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​Mexican Skimboarders Win Battle for Access to Legendary Beach

The international skimboarding community is celebrating after Cabo San Lucas skimboarders won a years-long struggle with a resort to gain public access to Solmar beach. Located at the tip of Mexico’s baja peninsula where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez, Solmar is regarded as one of the best skimboarding waves in the world, with a powerful shorebreak that has been a breeding ground for top talent. After roughly two years Solmar Resort closing the only land access to the beach, a social media campaign led by local Cabo skimboarder Juan Carlos “Bullo” Nazario has proven successful.

“We just wanted [Solmar Resort] to not discriminate against us skimmers and surfers,” said Nazario, an ex-Mexican skimboard champion. “We are athletes, not criminals.”

On August 29 the resort confirmed that they would reopen public access, which skimboarders, fisherman, and beachgoes alike had always been freely using prior to pandemic closures. According to Article 8 of Mexico’s Federal Property Law, no private entity is allowed to restrict access to a beach. However, these rules are loosely enforced. Solmar Resort was able to take advantage of the pandemic beach closures to create a private beach for their guests, who pay between $200-600 per night as per listings on booking.com.

“The federal government closed beach access at the start of the pandemic to avoid overcrowding,” explained local skimboarder Emilio Estrada. “But when the government lifted the restrictions, [Solmar Resort] did not reopen.”

The resort told Hoy BCS that the continued closure was due to “construction and remodeling, for the safety of the hotel guests and visitors.” The local skimboarders aren’t buying that explanation.

“They opened because of our social media pressure, everyone sharing my post and tagging the resort and Mayor of Cabo,” said Nazario. “[Their excuse] was a lie.”

“We were able to see inside the resort when our international friends who were guests invited us over,” added Estrada. “There was no such maintenance going on. They were just building a wall where we normally walk to the beach to keep everything out of sight.”

Solmar Resort did not respond to requests for comment at the time this story was published.

“Solmar is the best beach to skimboard in all of Mexico, maybe even in the world,” said Nazario.

Estrada added, “Solmar is to skimboarders what Hawaii is to surfers.”

The beach is also one of Mexico’s most picturesque, surrounded by towering mountains that make the only possible land access through property owned by Solmar Resort. The beach is also accessible by sea, but that’s not a realistic option for the local skimboarders.

“You can pay for a boat and do a 20-minute hike over hills under the scorching sun, but the boats don’t start until 9am,” said Estrada. “It’s too hot.”

For the greater part of the pandemic, the land access was mostly closed, except for a few fleeting moments. In late 2021 the skimboarders found the public land access had reopened, however the wave season for Solmar runs from April to October. When they returned to Solmar for the following skim season, they discovered the access was closed again, in spite of their insistence.

The other exception was for the renowned “Cabo Clásico,” an international skimboarding event that has run in the region since the ‘90s and has historically been a stop on the sport’s professional tour – the United Skim Tour. Cabo Clásico organizer Alfredo Villaseñor said that for years he had an agreement with Solmar Resort that allowed the event to run in exchange for sponsorship exposure for the hotel. The resort also provided discounts for competitors. Consequently, the beach was briefly opened for skimboarders when the event ran May 12-15 of this year.

“[Solmar resort] told me that this would be the last year they would allow access to the event,” said Villaseñor. “So we are already looking at other locations for the future.”

While the skimmers have earned a hard-fought victory, the effects of having their premiere beach closed for so long still linger.

“This is the only reasonably accessible skimboard beach for those who live in Cabo San Lucas and don’t have access to transportation,” said Estrada. “The people without cars couldn’t skim for years. It hindered the development of the sport.”

Despite the frustration of not being able to skim at a beach that had been a second home to him for years, Nazario doesn’t hold a grudge.

“Thanks to everyone that shared my social media post,” said Nazario on Instagram, “And thank you Solmar Resort for letting us enjoy this beautiful beach. The whole skim community appreciates it.”

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