After looking over the wind charts and buoys we made the call opting to head down the night before and stay at a hollow beach break north of Todos Island in Baja. At first light the following morning we awoke to solid lines stacking on the horizon with sunny, glassy conditions. No doubt its looking to be a special day for the infamous Killers at Todos Santos Island.
Photo: Sunrise lines at the beach break
We scoped a few other breaks along the trip south to the harbor and all signs continue pointing to an amazing day of waves and weather. The time has finally come to dust the cobwebs off the 9’2 guns.
Photo: San Miguel Wrapping Around 2nd Point
After securing a boat and loading the gear we arrived late in the lineup to a pack of skis, pongas, and fishing boats in the channel. A crew of chargers with big surfboards are scattered along the point ready all eager for a taste of the first winter swell. I decided to take out my stand up paddle board and have a closer look from the inside of the channel to get a handle of how big it really was. I saw some guys sitting way out the back and wonder just why they would be out that far. Within minutes I hear screams and hollers from the channel and watched in horror as the horizon turned black. After scrambling to the safety of the channel I get taken out by the sideways jet wash bouncing off the infamous todos boil from of a solid 25’ set. It’s the real deal today.
Photo: Having a closer look from the channel on the SUP
Photo: Jaime Mitchell from behind the peak
The swell continues to build slowly throughout the day and combines with a dropping tide and rare all day glassy conditions. The heavy chargers put on a display from Jaime Mitchel, Rusty Long, The Gudasuskas brothers, Gary Linden and many more showing how it’s done in waves of consequence.
Photo: Rusty Long showing how it’s done
Photo: Explosions on the inside
After finally getting our confidence together and heading out into the lineup we watch the pros and take notes. And just when we began to relax the mother of all sets turned the horizon black again narrowly taking me out as I scraped over it. My friend wasn’t so lucky and I watch nervously looking deep into the trough as I passed over it and cringe as he ditches his board in front of a 30’ freight train of whitewater. Just as I had written him off as a dead man the wave shot him up to the surface out the back and he was quickly rescued by a jet ski. His leash snapped and his board had vanished into thin air. After taking several laps to the inside on a friends ski and even climbing onto the Island to search the shoreline the board had simply disappeared. We were dumbfounded as to where it had gone and it marked an unfortunate end to a beautiful day of big clean waves. As darkness approached we packed up the ponga and headed back to the mainland sharing cold beers and stories about the day. Our bummed out mood from the loss of the expensive gun was quickly brightened by a pod of small dolphins jumping and riding next to the boat.
Photo: Dolphins Playing
Happy to be alive we rolled into the docks and just as we pull up notice some fisherman handing a surfboard back and forth. Holy shit!, it’s the missing gun. We run over and sure enough it’s the missing board without a scratch on it. The fisherman had been trolling near the Island and had found it floating in the open ocean and scooped it up. It seems to have been washed around the entire Island and then out to sea. Most lost boards end up getting pounded to dust in the rocks on the inside but somehow this one had made it out unscathed. After a quick conversation and exchange of cold beer they happily returned the board. The perfect end to an amazing day. Until next time.
Photo: Alex with the missing 9’2 Gun after returning to the docks! Happy to be alive and happy to have his board back!
Check the video of the todos santos swell on Surfline, if you pause the vid at 37 seconds you can see Alex and Garry Linden diving for lobsters during that clean up set. This is the one that took Alex’s board around the Island and into the open ocean.
About the Author Marc Miller:
Also the Co-Founder ISLE Surfboards & Stand Up Paddle Boards an online retailer of surfboards & Sup equipment.