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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

East Coast Update: Hurricaine Danielle

My friend Glenn on the east coast just sent me this little report along with some surf shots from a session he shared with his daughter and friends. Stoked for him... and I could use some clean surf and warm water right about NOW! Check out Glenn's report:

The swell from Hurricane Danielle began hitting the Maryland/Virginia beaches sometime in the early morning hours of Sunday, August 29.  When we pulled into the parking lot at our favorite summer-time beach break, we were greeted by long clean lines that were being groomed by a 10 knot offshore wind.  Approximately head high, with sets a foot or two larger.  Session one lasted 4 hours in clean conditions.  Lots of speed runs starting with one or two turns and then quickly up to the nose trying to outrun the rapidly pitching/sucking thick walls.  Usually successfully.  Not actually ON the nose - my Ron House 11’0” single fin is much happier when I’m 12 – 18 inches back.

I have to admit, I love that board.  Whether ankle high or double overhead, it does everything I ask . . . with gusto.  Someday I’ll bite the bullet and get a 9’6”ish multi-fin (either another Ron House or a Tim Stamps), but it’s hard to pull the trigger when one is riding a board that continually brings to mind the term “magic.”   

At midday, the wind went on-shore and inexplicably, the swell got substantially smaller for a few hours.  The good news though was that the change in conditions caused my now fully-hooked-on-surfing 16 year old daughter to get out of the water for awhile, and I prevailed on her to get the camera out and spend 15 minutes trying to capture some of the SUP action for John’s blog.  Not bad for her first attempt, but of course she completely missed the clean overhead pitching right that I paddled into when I first got back out.   

So here are a few photos.  I realize that for you California guys, these will look like a marginal day.  Oh well . . . next time I’ll try to find a non-surfer to snap some photos before the conditions deteriorate, and maybe prove that it does sometimes get good on the right coast. 


Glenn and I first met when he contacted me at the tail end of a business trip out here to California. He told me he'd be staying in L.A. but was determined to get in the water. I gave him a couple of tips for spots in the Los Angeles area and then invited him down to San Diego for a surf- if he could fit it in. I was stoked when he told me he was going to squeeze in a day of paddling with me in my hometown. On a bright blue morning, Glenn rolled up in front corporate headquarters hopped into the bomber and off we went looking for waves. 

We ended up scoring. The go-to spot was head high, north beach Coronado- as glassy as can be with zippy left hand wedges racing up the beach into the inshore holes. It was classic California and it was on! Glenn got a chance to try out a couple of the boards he'd seen on the site and I got to make a new friend. You can surf day after day and not remember one wave the second you pull off of it- but good friends and good times last forever. I've since met Glenn's two wonderful daughters and even taught them the basics of stand up paddling (while Glenn thoughtfully poached a little mini-session on the ocean side of the Strand). He's a good friend and if I ever get the chance I'm going to visit him on his beach, snag a couple on the right coast and eat a soft shell crab or something "east coasty" like that. 

Thanks for the update Glenn and keep charging!  

Monday, August 30, 2010

Without pix this session means nothing...

Here's an internet credo: "Pix or GTFO". So here's some photos of this weekend's surf- now go figure out what GTFO means.

Rolled up to the beach just in time to see this set come through. Hmmm... a little meaty.

While keeping a vigilant eye open for the local, senior citizen pest-patrol or the bicycle mounted ticket cop, I spy Big Chad coming up on my six with his Stamps stand up board.

Big Chad snagged a couple but there were some dues to be paid. It was kind of grunty out there and everyone got picked off once or twice.

Kiwi came rolling up and snagged a couple of good ones.

Patented Kiwi-Kutback, southern hemisphere style.

I saw two boards get snapped that morning.

I don't think Pat can bring this one back to life.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

My new mid size surf SUP The 7'10"

Editor's Note: Here it is- the board I've been hearing so much about! Stoked that Capt. Ron put this up because the idea that he could build a sub-9'0 board with the stability of a 10' and the rip-ability of a, well, 7'10" was, to say the least, intriguing to me. Now I'm going to drop the gauntlet on him: Ron, we're waiting for a video of this thing going off- and you can even edit the clip to Black Oak Arkansas, Skynyrd or, heck, even Kid Rock... we won't hold it against you.

Giving a test paddle in the river pretty stable looks like a 5'10 fish with my big azz on it...

A little styling airbrush in the lam room getting glass.

Proud to be a american craftsman...

Nice foil and rocker even though its pretty thick 168ltrs roughly.

Me leaning it over for a pic nice slow neutral rail to rail reaction, no more tippy than my 9'ers I can ride this in chop.

The rack foil shot ready for a deck lam. Stoked on the new board have a hurricane swell right now and will be getting some gopro shots. How is my airbrush?
Any Questions? John you and your boys will be getting a demo model soon I think you will be blown away by the stabilty and overall manuverability. I call this series the 10's there is 2 to 3 more models coming out of the shop. A 8'10", 7'10", 6'10" and possibly if the math, rocker, and foil come together the 5'10" SUP's.
Capt Ron

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Stand Up Paddle Fishing: Hooked SUP from Maui... RAD!!!

Just unwrapped this today and took her out for a test paddle. This board is getting me fired up- check it out:

The board was designed and tested by Alex Aguera in Hawaii, it's meant to be a full utility model with super boxy (high volume) rails, wide squared off tail and a really beamy mid-section. This all adds up to a very stable board that's perfect for strapping a cooler and a couple of poles onto and going for a slow troll. I really like the fully padded deck- it's super comfortable and is going to be perfect for cruising around with the dog.

With the fin it the board actually has some pretty surfy looking lines to it- you can bet I'm going to be paddling this one out to the river mouth for a little test surf in the small stuff. The board paddles really well- we had it out today in both glassy conditions (in a protected part of the bay) and also paddled it straight into the teeth of a 10 knot headwind. In both cases the board scooted right along. I don't think it's a stretch to envision a fully loaded angler cruising four or five miles on this thing- especially if you're slow trolling in glassy water.

At one point during our paddle, I had my friend jump on board with me. Unbelievably, with a combined weight of around 345lbs (yep, 235 of that was all me) that board just powered right along. Now that fact opens up a lot of possibilities. Here's one: tandem surfing- how fun would it be to power into some mushburgers on this thing with two of you on it? How about this: strap my 6'4 to the front and a cooler to the back and cruise the thing out to the tip of Point Loma for a little session at the boat-in-only waves out there?

It all sounds good to me- and the more I look at Alex Aguera's Hooked SUP fishing board- the more excited I get.

Stay tuned for a full fishing report from aboard the Hooked SUP!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Man, what a day!

Oh man, what a day! Everything started out cool- I had a killer little multimedia lecture about Periodic Table trends in Ionization Energy, Electronegativity and Ionic Radii all in the can on my little laptop... I was stoked about it. My students? Probably a little less thrilled- but what the heck, life ain't always  smoke, fire and explosions... right? Little did I know that the day would provide it's own surprise fireworks for me.

Three periods and six hours later, I was all lectured out. Talking that much will cook your brain- even if you do break it up with activities, jokes and weird life-stories that don't have much to do with the subject at hand. On the bright side, I did receive an email from Kelly over at Emerald City. Evidently, there was a giant cardboard box there waiting for me- it could only be one thing! My Hooked SUP demo board must have arrived from Seattle- yeah! Alex Aguera told me it was coming but I just could not believe how fast it got to me- those guys have got the shipping game WIRED!

A quick bike ride home and I was ready to zip up to Emerald City when my cell phone rang. Wait, what? We've got a lesson set for 3pm? Wait a minute- let me check my calender... no way! How could I have blown it like that- I've got you for 3:30pm on Monday. You're Sherri? Oh no, I've got two Sherris booked- I must have forgotten to put you down onto the calender when I saw the other Sherri- can you give me fifteen minutes? I was horrified.... I never blow it like that! I'm the guy who's NEVER late... gimme a sword to fall on- how embarrassing. 

Photo: My students, practicing the finer points of splashing each other- can you see how disappointed they are with me?

I had totally blown it and forgotten to log the day's lesson appointment onto my calender. What was going to be a super relaxing cruise up to the surf shop now turned into a mad scramble. I had to load three boards and paddles, bungee them down and get to the lesson beach all in fifteen minutes. Man, you've never seen these little legs move so fast!

Luckily, Sherri and Scott were awesome- obviously too happy, excited and fired up to paddle to let my tardiness ruin their day. And- these guys were naturals. Both hopped right up and started cruising around- a couple pointers about their strokes (end at the heels, crunch through the power phase) and we were off and cruising. The lesson turned out to be a winner and, once again, I am reminded about how cool stand up paddling people are in general. Thanks guys for being so positive! And, yes, I did come right home and carefully go through my whole calender to make sure I wouldn't make that kind of inexcusable mistake again.

But the fun didn't end there. As fast as I could, I stuffed all the boards into the back of the truck, pointed it north and hauled it up the highway to Emerald City. I really wanted to get that board and take a look at it. Shoot- I was itching to paddle the thing! I got to E.C. and found the board just where Kelly said it would be- now I just had to get that thing to my truck. I gave the carton a test-lift.... hmmm, this thing's not that heavy afterall. So I did what I do best and went full caveman-style. No finesse just brute force. Basically I just heaved the thing over my shoulder and trucked it right down the middle of the busy Orange Ave. sidewalk all the way to my truck.

Photo: My brief case is the eight foot bed of my four wheel drive truck... stuffed full of paddle gear.

As I was loading the carton into the back of my truck and stacking the stand up boards on top of it, I had a chance to reflect on what the last nine hours had held for me: Chemistry Lectures, beach cruisers, new boards, new friends, a mile and half stand up paddle in beautiful flat water and a whole lot of lifting, strapping and loading. All under a killer, blue, California summer sky. Man, what an awesome, crazy life I have- can't wait to see what tomorrow will bring (especially since it's my "surf day").

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

All it takes is one good one...

En el stylo del Leper... may you paddle again.

Roll up to the beach just as the sun's setting. Grab the trunks, jam them on and throw on the wetsuit jacket- no time for the full suit wiggle, it'll be dark in fifteen minutes. Pull the 9'1 out, wrap the leash around my ankle and grab my paddle. Bust a little hoot as I hit the sand and see the first set smack the bar- it's glassy and FIRING!

Got to hurry, it's getting dark. Shuffle (always shuffle, always shuffle) into the beach break, time the backwash and knee paddle it towards the whitewash. A little chilly but not too bad, maybe 60 degrees? Pop to the feet, power over the first line of whitewater, scoot over the second. Damn, caught inside- here comes the set. First wave, four foot- just scratch over it. Second wave... not going to make this one, maybe six foot and.... whoa! Here comes Elizabeth, pushing it over the ledge and taking the drop. Yes- that's RAD! Elizabeth, CHARGING... little hoot for her as I paddle into the whitewash and watch her go speeding by. Here comes the payback for that front row view; five foot high pile of angry water coming straight at me- no way I can pop over this one. Quick look behind, nobody there- time to bail. Hope that leash plug repair job holds.

Sweet, no problem. Reel the board back in. Time to get moving- this is not the place to hesitate. Pin the paddle to the board with my chest, chin down onto the deck and start digging deep, move water, move water. Man, this board moves fast. Sprint paddle over a five footer and, cool, I'm in the clear.

Up to my feet, scan the break. Dang, there's a lot of heads out here. At least twenty guys and a cute Japanese bodyboarder girl. It's going to be tough getting one with everyone out here but it's getting dark fast, might as well put all my chips into play and head to the main event. Paddle over to the pier and roll the dice. Getting dark now- maybe it wasn't meant to be. But, damn, there's some good looking ones coming through, aren't there?

There goes Kyle Knox, wham, wham, wham... air... homeboy can surf. Little movement off the end of the pier.... little bit of a shadow on the water, nobody's seen it yet. Start moving to the north, don't paddle too fast- no sense in getting everybody all riled up. Oh yeah, this one's a shifter- it's going to crab sideways up the beach and peak up down the line- this one's all mine. Start paddling a little faster- angle towards the thick part- pick up the pace to hit it right when it's getting steep. It's starting to stand up, the wall's starting to stretch up the beach- wow, maybe this one's not going to do it. Looking like the biggest one I've seen- and looking like a big close out. Getting thick right in front of me. Do or die time, pull the trigger or paddle over the top- what's the call?

Quick look to the right- nobody's going for it. Let's do this! Crank on the Kialoa. Crank, crank, drop the stance, bend the knees, crank- getting hung up in the lip here... this could be bad. Quick look left, impossibly walled- is this a bad decision? Crank, crank... finally clawing myself over the ledge- guys hooting me in from down the line, can't back down now, got to charge it!

Full weight on the front foot, point of no return. Start dropping in, don't stare at the nose or you'll watch it stick right in, pearl up to your knees and get pitched out onto the flats. Stick the drop! Yes! Thank you Stamps for that little bit of nose flip! Out onto the flats, take a look down the line... oh shit! It's squared itself up to the bar- nowhere to go- way to deep into this thing and there's no way out- I'm gonna get creamed.

Unless.... move now! Do it, get the legs jamming. A quick half pump off the bottom, let her drift up into the face- there might be one little seam in this thing, one chance to run for safety- impossibly small and shutting down quickly but maybe... maybe... yes! Turn down a little, easy, easy- get your toes shifted onto the inside rail- now let her run!

No time for turns- just hang onto that rail. No way! It's too steep, there's no way I can hold this line- board's getting all squirrely, tail's starting to slip out. I am hauling ASS. But... I'm dead... any minute now I'm blown off this thing. Wait, wait... why do I keep making it? Holy shit- I think I'm going to squeak through this- hold on, hold on. Guys scratching for their lives down the line and just making it over the shoulder in front of me. Lip line whizzing past my head, it's so dark now that the whole wave looks like a big black blob unwinding in front of me... no way! I'm out... straight through the guts of the beast- I made it!

Release the inside rail and drop down onto the flats- wow, there's still more wave here. Crank down on the tail and feel the fins grab, flex and project- I'm going to tag this thing a couple times before it winds down. Up into the lip, look down, look down... see where you want to go. Wham! Feel the bottom of the board connect with the lip but I'm already flying down onto the flats again. Drop the knees and crank it through another off the bottom, off the top repetition... man this feels good. Wave starting to peter out... waist high now and, damn, I'm in front of the hotel- what a killer wave. Drift over the back. It's really dark now- paddle back out for more? Nope, sometimes all it takes is one good one. There will be more good waves- but not tonight. Glide up onto the sand. Homerun baby. See you in the morning.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Surf Spot Super Computer.

We all want to score fun waves. To win in this game, you need to interpret the tell-tales, the little clues and subtle signs that mother nature waggles in your face. Some are easy to see: the way a flag points or the angle of a wave train as it approaches the beach. Others are a little more low-key, a little extra static in the air, a little extra dessicative irritation in the nose.... a whiff of burning chaparral (here come those Santa Anas or is it Santana's in the old timer's parlance). Either way, they mean nothing unless the old supercomputer between the ears can make some sense of it all and concoct an early morning surf strategy.

Here's a simple example of surf spot calculus: Winds out of the north you go to ___(fill in the blank)___. Winds out of the south then it's a run to ____(fill in the blank)___. And that's just for dealing with wind direction. Now, factor in tide shift and magnitude, swell direction and period and, most important of all, proximity to a solid breakfast burrito. What you're looking at is a complex, multi-variable equation that hopefully barfs up a surf spot when it's all said and done.

Big Chad and I put our heads together and came up with a lumpy Sunday solution. Our calculations were spot on- we scored some fun little waves. We got it all except for that breakfast burrito (every calculation involves a margin of error, right?)... but there's always next time- as long as the conditions call for it. 

Photo: Big Chad, rolling in... Waikiki comes to San Diego, well almost- the water was in the low 60s.

Photo: Big Chad- a little surprise section... and a tube for the end of his paddle.

Photo: Perfect conditions for my big 10'6 Stamps Ninja Bump.

Check back Monday night for the little video I cobbled together... I call it, "Study in Yellow"

Saturday, August 21, 2010

My favorites: Here's a couple from the archives that I really like

Got a tip from a friend about all of my old vids... here's two of my favorites. I think I've posted/shot/edited about twenty videos over three plus years of keeping powered up... it's been fun and it's always cool to look back. Check 'em out:

Find more videos like this on Stand Up Paddle Surfing

Find more videos like this on Stand Up Paddle Surfing

Oh yeah: Anybody have trouble getting my latest mainland Mex video to load up? Here's a link to it: CLICK HERE

And here's the video embedded again if you missed it:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Uh Oh.. now I'm in the PIG PEN.

So I'm out watering my lawn when the phone rings:
Me: "Ye... low" (Actually, I wish I could answer a phone all cool Steve McQueen style like that- my actual greeting... all business: "This is John Ashley", I'm not even Burt Reynolds status with that am I?).
On the phone: "Hey John this is Stu, where are you?"
Me: "I'm watering the front lawn (I know, I know- things are just too exciting over here at world headquarters, right?)"
Stu: "I've got something for you... I'll be there in three minutes"
Me: "Okay (I told you, I'm a master conversationalist aren't I?)"

Check out what got left behind on the lawn: 

Nope, it's not a new stando. This is one of Stu's Flying Pigs- but this one is upsized, supersized, jumbotronned... whatever. You might call this version, Boss Hog or Papa Pig because it's big, thick and nasty. And, yes- it's got two holes in the deck that go straight through to a channel in the bottom, no stringer and was made from a left over cube of styrofoam- that little pig is definitely a porcine bad ass.

Stick around, I'm surfing it tomorrow morning- I'll keep you posted.

The Four Day SUP Travel Spot: "Must Haves" For A Quick and Dirty Surf Trip

Straight up, here's what I think makes a stand up destination spot a good one for the four day surgical strike:

1. Driving time from airport to surfspot is no more than an hour. "Our" surf spot is a forty-five minute drive from the local airport. This is important because you want to be in the water that first day and you can score a nice two hour session if you jam through customs and car rental and get there quick. The biggest drag is getting off the plane, amping for a surf, only to sit in a car for another three hours- especially if you've only got three more days to work out your cutback.

2. Spot must be a point or reef. Points and reefs have a solid substrate producing a predictable wave- you don't have enough time to sit around waiting for a sand bar to set up properly- that could take days and that's time you don't have. Go with the known producers.

3. Spot has a wide open swell window. You don't want a spot that's as finicky as Paris Hilton in a library ("Oh my total god, they all have so many.... words... in them!)- you're looking for a swell vacuum. You want a spot that will inhale even the tiniest little depression out there and turn it into something do-able.

Photo: Proximity to the local pub might be a qualifying item for the ultimate spot- preferably close enough to walk/stumble to and from, at night, without a flashlight. And a ping pong table to settle disputes is also a plus.

4. Accommodations are clean and must have a private bathroom.You don't need a Four Seasons with chocolate truffles on the pillow and toilet paper swans on the commode but on the other hand... a functioning privy is high on my list of must haves. Especially if your gut gets invaded my a swarm of Mexican microorganisms that make your lower G.I. flow like the Ganges in high season. If that happens and your running for the throne every twenty minutes, you'll be happy you've got your own personal toilet.

5. In the tropics, must have A/C. Man, when it gets as dank as Rosie O'Donnell's armpit and the humidity reaches the triple digits in the middle of the night, A/C makes it bearable. There's a reason that electricity was invented- it's called air conditioning. Unless you like sticking to the sheets like your prom date in early June, seek out the spots that give you an A/C escape cave... and then proudly crank that thing to high all day- and all night!

6. Varied local eating options. Got to have options: Pizzas, sopes, tacos, spaghetti, arroz con pollo... bring it on. Why? Because I eat- vigorously.

Photo: Here's a couple that almost made the list: Must have excellent, fresh mango smoothies and free wi/fi internet access. 

7. Other surf spots within an hour's drive from the home break. Always nice to mix it up- and if a spot is only forty minutes or so away, it makes the early morning spot check a possibility.

8. Accommodations are walking distance to the home break. You might as well live the dream, right? Don't we all want to be able to stroll out onto the lanai, coffee cup in hand, in our boxers and check out a long left hand point break peeling off right in front of us? Being right there also puts you in the prime spot for the forty minute surf session. These little micro-sessions get you into the water when the surf-shifts are changing (you know, the dawn patrollers switching out with the yawn patrollers- that switch time gives you a forty minute window of solitary surfing- as long as you can act quickly), you'll also be able to enjoy a couple of cold ones, spot the glass off and get on it before everyone else has even waxed up.

9. Cold beer easily available. Do I really need to explain this?

Photo: Travel tip- bring Coolies for keeping things a couple more minutes cold in the tropics... thanks Emerald City!

10. International destination so you get to meet cool people like Slovanian surfers and Swedish sunbathers (!). Traveling is about meeting people and experiencing other cultures. If I had to travel thousands of miles just to hangout with a bunch of B and C grade pros from Orange County I'd just drive up to Lowers and wade out into the zoo. You want to get to a spot where the participants are a little bit more exotic- wouldn't you rather buy a round for a Columbian Women's Surf School than jockey with the San Clemente High School surf team?

The Big Question: Does such a surf spot exist? You tell me.... I promise I'll keep it on the hush/hush!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Land of a million cutbacks...

Small and mushy and super fun... land of a million cutbacks!

Click here if the vid isn't playing correctly.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Want to know how it feels? Take an X-acto Knife and jam it into your foot...

Shuffle your feet. Even in six inches of water. Shuffle 'em. Today I got skewered by a stingray. Right through the bottom of my gnarled out, I-wear-flip-flops-everyday-so-my-feet-are-like-elephant-hide foot. My hard earned foot armor didn't even put up a fight and that hit ruined what would have been an awesome stand up paddle session (glassy warmish water and gawd-almighty... sunshine!) Here's a couple bits of info you'll want to know about getting hit by a stingray:

1. No, it's not a "sting" like a bee or a jelly fish. It's a puncture, like stepping on a nail, a big, nasty, sharp nail that puts a hole into you. In this case, it was a razor blade thin slit that went about a quarter inch into me- deep, blood-oozing, deep.

2. Yes, it's going to hurt like HELL. The lifeguards talk about grown men crying... I didn't shed any tears (I just have allergies, those aren't tears) but my foot was throbbing from the core and the pain was working it's way up into my ankle and calf.

 Photo: At least there's somebody around who feels my pain.

3. It starts with a bloody gash... the ridiculous pain comes about a little later. It's the poison that's got to work its way up into you... don't worry, it'll come. Count on it. 

4. No, peeing on it doesn't work. Hot, hot, hot water and bucket big enough to get your foot all the way into it will help- but not immediately. No, you'll be treated to a stupid amount of agony, totally disproportional to the size of the little bastard who stuck you.

5. Shuffle your feet, take your time and shuffle 'em.

This sucks.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

What's this all about???

By the time you read this I'm sure I'll have wrapped about a hundred cutbacks and surfed over a mile- that's right, heading to the big left southern point breaks... again. Yes!

This is all I need for a four day surgical strike (clockwise from the bottom): $400 in pesos (in two hundred peso notes), Headhunter sunscreen (the best), Sony Reader (loaded up with a couple of good reads), head lamp, back up set of Future Fins Gerry Lopez Thrusters, sunglasses, sound canceling headphones, O'neill longsleeve rashy with the back zip pocket (must have for Mex.), two pairs trunks, four tee-shirts, "going home" clothes (in plastic bag), full size tripod (hoping for some video footage), Emerald City coolies, FCS back up leash (FCS, the best I've tried), screw top water bottle (for mixing up Kool-aid which makes warm water taste good), couple of cameras and some SD cards. Done.

For boards: I'm only bringing one this time- 9'1 Stamps Viking/Bump in the FCS stand up board bag (I've heard they stopped making them which is a shame- they were great travel bags).

I'll try to post from down south.... check back, amigo.

Friday, August 13, 2010

A couple of shots from the road...

Just some eye candy to get you thinking...

Photo: This is how it's done in first class.... don't think I'm ever going back. The B.Ms flow like water and there's room for a man to stretch himself out and think a little bit... or something like that.

Photo: My view fifteen minutes ago... yep, that wave it just as long as you think it is.

Photo: The tail end of a real long one... surf's going to be good tomorrow. We're off to the Ranch early... paid a kid 200 pesos to shoot video... we'll see what happens!

The Unwritten Rules of Baja Travel: Redux...

Funny- in the last week I received two requests for me to reprint this little piece that I wrote a couple years ago. I don't know- they seem like good rules to me, let me know what you think:

The Unwritten Rules of Baja Travel

1. Person who supplies the vehicle and drives never pays toll for the pay road.
2. Driver's responsible for filling vehicle with gas and buying insurance before everyone meets up for departure.
3. This isn't the city bus- all travelers meet at Driver's house for load up.
4. Passengers should offer gas and insurance money- driver should never have to ask.
5. Never claim "shotgun". Always concede the seat to anyone older then you, more experienced then you, meaner then you.
6. Organize all of your stuff into one container (size dependent on trip length) your gear shouldn't be strewn all over the vehicle.

Photo: Buy the driver a taco you cheapskate (see Rule 14). 

7. Don't be a food troll- if it's offered then go for it, if not- make something of your own.
8. If you're making some food- make enough to share, if you can't- be discrete.
9. If you're a kite surfer, the driver never self-launches.
10. If you're a passenger, don't tell the driver how to drive or where to go- unless asked.
11. Drivers, no sketch passes- I've never had a passenger who was mad because I drove too slow (well, there was one).
12. Passengers cover all parking fees.
13. Lunch is on the passengers.
14. A surf trip is to and from a discussed spot, don't drop a sudden side trip to your Uncle Barney's house in the TJ suburbs on the crew.
15. Don't decide to buy a large clay pot, surfing monkey or Elvis statue that in any way takes up space in the vehicle.
16. Driver picks music (if you don't like Bluegrass hillbilly music, don't ride with me).
17. If you're new to the crew, don't talk too much. Listen more then you talk.
18. Don't eat the last sandwich (sorry Kiwi).

Photo: The Baja Sunset... follow the rules and you might get to witness one! 

19. A chair that was brought into Baja is the sovereign nation of its owner. It doesn't matter if it's left unattended for hours, in a Baja camp, it is still the rightful property of its owner- and is reserved exclusively for his ass.
20. Bring contraband into Mexico...with me? Are you sure your in the right blog? Jah won't mind if you don't commune with him for one surf trip- get stoned at home.
21. When it's time to load up- start grabbing stuff and moving it- even if it's not yours, move fast and snappy- don't linger.
22. Coming back, at the border- don't start cracking jokes or flirting with the border patrol agent- after jockeying in the line for two hours the last thing I want to do is go to secondary because you were being cute.
23. Drivers- before you volunteer your vehicle it's up to you to make damn sure its reliable- not reliable, forget it!
24. Never invite yourself on a Baja trip- if guys are discussing a trip and you want to go, try this approach, "What time are you guys leaving? Is it okay if I follow you down?".
25. Bring your own beer or pitch in for the beer run- if you don't, DO NOT even asked for a beer and if offered one refuse-at least the first time.
26. Be the guy who always just grabs the pots and pans and goes down to wash them- without waiting or asking. This will get you back in the truck for sure.

Photo: Here's what you're after... be a good boy and you just might score!

27. Back in the States, at the drop off point, it's always a nice gesture to offer to help clean up the vehicle or move the drivers gear.
28. If you're the passenger in a truck with a camper on it, do not assume you'll be sleeping in the truck unless it's been discussed previously- be self sufficient.
29. If there's more then two guys in one vehicle, do not bring more then two boards.
30. Bring extra wax.
31. Practice Beer Management: Take one out put one in- simple.
32. And for goodness sake, close the cooler!

Way past surf trips

 Editor's Note: Maybe you've noticed that there are a couple of "team members" here at We've got Big Chad, Kylie K., Wally (who's dropped off the face of the earth... where you at Wally?), Mystic Oaron and probably the most fired up, southern-boy paddler that I know- Captain Ron. The good Captain holds court in  Florida, shapes his own stand up boards (been shaping for decades it turns out) and every now and then throws together a nice little piece for ol' We're stoked to have him and I for one get fired up like a possum on moonshine (is that "southern" enough, Ron?) when I see he's thrown something onto the site. Check out his vintage photos in this next piece- they're killer:

Dreaming of surf trips in the near future makes me look back to trips long past, a few faded old polaroid pictures of some good times deep in the Central American jungle. These were the days when a trip to Centro America was an adventure. took 8 hours to get anywhere and the possibility of losing the 4x4 rental car in a river was a 1 in 4 chance. Worth it? Hell Yeah!

(photo) Jaco Beach Costa Rica back when Jaco was still a cow pasture... Me sliding down a fun easy left with my buddy Shawn taking a shot with a disposable water camera. The cross A's in the pic was my old surfboard label. Yeah, I rode shortboards once upon a time.

This is probably the most beautiful right point I have ever seen. Its called Back Wash Bay. Right after this pic of me taking off the wave gets hit by the back wash from the steep beach and goes from a friendly head high to double over head, you really have to be ready or you will get launched 20ft in the air. Oh yeah the very sharp rock lava flow is just a few feet under my board. But what a fun wave, Scarlet macaws in the trees on the beach, Monkeys and the occasional jaguar. You cross 3 rivers to get to this wave and nearest powerline and town was hours away.

(Photo) The cantina on one of the longest lefts in the world,  Pavones. This was a good trip,  the take off was 20+ foot on the face for 2 weeks straight. Pretty sick. Even though I am a regular footer, I don't care- this wave kicks azz.

(Photo) Now this is a secret left poimt and probably the most magical wave I have ever riden. It breaks well over a mile ride one start to finish and you won't see your friends for a hour and the walk back up the point to the paddle out area is over 2000 steps for me. I counted once.

(Photo) Pavones one more time going off. Yep, that is me doing the backside lowtide Pavones stay-high-don't-catch-a-fin-on-a-rock-and-run-for-all-you-can manuever. At high tide it breaks up where my wife was taking the pic from. What a bunch of fun...
Peace and good travels to all,
Capt Ron

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Have Pump/Will Travel: Europe with an inflatable stand-o

I just had a nice chat with Emerald City's Vicky Carson- one of the original south bay stand-o women. It turns out that Vicky just got back from an extend excursion to the old country- a trip she decided to spice up with an inflatable C4 stand up board. She was stoked on how it all worked out... I was stoked by some of her shots. Check 'em out:

Photo: Here's our girl in the canals of Amsterdam... note high-tech, electrolyte replenishing, re-hydrating sport drink in Vicky's hand. Evidently, if the Dutch think you're doing something super cool (like paddling a stand-o in their canals) they reward you by handing you a beer. Yes.

Photo: So this was Vicky's travel rig.... there's a board, paddle and pump in one of her two bags. I'm not a big fan of the inflatos but I can understand the convenience. Vicky told me that this C4 inflatable was a super improvement over the other air bag boards out there- maybe there's a test paddle in my future.

Photo: "I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your board up" Here it is- Vicky said it was killer. This one is an 8'1 iSUP Sub-Vector it can float up to 160 lbs and inflates in five minutes.

Photo: How's that.... castle in this photo (easy guys)... this is Vicky's sister paddling in Turkey. Vicky told me that the water was so clear you could see a hundred feet down to the bottom from the middle of the channel. I told Vicky that this photo alone is going to get me a thousand hits. 

Photo: This one's titled, "World's Whitest Human Being". You ever peel the two black sides off an oreo- then break the white middle part in half? That inside middle part- that's how white this guy is- but he's having fun... let's just hope he's sporting SPF 100.

Thanks Vicky for the killer photos. Look up Vicky's Facebook page at supcoronado.