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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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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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Board Review: Slyde Handboards

There are so many ways to ride waves these days! Our entire niche industry is obsessed with the perfect ride–we spend hours, days, months, years crafting the perfect tool to score the best wave. In the past, 18 foot wave sliders designed for Hawaiian kings have since evolved to logs with D fins or Stand Up Paddleboards to cruise point breaks. Maybe you were a connoisseur of lunch trays–Del Taco was your favorite–it had just the right type of slick bottom to glide along the face of the wave. What was once a tray evolved to a plane and now a proper board…swallow tail, carbon fiber with plenty of room for your specifics.

Enter Slyde Handboards.

Innovation and style meets a handboard perfectly crafted for riding all types of waves with minimal spray.

Let’s get one thing straight: these are actually boards…not trays, nor hand planes–BOARDS…for your hand.

I met with Slyde Handboard Owners, Steve and Angela Watts at Salt Creek and the waves were anything but playful for my board demo–full swell, overhead with a dropping tide.

“After a whole year of  R&R, we are just now releasing every shape and are excited,” said Angela. “These wedge shape boards are great for  the every day person because they can use it in big or small waves.”

Waves poured in from all angles at Creek and it seemed The Point or Gravels were the places to be.

Let the body-slamming begin!

After easing into a few insiders, I was hooked. It’s compacted fun, I thought, as one sandy wedge dredged through the inside–ones I conveniently avoided and Steve wholeheartedly plunged into.

“The Wedge boards are designed specifically to ride a wave as far as you can,” said Steve. “I’ve ridden waves all the way from out the back to the inside…you can do cutbacks with this and it sticks you to the face of the wave really well.”

My favorite thing? I can take this anywhere! Airport excess baggage fee instantly gone.

So–does it torture you to watch that perfectly peeling hollow shore break go un-ridden? Try out The Bula. Want a good starter board for all wave types? Check out The Wedge. Customize at will!

One thing I can’t promise–the places the seaweed and sand sneak into.

Pictured are The Wedge, The Wedge featuring a carbon fiber deck and The Bula

The Return of the Evening Session

Strands Point evening session.

Strands Point evening session.

Evening surf sessions are back and in full-throttle for this surfer girl and I couldn’t be more stoked. However, I still wait for the day when I can sprint to Trestles and surf my beloved points and walls and catch up with my local friends.

But I’ve realized: Sometimes you don’t need to sprint to the good times and good friends. Sometimes the good times, waves and friends come to directly to you.

Random surfer goes a sweet evening cruise.

Random surfer goes for a sweet evening cruise.

I CONFESS: I’ve been scoring at this pictured spot lately. It challenges me while allotting a certain amount of forgiveness, albeit not much, but a little slack is there. Before I know it, I’ll be back to parts unknown again and as masochistic as this may sound, I want a good ass-whopping. I need to be freaked out, kept in check because I’ve been getting a lot of fun days. And if you believe in that whole ‘checks and balances’ system, I’m over-due for a checkmate.

There was a nice south swell in the water and most of the big sets were walled with a few smaller corners to pick off on the inside. Aside from spying Humpback Whales peaking their humongous heads and spouting outside the kelp beds, I wasn’t too impressed with the conditions. After a few waves, I decided to go in. While walking down the beach contemplating dinner, I spied two of my best surf buds strolling the opposite direction in seach for a better peak. A Grinch smile spread ear-to-ear across my face, as the last time I saw these guys was almost a year ago.

Three amigos: Dave, Jackie and Chav share good times, good drinks and good waves.

Three amigos: Dave, Jackie and Chav share good times, good drinks and good waves.

Dave and Brian (a.k.a. ‘Chav’) have traveled all over the world in search of good waves and good times and they are, by far, some of the most fun guys to surf, drink and have a good laugh with. Whenever either one of these travel junkies bounce to parts unknown, they always come back with tales of epic proportions. They inspire me to travel and have fun, to let go of inhibitions and just go.

The two did not hesitate to convince me to get back in the nippy water and catch a few. But I really didn’t need too much coaxing. Suddenly, the conditions weren’t so bad with my good amigos around. We shared wedgey peaks off the point, dropped in on eachother and hopped from peak-to-peak laughing and playing catch-up.

Chav is off to the Philippines and Cloud 9 and who knows where Dave’s next stop will be, although there were talks of mainland Mexico and the infamous Mexican Pipeline Puerto Escondido floated throughout our convos. Dave seems to emobdy a vagabond spirit with Hunter S. Thompson’s post-hangover perspective. With his crazy wit, salty humor and knack for dropping in on his best pals, I’ve often though he is secretly an Aussie and won’t come out of the closet…just yet.

Sandpipers hunt for dinner.

Sandpipers hunt for dinner.

So here’s to random awesome sea creatures, much needed checkmates and serendipitous run-ins with old friends!

The Cars have an excellent song that is so often imitated but not too often duplicated: Let the Good Times Roll!

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!