Thursday, October 20, 2011

Punto San Carlos, Baja, Mexico!!! Chasing a Scattered SW and NW Swell!


San Carlos with the Boyz! Looking pretty haggard after not showering for a few days!

Things weren’t looking so hot for me going into the trip. I was very sick and had flu-like symptoms the night before departure of our long and very adventurous adventure. Because I was so sick I missed packed some pretty crucial things for living in the desert. San Carlos is 280 miles into Baja from the border, the last 40 miles being on a wash-board dirt road. You are literally in the middle of nowhere. There are ZERO amenities in San Carlos; no running water, no electricity, no stores, no people, NADA except for big waves and high winds! This means you have to bring everything. The main thing I forgot was my sweatshirt but Christopher being Christopher packed two of everything and had an extra, what a guy! It’s really hot during the day and pretty cold at night. Our dad flew into LA the day before we left to accompany us on the journey. It was Christopher and Pops in the Jeep and Brad, Ben, Matt, and Me in Brad’s little racecar. We packed the car the night before and left at 5am to get to the border at sunrise. I had done this same trip almost exactly a year ago with a buddy Adam so I knew the general directions of where we were going to I wasn’t too nervous about getting lost in Tijuana. I don’t remember too much of the drive as I was coming in n out of death by flu but we arrived safely in Punto San Carlos around 3pm on Thursday.
Gotta LOVE Point-breaks! 

Poppa Bear !
We unloaded the toys from the Jeep and I immediately made a den and slept until 2pm the next day. In the meantime, the boys scored some epic surf that night and early morning Friday. Matt got hit by a big wave when trying to climb out and cut his hands and feet pretty badly on the rocks. Nothing that duct tape couldn’t fix!  When the wind picked up on Friday I couldn’t handle missing all the action and quadruple dosed ibuprofen and grabbed my kite and board and headed for the water. We had been tracking this swell the previous week in class and boy did we have impeccable timing. The waves were big and the wind strong which combined made for some of the most epic kiting I’ve done. Chris’s centerline snapped which caused him some trouble. He had to be dragged in by a fellow kiter and due to the direction of the wind (side-offshore) he didn’t make it to the beach very close to camp and ended up at the fishing village about a mile down the beach. One of the guys at main camp saw the fiasco and drove his truck down to him to pick him up. Other than that, we all had insane sessions and made it back without any issues. I got super lucky and almost joined Chris with the walk of shame when I crashed my kite in the surf and it got rolled by about 8 waves. My lines were completely covered in seaweed and I was getting dragged across the rocks in the shallow water but somehow my kite managed to right itself and launch so I made it back safe. Kiting in San Carlos is not for the faint of heart because of the wind direction and the way the shoreline is shaped. Last year when I was kiting here, I had 4 sessions and of the 4 sessions, made it back without an issue once. Not a very high percentage!
The Camp Site! Look at all the amenities! 
Saturday we woke up early and scored some really nice surf until the wind picked up. When the wind picked up we all grabbed our gear and scored another sweet session.  In between sessions, we all pounded muscle milk and ate peanut butter and nutella sandwiches. Matt had an unfortunate kite-mare when hit bar popped off and his kite became uncontrollable. Because of the wind direction, his kite was dragging him out to sea. I saw what was happening and went to try and help. Chris saw too and sat on the kite so Matt could roll it up. At this point it had been about 20 minutes and we were way to far out to sea for comfort. I brought Matt’s board in while they were wrestling the kite. When I got to him the second time we were even further out to sea. He had to cut the kite free and grabbed onto my harness and I pulled him for about 20 minutes to shore and we ended up by the fishing village. In the end he donated a kite to the ocean but he made it back alive. Everybody at main camp saw the whole thing so we got invited to main camp where my dad was staying for dinner. It was the first hot food we had eaten on the trip. It was quite scrumptious! We decided we hadn’t had enough action so we agreed to stay for another day.
smacking the lip!
after our epic kiting session!
The surf Sunday morning was smaller but still really nice. The wind picked up later and we scored another epic session, this time we all made it back without any issues! That night Matt found some firewood at an abandoned camp site and we made a fire in the closest arroyo (area between two dunes) and talked about our awesome trip. Monday morning we picked up camp early in the fog and started the long drive home. The military checkpoints on the way out are way more observant and strict than the way in. We waited at the border for about two hours and when we finally crossed through we turned our iPhones on and found the closest In-N-Out Burger joint! It was a neat capper to a neat trip! 
testing out my new Fuel kite!
A+ Trip!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cairns Stop the Music!

Diving the GBR!
It has been awhile since I updated this. A few buddies and I planned an epic trip up to Cairns to dive the Great Barrier Reef and get rowdy in FNQ (far north Queensland)! On our first day we arrived early in the afternoon and checked into a crazy hostel called Shenanigans. It was a hostel by day and bumping club by night. We spent the first day walking all around cairns exploring the beaches and small town. We booked a kayak hire for the next day in Babinda which is the wettest part in all of Australia. It was a very mellow 9k kayak that took us about 3 hours. The river had some of the clearest water I’ve ever seen and you could see all the fish on the bottom. After our morning kayak we went to the famous Barron Gorge and Barron Falls. After our three hikes and kayak trip we called it quits with nature and headed to shenanigans for some shenanigans. 
Kayaking in Babinda
'Scuba Scuba Scuba oi oi oi'
Crush!
The next morning we did two more hikes around Cairns before heading up to Port Douglas. On one of our hikes we found a natural waterslide down the face of a huge boulder with water running over it. The road to Port Douglas runs right along the ocean and the lookouts were awesome. Port Douglas in a really small town on a 4 mile stretch of pristine beach. We stopped at Trinity Beach to get some food and sampled about 10 different types of Aussie candy. With our tongues blue we continued the trek north to Port Dougy. We checked into an awesome hostel with free brekkie called the Parrotfish Lodge. Unlike the city of Cairns, Port Douglas is muy tranquilo. We booked out dives for the following day and called it an early night. We booked our dives in Port Douglas (recommendation from friend) and because the Great Barrier Reef runs right along the Continental Shelf. 
diving with the bros
The boat we were on was called the Super Sonic and it got us to the outer edge of the reef in just over an hour. We stopped at three different dive spots. I did two dives and one really long snorkel sesh in total. The reef was epic! I saw a gnarly looking shark when I was snorkeling by myself but it didn’t look hungry. I also saw friendlier looking Nemos and turtles. I had only done one other dive before in Byron Bay about 3 weeks ago so this was an experience. The whole reef was pulsing with colorful life and the underwater clarity was unlike anything I had ever seen. The visibility was 30m plus! After our second dive site they had an all you can eat buffet on the boat. We had been living pretty cheap in Cairns with PB and J so we went to town on it. I could barely move but still managed to get into my wetsuit for my final dive.  We just missed a hammerhead shark at the final site. After diving and the trip back to Port we headed straight back to the hostel for their $2 happy hour (best deal we’ve scored in OZ thus far).
watering hole #27
SO MUCH NATURE!!!
The next day in Port Douglas we did some more hiking and exploring before heading back down to Cairns for our early flights the next morning. We had a big night at the biggest party hostel I’ve ever seen called Gilligans. We woke up early the next morning for our flights but missed the memo that we were flying out of the international terminal. We were pinched on time and the international terminal was about half a k away. We were quite the scene running to the other terminal to make the 45 minute cutoff time. I came sprinting into the terminal panting just to be denied by a grouchy lady. We were 43 minutes early and she wouldn’t help us out. Other backpackers filed in behind us just to be denied as well. The next flight wasn’t for 6 hours so I had a solid nap on the airport floor before heading out of Cairns with my tail between my legs. Partying at Gilligans and early flights do not mix! As soon as I stepped off the plane back in the Gold Coast I got the call from the Cali surf bros two building down for a sunset session. We scored some pretty good waves before calling it quits as we were risking being shark bait by staying out that late! I have my finals over the next two weeks but I did well enough throughout the year that I’m not stressed about them. We have some epic plans for another Byron Bay trip and camping excursion. With only two more weeks in Australia before flying home I have to make the best of it! I can’t believe how fast this whole trip went. It has been quite the run so far! 

getting critical in Cairns!
natural waterslide on the left

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

INDObitably Outrageous


Dreamland Sunset!
hop skip and a jump
It’s been quite a run the past week with the crew. The other day Ben convinced us to take a break from surfing and go to Ubud for some sightseeing. It was a long drive but we took a pit stop at a Warung that had a bunch of people at it and scored the best meal to date in Bali. It was called Hana Warung and they served grilled Balinese food. We all got three entrees and the shrimp was insane! After our food stop we loaded up the car and headed for Ubud. 10 uturns later we finally found the Gao Gojah which means Elephant Temple. They made us wear sarongs because you have to cover your shoulders and knees. The temple was goliath and ancient. 
When we were walking around this Indo guy came up to us and asked us to follow him. He took us down a secret little path to this raging river. He pointed across to these little cave entrances that you would never have seen without a guided eye. We did some rock hopping and skipping to get closer. After the furthest rock you had to jump in the raging waters and swim across to cave entrances. It was pretty crazy because when the guide was showing us where to hop, he slipped and fell into a bad part of the river and went of some rapids. He hit his face on a rock but came up smiling and just waved for us to go. We were pretty hesitant at this point because we just saw the local guy go down and now he wanted us to go. I made the leap and swim to the cave and waited for the boys as I wasn’t going in those caves alone!  It was really scary swimming into the dark manmade cutouts because it was really dark and there were funky currents in the water. It was quite the site to see inside and I have no clue on how they made those caves in such a gnarly part of the river. After the caves our guide showed us a rock that we could jump off but he wouldn’t go first. We trusted him and made the jump. After jumping we tipped the guy and made the hike out. When we got to the top of the hike a lady was selling coconuts and waters, talk about service!
Ubud - hiking to temple
The CAVES! 

Two days ago, Justin, Colin, and Ben left so it’s been pretty quiet since then. Chris and I have been mobbing on the scooters hopping from surf spot to surf spot. We scored an epic session yesterday at Serangan. Chris hasn’t been feeling so hot so I surfed Dreamland solo last night and only 2 other guys were out. OHH! The night that Justin and Colin were flying out I went to Dreamland when they were returning the car and got my first barrel. I was sooooo stoked. I thought for sure I was going to wipeout hard and pretty much closed my eyes and hoped for the best. I’m officially hooked on surfing for life after that.
Dreamland bommie!

We’ve been hanging out with the Norwegians a bunch lately. Super fun crowd and always down to have a good time. This weekend was really outrageous with that crew. They bought five little baby chickens and each one of them is dyed a different color. My favorite one is Rachel, she’s hot pink. I’ll post a picture of it later, so funny looking. PETA would have a heyday! I leave Bali on Thursday so the streak is coming to an end soon, not stoked. I’ll do one more post before I bounce, slater! 
Serangan sunset

Monday, May 2, 2011

Weekend Warriors!


The Crew! 
What a crazy weekend here in Bali. We surfed huge surf during the day and spent our nights bouncing from discotech to discotech in Kuta. We just found out that a group of Norwegians live behind us who are going to school here in Bali. We met them in Kuta and found out that we live just one house apart. They have a sick setup where you can jump off their roof into the swimming pool, radical.
Serangan paradise! 

banana choco crepes!
On both Saturday and Sunday I was rousted by Bali police. Each time they were trying to get me to pay outrageous fines on the spot for not have an international driver’s license (and one time for having Chris on the back without a helmet). My bargaining skills are top notch so both times I walked away paying just under 5 bucks. On Sunday, they put up a roadblock right before the Serangan surf spot to catch all the tourists, so lame. In Serangan we’ve been hanging out at Maria’s Surf Warung. Before we go out to surf we get food and drinks and when we come in from surf she makes us chocolate banana crepes with sweetened condensed milk lathered on top. Also, there is a local guy who sells ice-cream from a cooler on his bicycle. We are definitely his best customers this week as we have been shredding through cones. Another popular snack in Bali is roasted corn. I think Ben has eaten more cobs than days he’s been in Bali!   
Perfect Balangan! 

This morning we woke up super early to make the long trek to Keramas. It started raining for about 10 minutes of the ride so we got soaked. It was a killer wave and pretty big today. It was also nice to go right as most waves in Bali break left which is backside for me. After Keramas we pounded some food at a little random stall and headed to Serangan for the dropping tide. We spent the rest of the day surfing and sipping Bintangs at Maria’s Warung. Tomorrow we’re going to do the same routine as it was epic today. We’re thinking later this week we might go to the Uluwatu Temple and go to Ubid as the swell is dropping off. So many activities!
Serangan

bail!!!!

 I have a term paper due on the 5th so it’s going to be a long night tonight and tomorrow as I want to go back to Kuta this weekend and not have a paper looming over me. I need to get some work done – Peace!  

stoke factor = all time high!
Sanur


Friday, April 29, 2011

INDOscribable!

half n half 
Everybody arrived safe and sound. Colin missed his flight so he arrived a day late but all is good. Colin, Justin, and Ben rented a sweet little minivan for their duration which will be a nice addition to our fleet of motorbikes. For everybody’s first surf we went to Uluwatu. It was super mellow which was good a good warm-up as the waves have been huge ever since. A massive swell rolled in Wednesday and should be here for almost a week. On Thursday we rolled over to Balangan early Thursday to see if the break could hold this swell which is did nicely. Chris caught a little bug so he wasn’t feeling hot so Colin and I paddled out to see if we could catch some giants. We were both sitting on the inside as everybody was hanging out way on the outside so they wouldn’t get caught by the big outside sets. We both caught some huge waves and were having a grand ol’ time. After coming off one of my bigger rides in my surfing career I found myself in a bad spot next to a shallow reef shelf where the waves closeout and end. By this time I was way down the beach so I figured I would just paddle in and walk up the beach and paddle back out. When I was trying to paddle in I put myself in the impact zone where the water was probably less than 3 feet deep. A big wave doubled up in front of me and I tried to go under it but my board clicked the bottom of the reef which means I was as deep as I could go and I got crunched. I held onto my board and got picked up over the falls onto the reef where I clipped the front of my board, then the back of my head, and lastly my back. Surprised and adrenaline pumping I paddled towards the beach as fast as possible before another wave dredged onto my head. I got hit by another but I got my feet out in front of me this time but I still managed to get a really thick gash in my foot when I landed on the reef. I got to shore and assessed the damage. My big toe had a really bad cut through it and my back looked like somebody took a cheese grater to it. I also broke off a little bit of the nose of my board. After the long walk of shame up the beach I got to Christopher who I gave the honor of squeezing limes into my cuts to sterilize them. Whew, it stung pretty badly!!! When I was cleaning out my toe which had sand packed into it a little local kid came up to me and pointed to the spot down the beach where I had my whole fiasco and said “laundry?” and moved his hands in a circle and started laughing. The little punk was making fun of me! I laughed and replied, “Yah, I went through the washing machine!”. 

carnage
Uluwatu sunset
Overall, it could have been much worse as I walked away with only some cuts and bruises. It was worth it as I caught some really fun rides. Even Colin managed to hit the reef on that session (he slipped on a rock when walking back on the beach - haha). After the session we all went and got Thai food to relax. To finish our hectic day we watched the sun go down while sipping on Bintangs on the cliffs of Uluwatu. Simply INDOsribable! (Chris’s pun)...

3 monkeys at Balangan!
Dreamland statue
being a delinquent

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Boyz are Back in Town!

ducking under a giant! 




In a few hours, Christopher, Ben, and Justin arrive. Super stoked for them to get here so I can increase my wolf pack. The last couple days have been pretty mellow as the swell has been pretty fickle and I’ve been recovering from “Bali belly”. I only missed one day of surfing from it, but I haven’t been as gung-ho as usual as it saps your energy. I’ve been mainly surfing Uluwatu but each day it has been getting more and more crowded. We surfed Canggu and Serangan this weekend which was a nice change of pace. Canggu is north above the Bukit Peninsula and the sand is dark black. I didn’t have my camera but we went through some amazing rice patties that went as far as the eye could see. After surfing Canggu we found this little warung that made crepes. I ordered a few as I was starving and my favorite so far was the banana, coconut, peanut butter, and palm sugar combo.  On Saturday after missing Friday I surfed all over the island. I woke up early feeling better and went to Balangan and scored some pretty sweet lefts. After surfing I ate at one of the local warungs on the beach. I then went to Uluwatu where I got pummeled on a late drop. After Ulus I went to Dreamland but the waves were crap so I went back to Balangan for a sunset session. On my way back from Balangan I saw a small group of locals standing around a little fire where they were roasting corn. I hung out with them speaking broken English while my corn was cooking. They covered the corn in this buttery spicy sauce that was just delectable. It was only 30 cents for the little gem, gotta love Bali!


Every day when I’m riding around from spot to spot I see the most random things on the road. The other day I passed a motorcycle that had a fish tank on each side with catfish in them. I also passed a moped vendor doing about 50mph that had around 300 balloons attached to it. It was hairy passing it as you couldn’t see around it because of all the balloons. My favorite though was when a motorcycle with three people on it passed me with a tiny little boy sitting on his mom’s lap. None of them had helmets and the little bugger was honking the horn at me smiling ear to ear. You couldn’t even see his eyes because he was squinting so much from the wind and he was sitting in the front. I also saw two young delinquents on a bike wheelie through a red-light laughing. Riding around Bali is always an adventure.



I’m about to ride to the airport to meet Chris, Justin, and Ben. I’ll get some cool shots of everybody tomorrow. "slates on the menge"

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

surf, eat… sleep!

Surfing Dreamland

The last three days we've continued the onslaught of hitting every surf spot on this island. So far my favorite spots of have been Balangan and Dreamland. Two days ago we woke up early and surfed Green Bols and because of the full-ish moon, the tide swings have been massive. You walk down hundreds of stone steps to get to the beach where you normally walk out to the break. It was full high tide and it was so high that we had to jump off the steps into the water. We all got pummeled as the surf was huge and pretty disorganized. I saw my buddy Nick try to duck dive under one of the outside cleaner sets and watched his body and board go over the falls. He snapped his leash and had to swim in through the chaos to get his board. He got to it right before it smashed into the rocks.  At this point I was over it and just wanted to get in but the rips were gnarly and I was having a hard time getting to shore. Another outside set came and I did the same thing when trying to get under the wave but I held onto my board and didn’t break my least. I actually went over the falls twice during the fiasco and had probably the worst washing machine crash of my life. After that I went straight in and was happy to reach land! I went straight to Mak Jo for some cheap eats and headed to Balangan where I had a great session of glassy lefts. After Balangan I went to Dreamland for a late afternoon sunset session. After this I was so tired I thought I was going to go home and sleep but the boys had another plan. I didn't even make it home to put on dry boardies, instead we went straight to Kuta to party. We stayed out until 530am hopping from place to place. I left my bike in Kuta and had a Balinese guy on a scooter give me a ride back. Pretty hectic day!
cruising on the bikes! 
The Villa

another dreamland beauty!
this guy was eying us! 
Yesterday we had a pretty mellow day and surfed later in the afternoon at Dreamland. After surfing, we went to a Thai restaurant an chowed. For dessert I got mango sticky rice with coconut cream, definitely one of the tastiest things I've ever eaten. I'll be going there everyday to get it to go! After we went to the local DVD shop which has hundreds of DVDs in sleeves for only a dollar each. I don't know how legal it is, but they are in normal covers and are exact quality as the ones you would buy in a store at home.

In a few days we are going to move out of the villa and move camp to Balangan where the hostels and restaurants are right on the beach. We would never have to leave! After a few days in Balangan and when Chris, Ben, Colin, and Justin get here we are going to go to Nusa Lembongan. Lembongan is a small island just south of the main island. Cars aren’t allowed here so it should be muy tranquilo! There is some of the best surfing in the world here usually only accessed by private surf charters. I’m stoked to go check it out!