Todos Santos – Baja California, Mexico
Todos Santos is an impressive rock and sand beach break on a little island located off the coast of the northern end of Baja California, Mexico. This wave is usually at least two to four feet bigger than the other Baja breaks lining the peninsula, and is completely capable of handling waves as big as 60 feet. The best known break on this island and probably in the area is called “Killers,” a somewhat appropriate name for such an intense wave. This right point break is packed full or speed and power that will definitely leave you wanting more (or less, depending on your experience with big waves¬). Like other big wave surf spots, Todos Santos has plenty of things to look out for, including weird boils, bumpy faces, and some major power generated by this heavy deep-water wave. Todos Santos is definitely a big wave spot that should only be surfed by people with big wave experience.
Tom Curren surfing it in 1984:
The island of Todos Santos is located 12 miles off the coast of Ensenada, Baja California. You can usually find a boat in the Ensenada Harbor or La Bufadora that will take you out to the island for about $20 a person. Once you arrive at Todos Santos, you want to head for the northwest tip of the island, just in front of the lighthouse, where you will find the world-famous break Killers. There are some other breaks on Todos Santos, including “Chickens” and “Thor’s Hammer,” but Killers is definitely the biggest the island has to offer.
Swell & Weather Conditions
The great thing about Todos Santos is that it is completely capable of holding surf as big as 60 feet. Of course, this requires the right conditions in order for the wave to be ideal. A solid southwest swell is usually the best, but it’s worth looking at with a big north swell. As far as wind goes, you usually want a north or northwest wind, and waves will usually be best with a high tide. The water is generally colder in Todos Santos, so make sure to bring a nice wetsuit and most likely a hood and some booties.
Todos Santos is your typical big wave spot, so you can get by with anything but a big gun unless you plan on doing some tow-in surfing. This spot is packed full of both paddle-in and tow-in surfers during a good swell. You’ll usually see anything from a 10-foot gun to a six-foot tow-in board.
Todos Santos was discovered in the ‘60s by the Windansea Club and is quite possibly the first legitimate big wave spot to be discovered on the west coast. The Windansea Club was a group of surfers out of La Jolla, California who were very influential in the history of surfing in Southern California.
There are no contests held at Todos Santos, but there have been several worldwide big wave contests won there, including the Billabong XXL, won in 2006 by Brad Gerlach. In 1998, K2 Inc.’s $50,000 Big Wave prize was won at Todos Santos by Taylor Knox, who paddled into a wave recorded to have a 52-foot face.
Brief Travel Info
You can travel to Ensenada, Baja California in a couple of ways. If you are in California, the easiest way is to drive down through San Diego and across the border into Baja California. From there, you are looking at a couple of hours on a pretty nice toll road all the way to the little town of Ensenada. You could also fly into Tijuana, Baja California and take the same road south.
Although Ensenada is a smaller town, there are still a number of things to do when you’re there. There are some beach breaks that are pretty fun if the swell is right, and also some cool whale watching and fishing tours that leave from the harbor. As far as lodging goes, there are some decent hotels on the main road through town, as well as some camping spots just north of the town.