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Surfers to take Spirit of Christmas to Baja California

Aptos Times, January 15 2008

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In the Spirit of Christmas ten surfers to drive the Baja Peninsula, donating desperately needed items—and their vehicles—along the way

Santa Cruz, CA – In March, 2008, five teams of surfers will pile into four-wheel-drive trucks and negotiate 1600 dusty, bumpy miles to Mexico in the search of solitude, perfect waves, and people in need.

The surfers will load their vehicles with 5000 pounds of clothes, toys, books, bikes, tools and other essentials they’re collecting from now through March. As they pass through poor Baja villages, the group will donate everything—including the much-needed 4WD trucks—to recognized charities. In all, the team hopes to make donations worth more than $30,000.

“We’ve been surfing Mexico for a long time, and we love it, said Robert Brough, one of the expedition organizers. “ This year, we decided to return one small token of thanks to a people and place that has become a part of our lives.”

The trip, dubbed Baja3000, is governed by a set of rules designed to maximize donations, ingenuity, teamwork and grit. Each two-man team may spend no more than $3000 for everything—vehicle, food, gas, license, and tolls. Points are awarded for a variety of tasks ranging from doing one’s own vehicle repairs or rescuing stranded motorists, to surfing fabled out-of-the way breaks. Scores will be tallied and a coveted Baja3000 trophy will be awarded once teams all reach Cabo San Lucas.

Most of the group has surfed Mexico regularly for the past quarter-century. At first, the trips amounted to little more than a sprint across the border, a tent on the sand, and a campfire.

“We decided to get back to our roots, travel simply, meet people, and just surf” said team member Bob Ellenwood. “Because we surf some very remote locations, we’ll be able to make our donations in towns that seldom receive any kind of assistance. We hope to have a direct, immediate and positive impact.”
Ellenwood, a filmmaker, plans to document the entire trip by shooting a DVD movie complete with surf footage, music, stories of how donations are used, and the inevitable mishaps of a Baja road trip. Donors will receive a copy of Ellenwood’s Baja3000 DVD. To see a DVD of last year’s Galapagos surf trip, visit www.baja3000.com.

The surfers are: Jof Abshire, 42, Bremerton, Oregon, Robert Brough 42, La Selva Beach, Mike Brozda 52, Santa Cruz, Bob Ellenwood: 48, La Selva Beach, Randy Lunsford: 42, Soquel Dan Newmann: 42, Cary, North Carolina, Jeff Olson: 41, Scotts Valley, Wyatt Wolfe: 42, Burbank, and Joe Zucolotto: 42, El Dorado Hills.

Baja California Groups Targeted for Donations
Currently, the surfers have identified three groups as potential donation recipients.

1. Fortalecer provides classrooms-on-wheels to the poorest of the Mexican poor: 500 children of migrant farm laborers near Todos Santos.

2. Special Needs School: provides education and therapy for severely emotionally and physically challenged kids including autism, deafness, Down’s syndrome and others

3. The Palapa Society runs nine different benevolent programs including scholarships, library, medical clinic, rural-area road grading, and others.
Baja California Facts: 2.5 million inhabitants (2000) • 1076 mile-long peninsula, mostly Sonoran desert • Poverty rate: 34% live in “extreme” poverty

Donations Welcomed
The Baja3000 team welcomes donations of quality items. Especially needed are warm clothing, shoes, infant and children’s supplies, books (especially children’s books in Spanish), tools, toys, bikes, mechanical services, household items and cash. Donors will be able to see photos and video and read how their contributions are used via regular updates posted on the Baja3000 web site.

Baja 3000 in the News

Learn more

Baja 3000 Route

Route map

The Baja 3000 has just ended. Stat tuned for a trip recap and photos.

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