We have a saying in Hawaii, ‘Aloha Friday, No work ’til Monday’. A mantra that spreads throughout the islands come 5 o’clock EVERY Friday afternoon. People shed their slacks and aloha shirts for boardies and bikinis in preparation for two full days of sunshine. Although I (Jillian) may have left the islands, the celebration of Aloha Friday has never left my mind. With a free weekend approaching and apparent lack of warmth in the California air, I started searching for some relief.
After a series of phone calls, seven girls (myself included) gathered around a soccer mom’s mini van in the middle of an Orange County driveway. With bikinis packed, we conquered a seemingly unbeatable game of longboard Jenga. Using one set of soft racks and a pair of tie down straps we stacked 5, 9-foot boards in two side-by-side tiers and shook them to ensure their safety. These boards were heading south of the boarder and the 3 hour drive to Baja Mexico spared no time for freeway flyways.
Sitting between distorted traffic lines, ransacked liquor stores, and a fuchsia lit sky is where we entered a Laguna-like compound 45 minutes past the United States/Mexico boarder. The track of villas was desirable far beyond its surrounding counterparts. Every house was topped in burgundy ceramic shingles and lined in mosaic tiles; colors which perfectly mimicked the elements. We knew the use of a 3/2 neoprene wetsuit would be necessary in the water, but the heat reflecting off the topaz tile made a tw0-piece promising land attire.
Our awaiting surf was to measure 3-5 feet tall, fair, and approaching from the west. Locals and gringos alike call the break Las Gaviotas, a harbored right-handed wave which soars on and off the privacy of a pristine white beach.
We woke the first morning to the slow moving sun, and as we took our coffee to the lanai we were instantly motivated by the jealously that Gaviotas had one, single surfer. We aborted our brew and stuttered into our wetsuits, racing one another to be second at the waters edge. Seven surfers entering the ocean at once can be far beyond a crowd, but when you share each wave with a seamate, it is the perfect number of guests.
Afternoon surf sessions were lost in the direction of the wind, giving us time to indulge in the rays of a midday sun. We carried cold Pacificos and hand shaken beer-ritas to a warm jacuzzi which sat cliffs above the breaking sets. Every one of us thirsted for the return of sun-stricken skin and relished at the chance to shed the layers of clothes we arrived in. Post spa, the seven of us strolled through imperfectly lain paths and in front of labored houses taking in the excitement of color - every focus of our eyes revealed wanderlust.
The wind slowed down just as the night began to fall. Surfing by brail was a common practice, for Las Gaviotas was a weekend warrior, allowing maximum time as the light expressed its last goodbyes. A mixture of all shades created a sunset in the water. Each of our strokes uncovering hues of scarlet, emerald and sepia. Black wetsuits reflected the clouds to become brilliant magenta sea skins. As we looked around to catch our final moments with Las Gaviotas it was clear we were no longer surfing at sunset, we were surfing through it, completely immersed in each fading color.
As we bid the waves a goodnight, I looked up to recognize a 75-foot Jesus Christo figure stretching his arms toward the Pacific. Speaking a quiet gratitude to the one looking over us, it became apparent that we were now bound together through the time we spent in the sea. Translated in English as “The Gulls”, Las Gaviotas soars through the air just as simply as her animal counterpart snatching up adventurous souls in need of the perfect Aloha Friday weekend.
Read more of Jillian’s posts here.