Baja is in the midst of a boardsailing boom, and for good reason, for there is everything anyone could want, ranging from mill ponds to rolling ocean swells, from gentle zephyrs to boom-bending blasts, and vast areas that never see more than a board or two at a time. The orientation of both coasts is roughly northwest/southeast, and since prevailing winds are northwest along the Pacific coast and north in the Cortez, fine, reliable side-shore conditions are frequently encountered.

Along the Pacific coast, El Portal is an old favorite with boardsailors. Bahías San Quintín, Magdalena, and it southerly extension Bahía Almejas provide long rides in good winds, with no ocean swells. Bahía Santa María near San Quintín sometimes has a refracted swell and there are ocean swells at the point, but the winds are good and there are fine sand beaches. Bahía Santa Rosalillita, also a favorite with surfers, often has strong, reliable winds, giving it a reputation as something of a "jock" area. One boardsailor recently spent six weeks there, and was skunked only two days. Waves range from the calm of the bay to perfect sets of big waves off the point, providing a fine place for intermediate sailors making the transition to waves. Bahía Tortugas is not often visited by boardsailors, but it is free of ocean swell and frequently has heavy winds, and you can't get carried too far if you have trouble with waterstarts and tacking. Punta Abreojos is very windy, and the heavy June thermals that are the bane of local fishermen are a joy to boardsailors. El Conejo, too, is a favorite with heavy-weather sailors. There are, of course, many "secret" locations, small bays and coves offering fine sailing, but by and large most other Pacific coast locations are for experts only, due to large swells, tidal currents, and fog.

Sailboarding off East Cape
Photo by Lou Perez
At Cabo San Lucas, Playa el Médano and the small coves to the east attract novice and intermediate boardsailors. Cabo San Lucas is generally out of the area affected by the heavy north winds that funnel down the Cortez in winter, but southern fronts provide fine onshore and cross-onshore conditions in summer. With a large body of warm water and a major land area to the east, a ocean to the south, and mountains and an ocean to the west, East Cape gets brisk, dependable winds between mid-November and mid-March, making it the most popular boardsailing location in Baja, Cabo Pulmo and Bahía las Palmas in the East Cape area being favorite places. There are also fine beaches and good boardsailing around Cabo Frailes, Punta Arena Sur, and Punta Colorada, but the Canal de Cerralvo offshore of the last beach is largely for experts, with heavy currents that change direction and velocity with the tides. During the warm months, a strong afternoon breeze of almost clock-like regularity blows at La Paz, providing fine conditions.

Loreto has good winds and general side-shore conditions, February being the big wind month. Placid Bahía Concepción is the ideal spot for beginners, for the wind often funnels down the bay, resulting in side-shore conditions in many locations. The shape and orientation of the sand spit and island at El Requesón allow novices to find good side-shore conditions no matter which way the wind is blowing. Santispac is fun and compact, but the surrounding hills keep the winds down. At the north end of the bay, Punta Arena often has the heaviest winds, since the surrounding land is low. Low Punta Chivato, north of Mulegé, sticks out well into the Cortez, freeing it from the influence of the higher topography to the west, and providing the best in speed sailing conditions during the prime months of December, January, and February.

by:Walt Peterson ©

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