A weekend adventure in Mexico:
A few weekends ago, we took a trip to Mexico. Living in San Diego, we are 15 minutes from the border and less than an hour from some of the most beautiful and uncrowded surf breaks.
While being quite a destination for waves, Mexico has some of the most impoverished and underprivileged communities. No matter how many times you’ve crossed the border, It’s amazing to experience the culture change from San Diego to Tijuana, Rosarito and even further south. The contrast is immediately apparent in the infrastructure and built environment as well as the culture: half built structures that have been abandoned for years and landslides of garbage, paired with vibrant pottery and beautiful handmade items, sold on the side of the road, across an untouched coastline. This is all apart of the ambiance of visiting and surfing in Baja California, Mexico.
This surf trip to Baja was particularly special. It included a visit to an orphanage in Vicente Guerrero, 5 hours south of the border. We came to Foundation for His Ministry to donate household items and visit with orphans.
“We believe the key to lasting community restoration lies in children. Throughout Mexico we work to save children from situations that rob them of their health, opportunity and hope.”
(Hogar para niños "home for children" is an orphanage located 5 hours south of San Diego, in Vicente Guerrero, Mexico)
While many of the orphans had come from devastating situations, they were well cared for here. This program allowed them a future. On a tour of the facility, we learned that children are welcome to stay until age 18 or until they finished high school. If they decided to stay with the Foundation they could move to Tijuana and attend university, tuition paid, allowing them the opportunity to become productive and self sustaining adults. All this provided by generous donors and volunteers who support the foundation, and very little, to no aid from the government.
We sang songs, did arts and crafts, played soccer and visited with the children. It was a great way to make a surf trip to Mexico much more meaningful. It was nice to go beyond searching for swell to contribute, even in this tiny way.
(left: a boy at the orphanage painting during our visit. right: the kids line up to receive a sweet treat)
We followed our visit by driving up the rugged and isolated coastline of unpaved and unmapped roads. Every so often, we were abruptly met with drop offs into a dry riverbed of a washed away road. Each time circumventing, crossing our fingers we would find another way through without getting stuck. It made it an adventure to locate some of the breaks that Surfline completely misplaces on their map.
The most memorable break is called shipwrecks, or punta San Jacinto, a place where many ships have wrecked off the coast, and an eroding ship rests by the shore as a permanent landmark.
As evening was falling and the waves had calmed, it was decided that surf would have to wait. That didn’t bother anyone. The chance to donate, volunteer and spend time getting to know the children in Vicente Guerrero was just as gratifying. We will surely return with more time to volunteer and more time to surf.
I’ve always felt that surfing can be a very selfish sport, or lightly put, a very personal experience. We spend so much time sitting and waiting for waves and when we ride we do it for no one else, but ourselves.
We are lucky to be afforded the time to surf and not be entirely burdened with the sole concern of survival. We are lucky to be able to pursue this passion and lucky to afford the gear we buy.
As surfers we can support the communities we visit and keep perspective that we are fortunate to be able to surf and travel. But on a local scale, we can share waves with our neighbors and treat each other with love and respect. As we should never take for granted, that surfing is a privilege and not a right.