Just a Quickie to Mexico

South-bound feels so good to hashtag…post…Tweet…or vocalize…whatever your communication fancy, tell it to the world, be stoked and unplug, if only for a day.

A couple of friends and I crossed the U.S./Mexico border for a couple of days and had the time of our lives, san distractions. Some times it is SO necessary to shut off the noise from everyday life and seek out another adventure that’s beyond a desk, phone or face-to-face.

Mexico’s great for that.

I CONFESS: I’ve got that old familiar itch and I intend to scratch it.


 

Good friends=Good times

Good friends=Good times

 

How to Make the Best Coconut Smoothie

Going a bit coco-nuts

Going a bit coco-nuts

If you follow me on any social media, you know I’ve gone a little coco-nuts with my recent obsession with cocos. If one thing was consistent about my experience in Nicaragua, it was this:

Every morning my friend Katie would wake up at the crack of dawn to pry into one or two freshly picked young coconuts to create the most energy-inducing smoothie for our pre or post-surf sessions. For daily three-to-five hour surf sessions, this drink proved to be beneficial and never left us feeling hungry.

When our trip came to an end, Katie inspired me to take a crack at coconuts at home. So instead of caffeine with a standard breakfast,  I’ve been trying this smoothie every morning.

This ain't Jamba Juice

This ain’t Jamba Juice

I CONFESSI don’t use a machete to crack open my cocos, so I would like to caution anyone who decides to crack open a coconut for their first time. If you must use a fresh coconut, don’t jeopardize your digits and other appendages by whacking the coco with an 18-inch machete blade. Your fingers are more valuable than the 8-to-10 ounces of water and meat inside the coco. Be safe and use other tools to get into that coco. I use a large knife to shave off the top and a flat head screwdriver and meat tenderizer to break into the coco. *Many thanks goes out to my roommates who get to hear the incessant hammering :)*

Or you can simply purchase the water!

It cracked open nice and neat.

It cracked open nice and neat.

For this recipe, we will stick with the basic store-bought coconut water:

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces coconut water
  • 2-3 tablespoons of cacao powder (not to be confused with coco powder-unlike coco, this product does not contain any sugar)
  • 2-3 pitted medjool dates (the meat from these dates is thicker than other dates)
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2-3 ounces coconut meat
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

*Serving size: 1*

What you might get from one young coconut

What you might get from one young coconut

Directions:

Blend all of the ingredients together in your licuadora (blender) and drink immediately! You won’t be disappointed. :)  In this recipe, it is best to use a young coconut because there is more water inside and the meat is less fatty. Experiment with other ingredients, too! Add some flax seed or maybe your favorite protein powder! Spinach can make your smoothie creamier, not to mention packed full of iron. Berries are tasty, too. I threw in some papaya and it made my smoothie super creamy! Whatever your palate wants, give it a try! My friend created a gingerbread coconut smoothie from fresh ginger and coconuts. I hope I get to try it! :)

I bought freshly pressed cacao powder in Chinandega, Nicaragua.

I bought freshly pressed cacao powder in Chinandega, Nicaragua.

Some info on coconuts: According to the Library of Congress, the coconut is loosely considered to be a fruit, a nut and seed, although it is formally considered a ‘drupe’ to botany freaks. A drupe is a fruit with a hard stony covering that encapsulates a seed. Drupes often have three layers and come in forms like avocados, peaches, pistachios and coffee beans.

Coconuts are also packed with protein, they have more potassium than a banana and contain tons of electrolytes and healthy fats–an overall amazing combination for surf fiends, like yours truly. However, if you are going for broke on your workout or surf sesh, do not solely rely on coconut water, as it does not contain much of the necessary mineral sodium that you loose when you sweat.

For me, I never felt fatigued after surfing my brains out…Coconuts or bust!!

After I got back to the states, my Christmas list went a little something like this:

1.) Machete or big knife

2.) Swiss Army Knife

3.) Hammer and nails

4.) Water Purifier

…you get the idea. My dad’s response:

“So you want a treasure map, too?”

Only if it leads to perfect waves and coconuts, dad. ;)

Young cocos await their fate on a black sand beach in Nicaragua.

Young cocos await their fate on a black sand beach in Nicaragua.

Surf Speak in Spanish

It's times like these where communication is key...not to mention super fun!

It’s times like these where communication is key…not to mention super fun!

On my recent trip to Nicaragua, I found myself socializing with nothing but spanish-speaking locals. I was so stoked  because mi español became muy mejor and by the end of my week-long trip, I was helping my friends translate. There’s nothing like submerging yourself!

Cinco cocos verde.

Cinco cocos verde.

Daydreams of those perfect warm water barrels should include a little español because once you get down there, not only does everyone talk nothing but Spanish, but many people also might not understand much (if any!) English. Therefore: es muy importante para practicar su español!

I CONFESS: My practice did not begin until I was reading the safety guide while my flight rolled down the runway. The first thing I picked up really quick: this ain’t Mexico…people talk very fast! Time to buck up.

So while you continue to get shacked in your dreams, insert a little Spanish speak so reality won’t hit you like a ton of bricks being laid out for that awesome language barrier.

“Me gusta tubos en Nicaragua!”

Ok, snap out of the barrel/bikini/hot salsa dancing scene for a second and float back down to reality: no matter which Spanish-speaking country you decide to trip-it to, bring a Spanish-English dictionary. I don’t care how many apps you download onto your smartphone, you need a book. Other than draining your battery, apps tend to require a wifi signal and although most places might have a signal, it won’t be there all the time and readily available.

Iguana on a stick! Julio negotiates dinner options: green or black iguana?

Iguana on a stick! Julio negotiates dinner options: green or black iguana?

 Diccionarios are a cheaper safer route and won’t cost a pretty penny if it gets ruined. If your dictionary gets wet, simply lay it out in the hot sun and presto! It’s still readable. Iphone gets wet? That’s a $600 bummer.

So for you traveling surfers, assuming you made it beyond the aeropuerto and have reached your calle to an undisclosed locale, consider these words before paddling out to any pico:

Surfing (verb): ….Surfeo or Surf

Beach: ……………..La Playa

Surfboard: ………….La Tabla

Pico

Pico

Ocean (noun): …..Mar
Water: ……………..Agua
High Tide: ……….Marea Alta
Low Tide: ……….Marea Baja
Small waves: ….Pequeñas olas
Big waves: …….Grandes olas
Tubes or Barrels:…………….Tubos
Rocks: ………….Rocas
Cow:………………Vaca
Horse:…………….Caballo
Chicken:…………Pollo
Sting Ray: …….Pastinaca
Jellyfish: ………Medusa
Fish: ……………Pescado
Shark: ………..Tiburón
Boat: ………….Barco
Sand: ………..Arena
Wind: ……….Viento
Rain: ………..Lluvia
Sun: ………..Sol
Hot: ………..Caliente
Cold: ………Frío
Right: ……..Derecho
Left: ……….Izquierda
Island: ……Isla
Secret:…..Secreto
Puesta del sol

Puesta del sol

Paddle (verb): ……..Chapotear
Strong (strength):Fuerte
Strong (force): …….Fuerza
Happy: ……………..Feliz
Sad: …………………Triste
Tired: ………………Cansado/a
Fun: ……………….Divertido/a
Today: …………..Hoy
Tomorrow: …….Mañana
Tonight: ……….Esta Noche
Late: ………….Tarde
Near, close to: ..Cerca
Far: ……………….Lejos
Fast: ……………..Rápido
Slow: ……………Lento
Point: …………..Punta
Reef: ………….Arrecife
Shallow: …….Poco Profundo
Deep: ………Profundo
Beer: ………Cerveza
Wine: ………Vino
Food: ……..Comida
Moto:……..Motorbike
"Arena"

“Arena”

Common phrases:
“How are you doing?” ¿Cómo está? ¿Qué tal?
“Please.” Por favor.
“Thank you.” Gracias.
“I want to go surfing.” Quiero ir a hacer surf.
“I would like to go surfing.” Me gustria hacer surf.
“Where are the rocks?” ¿Dónde están las rocas?
“The wind is strong today!” El viento es fuerte hoy.
“Do you want this wave?” ¿Qué quiere esta ola?
“I’m so hungry/thirsty!” Tengo hambre/sed!
“Where is the beach?” ¿Donde esta la playa?
“Where is the road?” ¿Dónde está el camino?
“Where is my dictionary?” ¿Dónde está mi diccionario?
“I want to learn to speak Spanish.” Quiero aprender a hablar español.
“I am having so much fun!” Estoy teniendo tan divertido!
“I was too late.” Llegué tarde.
“The waves are good today!” Las olas son buenas hoy.
The sweetest gato ever!

The sweetest gato ever!

 I hope this lista helps you! Remember to always bring your surf etiquette, too! Despite your attempts at Spanish, your actions will ALWAYS speak louder than your words. The locals know it, too. Be nice.
Buena suerte, amigos!

Hug Your Shaper

Time flies all too fast sometimes and before you know it, your calendar reads less than a month away from that anticipated surf trip. As you double check your passport’s expiration and take inventory of that healthy bikini/boardie supply, you realize the most obvious object is lacking: a proper board.

A few months ago, a new board did cross your mind and you thought about calling your trusty shaper, but …popped a tire on the freeway, girlfriend broke up with you, waves were (somehow) good…life. Now you’re down to the wire: T-minus 15 days and not only do you need a perfect board, but you need it SOON.

Terry picks out a template and I approve.

Terry picks out a template and I approve.

Suddenly, your shaper’s number gets stored in your favorites, you swing by his or her shop more often and take in some stories from the glory days, you shower them with baked goods or burritos, then comes the question:

 “So I’ve got this surf trip coming up…”

“Oh yeah? You need a board.”

“I leave in two weeks.”

“I can do it.”

Tension eased. Hello, eight hours of sleep!

Although most normal people give their shaper a fair warning before said ‘trip,’ some people tend to be procrastinators. *cough*me*coughcough*

And if you’re one of those special people, here are some ways to help your shaper not hate you:

1.) Feed your shaper! 

If you’re one of the lucky ones, like myself, and you get to watch the whole board shaping process go down, it is always a good idea to bring your shaper some grub. A happy shaper is a full shaper. Aside from frankincense and myrrh…a sacrificial goat or virgin… coffee and pastries work just fine, too.

 2.) Rock out to your shaper’s music.

I don’t care if you don’t like Quiet Riot or think Green Day is a sell-out band from your pre-teen days, quit your whining and let your shaper get into their groove. When you’re in my car, you get my tunes…same concept for the shaping bay. So throw up those hands, horns or lighters.

 3.) Update your shaper on your life history…or sit there and look pretty.

Is your shaper a talker or does he or she need some peace and quiet? Whatever it may be, try to accommodate. If they want to know all about how your date stood you up or where your dog picked up fleas or how state park’s been walling up lately, let it flow. But if he or she is the quiet type, respect that too. Some shapers don’t like yappers.

4.) Laugh at your shaper’s jokes…even if you’ve heard them already.

If you know Terry Senate, you know you’re in for it. He has a joke for every hour of the day and backs it up with a crazy story or two…then ends it by making fun of you, somehow…and somehow, you just continue to laugh. I think that is the man’s goal: to make you laugh from the second your enter his shop to the second you leave.

 5.) Hug your shaper.

They put up with your crazy life schedule, they accommodate every nit-picky eighth of an inch, they breathe in some nasty shit, they make you smile and, above all, they help you get the greatest rides of your life.

The least you can do is hug them.

Man love at it's finest: "I love you, man!"

Man love at it’s finest: “I love you, man!”

The Art of Multitasking

C Street, me and my momma.

C Street, me and my momma.

October is one of my most favorite months to be a Californian. The weather starts to cool, kids go back to school, offshore winds pick up and swells from all directions linger around our coastline. However, much of this year’s October was spent rushing towards my cousin’s beautiful wedding at the end of the month. Most of my time and energy was spent booking flights, painting signs, decorating bottles, configuring a travel budget, packing, airports, driving…and planning time in between wedding madness to surf, of course.
 
Fortunate for me, my ingenious cousin picked a gorgeous venue in Nipomo, Calif.…a 15 minute drive to Pismo Beach. It also didn’t hurt that C Street in Ventura was an easy stop on the way up to Pismo, too.
 
After battling Los Angeles traffic for two hours, I felt it was time to take a pit stop in Ventura with my mom for a bite to eat and perhaps a look around. We stopped and shopped, I introduced my mom to Thai food and any store that read ‘antique’ on the sign, you can guarantee we were rummaging through milk glass, old cameras and horribly cheesy ‘gone surfing’ signs.
 
The afternoon northwest winds picked up and I decided C Street might still be worth a check. Even though the wind was up, there were still two-to-four-foot rights and lefts coming off the point. I paddled out and much to my surprise, the water temperature didn’t phase me and the people weren’t as grumpy as I thought they might be. Even though I was still technically in southern California, it didn’t feel like it at all.
C Street, inconsistent and uncrowded.

C Street, inconsistent and uncrowded.

 
As we made our way through Santa Barbara and arrived at the hotel that was situated across from the Pismo Beach Pier, almost immediately I concluded there will be surfing, come hell or cold water, 60 pound suitcases or google maps constant epic failures. *NOTE: Download the Waze app for maps and whatnot…works way better than Google!*
 
I was going to do it all…and with a smile.
 
The next day, I took my time waking up and found myself blurry-eyed in my 3/2 Patagonia wetsuit with surfboard in tow walking across hotel properties towards the pier. Overcast skies met a dark blue/grey ocean and fine brown sand. It was different here…no noise, no traffic, train or obnoxious tourists…just the sound of crashing waves and the occasional family peeling sand dollars and razor clam shells from the sand.
I took this opportunity to breath deep and absorb the peaceful atmosphere…Huge boulder islands sat plainly on the sand and in the water outside of the hotel’s cliffs, boiling with each ebb and flow of the 2 foot swells…I bet that cove can fire on a big swell, I thought.
As I pressed onward to the pier, little two to three foot waves rolled through. There were a lot of longboards in the water…I hope they’re not too aggro, I though as my feet found the silty bottom. I pushed off and began the paddle in the frigid 55 degree water with only my 3/2 between the Pacific and me.
Pismo Pier looking pretty chilly.

Pismo Pier looking pretty chilly.

 
As I sat just outside of the “crowd” of 6 people, I realized they were all college kids from Cal Poly discussing midterms, projects and megalodon theories. Ah please don’t talk about megalodon, I thought. Right before I paddled out, I spotted a large sea lion just inside and thought, that’s a good thing, right? I would be a toothpick for megladon compared to that fatty sea lion. Yep that’s what I will keep telling myself.
But being a toothpick for a toothy creature is not on my to-do list, so I paddled closer to the crowd. Waves came and went and I caught a couple and day-dreamed about scoring overhead  Moro Bay tee-pees, crowd: non-existent.
 
Suddenly, a gal on a ginormous longboard paddled up and smiled “Hi! How’s it going?”
Non-local status revealed. Boy, that was fast.
The rest of her giggling girl clan paddled around me with one eye on the waves and one on me as I explained where I was from and why I was here.
Among these college girls were marine bio majors, business majors, accounting majors…we talked travel story, sharks (they seem to be a popular topic up here), diving, sand dollars, wipeouts… They couldn’t believe I didn’t have any booties on and told me to try Scuba booties. Scuba booties have a better grip on the bottom and just feel warmer. Noted, gals!
 
The wave of the day came through and all four ladies were on it together. As I hooted them into the wave, I knew it would break on top of them, but it was too late to warn. They didn’t care as they laughed their way over the falls and through the whitewash.
My hands took on deep purple hues and I knew the time had come to return to wedding madness. We all collected on the beach and they didn’t hesitate to give me a ride back to my hotel. I have a place to stay in Pismo! Yay!
What a good way to start a crazy day!
 
Although the next morning I stayed with the bridal party and opted not to surf, I heard it was firing. But, as my cousin’s Maid of Honor, I didn’t want to leave her side and the thought of surfing that morning felt unnecessary…besides, between 10 girls and 2 showers, I don’t think it would’ve been fair had I taken up the majority of the hot water to bring my purpled limbs back to life.
My cousin, Ashley, had a 1920's theme for her wedding. Pictured are me, Ashley, Kristy and Kerri.

My cousin, Ashley, had a 1920’s theme for her wedding. Pictured are me, Ashley, Kristy and Kerri.

The wedding came and went in a wave of emotion and glory. Speeches were made, dances were danced, cake was cut and rose petals tossed. For a brief moment, I breathed a sign of relief as I watched my happy cousin and her husband drive off into the chilly foggy Nipomo evening.
Ohh fog…maybe the surf will be glassy tomorrow!
Hmm check out is at noon, maybe between breakfast and packing up decor and clothes into two cars….
 
I paddled out Sunday morning and didn’t see my gals. It was still small, still foggy and still cold, but I didn’t care. Something about surfing in a new place with a lot of swell potential and kind people really made me appreciate my sense of adventure.
Oftentimes, we sequester ourselves to one city, one break, one peak…it isn’t until we venture out of that comfort zone do we learn to appreciate what we have and learn about how we can grow. If there is an opportunity to learn about a new spot, take it! Multitasking is an interesting art who’s end goal is to satisfy all parties. It seems as I grow older, the opportunities to venture out for my own selfish need become less and less.
 
I guess what I’m trying to say is: When you’ve got the chance, go for it. It might not come again for a long while.

Five things you NEED in Humboldt:

Humboldt Redwood forests galore! Try to find the hobbit in this picture.

Humboldt Redwood forests galore! Try to find the hobbit in this picture.

Ah, the land of beards, flannel and weed connoisseurs! Humboldt, Calif. is an area of the golden state that is anything but dry and brown.  Noted for it’s beautiful temperate rainforest, rocky coastline and, well, all different types of greenery, Humboldt is not a place to pass up …or puff-puff-pass the day away. Go outside.

All rain and stoners aside, I drove the 950 mile stretch solo to visit a good friend, score some waves and hug some trees. It didn’t take any THC-induced revelation to figure out the five essentials you can’t go without. Ladies and gents, other than your paraphernalia, don’t forget to pack these:

Waterproof Patagonia Jackets rock!

Waterproof Patagonia Jackets rock!

1.)    Waterproof Jacket:

Despite the fact that the ocean is chilly and chances of a swim/surf or (whatever your fancy) are less than that of Hawaii, you will get wet. Loosely considered the Pacific Northwest, Humboldt is rainy place. The coast varies only 10 degrees summer-to-winter and has an average rainfall of 40-100 inches per year. Coupled with humidity, this can create some wet (and not too cold) conditions. I was recently converted to Patagonia’s down jackets. To an extent, most of them are waterproof, but can be costly–trust me! I was hunting for months for one to go on sale! If you find one on sale, go for it. It’s well worth the bucks. If $$ is not an issue, put your chump change to the test and buy one–Patagonia is a solid company and does great things for this planet. If $$ is an issue, there are several comparable brands that are decimal points less than the pricey “Patagucchi.”

Laughing about a lack of skivvies.

Laughing about a lack of skivvies.

2.)    Hiking Boots:

To state the obvious: there are beautiful trails you NEED to explore in Humboldt. However, rocks, mud and rivers are aplenty, so hiking boots are nice to have to climb over trees, boulders and gravel. If you’re like me (semi-hippy-ish) and you like playing in the mud, try trekking a muddy trail barefoot! A lot of people walk about Humboldt without their shoes…and, apparently, skivvies! I met a fellow hiking in a kilt, traditional style….meaning: no undies. How I found out? When he squatted down to take a picture of me and my friend, all of his glory flashed before my eyes. It’s safe to say this shot was a candid one.

But— If you do nothing else, go for a walk in the woods. You’ll thank me later.

He thought I was going to steal his dinner.

He thought I was going to steal his dinner.

3.)  Camera:

You will see trees wider than your walls and beautiful scenic forested areas that are thousands of years old…coastlines engulfed in fog, huge waves, majestic Elk…and banana slugs. Tell me you don’t want to recall the time you ventured into the Humboldt “shire” and have beautiful emerald green images! Again, rain was a factor for me and my camera lens, so it would be wise to bring a lens-friendly wipe.

 

Some hiking spots might look familiar, too…Jurassic Park/Star Wars ring a bell? Ewoks/Hobbits/Aliens/Dinosaurs…a director’s wet dream for fantasy land should be on your photo priority list.

4.) Gun

I’m not part of any NRA…In my world, a gun is: a big board for riding big waves…Small by Humboldt standards is six feet. The day I got there, it was maybe two-to-three occasional six feet…winds and high tide made conditions a little wonky, but the next day, the surf climbed to staggering double-to-triple overhead heights. This translates to: 10-to-18 feet. If you plan to surf: bring a gun.

5.) Five millimeter wetsuit/Hood/Booties

My friend Sean told me: “If you don’t have a hood, you might as well not come up here.” The water temperature can range between 48 and 52 degrees, on average. It may not be Alaska, but it is pretty cold. Obviously, when you are in cold temperatures, it behooves you to have something to contain the heat that will escape through your dome. This worked like a charm, although I will add: the 5 mil wetsuit was also a great help! And as much as I dislike booties, I wore them…with much gusto.

Sean can't believe I'm sitting across the room, with camera in one hand and beer in another.

Sean can’t believe I’m sitting across the room, with camera in one hand and beer in another.

All things in this picture are necessary in Humboldt, Calif.

All things in this picture are necessary in Humboldt, Calif.

OH AND… 

Don’t hesitate to buckle up, suit up and strap in for fun times up there. Be wary of road ADD once you hit the forested areas and don’t touch the banana slugs. Apparently their slime is very hard to wash off.  One thing you absolutely MUST try is their local lager, Eel River IPA. It’s freakin’ amazing!

Interview: Rob Rojas

Professional StandUp Paddleboarder and San Clemente local Rob Rojas.

Professional StandUp Paddleboarder and San Clemente local Rob Rojas.

In recent years, StandUp Paddleboarding, a.k.a. SUP, has become quite popular when the surf goes flat. The sport has seemingly grown into its own subculture ushering in race and relay competitions and, of course, a new form of surfing to our oceans and breaks. Professional StandUp Paddleboarder and San Clemente resident Rob Rojas has taken this sport to a new level in the racing realm and does not hesitate to ride some waves, as well. However, when surfing on his ginormous board at his local break, his attitude remains old school and summed up into one word we can all take a page from: RESPECT.

His repertoire demands it and his actions show it at his local breaks.  So turn up your Aretha and take some notes:

How did you get into StandUp Paddleboarding?

I’ve been around the ocean all of my life…the whole stand up thing came around some time in the early 2000’s. I saw people doing it in the harbor and remember trying to figure out how to get a board and the prices back then were just sky high. I ended up buying a board from a friend. It wasn’t even a SUP, it was just a big longboard.  I bought my first board during the summer of 2006, when I first did SUP. That summer I did an event for lifeguards and we basically did a surf-ski paddle competition from Dana Point all the way down to La Jolla. SUP was the last leg of it.

How far is it from Dana Point to La Jolla?

It was about 50 miles.

Ever since then, you were hooked?

I thought ‘wow this is pretty cool’ and I was pretty much hooked after that 2006 competition. At first I just wanted it as a means of working out and having fun…that sort of turned into a racing career.

What drove you to race in competitions?

I’ve always been a competitive person. I really enjoy the whole racing thing with SUP and the whole idea of standing up and paddling. All of a sudden, I find myself in races and that competitive drive just kind of set in. You just want to be the first one to cross the line…you’re not always the first one, but it’s still that competitive drive to always go out there and do your best.

What kind of races do you participate in?

I’ve raced a lot of local California races.  I’ll do long distance races. One of my main sponsors is O’Neil and they have a race series in Tahoe, for example, and it’s a three-race series. So I’ve raced anywhere from Lake Tahoe, the Cayman Islands, Peru, New York City to Manhattan Island…I definitely travel all over…even Utah..The race scene is pretty much all over the place.

Rob Rojas and his SUP race board.

Rob Rojas and his SUP race board.

What’s your favorite race?

I got to say the race I look forward to the most is the Island Waterman Relay. It’s a race from Santa Barbara Island to Catalina Island off the coast. It’s such a cool vibe and cool event. It has such a waterman vibe to it. And it’s always near the opening of lobster season, so this past year I woke up, dove, got a little lobster and jumped on the escort boat. We hauled butt out to Santa Barbara Island and raced back. You’re just out there in the middle of nature and in the middle of the ocean, it’s just incredible.

Do you have a favorite spot?

For paddling in general:  hands down my favorite SUP spot would be Mammoth Lakes. There are no races up there, but you’re just up there by yourself and it’s extremely quiet. There have been times where we take family vacations and I just get some altitude training. It’s amazing.

Have you ever tried surfing on your SUP? What do you think?

Yea absolutely, I love it! I grew up surfing in San Clemente. I’ve always loved surfing, but a lot of the big breaks get crowded when the waves are good. Our society is getting more and more crowded, but the cool thing about stand up surfing is you can surf waves that are normally not populated by regular surfers.

You can explore a little bit more and look for a spot where there’s nobody out. For me personally, I want to get away from people when I’m surfing, I don’t want to surf in a pack. You have a gazillion really cool surf spots and that’s the cool thing about it. You don’t really have to be around a ton of people to SUP surf.

What’s your take on the tension between the SUP and surf crowd?

It’s definitely a free ocean…but I think it’s all about respect and there are certain rules you got to follow. When you’re surfing, you got to understand right-of-way.

 I like to do things like sit down on my board…lower myself in the water… It looks less imposing. I let a few sets go by and I’ll call out sets for the guys.  As a stand up surfer, you’re six feet above the water, so you can see sets coming.

If I’m with surfers, I want to be least imposing as possible. Nothing will anger me more than a guy that’s just out there doing laps…just paddles out, sits right on the peak, catches every set wave, comes in, just keeps doing laps and loses his board and basically kooks out and pisses everyone off and ruins it for the rest of the standup community.

When you get out there, you got to respect the people that were there before you. There’s room for everybody. Bottom line:  it’s all about respect.

For more about Rob’s training and how he got into SUP, check out this cool video!

Raw (and yummy) Chocolate Avocado Pie

Avocado--The beginning of a very chocolaty relationship.

Avocado–The beginning of a very chocolaty relationship.

Ok, I know what most of you are probably thinking…

“Umm chocolate-avocado-what?”

And that’s okay because I thought the same thing when I discovered this tasty treat while casually browsing the menu at the Pura Vida health food store in Todos Santos, Baja.

Chocolate and avocados…What a concept, I thought.

Almost a pie...

Almost a pie…

After I got home, the pie haunted my curiosity and eventually, I found the time to give it a go just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Disclaimer: Don’t ask about the calories. Between the nuts and avos, this might not be the best thing to include in any sort of weight loss plan.

Going ‘raw’ was never a big deal to me, I just wanted to try this recipe because it looked easy and sounded delicious. Just be sure you have a food processor or similar culinary equipment and stagger the amount you process so as not to overwhelm your equipment…unless you’re a fancy pants and have a Magic Bullet.

So I confess…this is not my original recipe..I found the recipe here. Thank you, Food Network!! A few adjustments were made for my own preferences, but it is essentially not O.G. status. Happy “baking”/”rawing” …no?

>Crust<

  • 2 cups almonds (soaked overnight, drained and rinsed),
  • 2 cups unsulphured dates (soaked overnight, drained and rinsed),
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes *I added for texture preference*

>Mousse Filling<

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 4 tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • 3 tablespoons raw agave nectar (or substitute with honey—I am a honey junkie!!)
  • 2 tablespoons organic coconut oil (blend it as it is in solid form)
  • A splash of almond milk (or your preference)

For the crust: Blend ingredients  in a food processor until they are sticky. Use a wet hand to press the mixture into the base of a 9 or 10 ” pie pan…however, this recipe made more than enough pie crust…in fact, I made two pies out of the deal! So double the mousse if you want to make two pies! (sharing is caring, right?)

For the mousse filling: Seed and scoop out avocado into the food processor. Add cacao powder, agave nectar, coconut oil and almond milk. Spoon avocado mixture onto the crust and spread it evenly. Top with fresh berries and whatnot. Put in the freezer for 30 minutes before serving (I find it needs a smidge longer because the sticky crust needs more time to solidify). Store in fridge to maintain a decent consistency. Enjoy!!

Finito! The finished product!

Finito! The finished product!

Amazing Baja…Round Two

That’s right.

Only a day after I flew back from Cabo/Baja Sur, a couple of buddies and I turned right back around at 4 a.m. on New Year’s Eve to score more epic surf sessions somewhere VERY south of the U.S./Mexico border.

This time we took a very well-endowed truck and ended up in one of the most desolate areas in the western hemisphere. Nothing for miles, not even a single person in sight.

I'm SO not telling...

I’m SO not telling…

I’m not going to elaborate too much, as there are a few article possibilities in the works. I did, however, create an extremely cheesy but fun video about my trip.

You can watch it here.

Baja Sur, solo

The sky exploded with color on my birthday, Dec. 27, 2012.

The sky exploded with color on my birthday, Dec. 27, 2012.

Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, had their apprehensions about my solo trip to the small town of Pescadero in Baja Sur, Mexico.

I heard it all:

You’re gonna get lost.” (Most realistic)

You’re gonna end up in a body bag.” (Really?)

You’re gonna get hacked up into small pieces and end up in a body bag buried in the middle of the desert.” (My personal favorite)

“You should write a will.” (Nice.)

Though my family and friends were adamantly turning my vacation into another sequel of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I refused to succumb to fear. In fact when they said these things, I only wanted to prove them wrong that much more. Though I really appreciated the legitimate concern, I didn’t want to change my schedule to nice “safe” Hawaii, nor compromise any part of my plan, especially after I was told I’d end up in a body bag.

This was going to happen. Screw fear.

Ready to G-O!

Ready to G-O!

Aside from 90 percent of my surfing done alone, I’ve camped for five days along the Big Sur coastline in 2009 along with another trip to Hawaii in 2007. I was calling this a mild introduction to the wide world/rabbit hole of travel.

Stoked on my birthday sunset!

Stoked birthday girl

   Reality didn’t set in until I stepped off the plane in San Jose del Cabo. Though the terrain looked like a familiar extension of southern California, sans houses and mini-malls, it still felt far away. I did it, I’m here…okay, now what.

Local donkey was a rescue...if you didn't have food, he didn't like you.

Local donkey was a rescue…if you didn’t have food, he didn’t like you.

After marveling at the first stamp in my passport, it occurred to me the next step was to find my rental car, among the flurry of time shares and vacation package sales reps salivating at the airport’s exit…Then and finally, onto Pescadero off highway 19…where ever that was.

It was Christmas Eve and I thought I had a rental car. Not so.

Despite the fact that I booked with the ironically named Advantage rental cars online, they said they did not have me on their reservation list. <Insert obvious ‘Advantage’ knee-slapper pun here.>

After an hour of crocodile tears and shameless claims for refunds, they rented me a car for a pretty penny. Several hurried signatures and multiple broad maps later, I jumped into my car as fast as I could. They told me to take the road through Cabo San Lucas and turn right at a bull ring. Some guy smoking pot told me to take the toll road, but my mind was made up. I sped through the early evening dust to find highway 19 before the sun set. And the sun did set…right as I became thoroughly lost in Cabo San Lucas.

Should’ve listened to the pothead.

In the states, you get at least a three mile warning before you find your turn-off. In Mexico signs (including stop signs) do not matter. They might appear or they might not. This was evident as I almost t-boned a city bus while driving thru a very non-Americanized area of Cabo in the dark on Christmas Eve.

I ran into back alley dead-ends and skidded around random scurrying dogs. Hertz’s bright yellow emblem burned like Harry Potter’s Voldemort scar on the back of my rental’s trunk while sets of eyes followed my blonde noggin and pasty complexion. Anxiety balled up in the back of my throat and for a second, I considered the possibility of spending the night in my car on the side of the road.

After asking “Donde esta highway 19?” over and over to various convenient store clerks, random passerbys and gas station attendants, I eventually found my highway.  Taking a deep breath, I stared at my only company, my borrowed surfboard bag, which was propped up in the passenger seat before speeding off into the dark desert. If surfboard bags could talk, this one might know what to say as it’s seen many destinations, such as India and South America, thanks to my well-traveled buddy Sean’s severe travel bug.

Sand crabs galore.

Sand crabs galore.

Half way through, I thought. I’m almost there, I can do this.

Outside of Cabo, there are no lights for anything except the Pemex gas stations. Darkness surrounded me while semis barreled past me, my eyes peeled for km 64 and a Pemex station.  Despite these set-backs, my faith never faltered. I knew everything was going to be alright.

The point on Christmas day, 2012.

The point on Christmas day, 2012.

I could hear Sean echoing in the back of my mind:

“Accept the fact that you’re going to get lost, Jackie,” he said as we carefully mapped out every step of my route the night before. “It’s just part of traveling. Besides, it’s not an adventure until you get lost.”

This was the mellow part of the road to my hotel...however, you don't need  four-wheel drive.

This was the mellow part of the road to my hotel…however, you don’t need four-wheel drive.

Eventually I found my way to the hotel through a couple of drunk local surfers who led me down a dark dirt road. At this point, my dwindling faith hung by a thread, the only legitimate sign about these locals was the wave drawn in the dust that caked their truck’s rear window. Nevertheless, they guided me and didn’t hesitate to invite me for drinks.

“No, gracias,” was my immediate response.

“There’s going to be waves tomorrow! Come surf Cerritos, chicaaa!” they chimmed while hanging out the truck windows.

 Sean was almost as worried as my parents and demanded some form of contact when I arrived. His was the only number I wrote on paper for an emergency (my cell phone was null-and-void for multiple reasons). If there was ever an emergency, I knew he could be down there faster than any government agency. He knew exactly where I was and said if I didn’t contact him in 48 hours, he’d start driving. And he was serious. So, in order not to ruin his family’s holiday, I managed to call him via a nice San Diego couple’s cell phone laughing about the experience thus far.

After thanking God multiple times, my tension finally eased as I fell asleep to the sound of crashing waves that pounded the shore outside of my casita at the San Pedrito Surf Hotel.

Christmas morning at the San Pedrito Surf Hotel, Dec. 25, 2012.

Christmas morning at the San Pedrito Surf Hotel, Dec. 25, 2012.

Five days solo in Baja Surbring it on.

Merry Christmas, Yakie. Lights out.

As dawn crept over the mountains, I woke up to a chilly off-shore breeze. It was Christmas day and the point was well overhead. Surfers arrived in droves with longboards, shortboards, fish and SUPs. Though it was quite the crowded spot, I didn’t mind. The water was clear and 77 degrees with off-shore breezes combing the swell. With my board underarm, I plunged into the ocean to commence my vacation. The swell did not dip below shoulder high in my short five day trip.

I quickly made friends with locals, ex-pats and fellow travelers in the water.

My breakfast on Christmas day...hit the spot after a surf.

My breakfast on Christmas day…hit the spot after a surf.

Two days after Christmas came my birthday and I decided to surf Cerritos, a peaky sandy beach break. While surfing, I met two sweet fellows, Robert and Michael—brothers from Northern California— who immediately adopted me as their own. They did not hesitate to share their fresh food and tequila with me as well as take me on a tour of Todos Santos, a cute artsy town that sits right on the Tropic of Capricorn.

HA- how ironic…I meet a bunch of Capricorns locals around my very Cap. birthday. And we partied on the Tropic of Capricorn.

Belazul Swimwear fashion show, Dec. 27, 2012.

Belazul Swimwear fashion show, Dec. 27, 2012.

That evening we all returned to Todos Santos to check out one of the premier events, the annual fashion show, featuring local bikini line Belazul Swimwear fashioned by Todos Santos local chica, Joella Corado. Her husband, Kurtis, gave me a heads up about the show the day before, so when I announced my plans to my new-found friends, they quickly obliged to join.

My friends from Northern California: Robert and Mike and the best scallop and mango salsa creation with watermelon/tequilla.

Robert and Mike and the best scallop and mango salsa creation with watermelon/tequilla.

Between the colorful and tasteful fashion, bikinis and belly dancing and after party with a healthy supply of drinks and dancing, I decided this was the best birthday I could possibly have. And- none was planned. Not to mention an amazing sunset…who could ask for more?

My new motto: Plan to make no plans.

The guys and I accidentally left one of the truck windows down during the party…nothing was missing. Either there was a shamrock up my butt or the stereotypes are extremely far-fetched…but once outside of Cabo, I never felt unsafe in Baja Sur.

On my last day, a new swell had arrived and the point was firing! All types of people were on it early. However, the water temp did not compensate for the Aussie who shoved me off a wave. After the rude awakening, I made a valiant effort for more waves but soon resolved that reality was waiting for me at the airport and I still had not eaten a fish taco.

Fish Taco/Airport > Crowded Point

And God help me if I missed my flight…my next adventure had me turning right back around days later and crossing the U.S./Mexico border, again, with six boys.

Next Destination: Parts unknown 

Objective: Uncrowded waves

Sean, no doubt, was twiddling his thumbs til I arrived, his bags already packed.

Solo or not, I’ll be back, Baja! Count on it!