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Maya Gabeira Surfs Biggest Wave by a Female Surfer…Gets Blown Off by WSL

On January 18, 2018, renowned Brazilian big wave surfer Maya Gabeira charged the mountainous peaks of Praia do Norte in Nazaré, Portugal. According to videographers, oceanographers and academics, her wave clocked in at 80 feet.

8-0, people.

Let’s take a moment to marinade on that number.

That’s eight stories tall…when the rest of us are shaking in our boots over 10 feet, multiply that by eight and that’s what Gabeira rode. The hard-charging waterwoman matched Garrett McNamara’s November 2017 record of 80-feet at the same break.

“Since 2013, I have been trying to bring the idea that we should have a women’s world record,” said Gabeira. “I started talking about it through emails with The Big Wave Awards, which, a couple years back, was bought out by the World Surf League. Since 2013, I have had very vague responses on it…nothing was clear at all.”

Aside from being one of the most decorated and pioneering females in the big wave arena, her 2018 wave was not Gabeira’s first record-breaker. In 2009, she broke the record for biggest wave ridden by a female at Dungeons in South Africa clocking a 46-foot ride, nearly half the size of her Nazare wave.

With her mind focused on riding the world’s biggest waves, Gabeira set her sights on Nazare’s massive size-holding capabilities, a wave that nearly ended the young charger’s life.

In 2013, Gabeira nearly drowned after wiping out and losing consciousness on a massive wave at Nazare.

“It almost ended my career with the complications I had with injuries and to come back and be able to surf, it was already my dream,” said Gabeira.

After five years of dedication, recovery and training coupled with her passion for big waves, Gabeira put pedal to the metal and caught a massive mountain of water–a wave large enough to put her in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Photo Courtesy of: Stephanie Johnes Maya would go.

Photo Courtesy of: Alex Laurel
Maya would go.

When Gabeira approached the Guiness Book of World Records, they referred her back to the WSL for certification.

But despite reaching out,  the WSL gave very vague and inconsistent responses to Gabeira’s amazing accomplishment. Every few weeks, Gabeira followed up with the WSL and still no confirmation of any progress. Frustrated with the organization’s lack of support or responsiveness, Gabeira let them know her intentions and in August 2018, started her petition.

Although, the organization did at the last minute ask her to present at the annual Big Wave Awards this past April for the Men’s Big Wave Award of the Year. To add more salt to the wound, during the women’s division, none of her clips were displayed.

“I had to hold my tears, breathe and go back stage to then present the men’s division,” said Gabeira. “I was kind of really baffled because I flew all the way to LA to not see any of my waves [displayed], to be celebrating the winter and pretend I wasn’t participating in the winter. While all my [male] peers had all their waves they rode on the same day exposed and won awards and records.”

After multiple backstage apologies from the WSL’s director post-awards, Gabeira sat down with him where he reiterated the WSL’s interest and dedication to her accomplishment. But radio silence from the WSL soon followed…again.

“I just want this [record] to be established because I think it’s important for women–it’s always been to me, at least” said Gabeira. “When Garrett [McNamara] discovered Nazare, it’s always left such a big impression on me to be able to see somebody credited with “The biggest wave ever” and have a number on it. Being in a sport that’s very subjective, it was something that I got attached to. I just want to finish it off so the next person doesn’t have to make it all happen from the beginning. They can just have the category established, surf a bigger wave and break the record and BOOM–it’s registered.”

With the WSL’s recent leadership falling under CEO Sophie Goldschmidt, Gabeira was hoping this would propel the industry and open a new chapter for women in the sport. The WSL gave this response via email:

“We have a huge amount of respect for all our big wave surfers. We have been in active discussions with Guinness for some time on the topic of reviewing Maya’s incredible ride from Nazare earlier this year for submission, and look forward to continuing to celebrate men’s and women’s big wave surfing with an announcement soon.”

The WSL got back to me within hours with this response, however, when I asked them specifically why the process took as long as it did and why the WSL couldn’t give Maya a solid answer, I was told…(am I surprised?)–> all they could say was just that.

“I don’t know if it’s just a lack of professionalism or if it’s just a lack of care for an athlete,” said Gabeira. “It’s my job, it’s what I’ve done for many many years of my life and to not take that seriously, it’s extremely disrespectful and it really hurts.”

To no surprise, after Gabeira’s petition launched and the world became aware of what was going on behind the bro-curtains of the surf industry, the WSL now crowds her inbox. :)

Best of luck, Maya. We are rooting for you! <3

Check out Maya’s video:

 

Nine Questions for Sensi Graves, Kiteboarder & Bikini Designer

About 10 years ago, Sensi Graves picked up a kiteboard in North Carolina, didn’t hesitate to shred it and never looked back. Much like how we fall in love with a board sport, kiteboarding took the Hood River local by the arm and led her down a path of adventure, friendship and, in 2012, to start a swimwear business. The elusive “perfect” action sports bikini constantly escaped the many who tried, and few seemed to conquer in the early days, which is exactly what lit the fire for Sensi–enter Sensi Graves Bikinis. Her suits were created and are designed out of the clear need for women who once struggled to enjoy action sports and still retain a feminine appeal during a swimwear fashion v. function era.
Fast-forward only five years later, and you will find women all over the globe kiteboarding, surfing, adventuring, diving, practicing yoga and playing volleyball in her bikinis. When I first saw a Sensi bikini in an online store, I thought the name to be fitting with surfing’s niche culture–very feminine and strong, much like her bikinis. Interestingly, it was kiteboarding that drove her to create a bikini line that looks good while staying put.

*All photos picture Sensi in action and are courtesy of Sensi Graves & Sensi Graves Bikinis.*

Read more on the woman behind the ‘kini:

Q: What made you want to create your bikini line?

A: The concept for Sensi Bikinis was born out of a need. The summer before I graduated college, I moved to North Carolina to coach kiteboarding. I was in the water every single day; teaching, kiting and surfing. Bikinis were my uniform and my recreational outfit. I quickly grew tired of adjusting my swimwear. We’d teach for three hour time blocks and my suits were just not comfortable to wear for that long. The pieces that were designed to stay on were frumpy and geared towards a much older audience. I was 23 and I wanted to look and feel good in my bikini, but I also wanted something that would perform. I decided it was time to do something about it–and Sensi Bikinis was born!BetsyLindsy_Grapefruit2

Q: What does Sensi Bikinis represent for women?

A: Sensi Bikinis represents a mindset that we are strong, powerful and beautiful creatures. We embrace and celebrate our bodies and not judge ourselves.  We empower our customers to get out there and try new things and want to give them the confidence they need to do what they love. For us, that starts with delivering a well-fitting, comfortable and supportive bikini that is, at the same time, fashionable, flirty and makes our customers feel good while wearing it–all while delivering peace of mind that it will perform. We want to show our customers what’s possible for us, as women!

Q: What is your most popular bikini right now and why?

A: We have a few current top sellers: the Colleen top and Kyla bottom and the Dawn top. Most recently, we’ve seen an uptick in the Jennifer bottom, the Katie top, and Elise bottom, which just won the 2017 SELF Healthy Living Award for “Best Two-piece that Stays Put.” Our designs are clean, unique and comfortable, which delivers all the best swimwear qualities.

Q: Tell me about your love for kiteboarding–what keeps you coming back for more?

SENSI GRAVES-lukas-stiller-DawnJennifer_TechnicolorKiteA: I learned to kite in 2007 when my dad brought my three brothers and I out to North Carolina. I hadn’t even really seen the sport before then and had no idea what I was in for. After two weeks, I fell in love and kept in touch with the school where I had learned. In 2009 I had the opportunity to move out to North Carolina for the summer to work as a kite instructor and I jumped on it. From that point on it was live, eat and breathe kiteboarding. I just fell in love.

My favorite part about kiteboarding is the freedom. You can take it so many places: in the waves, in the flat-water, on exploration missions… There are so many different aspects of kiting–whether you go for a solo soul cruise or are out with friends.

The community in our sport is also amazing, you won’t find a better group of people anywhere. I love that you can meet up with like-minded individuals all around the world and connect over this amazing sport.

Q: Do you compete?

A: Yes. I compete in a number of kite events throughout the year, namely on the Kite Park League World Tour. Our season just ended and I finished third overall.

Q: Have your ever tried surfing or any other extreme sports?

A: I love surfing. It’s by far the hardest board sport, you have to really watch and learn the ocean. But, once you’re on that wave, it’s the most exhilarating feeling. I can’t get enough. I’m also an avid snowboarder and mountain biker.TOBY2590

Q: Do you do any cross training for kiteboarding?

A:Kiteboarding is an all-over body workout, so many types of training get you in shape. Personally, I do circuit training, yoga and ride at cable parks. For the discipline of kiteboarding that I compete in (park riding), cable parks are the best cross-training that exists.TOBY5645

Q: What is your perfect kiteboarding day?

A: Waking up to a slight breeze rustling the trees. Enjoying a leisurely breakfast and coffee with friends. Riding in a slider park in tropical weather until I simply can’t any longer. Eating a fresh lunch. Taking a nap. Finally, ending the day with a foil session (another discipline of kiteboarding) as the sun goes down.

Q: Any advice for people who want to try it?

A: Take a lesson. You’ll need the basics and it helps immensely to have someone there, holding your hand as you learn to control the kite. Kiteboarding is all about kite control. Get good at that first before you attempt the board.

Check out Sensi’s bikini designs in action on:
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Seven Jedi Mind Tricks that can Save Your Crappy Session

By: Shawna Baruh

The best surfer is the one having the most fun, right? What if the waves suck or you suck or some punk keeps dropping in on you–still having fun?
Here are seven Jedi mind tricks that can help you have a great time, even when you have all the reason not to:IMG_8320

1. Set Low Expectations

We’ve all heard that surfer in the line-up screaming profanities at themselves when they blow it on a wave. They are not having a good time. Don’t be in a one-man contest. No matter what the conditions are, if your only goal is to strengthen your paddle and catch a mediocre wave, then you are more likely to have fun. The pressure is off at that point. I usually do this if the conditions are terrible. Once I make my session only about ‘paddling and exercise,’ any wave I get is a bonus.

2. When the Inevitable Quarrel Arises…

Don’t fight back. If your goal is to have a pleasant session, any altercation is going to bring you down. People are going to be assholes. And for some reason, it’s double-time in the water. Even if they are wrong, you are better off paddling away. I’m speaking from experience of doing the opposite. I have tried talking about it calmly and defending myself. It never works. Let the assholes be assholes while you keep your stoke.

3. Turn Crap into Gold

Ouch. Surfer at Wedge about to eat his breakfast...in sand and sea water.

When I do have an altercation in the water, I try to put my fragile ego aside and think ‘what can I learn from this?’ As cliché as it sounds, it can be powerful.
For example: while longboarding I saw a set wave and started to paddle for it. There wasn’t a person near the peak and I was closer than anyone else. As I paddled towards it, I noticed a guy paddle-battling me from behind for the same wave. I was closer to begin with and in position for priority, so I stayed my course, got to it first, as expected, and caught the wave.
As I took off, he screamed at me. I paddled back to him and asked him why he yelled at me. He told me to “Fuck Off” and then paddled away. The next wave I caught, he screamed at me as I got up, again. I kicked out of the wave and I asked him again what the hell his problem was. He said I was  “catching too many waves.”
Before this, I was having a mellow session. It was not crowded, the surf was 2-3 feet and fun. I was catching a lot of waves, but I wasn’t burning anyone. I tried staying calm while attempting to talk to him about it, but all he wanted to do was fight. I paddled away and tried to ignore him, but the damage was done. I was no longer having fun.
So, I asked myself “Could I give more waves away?” Maybe I could let some go by every now and then. At that point, I decided during every session, I would give away waves, for no reason other than ‘just because.’ It has been incredible. People are so thankful and approach me in the parking lot to give thanks. It has raised the quality of my sessions like I never thought it would.
So, to the assholes out there – I will turn your shit into gold and have an even better time. :)

4. Break the Silence

Epic tales of uncrowded points, sketchy roads...and bodily functions, of course.

Breaking silence and beer caps in Baja.

It’s okay to talk to strangers. Compliment someone on a nice wave, ask a question about their board or introduce yourself. You’ll be surprised how many surfers are open to conversation.
Drop “yews” on anyone getting an exceptional wave, or express your ‘stoke’ for the beginner you just saw make a break through. Remember what it felt like to catch your first wave? Pour some gasoline on that fire and pass the positivity around. It’s a great way to ensure that no one looks at you with aggro vibes and you will be less likely to get them back.

5. Get a Foamie

Once you take out a foamie, the only real goal is to try to have the most fun out of anyone in the lineup; it’s like being a kid again,” said Professional Longboarder Christian Stutzman. Christian has placed in longboard contests up and down the California coast, including winning the National Surfing Scholastic Association State College Longboard title in 2016. He also placed third in the noseride divisions of the Guy Takayama Pro. He is no beginner.
So, when I saw him driving around town with his foam board I had to ask.
“I love surfing foamies because they give me the freedom to just surf without any pressure, and it lets me have fun on any wave–big or small.” If you see Christian on his yellow foam board with a giant neon pink plastic fin, you can pretty much guess he  is having the most fun. And he just might invite you in on a party wave.

6. Get Better

Kelly Slater throws some spray at the 2012 Hurley Pro at Lower Trestles. Photo: Jackie Connor

Kelly Slater gets better…and better…and better…

In direct contrast to my foamie advice, another way to have fun is to get better. Pick one skill to work on and make it a practice session. Since surfing has one of the longest learning curves of any sport, you should expect to get only slightly better at said skill with each session, if you’re lucky. Upgrade your shuffle to a cross step or work on ditching the bottom turn during your takeoff and set a line. It feels good to be working at something out of your normal bag of tricks and even better when you master it.

7. If it still sucks…

IMG_9346If you are still having a bad session, then decide the universe is conspiring against you and just yield knowing there are better days ahead.

About the Author

D3S_1825_favShawna Baruh grew up in Western Massachusetts and in her early twenties moved to Cape Cod. There she learned to surf in the Northeast’s frigid waters and the joys of a 5mm wetsuit. She split her time between Cape Cod and Boston and earned a BFA in photography from the Art Institute of Boston. Her new love for surfing brought her to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and Mexico in search of adventures and new waves. After graduating college, she decided it was time to move herself to warmer waters. She and her dog trekked across the country and landed in San Diego where she still lives today. She appreciates the warm weather and water like a true New Englander and firmly believes that sunny days are meant to be enjoyed outdoors. She is currently a marketing consultant, photographer and a proud Mother of a toddler and two teenage step-children.

Time of the Month: What Every Surfer Guy (and Gal) Should Know-PERIOD.

SC graffiti sign

Since the upsetting shark attack that occurred on April 29th at San Onofre’s Church break, there have been rumors circulating the lineup that the estimated 9-11-foot shark might have been drawn to the unsuspecting gal because she was on her period.

 All jokes and assumptions aside, no factual evidence was discovered, not even a drop.

In fact–read Surfline’s exclusive interview with the recovering victim here.

And since I’ve heard this hilarious rumor, most of the guys I happen to surf around seemingly shift their locations further away from me, which is great if I’m waiting for waves at the peak.

Hmmm, maybe I’ll finally paddle out to Lowers this summer. :D

[Paddles out to Lowers and yells in womanly agony: “Oh mah gah, these CRAMPS!!”]

While surfing at Salt Creek this past May, I not only noticed that everyone was huddled unusually close together at the peak, but I also noted that the topic of conversation was primarily about our infamous grey-suited landlord. Everyone’s ears seemed to perk up as each news development surfaced about the recent attack while a coast guard helicopter patrolled overhead.

Each person’s shifty eyes would widen as I paddled closer to the peak, until someone approached me mid-conversation and blurted:

“You notice how all of the attacks are on women? It’s because they’re on their period,” he jokingly said. “I’d not surf here if I were you. You could be putting everyone at risk.”

UM-what?

OH yes, my very educated friend, it’s true. Every woman you see in the lineup is just constantly bleeding–we are nothing more than swimming/paddling/surfing chum machines, and are using the ocean as our personal maxi pad. We purposefully decide to park it by you in hopes that one day our ocean animal friends will seek and destroy you, mwahahahahaha.

I CONFESS: In the middle of my dark inner monologue and lonely three foot bubble, I began to wonder…is it true? Does a woman’s fun “time of the month” necessarily attract sharks? I mean, we all have to wonder and at some point, I know we all HAVE wondered this borderline sexist thought.

“This is a misconception that a drop of blood drives sharks from miles away into a feeding frenzy,” said Dr. Chris Lowe, professor of marine biology and director of California State University-Long Beach’s Shark Lab. “Everybody who is in the water is exuding  many of the same amino acids that are found in blood. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or woman, whether you’re having your period or not, you’re exuding many of the same compounds that a shark can detect.”

BOOM. Put that one to rest!  Dr. Lowe was recently featured in my piece: “Canary in the Coal Mine: Increase in Great White Shark Population is a GOOD Sign for Southern California

In addition to our male/female bodily …functions (?) being pretty much equal in the water, Dr. Lowe points out quantity, in this case, is also a factor to consider.

“The amount of blood a woman exudes during her period is miniscule,” said Dr. Lowe. “It’s not nearly enough to put an animal into that kind of feeding mode. So that’s very different from somebody who has a severe cut and is putting lots of blood into the water.”

Pictured is a juvenile great white shark off of Manhattan Beach. Photo credit: Cal State Long Beach Shark lab

Pictured is a juvenile great white shark off of Manhattan Beach.
Photo credit: Cal State Long Beach Shark lab

Additionally, menstrual blood is not really considered real “blood” that sharks interested in. According to Popular Science’s No, menstrual blood does not attract sharks, in addition to a shark like a great white’s ability to detect a trace amount of blood in only 100 liters of water (1/25,000th of an Olympic swimming pool!), even when sharks are snouting about, they are interested in marine mammal blood and guts–not ours.

Although it’s pretty inconclusive about what exactly sharks are inclined to attack in general, sharks have been documented to prefer sound instead of sight or smell, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Northeast Fishery Science Center (NEFSC). For millions of years, sharks have been programmed to detect struggling prey and movement. Colors also play a role in a shark’s interest and there is a specific attraction to silver, white and yellow–the same colors as a shark’s prey.

I recall my friend Sean paddling out to a break in Humboldt–often known for it’s cold, rainy and sharky conditions. Shark encounters are more frequent near this area, as it’s located just north of the “Red Triangle” and instead of baby great white sharks, they get the big guys from our nightmares. Not quite megalodon proportions, but if you were to tell me marine biologists discovered one in this region, it wouldn’t surprise me.

Much like the topography, most whites cruising the Northern California coast are much much larger because they can handle the colder water temps, although, they do prefer the more temperate waters, such as most of the Californian, Australian and South African coastlines. In fact, fully developed great whites are warm bodied, so they can adjust to water temperatures.

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

Humboldt Redwood forests galore!

After my friend paddled out to aforementioned peak, a girl approached him in a panic and announced:

“I’m on my period!! Am I going to get attacked by a shark??”

I picture my salty friend rolling his eyes after this comment, maybe even chuckling a little.

To conclude: If you’re on the rag, it does not mean you or you’re surfing/swimming buddies are on the menu.

9 Simple Rules for Dating a Surfer

When it comes to the dating world, surfers can be a “special” bunch. One minute you think you’re going for a nice romantic walk on the beach, the next thing you know, you’ve got a DSLR in tow, no idea how to use it and your guy (or gal) is saying “Ok, babe! Just remember to hold down the button when you see me on a wave!”

Good thing for that  tan chiseled bod, right?

Sure.

If feelings progress from “eye candy” status and you do not partake in the salty agua pleasures, here are some pointers you might consider while dating your little surfer girl or boy. RESULTS MAY VARY.

How many fins do you think he's got on the face?   Always a crowd pleaser, Wedge can produce one heart-stopping drop after the next.

How many fins do you think he’s got on the face? Always a crowd pleaser, Wedge can produce one heart-stopping drop after the next.

    1.) Waves, baby…

It’s all about those bumps in the ocean. And he or she will probably want you to watch them surf, too. Don’t try to understand the obsession, just go with it. The more your significant other tries to explain their love for surfing, the crazier they might sound. Just keep in mind this is a part of their life that keeps them connected/sane/calm, so don’t try to take it away—or consider your relationship done-zo.

   2.) Expect global maps and charts to be part of your internet browser favorites/wall decor.

Don’t be surprised if  your browser’s homepage is NOAA, Surfline, The Inertia…A typical surfer loves to travel in search of the endless break, the endless summer, the endless beer bottle/coconut farm/smoothie…whatever “endless” journey they have in mind, know that there will be a map or chart on the wall depicting this journey…or a dream scene from it.

"Look at that huge trench off the coast of..." (expect that to be your next vacay spot.

“Look at that huge trench off the coast of…” (expect that to be your next vacay spot.)

3.) You will always know what the weather’s doing

You’re the first one who knew it was going to be 85 degrees in the middle of February and you dressed approps…that’s a plus, right? You’ve got your surfer to thank for that.

4.) Your dates will be based around the tide schedule

Let’s just hope your surfer significant other understands that meeting the parents is not as “tide-friendly.”

5.) Expect sand in the bed

Unless your surfer significant other is OCD, know that your bed sheets will inherit the beach. If sand critters are beginning to establish colonies and form hierarchies under the sheets, that’s when you might want to establish boundaries…and a terrific outside shower system.

Clearly you do not want this in your bed...unless you like overnight exfoliation.

Clearly you do not want this in your bed…unless you like overnight exfoliation.

 6.) You may travel to locales you didn’t know existed. Bring a hat, sunscreen and distractions.

Where the heck is Lombok? Don’t see a Groupon travel special for that one. FYI: Most surfers base their travel  around maps, charts (see ‘Wall Decor’), last minute web rates and friends with standby hook ups… The words “all-inclusive” don’t register to the briny haired.

7.) You like talking on the phone or texting for long periods of time?

TOO BAD. Those charted journeys often require several days with no cell service or if your surfer is still local, they might just be in the water–of course: the day I see someone chatting away on their phone in the lineup is the day I quit– This is a reality you will have to face. If your surfer has a travel bug, investigate your phone’s international coverage and remember apps like “What’s App,” “Viber” and Skype. It’s important to chime in while they’re submerged in a foreign country and possibly surrounded by dangerous happenings…like other half-naked, tanned and chiseled bods.

Feeling a little lost in translation? Don't fret.

Feeling a little lost in translation? Don’t fret.

8.) Do not attempt to decode surfer jargon.

Whenever he or she is around fellow surfers, it’s as if they speak another language, right? Don’t stress. This is what surfers like to refer to as “frothing” and it’s completely normal. Surfer Today has a decent basic surf speak guide.

Your first test: “Bro, did you see that perfect A-frame peak I scored on the outside?! Dude, that set was macking!! My alaia launched an air on the inside right over the kook chillin’ on that airplane wing!”

Tales can become as tall as the barrel they chat about...unless the have a camera.

Tales can become as tall as the barrel they chat about…unless they have a camera.

9.) Listen to their stories

So you’ve heard about how a shark fin surfaced three feet in front of them after their skag gashed their leg open for the ten millionth time… or that time they caught a “30 second barrel” at Huntington Pier…or the double over head wave they scored at Trestles with no one out. It’s always good to just smile and listen, even if the tales grow taller by the day.

Disclaimer: This is based on no sociological or anthropological research other being a surfer girl for the past 11 years. There are many surfers out there who do not adhere to the stereotype, these are known as your “gems.” GO FOR IT…dude.

Surf like a Girl

The phrase “like a girl” has been dissected by most of my women’s studies college courses, friends who majored in the subject along with many other intellectual literature set to empower women in sports and society. While we can probe about the importance of gender equality in athletics or perhaps the subliminal messages advertisements and scantily clad athletes sends to young girls, I think you can get the jist in this clip featured by Always.

Ladies, case in point: SURF LIKE A GIRL.

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?”

Filmmaker Hayley Gordon’s Feature Surf Flick “By The Way”

By The Way from Hayley Gordon on Vimeo.

What better than to watch women surfers shred your local spots? Look no further than Filmmaker Hayley Gordon’s surf film By The Way.

The film showcases local southern Cali vibe a la ‘surfer girl’ mixed with the fun times these shredders have outside of the agua.

Surfer girls in their element ripping like crazy people? I love love love everything about it! Not to mention the awesome soundtrack, visuals and cinematography. Keep it up, Hayley!

For the complete interview with Ms. Gordon, check out JettyGirl Online Surf Magazine.

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!

Yoga and Surfing

Most commonly referred to as Warrior pose, this Yoga pose is one of many that helps surfers balance and alignment. Give it a try!

Most commonly referred to as Warrior pose, this Yoga pose is one of many that helps surfers balance and alignment. Give it a try!

During the months of inescapable early sunsets, evening sessions for me are pretty impossible…unless I surf with a headlamp…which I have seen done….but brrrrrr.

I confess…While inching towards home along the I-5 freeway, I often watch the sun disappear and the surfer inside me stomps up and down like a four-year old pitching a tantrum. All those uncrowded waves, empty trails, quiet moments before the sky turns a deep orange and purple and sends chilly surfers to the beach…all waiting for me to meticulously scan the medical dictionary for a garden variety of seasonal illnesses to fake.

But I’m a bad liar.

And a little darkness should never put a damper on a surfer’s schedule.  The key are distractions!

This is the time of the year where I like to turn my focus to yoga as its physical and mental benefits force me to clear my mind (much like surfing) while keeping my body limber for the spring and summer. When I practice yoga, I not only see a huge difference in my surfing’s posture and technique, but I also maintain better focus and breath control.

“Surfing and yoga definitely complement each other,” said Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher Carolyn Long.  “There is a lot of core strengthening, in fact, you notice a lot of yoga poses surfers do anyway: warrior, pigeon, down dog, cobra, up-dog, to name a few.”

Long has been practicing Yoga for 13 years and teaches a wide variety of yoga classes across Orange County, California.

Pranayama (breath) work is a HUGE edge for surfers,” said Long. “It allows them to ‘stay in the moment.’ Just like a moving meditation in our asana practice, on a wave this could mean life or death.”

Photo Courtesy: Sean DaveyMonica Dell'Amore uses Yoga as part of her training to charge Pipeline on O'ahu's North Shore.

Photo Courtesy: Sean Davey
Monica Dell’Amore uses Yoga as part of her training to charge Pipeline on O’ahu’s North Shore.

Mental clarity is a must while battling rush hour on a daily basis. In between blaring car horns, accidents and zooming motorcyclists, anyone’s patience can be strained, especially when all thoughts end with “could’ve been surfing right now.” But after a few deep yoga breaths, perhaps a change in playlist, I am content to know that after March 10th (daylight savings), my evening sessions will be back before I know it. But I don’t rest in that fact…I just simply rest and breathe deep oceanic breaths.

“Yoga has been an immense part of my training,” said Professional Bodyboarder Monica Dell’Amore.  “With surfing one of the things Yoga has helped me with the most is the ability to control and slow down my heart beat in moments of struggle and fear in the water.”

This is most important when Dell’Amore charges heavy waves like Pipeline on the North Shore of O’ahu. This break needs no introduction in the surfing community and it is a well-known fact that if you’re going to surf Pipe or any heavy water, you need to train.

Photo Courtesy: Sean DaveyMonica charges!! Yeew!

Photo Courtesy: Sean Davey
Monica charges Pipe!! Yeew!

In just about every pro surfer/waterman-woman interview I read, Yoga plays a huge role in their daily routines and continues to be an essential tool for breathing techniques.

But surfing community aside, the average Joe or Jane uses it as a form of stress release, a way to calmly connect with themselves and their surrounding environment.

“Yoga also reminds us of the interconnection of all things,” said Lindsey Plumier, Founder of the Non-Profit Organization My Own Two Hands. “Once we can connect to this truth, we can remember that we are all connected in this web of life and can take our yoga off the mat and into the world around us.”

So keep breathing deep…March 10th is almost here.

Photo Courtesy: Nate Trodd Monica Dell'Amore charges Puerto Escondido in Mexico. Yeew!!

Photo Courtesy: Nate Trodd
Monica Dell’Amore charges Puerto Escondido in Mexico. Yeew!!