We do have a new iTunes App, something I developed for you for FREE.
You see, I love to make lists—especially before I travel to a foreign country. This little app will help you remember everything you need to take on your next surf trip.
Woohoo—free for me (I mean you).
People say you can’t get anything for free anymore but they are wrong. Here it is. Grab it and leave us a review—we’d be stoked. Or search for Wave Tribe in the App Store on your phone.
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Try one of these on for size—surf travel articles—Wave Tribe style.
Wait, don’t go yet . . . there is one more thing you should know before you go back to Facebook. Well, you know we have a Heal The Oceans campaign . . . but damn, what about the land?
We wanted to do something for MOTHER TIERRA too, so we just launched a partnership with Trees for The Future,
Wave Tribe will gladly plant a tree in the Brazilian rainforest with each purchase.
We call it: Buy One, Get One Tree.
Let’s review—eco surf products made from hemp and other sustainable materials, an international campaign to help Heal The Oceans, and a commitment to plant trees with every purchase.
Dude, are you kidding me—quit shopping at the mall!
~ Derek, Wave Tribe Founder & Tree Lover-Planter
If you’re backpacking through Costa Rica, or are simply just hitting a few of the beaches in the southern Pacific region, then it’s likely that you’ve heard of either Quepos or Manuel Antonio. Both beaches offer a completely different vibe, so depending on what you’re looking for, you’ll fall in love with at least one of them.
Personally, I stay in Manuel Antonio, but generally prefer to surf Quepos, assuming the wave is working. These are two HUGE tourism towns in Costa Rica, so if you’re looking for a cheap, remote little surf town, then I highly suggest you seek your stoke somewhere else. But, if you want to surf some fun breaks, meet beautiful girls (also surf bros for all those surf babes out there), and generally have some very interesting nights, then the Manuel Antonio Quepos gangbang is a great choice for any surf bum’s vacation.
Located only a short 2 hour drive from San Jose, Quepos serves as an ideal place to start your surf journey (especially considering Dominical, Uvita, and Pavones are all just due south).
Similar to every tourist heavy town in Costa Rica, you won’t find the 50 cent tacos and 1$ beers here, but you can definitely scrape by if you have a few hundred dollars in the bank account.
There’s a ton of epic restaurants and bars all over Manuel Antonio, with equally as much found in Quepos. But, beware! Quepos is home to a ton of sketchy Ticos and prostitutes, so unless you want a little something, something, I wouldn’t talk to any of the “fine” women in high heels. Stick to the sun-kissed surf girls in the bikinis and you’ll go home with a few stories to brag about.
Similar to any surf town in Costa Rica, the atmosphere in both Quepos and Manuel Antonio is completely surf orientated. Though you won’t have the abundance of surf hostels and surf shops of Jacó or Tamarindo, you will get a heavy dosage of surfage if you look in the right places.
Though Quepos generally gets a bad rap for robberies and loose women, if you have your head straight, you’ll find that the sketch balls leave you alone. Just stay away from the Quepos pier/boardwalk at night, nothing good ever happens there, seriously never.
Alright, Quepos and Manuel Antonio are two entirely different towns, but they are located within 2 miles of one another, which is why we categorize them together in a surf guide.
Quepos is the Tico town located at the bottom of a giant hill, while Manuel Antonio is the town located at the top of the hill. So, you’ll have to pass through Quepos to get to Manuel Antonio, which makes surfing both of them in a weekend super easy.
First, let’s talk Quepos. This is a fairly small Tico town located about 2 hours south of San Jose on the beach, just 1 hour south of popular Jacó. Quepos is by no means a beautiful or quaint, not cute town, but the wave that breaks of the jetty makes it a gorgeous town in my opinion.
I don’t visit surf towns because they’re beautiful, I visit surf towns because I can get stoked and drink rum. If you want to soak in an infinity pool, eat a steak dinner, and get massages all day, my advice is to go to Hawaii. Quepos is gritty, but safe, so in my opinion, it’s a win-win.
From my experiences, the locals in Quepos are a lively bunch and are just looking to get drunk with a few Gringos, so if you sport a smile and a little spirit for adventure, you’ll love it here. But, for those that are willing to spend a little more money, or just want to enjoy a more aesthetic town, then hop on the bus up to Manuel Antonio for 50 cents and see what it has to offer.
Manuel Antonio is a great place for backpackers, couples, solo travelers, families, or basically anyone that wants to wake up on top of a mountain and peer out at the vast Pacific Ocean.
Manuel Antonio is perched at the peak of a mountain, so regardless of where you choose to stay, you’ll be able to bask in the glory of Costa Rican jungle. I’m much more familiar with Manuel Antonio as far as accommodations and eateries, so listen up and you’ll be treated.
Depending on you budget, you may want to buy your own food and cook it yourself, but I highly recommend a few restaurants if you have the funds.
First and foremost, El Patio is just about the dankest food in Costa Rica. They blend Caribbean style cuisine with fresh seafood to literally spin heads. Last time I was there, they had a Teriyaki Coconut Mango Tuna steak that I would eat 365 days a year and never complain about.
Though they have gnarly cool combinations of all sorts of seafoods and sauces, you won’t be able to afford this place on a poor man’s budget. Meals are generally like 20$ a plate, so only go here if you can swing it.
If you’re working with 5$/day for food, then split the bill at the Super Joseth with your buddy. You can get two huge ass Tuna steaks, coconut mango marinate, a bag of rice, and fresh veggies for 10$. Don’t believe me? Ask my buddy Uncle Steve, he still talks about my seared Tuna. Apart from the high end restaurants, you can generally find a fish taco for 2$, but like I said before you’re better off cooking your own meals while in Manuel Antonio.
Quepos: This is a tricky one, because sometimes it works and sometimes it’s flat. I’ve seen it at 1 foot and I’ve seen it at 10 feet and let me tell you, when it’s working at 10, paddle out.
Although I almost always stay in Manuel Antonio, I’ll bus down to Quepos any day if the wave wants to work. The wave is always going to break left, which is rad for everyone, because it’s a super clean left.
The wave isn’t as heavy as say, Dominical, so you can catch it and ride that puppy for a few hundred yards. If you want a barreling wave, then you want a big strong southwest or west swell, because anything under waist height will probably be pretty mushy.
Quepos used to be a pretty rad left that broke to the beach, but with the construction of the jetty, it breaks out pretty deep.[box type=”info” style=”rounded” border=”full”]Though everyone thought the construction of the new harbor was going to destroy the wave, it did the exact opposite. Now, the wave peels cleaner, faster, and ultimately makes for a much better ride.[/box]
Manuel Antonio: There isn’t a whole lot to say about this wave, because it’s going to be your typical fun-sized beach breaking wave.
If you head down the beach a few kilometers you’ll hit Playa Playitas. Playitas brings in much better waves, but Manuel Antonio beach is perfect for beginners or intermediates that want to perfect their style.
You can take a bus that runs from Quepos to the beach in Manuel Antonio for just under 1$, which will take you directly to the beach. You won’t have to pay a national park entry fee, nor deal with too many surf beginners, because the majority of tourism in Manuel Antonio is geared towards birdwatching and hiking.
Although this wave generally stays under head height, if you get a strong SW swell, expect a little power. I’ve had incredibly days at Manuel Antonio and would definitely recommend it to anyone that wants a nice salty long boarding Sunday.
Depending on your budget, you can stay at a variety of different places. Hotels are great, houses can be rented, but generally, hostels are the best options for backpackers and surfers.
Vista Serena: One of the best and most affordable accommodation options in Manuel Antonio. This place is run by Conrad and his mother (both Ticos) and they truly make all their guests feel right at home.
La Serena offers a ton of different room options (dorms, privates, cabinas, etc), so you’ll be able to find something that suits your needs. Rooms go for 10-20$ night and all options are clean and safe. You can lock up your valuables, watch an epic sunset, or just kick it on one of the several hammocks.
Backpackers: The long standing backpacker hostel in Manuel Antonio is an affordable, yet not always the safest options for backpackers. I’ve heard horror stories of people getting their packs and boards lifted at cheap hostels, so I usually just splurge the extra 2$ and stay somewhere a bit more comfortable.
La Mariposa: This is the ultimate option for people who have money to spend, or for those surfers that are visiting during the dead low season. This is a five star resort, but I’ve found accommodation for 120$/night.
That’s 60$ a person for easily the best accommodation in the area. There’s monkeys, toucans, sloths, and all sorts of wildlife running around the hotel, but you obviously won’t be getting your room for 10$. If you have the funs, I’d definitely recommend La Mariposa.
Quepos and Manuel Antonio are two incredibly beautiful destinations in Costa Rica, especially if you’re somewhat interested in wildlife. I’ve seen just about every animal from whales to sloths here, all while getting a heavy dosage of wave ripping.
It is definitely not you average cheap, surf bum town, but sometimes you have to pay a little extra to have the breathtaking views of this blessed country.
If you’re traveling with your girlfriend or family, this is an excellent way to spend time surfing, while also enjoying the wildlife of Costa Rica!
Did you read In Search of Captain Zero? If you did then you know all about this place. If you didn’t read this book but plan on visiting this side of Costa Rica then you know which book to read next.
Puerto Viejo, also know as Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, has been home to some of Costa Rica’s most legendary surf competitions, parties, and cuisines for decades. As you walk around this Afro Caribbean little town, you soon realize why so many expats and Ticos have been calling this place home for so many years.
Dozens of beach cruisers line the beach, creating a homey atmosphere for vacationers and surfers alike. Though Salsa Brava has been famed as one of the biggest waves of the Caribbean side, Playa Cocles usually dishes out a super powerful beach braking wave as well.
Only the most experienced of surfers should hang around Salsa Brava, because this reef breaking wave has been known to rip inexperienced surfers apart with it’s notorious “cheese grater”.[box type=”info” size=”large” style=”rounded”]The last thing you want while surfing in Puerto Viejo is a trip to the hospital, so don’t test your limits at Salsa Brava unless you truly can handle a fast breaking left. [/box]
One of the most important things you need to remember as a foreigner is that though you may be a rad surfer, the locals in Costa Rica have been ripping these breaks since you were in diapers. Though the majority of Tico surfers are going to welcome you with open arms into the lineup, beware of dropping in on an old timer because they will put you in your place.
This video show the wave at Salsa Brava at it’s best . . .
As one of the biggest tourist destinations in the country, Puerto Viejo has a considerable amount of surf tourists. As long as you respect your elders and wait your turn, a day on the waves in Puerto Viejo can be an unforgettable experience.
From my experience in Puerto Viejo, you either want to party, surf and party, or surf and party, and party. The whole town comes alive at night, so don’t be surprised if you end up watching the sunrise with your crew.
Though I wouldn’t say the waves were exactly what I expected, I’d admit that they were fun. If you’re in Puerto Viejo when conditions are choppy, you best be in good shape because the current is typically pretty strong.
– Best Season: November-April
– Best Swell Direction: Northeast
Salsa Brava is considered to be the biggest break in all of Costa Rica, this Caribbean style wave works the best during the dry season (Nov-April).
Known for claiming an excessive amount of “sauce” each year, Salsa Brava takes a considerable amount of broken boards, bones, and gnarly cuts each day, so beware of the shallow beach break.
There are a few different take off points at Salsa Brava, but the North Peak is by far the most popular for surfers looking to get uber pitted. Though the reef at Salsa Brava broke a few years ago during one of the area’s earthquakes, you’ll still see huge days there, just not nearly as frequently.
Let’s check it right now . . .
And the forecast . . .
The wave holds its size under most conditions and is probably going to be best when the report is head high to overhead conditions. When a south-east swell is in and you’re getting western winds, chances are you’ll find yourself barrel hunting at Brava. Once again, beware of the shallow reef, which has been known to destroy surfers of all skill levels.
Playa Cocles is your best bet when Salsa Brava isn’t working. Cocles is only about a 10 minute walk from Salsa Brava, or 2 minute bike ride. Cocles hosts a ton of surf competitions each year, so if you can catch one of these events, they truly are a great time to be in Puerto Viejo. Lots of surfer after parties and late night shenanigans with the locals. Similar to Salsa Brava, Cocles best conditions come out when it receives a head high to overhead swell from the northeast.
But if the seas are choppy, Cocles doesn’t work very well. While I was surfing Cocles, we had shit north winds and gale warnings, so surf was iffy. If this happens, my best advice is to either wait it out, or head down to Panama.
Playa Negra is perfect for people who want to surf while they’re in Puerto Viejo, but don’t want to have a date with Salsa Brava’s cheese grater. While I wouldn’t recommend Negra for experienced surfers, if you’re just starting to learn to surf, taking a lesson in Negra is a wise decision. Snorkeling, swimming, and diving is popular over in Negra, but you’ll catch a few 2-3 footers if you’re there on the right day.
Puerto Viejo is a huge fan favorite for tourists, mainly because it has a very unique vibe that you simply cannot find anywhere else in Costa Rica. The town was originally called Old Harbor until the Costa Rican government institutionalized Spanish as the new local language and changed the names of the towns and landmarks in the area from English to Spanish.
Though the true barrel hunting surfers prefer to hang out on the Pacific Ocean, Puerto Viejo’s Afro-Caribbean vibe is rad. As you walk through the center of town, you’ll see Rastas shooting dice, playing checkers, and selling the best ganja in the country.
Everything in Puerto Viejo is going to cost significantly more money, but a lot of the time it’s worth it. There’s a ton of Jamaicans that migrated to Costa Rica’s eastern coast, so the food that’s served up is super authentic. If you see any chubby Jamaican ladies serving up Caribbean Jerk and Jamaican marinated chicken, I highly suggest you buy as much as you possibly can.
Puerto Viejo is set up to cater to tourists of all budgets, interests, and ages. So, obviously there’s going to be a lot to do while you visit Puerto Viejo.
You’ll find a variety of bars that cater to just about all styles of music, but if mainly you’re going to find super swanky Reggae clubs that have been dishing out Jamaican tunes for decades. One of the local favorites is a place called Lazy Mon, which hosts fire dancing shows and other live musical acts.
Tasty Waves Cantina is another great place to get your buzz on is this little surf bar. And of course there’s Johnny’s Place, which is the area’s long standing dance club/bar. A lot of fun ensues at Johnny’s place, from the shenanigans at the bar to the roots, rock, and reggae vibe of the dance floor—you’ll have a great night here guaranteed.
If you’re looking for a hostel type party with a bunk of beautiful surf babes, then head down to Rockin’ J’s and you’ll find a party, especially if it’s a full moon.
Everyone loves to ride beach cruisers here and it’s almost necessary if you want to truly feel the energy of this little beach town. The town has a lot, but isn’t too spread out, so you’re able to really see the entire thing quicker if you have a bike.[box type=”alert” size=”large” style=”rounded”]Remember to lock bikes there’s a ton of bike theft in Puerto Viejo. [/box]
It’s also super nice to just cruise around on a beach cruiser when you’re waiting for the tide. Puerto Viejo is without a doubt one of the most unique parts about Costa Rica, because the atmosphere is very Rastafari, praise Bob Marley, groove down to some late night Reggae.
The Lazy Mon: This is one of the areas most hopping bars when the sun goes down and I’m pretty sure you can get hostel style-dorm beds for around 11$ per night. You can also request a personal room, but I’m not sure how much they’d cost you. They have a good restaurant here, but if you want to sleep, you’d be better off finding a house rental or hotel.
Rocking J’s: Rockin’s J’s is without a doubt the largest and most expansive hostel I’ve ever seen. You can rent hammock for like 6$/night, or set up your own tent or hammock for something around 4$.
There are also dorm beds, private cabanas, honeymoon shacks, and bunch of other pretty awesome hostel accommodation. I would by no means say this place is the clean, petite, boutique style hostel though.
It smells like beer, people party until 5 a.m. every night, there are no quiet hours, and if you stay here, you’re going party super hard. There’s a restaurant and bar at the hostel, but obviously you can bring whatever you want into the hostel. Staff is super laid back. So, they known you’re probably just a bum surfer who wants to drink rum & cokes, meet babes, and get stoked out of your gourd.
La Ruka Hostel: Another great hostel in Puerto Viejo, but with a much more laid-back, relaxed vibe than a place like Rocking J’s. This hostel is more family-friendly, but there’s definitely a ton of backpackers here. It’s much smaller, cleaner, and less “touristy” than a lot of the other hostels of the area. It’s located just down the road from Salsa Brava and about a 15 minute walk from Playa Cocles, so you really have the best of both worlds at La Ruka. Bunks cost 10$/night and private rooms are 30$/night.
Hotel Banana Azul: Though there aren’t too many hotel options in Puerto Viejo, there are definitely a few available for travelers that want a bit more comfort during their vacation. Banana Azul is one of the places I’d recommend to surfers that have a little more budget to work with. A pretty cool guy from Vancouver owns this place with one of his buddy’s from Peru, good bunch and they offer a great place for surfers and vacationers to stay while they’re in Puerto Viejo.
More can be found here on Trip Advisor.
Puerto Viejo is a great surf destination if you like to party, or if you arrive during the right time of the year. There’s a ton to do here, from surfing gnarly reef breaks to watching spun-out fire dancers perform at local bars, I guarantee you’ll enjoy your time in Puerto Viejo.
One thing to remember is that this is a tourist town, so a lot of your expenses will be higher than if you were to vacation in a more remote destinations. The entire atmosphere of the town is surrounded by Rastafarianism and reggae, so if you are uncomfortable with either, you’ll hate it.
But, if you’re like 99% of the world, you’ll find your vibe in this little party-heavy town in the Caribbean mon—and don’t forget the words of Bob Marley, [quote]”Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you riding through the ruts, don’t complicate your mind. Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy. Don’t bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality. Wake Up and Live!” (and surf).[/quote]
What’s your perfect surf trip? Good waves go without saying, and a lot of us, if we travel far, are looking for empty breaks.
I tend to meticulously plan my routes. Using my local knowledge and resources online, I tailor the route to the breaks that I expect to pick up the swell the best. But I’ve followed my plans so closely, it’s to a fault.
Two years ago, my friend Chris and I planned a Baja mission past San Quintin. There was some south on the way, and a northwest to follow as the weekend progressed. We researched all the spots that we would check along the way. The truck was laden with beer, boards, and water and we were in high spirits. The morning we crossed the border, we saw rifling lines at La Fonda from the road, and we we’re soaring. Our thinking was that it could only get better the farther we went south. Two days and a lot of driving later, we didn’t see good waves again until we had returned to K-38.
We were so stoked on going “deeper” into Baja that we blinded ourselves to what was given to us that first day. Other memorable adventures ensued in that pursuit, but in hindsight we wished we stopped at La Fonda and posted up. No regrets, but it was pumping.
We are challenged with opportunities each day of whether to keep striving for something better or realize a good thing when you have it. Surfing, and my friend Chris, have taught me to relax, go with the flow, and don’t stress the details. The whole point is to get away from the grind and have fun. But bigger waves at better breaks, deeper in Baja, are always calling.
My most recent excursion to Baja was a much pleasanter and relaxing experience overall, despite a couple debacles. We left Santa Barbara at noon on Easter weekend, and spent hours in LA traffic. We had already lost the longboards to a strapping malfunction earlier, and they were damaged, but not beyond the help of duck tape.
The plan was to push to Baja and camp somewhere along the coast north of Ensenada, but with sunset approaching, all we wanted to do was catch a couple waves. We pulled off at Trestles and scored clean shoulder-high waves to ourselves for over an hour. The first, and maybe the last, time I’ve surfed there with hardly anyone out.
Part of me wanted to push on to Baja to get there, but I remembered that one of the most enjoyable aspects of a surf trip is how the course can change, often for the better. Recognizing those changes and following them is something I’ve slowly learned, despite years of stubbornness. The decision to stay at Trestles for the night put us on the right path for the rest of the weekend. Had we not stopped, we would’ve carried our frustration into finding a camp at night; instead we were relaxed, refreshed and ready to charge across the border early the next morning.
Two days later, I locked my keys in my car—we knew the boards weren’t the last debacle, but I was thinking a flat tire was next…After nearly two hours of finagling, we got inside. But not before I had enlisted the help some fellow surfers at the beach. We met a rad couple down for the weekend from Huntington, and we hit it off sharing waves and hanging out at the break over cans of Tecate. It was great to make friends who were just as enthusiastic as we were to surf and take missions to Baja. You never know when the events of the trip will take or who you’ll meet because of it.
Go with the flow.
There are currently 1.28 billion Facebook users and over 255 million Twitter users. I was thinking about what it was like before Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and all the other virtual worlds we live in today.
Before Go-Pro, before the waterproof Ipod, before streaming cams, before the 21 day surf forecast . . . back when it was you, one board and some stoke.
Remember those days?
I used to call the lifeguard stations at Huntington Beach and listen to the daily surf reports to try and get a glimpse of the swell. When I was a teen, those cats at Surfline started recording reports on 976-Surf and I’d call it as much as I could. My grandmother used to think I was calling porno numbers and I always got in trouble when the phone bill showed up.
Whether you called 976-Surf or not you would always call your bros on the landline and say “let’s surf.” He (your bro) would never respond, “let me check the cam” and would usually just say “pick me up.” I drove a VW bus in those days, so you can guess who did the driving.
We’d drive the coast, assessing each break along the way old-school style, using our five senses to understand the wind, swell, tide and kook factors.
We usually surfed no matter what and quite frequently had the wrong board. Back then most of us only owned one board, you made it work no matter, you had to do the “Huntington Hop” to make most waves into the inside section. I wish the younger me could see his garage now, he wouldn’t believe the wall of Mini Simmons and retro shapes, nor the hybrid shortboards and the classic guns in the racks. He would likely say, “dude, you only need one board.”
Back then after a surf there was no place to post that Go-Pro video of you paddling monkey style and then standing up swaying your hips like a drunk salsa dancer. There was no tweet to send to your 1000 non-listening followers and no Facebook post to make about how Joe passed gas in the van and we had to pull over and get out for five minutes.
The only thing that remained after those sessions was a deep appreciation for the sea, gratitude for your smelly friends and a longing desire to do it all again the next day. Please don’t forget that the most important things about surfing have nothing to do with your social media status.
Guest Post by Stephen Mullaney, a recent Wave Tribe customer that will be pulling a Global Boardbag up the East Coast (by bike).
It’s a great day, just got in a bike ride, getting ready for a long trip and the weather outside is “delicious”!
Durham NC, where I currently live, is part of an area known as the Triangle. The Triangle consists of Durham, Chapel Hill and Raleigh, three cities with similarities and polar opposites.
Contained within each of these towns are a wide range of people, incomes, languages, views, beliefs and opinions. I just rode from downtown Durham to South Durham, a short distance by bike mileage, a long way in many other aspects…
I have made this trip for a few reasons, my touring bike needed to go out for a run, it hasn’t had a “day out” in a while. I just wanted to ride, and I needed a few items for an upcoming camping trip.
During the duration of my ride I passed all walks, pedals and glides of life. White, black, latino, asian, skinny, overweight and just right people, racers, slackers, hipsters, Huffy’s to titanium, old and young. We were all out there, and I was happy to be a part of the action.
When I arrived, at the national retail outdoor store I was going to, I locked my bike to a trash can (the bike rack had a motorcycle locked to it) and headed on in. Inside were people buying everything in sight, was this the last shopping day of the year? I dug into my pocket and found my shopping list, stay focused on the task at hand.
My wife does not like to go food shopping with me, I have a tendency to sight see, meander, roam, get lost and then shop in an erratic and forgetful manner. I enjoy the idea of an adventure, survival off of free cheese and other goodies. Just me and the consumer wilderness, who will survive? Sometimes it’s so bad you might witness my behavior and think I have never been shopping before. But I always manage to complete the job.
Now I set out again, with my shopping list on hand I know I have three items to get, a sleeping pad, an inner tube and a new water filter. I am focused and ready to conquer the task and the crowds..
I have completed another shopping trek, out into the sunlit streets again. I unlock my bike and out I meet Randy. Randy looks like a “through hiker” of the A.T or the PCT, neither of which are close to where I am now. Randy is lean, muscular, bright eyed and equipped with hiking poles, a backpack and water bottles. He sits in tranquility on a bench.
“Headed out on a trip?” I ask.
“Been on one for the last few years.” is his reply. “Lost my job my house and my family”
“Sorry man, want an orange?”
“No, ever watch any outdoor shows?”
I answer honestly, “can’t say that I have, don’t have a t.v”
Randy perks up a bit, “I used to watch them all the time, people out in the middle of nowhere, getting into all kinds of stuff, surviving, making mistakes, overcoming problems and then at the end of the show, a helicopter picks them up and they go on to next episode”
I laugh, Randy looks at me and then down at his belongings…….”there’s no helicopter coming for me.”
I ask again, “want my orange?” he takes it, “hopefully you find small helicopters everywhere.”
On my ride back to town I can’t help thinking about all the “Randies” in the world, in my town, my neighborhood and in my life.
At some level we are all Randy, even if for an hour, a day, a week or maybe longer. Who are the people that try to reach out, who are our helicopters.
When we are you we have our parents, teachers, siblings and maybe some friends that know how to think straight and help when the going gets rough. I know I needed to be “air lifted” out of many situations, many times while growing up.
As we grow up the number of people that can lift us out of situations or moods starts to decline. Now we have bosses, doctors, mechanics, spouses and still some friends. But really who is there on a daily basis, face to face the living and breathing people right in front of us who can physically reach out a hand.
As I see the skyline of downtown Durham peek over the trees and bridges I know that being on my bike has allowed me to be people’s helicopter. Whether through direct contact, just a wave, a smile,a laugh given to my wife and daughter riding on their tandem, I have lifted someone up. Walking, biking, living the “slow life” allows me to meet talk to and be influenced by people like Randy.
Stop and talk, influence and impression work both ways.
Be a “Helicopter” to your community.
Stephen Mullaney, public school teacher in traditional settings for about 15 years. He realized that his students weren’t getting what they really needed. He won teacher of the year several times other teachers and students really loved his classes….but the system was making radical changes in what “school” should look like. Less hands on, less flexibility, less compassion for the students right in front of you. He decided he needed to go, keep teaching but in a way that he was proud of and that he knew would impact the students in the most powerful way. So, he left behind a consistent paycheck, tenure, health insurance and security. Everyone told him not to do it…except his wife and daughter. It’s been five years since that day. He has now worked with prisoners, ex cons, students, homeless families, etc , etc. His work has been in the wilderness, in the ocean, on rivers and in classrooms. No, it has not been easy, but the reward has been beyond what gets counted by the bank tellers and bill collectors.
The final day of the 2013 Pipe Masters and Triple Crown of Surfing on Oahu’s North Shore was a really special day. It was, in one word, surreal. In two- holy s#*t! In more words- stunningly beautiful, enormous, ominous waves in short sets, ridden by a gathering of the world’s best, vetted pro surfers, who are absolutely not in the business of disappointing- themselves or fans.
One couldn’t have asked for a friendlier crowd of spectators, despite numbering in the thousands Saturday December 14- a real testament to how much the Hawaii-born sport is not just respected but embraced by its people to this day.
For me, the day began in Waikiki, where I caught the bus to the North Shore at the mall. Knowing that a new NW swell had arrived overnight bringing 10-to-15-footers at Pipeline, it was imperative that I get an early start and, sure enough- it being a weekend, and with the final day of heats sure to be “on”- the empty bus instantly filled to standing room only.
Two plus hours of travel seemed like an eternity. And the return trip took three hours, given the let out. I will never take that North Shore bus again; it’s too damn long of a ride, even if it did pay off in spades. Word to the wise: Rent a car or, better yet, carpool.
We cut through the lush Ko’olau Mountain Range on the Pali [highway], meandered through Kaneohe on the east shore passing Chinaman’s Hat (a lone, conical offshore island named for its appearance), went up and around Oahu’s northernmost point and passed the shanty shacks and humblest of homes that have dotted the pricey North Shore for decades.
Unfortunately, with just 15 minutes to goal, yours truly had to pee so badly that if I didn’t get off the bus, I was going to cause my parts real, structural damage. So, at the Turtle Bay Resort stop, I got off and headed for the nearest trees to relieve myself. Hey, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. What I didn’t notice was that another woman was in the same boat, and on my tail so, needless to say, we squatted and winged it the rest of the way together.
Twenty minutes later, we hopped on another bus and soon arrived at Pipeline, where traffic was a single-lane claustrof#*k in both directions, and cars and vans were angularly parked like sardines on the roadsides, to fit as many as possible. North Shore residents and advocates of “Keep[ing] The Country Country” draw their line with this very kind of public invasion. They argue there’s simply no infrastructure to support further development without an accompanying increase in traffic impacting natural resources. It’s pretty obvious.
My travel buddy had been to Pipe before, because her boyfriend was one of the in-water surf photographers, so she led the way to the beach access path. While I was focusing on my footing and navigating through the foot-deep, churned-up sand, I was totally unaware of what I’d see when it things opened up. And, man, did it ever!
At the end of the access, I looked up and, Boom! My eyes widened like saucers to the sight of 180 degrees of the biggest, longest, bluest waves I’d ever laid eyes on. “Holy s#*t!” I said out loud. I’m talking goosebumps. This is what I’d been missing. Travel buddy probably thought I was a cave dweller instead of Kama’aina.
Spectators sat 30 people deep for a quarter of a mile of the beach. Not knowing the etiquette for sitting down and essentially creating the next front row, I asked a group if we could set up in front of them. “Sure. Just don’t stand up,” as they pointed to folks standing up at shoreline, shamelessly blocking everyone’s view on the ground. “Got it! Thanks.”
The sky was clear, it was 80 degrees, and a closer-than-normal sun, it seemed, reflected off sea spray at each end of the beach from the sheer force, with which these monster waves crashed onshore. It was freaking dreamy. I could stare at this every day, and lot of folks do, including John John Florence- Hawaii’s local favorite- who allegedly lives on just the other side of the event tents. Pipeline IS his backyard, and he was already in the water. What timing!
Florence caught a big ‘un, did a cutback and went airborne at the end just to dig in and showboat. We ate it up, and he brought us all to our feet. His score had him in first place. It was looking like Kelly Slater would get his wish to go up against Florence after all. This was definitely the place to be.
Each surfer’s drop looked like they were literally falling in slow motion, but the actual rides were near-instantaneous, heart-pounding. No binoculars needed but, if you blink, you miss it. I’m no expert, but the waves (height is measured in Hawaii by the front face) looked like 10-15 feet, glassy. You’d see the deep, marine blue wall of water form, heighten, crest, and then just unleash into super long barrels, not all of them rideable. Then, not more than 10 seconds later, another would form right behind it. Crash. I heard a testimonial from someone who’s seen 50-foot waves at Pipeline that swallow up the entire beach, sound just like a jet engine when they crash, and actually reach the road, requiring closure. If you’re paying attention, it doesn’t take long at all to get a sense of I better get ready to pick up and move my stuff when this one washes in. A few times, the announcers had to ask wading kids to get out of the water.
Photographers and videographers were everywhere, armed with those big, fuzzy microphones. I hate being in the lens, but there was no escaping it. The call booth was also nearby and announced from a megaphone, loud and clear, who had priority and each surfer’s score.
Not 30 minutes later, Kelly Slater was up. Guy got swarmed just trying to get in the water, but he looked like he expected it, has proven himself to be a pretty good sport. He was up against Joel Parkinson at that point, but I was lucky enough to see rides from Sebastian Zietz and Mick Fanning, as well. My knowledge of particular surfers is limited to around 10 but hardly diminishes my appreciation for their mastery and the dangers.
Slater, emerged from one after another 50-to-100-foot-long tubes that got so tight at the end, you never expected him to make it out. Oh, but he did, and the applause he commanded was just as rousing as what Florence got. On one wave, Slater duped the announcers, who were saying there was no way he could emerge. But, he sure as hell did, it was awesome, and he scored a perfect “10” from all three judges. You gotta give Slater this: He knows how to work a crowd.
Heat after heat came and went, I made a few more acquaintances and, four hours later, made the executive decision to head home. Right before the final heat between Slater and Florence. I know what you’re thinking, Why?! Eh, at a certain point, I get it and need to vamoose, particularly from massive crowds. Plus, I wanted to get head start on the traffic headed back to town.
In the end, Slater won, and Florence came in second.
Slater said this:
“It was spectacular. To have all these people, all these fans, all this build-up- on a weekend, with the best waves we’ve had all year, perfect Pipeline and south waves- I mean, you couldn’t have written a better script. It was a great day.”
If you haven’t yet been to one of the three arms of North Shore competitions that comprise the Triple Crown of Surfing, you have 10 months to plan. It’s jaw-droppingly beautiful and an event you will not forget.
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Written by Purna Nemani, a Wave Tribe friend and awesome human being living in Hawaii.
A vision that makes us happy: rickshaws with surfboards on top!
India and surf.
We may just be witnessing India’s new traveling trend…
Wait. What. India…Surf?
Yup. Get ready because soon you’ll start spotting more of these two words together in text.
Surf Wala, a surf school & club in Arambol, Goa, India
These guys at Surf Wala have set up camp along the palm tree-lined coastline, facing an untouched beach break with loads of spots and long hours of glassy warm-water waves and fun.
THE perfect combo: The connection between raw nature, spirituality, the ocean, and the energy of amazing people.
Sounds like a perfect match for Wave Tribe, yea?
Well, we are happy to announce that they are currently using our eco products.
Searching for mental freedom while playing and riding pristine waves…that’s something most of us know how to do well, right?
Remember to consider these guys next time you’re around their neck of the woods!
Check out their stoke on their Surf Wala fan page.
Sometimes beer helps, but only a little.
People ask me “are you addicted to surfing?”
Sure I am, but why?
I wanted to dig a little deeper into the physicality of surfing addiction.
Psychology today talks about something called dopamine, I am sure you have heard of it. In an article by Philip Newton titled From Mouse to Man, he describes dopamine as “a neurotransmitter, one of those chemicals that is responsible for transmitting signals in between the nerve cells (neurons) of the brain.”
You know that feeling you get when you take a big drop?
That is dopamine bro.
Medial New Today cites that just the taste of an alcoholic drink can trigger dopamine which explains why I like beer so much.
All joking aside, it’s not the alcohol or the surfing that is getting your neurotransmitter to get all funky and feel-good inside.
You see the brain has this bank of memories that associate one thing to another and when that memory bank is triggered by something that gives us pleasure over and over that experience association triggers the release of dopamine.
The Stoke Report compares surfing to crack and although I have never consumed that drug I think he is right on target, he writes, “a narcotic high is eerily similar to a good wave–intense, incredibly pleasurable, and far too brief. And, no matter how good the high, the fiend quickly forgets and pursues another fix.”
Are you a sensation seeker?
Take this online, it will score your dopiness or dope-ness as I like to call it.
I scored 39 out of 40, but that’s no surprise.
I did find something that helps me in these down times, it’s shaping a surfboard.
It’s easy too, there are kits that come with all the essentials, instruction booklets, and even how-to videos.
You can make any board you like from 5’ to 12’.
It’s really fun too, you get to use your hands for something different than typing on a keyboard.
Try it—it’s dope . . . more information here.
Do you have kick ass graphic’s talent?
Are you stoked on surfing, ecology and (most importantly) Wave Tribe?
Is your answer . . . Yes. Yes. Yes.
We are looking for a design intern (you can be virtual) to design out next print catalog.
YOU GET . . .
YOU NEED . . .
DESIGN SPECIFICS . . .
You can see all our past catalogs here: Wave Tribe Catalogs
If you are interested in this opportunity please email email@example.com with a short introduction and tell me about yourself . . . if you can show me something your have designed that would be awesome.
Let create something!