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Sunday, August 31, 2008


Fun surf today, stayed out for about three hours and am heading up to check it right now. My wife was taking pictures and I had so many that I wanted to post I decided to just toss them into a video, enjoy!

Find more videos like this on Stand Up Paddle Surfing

Coming soon, Go Big or Go Home II: Matt's Baja Adventure. Check back soon!

Saturday, August 30, 2008


A little swell is sneaking in out there. It's definitely not pumping, but it is fun. Had to wait for the good ones, they didn't come all that often, but patience could really pay off this morning.

The tide was low this morning which made for a lot of closeouts. It was one of those mornings where you gamble. You find yourself having a discussion with yourself in your head, "Do I surf early with low tide and no wind or do I wait for more tide and pray the wind doesn't come up?"
I waited, not sure it was the best decision, it actually might have been a little better about an hour before I paddled out, but I was happy with the result. I caught a few waves that really made the session worth it. Besides, with the warm water and summer coming to an end it feels good to get out there and take advantage before it is all gone. If you haven't yet get out there and get some. The wind picked up after I left but perhaps it will calm back down for a little evening session?
Paddle lessons are still available, take advantage of warm water and great summer weather. Contact John at 619-213-6622, or email him at

Friday, August 29, 2008

That Fall Itch

It's the "Fall Itch". Summer's coming to an end, time to start thinking about those clean Fall swells lighting up the outside sand bars. They're coming; late season, warm water south swells and early north west ground swells swept clean by offshore Santa Ana winds. The Fall and Winter wave season prime the pump for some serious mind-rambling:

Photo: Fall and winter bring the promise of more and better surf. The kind of stuff that'll let you rev up your carve-master and lay down some sweet tracks.

1. New boards: Nothing keeps me going like the idea of a new board. A new ride keeps you fresh. Late summer is the time to get those orders in. If you're lucky you might hit the seam between the heavy board demand of summer and the coming Holiday season orders.

While you're pressing your luck you might as well cross your fingers and hope that you'll have the new one in time for first of the solid Fall swells. And remember, there is an inverse relationship between the number of, "Just checking to see how my board's doing..." phone calls and the duration of time it takes for you to get your freshy. Lay off the cell phone and let your shaper do his job- or bribe him with a 12-pack.

Photo: Unfortunately, Fall also means goodbye to the warm waters of summer... and all that comes with it.

2. Winter surf trips: Most of us around here think about heading south. Christmas break means we'll be surfing the long points of Baja's mid-section or the warm water grinders at the tip. The East Cape is out, except if it blows Norte down the Sea of Cortez and makes the weird left points tucked down in gulf start doing their thing. And then there's the flat water paradise of Bahia Concepcion- blue water cruising the little volcanic islands pincushioned with linear green cardons. Fall's a good time to start dreaming about a winter down south.

3. Highway Cruising the California Coast: Fall's the best. Crisp mornings, slate blue skies and a light offshore breeze carrying the cool, sage-scented, canyon air down across Pacific Coast Highway. The same offshores throwing plumes of cool spray off the backs of clean autumn waves. The crunch of sagebrush as you walk a chaparral guarded trail to a hidden central California point-reef set up. Start breaking out the mysto-maps, Fall's the season to get your walking shoes fired up.

It's the Fall itch, a little tickle that I'm always willing to scratch!

All Inclusive Paddle Surf Trip to Southern Baja California

Come paddle with me down in Southern Baja California!

Photo above: The beach at Palapas Ventana, getting ready for our sunrise paddle.

Here's your chance to check out the flat water and surf paddling wonderland of Southern Baja without the hassle and expense of travelling with a bulky stand up board. Why schlep a giant board through LAX when you could be schlurping a margarita instead?

Photo above: Paddle surf day at Isla Cerritos- an hour from Palapas Ventana, fun waves, warm water!

Let us make it easy for you. You bring your paddle and we'll supply the ride. Just tell us what you want to paddle and if it's in our quiver, you're on it! Select from boards by SurfTech and C4 Waterman we will also have demo custom, handshapes by Tim Stamps available on a limited basis. Other boards are available on request- please make a note of the board you'd like to ride when making your deposit and we'll do our best to accommodate you.

Photo above: One of the sites you may come across as you paddle our Southern Baja flat water spots.

I will accompany you on your trip and will act as your guide. If you'd like to take stand up paddle lessons while your are with us these can be arranged for an extra fee (which includes the use of a board and paddle for your entire trip).

Photo above: Sunset paddle at Punta Gorda, three miles from Palapas Ventana.

In addition to equipment we'll provide all transportation within Baja (airfare is not included), including transport to and from La Paz's International Airport as well as transportation to and from the day's surf or flatwater paddling destination and one free day of Panga Fishing or snorkeling at offshore Isla Cerralvo. Lodging as well as all drinks and meals (except beer and wine) will be provided by Palapas Ventana in La Ventana B.C.S., rates are based on triple occupancy.

Check out the week's itinerary:

Day 1: Arrival Day

Arrive: Fly in to La Paz International Airport.
Roberto picks up guests and drives you to Palapas Ventana.
Settle into your room.
Chips and salsa, beer and margaritas at Palapas Ventana Restaurant.
Optional: Pre-dinner paddle at Palapas Ventana
Dinner: Coconut Dorado.
Activity: Slide show of the week's paddle adventures.
Beer Pong on the world famous Palapas Ventana ping pong table with ice cold Modelo on tap.

Day 2: Hot Springs Paddle to Punta Gorda

Optional: Sunrise paddle at Palapas Ventana.
Breakfast: Chilequiles with fresh fruit, coffee and juice.
Activity: 3 mile paddle to Punta Gorda hot springs. Panga support brings shade umbrellas, snorkeling gear, cold drinks and beer.
Lunch: Picnic style, tortas de pollo at Punta Gorda.
Activity: 3 mile return paddle to Palapas Ventana (or ride the panga back if you don't want to paddle).
Dinner: Beef flautas at Palapas Ventana

Day 3: East Cape Surf Excursion

Early Breakfast (it's going to be a long day!): Huevos Rancheros, coffee, fruit and juice
Depart: 6:30 am.
Activity: Surf Paddle at 9 Palms, East Cape, Baja California Sur
Picnic Lunch: Machaca burritos
Dinner: Fish Taco Blowout at Palapas Ventana

Day 4: Todos Santos/Playa Cerritos Surf Excursion

Breakfast: Juevos Mexicanos, sizzling bacon and coffee
Depart: 8am to Playa Cerritos
Activity: SUP your brains out and fall asleep under an umbrella on the beach.
Lunch: Picnic style tortas de carne or lunch on your own at Cerritos Beach Bar.
Dinner: Grilled Margarita chicken at Palapas Ventana

Day 5: Paddle Surf Punta Conejo, Punta Marquez or Playa Cerritos weather and swell dependent.

Early breakfast: Pancakes, coffee, fresh fruit and juice
Depart 6:30am: We're going to wherever the surf is firing!
Activity: Stand up paddle surf all day until you're crispy.
Dinner: Grilled fresh wahoo at Palapas Ventana.
Optional: Evening Paddle out in front of Palapas Ventana.

Day 6: Options Day- sign up for a day of fishing or snorkeling.

Optional: Sunrise paddle at Palapas Ventana
Breakfast: Breakfast burritos, coffee, fruit and juice.
Activity: Here's your chance to get in a day of fishing for dorado (mahi mahi), wahoo, tuna and bill fish in the world famous fishing grounds of Isla Cerralvo. Don't like to fish? No problem. Sign up for a day of snorkeling at Cerralvo Island or Las Arenas. Guests have swam with dolphins, swordfish and even killer whales! Local paddling is also available on Options Day. Final Dinner: at Juaquin's featuring Chile Rellenos and bad Karaoke.

Day 7: Departure Day

Optional Sunrise Paddle.
Breakfast: Huevos Rancheros, coffee, fruit and juice.
Activity: Easy beach morning, buy tee-shirts and souvenirs, snap some last photos- pack for home.
Roberto takes everyone to the airport

Additional services are available at Palapas Ventana and can be scheduled based on the interests of the group:

Massage Service with Theresa
Mexican food cooking lessons with Mari.
Surfer's Spanish Lessons with Jimena

The cost for the seven day trip is is $1780 dollars/person. This includes food and lodging (based on 3 persons per casita) ground transportation in Mexico, stand up paddle board use, one day of fishing or a panga snorkeling trip (add $20 per boat tip to the boat's captain) the price also includes tax and a tip for the Palapas Ventana staff. Airfare, beer and wine are not included.

We have booked two sessions in July of 2009.

Session 1: July 12 - 18th

Session 2: July 19th - 25th

Space is limited to nine paddlers per session.

If you are interested in booking a spot on one of these trips please email

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Southern Baja Stand Up Paddle Surf Trip- What Are You Waiting For?

Start planning for summer now! Be sure to check out the southern Baja paddle surf trips we've put together for this summer. If you haven't been down to the tip of Baja before, it pays to go with someone who knows their way around. We've taken care of all the details (including having a board of your choice down there waiting for you!) so all you have to do is get fit enough to paddle your ass off! Check out some photos from previous trips down south:

Here's Tim Hatler, owner of Palapas Ventana, the water sports compound that we'll be staying at- yep, we know how to get you out to this left hand point- and if it looks like it's going to fire off, you'll be there!

There's great flat water paddling down south too. If you're just learning how to stand up paddle, we've planned opportunities for you to hone your skills on some of the clearest, bluest flat water runs around. And if you're an early riser, be sure to join in on our sunrise paddle runs.

The view from the restaurant at Palapas Ventana. If you think there's ice cold Pacificos and refreshing margaritas waiting for you at the end of each day, you're right- there are!

Down south desert paddling at its best!

Get lucky and you may surf the waves of your life- uncrowded, empty and warm... yahooo!

Be sure to click our Surf Adventures tile ad to read more about our trip. Space is limited to nine paddlers for each seven day session, book now and save your spot! Email for dates and details.

Good Manners in Mexico

Just a few last thoughts on my Mexico paddle surf trip:

Stand up paddle etiquette: I was careful to keep a low profile out at the point and at "Reverse Trestles" (RTs, the spot just up the road). The wave at the point was pretty much tailor made for a goofy footed stand up paddler and it could've gotten really ugly; if I wanted I could have owned that place, swooping into whatever I wanted.

Maintaining harmony in those lineups those wasn't too hard. I just practiced good paddle surf manners and thought about how others might be feeling about me being out there. Simple stuff, actually. Here's a couple of examples:

I never paddled past everybody right to the head of the line (top of the point) after snagging a set wave. How'd you like somebody to cut in front of you while your waiting on your personalized license plate at the DMV (here's a good one: SUPGEEK or OARON)? Chances are you'd be pissed off- same for those in the water.

I sat out a set now and then. Sometimes I'd give away a sweet one to a crawler. Charity goes a long way. And guess what? The Wave Karma Counter in the sky is keeping records- I swear mysto-outside swing-wide monster walls came to me with frequency.

On my way back up the point from a long set wave, I'd stop halfway back and hang out for a set or two on the inside. Just to give the guys at the top a chance to surf without me around. Also, you'd be surprised at how many good waves I caught when guys blew it on set waves and couldn't connect to the inside.

Paddle away. On days with a crowd at the peak, especially at RT's, I'd paddle down the beach, past the Main Event Peak to the three other waves that were totally empty. A peak a hundred yards away was firing off it's rocker and completely empty! A simple five minute paddle and I was on my own, living out my own Indo-boat trip fantasy. Don't be afraid to paddle away!

I had no problems paddling out down there. Nobody shouted me out of a spot and there were no hurt feelings. As a matter of fact, I was told by a local guy that I had really good manners. That was a nice compliment but my vote for Best Manners goes to the ten short board rippers that we ran into from Newport.

These guys rolled up to RT's a little late. They all piled out of their suburban at once. They were a cloud of Hurley board shorts and Volcom hats. The guys ran up to the berm and watched the four of us ripping the head high, crystal blue waves at the main peak. We saw them from the water, an insta-crowd we thought. What a bummer.

But then they did one of the coolest things I've ever seen a group of young surfers ever do; they walked away. They all trunked up and walked down the beach to a lesser peak, which they absolutely tore to shreds, having a great time with all ten of their buddies next to them. These youngsters understood one of the unwritten rules of surf exploration: if you stumble upon a peak that's already being ridden, you find your own damn wave. And if you're traveling in a pack, you definitely don't bum everybody else out by paddling out in a swarm.

These guys could've come right out and dominated the session. They were excellent surfers. We didn't own that peak, it was an established surf spot not some mysto-break that we'd found through diligence and hard work. Somebody had taught these youngsters well, they were clued in. Young as they were, they were self-aware of their presence and understood the impact they'd have on four guys having the time of their lives.

I've forgotten most of the good waves I surfed during that session but I clearly remember the impact of that gesture. If I can similarly blow somebody's mind by being respectful and practicing good paddle surfing manners than I'll do it every time. Hopefully you will too!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Franken-Paddle: Let's hope you never run into one!

Franken- as in Frankenstein. Remember him? The monsterous patchwork of cobbled together human parts that was big, strong, gnarly and unfortunately for that dude, non-flame retardant. This was the name I gave to the eight pound beast-paddle that I pieced together after my shaft snapped on my first (yep, FIRST) wave down in Mexico. Check it out:

A normal paddle (thanks Duffy!) and the Franken-paddle to the right of it. Notice the twist and knob on the shaft? That's where my all time favorite paddle snapped cleanly in two. Talk about being instantly frantic; I had no back up paddle!

My first attempt at repairing it was to jam a piece of drift wood down into the shaft and try to use it as a super short paddle. If you haven't tried paddling with a really short paddle, don't bother- it sucks! You could probably get away by paddling into waves on your knees but that's no fun and if I'm kneeling I'd rather just prone surf and save myself the embarrassment. The driftwood disintegrated after about twenty minutes, I had caught one wave and that was enough for me to realize I'd have to fix this thing or go look for a fisherman's oar (which was, for a time, a serious option).

Luckily there was a hardware store up the road that carried plumbing supplies. I ended up jamming a piece of black steel water pipe inside of the shaft from the handle to the blade and wrapping the two pieces together with a whole roll of electrical tape. That wad of electrical tape is the knob you see on the shaft in the photos above.

The folks at the hardware store told me I had to buy the whole twenty foot long piece of pipe- they don't sell just 74" of the stuff. I gave the guy two bucks to cut it short and handed them the rest of the pipe back as a regalo. Gringo loco! That thing ended up weighing close to eight pounds, but it was solid and I was back in business.

The break was no fault of the paddle's- it crumpled too easily to have been a failure of the integrity of the shaft. Additionally, the break didn't come as I was paddling out or even when I was bearing down on it to catch a wave. The snap came as I was leaning on the paddle in a long, open face bottom turn. My thinking is that the shaft must've been nicked or cracked by luggage being piled on top of it on our flight down. And that knick must've been on the back side of the blade. Thus, the blade was reasonably strong when used for stroking out but was just waiting to break when pressure was put onto the opposite side of the blade. Furthermore, in the one instance where I've snapped a perfectly sound shaft, the shaft shattered loudly. In this instance the shaft broke without a sound- something had to have happened to cause it to fail so strangely.

Later in the trip, the handle of the paddle also sheared off of the shaft. Another trip to the hardware store produced this t-fitting which was attached with another full roll of electrical tape.

Lessons Learned: The easiest one is to bring a back up paddle. What I'd really like to see is a hard case designed to look like a fishing rod holder (they fly free) that could hold at least two paddles in full rigid case protection. I also learned that we take the fly weight nature of our paddles for granted. It's not until you've swung a Franken-paddle around for a few four hour sessions that you begin to realize how amazing those feather light blades really are. Even then, pack an extra one!

Stand up paddle surf lessons in San Diego are still available! Send the kids back to school and do something for yourself, sign up for a private lesson today! Stand up paddle lessons are fun and are a non-impact type of activity- you'll love the feeling of gliding across inky, smooth water. Call 619-213-6622 or email

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Post with No Photos- Here you go Linter, hope it's useful!

I cross step like Shrek. The guy you want to emulate is Noah Shimabukuro.That guy's smooth. Classy. No weird leg kick or crane pose heel hanging. Just smooth as silk walking- straight on up to the beak with a full wrap that punctuates the move with an exclamation point. That's the guy who should be explaining the basics of the cross step- but since the demands of roaming this water planet seeking out perfect surf have regretfully drawn him off to bluer pastures, I'll do the best I can with what I've got. Pretty much the story of my life.

I started cross stepping at Devereux Point in Santa Barbara when I was nineteen years old. I was a sophomore at U.C. Santa Barbara and Devereux was one of two right hand points we had within biking distance of the filthy Isla Vista box we called home. At nineteen I was getting into the nose walking game in the late innings. Make a run to spots like Old Man's at San-O or Pleasure Point in Santa Cruz and you'll see mini Lance Carsons ambulating stylishly to the nose at the ripe old age of eight! So please excuse me if I write something that's full of shitake- I'm still new to this game.

I remember my first step. That foot didn't want to move. I had to actively command it up off the deck of the flat-as-an-ironing-board Joe Quigg. I instantly pearled, flew off the board and just missed being scalped by the pin wheeling tailblock of that early 60's plank. This, and subsequent cross stepping meltdowns, led me to a couple of essential cross stepping realizations:

1. There is a specific place on a wave that calls for a move to the nose. That place is steep and fast and the move is functional- it brings the board into trim and accelerates you through a zippy section. Cross stepping doesn't occur in a vacuum, it's tied in to the big picture- you've got to know what the wave's doing and where you are on it. Which leads us to the next item...

2. Board placement is crucial. Putting your board in the right spot on the wave is the key element of setting up the cross step. You should have very good board control. Small, quick turns and stalls that are almost imperceptible to the eye allow accomplished cross steppers to move forward seemingly effortlessly. Work on moving your board before you work on walking the nose.

3. Be able to wait. Patience is key, if you've put the board into the right spot by whipping a quick turn from the tail, the board will begin to stall. You've got to have enough experience to wait on it; it will call for a move forward. You may even feel yourself consciously leaning forward as you try to get your weight over the nose- this is the moment to move your feet forward.

3. Practice the move. Get your mind to wrap around the idea that you're going to move your foot. Train your brain by lifting your foot up just a few inches and setting it back down. Then move on to lifting it, crossing it over your other foot, tapping the deck and then returning it to its original position.

4. Move decisively. Once you've got the lift and tap, you've got to pull it all together. Get your board into that tight, steep part of the wave. Wait for it to begin to stall then make your move. Lift, cross... and don't stop... cross over again so that you are back in your normal surf stance. Think of it as a double tap- a two step with almost no pause in the middle. You should now be well forward of where you started, with your normal foot forward, rocketing through a steep section in full trim. If you've done it right your board will squirt forward like a wet bar of soap.

I've got some serious quirks in my cross step- my toes stick out weird, I can't seem to ever make it to the last six inches to the nose and I pound the deck on the way forward. Like Shrek, remember? The one central truth about the cross step is that it's only developed through serious water time; it's a move based more on feeling than technique. So get out there and wobble on up to the nose, cross all goofied up, pay your dues now- and laugh the whole way- just like those eight year old nose riding maestros- damn them!

Mainland Mexico: A little video.

Funny thing when you find waves- nobody wants to take the time to video tape. My friend, Tucker and I kept saying we'd haul out the water camera but it never happened. Most of our best waves are just logged on the old Betamax located between our ears. Nevertheless, I did manage to shoot some footage of my buddy Steve cruising on my board (I think we'll all bring stand ups next time) and of S. Kennedy nabbing a fun wave on a borrowed long board.

Hope this will give you a feel for the place.

Find more videos like this on Stand Up Paddle Surfing

Monday, August 25, 2008

Mainland Mexico: And the point out front was child's play compared to this...

We thought our home point was fun- but we'd heard that there was another spot that would make our wave look stupid in comparison. Evidently, within thirty minutes of where we were staying was another wave that was at least five times better than our front yard run.

A friend described how to get to the spot for us. The directions were surf travel classics:"take a left at the pile of burning garbage, then a quick right at where you see the two old men sitting down, if you drive into the river you've gone too far..." literally. Incredibly, those directions were right on the mark and after only a few minor detours (left at the burning garbage, not a right at the running chicken!) and one stop to ask a local, we found this:

If you think that wave is really that long, you're right. It is. And not only long, but fast and grunty. Our home wave could be described as a long board wave, this was definitely not a slow and go situation. What you got here is reverse Trestles, it's Lowers going left. Here's SK working his way out from a four hour session, picking his way through the little cobbles, thankful for the absence of urchins.

Here's the perspective from the bottom of the point, under the shade of a big Popoyo tree, sipping an icy Pacifico, waiting for la senorita to bring you your Huevos Rancheros. Oh yeah, didn't I say that there is a little enramada at the bottom that knows just the type of fuel that surfed out wave riders require? Yep, almost too good to be true. And yes, hours slip by blissfully as you sip cold ones and dream about waves ridden and days still to come...

I guess a professional photographer would critique these shots like this: "Mr. Ashley shows an inability to produce context in his images and is uniquely skilled at the elimination of perspective in his compositions". But I guess us dumb surfers know a good thing when we see it because everybody who looks at this photo and the next says the same thing, "Dude, how hot is that?" Which is both a descriptive expression and a question simultaneously. And that's good enough for me. I speak that language. These two photos are the end section of what is now my favorite wave.

BeachSurf is alive and well! New Stu Kenson Surf Boards Click! Click!

Jump on the stand up paddle surf bandwagon! Come take stand up paddle surf lessons with us in sunny San Diego. We've got a great spot to get you out and paddling safely and successfully. Learn the voodoo trickery of higher order stand up paddling. We're all about hands-on learning and guess what? There's no test at the end of the session! Give us a call at 619.213.6622 or email me at

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A brief intermission: update

I know you're on the edge of your seat. You want to know about the Franken-paddle and the other spots we surfed down in Mexico- but I need to take a brief break to pop in some "just in" stuff.

Yep, that's a rack of new boards over at the Tim Stamps board mill. And, yes sir, that one with the fancy stripe on the deck pad looks friggin' ridiculous- hmmm, is that a quad I see on that one? And, yep, you could have one made to order.

Here's Tim's personal 9'1" shred-rocket. Where would this thing take you- and what would the ride be like. I can only imagine- but I like what I see!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Mainland Mexico: It is afterall, a surf trip...

Once you've settled into your room and cracked a cold Pacifico the next order of business is gearing up to surf your ass off. So you fumble around looking for your fin key, one eye in your backpack the other staring at glassy chest high waves reeling off in the front yard; you look like some surf crazed Marty Feldman. You're amping- careful now, in all your excitement don't screw your fins in backwards (guilty). Slow and steady wins the race. Slide the big fin all the way forward into the middle box, thread your leg rope into the plug and you're set to go.

This is where you'll stick your board when you're not surfing. There's a couple of racks on the property and they make going for a surf as simple as ambling down the path, grabbing a board and heading out. Don't need a wetsuit, don't need shoes (you're only crossing about five yards of sand) and don't need permission- you're ringside at the show so jump right in whenever you feel like it. Clean living.

Here's an overview of the break right out front. It's a long, long, long left point. Screw foot surfers all around the world deserve their very own racetracks and this is one you won't want to miss. According to the locals, the surf was small while we were there. That just means that it's only chest to head high and not the usual ridiculously long and lined up stuff they get most of the year.

Steve grabbed my Stamps 10'0 and the Franken-paddle and snagged a few from the top of the point all the way through to the little section right out in front. Here he is re-dropping in for the fifth time on his way down the point. The wave is an easy one to figure out. If you've got fast feet, an eye for the speed line and the board to make it happen you can race across the top section of the point just pumping for daylight.

I loved the look on the faces of the non-enlightened as I flew past them gobbling up ten yard sections in single swooping passes. Most had never seen a stand up board being driven down the line- their exposure being limited to the old point and pray style of big board riding. Now imagine jamming all that forward momentum around in a deck-compressing full wrap cutback- if that ain't pure, on the rail surfing, I really don't know what is!

If you've never surfed a long point break on your forehand- let me tell you that it's something you'll want to experience before the big dirt nap. Just keep paddling and get your skills dialed because when it does come to together and that long wall stretches and bends endlessly in front of you, you'll want to have the skills to make the most of it.

I once read in a surf magazine that you never kick out when you're surfing Santa Barbara's Sandspit or the inside section at Rincon. Because even though the wave may seem to be only knee high on the inside, the dynamics of the spot are such that in another ten feet that knee high runner might morph into a head high barrel. Don't believe me? Go buy One California Day and watch Tom Curren's section at Sandspit- tell me if a thigh high wave can't turn into a dredging gutter. The same idea holds true at this particular spot- it just doesn't quite barrel like Sandspit. Here's Steve, on the same wave, sticking with a wave that might just reward the faithful.

Well, not quite a barrel and not an overhead screamer but a thrill nonetheless- in warm blue water, on a glassy day shared with only three other people. I'll take it.

BeachSurf has been revived- check early, check often, you may find something you like- who knows! Check out Brent Ferris' boost.

Stand up lessons in San Diego (call 619 213-6622)! Here's your chance to learn how to stand up paddle surf in San Diego, California. All lessons are private (unless you want to bring along a friend to share a laugh with) and come with a knowledgeable, caring instructor who will take time to teach you how to do things the right way- yeeeehaw! Email us at or call John at 619 213-6622.

Paddle For State Parks- Support California's Parks

Hey check this out- my friend and beach lifeguard Hans Fernan is leading an over 70 mile paddle to San Onofre to support California State Parks. Check out his press release below and if you're feeling paddling fit you should join him!

Paddle for State Parks Border Field to San Onofre September 2-7, 2008

WHAT: The Paddle for State Parks is a grassroots project designed to raise public awareness of the threats to our California State Parks. Hans Fernan, an Encinitas lifeguard, will lead a group of paddlers over a period of six days and paddle the entire coastline of San Diego County from Border Field State Park to San Onofre State Park- a total of over 70 miles. The last day of the paddle will coincide with the opening day of the surfing world tour event at Trestles Beach in San Onofre State Park. The paddle is being supported by WiLDCOAST, a nonprofit organization that protects and preserves coastal ecosystems in the Californias and Latin America.

WHY: Both underfunding and proposed development projects threaten our parks. Earlier this year, the Governor proposed closing 48 state parks (17% of the entire system) and reducing lifeguard staffing on 16 of the state's most popular beaches. Proposed development projects currently threaten 2 of the state's most popular state parks which both happen to be in San Diego County. If built, the 241 Toll Road would destroy 60% of SanOnofre State Park, and the Sunrise Power link would forever change Anza Borrega State Park. Most Californians believe that our state parks are permanent- that they will exist forever for future generations to enjoy. However, as these development projects show, this is not the case. This paddle is an effort to provoke public dialog by drawing attention to the need for our state elected officials to develop legislation that will protect our state parks from underfunding and future development projects- FOREVER.


Join the Paddle: If you're an active paddler up for the challenge, join Hans on any or all legs of the trip.

Provide Transportation: Paddlers will need rides to/from paddle locations. Volunteers should have a car with surf racks or a truck.

Spread the Word: Forward this on to anyone who might be interested in the project; post it on public forums, etc.

Advocate for State Parks: Write or call your state elected officials from the CA State Assembly and Senate urging them to support all state parks by opposing the 241 Toll Road through San Onofre and the Sunrise Power link through Anza Borrego, and help to pass The California State Park Access Pass being proposed by Rep. Laird (D-Santa Cruz).

The California State Park Access Pass is a proposal to provide critical funding for the state park system, while offering Californians free day-use access to their state parks.

It creates a new funding stream for supporting California's state parks by instituting a $10 surcharge on vehicle license fees of all non-commercial vehicles in California and some light commercial vehicles.

To contact your representatives visit:

Paddle for State Parks Border Field to San Onofre September 2-7, 2008

PADDLE LOCATIONS AND DISTANCES (start time is 7:00 a.m. except for Sept. 7th 6:00 a.m.):

• September 2 - Border Field State Park (Imperial Beach) to Coronado 10.5 miles

• September 3- Coronado around Point Loma 3.8 mile to Ocean Beach Pier 6.4 miles total for day10.2 miles

• September 4- Ocean Beach around Seal Rock 6.8 miles to Scripps Pier 2.5 total for day 9.3 miles

• September 5- Scripps to Encinitas Moonlight Beach 12.7 miles

• September 6 - Encinitas to Oceanside Pier 11.5 miles • September 7- Oceanside to San Onofre State Beach 18.0 miles

• Total miles 72.2

CONTACTS: Hans Fernan, Project Lead, (760) 504-9046 ; Ben McCue, WiLDCOAST, (619) 423-8665 x208

Friday, August 22, 2008

Paddle Surfing Mainland Mex: Travel Essentials

The best way to get down to Mexico is on Alaska Airlines. Specifically non-stop from LAX. If you don't fly non-stop expect for the trip to take around ten hours with a layover in Mexico City. Our flight lasted close to five hours- enough time to read a couple of chapters, work a couple of crossword puzzles and down a few beers. You'll drop close to five hundred dollars for that round ticket and another seventy five dollars to bring your stand up board with you. That's seventy five dollars each way- so expect to spend a hundred and fifty dollars total to get your stick there and back, unless you're the friendly type and can talk the fee down a bit (which I did).

Speaking of traveling with a stand up board, here's some answers to questions that I know have been floating around out there. Yes, on Alaska airlines I was able to bring along my 10'0 Stamps- even though the "official" policy restricts the board to 9'4". It seemed like the ticket agent just wanted to know if it was a longboard ($75) or a shortboard ($50). I traveled with the an 11' bag, in the future, just to keep things neat and tidy (and looking as small as possible) I'd spend a couple of hundred bucks and pick up a bag to closely match the board's size.

I did pack my Quikblade paddle in with my board- and in the future I wouldn't do this. I think that the paddle may have been damaged by the crew who had no way of knowing it was packed in the board bag. The paddle snapped on my first wave- resulting in the manufacture of an 8lb Franken-paddle, more on that later. The next time I head down, I think I'll try to manufacture some type of full foam wrap for two paddles (I WILL NEVER AGAIN TRAVEL WITHOUT A BACK UP PADDLE) and check it in as a fishing pole (no charge). Or I may look into a two piece travel paddle and try to carry it onto the flight.

Arriving in Mexico, you'll have to check in through Customs. Bring a pen, everybody will be scrambling for something to write with so come prepared. Read the thing carefully and make sure you fill it out completely- there's a second little section that everybody forgets to fill in and sign. The declaration requires two signatures- if you blow this, you'll have to step out of the nasty line and fill it out correctly. You'll receive a little stub of paper that is your Mexican Immigration paper, your tourist visa- put it somewhere safe. When you leave Mexico you'll be asked to produce it- if you lose it, you will pay!

After clearing customs and picking up our car we ran up the coast to the little town we'd be staying in. There's a great little market nearby where we could load up on eggs, beans, tortillas, queso seco and some Buffalo salsa. I couldn't resist picking up a pineapple, some bananas and some great mangoes. We also bought a ridiculous amount of beer, tequila and rum- just to make things interesting.

This is the back end of the house we were staying in- there were cool tropical plants going off all over the place. I was blown away by how lush that part of Mexico was- I thought it was equal to the rainforests I'd seen in Costa Rica. There were plenty of critters running around too- iguanas, geckos and many sea turtles swimming around. The place was very much a tropical setting.

This lanai was swept clean everyday by Angel the caretaker. The whole house was made of concrete which kept it nice and cool. The lanai was shaded by the second story overhead as well as vines which grew up the walls and along the ceiling. There are comfortable tables and chairs as well as hammocks hanging all the way around the house- whoever designed it knew something about surfers. We spent many afternoons just hanging out here until we got the urge to walk across the lawn and out into the water. The best waves coming down the point would peter out right at the entrance to our compound. If you rode one from the top of the point all the way to our gate it was called a "home run". I dinked a few out of the park while I was there- an easy feat on a stand up board.

Here's a full frontal shot of the compound. You couldn't ask for a better equipped surf house. Each room had its own kitchenette with stove, refrigerator and sink as well as ice cold air conditioning and comfortable and clean beds. We also got our own bathroom which was cool because I ruin those things.

Coming Next: Long, long, lefts...

Stand up lessons in San Diego (call 619 213-6622)! Here's your chance to learn how to stand up paddle surf in San Diego, California. All lessons are private (unless you want to bring along a friend to share a laugh with) and come with a knowledgeable, caring instructor who will take time to teach you how to do things the right way- yeeeehaw! Email us at or give me a call at 619 213-6622.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Paddle Surfing Mainland Mexico: I'm back!

It's good to be home! But I will say that the last portion of my twenty day stand up paddle surfing adventure bordered on the ridiculous. I rode more quality waves in the last five days then I've surfed in a year. This spot is a stand up paddle surfing dream destination. Hands down the best surf trip I've ever had.

Simply put: MY MIND IS BLOWN! And I WILL be going back down as soon as I can pull it off. I'll be writing up a full trip report in the next few days. For now, check out this overview shot of the spot we'd surf in the afternoon. If you can believe it, our morning wave was about five times better than this spot.

The shot is from the surf shack we holed up in. Surfing this two hundred yard long wave was as easy as walking across the lawn, grabbing your board and paddling up the point. Warm water, turtles, cool people... send me back!

Thanks to Big Chad for taking care of business while I was gone. Some super cool posts, great photos and an excellent job handling our stand up paddle surf lessons here in San Diego (lesson info: 619 213-6622). Thanks again Chad and be sure to keep putting up your posts- I think you've got some fans!

Stand Up Paddle Surfing Lessons in San Diego are in full effect! We've taught more people in the last three weeks than May, June and July combined! Don't miss your chance to learn how to stand up paddle surf while you're here in San Diego. We've put over a hundred students onto boards- you could be next! Email ( or call (619 213-6622) for availability.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Not much happeneing out there today. There was a very long wait for the sets and the tide was so low most of the waves were totally closed out. It has been windy the last few days and the swell has been very small. You really need to catch it on the right tide to have fun. Hopefully tomorrow we will get lucky and have some good photos to put up.

Stand Up Paddle Surfing Lessons in San Diego are in full effect! We've taught more people in the last three weeks than May, June and July combined! Don't miss your chance to learn how to stand up paddle surf while you're here in San Diego. We've put over a hundred students onto boards- you could be next! Email ( or call (619 213-6622) for availability.

Monday, August 18, 2008


This family will be the talk of Baja for weeks. Anyone who sees this thing going down old highway one will have a reaction. Some will snicker, some will awe, some will be envious and others will be frozen in the pure bliss of bewilderment. These guys are going down into the heart of Baja with no regrets. They are going to have everything they need to have a week of fun in their family's way of saying goodbye to summer.

I'm not sure anyone has ever done Baja like this before. Mateo is loading up for his own Olympics, Baja style. Family events will include, but will not be limited to: swing the trapeze Hobie Cat sailing, stand-up surfing (of course), dirt biking, fishing, surfing, snorkeling, spear fishing, and scrabble. As usual all adult participants will receive Pacifico Ballenas as medals.

So, here is the story behind the rig. Matt had some goals he wanted to accomplish on this trip. He wanted to surf, ride motorcycles and sail. That along with all the normal camping gear, four adults and a kid and you have what you see here. He has the trailer primarily for the bikes. He has lumber racks over the shell already, which are great for the surf/paddle boards, but how to load the Hobie Cat?

The solution? Take off the two roller bars from the Hobie trailer and use u-bolts to lock them down on top of the lumber racks. The space in between the hulls still allows for plenty of surfboards and the mast. If you are daring enough you can climb on top and jump around, or just take a nap.

Can't wait to see some of the video and pictures that he promised to bring back, one week in Scorpion Bay with all of those toys is bound to be fun.
Not as crazy as Mateo here and ready to charge Baja with a truck load of toys, but still want to do something new and interesting this summer? Try a paddle surf lesson. Contact us at or 619-213-6622. Give it a try. The water in the bay has been in the mid 70's and perfect for paddling.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Stand Up Paddle Surfing Lessons in San Diego are in full effect! We've taught more people in the last three weeks than May, June and July combined! Don't miss your chance to learn how to stand up paddle surf while you're here in San Diego. We've put over a hundred students onto boards- you could be next! Email ( or call (619 213-6622) for availability.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


First off lets do a cedar paddle update. The wood was cut the morning that I left Oregon and all experts in the field tell me that I need to let it cure before trying to make a paddle out of it. It is killing me watching it sit there, wetting it down every couple of days to make sure it doesn't cure too fast and split. I can't wait to cut into that thing and see how it goes. The story is coming trust me no one is as anxious as I am.

Pinky has the new quad being sold by Isle Surfboards. Isle is coming on strong with a whole new line of stand up paddle boards- definitely worth checking out. The one he had was a nice looking shade of grey with green pin striping. It stood out and looked good. It was only his second day on the board but you wouldn't know if he didn't tell you. He was charging as always and doing it without a leash, what a stud!

I have seen Isle boards before, two friends down here started off on some, bet they weren't like this. I decided to walk in John's footsteps and and take a little investigative field trip. I had never been to Isle before so I got the address and put it into my Garmin, off I went.

I was pretty impressed. The shop was actually different than I expected. It was small but real cool and they have some great racks that actually hang the boards by plugging into fin slots which allows them to feature a large number of boards with no clutter. Their heavy output to online customers works out great for those of us in San Diego though because we get to take advantage of killer prices and avoid the shipping charge. But with the prices these guys offer and with the package deals they sell I have got to say that even with shipping charges you are going to get a lot for your money at this place. If you are out there checking out this site, interested in getting a board for exercise, enjoyment, or to surf this place is worth checking out.

This is Isle's second model of stand up boards and it looks like an interesting one. Their first model came in three different sizes, 12'0, 11'0 and 10'6. Their new deep swallow tail board comes in two different sizes, 10'0 and 11'0. I was really interested in the 10'0 which is 28 and a half inches wide and 4 and a quarter inches thick (the 11'0 was 29" and 4 and a half). This board felt really light for its size. It is made with perhaps the next generation of epoxy (?), EPX2, closed cell foam core and 8 oz. glass. It feels solid, yet light. The board comes with a future quad fin set up and includes all four fins.

Another thing that Pinky showed me out in the water yesterday and that I had to check out in the store was their new Isle brand stand up paddles. These look very similar to the C4, they are made with carbon fiber and seem really nice. The shaft is what I was impressed with. It feels thick. Not thick as in bigger or more difficult to grip, it just feels like when you grab it, there are a lot more wraps of carbon fiber between your thumb and fingers. It felt nice and sturdy. Compared to my hyper light C4 paddle it seems that the shaft Isle has made is a bit thicker. Will that translate to a longer lasting and more difficult to break paddle for those of us who are frustrated with the short life of paddles out there today? I'm not sure, but I would say the thicker shaft is a good start.

They also add the package deal. When you buy a board you have the option of paying an extra $299 and you get the traction pad (I paid $120 for mine), a paddle (mine cost $320), a paddle bag (didn't buy one because they were $79), and a leash (about $30). When I bought my first new board it would have cost me $598 for all that gear. In fact I just added a 10'0 quad fin board and the package deal a shopping cart online and the total was only $1094. Hard to beat a package deal with everything you need for a little under $1100 bucks. My wife wants to get into paddling flat water with me and I think Isle may be the place to get her started in the sport. Check it out!

Lessons and rentals are still available. Take advantage of summer! Cool off after a hard days work, schedule an afternoon lesson. It gets dark late, take a weekday paddle lesson now! The water is warm and the conditions are perfect. Give it try. Rentals are also available. Think you want to try it on your own? Give it a shot. Contact, or call John at 619-213-6622.