Baja Kayak Fest

A cinematic tour of the annual sea kayak festival on Mexico's Baja Peninsula

By Marty Perry

This five-part series was shot at the Baja Kayak Fest held every year in Ensenada, Mexico, on the Baja Peninsula. It’s a stunning area, and I was determined to show it in a cinematic way. I knew I'd be filming in the full sun every day following moving targets from a chartered panga (Mexican fisherman boat), my kayak, or off some precipitous rotten rock cliff. But luckily I had a comfortable ocean-side casa, provided by the event organizers Jen Kleck and Victor Leon, where I could retreat to download data from my cameras, charge my batteries and put in some 3:30 a.m. filming sessions to capture the sun rising towards our Pacific Ocean base. On most nights we were greeted with cold beers and dinner at the local Buffadora restaurant, a quintessential Mexican eatery about 200 meters from our casas and camp site, all of which sit smack on the edge of an ocean cliff.

Ocean kayaking in Baja is as wild as you can imagine, a place where the Pacific swell comes to an abrupt stop on cliffs hundreds of meters tall dotted by a myriad of sea caves around every bend. Though the rock gardens can look intimidating, this event has been going on for over 20 years and safety is on everybody’s mind. The world-class coaches lead people to well-plotted play spots, which have some predictability to them. However, when you go rock gardening in a kayak, anything can happen.

Marty Perry is a member of the The Hurricane Riders, a Vancouver, B.C.-based crew of sea kayak instructors and longboat limit-pushing paddlers at large. Check out another longboat surfing film from Perry and see more of the Baja sessions below.

–The 2015 Baja Kayak Fest begins April 18th, learn more about the event.

–See more paddling videos from C&K.

–Check out other episodes from Mary Perry’s Baja Surf Fest series: