We have been traveling to Baja since the early 1980s. It was always a matter of time, logistics and budget. Quick trips over the border, into Northern Baja in search of empty lineups, cheap cold beer, great tacos and solid sets.
Surfer Magazine kept Mexico in the headlines with every issue, showing vast beaches, and empty. endless corduroy barrels. The headlines boasted the benefits, our goal was to stay ahead of the pack, find new adventures with amazing culture and Endless Summers!
As we collaborated to search for hidden secret locations, it became apparent that the crew was in a constant tug-of-war on where our next location would be. In 2003, a plan was hatched, to create a trip which would crown the planning, privilege, and responsibility, bestowed to a single person – the Honored Mate (HM).
The HM was designed to take the worry and debate out of where the next “annual trip” was to take place. While developing the outline of the Honored Mate, it became clear that we needed inanimate object to play a key roll in passing the torch of the HM to the next in line. The Case was born.
The Case is the legacy of the crew. It holds many memories as well as guidelines for honoring friendships decades old. The case is our time capsule. The Case and ceremony, of course, begins with a toast, generally a local hooch (which has haunted us at times) to honor those of us in attendance as well as those who could not make the trip. Glasses are raised, one after another, a salute to friendship and for those fallen brothers who are no longer with us.
Beyond this fundamental pageantry, you too can create what has become a representative token and expression of our brotherhood. It’s totally up to you, how do you want to celebrate life, adventure, memories, and friendship?
So, about the case. It is a box within a box…not metaphorically, but physically! We found an old jewelers display box and customized it to meet our needs. Our custom-tailored box included a place to hold a dozen shot glasses and the HM supplement – located in a leather satchel. Each year, a new supplement is chosen and documented with the location and the signatures of every crew member in attendance. It is truly amazing to look back on decades of travel with everyones signature on that supplement.
Other items in The Case include selected photos of each trip, trinkets with great meaning, placards of each HM, including the trip location. There is a ceremony outline, which the HM must follow, in order to complete the passing of the torch. The ceremony for us generally takes place the first night, kicking off the trip.
This Case is critical, and must therefore survive the rigors of travel. It was decided to encapsulate it in a second, protective box – a rolling suitcase. The Case can weigh anywhere from 20-60 pounds, depending on what has been added to the outer sanctum. Originally, we created a solution to protect the Case and our $2.00 lavender (painted black) rolling luggage, has stood the test of time. Oh yes, the outer shell has been patched and modified many times! Each new HM is charged with the burden of repairing and/or fortifying The Case so it is properly bestowed upon the next HM.
The Case is the responsibility of the HM and must accompany the Honored Mate, at all times until the new HM ceremony. The sacred ark must be maintained, polished and ready for presentation to the new HM and crew the following year.
The Case has completely changed the mentality and focus of the group. We now look forward with anticipation, to where the next life adventure will be. A few months after a trip concludes, the crew begins the banter – egging on the current HM. When will the announcement be made? What will be the next location and date? This keeps the TGT fire alive.
One thing is for sure – only a few of the crew have been on every trip, but it is guaranteed that The Case will make the trip, every time.