Each winter, from mid-November through mid-March, strong El Norte winds blow hundreds of miles down the Sea of Cortez, creating ideal wind and kite surfing conditions in many coastal areas of Baja California Sur. The height of the area's yearly windsports season occurs in January, when the world's fastest wind and water riders descend upon the picturesque East Cape community of Los Barriles, which since 2010 has hosted the area's most magisterial sounding competition: the Lord of the Wind Showdown.
This year's Lord of the Wind is scheduled for January 22-26, 2014, with individual competition categories that include downwind slaloms, freestyle windsurfing, a big air contest, boardercross and SUP (stand up paddleboarding).
The fourth annual event is organized by the Rotary Club of Los Barriles, and in addition to identifying windports royalty, provides an opportunity for the world's premier windsports companies to show off their wares, and a convenient excuse for spectators and participants to party down at affiliated festivities like the reggae beach concert, tamale cook-off and a traditional Mexican fiesta.
The world's fastest wind and water riders will compete for Baja's most exalted title: Lord of the Wind — Photo courtesy of Lord of the Wind Baja
For the uninitiated, Baja California Sur's East Cape describes the coastal belly-shaped arc that extends northward from Los Cabos to Los Barriles. The East Cape is seen by many as an appealing alternative to the touristy hustle and bustle of Los Cabos, with less real estate development and more rustic accommodations options.
The East Cape is also home to one of North America's most remarkable dive sites. The eight fingers of hard living coral reef off Cabo Pulmo are set amidst a national marine sanctuary that boasts the highest concentration of fish in the Sea of Cortez.
The drive up from Los Cabos is a scenic one, with desert and mountain vistas, and gorgeous views of the the Bay of Palms as you approach East Cape neighbors Los Barriles and Buenavista. When the windsports season ends, the two towns are best known for their superb sportfishing, celebrated each July at Bisbee's East Cape Offshore Tournament in Buenavista. (Bisbee's also sponsors the world's richest fishing contest - the Black and Blue marlin fishing tournament, which pays out millions of dollars in prizes during October competitions in Cabo San Lucas.)
The fourth annual Lord of the Wind Showdown will take place January 22-26, 2014, in Los Barriles — Photo courtesy of Lord of the Wind Baja
For aspiring lords and ladies of the wind, the best place to arrange windsports tutorials is at Exotikite's school in Los Barriles, which specializes in kiteboarding and stand up paddleboard lessons and rentals. Windsurfing lessons and rentals, as well as fishing charters, may be arranged through the Hotel Palmas de Cortez, the town's premier resort property.