Saturday, January 31, 2015

Dude-Watching at La Ventana

Everyone knows that whale watching tours are a big deal here in Baja every winter.  But ask any windsurfer or kite boarder where they yearn to go in Baja, and you’ll hear one universal response—La Ventana! 

The word means “window” in Spanish, but here I think it’s more appropriately translated as “WIND..OH!!!”  The northern winter winds seriously blow here, and that’s why it’s such a world-class destination for these sports. 

My brother loves to windsurf almost as much as he loves to snow ski, and La Ventana has been on his bucket list for years now.  So I did what any loving sister would do when only 45 minutes away from a sibling’s dream destination.  I drove down to check it out for him!

Of course, there’d be plenty of tanned, muscular young men calling each other “Dude!”, so I considered this daytrip my “Dude Watching Tour” (ah, such a research assignment!).

Millie and I jumped in the Tracker and started following the first VW bus we saw with surf gear loaded on the roof.  This would surely lead us straight to La Ventana…. and we were right!

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As we crested a small mountain range south of La Paz, the Sea of Cortez came into view to our left.  Just a few dozen more mucho-grande-sized potholes to dodge, and we’d be there!

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I somehow found a place to park right next to the nicest RV park in town and just steps from the beach.  This must be where all the well-heeled dudes hang out…

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Our first view of the bay was absolutely mind-boggling.  Literally over a hundred windsurfers and kite-boarders zipping around at highway speeds along the choppy wind-blown waters.  How on earth do they not kill each other (or themselves)?!!!

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I happened to be on a section of beach that was mostly kite-boarders.  It’s a sport consisting of a small surfboard, a harness, and 60 feet of wire with a parasail at the end.   When a strong 20 mph wind catches that sail, it can lift a 200 lb surfer way up in the air within an instant!

Up…

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UP…

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and AWAY!!!

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Let there be no mistake…these dudes have some serious upper body strength to hang on to those kites!

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With all that water and such a nice sandy beach, Millie thought she’d take a little swim… 

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That is…until she saw a few kite-boarders whiz by behind her….and that was enough of that.  Swim-time was OVER!

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I finally spotted one lone windsurfer down at the end of the bay surrounded by a couple dozen kite-boarders.

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And later saw a small group of them further offshore trying to avoid the zanies closer to the beaches.

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The lifeguards on their jet skis certainly had their hands full  trying to keep track of any unfortunate dude who had lost his board or busted a sail.

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The town of La Ventana honestly seems like nothing more than a row of RV parks, dusty motels, a few surf shops, and a handful of bars.  It really exists completely for the windsurfing and kite-boarding community, and they seem to support the town quite well—nearly every campground we passed was loaded to the brim with camper vans, RVs, cars, pickup trucks—you name it, these dudes drove them here to get to this wind!

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So if these shots excite you to run out and buy a board and some sails and drive down to Baja next winter… better get here early to grab your spot!

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9 comments:

  1. We sent lots of time at Los Barriles watching the kite boarders. Love what they can do. Great pictures of them in action!

    www.travelwithkevinandruth.com

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  2. What experiences you are providing Millie!

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  3. We've now got a new destination for the next time we get to go to Cabo. Great visuals!

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  4. Kite boarding is a big sport here in Oregon on the Columbia River, but it must be quite a bit nicer to make those falls into the warm ocean of Baja!

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  5. wow! Like Hood River but Warm! Cool dudes, for sure.

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  6. Do you remember Cameron & Jacquie, they just arrived here a few days ago direct from Ventana. Your photos as always are so much better and clearer. Seems to me that you two girls are having yourselves quite the adventure.

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  7. What a MARVELOUS sister you are and I was laughing at your reasoning - sounds a lot like mine would be! The number of people out on that water with lines, chutes and boards is frightening!

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