Chasing Rosa By Lex Weinstein
Photos by Kat Reynolds
Everyone thought we were crazy.
Too late in the season. Too dangerous. Not enough time.
The hurricane’s headed towards land.
Our Baja road trip mission was locked in and our group of female sliders was being hit with some serious challenges before the journey even began. Hurricane Rosa was a Category 4 and a San Diego local had gone missing only days before. Skeptics were doubtful, some even pulled out at the last minute. We were left with a band of brave souls ready for anything, and a five day window, no more, no less, to score at one of the most fickle spots on the peninsula.
Kat has an uncanny ability to capture the silky smooth moments abroad that strike a chord of freedom and equable presence deep within us all.
It all began when Erika Togashi of September the Line started an email thread. September the Line is the kind of brand that stands out in every way. Her unique cuts and visual storytelling embody the delicate balance of feminine elegance and strength in water, and celebrate the magical alignment of women and waves. Using the highest quality recycled nylon fabric from Italy, Erika’s conscious approach reflects her true passion to protect her ocean muse. Erika’s choice for documentarian: surf and travel photographer Kat Reynolds. Kat has an uncanny ability to capture the silky smooth moments abroad that strike a chord of freedom and equable presence deep within us all. With paralleled intention, Erika carefully selected a crew to represent her designs and curate a campaign rooted in art and authenticity.
The first to confirm was to no surprise, Karson Lewis, a vivacious spirit and total surf addict with endless stoke.
The first to confirm was to no surprise, Karson Lewis, a vivacious spirit and total surf addict with endless stoke. Currently based in Nias, Indonesia, Karson has been bravely traveling alone for the past few years to some of the most magical destinations on the planet. From Nicaragua and Puerto Rico to Morocco, Sri Lanka, and all over Indonesia, Karson’s fierce appetite to explore and immerse in the sun and salt was enough for her to commit and never look back.
Next came me, frothing at an opportunity to road trip the Baja Peninsula and travel with my dear friend Kat and fellow Bing family member, Karson. As someone who is super conscious of the ethics and environmental impact of the brands I team up with, adventuring and storytelling on behalf of September was a dream come true.
Last but definitely not least came Hallie Rohr, a wildly talented longboarder from San Clemente whose ambition and intellect are equally as impressive as her ocean abilities. Hallie is the kind of woman who speaks softly on land but in the water, blows minds with her effortless and jaw dropping finesse. Once we heard Hallie was in, the plan started to take shape. Kat’s man-grom amigo, Eliot, would be our navigator and disaster response team (as well as estrogen neutralizer) should we run into trouble. His rigged out, made-for-Mexico adventure-mobile was packed with Juneshine, a ridiculous quiver of Bing twin fins, mid lengths and logs, camping gear, and crates of all the healthy surf snacks one could imagine. It was on.
18 hours from Encinitas on winding dirt roads and tiny pueblo pit stops delivered us to howling onshore winds and victory at sea conditions. The sea was a mess, but nobody cared, and we hit the water for a wild first session as locals laughed at our eagerness. After setting up camp right at the point, we all gazed out at the horizon, silently wondering if the skeptics had been right. Did we drive here for nothing? Friends told us the waves were pumping in the days leading up, did we miss the best window? Should we bail and try another spot? Would we be stuck with the crappy weather and a long, disappointing mission home? Our intuitions spoke loudly - just wait.
As the sun began its descent behind the mountains, the forceful winds began to drop. The savage current subsided, bumpy sections began to wall up and clear lines appeared. By the next morning we were in awe, and for 5 days we danced on gorgeous 4-6 foot watery undulations, wrapping into the Bay in a lovingly redundant attempt to show us the definition of sublimity. Our days began eagerly at sunrise and ended in a sunburnt celebration of limitless, open-hearted playfulness.
The skeptics were right, the day after we arrived, the hurricane did make landfall - two hours north of us. Dirt roads were washed out, cars flooded and highways were blocked off. No one could enter from the north due to construction. We were officially trapped in paradise with a natural crowd control regulating the lineup. Timing couldn’t have been more perfect. The vibe in the water was of cheerful gratitude, and we connected with so many lovely people from all over the globe. One of which was Naomi Galley, an Swiss artist who was on her honeymoon with her husband Tim, and would be ending her holidays with an art exhibit at the Bing Surf Shop in Encinitas.
Together, we watched so many perfect, empty waves pass by as we panted and paddled our way back to the point, giggling in hysteria. Sessions, at their busiest, consisted of about 20 people. At their quietest, 4. As in, only us. One early morning, I was able to surf by myself as the sun rose. The silent emptiness revealed the true freedom of an open face, a rarity with the rise in popularity of our sacred pass-time. We were in the presence of nature’s pronounced exquisiteness.
Our long journey home was one of blissful reflection. We wandered amongst endless cacti fields, losing ourselves in the arid desert sun. We explored salt flats that glowed in hues of pink and purple, and gorged on street tacos while laughing at the abundance of our arbitrary good fortune. As we pulled into the driveway and started to unpack the van, the midnight sky projected half the number of twinkling stars as our dusty, campsite on the cliff. With a heavy sigh we took one last moment to reminisce in the glow of pure, satiated, stoke from a fleeting adventure that with great risk, came even greater reward.