SUP magazine started the Find the Glide contest presented by SIC Maui to create a guidebook to all things downwind: from the greatest bump runs on earth to everyday local runs and everything in between. The response was overwhelming with entries from Hawaii, South Africa and Mexico filling out our Glide Guide.
One man came out on top. That man was Seattle’s Brandon Heiser. He was our first entry and set the bar for the other contestants going forward. Heiser’s Mercer Island Run, near Seattle, Washington looked like a smoker. He found a great glide. So we sent him to Baja Mexico to find another.
Punta San Carlos is a world-famous windsurfing and kiteboarding destination known for its consistent side-offshore wind. After too much late-night, retina-burning reconnaissance on Google Earth, we decided that this was the place to send Heiser and buddy Joshua Thompson. So we put them in a four-seater Cessna and flew them down Mexico way.
“I couldn’t believe that I’d won the Find the Glide contest--the chance to ride with the SIC and SUP magazine crews in a virgin downwind location in remote Baja was a dream come true,” Heiser said. “Winning the 17′ SIC Bullet, the Ferrari of the SUP world, was the icing on the cake.”
SoloSports Adventure Holidays, a camp set on the bluffs above the Pacific that caters to windsurfers, kiters, mountain bikers, surfers and standup paddlers hosted the exploratory mission. And by hosted, we mean fed us like kings (lobster tacos and marinated salmon anyone?), treated us to the tastiest of beverage (top shelf tequila and an endless supply of Baja Fogs) and allowed us the run of their camp, using whatever gear we wanted for whatever the conditions called for (standard for anyone staying at the camp). Not to go overboard, but it is a place where fun hogs’ dreams come true.
When the wind was blowing, we paddled downwind, when it wasn’t, we SUP surfed and in between, we mountain biked.
“We definitely found the next big downwind destination,” SIC brand manager Braly Joy says. “There's every kind of glide there. Imagine having Maliko and Ho’okipa all to yourself everyday. There’s wind, waves, whatever you want.”
But the downwind runs were definitely the highlight. We put in along the rough, rocky coastline a few miles north of the camp, timing our paddle outs through overhead-plus surf over shallow, barnacle-strewn rocks. The wind consistently blew over twenty knots and sent us past towering mesas, crumbling sea cliffs and curious sea lions into a slot of rock in between camp and an offshore island dubbed the Mummy’s Knuckle. This would be Heiser’s choice for the name of the run. And there’s plenty more to explore.
“The downwinding potential is unlimited--the consistency of the wind, sunny skies, and water temperature makes Punta San Carlos a very unique place, and you’re likely to score a great run year-round,” Heiser says. “We’ve only seen a glimpse of the downwind potential for this location. With a boat shuttle, the possibilities are endless.”
Needless to say, Heiser was not disappointed by his Find the Glide experience.
“(It was) the highlight of my year,” he said.
Look for the feature on the mission in our Spring Issue.