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two girls wearing sweaters with arms around shoulders stand on a cliff in Big Sur Willow Creek smiling

Disconnecting up North in Santa Cruz and Big Sur

two girls inside the car take a selfie in sunglasses during a road trip up the coast of California

The first of many selfies.

About seven years ago this past April, I was surfing San Clemente State Park when I noticed this curly-haired chick wearing only a green Brazilian bikini paddling around in the lineup. The water had to be at least 60 degrees—nothing new for Southern California at this time of the year, but balmy by comparison from where she was from.

Curiosity got the better of me and we struct up a conversation being the only two women surfing at State Park that day. Lauren, being from New York, thought 60 degrees was warm water, thought all the guys on Tinder sucked, said we should go for the sets and paddled straight to the peak at pumping State Park—zero effs given.

Instant friendship.

A few weeks ago, that same surfer girl and I decided to pack up my Subaru and drive up the coast to Santa Cruz and Big Sur to find some surf, eat A LOT of snackies, camp and just plain disconnect from this crazy world. In fact, she made me turn off work notifications and that was the BEST decision ever.

a bright pink champagne cake sprinkled with white powdered sugar at the Madonna Inn

Marveling at the pink champagne cake at the Madonna Inn.

We had always talked about a trip together—I mean, why not?! She and I are typically on the same pages in life and (almost) the same speed in the surf. Although she has been known to tackle 15-foot peaks at Todos Santos, but that’s another story.

As with most surf road trips, we said ‘let’s leave at 6:00 a.m. and beat LA traffic!” My cat had other plans by keeping me up all night long and we also just plain lagged. But! Somehow traffic wasn’t that bad and we made it up to Ventura before 9:00 a.m. We stopped at my favorite little coffee shop, Sandbox Coffeehouse, to grab an awesome Chai latte and to (briefly) check C Street. Of course, it wasn’t working. To be continued…

a girl stands on a big rock by the ocean with her hand outstretched towards the ocean

Today, we have the small wave special served cold.

We burned past Santa Barbara and Carpinteria. We slipped past wine country and stopped at the Madonna Inn for a tasty, sweet treat. Deciding to take our time, we headed straight to Santa Cruz and would check Big Sur and Morro Bay on the way back. There was no swell in the forecast, so we weren’t in any rush.

After checking Moss Landing’s

a partly cloudy and windy beach scene with rough waves and yellow sand

Moss Landing, anyone want to surf?

wind-blown beach breaks, we made our way into Santa Cruz, the hippie capital, and surfed Jack’s, close to Pleasure Point. Of course, the sun was setting and the water was, once again, a balmy 58-60 degrees. Lauren insisted we trunk it for our first sesh. Teeny tiny waves met our bikini-cladded bods as we skidded and surfed with longboards underfoot. I realize—I miss longboarding so much. The cold got the best of me first and I took the tiniest wave in. Lauren and I decided hot soup was the ticket for a post-surf dinner and we found calamari, a glass of wine and clam chowder at Water Street Grill most satisfying.

light streaming through the trees in the forest

It is, indeed, a good morning, Henry Cowell campgrounds!

We made our way to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park around 9:30 p.m. and set up camp. The next day, the surf was once again tiny, so we decided to hike around—albeit taking it easy with Lauren’s injured Achille’s. A mellow 6-mile hike literally over the river and through the redwoods was the day’s adventure—major picture porn ensued and my iPhone was a shutter slut. (see photo slideshow below)

The next day, we gave Steamer Lane a shot, although there wasn’t too much to be had. There were the occasional shockingly bigger sets and Lauren and I scored, under the approval of two local guys—one was a regulator named Carols who told an errant kayak surfer (as nicely, but firmly as possible) to beat it. Thank you, Carlos!! We thanked him and struck up convo.

looking up into a tall redwood forest canopy

We’re surrounded.

On my first wave, I forgot kelp is a thing up there and inertia got the best of me when my board stopped short. The most epic wave of the trip was Lauren’s…she decided to trunk it AND wear her most awesome hat. Besides the fact that she looked like she belonged in Southern Baja, she took off on one of those “bomb” set waves and her hat nearly flew off as she cruised down the face and I paddled up the shoulder laughing hysterically. Thankfully she saved it, otherwise it was going to be my rescue mission. I must have died laughing. Best. Wave. Ever.

two girls standing in a forest making funny faces

This hat is legendary.

Not long before—I saw a sea otter pop up right beside me, an inquisitive look on its face and a small spider crab on its tummy. I dazzled and gushed with joy while it stared back and proceeded to crunch loudly on a spindly little crab leg. According to the two local guys, a momma sea otter has been hassling and biting folks out in the lineup lately–they think it’s because she has babies somewhere.

small waves breaking off a cliffside on a. sunny day

Steamer Lane, small and uncrowded.

While small waves hugged the cliffside and I waited my turn, I marveled at the rock layers and the sea stars, barnacles and kelp. What a perfect day for a snorkel or free dive! Best session of the whole trip, hands down. We made another attempt to surf 26th Ave, a nearby beach break, and though the waves were pretty much shore break, we found the best sunset views. A campfire, a solid burrito, a bottle of red wine and s’mores called us back to our campsite.

a girl wearing a bikini running out of the ocean with her hands up and smile on her face during the sunset

Trunkin it proof.

We made a few friends, too, who shared their biking adventures and we traded surf, bike and camping stories for our last night in Santa Cruz.

The morning was met with a hot dog from older hippie ladies by the Hook and some absolutely DELCIOUS pastries from Gayle’s Bakery based on Lauren’s recommends. We also did a stint at Grey Bears Thrift Store, and jetted as fast as my subie could carry our fat asses south towards Carmel, Monterrey and Big Sur aiming to find a camping spot. We checked some surf spots in Carmel, nothing too exciting, and dedicated our mileage to Big Sur.

Bixby Bridge in Big Sur California with fog and the beach

Obligatory pano of the Bixby Bridge. Not too shabby shot after tourist dodging, if I do say so myself.

secluded beach with rocks and windy conditions in a partly cloudy sky

Pfeiffer Big Sur

Winding in and around PCH, Lauren chauffeured and I got to marvel uninterrupted at Big Sur’s incomparable beauty for the first time. Lauren was a trooper and let me do the tourist thing of taking 10 thousand pictures at Bixby Bridge. Tourists gathered inches away from the cliffside to take group photos at this historical site while I gingerly snuck around for an uninterrupted angle.

We stopped at Andrew Molera State Park and after realizing we’d have to hike our stuff into camp, we opted to find easier grounds. Ironically, we staked a claim at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park—the spot where we were supposed to start a mini-backpacking trip. Our site was covered in leaves, a perfect critter notification system, I thought.

a girl wearing a headlamp tends to a campfire

We tried to summon The Doors’ ‘Light My Fire,’ but phone signals, ya know…

Night time crept in swiftly as the tall redwood trees darkened the campgrounds with their immense shadows. Building the fire proved to be a challenging effort and as food and drinks fizzled into s’mores and laughter, we could sense critters creeping in around us. We peered into the darkness outside our campsite and sure enough, eyes dotted the dark like stars poking through a black sky. Raccoons…we hope.

Didn’t help I told Lauren about my mountain lion encounter from 2010.

All night long, I heard animal shrieks and leaves crunching right outside my tent—raccoons, surely. Some time around 4:00 am, I heard a dog persistently bark and growl and at 7:00 am, a shriek and some scattered leaves came from Lauren’s tent. Eventually I woke up to find her calmly reading a book and then told me about this blue bird who took her by surprise. I think the animals were extra curious. Perhaps we smelled like s’mores and dirt.

a wetsuit sitting on a rock with a large spider crawling on top of it

A small critter makes itself at home on my wettie. 

The last day of our trip began with a search for a surf spot recommend from my friend Royce Fraley, but fog and zero Wi-Fi wouldn’t allow for it. Next time.

We checked another surf spot recommend–Pfeiffer Big Sur, and had our own stretch of beach all to ourselves. There was what looked like a right breaking off some rocks and I paddled out to investigate, but the solo mission plus the random rocks and super sharky vibes had me coming in after a few duck dives. I once heard of a man who duck dove and never came back up.

foggy and rocky coastline with a peaky wave breaking off shore

Would you go? Willow Creek looking peaky and tempting.

I later told Royce who joked and said I needed a guide. True. Laughing I thought—I just need a few more bodies out there to lessen those odds. Imagine that—I actually WANT people in the water with me…. well, a few…my friends only, but not as Great White snacks. Maybe that’s why that other spot he recommended was so territorial.

Eventually up and at ‘em again—we left our secluded slice of pre-colonized California and decided it was time to head back to reality. The pangs of anxiety rang to the tune of work, school and fur child, so I soaked in every hippie dippy, nature-induced high possible, like an addict savoring the last hit.

Lesson: Find more time to become un-notifiable.

 

More photos + videos:

Santa Cruz + Big Sur

Peace, Love and Don’tDropInOnMeOrElse

If anyone has been able to escape the craziness of the last few weeks (see: U.S. capitol & racist jerks), you might have noticed that there was a bit of a cat fight at Pipeline on Oahu’s North Shore between two insanely talented surfer girls.

Local Pipe charger Moana Wong took off deep on a wave and was dropped in on by Brazilian professional surfer Tatiana Weston-Webb, who instead of riding the wave, straightened out towards the sand.

But this wasn’t just any cat fight—it was one that needed to happen.

Coming to you live from Moana Wong’s Instagram–this is what happens when you drop in on a local, brah. #socialmediasuicide

HERE’S WHY:

The incident brought to the surface an abundance of issues ranging from the obvious safety hazards of Pipe, local girl v. privileged pro, coaches blocking for their athletes and using social media as a platform to call each other out.

I’m sure we can dissect this six ways from Sunday, and I’m pretty sure you and your buddies already have or you let’s Stab’s report do it for you. But did anyone catch the fact that this sort of incident has happened a MILLION times over with guy surfers? Nah.

Yes, Moana had every right to call out Tatiana and Tatiana (and her coach) should’ve been way more careful since Moana had no other choice but to ditch her board and head straight to the reef. A fight on the beach later and up goes social media a la insults and canned PR-y responses—I guess it’s good for something, right?

Pipe is the most dangerous wave on the planet, and Moana had an unnecessary run-in with the reef, thanks to Tati’s “misjudgment” and “poor eye sight.” I call shenanigans. But Tatiana’s canned apology felt like her mom dragged her by the ear and forced her to Moana’s doorstep only having Tati make a half-assed apology when in fact Tati could take a page from Moana’s barrel riding prowess—anyone watch Tati in the Pipe Masters? Meh.

MY POINT:

All gossip girl shit aside, I’d like to implore surfers everywhere to think about how this has been portrayed in the media thus far: someone thought it advantageous to take a video of the two girls fighting on the beach hoping to get something juicy for the presses.

When I watched that video, it pissed me off. Thanks for capitalizing on an incident we’ve seen happen with surfer guys a million other times. Now because there are women involved, there’s suddenly surfer paparazzi.

What were you hoping for? A bikini wrestling match? Grow up.

We, as surfers, are an ever-growing population. Innovation and technology are ushering in a new form of surf culture by bringing surfing to the inland masses through wave parks and marketing tactics. More and more folks are arriving at our coveted breaks not knowing the rules or the locals. People who otherwise might not have a clue about your break might be dropping in on you next weekend. Rick Kane has never been more present!

I get it—it’s more crowded than ever and we’re grumpy.

But unless you like surfing frigid mysto reefs complete with submarine-sized sharks, it’s time to sack up and:

  1. Learn the rules of the road or actually listen to the rules of the road
  2. Be kind, unless someone almost kills or injures you

Otherwise, we’re all in for more incidents like these.

LASTLY

To the women surfers: it is up to each of us to rise above the anger, the privilege, the B.S. and support one another in and out of the water. In this case, it was imperative for Moana to call Tatiana on her shit as Moana could’ve been seriously injured or killed. Don’t hesitate to do the same—some people are just not aware.

And—don’t fall for the B.S. the press puts out there.

Peace, love and #Don’tDropInOnMeOrElse.

Product Review: Eidon Surf Bikinis

woman in bikini with floral print smiles on the beach in the sunSummer-like conditions are suddenly taking over SoCal—February is famous for that. But don’t worry! It will go right back to being chilly and, despite the warm sun, the water temp is still hanging out in the 56-58 degree range. In between spouts of manic weather, let’s talk ‘kini season, shall we?

California’s quarantine madness can’t seem to keep most surfers down since crowds have reached ultra-epic (not just epic) proportions on both the trails and in the water … and sporting a cute, comfy bikini to the waves is no exception.

Enter: Eidon Surf

Eidon Surf’s philosophy of “live, travel, surf” being more than a phrase, has become scripture for all those who want to wander and need to be outside—and to this surfer girl—a huge part of my post-quarantine goals!

woman laying in the sun with Eidon bikini and sunglasses

February in SoCal–random 75 degree days are perfect for soaking up some vitamin D.

This ‘kini company is based in an even chillier part of North America—Canada to be exact, and is part of a larger wholesale brand, SGS Sports, which includes Eidon, Body Glove and Skye—each their own sportswear brands that have a single purpose: getting you outside.

 

Though we are a bit confined at the moment (read: ‘quarantine kills surfer travel’), for now, I will stare at the beautiful locales on my vision board and skip around SoCal’s local beaches in Eidon’s colorful, cute and SUPER comfy bikinis.

 


Who
: Eidon Surf

Check Out:

What I love: These bikinis are very comfy and I love their semi-modest style. The crop tops are also great for hiking in warmer locales and the bottoms hold tight against my, well, bottom! The fabric, which is a combo of mostly nylon and some spandex, is super soft and though I haven’t tried it in the rougher stuff yet, I’m looking forward to seeing how long it lasts and how well it stays put. Stay tuned to my Instagram page (@ConfessionsOfASurferGirl) for updates on that.

Why: I dig the more modest style pieces lately. Call it age, call it doing everything I can to avoid being eye candy for Trestles creepers, I think there’s  potential in the crop top for surfer gals who still want to look cute and feel good in the water while maintaining a level of modesty.

I wish: The fabrics were recycled or eco-friendly.

Price: $60-70 for a bikini set

On Thursday, 2/11, enter to win a free Eidon bikini on my Instagram, @ConfessionsOfASurferGirl ! Tag a friend in the comments section of my post to enter.

#TBT-My First Few Years of Surfing

My first time in real Baja, circa summer 2006.

I have changed over the years. And this year is no exception, if not the biggest year for some growth and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Cleaning and reorganizing always feels good, but sometimes from the proverbial dust, you dig up certain memories that you completely forgot about and have lingered in your boxes and books, buried beneath a stack of magazine clippings, articles and other career-oriented memorabilia.

Recently, in my crazy cleaning (what else should I do right now besides surf, amIright?), I rediscovered a surf journal I kept where I documented the first few years of my surf journey. I stopped mid-clean and prepared myself for a funny and nostalgic afternoon.

I started surfing in January 2004 at good ole SanO with a surf class and a hilarious football coach, who always teased me about being from Austin (UT -hook ’em) since he was an OU fan, and from that class, I met a group of friends. Ah the days of yore! Where Myspace WAS the social media, cell phones with cameras baaaarely existed and GoPros flat out did not exist.

Throwback to ‘Jackie’s Session Notes’ on Wetsand.com, circa 2005.

With a 9’0 Stewart longboard barely tucked under my arm, I  froze my tush off while innocuously learning about surf etiquette, paddling out, popping up and riding a wave…and not burning anyone in the process. Of course there is an entry in there where I got yelled at for my first time and was reduced to tears! Now I crack up thinking of how upset I was, even though it was my fault. But–in my defense, he was also a jerk. These days, I’d fire back at the jerk or just flip a bird and paddle away. :) Ah, lessons learned on a daily in the agua…that’s what I love about surfing: it is forever a journey.

Let me wax more nostalgia: 2005 was also the same year where I started writing for Wetsand.com. All the same, it was one of my first places I was published and wrote for consistently. And some of those adventures definitely stemmed from this journal and, on wetsand.com, would’ve been found in “Jackie’s Session Notes,” riiiight below the beginnings of “Liz Clark’s Swell Voyage” in the “Women Who” section.

My first few years of surfing were momentous on a daily basis and often heartfelt, although plenty of cracking up along the way.

Below are some excerpts I thought y’all might crack up about, too.

Here’s to a #ThrowbackThursday!

Chasing-Light-SoCal-Woman-Surfer-Running-to-the-water-with-surfboard

WATCH: Chasing Light SoCal + Q&A with Videographer Celina Bahandari

As part of my day job, I often have the privilege to work with really talented people and students. One of these students just happens to be a super talented videographer and has quite the YouTube and Instagram following.

Recently, undergrad student Celina Bahandari created a video as part of a project for Panasonic and boy! Is she talented or what? Panasonic asked Celina to test their new Panasonic LUMIX s5 camera and create a video that focused on “what gets you up the in morning, what is the light in your life” as part of a project called “Chasing Light.”

I got a little cameo in the video, although disclaimer: the waves weren’t working well that day (thanks, super high tide and River Jetties!) haha Are they ever when you try to plan something??

I caught up with the talented videographer:

******

How did you become so interested in video?
Growing up I always had an interest in creating little movies and music video parodies with my friends. I think I was always creative from a young age and always enjoyed capturing things on my camera. As I got older and grew up with a lot of content to watch on YouTube, I was able to really get into it more and learn skills from it. Then I just kept practicing and really loving it.

What made you want to pursue it?
I knew I always wanted to have a career that I’m genuinely interested in and love. Because I know if you love something, it wouldn’t really feel like work. So realizing that I was super passionate about filming really made me want to pursue it and just keep growing.

What/who was your biggest influence behind this project?
I think I was just really inspired by the location. Living in different places really makes you realize what makes each place special and unique. So after living in SoCal for over a year, I really knew I wanted to somehow showcase the active lifestyle of it. I was definitely inspired by the general strangers and people that live here and I see everyday when I’m outside taking a walk or on the beach. But if say I was in San Francisco or something, I’d probably make a completely different story because the people up there and vibe is very different.

Where do you want to take your videography?
As far as I can possibly take it. I think I can continue learning forever and it’s super cool that there’s always new things to learn. I really wanna continue working on shoots where I can direct and get better at directing. Also, there’s so many softwares I can learn, as well, and get better at.

What do you want to do after your graduate college?
After I graduate I’ll probably travel for a year cause I’ll probably learn a lot by experiencing new places and grow my video skills while traveling. Then after I wanna do freelancing and make connections in either LA or New York just to get into the entertainment or music industry. I think networking is gonna be the biggest thing that determines how far and where I go right after college, so I wanna try building those while still in college for sure.

What is your dream career?
I honestly want to dabble in everything. The great thing about video is that there’s just so many different avenues to explore. I wanna get into music videos and tour videos, but also I wanted to work on a real movie set and maybe some marketing campaigns. At the same time, I wanna continue working on my own passion projects and make a documentary. There’s just so many things I would wanna do, so it’s hard to say I’ll probably just hop around. haha

How do you plan to achieve it?
I’m gonna work super hard and meet people and continue to grow my skills. I think working for companies and doing internships is super powerful because it’s a good way to learn how marketing teams and businesses work. And also a great way to make connections. I think just continuing to further my skills and networking is the most important way to achieve it.

*****

Learn more about Celina and her company, FilmVentureStudios, on the socials below!

YouTube

Insta

Watch her video, “Chasing Light SoCal.”

All Photos and Video Courtesy of Celina Bahandari

An Ode to Surfer Magazine

Surfer Magazine covers, man surfing green water waves, black text, man getting barreled

From my archives, RIP 1960-2020.

I saw the news first (& ironically) on Instagram from friend’s posts…

“RIP Surfer Mag”

What? No.

No way.

My heart sank and I immediate pulled a few issues I had saved out of my archives.

One of my very first editorial experiences I ever had in my career was interning at Surfer Magazine 2006-2007 under the direction of Chris Mauro, Editor-in-Chief at the time. I worked directly with mostly the Associate Editor, Alex Wilson, who taught me the finer things of transcribing an interview—I don’t think I’ll ever forget transcribing a two-hour long interview with pros whose first language was definitely not English. I was absolutely clueless at the time, but just came to work each and every day perpetually star-struck and stoked to be helping and watching these guys produce monthly mags …the one I would salivate for arriving in my mailbox, or would take a few extra copies from the staff.

I got to know the front desk lady, who was always so kind when I’d arrive every morning…the lines of glossy surfboards standing tall in the office—mostly guns. I’d stare at each of them trying to memorize the dimensions, wondering what kind of waves these beastly boards were for…I got to know each of the editors and where they were from and why they started surfing…they were a quiet bunch mostly, but it was definitely a boys club.

Chris Mauro, page of Surfer Magazine, Chris Mauro byline

Always looked forward to Chris Mauro’s writing.

I always looked up to Chris Mauro’s writing—he was the first person at Surfer I spoke with and the one who brought me on as an intern. I was taking my first journalism course at Saddleback College and Professor Mike Reed wanted us to interview someone in the profession you wanted to be. I wanted to interview someone at Surfer Mag and always knew who I wanted to interview, but was too intimidated. I asked Prof. Reed and he said, “go for the jugular.” My first lesson in journalism. He also told me to tell Chris that I was from Reed’s class.

Chris’ response: “Reed rules! I took his feature writing class. Yea come on in!”

I made friends with the advertising team—naturally, they are some of the friendliest folk, and met a fellow intern who became one of my best friends. We’d go for a surf together and get together for taco Tuesdays, sushi Thursdays and various party-esque holidays…I think I have a photo somewhere of all our costumes.

I also attended Surfer Poll a bunch. :)  The Academy Awards for surfing at the Honda Center for a long time…standing within 5 feet of Andy Irons, Keala Kennelly, Greg Long…going to the bathroom and running into Carissa Moore…being able to name each and every surfer at the awards and watching their interactions while I sipped wine to placate my star-struck nerves…

Dave Parmenter, pages of Surfer Magazine, Everybody Surfs

I also admired Dave Parmenter’s writing.

The surf industry has experienced massive shifts almost on a monthly basis. It started with Transworld Surf in San Diego and then, who would’ve thought that Surfing Magazine would ever go under? Not once did I think that Surfer Mag, the O.G. surf magazine, would get the boot. It pains me to see—honestly, this was why I pursued journalism as my college degree. I wanted to write for a surf magazine, I wanted to write stories about women chargers, rippers, shredders…to bring to light that there’s more to a surfer girl than her bikini bod and “epic” bottom turns. Then I saw Surfer created Salted and it looked so tempting, I wanted to write for them so badly, but my story ideas and pitches never seemed to fly.

Within those years, it was when I realized it didn’t matter what you knew, it was, just as in most things, who you knew. I was shy and still am, but I’ve definitely gotten better about my shyness. I would constantly rack my brain for that elusive, can’t-refuse feature story for me to write for Surfer, but one of two things would happen: they didn’t like it or they liked it and had someone else write it.

Surfer Mag editors eventually stuck me in archives and I learned a lot about surf history by pouring over the old issues from its very FIRST one published by John Severson called “The Surfer” in 1960…an issue that was wrapped in plastic and only available in a certain editor’s office.

Surfer Magazine section, Curious Gabe, Surfer Magazine page with green layout

‘Curious Gabe’ also rocked!

It wasn’t until I interned for Surfline that I actually got to write some stuff (thank you, Darlene Conolly <3). When I started my long freelance career, my editors often type-casted me as the “surfer writer,” with which I had ZERO issue. Despite the fact that I never was published in Surfer or Salted, I got to write about the Nike Lowers Pro and the Hurley Lowers Pro and the U.S. Open of Surfing for several years in a row. I also got to photograph it and got to rub elbows with some of the surf industry’s most legendary photogs…Jeremiah Klein, Dan Merkel and Aaron Lieber…to name a few

This life is a journey, shit happens for a reason and though it really saddens me to see Surfer Mag go, I know that necessity is the mother of invention. Surfers need a publication to froth over…it can’t just all be TikTok, YouTube and Instagram…this is a time of reinvention and creativity. Something will come of this craziness. I can only hope that Surfer Mag pulls a musician thing and has a “comeback” tour or a revamp.

If they do, you can bet your balls I’ll be pitching to them.

page of Surfer Magazine, Masthead for Surfer Magazine, Interns

One of the first places my name is in print

I’m not sure why exactly print continues to suffer…since 2009, why publications, ones we trust and know, are being pushed aside for digital platforms and sketchy ads proclaiming the “true story?” Why does fake news thrive and those seasoned pros, like Surfer Magazine, get thwarted?

In essence, I’m sure there are things and conversations the general public wasn’t privy to, who knows? I do know that I am forever grateful for my many experiences working with Surfer Magazine. This experienced pushed me into the journalism and writing realm and that has served me well to this day. Thanks, Surfer and Chris Mauro.

Though back then it was a boys club, nowadays, I love watching how the magazine and the industry in general are evolving into just a “club” and that is what I had always hoped for.

R.I.P, Surfer Mag.

A 6-Hour Tour: Trestles, Crowds, Waves, Bruises

Ah Trestles—my go-to, my getaway to get away,

During this quarantine thing, I try not torturing myself by looking at my long list of surf trips…especially since the world does not want Americans near their shores right now…but this past Saturday, Trestles brought the surf trip to me and bunch of other heat relief-seeking folks. Indo be damned…well, for now.

My trusty Sub Scorcher

A perpetual heat wave has been hovering over SoCal, thanks to a once hurricane now-turned series of storms off the coast. In fact, as I type this, I’m probably sweating in a tank and shorts with my hair in a bun that’s falling out of my clip.

Coulda sworn I left the humidity in Georgia and Texas…Lawd, child!

Last weekend, air temps hovered in the high 80’s by the beach and water temps sat at a very comfortable 72-76 degrees all along the coast. Trestles and her warm water walls called!

There are times where the crowd gets to me, the wave frustrates me and the rocks irk me. But not this time. Warm water makes me invincible, right? :D

At 9:30 a.m., I paddled out, no wetsuit needed. Duck diving felt like heaven and even though the lineup was really crowded, I couldn’t help but smile to see a few happy faces out there prattling on about the water temp and the waves. Nearby, a guy and I joked about how crowded it was, but there was also a fair amount of space between each surfer…except me and this Aussie chick, who constantly burned and backpaddled me.

First burn—okay, maybe it was an accident.

Second burn—excuuuse me?!

On her third burn, I yelled at her, to which she stared at me as she paddled back out…and I had no trouble mean mugging her right back, my inner ‘Georgia Jackie’ blood boiling, but I resolved to just shaking my head. She disappointed me more than angered me. As women, we should be supporting one another in the water, not acting like assholes to each other. Sure, competition is healthy—but not flat out rudeness and greediness. I thought to myself, yelling at her more is only going to give her cause to yell back. Then I thought, maybe if I reason with her and tell her that I didn’t appreciate her practically dropping in on top of me even after she saw me paddling for the wave… Then I thought “Nah. If she can’t be a considerate surfer, there’s no way she’s a considerate human being and I’m in no mood to school someone who should already know the rules of the road.”

Her friend attempted a peace treaty with me and reassured me that she won’t be back since she lives in San Diego, to which I replied to him: “Good.” She stayed away and soon after I caught a few nice waves and did a nice frontside hit in her face, she and her all dude posse went in. Good riddance.

Fast forward and a few friendly faces show up, some I haven’t seen since before quarantine and my heart felt light. We sat at a peak, played with its walls, and drifted around Uppers and the 50 million surfers chomping at the bit for a bite of the peak.

One happy surfer girl

I took one wave towards the inside and as another wave was breaking, a grom dropped in and without looking in front of him, ate crap, unintentionally sending his board towards me. Never thought I’d do this, but I tried to put my board in front of me to block his oncoming board, but failed. Thankfully, the board wasn’t coming at me too fast. A scratch on the forehead and a few bruises later, I paddle back out and said grom apologizes, after a small schooling from my friend. ;)

Waves, more waves and then some more waves…new friends, old friends…soon enough, it was almost 6 hours before I called it quits. Attempts to reapply sunscreen 2 hours into my sesh failed and I justify the sun damage to being locked away for 2 months. Savoring every minute of this day, I thought as we all sat on the beach and laughed, sweated out butts right off, talked surf trips and life. Despite crowds and bruises, we made it a proper Trestles summer sesh…but for a minute, it felt like our own spot somewhere in Central America.

Now, to scratch that travel itch…

Can You Get COVID-19 from Surfing?

Hit the eject button on crowds for now.

I confess: Over the past several weeks, I’ve been surfing. What was a few times has now returned to my routine. It had been over two months since I got in the water and the first time back felt weird. It felt wrong and odd, I felt like some kind of social recluse committing a crime, but giggling on the way in all the same.

I went to River Jetties in Newport and as I dipped my toe in the luke-warm ocean, a sense of relief and paranoia struck me all at once.

If this feeling could be put into words, it might look something like this:

Ahhhhhahwawwwweeeeeummmmmhmm

(not) a poo barrel–sponger gets a clean barrel at Wedge in Newport.

Can you get coronavirus from surfing? It lingered in my mind, distracted me from catching waves as I drifted towards the rivermouth. My friend’s sarcastic line floated into my mind: “Where the poo meets the sea is where I surf”—referring to River.

The Surfrider Foundation wrote a comprehensive report and references several studies, both published and unpublished, that cite contradicting information—one German study says you can’t pass it on through poop and another Chinese study says you can.

Is it viable once in the salt? It’s been said that it can be passed on through freshwater, like lakes and rivers. But studies don’t have conclusions about saltwater. Also, when waves break, it creates an aerosol affect, which translates into tiny water droplets flying through the air and into your smiling mug, according to some speculations.

Yummm taste that COVID-19 spray! Over the (small) falls at Wedge in Newport.

But that’s speculative.

From Surfrider:

At this point, the research community does not know if people can contract the COVID-19 virus from exposure to feces in recreational waters but the overall consensus is that it might be possible.

MRSA, e.coli and all those other fun germies can be caught through dirty water, so it sounds like we treat this as we would a sewage spill—don’t surf dirty water and stay away from people as best as you can.

But, tell that to 50 of your best buddies vying for the peak at Lowers on a Saturday morning.

Should I Stay or Should I Go…Outside

For past several months, COVID-19 has spread across the nation and the world as a serious infectious virus killing thousands in its path. The virus has caused not only an economic recession on a global scale, but also major closures of all kinds—including business, entertainment, events, restaurants and now—parks and beaches.

The adult in me agrees—but the surfer in me seethes. For the sake of public health, this is the responsible thing to do. Californians will have to sit back and either get a little pudgier or develop a workout routine that works within the confines of a six-foot bubble.

If we go outside, we risk infection—for not only ourselves, but also, and perhaps more detrimentally, another person whose immune system may be compromised. As surfers we are touted with having one, if not THE most selfish view—it’s all about me and the waves, right? What will COVID-19 bring out in each surfer?

Darling you’ve got to let me know….

Will you bring back 1970’s Trestles, say ‘fuck it’ and charter a boat to Lowers, middle finger to the law and score semi-empty A-frames when it’s firing? (Because God knows it will fire between now and June)

OR

Will you stay inside and stream those epic free workouts via YouTube? I’ll be listing a few pretty soon…just sayin’.

Or perhaps you’ll go for a run outside and base your path on avoiding all forms of human life, like me. Believe me, it makes for an interesting run.

Necessity is the mother of invention.

Who said it—I don’t know. But I do know that right now, worldwide, we are all in need of something. Whether it is a dire need for vaccines, diagnostic testing for COVID-19, down to toilet paper, tissues, groceries, companionship or just a nice hug from a friend, this event has brought out the worst or the best in humanity. It has made us realize that no matter the dire situation, we, as a family, community, population, human race will find a way. Whether it’s saying fuck it or hunkering down, it’s a way and it will be remembered.

I went for a run today at lunch and although stores and cities are ghost towns, I did see people out and about catching some much needed vitamin D. And I wondered what was next.

What will this show us as a society? What will this bring to the fold? What new inventions will this create?

The complete quarantine was next. If you are a Californian, Washingtonian, New Yorker, you are tucked away behind walls while at the same time fighting for groceries, lining up in front of firearm shops, sniffing out metal baseball bats at the local Goodwill (don’t mess with me!)…while hoping our families across the country, the sea, the world are okay, wishing we could be with them right now.

Should I cool it or should I go?

Necessity—what will you create out of this mishegas?

For now—I’m staying out of the water, respecting people’s health and am flipping on YouTube for some kind of natural endorphins. I’ll be running around outside, too, albeit avoiding folks as best as possible. Also, gardening is thing—consider it.

One thing I’ve noticed within the last two weeks: more people than ever are going outside.

Product Review: Waterborne Skateboards Surf Adapter + Carbon Complete Fleet

Fraught with the latest flat spell blues? Skip your last rock over Lake Pacific and grab a skate from Waterborne Skateboards. This UC Irvine startup company is known for its signature truck, the Surf Adapter, straight from the brains of UCI undergrad Patrick Dumas.  The Surf Adapter can turn any skateboard deck into a surfskate dream machine. Combine awesome adapter with carbon fiber deck, and your skate experience is now ruined for any other board. Good luck trying to find another option cause there ain’t one!

Shameless plug time! After their recent collab. with Penny Skateboards, word on the street is Dumas and team may be cooking up some more board fun goodies–see my article’s last quote.

Try:

Surf Adapter

Aries Carbon Complete

Scorpio Carbon Complete

Gemini Carbon Complete

…astrological readings not included.

The Scorpio carbon fiber board–get some.

The deets:

Equipped with the Surf Adapter, each carbon fiber deck ranges between 31-39” in length. The Surf Adapter works great on a standard skateboard deck AND is absolute MAGIC on a carbon fiber deck providing lots of flexibility and incredible durability. Not only is each board a smooth ride, lightweight and fast, but they also allow you to maintain control over your carves. Think hot knife through butter.
Combine any three boards with ramps, pools, sidewalks as flat as the Pacific (I’m not bitter) and some fun tunes…and …what is this ‘ ocean surfing’ thing, again…?

What I love:

Everything

How I’ll use it:

When Lake Pacific takes hold or parking garage skating urges occur

I wish:

I got the bro deal—the price is painful for a carbon complete

Price:

$59.99—Surf Adapter

$379-499—for a carbon fiber complete

 

Watch Patrick and the Waterborne team shred Newport: