Surfing at El Martillo west of Ensenada Photo by Walt Peterson
ith almost 1,100 miles of shoreline
along its Pacific coast line and with its varied geography, the peninsula has
some outstanding surfing. There are two basic surfing regions. The first, between
Tijuana and Ensenada, is essentially an extension of Southern California
conditions. The weather, water, beach litter, and most of the people are the
same, and San Miguel, just north of Ensenada, is as well-known to generations of
Southern California surfers as Rincón. There are a number of good RV parks
along the Tijuana-Ensenada Toll Road, and a few days spent surfing these
locations would be an enjoyable part of any trip. However, for those looking for
something a little less tame and familiar, there is a world-class location just
west of Ensenada. Located at the Islas de Todos Santos, this place ably lives up to
its name, "El Martillo" (The Hammer), and is rated by many to be on a par with
such locations as Waimea Bay in Hawaii and Mavericks in California. El Martillo
often has 10- or 12-foot faces.
he second region, the coastline from
Ensenada to the Cape, has almost every conceivable kind of surfing condition.
Prevailing winter northwesterlies produce a succession of highly reliable point
breaks on the many capes dangling south from the Pacific coast like icicles.
Stretches of beach sweeping between them may work well only a few days or weeks a
year, but so many miles are involved, with so many combinations of exposure,
bottom terrain, beach curvature and angle to the swell, that there is usually
little difficulty in finding something that is working well. With the coming of
summer, south winds and waves from tropical storms produce a far greater variety
of conditions and enough lefts to keep an army of goofy-foots happy, and opening
up locations that work best in south waves like the Cape region.