Joshua Walker Photography | San Diego Wedding Photographer

December 8, 2007

12.05.07 Leave If You Can

Filed under: Surf — Tags: , — joshuawalkerphotography @ 1:42 am

About an hour and a half south of the border in northern Baja Mexico is a legendary surf spot named Salsipuedes. It is a long, right-hand point break that requires a large swell from a specific direction for it to work, which isn’t very often. Sometimes many years pass without it really turning on. Needless to say, it isn’t surfed all that often and photographed even less. Besides the wave itself, the setting is absolutely breathtaking. Rugged mountains and dramatic rock-strewn cliffs drop straight into cobalt water, very reminiscent of California’s Big Sur.
Salsipuedes literally means ‘leave if you can’, and though no one knows exactly why it was named, many say it is because when the wave is working, it is so perfect, it is difficult to leave. Others attribute the name to the treacherously steep and winding dirt road that drops down from the highway, which during heavy rains, becomes absolutely impassible. This past Wednesday, for me and a group of professional surfers, the name took on a whole new meaning.
Recently, a large development company, which plans on building an exclusive resort, purchased all of the land surrounding the break and has since closed the road. Now, the only legitimate way to access the spot is by water. With the largest swell in a couple of years bearing down on the coast and sunny skies forecasted, it looked like an ideal combination for Salsipuedes to wake up. And with the road closed, it would certainly limit the crowds. So a group of local professional surfers and I decided to charter a boat out of Ensenada, about fifteen miles to the south, and hopefully get the spot mostly to ourselves.
Unfortunately when we arrived in Ensenada Wednesday morning, we found that the port was closed and may not open due to the dangerous conditions. We weighed our options and decided to wait it out. After hours of debate between the boat captains and port manager, the port was opened and around mid-day, we were on our way.
Following a two-hour hell ride through the craziest seas I have ever witnessed, we pulled up to Salsipuedes only to discover the access road had been temporarily opened and about fifty surfers in the water and another fifty or so lining the rocky shoreline. Our hearts sank. And to add insult to injury, my stomach had given out and I could hardly even function. I did manage to get out in the water and shoot for about an hour before we had to begin our journey back. I was dreading that boat ride so much; I seriously considered just swimming to shore and having the guys pick me up on the road on their drive back. I decided to stick it out with the rest of the crew and needless to say, after another two-hour ride into the dark, we were all happy to get back on solid ground. Leave if you can.






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