Mickey Clarke Tunnels to Mexico


Borders are closed, planes are grounded and people are locked in their homes with all but one hour to stretch those legs per day.

But Micky Clarke, Ventura kid we featured in Bright Young Things, just went on a jaunt in  Mexico with a few of his buddies. How? He tunnelled there. Yep. Cop that, Trump, he dug his way across the border… Well, not exactly. He actually crossed the border legitimately—got his passport stamped and all that jazz—he just did in on foot. We caught up with him to see what, how, where, and why he went.

Micky! What’s happening?

My friend Rolo had been hanging around since we got back from Mex and now, I’ve just been fixing some broken boards.

Wouldn’t be a trip without that.

Yep. My fin box broke out of my board, which I noticed when I got home. I don’t know how…

Well, it’s not like you travelled via plane, right?

No, we did actually! But there’s what’s called the ‘Cross Border’ express, which is… For whatever reason, they have this tunnel that goes from the US to Tijuana, which is the border city for America. And then you just buy a ticket, it’s like thirty-five dollars, you walk across and then you get to fly domestic Mexico. And you’re already just like straight up in the Tijuana Airport.

Oh, right!

Yeah, it’s pretty interesting and convenient.

Wait, so you’re in Ventura, then you just drive on down to Tijuana and basically tunnel underground and now you’re in Mexico?

Well, I don’t know if you’re actually underground; you can’t see in or out. But it’s an AC’d tunnel that goes from one side of the border straight to the other. It’s probably like a five-to-ten minute walk.

So you actually just walk across?

Yeah, legit. You go through CBX, buy your ticket and then they do a quick security scan of your bags and then you just go straight down the tunnel right to the airport.

That’s fucking awesome. But what’s the deal? You’re basically travelling internationally… Any sketchy bits around restrictions and stuff?

Well, it actually becomes domestic travel because you fly out of Mexico into Mexico. A one-way ticket from LAX to Mexico City is like $850.

Right, but if you can walk across the border and fly domestically…

$88.

Where did you go in Mexico? 

We went to Salina Cruz for about twelve days and we surfed mostly all the points around the area.

That’s that crazy point break they had the Search contest at when everyone was off their domes on the old white rhino.

Yeah, remember the old Billabong surf movie Trilogy? That one.

Yeah, we burnt the disc out on that one. So, that’s where you went (If you haven’t seen AI, Parko and Taj in their absolute primes going pit for pit at this wave as the opener in this movie, go do yourself a favour).

Yeah, that’s where we went. It wasn’t that good but it was pretty fun (laughs). We definitely scored but we didn’t score, I guess, as to how hard you can score at that place. But I mean it was my first time, and I’ve heard so many stories of people going for like three or four days just for a swell and nothing shows up for them. So, I was sceptical about going, but my friend Rolo has a nice connection down there with a dude who does, like, tour guides and shit, so he told us it was going to be good, and we went for it. The first two or three days was kinda, like, chest high and a bit rainy but still fun. And then it got super-clean and sunny for about five or six days. The last two days, we extended our ticket cause there was like a long period of eight-ten foot swell expected, so we were thinking it might be like how it was in Trilogy…. But it ended up being to two smallest days of the entire trip.

Always the way. It’s super hard to pick down there, huh. It almost faces kinda South East, so I suppose the swell has to wrap in or come from that direction?

Exactly, the points kinda hook out like claws or something.

What’s the scenery like? I imagine there wouldn’t be a whole lot down there.

There really isn’t, there’s a lot of bush. It’s a cool zone, though. There is basically one city, Salina Cruz, which is where we stayed. There was one morning where we stopped at the liquor store at like 5:30 am on our way to the beach for the day, and Hunter picked up the newspaper which had a photo of basically a body in pieces dropped on the side of the road by one of the cartels, like, in Salina Cruz. I don’t know if it was in Salina Cruz or not, but it was in the Salina Cruz paper in the store, so yeah. I was just like, I don’t know what to say to you man, we’re already here.

Shit. So, you’ve tunnelled into Mexico and now you’re in a liquor store half-asleep scared as fuck. Was it a little bit sketch? I texted you while you were there and you said you were keeping pretty low-key.

I mean for a minute we wanted to keep it low-key because the guide was saying that if more people came to Salina Cruz the Police would show up and just kick everybody out. I guess they had just done that with a whole bunch of surf camps—they just shut them down. But, yeah, basically we just wanted to keep it low-key as everyone was under the impression that it was all closed up. But our guide was like, ‘No, it’s open. Just don’t tell anyone. And if anyone asks, tell them you’re with me, and the cops won’t fuck with you.’

Ha! Doesn’t sound sketch at all.

There were a couple of times where they had like Police checkpoints on the road and we would have to drive by these same checkpoints two or three times each day. Probably sixty to seventy percent of the time they didn’t stop us or even look at us, but there were a few times where they just pulled us straight over and made everyone get out of the car, said a bunch of stuff in Spanish, then asked us where we were staying. But it was all good once we told them we were with Theo (the guide).

So, it was all left up to the relationship between some guide and the cops?

Yeah. So, if you’re guide is a good person down in Mexico—you’re good. I suppose having board bags on your roof is kind of a beacon for questioning. The only sketch thing that happened while we were down there was when one of the drivers took some of the other guys to a secret spot and took a nap in his car while they were surfing. Then he woke up and a few guys from the cartel came out of the bushes and held him up at gunpoint. They took his phone and wallet, then tried to take his car but they couldn’t drive a stick shift 4WD. So, I guess they all ditched the car and just ran off with his wallet and phone.

Holy fuck. This was when you were there?

Yeah, the guy came back that night while we were having a couple of beers, just rattling off Spanish like a machine gun, then started sinking beers so fast. After about ten minutes of him talking, Rolo translated everything for Hunter and me, and we were just like, oh fuck.

How was the whole COVID situation down there?

Dude, that’s the crazy thing. I was under the impression that nobody in Mexico believed in COVID, the government is in total agreement and pretty much has COVID, etc. That was the vibe from everyone in America, anyway. But when we went down there, I don’t even know how to explain it, everybody was wearing masks, every store has sanitiser and all of them were checking your temperature. Then they, like, fuckin’ spray you with Fabreze or some shit. And then we all got tested when we got back and we don’t have it, so yeah.

Sounds safer than America. So, who were you with down there?

Rolando Montes (Rolo), Brendon Gibbons and our filmer Hunter Martinez. So, Rolo and I did the first Blud Brothers clip in his hometown in Puerto Rico and Brendon was there for that, so he jumped on this trip too.

So, this trip was for Blud Brothers 2?

Yeah, we didn’t intentionally do it like that. Originally, I thought we’d do half California and half Mexico but then we ended up getting, like, an hour and a half of footage just from Salina Cruz.

So, there’s more than just that one wave in Salina Cruz?

There’s, like, six or seven points down here that everyone kinda knows about and they’re all pretty much identical. It’s ridiculous. They’re all just right-hand little nooks of sand bottom points.

Any lefts?

Nope. I was told the only left is the beach break, and that’s only if you find a left out there.

Well fuck, sounds like a hell trip, man. Psyched for Blud Brothers 2.

Thanks, we are too.

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