Friday, November 28, 2008

Video Vacuum: There's nothing worthwhile out there for us!

Did anybody watch the final of the Reef Haliewa Pro Contest? If you haven't seen it, go to Surfline and check it out. The surf was absolutely firing and the guys in the final (especially the Tahitian Michel Bourez who eventually won the thing) were taking the place apart. Here's another one, ARC; seen it? ARC showcases Taylor Knox. If you want to see what a real, full rail, power turn should look like, go rent this one- it's what progressive stand up paddle surfing should look like.

Speaking about progressive stand up paddle surfing have you seen.... Uh yeah, there is nothing to see- scan the shelves, pull up all the websites it ain't there. There is a tremendous video vacuum in our sport. We've got nothing to show where the current performance bar is set and I don't see anything of interest on the horizon- do you?

To clarify, I'm not talking about clips of psycho guys paddling themselves over the ledge in giant surf, making a couple of turns and kicking out. Crazy yes, but not what I'd call high performance, linked surfing (charging, yes- ripping, no). Along the same lines, I'm not particularly interested in the long board cross over guys. Yes, it's smooth, cool and super fun but that's not the point here. I'm looking for fast, full rail, power carving in good, down the line surf. The kind of surfing that would be classified as solid, classic, radical wave riding with or without a paddle in hand.

I want to see the guy who's pulling full, Curren-style top turns. I want to see someone smooth a wrap-around, no-dip round house so perfectly that his white water rebound is more lip smack than mush bump. How about legit, fully-throated, behind the curtain barrels? Seen any? Not me! And I'm not talking about still photos here, video doesn't lie- show me the whole package, the complete trip.

And a trip is actually what we need. Give me an hour long DVD of some stand up pros taking apart Macaronis in the Mentawais or a group of hotties killing it in mainland Mexico. Shoot, what about Hawaii? Isn't there enough high performance riding going on out there to put something together? Why don't we have professionaly shot, edited and produced footage of our best killing it on the latest hot boards? Give me wide angle shots that show how the turns are linked; I want to see how the hot riders set up the tube. And I want to see if full rail power snaps actually exist on stand up boards.

I want to be inspired. I want to replay segments so many times that I burn a dull spot on the DVD. Where are the video professionals? Give me something mind blowing, a video purpose built to fire me up- isn't it about time?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mainland Mexico: Get Up, Stand Up; Mexico Style Part II

Get Up, Stand Up; Mexico Style Part II
by Mike Garmon

At the risk of having the “wagging finger of shame” swung in my face and being called selfish, I am not going to identify the spot with exact locations. I have been encouraged by those that visit here not to do that. However, as with stories and tales of surf travel go, it’s somewhere on the mainland of Mexico, not impossible to find and with a little imagination, creativity and sense of adventure, you could probably figure it out for yourself.

In this group of guys I was going with, several of them had been down there several times in the past. For Brad, I think it was his 6th or 7th time, so clearly he had an advantage and had an upper hand on local knowledge of the breaks, which was blatantly obvious as the pictures will show him shredding on a Paddle Surf Hawaii 9’-6” All Rounder!

Although there were 10 of us on the trip, only two of us were stand Up Paddle Surfers. I started out on a 12’ Wave Master from Australia about a year ago. It was a good paddling board, but killed me as I attempted to get into the surf line. After struggling with that one, I got a C4 Waterman which my bro Brad was on too. But a funny thing happened at the C4 Waterman demo day at San Onofre. Brad rode some dude’s Paddle Surf Hawaii board, and that was it. We now both ride what we believe are the best and most well made/designed SUP’s on the market. Check out the line of new boards at or for lessons and demos connect to for all the info. Here you can see me getting into one on my 10’-6” All rounder…..Thanks to Blaine Chambers for the killer designs!

Traveling with SUP’s
is pretty much the same as with regular boards, paying special attention to being extremely polite and courteous to the counter people. We flew Alaska Airlines into Mazatlan. Alaska Air is pretty cool, although their rules dictate no boards longer than 115” and no more than 100 lbs, with a one way fee of $75.00. My Paddle Surf Hawaii 10’-4” all rounder measured 124”, so I was paranoid they would stop me from shipping it, but there were no issues, and according to Brad, the same was true for last year. I pretty much just wrapped the nose with my neoprene paddle shirt, removed the fins, (get a Wonder Bolt, there worth the $10.00) duct taped a towel around the tail, put 2 paddles into my Dakine paddle bag and zipped her shut. It’s only about 2 ¾ hours on the plane, and when we arrived, there was no damage to any of the 20-25 boards that we shipped down there. As far as board bags go, I like and use the Ocean & Earth Stand Up Series bag. One of the reasons it is so cool, is the strap is heavy duty, good padding and it unzips all the way!

Getting through Mexican customs takes about 45 minutes, and is no big deal. You are immediately greeted by a couple guys from the surf camp, and they literally take your boards from your tired shoulder and get them to the pretty nice (for Mexico) Mercedes Benz A/C tour bus.

My dad would think this is par for the course, but we were not even in the country for an hour yet, and what do you think happened? Think about it, we’re now all pumped to get to the surf camp, unpack, and get ready to surf tomorrow early. We’re in the bus, pretty much in the middle of nowhere on a toll road outside of the main city when we get, you got it, pulled over by the Federales! It’s a funny story personally, because back in the day, my folks would let me take the motor home to Baja, and every single time I would get pulled over at the San Ysidro border crossing and get sent to secondary inspection….only to continually disappoint the INS dudes.

Anyway on this episode of "As the heart pounds now"I could see the car at the bottom of the hill hassling some other motorist, but we went right on by. Then, in about 1 mile from there, sits another Federale, and he motions for the bus driver to pull over. We’re all like, “nice, break out the wallets”. But after the driver walked down to the cop and showed him his license etc….we took off again. I was pretty relieved as Sinaloa has a long and earned reputation for being a drug trafficking center.

The hosts drive you as far as they can on the paved highway, where you literally exit the toll road on what is definitely the sketchiest off ramp you’ll ever see, as a matter of fact, 99% of people from the states would NEVER even exit there. From there you are greeted with a 12 passenger van and a truck with a trailer to take you into the village which houses the surf camp.

Dirt roads pretty much ruin suspensions in the cars down there, so this 40 minute ride to the house requires an empty bladder and a kidney belt. It’s actually not that bad, but it is not that good either. Ahead is the small shrimp village with a population of roughly 300 people, although the census report is up for debate.

Quiet, humble and right on the water, this little town has a couple stores to hit for soda, cookies and snacks as well as one little restaurant and a dude that sells beer. It is actually owned by one of our boat driver’s father. Although I never ate there, I would bet on it being good, as is evident in the girth of the owner shown here on the right.

Here are a few more photos of some of our crew. Check out Kevin on as he sets up to bash the lip. This was the first day of the trip and it was anywhere from 8’-10’ all morning long. This left wraps, and literally goes for 400 yards. You shred Kevin!

Point of View……Looks like were all clustered up, but we’re not, but it is kind of a cool photo of Brad and I watching one of the Arizona boys just “chillax” on this left. Sweet ride “Turtle”.

Another one of the many thousands of waves Brad caught this week, once again with the assistance of Paddle Surf Hawaii. Photos never due justice to how good it really is. But I can tell you first hand, this wave continues for a ¼ mile, which Brad ripped all the way across the bay. We would leave the house on a 30 minute boat ride at 5:30 am every day after a solid breakfast of Zucaritas, toast, Gatorade and coffee. The reason; See below.

Check out this early morning session….one of many of the killer waves that rolled in during the week we were there. Just looking at it makes me want to get wet! The am boat ride each morning was a gift from God, as you head out across the water, wondering what the day and swell had in store for you. The last day, we actually rode solid 5’ waves for 4 hours and saw a rainbow, complete with a beginning an and end point for at least 15 minutes….if it was not Hawaii, it had to have been Mexico.

Scott, well, let’s just leave it this way; Death wish for the tube! You know what I mean Scott. How was the walk out to the point after that one?

Brad killing it again…..stand up style! Yea Brah! Look at the set behind him. Now you get the feeling for what it was like….they just keep coming, and coming.

As far as travel for Stand up is concerned we all know that Mexico has a boat load of potential. The cool part was the paddle back out. It took at least 30 minutes if you connected all the way across. I saw Brad ride one; connect into a second wave, and eventually into a third. Needless to say he was A.W.O.L. for nearly an hour as he paddled back to the point. Below, using the paddle to get by the section; just another fun left for the author (me) at *##@##*’s!!

Finally, I leave you with is this; Bring lots of leashes. I mean maybe 3 as a minimum. We broke 7 and stretched a few to their max! On the last day, Brad was actually wearing two, just to make sure he would avoid the long swim to retrieve your board…which he unfortunately had to endure more than once. But that’s the price you pay when you’re charging hard, 5 hours a day, every day for a week.

Bieneviedos and adios.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Saturday's Video Clip: Lumpy, Foggy and fun!

Got a request for the video clips that the Grom shot of us on Saturday. I blew it by not having the big lens for the boy to use- so the clips aren't so hot but you'll get the general idea of what we were dealing with out there.

Find more videos like this on Stand Up Paddle Surfing

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Missed it by a day Sheldon.

Got a chance to meet and paddle with Sheldon, a nice guy and stylish surfer from up the coast. Got him to drive all the way down to our 'hood... only to paddle out into south wind, morning sickness, gray, lumpy mush burgers. Not the sunny, head high, beach break reelers that I thought would be on tap for Saturday morning.

But Sheldon's a good sport and we had fun anyways- paddling around and falling often in the "technically challenging" conditions we found. Too bad we didn't postpone it one day, because today, Sunday, was super fun! Isn't it always like that? Here's a few photos from this morning:

Big Chad, Big Drop Photo: K.Kava

Inside toe stretch. Photo: K.Kava

The Spork Torque. Photo: K.Kava

Monkey Squat I Photo: K.Kava

Monkey Squat II, Monkey with fly swatter. Photo: K.Kava

Stand Up Paddle Surf Lessons- work off those mashed potatoes! We've got private stand up lessons for you that will knock the gobble right out of you! If you'd like to learn how to stand up paddle surf in sunny San Diego, give me a call! 619.213.6622 or email We specialize in post-turkey day paddle therapy! Read some testimonials from satisfied clients!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Stand Up Paddle Surf Travel Report: Mainland Mexico

Reader Mike Garmon recently returned from a deep south, mainland Mexico paddle surf mission. The guys were the first to stand up paddle this particular left hand point break- as you can see they scored. Here's the first part of Mike's report:

Get Up, Stand Up; Mexico Style
by Mike Garmon

In March of 2007, I was invited by my friend Brad to join a group of surfers who were putting together an October trip to mainland Mexico. I immediately said yes; not knowing, or caring, how much it was going to cost or where exactly we were headed. All I was dreaming about was the opportunity to ride roping left hand points on my stand up board.

Although I’d spent the last thirty years surfing the beaches of Newport and Huntington, I’d only been stand up paddling for about a year. But I'm hopelessly hooked on this surfing variant. Honestly, I’ve been swallowed whole by the paddle surfing monster! So when Brad offered me a spot on the trip, I jumped at it. I was excited to put my skills to the test in some solid, mainland Mexico surf.

As it turns out, of the sixteen original trip members only ten were still signed on when October rolled around. Six guys had to drop out- victims of our nation's recent economic calamity. I really only knew Brad. The other guys were his crew, friends of his from Rock Harbor Church in Costa Mesa.

After talking a little more to Brad, I learned a bit more about what we were getting ourselves into. My knowledge of our destination had been limited to casual conversation. My last Mexico trip was to Puerto Escondido several years ago. Puerto is a heavy place to surf and I was uneasy about going through that gnarly of an experience again.

Although we weren’t going to Puerto this time, I’m familiar enough with surfing mainland Mexico to know that there are many, lower key spots that can be just as nasty as the Mexican Pipeline. Although many stand up paddlers are charging big barreling surf with super progressive approaches (notably Hawaiians on the North Shore of Oahu), I wasn’t quite ready to put my life on the line for a couple of seconds of glory.

Still anxious about the trip, I began investigating on my own. I found an internet link for our destination. I spent hours analyzing the site, checking out things like where we’d sleep and the waves we’d soon be surfing. Seeing what we’d be dealing with definitely helped. But what really helped were the surf photos; the beach break looked good- but the point, well, the point looked absolutely perfect. My feelings evolved from anxiety to anticipation and as October grew closer that anticipation became unbridled excitement. I was going nuts!

Check back soon for Part II

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Some WildCoast Contest Photos

Here's a few off the hard drive. Thanks to K.Kava for snapping these off for us. Check 'em out!

Full trim, big smile. Good stuff. Mike Gillard, right where he's supposed to be.

Kelly with plans for what's ahead.

Hans on the Life Guard Rescue Board- styling!

Stand up paddle surf lessons in San Diego. We're the turkey alternative, get a full course meal of all you can eat stand up paddle goodness. Email or 619.213.6622. Leave satisfied!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I'm just effing stoked!

What a difference a pre-work surf session can make. I don't know if you know - but in addition to feeding this blog I'm also a high school science teacher. I teach Chemistry, everybody's favorite subject. One of the cool things about where I live and work is that both my home and the school I work at are only five blocks from the beach.

Even better, every other day I've got a "surf period". I don't need to check in until 9:30am. Given time and proximity, anything is possible. The kids that see me right after I get out of the water are stoked too- for some reason I'm so happy on those surf days. Like I said, what a difference a little surf session can make. And this is especially true when the beach looks like this:

This is all one wave. Check out the runner- she's got no idea about the potential six second barrel reeling just off shore.

That's what we, in the industry, call an open barrel. Squint your eyes and imagine yourself stuffed into that hole.

Traveling, traveling... suddenly a misplaced chunk of lip throws out five yards down the line, now you're even more throated....

But you can feel the hot, Santa Ana winds holding up the face, compressing into the tube, swirling into the barrel...

The thing pauses for a second and then expands from the inside out, it's just inhaled and gotten even hollower, weird things happen that far back...

You site down your extended front arm, knowing that where it points you will follow...

You've been shacked for way too long- but the thing just won't shut down on you and you just keep travelling....

You can see the water's turned from green to white to brown- you can feel bits of sand in the water as the spray hits your face- it's getting shallow... when will this thing end....

And then... pop, you're out. You feel the warm sun on your face and suddenly you remember to breathe. Shoot, maybe you won't assign homework tonight after all.

Stand up paddle surf lessons in San Diego- get 'em while they're HOT! Give us a call at 619.213.6622 or email Need more info? Click here - be sure to check out the testimonials section- people are stoked on us!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

An Hour In November!

What a day of surf! Today, it all came together: a small but fun swell, blazing, off-shore, Santa Ana conditions and to top it all off... more surf on the way! Are you picking up on all the exclamation points?...! I'm stoked right now because tomorrow just might be a repeat of today and I'm ON IT!

Here's a video I threw together of an hour of surfing I did this morning:

Find more videos like this on Stand Up Paddle Surfing

Stand Up Paddle Surf in San Diego! We've got the time, the gear, and the know-how to get you out and paddlesurfing today. As a matter of fact, November with it's crystal clear skies and flat sea surface conditions is THE month to take paddle surf lessons here in San Diego. Give us a call 619.213.6622 or email and we'll get you on the water TODAY. Click here for more information and testimonials from satisfied clients.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Baja Surprises

The thing about Baja is you never know what you're going to get. You could score offshore, cobalt blue barrels or you could sit on a wind blown cliff staring at white caps wondering if 8am is too early to start cracking beers.

The only things you can count on are the flies and the dust- and they both get everywhere. If you're going to make peace with Baja you've got to accept whatever comes your way. Even better, you've got find the fun in it all. If you can do that you'll come back and if you keep coming back, someday you'll hit it just right.

This trip was a return visit to a favorite Northern Baja point break. The spot's known for pulling in hard south swells and turning them into A-frame left peaks. Down the beach, a long rock shelf shapes the surf into long, right, reef-point runners. It's a "something for everyone" kind of place that we really like.

We jammed down on the rumor of a late season Southern pulse that was synching up with a big north west ground swell. With that much activity in the water, we were hoping to find something rideable down there.

Day One was definitely surfable. There were fun waves wrapping in over the rock shelf serving up fun, short lefts, and longer workable right handers in the chest high range. As we pulled up over the last hill into the spot we could see that the high pressure system was doing it's thing to the Point. The water was mirror smooth without a breathe of wind- it was a beautiful, still, Fall day.

As soon as we stopped the truck I grabbed my board and jammed down to the water. And here was surprise number one. The water was unbelievably warm. So warm, in fact that we all trunked it. Even Doctor John, who has .001% body fat was out in surf trunks. We were giddy, riding fun, rights and lefts and splashing around like a kids in a pool.

But it didn't last. As we watched the sun set that night we could see that the swell was slowly trying to swing around the headland. There was a change in the water and on the horizon. The NW swell was coming and and it was dragging along a front that hinted at rain. But rain in Baja usually means a light misting that leaves some dew drops on your tents and nothing more- so we cracked open another round of beers, threw Mark's rib eyes onto the grill and got ready for a big night of bragging, boasting, laughing and lying.

Photo:If you're sitting here enjoying this view, do yourself a favor and don't look down.

It dumped on us.
I've never seen so much rain outside of the summer hurricaine season. It was pretty ridiculous listening to the pounding on the outside of my borrowed tent, hoping that the thing was water proof (it was) and happy that I was up off the floor on my big, specially ordered, Cabella's hunter's cot. The rain came in waves, maxing out the second night. The surf never did match the fun factor of that first day but some of the boys did paddle out a bit further down the beach for a fun session the last day of the trip.

Here's the Baja-truth: down there, it's give and take. You give the fisherman a quart of outboard oil and a carton of Marlboros and get a dozen lobsters, you score a beautiful day of surf and pay with two flat tires on the road out, laugh out loud with a crazy crew of dirty surfers and huddle in your tent hiding from the rain, share a couple of Teriyaki chicken wings and snag a couple of fresh quesadillas, suck down ice cold Pacificos and pull urchin spines from your foot.

Give and take, it's just the way it goes down there. And you'll never know about it unless you put yourself out there and give it a shot.

Stand up paddle surf lessons available now! If you're dying to try stand up paddle surfing now's the time to do it, get yourself ready before the warm waters of summer come back to our San Diego beaches. We've put dozens of people on stand up paddle boards- we've got it down! Email: or call 619.213.6622 Stand up paddle surf lessons in San Diego- don't wait!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Back from Baja: Fun/Wet times

Just got back from a Baja paddle surf mission. I've got a load of camping equipment covered in dust and a bunch of gear to stash. I'm beat. More info later, for now here's something to think about:

Friday, November 7, 2008

Heading South - you should go North!

Heading south of the border tomorrow. We're loading up some fired up stand up paddlers for a little Baja paddle trip. The hope is that some rumored surf will show up- but on a stand up board, even flat water's fun. You know that!

You should head north. Specifically up to the BlueLine shop in Santa Barbara for their grand opening. Gerry Lopez, Ron House and some local legends will be hanging out at the shop- shoot their might even be some grinds- which would be reason enough for me to haul myself up there!

I'd kind of like to check out the Paddle Surf Hawaii and Channel Islands stand ups that Brewer's got over there too. All in all, it sounds like a fun time. You guys check it out... I expect a full report when I get back on Monday!

Summer's over but it's not too late to learn to stand up paddle surf here in sunny San Diego! Paddle surf lessons are available - give us a call 619.213.6622 or email We'll get you paddle-ready for the summer fun season!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

What you don't understand is....

Chad's a big boy. That guy's close to three bills and he's six foot something. Think you big guys need to be on 12'ers?

Nope. Wrong. Chad's on a 10'0 and he throws it all over the place.

Up into the lip, off the bottom and fully wrapped into every banked corner. Like this one.

It's not a point and shoot world anymore... at least not here on the beach breaks.

On our beach, most of the time it looks like a closeout. And if you haven't taken the time to figure out the place, you'll just paddle around frustrated. I did that for the first six years.

Pretty soon you adapt- or you just fade away.

Who wants to learn to paddle surf? The time is NOW! Stand up paddle surf lessons in sunny San Diego. We've got 'em, you want 'em so give us a call 619.213.6622 or email me: Want more information and client testimonials? Click here!

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