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Karin Badt Headshot

Surfing Storytelling in Mexico

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Luis, my smiling surfer instructor, has gorgeous tattoos on his arms. One says: "Dios es magia, y Magia es Dios!" I asked him why.

Because the day I walked into the United States, it rained. We had been walking for three days in the desert, and on the fourth day, we were to cross the border. But we had been hearing motorcycles behind us, and megaphones calling to us. The US patrol. But the fourth day, it rained, so the water washed away our footsteps, and the motorcycles left!

So God is magic and Magic is god.

But Luis went back to the US a second time on his own. How?

"I waited until it was dark, in Tijuana, and then took my surfboard and paddled around the cliffs into the States. Then I surfed into shore! Yes, it was difficult with all the algae."

I had never heard of surfing into a country. But surfers have friends all over the world, and some surfers met him in the dark on the beach to take him to Santa Barbara. He had dumped the surfboard meantime: "Afraid of the police. What do you say to them? That you are surfing at midnight?" He had his money and clothes taped on his back, in a plastic bag.

Luis is a very healthy smiling young man who always thumbs up when I get a wave. He also has a girlfriend with a "grande corazon" who is a law student in the US who helps poor people by teaching them and fundraising for them.

"But I didn't used to be so healthy," said Luis. "I used to be very bad. Wait! Lista! Get your body ready! Arriba! Arriba!"

I took the wave, and paddled back.

"You see my father was in prison when I was eleven, and I had to raise my little I sold drugs....Lista! Body ready! Rames! Rames! Arriba!"

I surfed the wave and paddled back.

"So I sold cocaine and marijuna...yes to the rich tourists, lots of Italians, they love cocaine, and I supported my family...and you know I did many bad things. My father was in prison for l3 years, they said he killed a man, but he was with my grandmother who was sick, so he was innocent, and when he came out.. ...LISTA! RAMES! RAMES!!! ARRIBA!"

The wave crashed me and the surfboard.

"When he came out of prison, he cried. Big tears down his face. My mother was with another man. And he saw us all big, and he had lost his family....But now! LISTA!"

I soared into the surf.....

"But now my father has a new wife, with two of her own babies, and his own on the way. His wife was pregnant with another man when he met her, and wanted to abort for him, but he said, you are my muher, and I take you and all you have with you in your body, nino included! Hey this is a big one! ARRIBA! ARRIBA!"

"My father has a big heart. And my girfriend has a big heart. And I am happy because I do not need anything, no cars, no house, I am healthy, and strong, and I want to help other children who have fathers in prison, because I know how desperate you can be, and how it is good to...oh, this is a good wave! Get your body ready! Get it ready! Paddle, paddle! ARRIBA!!!!!"

I surfed straight into the shore, right to the edge, flying!


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