Harry’s, Baja, Mexico: Lessons from the gravesite

 What you may know is that Harry’s was a great wave in Baja Norte. It was one of those “secret spots” that was anything but secret as it was on more than a few dozen people’s radars as a spot to hit when heading south. Yet for some, perhaps romantic, reason people compartmentalized their thinking about it. I’m not sure anyone even ever thought about trying to save it as rumors of threats started to get more frequent. You may also know that Harry’s is gone. It’s not degraded or polluted or privatized. It is gone. It does not exist. Baja, for anyone who hasn’t headed south in the past year or two, isn’t for sale… it’s sold.

What you may not know is that Harry’s is just one of many waves that has been lost. There are a few dozen multi-unit projects from the bullring to Ensenada; that number may be around 100. Harry’s was lost because no one fought to save it until the bulldozers showed up. Magoo De La Rosa and I talked on the North Shore this past season about Playa Ñuro in Chile, and it was the same deal. He said, “I’ve got six days to save this secret spot in Chile, it may be the best left in the whole country.” Guess what, if you’re trying to save a surf spot in less than a week, safe bet is you’re probably too late. Now Playa Ñuro is gone too. Bulldozers showed up on schedule, in January. A pier is being built right smack in the middle of the break. This loss didn’t happen because mythic wave-savers, Surfrider Foundation, didn’t get there in time. It happened because surfers somehow think that even in this modern, globalized age they can keep a coastal spot secret. You can’t. I don’t care where on the globe you’re talking about. Let me say this another way, every wave on the planet has a value equal to what people are willing to do to protect it. Unless you get in early to build a constituency of support for a wave, your chances of success when the dozers come to town are slim-to-nil. This is especially true outside the Estados Unidos. Salsipuedes and Scorpion Bay, Baja icons, both have development projects planned. Do you care?
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