Pacific Side of Baja: Solosports 2017

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Pacific Side of Baja: Solosports 2017

Postby BayAreaKite » Wed Jun 07, 2017 10:29 am


After a serious mountain bike accident this fall, we were forced to postpone our annual Baja trip. While we were fairly confident I’d have my strength and mobility back in time for a spring La Ventana trip, we used the excuse as an opportunity to explore the other side of the Baja Peninsula, and cross one big thing off our life “to do” list: the Mitu Wave Camp with Solosports at Punta San Carlos.

Just as El Norte winds on the Sea of Cortez wind down, the same sea breezes fueled by the North Pacific High that hit our coast begin to grace the ocean side of Baja. However, with the water temp being about equivalent to that of Santa Cruz, very little tourism exists on the wild coast of Baja. Solosports operates essentially a “luxury” campsite on the shores of the pacific, adjacent to a dirt landing strip served by their own 5 passenger Cesna Centurion single engine bush planes. You can reach the resort by car, but it involves a border crossing, hours on a dangerous highway, and miles of dirt roads. I’ve heard it takes anywhere from 8-12 hours to reach Punta San Carlos by car from San Diego, and a few guests joined us last week using that mode of transportation. But for the full experience, I highly recommend the charter flights out of San Diego; we were kiting the same day we departed from San Jose on a 9:00AM flight.

Due to the small planes, guests are limited to 50lbs of baggage. Fortunately, you don’t even need that much; Solosports has all the gear you need and more. And I’m not talking about weathered kite school kites with patches or delaminating boards, they stock the newest kite gear every year from F-One, Slingshot, and BWS. I flew a new F-One bandit almost every day, along with new Mitu surf boards. Finally got to demo a brand new Engine harness, too. There were plenty of kites and boards to go around, and not once did I wish I had dealt with the hassle of bringing my own gear.

A big draw for us was actually the no-wind options at Solosports. I’m not a big SUP’er or surfer. I don’t know why, just never been drawn to those sports. So no-wind days on kite vacations are especially painful for me, unless snorkeling or diving is available. Solosports has a fleet of high end Santa Cruz mountain bikes, outfitted with full 1x11 drivetrains and Fox kashima coated suspension. Anything from Tallboy 29’ers to Nomad 650b’s and even Blurs with 26” wheels. My wife and I had no problem finding bikes that fit, and even brought our clipless pedals to make the most of the riding. It’s certainly a challenge to keep these bikes operating smoothly in the nasty environment of Baja, but the team at Solosports does a good job of keeping them clean and running in tip-top shape. The riding is fantastic, from rocky cactus-laden trails to burmed out butter smooth flow trails. We rode every morning, and on the two days we had with no wind, evenings as well. Our biggest ride was only 13 miles and around 2,000 feet of climbing, definitely not worth getting in the car for around here. But with riding just outside the tent, and a full day of kiting ahead of us, the rides were perfect for both no-wind and nuker days.
MTB.PNG
Watch out for Cactus!
MTB.PNG (1.92 MiB) Viewed 1925 times

Now for the kiting. Wind is slightly side-off, which makes it super easy to drift the kite as you slash the face of the incoming swell. These are proper breaking rights, not the heavy close-out mush at Waddell (don’t get me wrong, I love Waddell, and we were excited to return the day after we were kiting in Mexico). But the waves in Punta San Carlos are much more forgiving and clean, and make it a great place to work on new skills and improve your kiting. After my first day kiting with straps, Mitu and the crew coaxed me out of them for the rest of the trip. I had a blast, and loved the freedom of moving my feet around the entire board. That being said, upon returning to Waddell last weekend I was happy to have my straps in the 30kt winds and big choppy surf with side-on wind. Sometimes at Waddell you have to boost to get past the break, and I don’t think I’ll ever be pulling massive strapless airs no matter how much coaching from Mitu!
Lip.JPG
Perfect waves
Lip.JPG (273.71 KiB) Viewed 1925 times

Camp was pleasant. We were so beat at night that we would have slept on a rock, but the foam pad was comfortable and the sound of the waves a soothing way to fall asleep. If you go, pick a tent with fully functional zippers. Not that you’ll be able to sleep much past sunrise, it’s still nice to have all the light blocked and wind out. There’s an open bar every evening during the “Golden Hour,” which I missed a couple nights kiting directly until the 8:00 dinner time. The signature drink is the Baja Fog, a combination of lime juice, tequila, and Carona that packs a punch. You get 1 warm shower a day, which is absolutely amazing after a long day in the cold wind/water and just before dinner. I never went to bed hungry, thanks to the kind and wonderful team of chefs. It wasn’t traditional Baja cuisine, because a lot of the food at camp had to come from Costco across the border. But the homemade tortillas, pico de gallo, and final evening fish tacos left a memorable impression!

This amazing experience came at a price. Our typical trip to Los Barilles/La Ventana runs about $120/night, staying in nice beach front condos and Palapas. At about $3,000 for 7 nights, Solosports was a once-in-a-lifetime trip for us as both celebration of a nearly full recovery from my injury and preparing for the next phase in life where my wife and I might not be traveling much. Given what you get: a full quiver of brand new kites and boards, carbon mountain bikes, unlimited food and drink, and a chartered flight down there, I don’t think it’s overpriced by any means. But, there are certainly cheaper ways to do Baja.

Some other notable things:
-It is camping, and you do go to the bathroom in an outhouse that makes Sherman feel like a powder room.
-They have a professional photographer and drone pilots on staff, and put together amazing slideshows and videos every night and leave you with a 16GB flash drive with all the content included.
-They offer a program called “ticket 2 ride,” where you can prepay for a trip to save up to $400. We paid for our 2017 trip in December of 2016, saving us a lot of money. Highly recommend this.
-If you have a BAK changing towel/poncho, bring it! So nice to wear out of the shower, lounge, and change in.
-It is chilly. We wore down jackets and hats every evening
-It is not a place for non-kiters. There is no snorkeling, the beach is rocky, a lot of wind/sun exposure. The name “Solosports” suggests “only sports.”
-Mitu is a really wonderful guy. If you can join his camp hosted by Bay Area Kitesurf, the US distributor of F-One, I highly recommend it. There is a bit of a price premium, but his presence and instruction made it well worth it. Bruce and Nico are great guys, too;)
Mitu.JPG
We'll miss you Mitu!
Mitu.JPG (704.66 KiB) Viewed 1925 times

Thanks to everyone at Solosports for an amazing week! Have a wonderful season and hope to see you again someday! Sorry my video doesn't do your camp justice, for more check out their website http://solosports.net
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Re: Pacific Side of Baja: Solosports 2017

Postby Frappes » Tue Jun 13, 2017 7:43 pm

Awesome, the Mitu camp is totally on my list, hopefully for next year.

What kind of wind conditions did you get throughout the week? What was Mitu's coaching like - did you feel like you got enough time with him to improve your skills?
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Re: Pacific Side of Baja: Solosports 2017

Postby BayAreaKite » Wed Jun 14, 2017 7:29 am

We did pretty well with wind. Out of 8 days, I would say about 1/3 were nuking, with me on 6-8m kites, 1/2 were medium to light, 10-12m days... and we had 2 days of no wind. I'm not sure how the 2nd week fared, maybe Billy could chime in. We also had small swell, which is another thing to consider. The week after us had much higher swell. We were happy with the small swell, because it made for a much more conducive learning environment. If you buy the ticket to ride, you could try to coordinate your trip with wind/swell... but talk to Kevin about that. With the Mitu camp, you get what you get.

Time with Mitu both on and off the water was plentiful. He never turned down requests for advice or tips, and can get uncomfortably close to you while kiting if he has something to say! He helped me figure out my tacks, which I was landing on my first day trying. He helped me and my wife improve our strapless riding significantly. Having never surfed (before kiting) it was super valuable to learn some of the basics, like feet position, types of turns. The Mitu premium is definitely worth the cost.
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