Is there any chance the WSL can bring “La Jolla” back?
In short, no, it can't, but let's dive in anyway.
This year, for the first time in 15 years, the world tour goes back to Barra De La Cruz, in southern Mexico, a churning right-hand point break that, on its day, is one of the best waves on the planet. The last time the world's best competed here was for the Ripcurl Search event back in '06. The tour back then was a little looser, with a Fosters sponsor, party attitude and slightly longer boardies (and boards). The location of the contest was kept secret and given a pseudonym, La Jolla; this was supposed to hide the identity of the wave and stop the spot from being located and blown up. With "La Jolla" only being a stone's throw from the already heavily visited Puerto Escondido and the event running at the beginning of the digital age, did the WSL (then ASP) think this pseudonym would protect the location of the event? Anyway, it’s a conversation for a different day. The contest was sick. Won by the late, great Andy Irons with a searing rail attack and expert tube knowledge. The froth levels of the event were contagious, even for the viewers at home. It was the early days of webcasts, and seeing waves like that on the TV was incredible; throaty, endless green barrels were threaded by the best in the world in boardshorts that swung around their shins. Taj got an extremely long, unforgettable barrel, everyone was smiling ear to ear the whole contest, and Kelly even labelled the wave better than Jeffreys and the Gold Coast points. Surfers spent noticeably less time in the air back then; the highest scores were earned with tube time and rail games. This year will presumably be different as the current CT fliers take on Barra de la Cruz with their more evolved airborne approach.
It didn't take long for surf tourism to swarm the small coastal town of Barra de la Cruz, resulting in development to cater for the new influx of surfers, including beachside cabañas, restaurants and bathrooms on the beach. The majesty and world-class status of the right-hand pointbreak stemmed from the town’s rivermouth, which fed sediment and sand to the point, constantly reinforcing the bank’s long, perfectly aligned shape. Unaware of the potential impact on the wave, the council diverted the river mouth that fed out through the beach, to protect the newly erected facilities and limit the risk of erosion. This well-intended re-routing of the river mouth ultimately decimated the fabled '06 bank. Since then the wave has been described as a shell of its former self and has never really reclaimed its former glory.
And they have decided to come back!
This year, the tour is there from the 10th of August, and if social media is anything to go by, things look surprisingly hopeful. The sand formation certainly isn't '06 level, but it sure does look pretty damn good (See below). While it is unlikely it will compare with the high benchmark set by the Search event, which was won by Irons, there is a strong chance it will be the most enjoyable WSL contest of the year, and that's worth something.