It’s not uncommon to wanna be an ex-pat. At least for a weekend. To leave the mini-malls and gluten-free and yoga classes and just plain order behind. To leave it for potholes. For stray dogs, dusty streets and towns in elegant decay. For military checkpoints, corrupt cops and sabor, sabor, saborrrrr. For fucking Mexico.
Weekend ex-pats Cam Richards, Derrick Disney and Bryce Young drive at dawn to the edge of their nation. The three young men know the world doesn’t drop off into oblivion, like those ancient maps that once showed the world as flat. Rather, past the border, in the smoky twilight beyond the gates, the world gets wilder. More delicious. The road signs harder to decipher (Turn here, or here? No…turn around!) The music louder, the smells stronger, the billboards notifying you who won Café Hong Kong’s esteemed “Stripper of the Month” award (congrats, Candy). The waves — longer, less occupied, more fuerte.
Through the fog on the van windows, through the sea mist of the Baja dawn, between towering, vacant condo buildings that couldn’t get any takers, Cam spots overhead split-peaks wedging in the distance. Derrick pulls them over to the side of the road and the young ex-pats kick up a cloud of yews, fin-keys, fullsuits and adrenaline, jetting into the foreign Puerto-like beachbreak that faintly smells of laundry detergent. But they will worry about that detail another time, as now the waves are a soupy sapphire. And draining. And beckoning. Si, senorita, me voy. Me voy.
Cam, Derrick and Bryce fade, stall and pump their way into momentary ex-patriotism. Cam even punts a few gorgeously-landed frontside rotators on sectioning lefts. But as appetizing as wedging, empty beachies sound, the boys are delirious with hambre. Trudging in from the session like tubed-out zombies, a man named Tio Miguel who may or may not have escaped a notorious drug cartel by assassinating four hitmen sent to assassinate him — whistles the boys over to his smoky food stand. There are no words for the flavor of his quesadillas: The taste is something transcendental. It could also be the salsa.
The young men bid Tio Miguel farewell and travel on down the cliffy coastline. Right points begin to reveal themselves like spotting a girl changing through the window of a neighboring apartment. The boys choose one and wax up suitable craft for pointbreaks, like single fins and sleek shortboards with noses forked like a snake’s tongue…or whatever Bryce was ripping on. They surf until the tide gets bloated, change in the pastel dusk, and decide what to do for the coming night.
Because what does one do at night in Baja? Papas and Beer? Nope. Bada Bing? Also, no. Perhaps they will visit that bar beside the giant billboard-sized sign with a photo of a Mexican gentleman giving a thumbs-up in a cowboy hat. Ricky’s Bar. It is purported that the likes of Leonardo di Caprio, Johnny Depp and other celebrities frequent this haunt while filming in Mexico. And that apparently that gentleman Ricky, though 67 years of age, throws one hell of an after-hours party. Perhaps after some ceviche and freshly caught langostas, they will end up there and see what all of Ricky’s thumbs-upping is about. Because although momentarily ex-pats, adventure and curiosity are as patriotic as apple pie. And what’s a field trip to Mexico without a tale to come home with?
CREATORS & INNOVATORS
Photography by Kenny Hurtado