Founder, Wave Tribe/Author/Shaper/Surfer
When a trip to Mexico goes wrong.

When a trip to Mexico goes wrong.


The Inertia

We’re taking your bro on a stretcher to the ER in Rosarito.” Those are words you never want to hear on a surf trip.

La Fonda was sucking dry sand on the inside, and as the tide dropped I noticed that the inside was reeling in about a foot of water. But you know what that means: deep blue Mexican barrels throwing luscious lips over the shallow finger sand bars that run down the beach like a Formula One Nascar.

I took a few more waves once I noticed the big tide swing, then took one in and headed up the stairs to the bluff overlooking the break. Two of my bros stayed out, and about 20 minutes later the one of them was waving franticly for help while the other floated in the water, motionless.

It was pretty much worst case scenario—his neck hurt, there was tingling in his fingers, and it looked like half his eye was hanging out of its socket. Blood was everywhere.

We called an ambulance, then stopped the bleeding, stabilized him, and grabbed some ice from the OXXO while we waited for it to arrive.

About half an hour after we called, the paramedics came and put him on a stretcher in a neck brace and we were told that they were taking him to the main hospital in Rosarito. Eight hours later, he arrived back at the house with the X-rays on his iPhone. As I was going through the photos, I noticed that they didn’t scan his neck… which seemed strange considering that his fingers were tingling and his neck hurt.

We got him in the car and drove him directly to San Diego where he spent the next 24 hours under doctor’s care. They found that he had fractured a set of bones that support the junction between the skull and spinal column and sewed up his eye.

Now he is on the road to recovery like a champ! The moral of the story is two-fold, Wave Tribe:

Make sure you receive qualified medical treatment when you visit a foreign country. But even more important, skip the low tide barrels at La Fonda and grab a margarita on the bluff overlooking this beautiful break. I know, it’s hard to follow when it’s firing… but living is a good thing!

See more from Derek at WaveTribe.com, on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.




  • The Stoke

    Make sure you receive qualified medical treatment in whatever country you are!

  • Pappies

    at least he went to Baja and didn’t die.

    • Yea, he is doing okay now and stoked to be back in the water soon.

  • Jeff Knox

    Make sure you speak the language in whatever country you are!

  • Mark Wilson

    Also look into joining DAN, Divers Alert Network. They have plans to medvac you anywhere in the world.

    • Great advise bro, thanks for the resource.

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