Once Upon a Time in Mexico

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SURFING’s On Location issue tells the heavy tales from Mexican travel

Crossing the border these days is a leap of faith, considering all the gang violence. We at SURFING listen to a lot of 50, and we’re all pretty strapped, so it ain’t a concern. But we understand if you civilians are scared. Tales of gunfights and carjacking trickle north on the daily, and if that’s not enough, there’s always the heaving beachies and shallow sandbars to contend with. La Jolla pro John Maher does frequent solo strikes in Mexico, and he’s seen enough sketchy mierda to make a regular surfer mierda his Levi’s. Check SURFING’s On Location: Mexico issue this week for heavy tales from Acapulco to Zicatela, and in the meantime, here are some memorable moments from John Mex-Master Maher.

I Cough Blood,Ok?

JM: Big Puerto Escondido is one of the most perfect and dangerous waves I have ever surfed.  One evening after a terrible wipeout I was in a giant rip current, getting recycled through the impact zone, and I wore so many bombs on the head that I thought I was going to drown. Eventually I was blasted by a wave that didn’t send me deep like the rest of them, and I was rag dolled in the foam. I eventually crawled onto shore coughing up blood and water and just lay on the sand completely exhausted and humbled.

[Editor’s Note: We don’t endorse giving up early like John did here. If there’s one thing that doesn’t make us feel “humbled,” it’s nature. We’d have drained a flask of Julio and gotten back out there.]


Morphine Gives You Wiiiiiings.

JM: Two of my crazy good friends charged down to Baja to surf and ended up totaling their car on Mex 1. They were seriously injured. While in a sketchy hospital near Tijuana, they ended up getting so high on painkillers they escaped, even though one of them had two broken legs, a broken back, and head trauma.  He is so tough that he actually walked out to get a cab on his broken legs. He made it through the border and was taken to the ICU at a really good hospital in San Diego. They let him out of the ICU in a body cast a week or so later.

[Editor’s Note: Whatever, same thing happened to us, only we declined the painkillers and walked back to San Diego. Twice.]

Actually, This One’s Kinda Nice.

My girlfriend and I went camping at an empty beach a few hours south of the border, but the surf sucked so we made a fire and crashed out in the back of my truck. When I woke up at first light to take a piss I thought I was still dreaming, and rubbed my eyes in disbelief as mental 6-8 foot freight train lefts drained across the entire beach. I surfed alone for six hours while my chick lay on the sand. It was one of those days that keeps me coming back to Baja, one of the memories that keeps me positive. It was the perfect day.

[Editor’s Note: Sounds like some Surfer Magazine soul twaddle. Our girlfriends would have been taking video or cooking eggs like we told them.]