Name: Bernie Calderon
Home: San Diego
Vehicle: 1994 GMC Yukon
Surfing: Tourmaline Surfing Park Bernie surfed for a few years when he was a teenager. He says he gave it up to "go to school, start a career; to live life." He worked for 30 years as a school administrator and was vice principal at University City High School. A year before his retirement in 2006, he took a trip to Baja. "I saw my friends and the kids out surfing, and I wished I could do it again. When I got back home, I bought a board and started again." He surfs at least once a week now.
"I'm a beginner. I'll always be a beginner," he says. "I chase the three-footers."
Last year he was nearly in an altercation while surfing at Pacific Beach.
"These hardcore surfers were on the beach, and one of their girlfriends got knocked off her board. I helped her to the beach, and these big guys came rushing down to me like I was the one who knocked her off. She set them straight, though. She said, 'No, no. He's helping me.' From then on, they were the nicest guys ever. I was one of their buddies and they were hardcore surfers!"
Bernie rides a 9'10" Stewart that extends from the cargo area to the folded passenger seat. Sitting on his tailgate, having left the ocean a moment earlier to towel off, Bernie says, "I'm on a high right now. This is why I do it." Bernie uses an old plastic orange-juice jug to wash off his feet, his wet sandals beneath him on the asphalt.
He grabs his wetsuit and says, "This was a retirement gift. From me to me." His last suit was too loose and let water in through the neck so he bought himself a 2/3 mm O'Neill Psycho II.
His favorite spots are Tourmaline and secret spots in Baja. "I can't tell you about those. Well, I'll tell you one I really enjoy that everyone knows about is Cuatro Casas, 'Four Houses.' Another is Conejo; everyone knows those two. Anywhere in Baja is a great surfing spot. I love Baja because a friend and I would try to find secret spots and get lost and have the best time. Just the most magnificent times, out there, lost in Baja."