Bad Karma is Wilson’s ‘true story of a Mexican surf trip from hell’. His terrible luck, criminal escapades and near death experiences are so incredible they’re hard to believe – until you see the photos.
Why go to Mexico?
It was the summer of ‘78, the year Big Wednesday was released, and for SoCal surfers Mexico was the place to go.
Paul Wilson aka Opters, was desperate to fit in with the cool crew at ‘The Manor’, where he lived in Imperial Beach, next to San Diego. The Mexican border was just a 10 minute drive, but a trip to Baja was not enough to get your cool credentials. So when Jelly and Moose (the coolest guys on the block) invited him and his Wonderbus on a 2,000m road trip to La Ticla, Mainland Mexico – he jumped at the chance.
It turns out they all needed to escape something:
• Opters – being a nerd
• Jelly – being a father
• Moose – being arrested
Mexico was a ticket to freedom and adventure.
Why all the bad karma?
Every character played their part.
Opters the thief. He robbed his employers to pay for the Mexican adventure and bought a stolen camera from a drug addict to document the trip.
Moose the murderer. He skipped bail to dodge a manslaughter charge.
Jelly the unscrupulous cad. He abandoned his pregnant girlfriend without warning.
For Opters his bad karma haunted him throughout the trip, with:
• at least 4 near-death experiences including shark, flood, poisoning and police chase
• his beloved Wonderbus actually dying, at least 4 times
• his travel companions using and abusing him
• only one surf session in the entire trip.
But there’s also good karma for Opters as he:
• gains humility and a better understanding of karma
• shares friendly beers with El Chapo (yep, The El Chapo)
• survives the most hardcore of Mexican surf trips
• gets his cool credentials.
His travelling companions don’t seem to benefit so much in the long run, as the end credits for the main characters paint a sorry picture. But our anti-hero Opters survives and evidently thrives 🙂
When Bad Karma turns good
This is surely the top trump of surf trips.
It’s a shame we had to wait so long to enjoy this epic adventure. But like a fine wine, letting this vintage tale rest and mature has only improved the experience.
If you enjoyed the surf travel reminiscing of Barbarian Days and the Mexican misadventure found In Search of Captain Zero, you’ll love Bad Karma. It’s funny, exciting and will help keep your surfing disasters in perspective.
About the author
Paul ‘Opters’ Wilson is now a surfer Grandad, successful businessman, multi-patented inventor, talented photographer and bestselling author. It’s fair to say Wilson has balanced his bad karma.