Review & Photos by Bill Polick
bit about it
Located about 120 miles south of the San Diego border crossing,
Shipwrecks is isolated on the coast of
California. Crest the hill leading to the beach and you see why
"Baja Rincon" changed its name. There's the rusted hulk of a
coastal cargo ship run aground years ago.
Shipwrecks is a point break. Unfortunately, the ship broke right on
the point and the swell hits metal before it hits shallow water.
Because the ship rests on its starboard side, the old mast, boom and cables
are obstructions to avoid! The seaside break north of the point did
not line up at all while we were there.
June in the Northern hemisphere is supposed to be Spring. Warm
temperatures and warmer water.
What we got was wind, wind, wind, cool air and cold water. In fact, on
the way down we stopped at Raul's where we had 6' surf with water in the
high 50s. Eighty miles south the surf was 1'-2' with sea temperatures
in the low 50s.
Cobbles line the shore making the walk into the water a bit dicey without
Since our camp site was on the flat point, we had wind almost
day and all night. Camping was primitive (I slept in the back of my
truck). There's one rickety privy with no door. There is a small
"resort" there with what looked like acceptable
accommodations. Surfing tours book the place several times a year.
This is strictly a right break, but the rides can last 75-100
yards. Catch the wave from just off the ship's mast and cruise deep
into the cove. It's a long paddle back out, but you don't want to
climb out of the water, walk across the rocks, climb a small but unstable
cliff, walk down a rocky dirt
road and walk back across the shore rocks to get the next set.
I like surfing in Mexico, the uncluttered breaks and decent waves are
priceless. The farther away from the border you get, the friendlier
the atmosphere. That doesn't mean, however, you can let your guard
down or act like a butthead!
If you're driving down from the States, make sure you have Mexican
insurance. If you don't and have an accident, you've got majorly bad
juju! Read your travel guides and respect the law. Don't leave
your valuables in your car/truck/van. A break called Quatro Casas is
just a short dirt road drive up the coast from Shipwrecks and while we were
there we heard horror stories of theft in that area. The campground we
stayed in had a caretaker who kept an eye on things. I don't know how
he'd stop a pack of thugs, but we had no problems.
Learn a little Spanish before you venture too far from the border.
Having lived in Puerto Rico for about three years, I know enough of the
language to get myself in a mess. But it is helpful to be able
to get some basic points across.
you get there
From the San Ysidro border crossing in San Diego, follow the signs for
the "Toll Road" to Ensenada. There are several toll booths
along the way so take plenty of change. Once you get through Ensenada,
follow the two-lane highway south, through mountains, canyons and fertile
fields filled with food of the future. Past Colonet, look for a huge
sign that says "Shipwrecks" with an arrow pointing to the right.
highway, you'll follow a soft dirt track through farm worker shacks, but
there are signs to show the way. I recommend a 4x4, but it's not
mandatory. There were stretches of the dirt road where I zipped
through in four-wheel high while my friends in their vans had to punch it
and fishtail their way through.
Would I go back? Sure, why not!