Surfing the U.S.-Mexico Border Fence

My son Israel surfing next to the new ocean border fence-barrier at the U.S.-Mexico border.

I grew up just a couple of miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. As a child, my parents would take me and my brother on bike rides down to Border Field State Park. Later as a teenager I would jump the non-existent fence and ride my bike around Playas de Tijuana.

Over the past few years, the Border Patrol made it tough to access the park. Pollution problems made surfing the area around the international border problematic at best. But with a sand replenishment project impacting surf conditions in my hometown of Imperial Beach and a less restrictive atmosphere at Border Field, my son Israel and I joined my childhood surfing buddy Chris Patterson for a recon of the U.S.-Mexico border fence.

A lot of people and especially journalists like to depict the U.S.-Mexico border as a war zone, but you have to hand it to the Border Patrol, State of California Dept. of Parks and Recreation, conservation groups that fought to keep Border Field open and Mexican authorities who cleaned up Playas de Tijuana–the bottom line is that this part of the border is pretty safe, beautiful and peaceful.

It is a shame we couldn’t surf the Mexican side–since the waves are better on that side.

Playas de Tijuana on the other side of the fence is a very nice beach area–and provides great recreational opportunities for Tijuana Residents. The City of Tijuana has done a great job cleaning it up and making it nicer.

Looking through the border fence at what appears to be an awesome fitness class in Playas de Tijuana.

Looking east away from the beach–you can see the damage carried out by the Dept. of Homeland Security from roads and the new border barrier. The agency could have built a new border barrier that had far less environmental and landscape impacts–but chose not to.

While the East Coast braced for Hurricane Sandy and the Frankenstorm, along the U.S.-Mexico border we enjoyed perfect weather–Santa Ana conditions, temperate ocean water, 2-4′ surf and perfect offshore winds. A perfect fall surfing day. The Coronado Islands are in the background.

Looking north from the border toward the Tijuana Estuary and the Tijuana River Mouth Marine Protected Area and Imperial Beach and Coronado.

After our surf on the border we stopped by the Tijuana River Valley Community Garden and picked some chard, beets, zuchini and flowers from the WiLDCOAST plot.


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