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Tales of a Back Paddling Player

My new 'home' break.

My new ‘home’ break.

Last night my precious evening sessions commenced in front of my newly established home in San Clemente.  As soon as I parked my car, with one eye on the sunset, I pulled on my wetsuit, grabbed my board and booked it down the street as fast as my legs could carry me.

 My first evening session–at home.
That’s right…I walked down the street to surf last night and couldn’t be more thankful.
 For once I can literally call a spot “my home break” and mean almost all aspects of it…except…it doesn’t really feel like “home” just yet.
While bobbing around the lineup waiting for a wave, the break seemed unusually crowded for a Monday evening.
Combine the time change, northwest swell and people who live in the general area who had the same idea as me while twiddling their thumbs at 4:59 p.m. and you must get:
The Locals, I thought.
And it should be noted these locals have definitely been here for a while, as they knew every ebb and flow of this shifty beach break barrel and rode every wave like a seasoned pro.
I CONFESS…while paddling out, I lost my board and kooked out in front of the lineup.
Yay, score: me: 0 locals: 1
IMG_1484
Praying that no one saw that blunder, I made it out to a lineup of 10 guys.
Aggro guys.
Strangers with whom I have yet to be acquainted.
Well, I thought, I’m a friendly gal, surely these guys will welcome—
Ah shit, one just back paddled me.
Again, maybe they’re just warming up to—
Damnit $%#@er dropped in on me!
<Repeat this cycle four more times before I paddled to a different peak>
Ugh.
Nevermind, I thought as I peered at the setting sun shining over the worn-out butterflies painted on my board.
Hmmm…on my next board, I think I will have one of my artist friends paint a flaming skull or…a pirate with a knife it his mouth…dolphins with mohawks…or maybe an overly busty mermaid?
Can you spot the fin in this picture?

Can you spot the fin in this picture?

Overheard in the Lineup: “Dude, how’s that chick…was Katie her name?”
“Oh yea, yea, she’s good, I guess. Hey! Did I tell you about Maria?! We were at this party and this other chick bee-lines it for me! I was like woa…then she said ‘How come you never call me?’ I’m like ‘Uhhh…blahblahblah'”
I tried to not listen, but one can’t help to overhear the conversations these guys were putting out in the otherwise silent and peaceful evening. And I couldn’t help but grimace at the thought of two poor girls getting played by some guy sporting a Captain America wetsuit who constantly back-paddled me.
Maybe I will keep those butterflies on my board. In fact maybe my next board should be all pink with some form of glitter and unicorns with which I can scout out the back paddling player and take his waves, too. Regardless if I make the waves, he will remember my board like I remember his conversations: loud and annoying. :)
Despite conversations and aggressive testosterone behavior, I know I belong out there just as much as Capt. America and his clan.
For now I’ve found myself in the middle of a testosterone pit …a minority ..a newcomer.
…Is there a term for the guy version of a “sewing circle?”

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!

International Surfing Day: June 20, 2013

Go surf and do your part!

Go surf and do your part!

One of the most important days of the year will be here soon:

International Surfing Day! June 20th, 2013!

Okay, so maybe it pales in comparison to your son or daughter’s birthday, grandparent’s golden anniversary or other such annual celebrations. However, if you’re a surfer or ocean lover who works 9-5, it is a day that might require you to scan a medical dictionary for a random 24 hour illness, forge a doctor’s note, put your pasty butt into some boardies or suit and find something to do in the water or on the sand.

Do it.

As ocean-minded people, we should always find a way to give back to our beaches that continuously provide us with some of our best life experiences.

The Surfrider Foundation is a great resource to find your local beach clean-up as well as ways to get involved with other charitable activities.

Every little bit goes a long way!

Every little bit goes a long way!

Here are some ideas to consider for June 20th,:

  •  Go Surfing…and pick up some trash, too:

Well, DUH. Whatever you decide to ride, get out there and catch some wavos. Oh and while you’re at it, pick up some trash. Don’t deny it. Whether it’s in the sand or the parking lot, even the water, trash is there. And that is very LAME. If you have no time to give a beach clean-up a-go, it doesn’t hurt to pick up a few pieces of trash on your way to the water. Find a sanitary way to scoop it up and put it in the nearby trash can. A little bit can a go a long way! This awesome organization agrees with me.

  • Join a Beach Clean-Up!

There are organizations all over the states and the world that would froth for your time to clean up your local beach. Get involved!!

  • Do Your Homework

If you can watch swell charts and wind speeds on an hourly basis, you can keep up with the issues facing your local breaks and wildlife:

241 Toll Road

New Jersey Fracking

Florida Panther

Off Shore Drilling in Alaska

Washington Water Quality

Water Efficient Landscaping for Texas

  • Be a Smarty Pants!

Take the time to understand the laws and regulations that govern this country’s environment and you’ll be A-Okay.

So get out there, ride some waves, pick up some trash and smile at the locals! Good vibes for all!

Happy International Day of Surfing!!

A Little Litter For Thought:

Litter Item

Time to break down

Glass bottles

1 million years

Monofilament fishing line

600 years

Plastic beverage bottles

450 years

Disposable nappies

450 years

Aluminum can

80 – 200 years

Foam plastic cup

50 years

Plastic bag

10 – 20 years

Cigarette filter

1 – 5 years

Source: US National Park Service; Mote Marine Lab, Sarasota, Florida