Monday, February 28, 2011

Surfer's Paradise!!!!!!!!!

view from my new home!
1st place toga wear
This week has been really fun as more and more students pour into the Bisbane area. We went to two toga parties this week. One had about 200-300 people and Rebecca and I won best dressed with our tiger print sheet togas. They gave us a $100 gift card to the local BWS (beer, wine, spirits). Their BWS stores even have a drive through if you’re in a rush! 100 bucks doesn’t get you very far at the BWS store as a small bottle of say Smirnoff is $45. The next toga party was school sponsored and sold out with around 1500 toga attendees. They handed out free Swedish Fish and donuts to all.  It was a great way to end the winter break!

such a happy camper! 
I’m not homeless!!! I bailed on the previous place that I was talking about near campus and made a big move down to Surfer’s Paradise on Gold Beach! I moved in with two Brazilian surfer bros and another classmate from USC, Christina. We’re living in a resort type high rise on the 8th floor. Our apartment faces the ocean and has all glass walls. The building has a gym, pool with sand beach, spa, and BBQ hangout spot. I don’t think I’ll ever have to leave… except for class! Surfer’s Paradise is just over two hours from The University of Queensland but I was able to block all my classes together so I only have class twice a week.  A full course load (4 classes, 16 units) is only 12 hours of class a week, but a lot more papers than any classes I’ve taken before. The beach is only one block away and the past two days I’ve seen a dozen or so kiters ripping it up just north of us. I’ll finish bringing stuff down to the new room later this week. Yesterday I got to surf in the morning and afternoon. Today I woke up at 6 and surfed two hours before heading back north to Uni for my first class of the new term at noon. On Thursday, Christopher and Ariel arrive in Brisbane. Haven’t see the lil bro-brah in a longtime so I’m super pumped for his arrival. I think he’s going to love the new crib! As far as activities go, we’re planning a Byron Bay trip this coming weekend. Should be another epic and potent week in OZ! 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Shoeless… Homeless and Lovin’ Life

Downtown Surfer's Paradise
Crazy crazy week! I’ve been living at a hostel downtown Brisbane. It’s huge with its own pub called the “Down Under”. Every night they throw a themed party with free drinks to people staying at the hostel. I’ve been so busy, the housing hunt has been slow but things are looking up! I’m supposed to sign tomorrow for a place close to campus. I skated from campus the house the other day to check it out and to my surprise the place has a pool and a big veranda with 4 couches and a semi-permanent beer-pong table! The room also has its own bathroom and the other 3 roomies are Aussies who are also going to the uni.
Good Vibrations
Three days ago we went to the Brisbane zoo to kick it with kangs and koalas. The zoos here are way different than back home. There was a huge open field with about 50 kangaroos and the only rule was “don’t touch the joeys” (joey=baby kang still in the mothers pouch). After hanging out in the kang sanctuary we went to the koala zone. I got to hold a cute little bugger named “Pepsi” who kept trying to jump off of me. After the zoo we got ready for another night at the local pub called the Royal Exchange. It’s the most popular bar next to campus and has live music every night.
This weekend we made a trip to the Gold Coast for the Good Vibrations music festival. Good Vibes totally exceeded my expectations. We saw Phoenix, Miike Snow, Rusko, Bag Raiders, and Mike Posner. That night we stayed at a sweet hostel called Trekkers that had a pool and was right next to Surfer’s Paradise! We spent the next day at the beach and I don’t think anyone escaped sunburn-free. I plan on spending a lot of time in Surfer’s Paradise (it’s only an hour train ride away). We got back with time to go the RE (Royal Exchange). My sandals decided to break last night so all day I’ve been shoeless. Today was the first day of orientation for exchange students (3000 people from 130 countries). It has been really fun meeting people from all over the world. Tonight the school is sponsoring a party at the campus bar called the Red Room for the exchange students. Before I go I need to go to the shops and get some sandals! Peace!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Culture Shock!

Busy week! We surfed Quincy’s secret spot for the last three days non-stop. It was the best surfing sessions I’ve ever had. I finally feel more comfortable going backside. My flight to LA was really early in the AM so Quincy and I decided to go out the bar “Life’s a Beach” for one last hurrah. When I arrived in LA, Ben picked me up with a loaded car ready for Mammoth.  We wasted no time and headed straight for the mountains.
Secret Spot

What a crazy weekend! We had a full house (literally) because it was a race weekend.  Abe flew out to ride and film with us. For three days we had perfect non-cloudy skies which made for some killer filming. Keep your eyes open for Abe’s new February park edit. To help mend our sore bodies we went to the hot springs to relax. The road the hot springs was snowed in so we had to hike to them. Most of us wore sandals so the walk
 was pretty painful. Paul tried to take a shortcut and ended up trudging through icy mud.  When we got to the springs there was a gnarly naked hippie guy chilling by himself drinking water from a Sky bottle. We decided we had walked too far to bail so we all sat huddled together on the opposite wall of the naked guy. Overall the weekend was epic! Thanks to everybody who came and had a blast. It was a perfect last weekend before Australia.
View From Base of Hostel!

I was nervous going to the airport because I had packed heavy bags. I was prepared to pay the fees for oversize and overweight because I packed kiting gear. I lucked out; the guy took my bags without fuss and even upgraded me to business premium seating! To make things better, the Australian stewardesses were smokin’ hot! I don’t have permanent housing so I’ve been living at a HUGE hostel located smack-downtown Brisbane. So far the housing hunt has been really difficult as I’m not the only exchange student frantically looking for a place to live. I’ll keep you updated on what happens!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Super-Kiting Sunday!

Chris being beastly in the pool!
Super Bowl Kiting!
On Sunday we got really lucky because all of the forecasts called for zero wind. Lucky for us the Kona winds blew in which means the wind is coming from the opposite direction. With Kona winds, kiting is a whole new ballgame because you are going into the waves at a different direction. Quincy and I launched our kites right from his front yard and had the place to ourselves. We kited for almost 3 hours and completely missed the Super bowl.
Chris left Maui yesterday for Australia - GOODLUCK lil bro!
Today I finally got to surf Quincy's secret spot. I've heard a bunch of hype about his spot but all of the previous swells didn't have the right swell direction. We went there early in the morning and scored big! It's a sweet left point break that heaves onto a pretty shallow reef shelf. The best part of it, is that it was just me, Quincy, and his buddy. Never have I been at a wave so good with just my friends. It was sooo good that we went back for a sunset session. By the time the sun went down we were all beat and the waves were getting huge. I got licked pretty hard when I paddled in too late and called it a night. Tomorrow morning we are waking up at dawn to go score another epic session. In the afternoon, if the surf dies down, Quincy and I are going to backpack and camp in the Haleakala Crater. Stay tuned!

PS: I leave Maui Thursday for LA and will being going up to Mammoth this weekend so get yo booty up there if you can!!! Last week in the states before I head to Australia next Monday!
Good Morning Kayaking

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Off The Beaten Path: Lānaʻi

Lānaʻi - A small island located a few miles west of Maui. It has one small town with a population of 3000 people.
The Crew
Yesterday we woke up early and packed the car with camping gear and camera equipment. The only way to get to Lanai is by ferry. It takes about 45 minutes to cross the channel and dock. Originally we were going to camp where the ferry drops you off at Manele Bay. We were undecided about renting a 4X4 Jeep and when we did decide the night before they were sold out.
The Endless Playground
When we landed in Manele we called the Jeep rental company to check if there were any cancellations and just our luck they had a brand new Jeep Commander cancellation! We argued for awhile who was going to put the rental agreement on their credit card. In the end I gave in and signed my life away on the contract. The roads in Lanai are not paved, muddy, bumpy, and are very rugged. The Jeep was lifted and had mud tires which made it the perfect rallying machine! We didn't waste anytime and loaded the gear and picked out first destination - Shipwrecks. The map said it was an estimated 90 minute drive.
The Boyz
We got there in about 20 minutes of white knuckle rally driving. I've never laughed so hard for so long. The driving was out of control! We only had one really close call when I came into what I thought was a minor turn but was actually a hairpin. Staying on the gas and drifting around the corner we just missed a huge boulder which would have ripped the rear end off. When we arrived at our destination we unloaded our gear and everything was soaking wet. On one of the many airborne jumps, the camping gear crushed two of our three gallons of water! There was 5 of us with 1 gallon of water to last us the day and night. After Shipwrecks we went to the other side of the island which was an estimated 90 minute drive to town plus another 120 minute drive to Garden of the Gods. After 45 minutes of stomach aching laughter we came upon the most pristine beach I've ever seen. There was only one other car way down the beach. At sunset two whales swam parallel to the beach only 30-40 feet from the sand. Quincy who lives on Maui said he's never seen them come that close by a long-shot. We could hear them breathing and talking to each other.
Manele Bay
We had tents but in the end we decided to just sleep on the sand. In the morning we packed everything up and headed back to town to return the Jeep. We knew we were going to have some explaining to do when two couples returned their vehicles with only dust on them. When they were doing the inspection on the vehicle I've never felt so guilty in my life. Quincy and I were just biting out lips and looking at each other. We walked (at a brisk pace) out of there feeling pretty lucky, we were only assessed a small extra cleaning fee which we didn't even argue. We headed back to the Manele Bay where we spent the day snorkeling and exploring. Overall, Lanai was an epic adventure!
Before and After

Friday, February 4, 2011

Wind, and Waves, and Turtles! Oh, my!

Kiting in Paradise!
Turtle Town
Two days ago was a sad day for the wolf pack. Shane had to pack up his things and head back to LA and reality. But before he left he wanted to create one more car key disaster which almost delayed his departure. Shane was one of the most determined kiters I've ever taught. By his last day he was staying up wind and riding with confidence! Two days ago was one of the best days of kiting I've ever had. Smash and bang epic wind and waves and you're bound to have the time of your life. I had some great rides and even better crashes.

Yesterday the wind petered out so I went surfing solo at Ho'okipa. After I took Christopher to the famous Paia Fish Market for ahi cajun burgers. Last night we actually rallied and went out with the Argentinians to a local pub called "Life's a Beach". Our buddy Allen who we just met plays the drums and one of the bands needed a last minute drummer and he went up on stage and absolutely killed it. His new nickname is Tommy Lee. We ended the night by each eating a tub of Häagen-Dazs.

Flower Child

Today we woke up early to go snorkel at Turtle Town.. Tour guide Quincy knew where to swim to get us away from the other tourists who scare the turtles so we had some great luck. We saw heaps (practicing my AUS lingo) of fish and turtles. After snorkeling I helped Quincy take some stock photos for his portfolio. All of the photos for todays post were taken by Quincy. Later in the day the wind picked up for about two hours. I went out on the tail end of that and almost had to swim in when the wind decided to shut off without warning. When I came in from kiting there was a HUGE very old turtle just sitting in the sand. People said they saw the same turtle come ashore the previous day. Old turtles are known to come ashore to rest and catch cosmic rays.
Tomorrow we are going on a crazy adventure to the island of Lanai. We are going to ferry over to the island early in the AM to snorkel and camp for the night. Stay posted!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Lost and Certainly Not Found!

Radio Song of the Day! - I Kissed a Girl - Katy Perry
The radio has been absolutely pitiful to a point where it's funny.
It has been a few days since I've last checked in - los siento! The surf has been up everyday which has been killer. Shane and I have both taken turns dominating and getting dominated at Ho'okipa every morning. Yesterday Ho'okipa had the nicest conditions I've seen in awhile. Zero wind, sunny, and big! The wind shut off yesterday and today which is OK because I'm getting my kite lines fixed and readjusted after having that bad kite-mare a couple days ago. Over the last two days, Chris and Shane have both managed to lose their sandals so they've been going bare-foot ever since. We're still looking for the sandal thieves! We've been hanging out with the Argentinians almost every night and our "hot tub spanglish" is getting pretty good. Last night we went to Paia with the Argentinians to check out the party scene. We showed up in board shorts and tanks and definitely did not get the memo that it was "Cowboy" night. Also, we were the only group under 30! After failing at line-dancing we called it a night.
Dangerous Shorebreak = Broken Board
Today the surf was humongous on the north shore. Ho'okipa wasn't even ridable as it was closing out at double overhead plus! We decided to go to the upper west side of Maui to catch the swell that wraps around the island. We found a pretty cool break called "Little Makaha" which was really fun but pretty mellow. After slaying we decided to step up our game and head over to Honolau Bay for some potency. Before we headed to Honolua we had to call AAA after we realized that Shane locked the keys in the car. We were stranded without sunscreen for an hour and things got pretty toasty. When the AAA guy showed up it took him literally 25 seconds to unlock the car! After we scoped Honolua we decided to try the upper point which had a smaller crowd. On my first wave I got pitched and sucked over the falls and when I came to the surface, my board was snapped in half. Pretty bummed but luckily there is a plethora of surfboards on Maui! Until tomorrow, I'll be on craig's list looking for the perfect board!