By Brian M. Watson
PUNTA SAN CARLOS, Mexico--Punta San Carlos is reputed to offer some of the best winds and easiest-riding waves southwest of the Pecos. One acquaintance, professional windsurfer Kevin McGillivray (a.k.a. KMac), had been raving about PSC for years. Kevin has been assisting fellow professionals, Matt Pritchard and Wyatt Miller, in their various Baja windsurfing boot-camps, as well as hosting his own, for years. He is a seasoned Baja traveler and windsurfer.
The drive is nerve-wracking, and a bit grueling. It’s about 300 miles south of the U.S./Mexico border, with 260 of them over well-paved Mexico 1. While the paved highway offers its own challenges (Pucker-factor-plus passing of trucks on two-lane highway, hazardous shoulders that abruptly slope away from the road, various government checkpoints, etc.), it’s relatively nice.
The 60-kilometer dirt road that veers off toward PSC, however, is not for the “vehicularly” ill-prepared. While you don’t need a 4x4 during the driest seasons, you do need something with more than average passenger-car underside clearance. You’ll also want a good spare tire … or two, just in case.
Ultimately, what pushed me toward the decision to make the trip was the fact that a windsurfing buddy, Rob D., was heading down during the week that KMac and Matt Pritchard were putting on clinics. In addition, wave and wind forecasts called for excellent conditions. Rob and I decided to caravan.
As we entered Mexico by way of Tijuana, we were delayed briefly in the secondary inspection area, while a young Mexican government worker looked through a few of our things before waving us through. At 7:30 a.m. we were in a different country with a direct heading for PSC.
It had been 25-plus years since I’d been south of Tijuana. As we drove past places like Baja Malibu, K-38, and Salsipuedes, memories of stories told by high school surf buddies came back to me. Back in the 1970’s, many of my surf pals boasted of great, uncrowded surf along that stretch of Baja. I marveled at the many great point- and beach-break setups that seemed to be around every corner. Unridden waves were the rule, rather than the exception.