The Todos Santos Event-Mexico March 2010
Literally a couple of weeks back from the Mavericks Win, after arriving back the day after the Mavericks after party, straight off the plane and directly into a work appointment, things just haven’t let up for a split second since I got back to RSA. Straight into 16 hour days for work, six days a week, with interviews and press stuff jammed in between.
Then literally 10 days after landing I get the call from Greg Long…We’re on for Todos Santos event, in Mexico, can you get there in 48 hours? Some opportunities only come up once in a lifetime and this is just one of those examples and if you don’t seize it, it may never come again… I’m in! I’ll see you over there in 48. The call ended to only momentarily be followed up by another one directly to my brother @ True Blue…Can you get me to Mexico in 48 hours, via USA, the Todos event just went green light for Sat morning? We’ll give it our best shot Chris,” my brother replied. And from then it was the usual, stress, rush, chaos of getting from appointments, straight to the airport, to trying to liaise with Jeff Clark to get me a board over there for the event, meet me as I flew into San Diego after another 32 hour flight, to have legend and good friend Jeff Clark collect me from the airport, drive straight over the border, with no visa for Mexico, head 4 hours down into Mexico at night in the pissing rain with recent stories of dangerous hijacking and tourist abductions.
We headed on through deepest darkest Mexico, to finally get to the small town and little fishing village of Ensenada at 1am in the morning…drop our stuff, check into the hotel, put fins in boards, sort out our equiptment until 3am, sleep until 5:30am and up to meet the boats in the harbor to get out to the unique Island of Todos Santos 20km off the Ensenada coastline, home to one of the best big wave spots on the planet..Killers! A heaving heavy water right hand reef point that comes from really deep crystal blue water and then stands tall and breaks and explodes down the reef until it smashes up onto a bare and raw cliff face way on the inside.
The waves were solid all day, but not massive…in the 15-18ft range…30-40ft faces and beautiful….Big Slabs of ocean came rolling in and unloading sporadically on the reef.
The contest went off under sunny Mexican skies, a light offshore breeze and the turquoise pacific blue that Todos is so well renowned for… The place is stunningly beautiful…unique, there is no other that comes close to this little remote, deserted and uninhabited Island 3 km long 20 miles off a rustic Mexican landscape.
The fist heat goes off and I get myself ready for Heat 2. I jump off the boat and straight into the second heat we go… I get a smaller one straight off the bat and we are game on.
After this I wait out back for a bomb and sure enough I am late and in position for a bomb, but I’m really late and 20ft inside of Mark Healy and Twig.
But it’s still doable, so I stroke in hard and instantly am to my feet and taking the drop, late and right in the bowl, under the lip. I make it three quarters down, the main part of the drop perfect and just hanging on and the edge of the white water of the bowl exploding next to me , just catches my outside rail by like a split second, just puts me off balance and I feel it all suddenly going wrong, I fall into the pit and get hammered, dragged and rag dolled for hundreds of yards, until I eventually come up to see the Peruvian on the biggest wave of the day bearing down on me…Perfect! Not…Take a deep breath and down I go to take this 20fter on the head as I see the best wave of the day getting ridden before my eyes. And that’s the way it goes, then broken leash, lost board 10 minutes left in the heat…scratch for another one late in the dying seconds, but it’s not meant to be… You get your chance in Big wave surfing and you got to get it right, you fall, you loose, can’t afford to make mistakes, as they cost you the heat and the day, done, opportunity lost…and months of re-analyzing it all to try work out why you didn’t make the drop, or should have waited for the one behind…Could have got barreled on the one behind if I had waited, but you just never know..
Throw the dice, make sure you’re ready and hope for the best and make your waves! Zero hesitation and 120% commitment and positive confidence with every wave. Know before you go…
So the event carries on with me just missing the semis by 0.5 and the waves drop in consistency and size and Mark Healey, ends up taking the crown! A well deserved win for a guy who charges harder than most humans on the planet. The guy is pure big Surf focused and very talented…This event, the first ever Todos Santos event with no prize money at all, has all the top athletes flying in from all around the world to compete in huge surf, just because they love it, for the passion of riding giant waves with friends and gaining the respect and cred from peers and fellow big wave surfers alike. This is what surfing is about, for the pure joy and love of the sport and not about the money!
That night the celebration go huge after the ceremonies, where the energy and the pure stoke of the event is electric and everyone is just pumped on adrenaline, good vibes, Takati and Corona and the party goes late into the morning. From the bar, to a room, to town to who can remember the time, but there were only a couple hours between sleep and breakfast and then we were back on the road again, heading north to San Diego again. We get there 4 hours later, onto another plane and another 36hour ride home to be back for work Tuesday 6am, straight off the plane… and that’s just how it’s been rolling for the last 8 weeks…
Hindsight- A week later after I get home…
Just wanted to send a mail to all of you, after arriving back in RSA yesterday morning after an awesome event at Todos. It was an unreal event, core to the roots and I was super stoked to be part of it.
I don’t think you will find any other extreme sport in the world where you could organise an event off a small Island off Mexico and have the world’s best athletes fly in from all over the planet at their own cost to compete in life threatening conditions for an extreme international event with zero prize money!
That to me speaks volumes of the athletes invited, for the sport, the camaraderie and passion we all share for riding big waves.
We are very special and unique brotherhood of athletes that share a common passion and addiction for the ocean and riding whatever the ocean throws our way, without a thought of often the cost and sacrifice. This just shows the world that we are a unique and honored few, whom all should be proud to be part of a sport where we do it for the love of riding waves and not just for the money, because we’d still be doing it no matter what.
I left work at 6pm, Friday evening in RSA, flew 34 hours to get in on Sat afternoon at LAX, to get a ride down to Ensenada, to get there at 11pm that night. Surf off a little island, 9 miles of Mexico with some of the best big wave riders on the planet and good friends… Party and celebrate that night like there was no tomorrow, wake up have breakfast, jump in a car drive four hours back across the boarder, jump back on a plane fly 42 hours against the time change arrive back in South Africa two days later at 9am to be back in work appointments an hour later. All this at a cost of borrowing another R25 000 from my brother- over $3000. Was it worth it?….For frikken sure, without a doubt in my mind.
To drop everything, fly half way around the world to go and surf some of the best big waves in the world with friends and heroes and just to see the look of pure stoke, joy and celebration on Mark Healy’s well deserved face when he got announced the winner… I would have dropped double that amount without blinking eye because we share a passion for something so special, rare and unique, not many people will ever understand it and I don’t expect them too.
I’m just truly stoked, honored and privileged to part of this small clan of big wave warriors that has this unique bond and passion for riding big waves and a brotherhood and friendship as athletes amongst us that I don’t think can be rivaled or paralleled across any sport.
It’s an honour and pure joy to be a part of this small crew, may our love, addiction and obsession for riding big waves keep us true to ourselves and the reasons we do it and continually keep us stoked, keep us exploring, searching and riding bigger, better, later and deeper.
Many thanks to Gary, Pierre and Greg for keeping the inspiration alive… Well done on the most pure and core event the world has ever known.
I can’t wait for next year’s event already, see you guys in the water.
Well done, Healey.. So stoked for you my friend.
Keep charging guys!