Bloomberg Businessweek

THE FIRST CURVE IS THE STEEPEST

A comprehensive Australian system for mastering the surf comes to North America.
Surfing instructor Mike Pinneo during a beginner’s lesson in Cabo San Lucas

Catch any waves?” I haven’t even boarded the plane for Mexico, but my buddy Christopher is already hassling me. Like thousands of other Americans, my girlfriend, Anna, and I are spending New Year’s Eve in San José del Cabo at the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula. Afterward, we plan to drive up the Pacific coast looking for adventures.

She doesn’t know it, but a ring has been stuffed in the bottom of my luggage for almost two weeks. I’ve even survived the holidays among my family without my curious nephews finding it. My plan is to get to a little strip of solitary beach up the coast, and there I’ll ask her to marry me.

I’ve told Christopher about my plans beforehand to hold myself accountable in case I’m tempted to bail on my plan, and he’s suggested we come up with a coded way of checking on my progress—I can’t risk Anna accidentally seeing a revealing message from him. In this scenario, our secret code—“Catch any waves?”—isn’t so much a question as a reminder that, no, I have not.

It’s a plausible ruse. My other mission on our trip to Cabo is to learn to surf. I always try new things

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