Taylor Clark. Photo: Hammonds

It’s the morning after the most divisive election in American history.

Half of the country is befuddled and riotous while the other half sends celebratory shotgun shells skyward for ‘Murica’s return to “greatness”. Whether or not your candidate was proclaimed victor, today is not a great day. The polarizing effects of this election will not end with the final vote count. The aftershocks of this momentous decision will be felt for years to come. But we don’t feel like dealing with the Facebook disputes, uncomfortable workplace altercations, and depressing expressions of inhumanity on the news right now, so we’re going to Mexico. The land of Coronas, tacos and today, tubes — plus that unmistakable Tijuana stench. Yup, we’re here.

Story by Michael Ciaramella

Photo: Hammonds
Photo: Hammonds
Darrell Goodrum. Photo: Brock Morgan
Photo: Brock Morgan

Crossing the border is always an eye-opener. A seemingly arbitrary line in the sand divides two countries that, while geographically and geologically parallel, are visibly worlds apart. It makes you think: What if I were born on this side of the partition? What would my life be like? A scary thought, but an important one. It’s easy to cast blame on ‘the other” in life; it takes a lot more courage to walk in his shoes, or, in our case, to speedily bypass his neighborhood in pursuit of a leisure activity. Hey, it’s better than nothing.

Our arrival in Mexico is timed not only with the post-election hangover, but also with the biggest NPAC swell so far this season. What more, the Santa Anas are howling out of the mountains. Californians are known to frequent this beautiful, less crowded version of their homeland, oftentimes returning home with tales of sumptuous waves and only a handful of friends to share them with.

Jojo Roper. Photo: Are Frapwell
Andrew Jacobson and co. Photo: Matt Catalano
Photo: Hammonds

But today — today is genuinely special. Not just fun, but actual world-class waves lurch, heave, and bellow from sun-come to sun-go. Plenty join in pursuit of perfection, but the waves exponentially outnumber the crowd. It is one of those days where you’re happy to find someone next to you, for you know their company won’t last more than a few moments.

Leaving the beach at sunset, I reflected back on the day. It was unceasingly flawless. I laughed at my good fortune, said farewell to the coarse offshores and thumping surf, and headed on my way. Inching closer to the grand divide, my surf-induced high began to fade back into the depths of reality. Being out of cell and wifi range, I had no idea what to expect upon my return to the States. Were there protests? Riots? A surprise secession? My Mexican sojourn offered a much-needed reprieve from reality — the arbitrary line in the sand had momentarily shielded the hate and division that was rampant on the other side. But that’s my home, regardless of how little I wanted to be there at the moment. And so I went.

Taylor Knox. Photo: Hammonds
Ricky Whitlock. Photo: Hammonds
Colin Moran. Photo: Tom Carey
Damien Hobgood. Photo: Hammonds
Photo: Brock Morgan

The border had a historically low number of migrants — only two cars preceded me in line. Was this a sign of the times or just Wednesday evening doldrums? “This is low,” the immigration officer told me. “Weirdly low.”

A process that usually takes upwards of an hour, sometimes half a day, was over in five minutes. Just like that, I was back. I texted my parents, called my girlfriend, and informed them that I had indeed survived.

“What was it like?” they asked.

“Insane. Some of the best waves I’ve ever seen.”

“No, no… Mexico. Was it crazy? Chaotic? Were the people enraged?”

I thought about their questions and laughed. Mexico was the same as ever. Beautiful. Unique. Simple.

Much less scary than here.

Shea Yates. Photo: Hammonds
Damien Hobgood. Photo: Hammonds
La Jolla boys (left) David Dupont (right) Photos: Are Frapwell
Photo: Matt Catalano