Surfing the Border Cape Region Tour

I did a book tour of the Cape Region of Baja --Todos Santos, San Jose del Cabo, Vinorama and Los Barriles from April 9-12, 2015. Thanks to Sofia Gomez and Fay Crevoshay for organizing media coverage of the tour.

I did a book tour of the Cape Region of Baja –Todos Santos, San Jose del Cabo, Vinorama and Los Barriles from April 9-12, 2015. Thanks to Sofia Gomez and Fay Crevoshay for organizing media coverage of the tour.


With a staff member of the municipality who came to my talk in Todos Santos.


Todos Santos is a Pueblo Magico in Mexico and has done a great job of using the arts to promote economic development and tourism.


I gave a talk at La Esquina on the west side of Todos Santos and was happy to see my longtime friend Gary there. I’ve known Gary since I started surfing in Imperial Beach.


With our WILDCOAST Chapter members in Todos Santos and Paula Angelotti (second from right) the manager of La Esquina who hosted the talk. 


When I lived in Todos Santos more than 20 years ago, the beach at Los Cerritos, south of Todos Santos, was bereft of development. Now the dunes there have been replaced by buildings that are at risk from storm-related erosion there.


Thanks to Armando Figaredo of Cabo Mil radio for interviewing me on his very popular mid-day radio show. I was on the air after a candidate for governor, so I knew it was a good audience. Thanks Armando!


Osiris Herrera and of the Papalote Sports Bar kindly hosted my talk in San Jose del Cabo. Thanks Osiris and Anne for he wonderful poster design!!!


We had a great group in San Jose including Raul Rodriguez Quintana, the Los Cabos Municipality Director of Ecoloby (kneeling) and Martha Moctezuma (in the green blouse to my right).


The Estero San Jose Wetland Reserve is a natural gem at the edge of Los Cabos. It is also a sister reserve with the TJ Estuary in Imperial Beach.


The reserve is an important habitat for migrant birds.


The Estero San Jose Reserve is also a wetland of international importance.


The reserve is incredibly beautiful.


With Sofia Gomez of WILDCOAST (left) and the Los Cabos Municipality crew along with Martha Moctezuma of Los Cabos Coastkeeper.


With Melina Arana of Imperial Beach and her husband Horacio who manages he Los Cabos Organic Market.

With Judy Tolbert of Baja Books who hosted me at the weekly organic market.

With Judy Tolbert of Baja Books who hosted me at the weekly organic market.


At the very nice VidaSoul Hotel and Restaurant on the East Cape. Thanks to owner Joan who generously hosted my talk.


With Cabo Pulmo National Park Director Director Carlos Godinez (blue shirt) and Park Monitoring Coordinator Ronald Zepeta along with East Cape resident and writer Dawn Pier at Vidasoul-which is a great place for talk.


Thanks to our WILDCOAST Chapter members who organized a talk at the Hotel Palmas de Cortez in the East Cape town of Los Barriles. It was great to see my longtime friend Markos Higginson who I used to lifeguard with at the Silver Strand State Beach more than 20 years ago.


My New Book, Surfing the Border

I will launch the tour for my new book, Surfing the Border, on Saturday January 24th in Coronado and Imperial Beach. I will be speaking and signing books at the Coronado Library Winn Room from 2-3pm and then from 5-6:30 pm I’ll be at the Pier South Resort in Imperial Beach. Should be a blast!!



One of the great pleasures of being the Executive Director of WILDCOAST is being able to evaluate our impact each year. And this year was a tremendous year of success. Here are some of our results.

impacts page

The Baja Malibu/Campo Torres Sewage Gulch

These photos were taken at a sewage gulch at the south end of Baja Malibu or Campo Torres on July 23, 2014 (same beach different development). The sewage is released from a development east of the coastal toll road. WILDCOAST is following up with CONAGUA and PROFEPA in Mexico to file complaints. Residents complain of foul odors, fouled ocean water and tons of mosquitoes.

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4th Annual Walter Caloca Surf Contest in San Miguel Day 1

On Saturday March 22, 2014  young surfers from Mexico and the U.S. gathered in San Miguel, Baja California to participate in the 4th Annual Walter Caloca Surf Contest. Organized by Alfredo Ramirez and United Athletes of the Pacific Ocean (UAPO) with the help of Zach Plopper and WILDCOAST/COSTASALVAJE, the event provided a forum for young surfers to rip 2-4′ waves and celebrate international friendships. Additionally, Day 1, included the SUP and bodyboard divisions.

It was a great day. Day 2 on March 23, is the open event. The photos here are all from Day 1.


Daniel Dedina with San Miguel local and artist Jaime Noia.

Daniel Dedina with San Miguel local and artist Jaime Noia.


Afredo Ramirez of UAPO with competitors. The best part of this contest is bringing together surfers from Mexico and the U.S.

Afredo Ramirez of UAPO with competitors. The best part of this contest is bringing together surfers from Mexico and the U.S.


Girls contestants.


Daniel Dedina, Jack Stewart and Cameron Bartz from IB.


Jack Stewart and Cameron Bartz await their final heat.

Jack Stewart and Cameron Bartz await their final heat.

Cameron Bartz.

Cameron Bartz.

Lance Mann

Lance Mann

Paul Stewart.

Paul Stewart.

Daniel Dedina

Daniel Dedina

Dakotah Hooker

Dakotah Hooker

Josh Johnson

Josh Johnson

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Dakotah Hooker.

Dakotah Hooker.


Paul Stewart.


Javi Meza

Javi Meza

Daniel Dedina

Daniel Dedina

SUP finalists.

SUP finalists.

Grom finalists.

Grom finalists.

Girls finalists.

Girls finalists.

Bodyboard finalists.

Bodyboard finalists.

Junior finalists.

Junior finalists.

Cameron Bartz, Paul Steward, Lance Mann and Daniel Dedina.

Cameron Bartz, Paul Steward, Lance Mann and Daniel Dedina. It is great to see so many young surfers surfing and making friends south of the border. It is great for them to travel and make lots of friends up and down the coast. That is the true spirit of surfing.

A Trip to Todos Santos Island

A couple of day’s before Christmas we celebrated my oldest son’s 18th birthday with a day-trip out to Baja’s Todos Santos Island. It was a magical day in a very special place.


Israel celebrating his 18th birthday.


A cyclops wave.


The lighthouse dominates the land and seascape.


Because the waves come out of deep water, it is hard to see the sets coming until they break on you.

The wave at Todos Santos is a beauty.

The wave at Todos Santos is a beauty.


That’s me on a fun one.


My youngest son Daniel (15)  gets a set wave.


One of the sets rolling through.



Israel and Daniel sharing a small one.

Israel and Daniel sharing a small one. It gives me great pleasure to watch my sons surf together.


Daniel after a long day in the water.


Israel after his birthday surf session. He’d been asking me to take him for a couple of years.



Thanks to my great staff, board members and our partners, WILDCOAST had a banner year. You can make a difference and preserve the coast and ocean by donating to WILDCOAST here.

Baja Crafts and Culture: Pottery in Tecate


Leño Contreras of Alfareria Contreras

After a trip to visit Finca Altozano in the Guadalupe Valley, we returned via Tecate and passed one of the many pottery stands along Highway 3. Pottery in Baja is one of those things that you assume has no real origin and is somehow magically made.

Anytime I find people who are creating things by hand in our rational, industrial and highly mechanized and computerized economy, I am filled with admiration (which is why I have interviewed so many custom surfboard craftsmen).


But as we stopped to check out the pottery of Leño Contreras of Alfareria Contreras (Carr. Tecate-Ens 15 1/2 -Cerro Azul, Tecate), I realized that the art of turning clay from the hills into pottery is more than likely a dying tradition and is representative of long-standing cultural traditions that are pre-Hispanic in origin throughout Mexico and the Southwest.


“We’ve been here since the early 1980s,” said Leño. “We gather the clay in the hills. In order to fire our kilns, we used to gather dead trees from a nearby forest, but the Forest Service stopped that. Now we buy recycled wood that is collected from the factories in Tijuana.”


“The widening and improvement of the Highway has brought us more tourists, as has the tourism of the Guadalupe Valley. A few years ago when the economy was bad, things were not good. Now we’re doing better.”

Emily and I purchased some luna and sol wall hangings for our backyard. Now we have a nice reminder of our nice with visit with Leño.

Alfareria Contreras is on Highway 3 (Km 15 1/2) just about 10-15 minutes south of Tecate on the highway to Ensenada.

Blown Away by Finca Altozana


To celebrate our 24th Wedding Anniversary, my wife Emily and I and our longtime friends Trace and Teri took a trip to Javier Plascencia’s Finca Altozano in the Valle de Guadalupe on Mexico’s Highway 3 in northern Baja California. It was a wonderful day and meal, and we were all blown away by the sumptuous meal and spectacular and sublime beauty of the  restaurant and the setting among vineyards.


The view of the vineyards of the Valle de Guadalupe from Finca Altozano. I would never have predicted that from the ashes of what was the Baja California tourism industry after about 2007, that a world-class wine and food scene would have emerged in the chapparal landscape of northern Baja California and in what were declining urban environments of  Tijuana and Ensenada. I am awed by the creativity, originality and entrepreneurial spirit of the purveyors and dreamers behind this wonderful scene. It is also a strong argument against Mexico’s past model of mega-tourism and demonstrates the vitality of a sustainable tourism model that celebrates Mexico’s diverse and unique landscapes, cultures and natural environment.


Trace and Teri have been traveling with us to Baja for over 20 years including an epic journeys to Bahia Magdalena, Bahia de los Angeles, and Laguna San Ignacio. Teri and I have been friends for 42 years (we grew up together down the street from each other).


It is truly a bucolic setting. It was hot yesterday–in the 90s–but the restaurant was an oasis.


Emily and I met in Lima, Peru, in August 1985, were married in Madison, Wisconsin, on September 2, 1989, and life has been an adventure ever since. Baja is so special to us since we lived in Laguna San Ignacio, Bahia Magdalena and Todos Santos for a total of 2 1/2 years and travel throughout the Peninsula extensively. We are so lucky to live on the Border so we can sample the best of Baja fairly easily.


Grilled red peppers and rose wine.


The outdoor grill.


They do a roast pig on occasion–so here’s the pig that will be roasted. Don’t get too attached!


Grilled and stuffed squash.


The open-air kitchen.


Beef tongue and lamb tacos were tasty.


Here’s grilled octopus in an Asian style sauce. I have a special place in my palate for pulpo because when Emily and I lived in Laguna San Ignacio in 1993-94 we spent many afternoons hunting it down on low-tide excusions with Maria Luisa “La Yaqui” Camacho de Aguilar and her son Octaviano along with our Australian shepherd Chip and their black lab Black. Pulpo or octopus is one of Javier Plascencia’s signature dishes, and for me, along with freshly harvested bay scallops or almeja catarina.  are my favorite seafood dishes.


Finca Altozano is all about the little things and food. All these touches like the wine bottles make it such a unique restaurant.


Emily in the garden.


An Argentine style roasting spit and BBQ.


Everything is done in great taste. The aesthetics of what I would call the Baja rustic and especially Valle de Guadalupe design style are really nice.


After a two-hour meal. I’m happy–I swear! Ilook forward to  many more adventures in Baja and returning to Finca Altozano and the Valle de Guadalupe with Emily.

Celebrate the Best of Baja at the Baja Bash



Join WILDCOAST on June 15, 2013, at the Port Pavilion in San Diego, as we host the 2nd Annual Baja Bash! This fundraising event will celebrate the best food, beer, and wine from both San Diego and Baja California, and highlight WILDCOAST’s conservational successes on both sides of our shared coastline.


This year we will be honoring lucha libre icon El Hijo del Santo as a defender of the ocean and marine life, as well as chef Javier Plascencia, for leading Baja’s gastronomic revolution, with a sustainable message. San Diego’s own and nationally recognized B-Side Players will be our featured musical guests.


The Baja Bash will bring together the best flavors of the region, as we feature 8 chefs from both sides of the border, including: (from San Diego) Flor Franco of Indulge Catering, Jason Knibb of NINE-TEN, Todd Nash from Blind Burro, Chad White of Plancha Baja Med, and (from Baja California), Drew Deckman of Deckman’s San Jose, Miguel-Angel Guerrero of La Querencia, and Javier Plascencia of Mision 19.


We will also feature beer courtesy of Stone Brewing Company, Green Flash Brewing Company and Cucapá, as well as a selection of regional wines, and the support of the Tijuana Culinary Art School.


Special thanks go to our sponsors: San Diego Gas & Electric, BAMKO, Seafood Watch, Sony Playstation and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. And thanks to our media sponsors, FM 94/9, and The Mexico Report.


Tickets are $75 per person, including food, drinks, and entertainment, and are available at or call us at (619) 423-8665 x200. Reserved tables are also available for groups of 8. Get your tickets today!



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