Although the Spanish had occupied Baja for several hundred years, The San Carlos area did not see permanent European settlements until 1769 when Father Junipero Serra established the Mision San Fernando Velicata 50 miles inland. The mission was built next to a river that maintained water all year. This mini oasis was capable of producing crops and raising livestock. Copper ore was also discovered and the local Indians were enslaved to operate the mines. Shortly thereafter Father Serra traveled to San Diego to begin developing the California mission system. There were approximately 8-10 thousand Indians in the surrounding area. Due to disease, their numbers diminished to about 25 by 1830. There is little left of the mission today however there are several rock art galleries nearby making a visit worthwhile.
After the Gold Rush
When the Gold Rush of California began to wane in the second half of the 19th century, a new rush was born fueled by wild rumors of gold and silver strikes in Baja. The San Fernando Copper mine was very active in producing high grade copper. The raw mined ore would be put on burro backs and shuttled almost 50 miles to the coast, down what we now know as the Mesa Cactus Garden Trail and refined in a smelter in the area now known as the fish camp. The refined ore was then loaded on tall ships anchored in the bay. There are still slag remnants of the smelter and the burro trail is still used by visitors as a hiking trail.
There are legends of pirates using the desolate rocky coastline as shelter and a place to bury their loot. Along the shoreline east of the Fish Camp are remnants of old sailing vessels victimized by the fierce stormy seas of winter. This shoreline makes for a great beachcombing picnic adventure.
Bulls, Barley, Stones & Fish
Today there is a different economy in San Carlos. Along the 38 mile dirt road to the sea are several ranches and farms. Livestock casually graze near the roadside and free range horses roam the foothills near the mesa. In springtime fields of green barley and wildflowers fill the landscape and on wet winter years wild mustard canopies provide a tunnel like appearance on the road. This mustard was originally planted by the padres on their way to the coast to meet their supply ships.
There is a commercial fishing village at the base of the point that provides fresh seafood to the restaurants from Ensenada to Tijuana. Each morning, weather permitting, they launch their small barcas to harvest the day's catch while their children play in the gentle surf near the village
Rock gathers shift through tons of beach stone to select just the right size to bag for Home Depot's ornamental landscaping stone customers.
There is much activity in San Carlos. More recently in the past 20 years a new people have arrived to utilize the this secluded coastal area.
Sails, kites, kayaks, surfboards & SUPS -oh my
In 1981 Dave Tettleton nervously launched his Windsurfer Rocket 99 into the light breeze of what is now known as the Beachbreak. He is with a friend and they feel very alone. They are the only people on the point. Dave recalls the go-out wasn't that special but the camping trip made it worth a few more outings.
1984 - Fueled by wild rumors of great surf and side off wind conditions, Malibu Windsurfing Pro Ritchie Myers makes the trip with photographer Brian Bielman and two models.
The girls have been duped by promises of pool bars, day spas and decadent nightlife. When they arrive they are in culture shock. The group is alone on what is now the Solosports Campo.
Ritchie is reluctant to launch in the beachbreak as it appears to be too offshore. His first go-out is in the next bay on the other side of the island.
He is stoked on what he finds. With his confidence up, he ventures into the Beachbreak via the Bombora (his appointed name) and the rest is history.
Windsurfing has hit its stride. With the more surf oriented board designs, Punta San Carlos is soon on the map as the best damn wave sailing spot in the world. The mid to late eighties host to the who's who of windsurfing on the point.
Growing in popularity at an alarming rate, opportunists soon realize the potential for monetary gain and the 60's like love-in becomes a power struggle for control . By 1990 it begins to parallel the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy - "must have the precious..." The period between 1988-1995 is known sadly as "the dark ages".
1995 - Windsurfing is in the throes of a major decline which is reflected by dwindling attendance numbers on the point. The landowners, sickened buy Norte Jingo greed, approach Kevin Trejo - owner of SoloSports, a Baja travel company. They give him the opportunity to reel it all in and establish order by becoming the property manger. He accepts the challenge.
SoloSports has been bringing their Baja guests to San Carlos since 1987. Kevin knows what is needed in the area and cautiously begins a program to turn it around. Ironically, outhouses, once thought to be the shunned harbingers of progress are now welcomed by all visitors.
In 1999 the SoloSports system was tested with the controversial world class PWA Wave sailing event . After a week of heavy competition among the world's best, the verdict was in from all - GOOD JOB!!
Since 1995 SoloSports has successfully managed the property with a very simple philosophy - All are welcome here that will respect the land, respect the people.
Ironically - Punta San Carlos has become a fixture on most windsurfers' "Bucket List".