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Update: My MIA Theory

For a while now, I have been pretty MIA on my blog. It hasn’t been easy, since I have at least five blogs in progress (Anyone want to be my model for art??) and have yet to hit the publish button, while more ideas continue to chew at my noggin. However, essentially, I had to hit “pause” because life tends to happen at any given moment and, as I discovered, sometimes you can’t do it all. There are times where you should sit back, take a breath and just watch the waves.

Essentially, that is what I had to do after my sweet fur baby companion sadly developed an aggressive cancer and I had to say a very painful goodbye to him over a month ago. Three weeks after I lost my sweet cat, I also lost my job during a company-wide layoff.

Case-in-point: Always be prepared for those random rogue sets because they happen.

Emotional rollercoasters are taxing on the soul and not a fun ride, but they are essential for inner growth. Like waves have peaks and troughs, life has ups and downs. Through pain and loss, we can discover more about our strengths and opportunities for growth.

It seems there is no rhyme or reason for life’s ebbs and flows, but it is important to take charge and stay the course–to never give up on goals. Whether it’s popping up on your board or perfecting a proper roundhouse, it is always doable, no matter the board, age or skill set. The great thing about a hobby like surfing is it is a ‘forever challenge,’ which creates tenacity.

I like to think surfing plays a big role in training me for life’s victories and disappointments.

Like getting caught inside or surfing an aggressive crowd, life’s frustrations tend to appear more than the benefits. But scoring that perfect ride keeps us frothing, coming back for more, despite those closeout sets. Focus on that ride, keep paddling out, no matter how many waves crash in your face.

Schwack Attack

When surfing frustrates me, I focus on one of my most cherished memories: The first time I caught a wave and the smile it brought to my face.

After this past month of ebbs, I am focusing on paddling towards the peak because I deserve my dreams and so does everyone who sets their course for the horizon. My grandma used to say: “Hitch your wagon to a star.”

Case-in-point: Never give up

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? ;)

DSCN3364

 

Strike a Pose: 6 Yoga Postures that Improve your Surfing

Whether you shred the gnar or gracefully glide across the face of a wave, it is common knowledge the best exercise for surfing is, well, surfing! However, out of the million billion workout trends found beneficial as a cross-training source, yoga often pops up onto almost every surfer’s radar one way or another. If you treat it like a workout (see “hot yoga sculpt”) or as a way to decompress, a yoga practice has something for everyone.

“For surfers, the focus is a lot of heart opening, arm and back strengthening postures,” said Tiffany Martin, Warrior One Wellness Owner and Yoga Instructor. “Surfers are often already in that halfway lift point, so in postures like Up-Dog or Baby Cobra, your legs and toes are still active, which are really important for balance, strengthening and back support.”

Legendary pro surfers like Gerry Lopez and Greg Long have long-since cultivated disciplined practices and, as a result, have improved their surfing and breathing techniques, according to a Surfer Magazine article “How To Save Your Surfing with Yoga.” In some instances, such as Long’s Cortes Bank wipe out, learning to calm the mind and holding breath under extreme duress are a few factors that can play lifesaving roles.

There are hundreds of yoga poses that can benefit your surfing. Customize at will!

Here are 6 yoga poses to get you started, courtesy of Tiffany Martin:

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1.) Chaturanga danda, a.k.a.: Low Plank

How: Bend your upper and lower arms 90 degrees at the elbows. Shoulders should not drop lower than the height of your elbows. Hold this pose for 30 seconds or more!

Benefits:

  • Strengthens arms and wrists
  • Tones abdominal muscles
  • Strengthens quads

2.) Urdhva mukha svana, a.k.a.: Upward Facing Dog

How: Start by lying face down on the floor with legs extended behind you, toes a few inches apart. Place hands next to your lower ribs. Inhale and press your hands into the floor, pushing your body upward. Firmly press down through the tops of your feet.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the spine, arms and wrists
  • Stretches chest, shoulders and abdomen
  • Improves posture

3.) Bhujangasana, a.k.a.: Baby Cobra

How: Begin by lying on your belly, inhale and place elbows under your shoulders, forearms on the floor. Make sure your thighs are firm and point your toes behind you. Breath deep and feel the bend.

Benefits:

  • Stretches shoulder, chest and abdominal muscles
  • Decreases stiffness in the lower back
  • Strengthens arms and shoulders
  • Strengthens the spine
  • Elevates mood
  • Improves circulation of blood and oxygen

4.) Adho Mukha Svanasana, a.k.a.: Downward Facing Dog

How: Bend your knees, come to the balls of your feet. Bring your shins parallel to the mat and lift your sit bones high and back. Press hips towards the wall behind you and begin to straighten your legs. Remember to keep your head out of your shoulders and allow your shoulder blades to slide down your back.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens arms and legs
  • Stretches shoulders, hamstrings and calves
  • Lengthens spine
  • Energizes the body
  • Calms the brain and helps relieve stress

5.) Paripurna Navasana, a.k.a.: Boat Pose

How: Sit on the floor with straight legs in front of you. Exhale slowly and lean back on your sit bones lifting your legs with knees bent off our the floor. Your thighs should be angled at 45 degrees. Hands can be held out in front of you or to the side. Remember to breath.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens abdominal muscles, hip flexors and spine
  • Stimulates kidneys and thyroid
  • Improves digestion

6.) Eka Pada Rajakapotasana , a.k.a.: Pigeon Pose

How: This pose is ideal to implement while you are in Down Dog.

From Down Dog, bring your right shin forward and down so that your right foot is in front of your left hip and your right shin is nearly parallel to the front edge of your mat. Flex your right foot. Stretch your left thigh back as you draw your left hip forward.

Lengthen your belly as you fold over your right leg. If your right hip does not easily reach the floor, place a folded blanket or block under your right sitting bone. Breathe deep and repeat on the other side.

“Hip-opening can help release the low back and the legs,” said Martin. “You can only get so open in the upper body if your hips are super tight, so that’s a needed balance for practice.”

Benefits:

  • Strengthens abdominal muscles, hip flexors and spine
  • Stimulates kidneys and thyroid
  • Improves digestion
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Yoga has become a popular pastime for many people across the nation and world. Check your local listings for classes in your area. Free classes are also available–a simple donation is usually requested at the end of class.

“I started a beach yoga class at Doheny state beach in Dana Point,” said Martin. “Come join me! It’s every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8:15 a.m. and I also teach privately at my house studio.”

In addition to teaching at several local studios, Martin also developed Warrior One Wellness, a fitness company, where she hosts yoga sessions for different treatment centers, corporations, events and parties.

Click here for more information about Warrior One Wellness!

Yoga offers many health benefits for not only surfers, but also dancers, athletes and the mass populous in general. According to The Yoga Health Foundation, yoga can reduce cortisol levels, which contribute to stress and weight gain. Even a small amount of daily stretching can improve flexibility and blood flow, as well as decrease the potential for injury, said the Mayo Clinic.

Keep an open mind, remember to breathe through the hard parts and watch your physical and mental well-being transform over time.

Mauli Ola Foundation and friends hold ‘Surf Experience Day’ at Torquay Beach

Mauli Ola Beach Experience Day from STAB on Vimeo.

This incredible nonprofit organization is dedicated to providing hope to individuals living with genetic disease by introducing the ocean’s healing properties as a natural therapy through surfing and other ocean-related activities.

“What makes MOF so amazing is that it not only grants an opportunity for kids to get active, have fun, and build their confidence, but it also introduces the ocean as a natural form of therapy,” said Ambry Genetics Pediatric Product Manager and Mauli Ola contributor Christy Moore. “Hypertonic saline is a treatment for people with Cystic Fibrosis, and the best source for it, for people who are healthy enough, is the ocean!  Sometimes kids can even skip a treatment that day after being in the ocean.”

For more information about MOF and how to get involved, visit: mauliola.org

 

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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Product Review: Avasol Sunscreen

Winter is upon us and besides this intro already sounding like a Game of Thrones quote, it’s still essential to put on your best armor against that shiny ball in the sky. During the cooler months, we often forget  the sun is still strong enough to eventually turn our cute mugs into a texture reminiscent of a leather couch. Instead of avoiding the warm rays and essential vitamin D all together, go outside and enjoy within the safety of an all-around awesome sunscreen.

My version of “Valyrian Steel?” Avasol.

Who: “Ava” is the Samoan word for “respect” and “Sol” translates to the sun. “Respect the sun”

What I Love: From simple, sustainable and organic ingredients right down to the biodegradable packaging, Avasol won my sunscreen heart. Whether it’s surfing for several hours, miles of hiking adventures or exploring any type of outdoor terrain, this product goes where I go. I have been using this mineral-based sunscreen for the past year and have never been burned.

Originally, I found Avasol through one of the team riders’ social media posts, Waterwoman Liz Clark. Not only is she an all-around amazing human being through her sailing and surfing adventures, but she is also a terrific advocate for all things sustainable and environmentally-friendly.

Why: Because it’s just that awesome. All of the ingredients are organic and are well within my pronunciation capabilities, the smell is addictive and it stays on your dome or bod for several hours. How can you avoid a product with ingredients such as organic coconut oil, shea butter, plankton extract and cinnamon extract. Save your best lobster impersonation for Halloween!

How: Visit their website and make a wise purchase.

Cost:

  • $19.95 for 1 ounce of the Surfer’s Barrier stick which comes in three different shades and two different SPF’s.
  • $29.95 for a 2.5 ounce reusable bottle of the Environmental Defense cream.
  • $25.95 for the Environmental Defense cream refill

Extra Advice: If you’re like me and are a skin care freak, once you are out of the sun, I recommend removing this sunscreen with a makeup remover cloth or a gentle soap and baby wash cloth. Ultimately, I refer to Avasol as my “surf makeup” because it covers up really well and looks/feels like a thick water-resistant base makeup. Although it is a mineral-based sunscreen and it doesn’t seem to clog my pores, it does feel heavy on the skin.

When I’m not near a bathroom sink *cough*Trestles*cough*, my routine is: Rinse face with fresh water, wipe off Avasol with cloth, rinse once more with fresh water and apply regular daily moisturizer with spf.

So enjoy the outdoors and respect the sun! Life is too short to live inside behind “The Wall.”

 

dana pt sunset

Trestles Walk

Don’t ya wish the walk was actually this fast sometimes? ;)

‘Resurface’ Documentary to Show Ocean’s Positive Effects for Military Veterans

The ocean has many remarkable benefits to our ecosystems and society, one of which is it’s rehabilitative effect on individuals suffering from physical or psychological hardships, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The upcoming documentary Resurface features the story about United States Marine Corps infantryman Bobby Lane who, while on tour in Iraq, suffered two traumatic brain injuries when his troop was hit by five roadside bombs within an 11 day span.

After returning home where he suffered many sleepless nights along with thoughts of suicide, Lane traveled from Texas to California to learn how to surf–his final bucket list item. Now Lane credits surfing with saving his life by helping him cope with his post-combat struggles.

Resurface showcases candid video footage and extensive research about water’s effect on the human brain. The documentary highlights the therapeutic outcome of surfing through the support of organizations who are dedicated to serving United States veterans.

There is an innate reason why the act of surfing puts people in such a good mood!

Based out of the San Francisco Bay area, Resurface  Director Josh Izenberg and Producer Scott Stillman CONFESS their insight on the film’s aspirations and message. Read on!

Photo Courtesy: Zachary Hill

Photo Courtesy: Zachary Hill

What are Resurface’s’ main goals?

Josh: First and foremost to make a great film and tell a great story, as a filmmaker. We want to raise awareness around the powers of surf, movement and being out in the world in general, as a therapeutic way to heal.

We want to really humanize and tell the story about people with PTSD from a veteran’s perspective. There is a big gap between what veterans go through and what civilians and non-military think and understand about the military experience. One thing we would like to do is close that gap just a little bit and let some of these vets tell their stories

Scott: From a personal standpoint,  I just started surfing a few years ago and felt a new level of peace and connectedness. It was amazing to feel that and to then discover that there are actually people out there who teach surfing as a way to rehabilitate PTSD, depression and traumatic brain injuries. I wanted to be involved in raising awareness for that issue because I really do think there are therapeutic benefits to being in and around the water.

What was the most helpful resource for your film?

Photo Courtesy: Wynn Padula

Photo Courtesy: Wynn Padula

Josh:  I think the biggest resources, by far, have been the Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation and Operation Surf. This is huge. If we just said ‘hey let’s show up with our cameras and you guys do your thing,’ it would not have been enough.

Scott: We also interviewed Dr. Wallace J.Nichols, Marine Biologist. He wrote the New York Times’ best seller Blue Mind, which has really been the anthology of the most recent research and studies about the benefits of water and people. He was pretty insightful in his interview and his book was a helpful resource, too. He is providing the academic research side to this project. The science and the data are actually backing up what we feel.

What were some of the obstacles that you overcame while working on this piece?

Josh: The waves are unpredictable. It’s tough to shoot in the water, even when the waves are perfect in addition to making trips to southern California. We are totally dependent on good surf. Sometimes the waves weren’t always doing what we wanted them to do. It’s tricky but we made it work.

Scott: We really hope we can get the Kickstarter funds to finish this film because we want to get it out there. I think it’s going to be really powerful to accomplish the goals that Josh went over earlier.

Photo Courtesy: Zachary Hill

Photo Courtesy: Zachary Hill

What can the viewer do to make a difference?

Josh: We want to get the word out about the film and the campaign, so contribute to the Kickstarter campaign and also share it among like-minded folks who would be interested in participating.

Any parting thoughts about ‘Resurface?’

Scott: I would love to screen the film at different organizations that work with veterans and also even take it to the Veterans Affairs hospitals and set up screenings there.

I think it comes down to a knowledge gap where people don’t even know that organizations like Jimmy Miller and Operation Surf are out there. The more we can speak to the community who are in touch with veterans, the more likely they become involved with programs like these. Even in the middle of the country, where there is no access to the ocean, there are organizations that work with veterans going kayaking or fly fishing on the water.

Even if it’s not surfing, just being around the water is helpful.


 

Resurface is expected to release Fall 2015. Please donate to the Resurface Kickstarter Campaign and support this film’s production and message!

 

Photo Courtesy: Owen Bissell

Photo Courtesy: Owen Bissell

Keep up with the latest news about the film on:

For more information about how you can get involved with these amazing organizations, visit:

The Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation

~and~

Operation Surf

 

[sharify]

You Missed Out

January 25, 2015–San Clemente, Calif….where were you?

Marine Layer Productions: One from the Archives

I CONFESS: Just can’t escape the surf stylings of Mr. Reynolds charging heavy (and not so heavy) Ventura surf…like it’s no biggie. Cold, windy and heavy conditions, especially when there are thick neoprene layers and booties involved, will usually send me packing. However, Dane Reynolds surfs this spot like a summer day in Nicaragua. Here’s one from the Marine Layer Productions archive, folks!