Join the Battle with Mauli Ola Foundation and Vote in This Year’s Battle for the Breasts

It’s that time of year where ‘voting’ is synonymous with our everyday vocab and is also the theme of every mainstream news media outlet across America. All monkey suits, hair barrels, deleted emails and unpaid taxes aside–this particular contest is way more fun.

I mean WAY more fun and goes towards an amazing cause.

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All Photo Courtesies: Mauli Ola Foundation

In case you haven’t noticed, things went a little ‘pink’ on Surfline’s site October 4th. That’s because…

–>October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and in honor of this month, the Mauli Ola Foundation is featuring their third annual Battle for the Breasts (#B4TB) online surf video contest on Surfline’s potent platform.

Sixteen professional women surfers are paired with 16 cancer clinics and/or foundations. Each surfer will submit their top video clips to Surfline every Tuesday morning in October for a chance to win their clinic/foundation up to $125,000 in hereditary breast cancer testing vouchers, which are donated by Ambry Genetics.

FACT: According to the American Cancer Society, it is estimated that 246,660 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women this year and out of this number, about 5-10% of cases will be caused by inherited genes.

Inherited whaaaksdhajkj–you say? Genes are those little letters in our DNA that determine stuff like your eye color, height and other things like that. Genes are passed on from your parents and can sometimes contain a mutation, which can be the cause of good and bad things that might occur in your bod. The genetic testing vouchers can provide women with early detection of breast cancer so that early treatment can possibly help prevent breast cancer’s progression.

So, now that I’ve ‘splained it all, there’s only one thing left to do–watch these incredible women rip apart your dream waves and vote for your favorite clip:

 

Confess: How Does the Ocean Make You Feel?

Sometimes no words can describe how it feels to be in, near or on the ocean. There are times where one simple word pinpoints it all. Conversely, the ocean experience has produced many essays, books, poems, songs, art and even scientific studies. Like individual personalities, our ocean experiences are often unique and special.
In one word, I found out what the ocean means to some of my agua-junkie pals.
Mahalos to my friends who shared their photos and words!
"Wet."-Rob Grasska
"Wet."-Rob Grasska
"Wet."-Rob Grasska
"Alive." -Bekah Baylock
"Alive." -Bekah Baylock
"Alive."-Bekah Baylock
"Tranquilo."-Josh Baylock
"Tranquilo."-Josh Baylock
"Tranquilo."-Josh Baylock
"Home." -Devyn Hartnett
"Home." -Devyn Hartnett
"Home."-Devyn Hartnett
"Present."-Jen Castelo
"Present."-Jen Castelo
"Present."-Jen Castelo
"Life."-Lucho Soto
"Life."-Lucho Soto
"Life."-Lucho Soto
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How does the Ocean make you feel? Share your photo and include the hashtag:
#TheOceanMakesUsFeel

Calavera Swimwear: Keeping Your Eyes on the Waves

 

IMG_8264We all love a good show, but when it comes to surfing, the only thing that should be center stage are the waves, right? As a woman who is consistently in the agua, finding the perfect bikini that is both stylish and functional has often been a challenge and has made me one helluva bikini connoisseur–a picky one, I might add.

Enter Calavera Swimwear.

Gents, it’s time to forget about our lovely Ms. Blanchard’s  notorious bottom turns for a second and consider what a woman really wants out there in the deep blue. At the end of the day, girls just wanna have fun, and, let’s be honest, for the everyday surfer girl, we want to look good and nail solid backside hacks without the full moon view or surface from a luscious duck dive or turtle roll with all of our goods intact.

Or we just plain want to be in, on or near the water with no worries. Period.

Calavera swimsuits does just that: both stylish and very functional suits designed and manufactured in Los Angeles, CA, this suit stays put on the bod and has become a staple ‘kini in my surf gear.

DSCN3362 (2)“We test our suits in Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica, one of the toughest waves in the world, with the idea that if they hold up in those conditions, the suits will hold up for anything,” said Calavera Swimwear Founder Anna Jerstrom.

I decided to put the Reversible Halter Top Stripe and the Core Hipster Bottoms to the California test a-la point and beach breaks. This suit saw San Clemente State Park’s hollow waves, Salt Creek’s insiders and overhead Trestles, and (on the gentler side of things), Doheny’s soft right handers. It did not budge from my bod–not to mention I felt like the female version of James Bond in the water. The top is specifically designed to avoid strain around the neck, which makes it very comfortable for hours of activity.

 

Instead of elastic bands around the edging, Calavera features ties that don’t wear out as fast as your standard bikini. You can also can tie them yourself and adjust the “hold” for your bottoms. I love this feature because all too often, elastic quickly becomes shot in the sun and salt water, which ultimately retires the bikini.

In addition to awesome designs, color palettes and solid functionality, Calavera ships their bikinis to you sans plastic wrapping! Environmentally conscious efforts, especially plastic reduction, are a major bonus that I look for in companies these days.

Calavera has passed my bikini test with flying colors. No matter the duck dive, wipeout or turn, everything stays on AND in comfortably throughout my ocean activities. And I feel great in my suit!!

To all of your surfer girls and athletes out there: I challenge you to give their ‘kinis a shot at your homebreak.

Whether your rip, glide or flounder, this bikini will stay on you. The only show the boys should be watching is that last hack you just pulled in the critical section, right? ;)

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Talkin’ Trash in HB

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Photo Courtesy: Coastal Playground

After more than 10,000 pounds of trash picked up through 67 total beach cleanups so far, Coastal Playground Owner and Founder Andrew Sneddon is far from calling it quits.

“So far in Huntington [Beach], we’ve been able to achieve some amazing results with our consistent monthly cleanups,” said Sneddon. “With three additional cleanups in Seal Beach, South Orange County and Oahu, Hawaii, we will be able to amplify our message considerably.”

Coastal Playground is an ocean-enthusiast clothing and lifestyle company who works alongside non-profit organizations such as Orange County Coastkeeper. Focused on educating the public about the importance of clean beaches and environmental sustainability, Coastal Playground donates 50 percent of their proceeds towards keeping our beaches trash-free and they want to continue the push for three more cleanups in one month.

During the team’s latest event on Saturday May 14th at Huntington Beach’s Brookhurst street, over 500 volunteers of all ages picked up about 475 pounds of trash within 1 hour and 45 minutes. The windy morning weather didn’t put a damper on anyone’s spirit as people collected trash of all shapes and sizes. Plastic debris smaller than a pencil eraser to large metal structures burrowed in the sand were dug out and added to the growing pile of trash. Between all of the volunteers, collecting litter became much like an Easter egg hunt–a good problem to have!

And let’s not forget saving a few of those Tuna Crabs in between trash-hunting at the shoreline! :)

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Photo Courtesy: Coastal Playground

“With three additional monthly beach cleanups, we will not only be able to pick up three times the amount of trash, but we will also reach thousands more people with our project,” said Sneddon. “This creates an army of ocean protectors!”

As surfers, we often notice our fair share of trash on the beach or even floating out beyond the breaks. However, most of the litter seen burrowed in the sand or found by a creek bed does not come from beachgoers.

“60-80 percent of the pollution that we find on our coastal waters and beaches actually originates 40-60 miles away, so that can come from places all the way as far as Riverside all across Orange County,” said Director of Clean Up OC Julia Williams.

In addition to keeping the coast clean, Williams also holds creek cleanups, as well.

Remember that high school chem class? Pollution basically comes in all forms-from solids to liquids as well as gas. Although it is not impossible for a regular Joe or Jane to actively reduce pollutants in gas and liquid form (see ‘hybrid vehicle’), it is entirely possible that while walking to the shoreline, Joe or Jane might pick up a few items and toss them in a nearby trashcan.

Not only are solid wastes like plastic, styrofoam and aluminum foil hurting our marine life, these items also like to wear out their welcome in our natural environment. Common things like a plastic bottle take 450 years to decompose, according to the Department of Economic Security.

Give back to your local beaches and help keep them clean! For more information about how to get involved in your local Orange County Coastkeeper cleanup, click here.

Help fund Coastal Playground’s campaign to add three more monthly beach cleanups! Donate to their Indiegogo campaign.

A Journey on the Pacific Crest Trail with Sean Jansen

Sean Jansen is a rare human being who delights in the most amazing and intimidating of experiences. From driving solo to the further outreaches of desolate Baja coastlines to braving Northern California’s frigid large surf, to taking off for years on end to travel the world, he’s always got an adventure up his sleeve–which is why I didn’t flinch when he told me about trekking the ENTIRE  Pacific Crest Trail.

Born and raised in San Clemente, Calif., Jansen grew up surfing San Clemente’s wide variety of waves and absorbing the beach culture lifestyle. He currently enjoys chilly surf breaks, incredible nature preserves and a solid Eel River IPA about 950 miles north of his hometown in Humboldt county. Since a Lower Trestles session in 2010, he’s been a good friend of mine and has continually motivated me to surf harder, go outside of the proverbial orange bubble and enjoy nature.

According to the Pacific Crest Trail Association, this infamous PCT stretches 2,650.10 miles from Mexico to Canada. PCT spans across mountain ranges, valleys, deeps forests and deserts–a photog’s dream for pictures a-la National Geographic.

To no surprise, Jansen hiked 131.06 miles beyond the calculated amount: 2,781.16 miles

I recently caught up with Jansen about his hiking journey of epic proportions:

1.) What made you want to hike the entire PCT?

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Photo Courtesy: Sean Jansen

 

It was kind of like a culmination of a bunch of things.

I was living with my parents in Montana and was working construction saving every single penny. Within three months, I had saved several thousand dollars saved and had the option to go travel again, but I was kind of bored of traveling, as weird as that sounds. I wanted to do something different. A friend posted on Facebook that he was going to hike the PCT and that kind of re-invigorated my desire to want to hike.

I think it was just going to be an awesome thing that would further push my career to a higher level as a photographer and journalist. I can only imagine the images I would be able to capture if I were to be in nature every single day while experiencing the beauty the Lord has blessed us with on this planet. I think that’s the number one reason—just to get away from everything and go experience nature out there beyond highways, beyond jet planes–beauty that your own two feet can show you.

It’s your own will power to see the beauty that I’ve seen and that’s probably the number one reason.

2.) How did you mentally and physically prepare for this journey?

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Photo Courtesy: Sean Jansen

Mental preparation was really bad, I didn’t mentally prepare at all. My cousin decided to give us a ride to the southern terminus, which was only a 2 hour drive from San Clemente. My friend was getting all giddy in the car saying “Can you believe we’re about to do this?” and I’m just like “No, not really.”

It’s not that I wasn’t excited, I just wasn’t overwhelmed by the emotions of 90 percent of the people. It wasn’t until I woke up one morning on the trail and was like “Holy crap, this is actually happening.” And after I hiked the first 10-100 miles, that’s when it was really setting in. I  was realizing that I’m really out there and really doing this to see what I can really do.

The whole purpose of the trail was for me to learn every ounce I could learn about myself and the trail.  The mental and physical preparation was all a giant learning process. I would never change it to this day.

3.) What were some challenges you faced? Biggest challenge?

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Photo Courtesy: Sean Jansen

 

 

Every day was a challenge, mentally and physically. The trail was a challenge, because it changes every single day. You go from the desert, to the mountains, back to the desert, through snow, rain and wind.

You have to face challenges with other hikers–whether you accidentally fall in love with someone within the first week and you broke up with them and you have to keep seeing them. There were challenges dealing with friends that you got to know really well, but they decided they wanted to hike faster and took off and you never saw them again.

In every way you can think, there was a challenge. I kept saying the number one word of the trail was “change.” Everything about the trail and you changes with every step you take. You change personally, physically and the trail changes–so I can’t really pinpoint a challenge.

As photographer, I had to take off my backpack, pull out my camera (which weighed a couple of extra pounds), and put the camera back in the bag while everyone walks on. The photography aspect was my biggest challenge because:

1.) You’re carrying more weight and

2.) You have to get really creative.

It’s exhausting, but it was worth it.

4.) Any close encounters with wildlife?

Yes absolutely—but I was never nervous or uncomfortable. You would hear stories about people who would have terrible encounters with wildlife—where they got charged at by a bear, for example.

In Oregon, well past dark, we always sleep with food inside of our tent. I literally had a bear scratching at my tent where my friend would’ve been. The next morning, there was fresh bear scat around my entire tent.

In Oregon and Washington, we would always hear Elk bugles ferociously close. That was probably the scariest of what we came across on the whole trail because once we got to Oregon and Washington, it was during their mating season and they’re notoriously territorial and aggressive.

5.) What supplies were you carrying along the way?

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Photo Courtesy: Sean Jansen

Beyond the fact that I’m a photographer and a fly-fisherman—I had a 65 liter backpack, which was overkill. It was way too big, which was a little surprising for what people think. One of my biggest concerns, before I started the trail, was where I was going to get water every day. So what you find out on the trail, was at least once a week, sometimes a little longer, you would get a re-supply of food because you would come across a highway or town.

In a typical backpack, you would carry food, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, clothing, a lighter, cooking gear among other stuff.  The average pack weighed without food or water was about 20 pounds. Some of us even carried solar panels on our backpacks to charge our gear. I had my camera gear and two batteries, one lens, a couple of filters and a tripod, which was an additional 7 pounds.

At my heaviest point, which was in the desert section where I carried 8 liters of water, my pack weight about 70 pounds. But as I drank water and ate food, my pack became lighter each day. Everyone else was in the 45-50 pound range.

6.) Any special secret spots you can talk about?

In the big bear area, there was this section of trail called the Deep Creek and a lot of us liked this because there was a hot spring. I followed a day hiker to a cliff jump spot, which was 200 yards off trail and I just ended up spending a day and a half there doing nothing but cliff jumping in 90 degree heat.

There was also lake with a waterfall along the John Muir trail section of the PCT that looked it was in either Tahiti or New Zealand—like it didn’t belong in California.

7.) What was your most memorable moment?

Of course, when you walk towards that northern terminus, seeing the border of Canada after hiking for 180 days straight—that is something I will never ever forget along with the people I did it with. I will never forget that.

It’s really just the small moments that create a giant memory. It changes your life, I get emotional thinking about it. There are so many small memories that create this giant pandemonium moment.

8.) How did your feet feel at the end of the journey?

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Photo Courtesy and feet sacrifice: Sean Jansen

 

As far as feet goes, the beginning section was rough because of the blisters and the new stage your feet are going to get into, then towards the latter section of the trail is where injuries occurred. I probably took a week off total.

The first month, every single day, I was popping blisters and covering them up with some sort of bandage. Towards the middle stage of the trail, I was fine, but towards the latter session of the trail, I started getting plantar fasciitis in Oregon—where the muscles in your feet just don’t want to work and you can’t bend your toes. It was very painful, but with a couple of days rest, ice and Ibuprofen, I was fine…and whiskey helps.

9.) Any epic life lessons you want to share?

Photo Courtesy: Sean Jansen

Photo Courtesy: Sean Jansen

In retrospect, it’s really funny. I’m a total weirdo and I connected with every single human on that trail and all of us were weirdos, which worked out. We just didn’t care what people thought of us or about how bad we smelled in public. It was a huge life-changing opportunity, especially being from San Clemente, where in high school, image was everything. The whole trail was a life lesson, appreciation of everything—nature, yourself, other people around you.

10.) Do you foresee more long-distance hiking in the near future?

Photo Courtesy: Sean Jansen

Photo Courtesy: Sean Jansen

A lot more. In 2017, I’m going to do the Appalachian trail, which goes from Georgia to Maine.

In 2018 I’m hoping to hike the Continental Divide trail, which goes from Mexico to Canada. There’s a trail in Europe that goes from France to the Czech Republic. There’s definitely one in New Zealand that goes the entire span of the country.

Hiking is 100% part of my life now. Slow and steady is the best way to see the Earth.

Click here to check out more of Jansen's PCT photos as well as tons of amazing surf, nature and travel pictures.

Strike a Pose: 6 Yoga Postures that Improve your Surfing

Whether you shred the gnar or gracefully glide across the face of a wave, it is common knowledge the best exercise for surfing is, well, surfing! However, out of the million billion workout trends found beneficial as a cross-training source, yoga often pops up onto almost every surfer’s radar one way or another. If you treat it like a workout (see “hot yoga sculpt”) or as a way to decompress, a yoga practice has something for everyone.

“For surfers, the focus is a lot of heart opening, arm and back strengthening postures,” said Tiffany Martin, Warrior One Wellness Owner and Yoga Instructor. “Surfers are often already in that halfway lift point, so in postures like Up-Dog or Baby Cobra, your legs and toes are still active, which are really important for balance, strengthening and back support.”

Legendary pro surfers like Gerry Lopez and Greg Long have long-since cultivated disciplined practices and, as a result, have improved their surfing and breathing techniques, according to a Surfer Magazine article “How To Save Your Surfing with Yoga.” In some instances, such as Long’s Cortes Bank wipe out, learning to calm the mind and holding breath under extreme duress are a few factors that can play lifesaving roles.

There are hundreds of yoga poses that can benefit your surfing. Customize at will!

Here are 6 yoga poses to get you started, courtesy of Tiffany Martin:

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1.) Chaturanga danda, a.k.a.: Low Plank

How: Bend your upper and lower arms 90 degrees at the elbows. Shoulders should not drop lower than the height of your elbows. Hold this pose for 30 seconds or more!

Benefits:

  • Strengthens arms and wrists
  • Tones abdominal muscles
  • Strengthens quads

2.) Urdhva mukha svana, a.k.a.: Upward Facing Dog

How: Start by lying face down on the floor with legs extended behind you, toes a few inches apart. Place hands next to your lower ribs. Inhale and press your hands into the floor, pushing your body upward. Firmly press down through the tops of your feet.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the spine, arms and wrists
  • Stretches chest, shoulders and abdomen
  • Improves posture

3.) Bhujangasana, a.k.a.: Baby Cobra

How: Begin by lying on your belly, inhale and place elbows under your shoulders, forearms on the floor. Make sure your thighs are firm and point your toes behind you. Breath deep and feel the bend.

Benefits:

  • Stretches shoulder, chest and abdominal muscles
  • Decreases stiffness in the lower back
  • Strengthens arms and shoulders
  • Strengthens the spine
  • Elevates mood
  • Improves circulation of blood and oxygen

4.) Adho Mukha Svanasana, a.k.a.: Downward Facing Dog

How: Bend your knees, come to the balls of your feet. Bring your shins parallel to the mat and lift your sit bones high and back. Press hips towards the wall behind you and begin to straighten your legs. Remember to keep your head out of your shoulders and allow your shoulder blades to slide down your back.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens arms and legs
  • Stretches shoulders, hamstrings and calves
  • Lengthens spine
  • Energizes the body
  • Calms the brain and helps relieve stress

5.) Paripurna Navasana, a.k.a.: Boat Pose

How: Sit on the floor with straight legs in front of you. Exhale slowly and lean back on your sit bones lifting your legs with knees bent off our the floor. Your thighs should be angled at 45 degrees. Hands can be held out in front of you or to the side. Remember to breath.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens abdominal muscles, hip flexors and spine
  • Stimulates kidneys and thyroid
  • Improves digestion

6.) Eka Pada Rajakapotasana , a.k.a.: Pigeon Pose

How: This pose is ideal to implement while you are in Down Dog.

From Down Dog, bring your right shin forward and down so that your right foot is in front of your left hip and your right shin is nearly parallel to the front edge of your mat. Flex your right foot. Stretch your left thigh back as you draw your left hip forward.

Lengthen your belly as you fold over your right leg. If your right hip does not easily reach the floor, place a folded blanket or block under your right sitting bone. Breathe deep and repeat on the other side.

“Hip-opening can help release the low back and the legs,” said Martin. “You can only get so open in the upper body if your hips are super tight, so that’s a needed balance for practice.”

Benefits:

  • Strengthens abdominal muscles, hip flexors and spine
  • Stimulates kidneys and thyroid
  • Improves digestion
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Yoga has become a popular pastime for many people across the nation and world. Check your local listings for classes in your area. Free classes are also available–a simple donation is usually requested at the end of class.

“I started a beach yoga class at Doheny state beach in Dana Point,” said Martin. “Come join me! It’s every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8:15 a.m. and I also teach privately at my house studio.”

In addition to teaching at several local studios, Martin also developed Warrior One Wellness, a fitness company, where she hosts yoga sessions for different treatment centers, corporations, events and parties.

Click here for more information about Warrior One Wellness!

Yoga offers many health benefits for not only surfers, but also dancers, athletes and the mass populous in general. According to The Yoga Health Foundation, yoga can reduce cortisol levels, which contribute to stress and weight gain. Even a small amount of daily stretching can improve flexibility and blood flow, as well as decrease the potential for injury, said the Mayo Clinic.

Keep an open mind, remember to breathe through the hard parts and watch your physical and mental well-being transform over time.

Springtime Stroll

In an effort to not waste a beautiful day, I took a Saturday stroll through beach-side neighborhoods in search of spring blooms and other interesting views.

Mauli Ola Foundation and friends hold ‘Surf Experience Day’ at Torquay Beach

Mauli Ola Beach Experience Day from STAB on Vimeo.

This incredible nonprofit organization is dedicated to providing hope to individuals living with genetic disease by introducing the ocean’s healing properties as a natural therapy through surfing and other ocean-related activities.

“What makes MOF so amazing is that it not only grants an opportunity for kids to get active, have fun, and build their confidence, but it also introduces the ocean as a natural form of therapy,” said Ambry Genetics Pediatric Product Manager and Mauli Ola contributor Christy Moore. “Hypertonic saline is a treatment for people with Cystic Fibrosis, and the best source for it, for people who are healthy enough, is the ocean!  Sometimes kids can even skip a treatment that day after being in the ocean.”

For more information about MOF and how to get involved, visit: mauliola.org

 

Patrolling the Dawn, Vol. 2

February 25, 2016 // Dana Point, California //

Off-shore winds lightly rattled my windows while crawling out of bed and rubbing my puffy eyes to the sound of a 5:30 a.m. alarm. My board was already tucked in my car the night before, just needed to throw my wetsuit in the trunk, in case I decided to actually paddle out into the forecasted huge surf. :)

The view from Strand’s parking lot made any question in my mind about paddling out a definitive ‘no.’ Large sets could be seen from the top of the stairs rolling through, lurching and then mercilessly pounding the sandbars.

Later that morning, for the first time in seven years, the 31st Annual Quiksilver Eddie Aikau big wave invitational was held at Waimea Bay on O’ahu’s North Shore.

I CONFESS: I’m so glad I brought my camera.

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