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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

This has nothing to do with stand up paddle- but it's gnarly!

As some of you know, I'm a new dirtbike moto rider. I suck, I'm boring but I'm safe. Sometimes, however, it's not about you- someday, your number just comes up. Check out this moto rally racer and what he runs into- or what runs into him on his way to the finish line.... gnarly!!!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Southern Baja Paddle Surf Video: Tubes, turns, dogs and sand surfing...

This is one of my favorite paddle surf vids. I made this one back in 2009 on a three week trip down to the southern tip. That's me on the lime green board and my good buddy Matt Wilson on the big red board. We got some great waves that trip. I had to run into Cabo to pick up a buddy at the airport on the day that it turned into tube riding perfection. Still, if you look closely at the opening clip you can see that I just about almost get into a nice little one.

Find more videos like this on Stand Up Paddle Surfing

Tim Stamps: Custom SUP shaper in the Surfer's Journal

You know what's cool? Tim's paid his dues. He became a board maker the old school way, from grom to man; first sweeping the floor of a legendary shaper's shop (Rich Harbour, Seal Beach's Harbour Surf Boards), fixing dings, sanding boards, painting boards, and then finally getting to shape a few of his own. That's decades of experience. I'm honored and lucky to be on his boards- get this issue and read all about him- better yet, get on the horn and order one up before it becomes almost impossible. 

Excellent boards from a great guy.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Fat Ass: Stand up paddle boards aren't made for the tube.

Stand up boards are wide. Even the narrowest ones (26" is a really narrow stand up board) are whales compared to modern surfboards. That's why it's so difficult to tube ride a stand up board. The wide tail and fat hips generate so much speed that our boards won't hang easily in the really steep, powerful cup that forms the opening of the tube. Time and again, when faced with a good barrel section, I've had to "hang out the laundry" (check out the photo to see what hanging out the laundry means!) to slow myself down to even get the smallest cover up. Barrel riding a stando is tough. I've come to the conclusion that it's more about anticipating the section, stalling a bottom turn to punch yourself into the hook, than simply pulling up and in as you fly down the line. And more often than not, if you're jamming down the line to make sections, you'll miss the tube. Unlike J-Lo, a stando's fat ass is sometimes a pain in one.

Photo: Manny Vargas,

Friday, July 27, 2012

Stand Up Paddle Surfing: Southern Baja

Baja dreaming! My photog buddy Wally snapped this of me from two years ago. I love this photo, the color of the water, the fun little wave - stuff like this get's me itching to jam back down there right now. This winter, I've got three whole weeks- if I can pull together the gas money, the boards and my favorite people, I'm gonna charge it. I'm thinking a low budget surf mission: camp out on my land (I've got half a football field of desert a few miles up the road), sleep in the back of the truck- cook my own meals, buy my Pacificos in the returnable bottles.... like old times- all over again.

A fun, southern Baja runner... only 1200 miles away and worth every hour on the road!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

San Diego: A great place to be a stand up paddler!

Tons of possibilities!

San Diego is a great place to be a stand up paddler- fun surf, lots of beach break, a few good reefbreaks and lots of excellent burritos to fuel it all. I love this place!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Stand Up Paddle Surfing: Beachbreak Tubes Part II

Lots of wind on it early this morning... another case of the blahs. Here's what it can look like around here when it all comes together. Check out Dr. John getting ready to paddle into a clean one:

This is what the Fall looks like around here... hopefully.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Stand up paddlesurfing: Beach break tubes....

Man, we've had a heck of a dry spell this last week. Hurts especially bad when you find a shot like this to remind you of just how good our little beach break can get.

Looks like I'm jousting or something...

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sometimes happiness is in your own backyard!

Poached this shot off a friend. I surfed down the beach from this spot for almost two hours with one other guy. I'm not sayin' where- but, damn, it was firing! Funny how I traveled all over the place this summer and ended up scoring the best surf right down the street from my house.

That's John T. trying to slow it all down for the barrel on his 8'4" stando... check out the right on that thing too!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Costa Rica: You like jungle, you like plants?

Cool flowers everywhere you look... nice and green during the rainy season.
Everywhere you look, things just want to grow!
Shapes, colors, flowers... the jungle let's everything grow.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A little bit of south starting to show!!!

You can feel it in the air... humid, thunderheads blowing up over the mountains to the East... some rain drops during a weirdly tropical mid-morning rain shower. Something's in the water too- there's more angle to the busted up little lines rolling through the pier and the foam has that pushed from TJ's sewer outfall look to it (yeah, gross I know but we surf it anyways... don't like it? Don't get in the water... viral crowd control). There will be waves- I'll be checking it at high tide this evening.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Costa Rica Stand Up Paddlesurf: A couple surf shots.

It's been a pretty dismal summer in San Diego. Our trip to Costa Rica was a nice break from the May Gray/June Gloom of our home break. Check out these surf shots from Costa Rica:

Get up, make yourself a cup of coffee and check the surf... hmmm, looks promising!
Half way through a plate of gallo pinto (basically the national dish of black beans, rice and maybe an egg on top with salsa Lizano...mmm) and it is really looking good out there...
So it's off to hook up with Steve, the owner of Coconut Harry's surf shop in Nosara. Steve's got a nice selection of stand up gear and he's a paddler so he'll point you in the right direction.
Here's all you need to know!

Wow- Just caught this on Paddle With A Purpose

Local surf creature, Spiderman, just sent me this:

This is Jodie Nelson's organization, you may remember her from her solo paddle from Catalina to Dana Point where she was partially guided by a whale. Check out her site here.
I'll be checking my calender to see if I can link up with the paddlers- you should check yours as well!

Get more info about this event here.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Costa Rica Stand Up Paddle: Just got home and am finally able to post photos!

I just got home from my Costa Rica stand up paddle surf trip. I had a little trouble posting photos from my ipad so I had to wait to do that until I got back here in San Diego. Here are a few, I've put them in chronological order and will post more in the next few days:

Costa Rica is a jaw dropper- everywhere you look there's something beautiful going on. This is from the northern part of Costa Rica, the Guanacaste. The beach is called Playa del Coco- there are good waves nearby but it's a mission to get to them. If you're into flatwater paddling, though, you just walked into a paddling heaven.

I'm a science guy- so that means I'm into plants, birds, reptiles- you know, National Geographic type of stuff. These flowers caught my attention, don't they look like brittle stars? This was my fifth (sixth?) trip to Costa Rica and it's pretty much standard that you will see something new each time you visit. 

This was home for a week. I know, it was a jaw dropper of a place to stay. We have some extremely nice friends who are semi-residing in Costa Rica and they invited us to come down, surf and see the arribada. The arribada is the mass arrival of sea turtles to lay eggs on the local beach. We missed the big invasion (it mostly happens during the wet months of September and October) but we did get out at night to see a mini-arribada. I watched a turtle land on the beach, crawl up the berm, dig out a hole and lay her eggs. That was something I'd always wanted to see and it answered a question I had about the egg laying process I'd had since I was a boy. Basically, how does a turtle dig such a symetrical, deep hole? Answer: The back flippers are basically flexible and have the bone structure of your hand, the momma turtle reaches down, scoops out sand and flings it off to the side. Amazing stuff.
Turtle tracks up the beach. I was excited to see this one track... little did I know what was waiting for me around the bend... (see next pic).
See all the tracks? There were hundreds of them up the beach! This was a small arribada, we were told that during the major events, there are so many turtles that you can't even walk on the beach without stepping on them. I also got a chance to touch a turtle egg. The eggs look like a slightly crushed ping pong ball and they are much tougher and flexible than chicken eggs.
This was our commute down to the beach, it's a real jungle walk. While we were there we saw: a howler monkey, an armadillo, a coati (google it), olive ridley turtles, iguana and a billion voracious mosquitos.
More photos to come!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Costa Rica Stand Up Paddling: Local Knowledge Means Hidden Treasure

Remember that point break we were checking out? We lucked out and got a chance to surf it yesterday. The spot is just about as perfect as it gets for stand up paddling; far from the crowds of prone surfers, long and fast. There were just three of us trading off waves until the place chewed through our gear and lumped us up enough to send us home with our tails between our legs.

We are fortunate to have friends who live in the area who knew we'd want to connect with Steve, the owner of Coconut Harry's surf shop. It soon became obvious to us that Coconut Harry's is THE shop to go to for rentals and surf information. Even better, Steve is a hardcore stand up paddler and, best of all, he's got his own perfect SUP surf spot. Steve is the kind of guy that stand up paddling needs more of- he's a courteous stand up paddler, understanding where and when stand up surfing fits in the lineup. We chatted for a few minutes about paddle surfing and before you know it, we were setting up a little excursion out to the point.

First of all, if you think you'll find this place- forget it. You'll need a guide. The spot is at the end of a maze of twisty dirt roads and the launch is a tiny little, jungle covered beach. Once we got there, I was kind of blown away. A quarter mile out and tucked into the lee of a little point is a reef/point setup with a right hand peeler that heaves up and wraps for about two or three hundred yards. We launched off the beach and made the paddle, it was one of those kind of places where it looks smaller than it really is. Once you're there, you realize that the wave packs a punch and being out on an open water reef, there's a lot of water moving around, it's definitely not a beginner spot.

It was a challenging wave with a jacking take-off section. It was large enough that we were dodging clean up waves that would surprise us by breaking outside of what we thought was clear water. Most of the best ones went unridden. It was just a matter of determining how much of it you really wanted to take on. Honestly, if I had a more robust set of cojones, I would have paddled farther up the point and snagged some of the double overhead wedges that were bulldogging through up there. As it was, I was happy enough swooping into the overhead walls that were charging down the line. Believe me, even at mid-point, the waves had enough grunt in them to kick your ass. And that place inflicted some damage, my leash snapped like a piece of peanut brittle. I made a fifty yard swim for it and knotted a bowline into the broken leash, hoping it would hold for the rest of the session.

Steve charged the place- he told me he most often surfs it alone since he can't find anyone to go out there with him. Heavy. And, he said, the day we surfed it was about a 5 on the 1 - 10 scale. Days ranking 7 and 8 are typical with a few 9s tossed in every month. He commonly scores it completely glassed out, head high and peeling- a regular footed surfers dream. We surfed a few screamers but eventually the spot gnawed through Steve's leash too and slapped a semi-concussion on my girl friend Liza's head (she was charging it- dropping into a legit double overhead macker and getting swallowed up- read about it at we decided to quit before we really screwed something up.

What a day of surfing! Photos coming.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Costa Rica Stand Up Paddlesurf: Off to check a pointbreak!

We're checking out a solitary right hand point this afternoon- rumor has it that it's a perfect Costa Rica stand up paddle surf spot- keeping fingers crossed!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Costa Rica- I forgot how beautiful you were!

The last time I was here was probably ten or twelve years ago. Needless to say, a lot has changed but, honestly, it hasn't affected the place as far as I'm concerned. It's still drop dead gorgeous here. Going to stand up paddle tomorrow and hopefully catch an mass arrival of egg laying sea turtles here on the beach (it's called an arribada). I did get a chance to surf and the place kicked my ass- big, beach break meat grinders that had some kind of problem with me showing up. Collected a couple of mosquito bites and drank a bunch of Pilsens. Things are looking good. Will post photos when I figure out how to get this ipad to cooperate.