal their secret spots by first toppling signs, but when Mexicans inevitably resurrect the markers to their remote coastal villages, the surfers that follow give the sign the sticker treatment. The patchwork of surf-branded vinyl logos on tin becomes just as much a beacon for wandering surfers as it is an indicator that the dirt track in question leads to a surf break that ceased to be a secret long ago.
The enclosed cargo trailer clinging to the extended 4×4 slips into a deep rut and the latch on the back jiggles, endangering the two plus weeks of supplies inside. Its utility racks are packed out with board bags and the trailer piled high with food crates and coolers to keep an army of 20 kitesurfers fed for a week, all of whom skip the drive and take the scenic coastal route into Punta San Carlos via private single prop airplanes. Rich Garrett gave up on airing down long ago; it kills precious time and with his lifted suspension, beadlock wheels and no passengers to please, he blares death metal from an aftermarket stereo in an attempt to tame the rattle-can jitters of endless stutter bumps.
Racing past an abandoned schoolhouse in the searing badlands with a single goat herder off in the distance, the supply van jostles through a gap in the coastal mountain range and onto a low lying marine terrace. With the darkened lines of south swell marching off of the azul horizon, Rich streaks past a small series of semi-permanent Jed Clampet style structures erected on the rocky bluffs just south of the SoloSports compound. These stay-and-play campers belong to a temporal class of kite and windsurf locals, perched up on the cliff for weeks if not months at a time, roughing it out in the rugged desert for the purpose of honing their skills in the solitary setting of Baja’s best point break.
A Cessna 172 remains parked at the edge of the landing strip waiting for the next peninsula run as Rich shifts into park just outside the rustic outpost of Airstream trailers, steel shipping containers and plywood walls that comprise the SoloSports compound. It’s a transition day; some guests are leaving while others are just arriving as Solo’s skeleton staff hustles to cover all the details. The latest guests mull around the establishment, watching the extended-stay bluff campers rip the point out front while Joey, a young bearded 20-something with the quiet yet confident reassurance of professional windsurfer along with his charming girlfriend Elise, dish out welcoming smiles and head to the van to help unload supplies with their well-behaved Baja mutt dutifully in tow.
The SoloSports proposition is as much about what it is as what it isn’t. The unsupported Baja trip is a logistical boondoggle. If the 14-hour drive from the border isn’t enough dissuasion, it’s often the overblown rumors of the Mexican border town experience replete with corrupt policemen meeting a personal quota or the occasional cartel bandits moonlighting on helpless turistas that’s enough to stop the average Joe from venturing across and into this peninsula of pristine windblown point breaks. Without a custom-tailored camping setup honed from years of trial and error, you’ll never get a good night’s sleep in this sand-swept wind tunnel. Playing on these drawbacks, Kevin Trejo, owner of SoloSports, hit pay dirt 300 miles south of the border and 35 miles from the nearest stretch of pavement. Kevin has created an experience that takes the best parts of a remote Baja surf adventure and eliminates the most obnoxious part: having to pull it off on your own…