Monday, August 5, 2013

Baja Quatro Desert Showdown AWT 2013

I just got home from another amazing trip, this time to the AWT in Baja Mexico for the 2013 Desert Showdown Wave event. Going back to Baja almost feels like a second home to me now. It’s where I did most of my windsurfing when I was living in San Diego, so returning to the hospitality of Solo Sports is always pretty comforting.
It had been 2 years since I was last there for the 2011 AWT event and to be honest, having windsurfed twice since February, the reasons I wanted to go were to windsurf, but also to hang out with some awesome friends who I haven’t seen in a while. This competition is unlike any other, it has such a family vibe; everyone camps in close proximity so jokes are all shared, nothing is kept secret!
A few days before jumping on the plane the long range forecast showed a south swell of 3-4 foot at 18 seconds, in Baja this often materialises into logo to mast high walls of joy. I didn’t want to get too excited just in case it didn’t come through, but it did, and it was epic. We arrived just before the forecast hit, we were there as it started to pulse through with long gaps in between the sets, and we were there for the peak of the swell where every 10 minutes there came 4-7 wave sets of logo to mast high curling into the point.
I’m sure I must have written something similar to all of this 2 years ago, but it doesn’t get old, and I get equally as excited every single time I’m lucky enough to be back. Rolling out of the tent in the morning to face the Pacific as the sun rises, having breakfast whilst watching the glassy waves turn into texture as the wind picks up. Rigging up surrounded by some of the best windsurfers on the planet, and then being able to sail out and catch some amazing peeling beautiful waves, it doesn’t get old, I don’t think it ever will, and I will never take it for granted.

I’m not going to re-write a day by day account of the event, I already did this for boardseeker and you can find it within the following links:

Instead I just wanted to write how thankful I am to have such wonderful and fun people in my life. I also feel super lucky to be able to take part in the contest; being back with the AWT crew who all do this professionally (and full time) re-energised me. We all make choices in life, and whilst I made a choice not to windsurf full time I feel truly blessed to still be able to spend time and compete alongside those who do. They continue to inspire me and remind me why I love this sport. There is a healthy number of women now dedicating their lives to windsurfing and as a result the standard has massively gone up in the last 2-3 years. I got to meet Fiona Wylde, Sarah Delaunay, and Kate Barker during this trip for the first time, all of whom I loved getting to know and had a blast hanging out with. Miss Bittner, as usual, did an incredible job of pulling off another fantastic event AND found time to compete too! I finished 4th in the Womens, and also competed in the Mens Ams finishing equal 9th.

Photo Kevin Pritchard

On the water highlights for me were sailing heats at the point with only 2 or 3 other people, hearing the crowd cheering from the cliff, catching some decent sized waves and watching everyone else kill it.

Off the water laughs....there were too many to mention all of them, but Bittner re-conditioning her iPhone down the outhouse certainly ranks near the top. We even managed to laugh the whole way through the 4 hour border crossing thanks to Darin, Chris, and Pete - thanks for making the most mundane 3 miles highly entertaining.
Kevin Pritchard once again not only competed but managed to juggle taking still shots and also filming. I can’t wait to see the final official event video for 2013; Kevin’s videos are always so awesome. Until Kevin posts the video I'm just going to share again the video from the last AWT event I was at:

Andre and his family were in our thoughts the last 2 days as we heard the tragic news, and Sam rightly dedicated this event to him. His legacy will live on with everyone he spent time with during his precious years. He was taken far too soon but will forever be in our thoughts. Just like this photo from Jeri, your energy is infectious and inspires us all in your wake.....