Monday, April 14, 2014

Scott's in Surfgirl too

Scott and I did an interview with Louise from Surfgirl a little while back. You can find it in the spring issue. The title of this edition is We Are Family: Surf Kin. It focuses on the ties we weave through surfing that make our relationships with the sea and each other stronger. I really enjoyed looking through it (and the smell of the fresh, new pages... man. I love that smell). There's also some great articles about healthy living, saving the earth, riding big waves and making surf connections. You can order a printed copy online, buy a digital issue or find it at your local Barnes and Noble, if you're interested. As always, thanks for your support guys! Hope you had a good weekend! 

 +photo by our friend Jason (thanks Jay!)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Surf Footage, Tequila, Success!

I was never really worried that this trip would suck. Of course, when the airplane went missing a few weeks ago, I tried not to watch the coverage on TV since I wasn't sure what good could come from it and it definitely might have encouraged my mind to wander towards its unreasonable side pre-takeoff. 

Best friends who used to live together, but now only see each other every few months (if we're lucky)... would things be different? Maybe, but I wasn't that concerned about that either. Some things you choose and some things you don't. Basia and I chose to be friends, we chose the cities where our adult lives would begin, but we wouldn't choose to let things change between us. We never had to talk about it for me to know that.

Bad weather? That didn't cross my mind at all.

There was one thing though, that I thought stood a chance kill my buzz some days. 

Getting good surf footage: my joy, my misery.

Sometimes I try to make up my mind about whether it's better to re-live a good wave on video or in my head. Usually most people surf better in their mind's anyway, so it might be the call to store the memories there. But then, sometimes it doesn't seem enough. I want to see the wave from another perspective, hold it in my hands, bring it home with me and share it with other people I know would feel the stoke. 

And then there's the fact that acquiring good surf footage can be so unattainable. Having someone to film you with the right equipment and the proper attention; having good waves and rousing crowds, the right mindset. If it all comes together and you get really memorable waves you can relive, it's kind of intoxicating. When it doesn't, I begin to wonder if I should return some of the confidence surfing's allowed me to borrow from time to time. 

The first day of the trip, I got some good waves on film. The other days, I got less. But, whatever. I have the rest of my life to surf, let's hope. The Sea of Cortez was just an hour away. Basia promised to shake my head and blow a whistle in my face while I drank a shot of tequila. The Pescadero skatepark was hiding somewhere in the Cerritos hills and if I wasn't going to feed the stray dogs the Pedigree bones I bought from the Soriana, I'm not sure anyone else would have. 

On the last day, Scott and I surfed all morning and Phil filmed us. I fell a bunch. My last wave I thought was good, turned out to be pretty uninteresting when played back, but we swam in the pool at the local hotel and ate quesadillas and it didn't matter. There was even the elusive Wi-fi we hadn't used since home. One thing we didn't have though, was surf pictures. Scott lugged the water housing from San Diego to Mainland Mexico to Cabo, and so far, for nothing. So even though we were tired and the waves were bad, we knew what we had to do. 

After some more closedout, scary waves that had me worrying about breaking my neck, I told Scott I was going in after one more. He popped up from a long hold-down and agreed. 

One thing I had been working on at this surf spot all week was my backside off-the-lip. When a left came to me, I knew no matter how blasé I was about my surfing performance, that my adventure in Mexico only stood to be enhanced by making this one last turn. 

When I was showering off afterwards, Scott came to tell me he had missed it, but he was lying :)

{+photography by Scott
+accommodations by The Osprey San Pedrito}

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Mexican Habits

Rhythms and habits are hard to break, but not impossible. 
What's more challenging is to remember this wild life we created while we were away and not want it back.

My finger nails were always dirty there.
Sometimes I didn't brush my teeth for the full two minutes.
I never drank out of the tap or watched TV. 
I woke up every morning before seven and sat in my bed trying to decide if I wanted surfing to be work or play.
I drank tequila in the afternoon.
I didn't turn on my phone for four days and if hadn't been for my mother and Phil's international T-Mobile plan, we wouldn't have even known there was concern about a tsunami.
I left beans in their open can in the fridge. Normally, I always use glass or tupperware.
I didn't go outside much after dark for fear of mosquitos.
I learned something new about Basia every day.
When I went in to the bathroom, I reached for the light switch next to the door, but it was behind it. 
"Mexican construction," our host had explained.
When I came home, I knew I was going to reach for the light switch behind the door, instead of beside it. If our bathroom had been the same shape, I probably would have.
Habits change.
And that is vacation to me.

{+Our accommodations were provided by The Osprey San Pedrito
+I highly recommend eating at Hierbabuena, the organic restaurant pictured above which is down the street from The OspreyThe ingredients for the food, including homemade soups, fresh squeezed orange juice margaritas and wood fired pizzas, are all harvested from the garden that surrounds you as you eat. 
+Some photos by Philip Nowak }

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Little Things: Mexico

The truth is, I thought we'd have the internet. I thought I would post and share some thoughts with you while we were in Mexico with Basia and Phil. The other truth is, I'm not that sad it didn't happen. As with just about anything, some time away can be good. I think, in a lot of ways, that was the theme from this trip. 

Time away from Scott in the beginning while he was at a bachelor party in Puerto Vallarta gave me sleepless nights and a fervent longing for him at almost every moment (I swear, the sun didn't seem as bright), but I also appreciated him more. Traveling with all our surf crap by myself was stressful, sweaty, hard work. Dealing more with the money side of things (something he has mostly taken charge of since I cried over our tax forms three years ago while recounting and blaming terrible memories from middle school math) was a challenge, but the good kind. The general sentiment of "I need space" I was kind of giving my family before I left was quickly followed by a small hidden homesickness I wasn't expecting. But that was the good kind too, I think. 

I am always led back to the general theme of gratitude, which is what this series is about. Here are some of the little things we found in Mexico...


+ we had a killer picture of Basia holding a blue shot glass of tequila in the caribbean-colored waters of La Paz juxtaposed with her silver and aqua marine rings, but the camera card deleted it (and all the photos from that day)...?? This one of her with another blue drink isn't so bad, though. 
+Scott picked his favorite little thing to be his swim fins. Two minutes after this photo was taken, he lost one to the Pacific. Good thing he just got some birthday money. 
+Phil's favorite little thing is Basia, so he tried to fit her in his hand :)

p.s. thank you for all your sweet notes and comments while I was gone! I will try to write back soon :) 
p.p.s. The Osprey San Pedrito helped sponsor this adventure. I miss that new little home already. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

How to do a Bottom Turn

While we're in Mexico, I am hoping to do a lot of bottom turns. Here are some tips I thought I'd share on "the most important turn in surfing". 

Step 1: Drop straight down the face. For me, I usually have to tweak my feet a bit because I don't typically stand up in just the right spot. Instead of having my feet parallel to each other, I usually like to place my front foot kind of diagonally over the stringer, while my back foot is right on my tailpad kicker, perpendicular to my stringer (see the first image in this sequence for a visual). 
Step 2: Eye the section you want to hit. To execute a vertical off-the-lip you will want to time your bottom turn just as the lip is about the throw (like in these pictures below. Although, honestly, I think I'm a bit late). If you want to throw an on the face slash or some variety of a spray topturn, you don't have to wait for the lip to appear before you make your way up the face. 
Step 3: If you are going frontside (like I am in these pictures) lean over your toes to get your board on its inside rail (going backside, you want to lean on your heals). Sometimes I even put my back hand down in the water. This can help you keep your balance and direct your turn, but mostly I like doing it because it assures me that I am getting low enough. Keeping a low center of gravity is key. 
Step 4: Make your way up the face by eyeing the spot you want to hit and turing your body so your front arm is towards the lip and your back arm is behind your back, winding up for the hit at the top. Putting pressure on your front-foot will give you the drive you need to make it up the face. Putting pressure on your back foot, over your tail, will help you pivot.

The next step after the bottom turn is the top turn

Just about every surfer that knows what they're taking about will tell you the bottom turn is the most important turn in surfing. "It sets you up for the whole wave", they will say. Writing this post has made me realize how much I really need to work on mine more. 

Here are some other thoughts on the subject from friends in the know (mostly :)...

"[picture it like a clock] i try to go 6 o'clock, right toward the beach, then try to head for 12 o'clock. sometimes frontside I proceed this with a little speed pump or 1/2 way up the wave top turn helps, but you really gotta try to flow the speed pump str8 into the bottom turn. for some reason backhand i like to just go str8 for 6 o'clock and head for the beach right on the drop and whip right in to the bottom turn. lots of times when i look over my shoulder and it appears that the lip is 2 steep and that im way to late for the top turn, but most the time i surprise myself and get an exciting b/s hit with a little freefall. hope some of dat makes sense!" ~Dave Dorosko

"I always found that bent knees help a ton. When I was sitting in the water filming in the days leading up to the Hurley Pro, even though everyone had different types of maneuvers off the top, every one of them was really compressed off the a coiled spring." ~Chris Grant, Jettygirl Online Magazine 

"Step 1: sit on your bottom Step 2: turn!!" ~my friend Stephanie Kraft (do not do this :)

"stick your butt out really far for style" ~Darrell Gray (I couldn't tell if he was kidding or not, but this is actually kind of true).

Here's a picture of Kelly Slater doing one of the best bottoms turns I've ever seen (and sticking his butt out), plus a few more thoughts on the subject from the pros. If you have any of your own tips, please feel free to add them in the comment section! 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Thankful Things

This week I'm thankful for ...
everything being exactly the way it is right now;
for all the things that make my life mine.

"The earth, that is sufficient, I do not want the constellations any nearer, I know they are very well where they are, I know they suffice for those who belong to them" ~Walt Witman

I'm also thankful for the fact that we're headed off to Mexico. I'm thankful for that because I'm looking forward to spending time with friends and being influenced and inspired by new surroundings. Traveling usually has the tendency to remind me not to take life so seriously. 

My dad told me there was some study done that found that people get the most enjoyment out of a vacation while planning it. This has never been true for me because I somehow channel the anxious energy that arrives in the face of leaving my comfort zone in to unproductive tasks like printing things off the internet and pasting them in to my journal. I also usually repack my suitcase three times (Scott's note: "at least").

What are you thankful for this week?

I hope you have a good weekend and thank you for all the support (and especially for sharing your thoughts on this post). Adios for now! 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

$100 Giftcard Giveaway to Kahili Creations + Thoughts on Jewelry

I realized the other day how much I love jewelry. It's not that I thought I didn't before, but I've never really lingered in the windows of Tiffany's or longed to be decorated in diamonds. Usually I have on what Scott calls my "permanent jewelry". An anklet that I got almost ten years ago on a family trip, my wedding ring and the two rings I got on our honeymoon that I consider my wedding bands. Usually a watch too. I love wearing this jewelry along with a necklace or bracelet that makes me think of things I love (people, places, nature...). I think jewelry is probably one of my favorite things to shop for or receive. 

I've had a few jewelry shops sponsor the site so far and I've had them here because I really love their jewelry and what it represents; the person and the story they'd like to tell. 

Today Kahili Creations is offering a $100 shopping spree to one winner! Their jewelry is handcrafted on the Big Island of Hawai'i by Marcia, a ukulele player that loves 80s music and has a lot of good stories to tell herself. Check out her shop and enter below to win store credit (U.S. Residents only). Learn more about Kahili Creations here

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