Baja has always been an alluring and dangerous place for surfers. But for young guns Porter Hogan, Sean Herman, Blake Burns, and photog Nate Herrington, their trip down south proved well worth the risks. Here’s their story, as told by Sean Igor Herman. All photos taken by Nathaniel Harrington.
Six Amigos: A Southern Baja Excursion
Mexico: the land of tacos, cervezas, endless points and a reputation that will terrorize your dreams. Have you ever seen Gangland? I have. Just a few episodes will change your surf trip with the boys to a weekend stay at your grandma’s.
But when I learned that a trip down south had been arranged with a team ready to take the risk, I decided to jump on board. Along for the ride were Chris Wyman, photographer Nate Harrington, Huntington Beach pretty boy Brian Daigneault, and Kaenon team riders Porter Hogan and Blake Burns.
I’ll be honest and confess that I had second thoughts about what lay ahead of us. News reports have a great way of scaring me. And with endless horror stories playing out in my head, I suggested changing our destination to Newport Beach but was laughed at and denied.
We powered south through Tijuana, then Ensenada where Wyms told stories of happy days and nights passed. This was Wyms’s 20th year of travel to Baja, and it’s still one of his favorite places on earth.
Eight painful hours into the drive, we decided to pull over and camp for the night on a rocky beach where miles of empty desert willingly fell into the ocean.
The next morning we awoke to a large snake slithering around our tent and tried to remain calm but actually ran away like little school girls. After our near-death experience with the snake, we surfed a sketchy, head-high wave on a rocky beach littered with animal bones and skulls. The lack of human skeletons filled me with a weird sense of comfort. However, due to the lack of swell, we decided to drive four hours south to our final destination.
We arrived at our destination in the late afternoon and I immediately wanted tacos. What I got was not tacos, but the most delicious roadside hot dog I had ever tasted.
After settling into town, I fell in love with two stray dogs that I named Cafe and Tortilla. My heart was crushed when Nate explained to me that they only liked me because I fed them chicken. I think he was just jealous of my newfound friendship and saw them as competition.
We spent our days surfing waves ranging from wrapping points to heavy beachbreak pits. And although everyday was filled with great food, good company, and rippable waves, I waited for something horrific to occur. I anticipated that one terrible encounter with something or someone threatening, but it didn’t happen until the last day.
Wyms decided to take us to an old slaughterhouse with rusted old meat hooks hanging from the ceiling and bones scattered on the floor. The building turned out to be an abandoned lighthouse five miles away from any water. I guess that after several shipwrecks they decided it wasn’t doing the job. Surprisingly, it was not the meat hooks that scared us. It was Wyms making us climb the three-story, crumbling tower for photos. We survived and ultimately made the trip home unscathed and exhausted.
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