words and photos by Clark Merrit
275 miles below san diego, California, on the Pacific Ocean side of the Baja Peninsula, Punta San Carlos is a micro-climate that enjoys thermal winds generated by a headland mesa and inland desert heat. Because Punta San Car-los is a south facing beach area, the prevailing west wind is generally sideoff-to-sideshore making it an excellent wavesailing and kitesurfing location. The average wind speed is 18-25 mph. Punta San Carlos has been described as
a world-class, multi-sport adventure destination. The coastline is a series of right-hand pointbreaks and sandstone beachbreaks. Perfect for wave kiting.
A submerged reef extension of the island, this break borders deep water. It is also called the Indicator as it picks up all swells from favored south swells through northwest swells. It dramatically displays combination swells. South swells form a wedge peak providing a fast but short backdoor smack opportu-nity. It also provides jumping opportunities. The wind is sideoff-to-sideshore.
THE BEACH BREAK:
A shallow sandstone shelf, this break is perfect for all kiters. The wave is gentle and the broad beachbreak real-estate can support a large crowd from a series of breaking waves. It’s a perfect venue to sharpen your skills. The launch area is tide-dependant: if you have a partner, you can launch from the top of the cliffs.
The point is also a borderline shelf to deep water. Swells can peak up to a quarter-of-a-mile out, roll into shallow water providing a racetrack wave to the Chili Bowl, inside the bay. On a higher tide the inside point wave can provide a short tube ride. It traditionally gets windy early and requires a half-a-meter kite size smaller. This spot caters to intermediate-to-advanced kiters.
THE CHILI BOWL:
Punta San Carlos’ premiere, money-shot spot. This is a reef located inside the point and approximately 100 yards from the cliffs. It creates a left/right breaking wave that connects to the racetrack wave that starts at the point. It gets windy early but can back off later in the afternoon. The Chili Bowl is very swell-dependant and doesn’t break all the time. Catching a wave at the Point to the Chili Bowl and riding it beyond can net a distance of over a half-mile or longer. This spot is for advanced kiters. The wind is sideoff-to-more-offshore.
Originally published Summer 2015.