"Those who wanted to defend their rights in front of a judge were arrested." (Photo from Imparcial)
22 surfers were arrested and detained on Saturday, May 16 for surfing at Cantiles Dorados in Rosarito — about 28 miles south of the border.
The El Imparcial news outlet from Tijuana posted a photo of four of the “young” male surfers detained in the back of a municipal police pickup; another photo depicted a police officer snapping a photo of a surfer wearing a wetsuit while surrounded by three soldiers wearing facemasks.
From Playa Hermosa Surf & Skate Shop in Ensenada. “Since when do 20 surfers climb on a single board?”
“The 22 [surfers] were rounded up before the judge and held in [jail] cells,” says the news report in part, “because they were surfing in the area …. at kilometer 43 of the Rosarito Libre highway. Francisco Arellano Ortiz, the head of the Secretariat of Citizen Security of Rosarito, mentioned that ‘these people were detained for not complying with the instructions of the agents, as it is prohibited to carry out any activity on the beach."
On Sunday, May 17, I spoke to Al from Playa Hermosa Surf & Skate Shop in Ensenada.
“One of my friends was there,” Al said, “the surfers paid 800 pesos per person, and those who wanted to defend their rights in front of a judge were arrested and they are the ones who were hauled away in the pickups; they each ended up paying 3500 pesos.”
At Playa Hermosa Surf & Skate Shop, which is another 30 miles south from where the surf bust transpired, they sell T-shirts that read “Surfing Is Not a Crime."
Rama Morales' sand mandala photographed by Diego Knight
Many of the surf shop patrons disagree with Mexico’s phase three (April 21-May 30) orders to combat the spread of Covid-19.
”What must be protected is the healthy distance,” Manuel said, “since when do 20 surfers climb on a single board?”
“The virus cannot survive in the water,” Al opined, “and by us exercising, our body's defenses are stronger. The police are not making money with their corrupt acts that generate income, because people do not leave their houses, and they're looking for money.”
Dan, another surfer disagrees. “They’re not busting people because of exercising (surfing); it’s to avoid the conglomeration of more people.”
On May 10, the Rosarito en la Noticia news outlet reported that an ultralight aircraft was confiscated from its pilot by city officials on the El Bebé beach in Rosarito. Days before, a male “riding an ATV” was arrested on a Rosarito beach where others were cited.
The same day, another beachgoer, Rama Morales, was not busted as he carved large sand mandalas in the beach to celebrate Mother’s Day, nor was Infonort reporter Diego Knight as he strolled the beach flying his drone.
(Knight is an American, and foreigners are not allowed to fly drones legally in Mexico.)
In April, Knight interviewed Morales and photographed his “300-foot-plus” -sand mandalas at La Paloma beach — about 13 miles north of where the 22 surfers were hemmed up.
“It took me about 3-4 hours to make this,” Morales said in the interview with a rake in hand, “I come to do sand art almost everyday. That right there is a [depiction of a] nautilus watch and a shell protecting us from Covid-19.”
As this article goes to print, reports are showing that Rosarito has 46 confirmed Covid-19 cases, and seven deaths attributed to the virus; Ensenada has 140 cases and 21 deaths. Expats here say the numbers are underestimated because of lack of testing facilities in the cities in February and March.