The Best Surfers in the World Land Somewhere in Mexico for the Rip Curl Pro and Find Perfection Beyond Their Wildest Dreams. But What’s the Cost, and Where do we go From Here?

There was a wave once, inconspicuously tucked somewhere along Mexico’s 3,000-plus miles of coastline. It was a right point and it was empty and it ran for hundreds of yards along a perfectly scalloped sand bank. The water was warm and the lips were thin and the tubes were endless. The sections begged to be punished.

The wave sat near a quiet little town with dirt floors and modest people. A town that was in good hands, led by a serious-minded mayor who ensured there was no trash on the beach and that everyone in the community did their part for the betterment of the whole. There were locals in the town, and also from the surrounding area, who would come and surf the wave alone for hours. The place was known only to a handful of outsiders, a well-kept secret, underexposed in the magazines and the media.

But then all that changed. This summer the ASP arrived at the wave in full regalia and scored it at its peak and the best surfers in the world rode the best waves they’ve ever seen. And now, the blitz is on. The world watched everything unfold as live footage, beamed via satellite, flooded the web. The photos are everywhere. And even though the location remains, for now, a secret, every surfer in his right mind is frothing to find this quietly reeling point.

Inaugural La Jolla Champ

Finals Day Photos from Rip Curl Search 2006

Even under the contest tents it was blazing hot, but Doug Warbrick, cofounder of both Rip Curl and the Search, had found himself an icy twelve-pack. He climbed a set of scaffolding stairs and rejoined a celebratory group of onlookers, all of them lounging in the shade glued to Taylor Knox’s and Andy Irons’ final round heat at the 2006 Rip Curl Pro Search; a heat that Irons won recklessly and brilliantly.

Warbrick passed out the beers and proposed a toast. “To somewhere in Mexico,” he said, and the group raised their cans and returned his words. They snapped open their beers and drank and after a long pull someone added a thought.

“To somewhere in Mexico,” said the voice, “wherever the hell we are.” The group drank again collectively, with a laugh, not really wondering where at all.

But you are of course, and that’s a tough question to answer. But here’s a go at it anyway, sort of. They were sitting on new ground, and not just geographically. You see, this has never been done before—or more precisely, a contest of this magnitude, a WCT event, has never been held at a secret location. And while yes, there’ve been plenty of top-line events in remote corners of the world, the difference was always this: all of them had been on the well-worn surf map prior to the event, and no organizer came even close to trying to keep the location of the spot, or its name, under the tarp.