Saturday, June 30, 2012

Baja Lesson #2: Know where you're going...

Lesson #2: It sounds obvious but if you don't have the basics figured out (Seven Sisters area? Strictly winter time) your paddle trip might just end up being a case of chasing rumors and myths. Or, in my case, you might end up asking yourself why you're slowly melting into polyester sheets in a 106 degree cinder block box masquerading as a hotel room. Solution? Get a map or some type of guide (try or bribe your local surf guru with a six pack and you may even score San Jose on that next south.

Update Alert: I'm in Costa Rica right now!!! Long day of travel involving a plane with some type of malfunction that had to be left on the runway in Houston... that's a new one for me. Spending the night here in Liberia and then off to the Nicoya peninsula tomorrow. Excited to post up some photos so with your permission (or even without it) I"m going to skip over Baja for just a bit and post up some paddle surfing in Costa Rica stuff! Yahooooo!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Paddle Surf Baja: It ain't easy.

If you want to stand up paddle Baja California, you've got to know a few things. First of all, driving the Baja Highway ain't for the timid. The road is narrower than you are used to, there are no shoulders (the pavement simply drops off at the edge- perfect for rolling a car) and the truck drivers like to play matador games that will get your sphincter clamping like a hydraulic vise. Other than that, it's bitchin- if you know what you're doing.

Check the next couple of posts and I'll get you Baja-educated with some pointers. 

The infamous Hector memorial. These little markers are set up by the families of those who've died along the road. Hector's used to be just that little model of the truck he presumably used to drive- it's getting bigger every year. Like I said, the highway is a dangerous route, take your time and be alert.

Lesson Number 1: Buy car insurance. Yeah, I know, your buddy told you that you don't need it because your credit card's got you covered or the toll road on the cuota pays your insurance while you're on it, or your car insurance actually covers you in Baja- these excuses are just a list of maybe situations. Let me give you a certainty: If you get in an accident in Baja, you have just broken the law. And, if you don't have auto insurance- you just made your life much more uncomfortable, in Baja, in jail. So do it- get yourself covered, it's easy to do. 

Here's how I do it: Go online and buy it at This is a no brainer, select the coverage you want, pay on their secure site and then just download and print the policy. Easy. These guys are known in Baja- if you have a problem and the officials see that you've got a BajaBound sticker everything get's real tranquilo- believe me, I've been there... but that's a story for another post.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

More Maui: Stand Up Paddle Surfing, Maui Wave Riders and Loco Moco

Maui was a great getaway from the June gloom of San Diego. A quick flight (four bloody marys and a couple bags of peanuts) and you're there- landing on a windy, fragrant island. And the water's warm too. 

We were fortunate to have a friend on the island, Ina Tagaloa. Ina played host to us during the stay, showing us around the island, setting up boards everyday and showing us the best places to eat. I can not begin to adequately describe the hospitality and warmth that Ina shared with us. I hope that someday I'll get a chance to show my new friend around - and maybe stick an extra ten pounds on him as repayment! 

Here's a few extra photos from Maui:

Maui Wave Riders corporate office- does this qualify as the best cubicle in the world? Ina works for Maui Wave Riders and it was through them that were able to get boards and paddles everyday. If you ever get over to Maui, make it a point to stop by and see the brand new shop that they are building- and check out their complete line of stand up boards and paddles. They are definitely good people.
MWR location, right across the street from Kalama's a surf spot that has to be THE best place to learn to surf or stand up paddle on Maui- their new building is going to be killer. 

Summer time is the brutal season for surf on Maui- brutal meaning it's tough to find waves. Our secret weapon was Ina- he'd know where to go each day. Let's get this straight- it was small- but it was super fun and the water was warm. Here's something else to know, everybody surfs on the islands; girls, grandpas, grandmas, uncles, aunties, kids, rippers... everyone. It's cool to see how they all get along- and how well they all surf.
It's called Loco Moco and I cannot resist it...
South swells have to sneak in to Maui- but they do and it's fun to stand up surf there.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Mikey's Board Room - Humble Beginnings of a Stand Up Paddle Board

If you are riding a custom shaped EPS board built in Southern California, you're probably riding on WNC Foam. 
The crew at WNC are the real deal. Originally an architectural foam builder, the crew saw the need for quality EPS blanks and WNC Surf was born. I for one am stoked to have a quality EPS foam supplier just minutes from me. 

Mike Jean gluing up a blank.
WNC offers a full catalog of stringered EPS blanks from short board to SUP. They also have a wire cutter on site with the ability to read CAD files for your specialty blank. 

Humble beginnings. This bad boy is 1lb EPS foam ready for the wire cutter.
If you are looking to build your first SUP, or are an experienced backyard shaper, go check out what WNC has to offer! 

Stay tuned for the next installment!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lagging... but having fun. And while I was away, we busted a half million!

Jeez, I haven't forgotten about this place! I've just been out and about- down south, up the coast... and way down south. But here's where I am at: I've got a lot more to say about my Maui trip... a lot. Especially surfing with my friend Ina who showed me real aloha... and about the unreal food that I sampled on that beautiful island (oh yeah, I packed on about six or seven extra pounds- REAL FAST too... going to have to get back on the lean train!).

I'm also currently typing this from southern-ish Baja California where it got so fricking hot that I seriously was afraid of drying out in the middle of the night and dying. But that's another story for another time. Until then, here's a couple of snaps from each of the trips to keep you occupied:

This is bruddah Ina Tagaloa who took us out to one of his favorite spots... which I will tell you all about soon- promise (although I'm sure somebody will chime in with the spot's name soon). Ina's got the biggest heart on Maui- getting us into some fun surf and killer food... and laughing the whole time- thanks bruddah Ina!  
Looks nice and traquil, eh? Loading up the Ramble Wagon in southern-ish Baja and it's 106 degrees in the shade, muthaf#$%er!!! Are you kidding me??? This one's a good story- which you will hear about soon.
And for those of you who care about things like this... we busted a half million hits on this site- which I guess is cool in some way. Thanks guys and gals- more stuff coming soon!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Watch your feet... or always follow the local boys through the keyhole!

Stand up paddlesurf in Maui? Well, you're gonna know what a keyhole is- and if you don't find out quickly, this is what will happen to you:

When you step on a vana, this is what happens. Those black dots are the spines of the sea urchin embedded in your skin... um, ouch!
Hot tip #1: Take some time watching where everyone is getting into and out of the water. Here in Hawaii, since most of the breaks are over rock and reef, you've got to find the safe channels through the vana covered hazards. The safe, sandy channels are called keyholes and they can be very narrow and tricky to find so definitely slow it down and take notes when you get to the beach. Once you've found the safe entry and exit keyholes, look for a marker on land so that you can find them from the water.

See the little sand channel that leads through the rocks... that's where you want to walk when you're coming in or going out.

Our friend Ina told us how to handle the vana spines in your skin. I guess it happens all the time around here- more on that later!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Paddle power breakfast... Maui-style!

Breakfast #1, Lulu's Restaurant, Lahaina: Kimchee fried rice (it's gone by 9am so get there early!), eggs over easy and three grilled pieces of spam... paddle like a maniac all day long.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Must do... Maui!

Stand up paddling was reborn on Maui. Blame it on Laird. Or credit the big man because if you're here reading this chances are that you're just as crazy about this stuff as I am. If that sounds like you then you've got to make the pilgrimage to our paddling Mecca... Maui! I'm here now, just finished paddling a fun little reef break and am having a great time. Check out these photos: 

Oh yeah, it's really small- but even small here is considered fun back home... especially if the water is in the mid-70s and the sun is shining.
Plumeria... everywhere. Reds, yellows, whites, sunsets... all colors, all over the place.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Now this is called "getting your back foot into it".

Check out this Tahitian ripping:

Mikey's Board Room - Yeah I suck...

So I pretty much blew it after my last write up and never got to finish up the lighted SUP project. George Gall of Plus One sent me the first water run with the board a few weeks back. Looks like it was a success!!!

Watch the wake off the bow, it wasn't just about the lights, this board has all the makings of a purebred race board...
With that out of the way, I'm hoping to get on here and be a little more active as I originally intended. As summer approaches and the sleeping shapers come out of their cocoons, I think this will be the summer of the one off SUP builds...

Stay tuned!