2 days after Christmas, my friend Travis Potter called me up and asked what I was going to be doing for the upcoming swell. Turned out I would be on a boat with him and some friends, south in Baja Mexico to head out for a couple day surf trip.
We set off in the middle of the night around midnight, and set course for our first destination. Below, Taylor driving his boat, and Travis manning the ski so we could run around faster. Can’t tow the jetski’s faster than 8 knots.
First spot surf check early morning.
Another spot, looking deceivingly perfect. Fast and shallow.
Ben Wilkonson is a beast of a charger from Australia that has been spending a bunch of time at Mavericks and Waimea. Below, stretching pre-surf.
Just part of the unmolested stretch of Baja’s coastline. Somewhere…
This is the right hander. This wave as well was a deceivingly good wave. Ben paddled while Travis towed Taylor into a couple. Joel and I were on the second ski shooting. This is the first time I have ever shot photos of bigger waves from a Jet-Ski. IT was pretty tricky without a water housing. First, the wave had 3 different peaks. The one Ben and Taylor surfed was the furthest one up, so Joel and I were on the shoulder dodging the swing-wides that could catch you if you weren’t paying attention. While we were running around, I would have the camera inside of a pelican case on my lap as I held onto the back of Joel’s life-vest. Then, when a set would come, I would pull the camera out of the case, shoot off the frames, and slam it back into the case and shut it before we would move. It was hard because of the swing wide peaks, we would be in the impact zone. To be honest, I am pretty surprised I didnt drop the camera into the drink.
In this sequence of one of the bombs, Ben was caught on the inside and tried to duckdive, getting sucked over as caught in the right side of the frame below, his 9ft+ orange board, peaking out the top of the white water cloud.
The 4th shot in the sequence, Taylor got engulfed and tumbled.
Taylor on a bowling one.
Ben with paddle power!
When you surf spots for the first time, sometimes it takes a couple tries to time the speed of the wave with the ski. Below, Travis, whipped in by Taylor, mistimed the first one leaving travis out on the shoulder in the flats.
Unmolested Baja coastline.
What the below photo does not show is the rock reef ledge just inside of the wave.
Below, you can see the ledge and the water getting sucked over the rocks.
Here, Travis is taking a beating trying to paddle a 30+ lb tow board through the impact zone. He is that little black dot in the white water on the right hand side of the frame. Just his lower back peeping up through the soup.
Golden hour just for a few minutes.
Day two, we awoke and headed early to another right further down the coast. This thing was a pretty mental double up that would peel right next to this point, feet from the cliff.
Here, the outside showing its face.
Below, the boys prep on the stern of the boat.
Travis on one of the double ups. Notice the proximity to the slabbing rocks.
Below, Ben got a really really good tube on a psycho double up. It pushed so far inside that I was unable to shoot the second half of the wave as he disappeared for a few seconds, then got spit out onto the shoulder. Meanwhile, Travis was on the inside, taking it on the head after trying to punch through the back on the previous wave and getting dragged inside.
Frame two. Ben’s head peeping over the shoulder.
A mean one. Travis.
While the boys were getting whipped in, there was big school of wide open Bonita tuna all around the boat. I cast an iron out and got one. Ben displaying before Joel filleting it up.
After a long one, Taylor close to the cliff.
Joel getting some more dinner for the ride home.
Ben, post session stoke.
A film look at the right.
Last look from in the bay before our way back up the coast.
Ben cutting up the freshest sashimi you can get. 30 minutes before, it was peacefully swimming around in the ocean.
Some pre-ride home beers to keep you warm on the ski’s. Joel and Travis wore these survival suits that keep you completely dry.
Some “during” beers.
Subsequently falling into the drink after several too many drinks?
Travis, wet and cold on the way in. He also fell in the drink. The survival suits and boots kinda work against you if you fall in…
Really stoked I was able to go on this trip. Thanks to Travis for introducing me to Joel, Taylor and Ben. And thanks to Taylor for letting me cruise on the boat and crash in one of the bunks.