A Pleasurable Experience



Cyrus Sutton spent four days surfing the California coastline. Filmed and photo'd by Donnie Hedden.

So-Cal Sojourn

Sounds like I'll be spending the month of March searching for surf in Southern California. My friend Chris, who traveled with Karissa and I to Costa Rica, will be co-piloting Fargo the Cargo Van from Seattle to So-Cal. We'll be leaving Sunday, March 2nd and will spend a week at Point Mugu with Chris' wife, Rena, before heading further south. Aside from our stay at NBVC, we are without obligations or an itinerary. So with that being said, I thought I'd put together another #duds feature, highlighting a few of the things I'd like to take with me on this month long surfari.

CHURCH



Blake Michaels, Kameron Brown and Ben Cardoza at Church(es). Brought to you by Bird Man Media.

Nikon AW1

I've been in the market for a mirrorless interchangable lens camera for quite some time now. Something smaller than my DSLR, and yet equally as powerful - relatively speaking. Smitten with Fujifilm's X-E1 and Sony's NEX series, I hesitated only because of my unspoken commitment to Canon. I own lots of lenses, so switching to another camera company meant what I already own would become somewhat obsolete. So why am I blogging about Nikon's new AW1? Well, those familiar with Nikon may recall the Nikonos, a 35mm underwater camera that dominated the market from the 1960s onward. Looking to reclaim their prominent position in the underwater camera category, Nikon has released what some would call a modern iteration of their classic Calypso camera. Essentially a ruggedized and waterproof version of Nikon's popular 1 series camera, the AW1 is shockproof from up to 6.6ft, waterproof down to 49ft, and can be equipped with two different watertight lenses, an 11-27mm and fixed 10mm. Click here for additional information.

Cuillère de Crème



Clovis Donizetti surfing Gato Heroi's new 9'7 Crème noserider at Villa Belza. As seen on Liquid Salt.

Homecoming Queen

As far as I'm concerned, coming home from Costa Rica couldn't have been any harder. Similar to our other tropical surf trips, returning from fifteen days of... well, you know, was rather difficult. The grey skies, the cold climate, the wearing of the wetsuit - all of it sorta sucks. Add to that the lack of waves the first weekend we went out, as well as some social drama that seems increasingly silly given the circumstances, has made for a rather rough couple of weeks. And now, eighteen days after we landed in Seattle, I'm still feeling disenchanted with Washington; eager to explore other areas, or perhaps live somewhere where the surf is across the street. Daydreaming? Not quite. It can be incredible, the Pacific Northwest, I won't deny that. But it can also be overwhelmingly awful. And sometimes it seems really stupid - surfing up here. Driving four hours for nothing. Keeping things quiet. Complaining when it's "crowded." I don't know, I guess I am just having a really hard time adjusting to what we came home to... winter in Washington.

Cornish Tonic



James Parry and Richard Balding enjoying winter waves near Cornwall (via Ruwac Productions).

Costa Rica: Volume Four

If you've been reading the blog, you'll have seen most of the images I care to share from our trip to Costa Rica earlier this month. Food, friends, an English pub in the jungle, off-road exploring in our rental truck, early a.m. surf sessions and an assortment of animals. I feel as though I've done my best to describe our experience, albeit brief, however I hope I haven't made it seem any better or worse than it was. The surf did not suck, the food was fantastic, the beer was bad, the price of things was pretty high (relatively speaking), the weather was wonderful (although I do recommend renting a room with an air conditioning unit), the wildlife was both interesting and entertaining, and the crowds, while they could be quite kookie at times, were more than manageable. So that's that, and what follows are the final photos from our fifteen day surfari to Costa Rica's Guanacaste Peninsula. Enjoy.

The Donizetti



Clovis Donizetti surfing in San Vicente de la Barquera on a late August afternoon. (via LBRD)

Costa Rica: Volume Three

Prior to Costa Rica, I'd never stayed at a "surf hotel." To be honest, I'm not really sure what makes something a surf hotel?! The availability of shitty rental surfboards and overpriced instruction? Or perhaps it's the ease of access and relatively consistent surf that makes a hotel within walking distance, a "surf hotel." Whatever the case, this would be my first and probably only experience in one of these establishments. Now, I'm not suggesting the hotel - which was more like a collection of two-story beach bungalows surrounded on all sides by tall palm trees and narrow walkways - was a bad place to stay. Quite the contrary. It was excellent. They kept our room clean, provided fresh towels when we wanted them, disposed of our poop covered toilet paper and even collected all of the empty beer cans and water bottles we accumulated each day. But what this establishment lacked, in my opinion, was authenticity. Catering to a crowd of kooks, there was little in the way of Costa Rican culture - replaced instead by overpriced alcoholic beverages, internet access and live music most nights. Sigh.

Israel's Elevator



Israel Preciado and Lola Mignot surfing in Sayulita, Mexico aboard a pair of Bing Surfboards.

Costa Rica: Volume Two

I could feel the wind on my back that morning. It was 5:15am and we had already eaten; toast with peanut butter, english muffins and Oreos. Coffee of course. We were walking the quarter-mile from our bungalow to the beach, logs tucked beneath our arms and sunscreen smeared all over the place. The sun hadn't even cracked the horizon when we paddled out to a peak about 100 feet in front of us. The wind, which would blow offshore all morning, was starting to pick up. The first few disappeared into some dark corner toward the back of my brain. The good and bad blending together as we took advantage of our early arrival. Karissa stayed ashore to snap a few photos, while Chris, Rena and I shared shoulder high sets until the sun showed itself and a crowd of hungover hooligans stumbled from shore to sea.

Surfing my BN Lightweight was rather difficult in these kind of conditions; the concave nose and lack of weight made catching waves more arduous than you might imagine. I made do, though, and soon found myself dropping in a lot later than I would have otherwise, making long, slow bottom turns and trying not to trim too high, as the wind would blow me out the back. Chris dove in deep aboard his nine-foot Dave Johnson, laying flat toward the front so as to gain additional entry speed. It worked well. And as the morning progressed, we became increasingly comfortable fighting the wind in our face.

Trevor and Ryan



Trevor Gordon and Ryan Lovelace surfing 7'8" and 7'4" round-pin v.Bowls somewhere in So-Cal.

Costa Rica: Volume One

"I've sorta fallen in like with this place," Chris said as we sat, staring at the ocean from the luxury of our air conditioned rental car, ten days into a fifteen day surf excursion to Costa Rica. This would be the only day we didn't surf (ed. note: not true), having spent the night prior at the Black Sheep pub; an English establishment that acts like a time machine in the midst of the jungle. Our early a.m. routine had been interrupted by many beers and more than one gin and tonic. This trip was different than our other adventures, though, as we were staying in a rather nice "surf hotel" some 100 meters from a beach break groomed by offshore winds from sun up till sometime around ten. Crowded after eight, we had decided to surf from first light till our arms expired, and then head back to the house for breakfast. A routine that was working, until today. With only a few hours remaining before our rental was due for return, Chris, Rena, Karissa and I explored the surrounding area, searching for surf, drinking beer at tiny bars and filling the back of our Toyota Fortuner with food and water for the rest of the week.

Simone Giannini



Tuscan logger, Simone Giannini, sliding stuff along the coast of Sardinia. As seen on Surf Culture.

v.Bowls

Ryan Lovelace is a "freelance surf-craft builder" making some of the strangest sticks I've ever seen. Based out of a bus he's converted into a bohemian abode, Ryan builds all of his boards from beginning to end. Some might seem odd if you're unfamiliar, others will appear obvious if you're interested. Ryan builds v.Bowls, Flex Spoons, finless asymmetrical shapes, displacement hulls and all sorts of single fins. A craftsman, yes, but Ryan is also experimenting and evolving his shapes - nothing stays the same.

While surfing in Costa Rica last week, an East Coast kat paddled past me aboard some strange kind of craft. And so I asked, "What sorta stick is that?" To which he replied, "It's a 7'8 v.Bowl made by this guy..." I interject. "Ryan Lovelace?!" Yes, says the surfer. "It's amazing, I can catch anything on it." Thus began my research into Ryan's v.Bowls, a surfboard that is "Templated with Wayne Lynch's Evolution Board in mind; using thin, modern rails with lots of hard edge in the tail." Featuring wide hips, a shallow vee and a slight hull near the nose, Ryan's v.Bowls are, as far as I can tell (and from what I've seen), the perfect midlength board for just about any occasion.

Day in the Bay



Zye Norris sliding somewhere near Noosa. Filmed and edited by Nick Jones.

Surf Wagon: Doc's Rusty Rabbit

I'm sure you've seen it; that light blue pickup truck with two or three boards strapped to a homemade wooden rack. Maybe he's passed you on your way out to the ocean, or you've seen it sitting, board bags unzipped, in some undisclosed surf spot. Or perhaps you haven't. Whatever the case, I snapped this photo of Doc's rusty Volkswagen Rabbit truck a few weeks ago, and thought I'd share what has become one of my favorite Surf Wagons with all ya'll (Archie's Grand Torino wagon still takes the cake).

Caminando



What I've been listening to lately...