No Wrong Turns: Buying or Renting a Surfboard in the Baja

Tom is a huge surfer and I have always wanted to learn. So when we set off on this adventure surfing was a definite part of the plan. I have tried a couple times on other vacations but since we have been living in Calgary (which is smack in the middle of the Canadian prairies) I have never had enough time to really learn how…until now.

Baja California Sur is a huge surfing destination. Many of the ex-pat locals are surfers who found a killer surf break, bought a bit of land (when it was cheap) and never left. From Todos Santos all the way down the coast past San Jose Del Cabo you can find anything from mini waves to learn on to massive breaks for the advanced. But you need a board, and maybe a few lessons, before you can ride the waves.

We knew we needed boards and, unfortunately did not listen to a good piece of advice we received about where to purchase a board. The best place to get a board is in the States. Most of the boards in Mexico are imported from the US making them more expensive to buy. We were rushing to get into Mexico and looking back it would have been smarter to shop around for boards in the US.

Ah well, live and learn. On a surfboard mission we ran into Andy, a surfer from way back who manages the San Pedrito Surf Hotel, his recommendation was to try Costa Azul Surf Shop in San Jose Del Cabo. We headed there and managed to buy pretty decent used boards. Tom ended up with a Lost board, and the one I now own (but cannot stand up on) is an Olea, a locally made brand by Alejandro Olea, Costa Azul’s owner.

Costa Azul offers rentals at a pretty decent rate, rates start around $20 US per day, wet suit not included (I suggest getting one, the water is pretty chilly!). They also rent skim boards, body boards and snorkeling equipment for those not into surfing. Lessons for $55 US include a board, rashguard and hour-long lesson with an instructor. Two other locations, Todos Santos and Los Cerritos, offer rentals and lessons for those looking to catch a wave.

“No Wrong Turns” chronicles Kelsey and her husband’s road trip — in real time — from Canada to the southern tip of South America in their trusty red VW Golf named Marlin.