Weekend Surf Trip
By Thomas Takao
It was 5:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning in June, 1992. Having taken care of what needed to be done, we crossed over to Tijuana in the cover of morning’s darkness. Everything seemed black and white, the early morning black, and the headlights white. I would be doing all the driving since the other four individual in my truck weren’t old enough to have a driver’s license.
Those young surfers were Dayton who was sitting shotgun, Bruce Irons, and Jason Bogle sitting in the extended part of the cab. Within the bed of my 92’ Toyota kingcab pickup truck with a camper shell were our surfgear. In the middle of all our stuff, was a sleeping blanket, a pillow and some blankets and Andy Irons, who would be resting his injured ankle. He had been finned while surfing in a contest a few days earlier.
We were following the lead truck that had all the boards and additional gear. The driver of that truck was Tom Eberly, along with Tom were his son Collin, and Dave Riddle. Our destination was K 55 where Tom had a small rental house, somewhere in the neighborhood of 17 feet by 17 feet. Passing towns and villages we could see the sporadic dots of lights coming on from the houses in the distance. Driving along the toll road as the light from the new day made its way above the mountains.
The off ramp to our temporary abode soon followed and we got off with the ocean in view. Down the dusty road, where the security guard of the homeowners association sat, half a sleep, half who cares who these guys are sort of thing. The lead truck yelled an address number and the guard waved O.K. as we passed without stopping.
We were traveling slow on the road that runs through the complex of houses, watching for potholes and unexpected rocks. We reached the driveway of our destination and proceeded to unload our gear into the house as a line formed for the small bathroom. Jason, Bruce, Dayton, and Collin made the walk up to the Point followed a short time later by the rest of the group. The surf was flat, and no one had brought fishing poles, so after a brief discussion, we drove to La Fonda for another possibility.
It was better there; it was breaking one to two and half feet with glassy conditions. The sets were mostly closed out, with the exception of an occasional shoulder, the tide was low, going to high. Andy looked over the situation and gave it a rest along with his ankle. He would just watch it with Tom and Dave, while Bruce, Jason, Dayton, Collin, and I put on our wetsuits and hurried through the resort walkway to the beach.
The water was cold, but that was typical. Everyone walked out until waist high in the surf, before paddling out. A quick backside turn by Bruce, with a couple of pumps on the face of the wave, a kickout as the wave collapsed. Jason catches a right, a top turn, a few pumps across the face before he kicks out, Dayton does a floater some 20 yards away. Collin being a goofy footer picked off a left that had a shoulder, as it quickly turned into a wall, but squeezed a good ride out of it anyway.
As for me that morning, catching a few, most were going to the bottom, making a turn before it broke and doing a cut back was the story. No one was getting any air, just turns and cutbacks. Like a heat that didn’t matter much in anybody’s scorecard, the session lasted less than an hour. Most of the guys paddled in after catching a short ride, the tide was coming up. The overcast sky was gray and the winds started to pick up a little. The guys made their way back up the beach to the resort walkway spaced out in ones and twos. To me it was a morning exercise in the category of having your cake and eating it too. The session was refreshing even though I made no mention of it as the wetsuits were tossed into the plastic bag.
Back to the house to regroup and weigh the options, it was close to noon and lunch was on everyone’s mind. The guys were interested in going to Ensenada to have lunch and some sightseeing. After 20 minutes of doing whatever, we got into the trucks and off we went. Passing some popular breaks that were flat; much like the coastline on the trip down. We arrived in Ensenada and proceeded to look for parking.
After finding spots for our trucks, we went looking for a restaurant. The place of choice was a restaurant with picnic tables; the restaurants looked the same from the outside. So once in, it didn’t matter we were hungry. After the meal and some conversation, we went sightseeing. Stepping into the different shops that line the street, with all the different items for sale, it was like waiting for a price is right item to appear.
Jason bought a couple of wool blankets and Bruce bought a plaster dragon. Everyone else wasn’t much into buying anything, so back to where we started. Pass the shops we went by before turning around. A few taco stands, and the crowds that flowed in either direction on the same sidewalk. With Tom and Dave leading the way with the rest of the crew spaced out within this mass of people, I proceeded to bring up the rear, just in case someone got side tracked.
From my perspective there was a quarter block gap in between the Tom, Dave, Collin and Andy to the others including myself. Jason had stepped into a shop for a look around, as Bruce and Dayton went into another shop for the same reason. Keeping an eye on all three, outside on the sidewalk while they did their sightseeing in a Mexican Port city. Bruce and Dayton popped out of the shop and were on their way. I stepped into the other shop and mentioned to Jason lets get going, and a few minutes later we caught up to Bruce and Dayton.
After five minutes we reached the corner of an intersection where the rest of the crew was waiting. We drove back up the coast to the house at K55 and the afternoon that came and went. That evening we were having dinner at some restaurant 20 minutes away from where we were staying. The guys looked a little tired since they been up since 4 am. We returned to our little abode, the sleeping bags were brought out, and we looked for a spot to fall asleep. There was one bedroom with one single size bed, with a few of the boards placed under the bed. (They were placed there after we got back from surfing) While Tom had the bed, the rest of us made do with whatever area was available.
In the morning the surf wasn’t much better than the day before, in fact smaller. So we loaded our boards back into the pickup trucks and prepared to leave. While removing the boards from under the bed a squished scorpion was found under the board bag. As we pulled away on the dusty road from an uneventful surf adventure, the scorpion crawled back into my mind. Once back on the main highway it was squished once again and faded like the weeds in my side view mirrors.
It was around 11 a.m. when we got to the border, so we waited in line for about an hour before crossing over. Andy was sitting shotgun, while Bruce, Dayton, and Jason were sitting in the cab extension area, two side seats and a pillow. Finally the U.S. officer asked the customary question of: where are you from, while looking into the truck, I said U.S., when Jason shouts, Hawaii, and the rest of the guys nodded a few times to indicate the same. They were a part of the Junior Hawaiian Surf Team, so it made sense me.
Returning back to San Diego, and a drive around La Jolla on a sunny Sunday afternoon, after which a casual ride up the coast highway into Encinitas for a late lunch and the rest of the day was casual. Monday morning and the guys except Andy were surfing Oceanside Pier. Dayton, Bruce, and Jason were getting some good rides on the north-side with peaks of 2 to 3 feet. This was their last day on the mainland before catching a afternoon flight back home to Hawaii.
The morning turned to noon and the rush was on. Making sure everything was packed and ready to go, the guys were running around putting their things in their bags. Instead of Baja, it was LAX. Tom, Collin, and Dave in one truck, with Andy, Bruce, Jason, Dayton and yours truly in the other. We made it with 10 minutes to spare. Tom, Collin, and I were discussing the rush hour traffic on the 405 Freeway and the best route to take, while Dave, Dayton, Jason, Andy, and Bruce were boarding their flight back.
RIP Jason Bogle 1978-2004 and Andy Irons 1978-2010