Monday, March 30, 2009

punta rocas

two surf sessions on saturday, with a long snooze in my car between the morning and afternoon sessions. the nap was induced by creamy fish soup that i always buy at a shack in front of caballeros for all of five soles. it's delicious, and nutritious! the computer models said surf was 7 foot, but it felt more like 4.5 feet, except where we went for the second session, a place called punta rocas. literally, rocky point. it was jacking up big. it's a legendary break, and the drop in is fast and furious. it walls up quickly like senoritas, but has two spots where it breaks and if you get caught on the inside, it takes herculean strength to get back out and you have to duck dive every three seconds because you are dealing with two different waves hitting you. that's why, i think, not many people surf it. i got caught once on the inside on saturday, and had to paddle like crazy to get out. while i was out there, i came to the conclusion that you need a small, light board for punta rocas that is easy to duck dive, unlike my board, which is too wide and floaty. on a big day, that place would be exhausting. here's a clip of a competition there last year...

Friday, March 27, 2009

fishes and quads

here's a fun looking take on the fish-to-quad spectrum of boards. i'm now thinking of buying a short fish, or a quad. i think they are spectacular, though i suppose traditional shortboards have their merits. i surfed a big boy shortboard the other day, a 6'8". easier than my fish hybrid to duck dive, but i wasn't totally convinced by it. i'll try it again saturday.


i surfed for just a half hour this morning at pampilla, which was supposedly 7.5 feet. maybe, but it's such a slow wave, with such an obtuse angle, that you'd have more fun on a hollow wave that's 3 feet tall. it's fine when it's empty, but today every wanker in lima was out there, including a guy on a 10 foot foam board who refused to wait his turn and just caught everything 30 yards before people on smaller, real boards. what a wanker! him and the boogey borders, who i've noticed compensate for their inferiority complexes by wearing thick gold and silver chains, in the water! they don't take them off, apparently that would leave them feeling emasculated. i'm coming to the realization that i need to go south of lima, every day, if i want to catch real waves.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


i was super sore this morning, after a long session yesterday at caballeros, which has a loooooooooooong paddle. still, i trundled down to the costa verde and after sitting in my car for 10 minutes finally decided to ignore my aching body and go into the water at pampilla. it was mostly empty and good waves were only arriving every three minutes or so, but just as i was telling myself that the break is boring a big walled up mass of water arrived and gave me a challenge. i realized that i've been so sore lately because i haven't been stretching and pulled my right hamstring last week, and that's been making it tougher for me drive down and try to ride up the face to the lip and then drop back in. my turns have been weak for the past few days, so i've promised that i'll stretch more and to alter my stance. photos are few these days because the wife is traveling with the camera.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


one of only two people in the water today at caballeros, then two more guys showed up at 7 a.m. after i'd been in the water an hour. beautiful morning though the waves sat down a bit today and were fat and gutless, not the 7 foot rollercoasters promised by the models. a few big ones landed, and sometimes closed out quickly. it's still a break i'm getting used to and can be quite tempermental. sometimes, if you cut back into the core of the wave, you lose all your power, but if you just point down the line you gain speed. i stopped at the toll both afterwards and nearly bought a fried pork sandwich with sweet potato from two ladies selling breakfast to the mototaxi drivers, but i held off. not because of worries about my stomach, but because i figured i should save my money for lunch, which was spectacular. the appetizer was grilled baby octopus. better tasting than the finest argentine steak, and less chewy too.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

the swell has arrived

five surfing sessions in the last three days. the swell that we were waiting for finally arrived today, just as we were leaving the water. monday should be good. caballeros was lots of fun on saturday. but it was so foggy that you couldn't see the line up when you were paddling out, and after i caught one wave i almost paddled over to senoritas, a break on the other side of the cove. i had to stop and listen for voices to orient myself and figure out where to head. we ate fish soup with aji and lime afterwards for all of five soles. delicious. cerro azul was flat saturday, so we went up to puerto viejo, which was working well, but i still find it to be very difficult. today we checked out herradura, which was breaking nicely. it's a tough break. one that i haven't tried yet, but plan to in a few months. some guys out there were making the challenging drop with ease, but we saw another guy who went over the falls three times in front of us, repeatedly dropping in too late. here's a video of the place.

Friday, March 20, 2009

soccer and surfing

this morning, i surfed with nick, an old soccer buddy from highschool. he surfed a lot in college and today we went surfing for the first time together. nice waves, barely anybody in the water at punta roquitas and good vibes. on the last wave, i dropped in next to him and hooted like a madman. i never thought 18 years ago that we'd be surfing together in lima. certainly not at 6 a.m. more to come this weekend. when we got out of the water, i ran into a friend of mine, who told me that a friend of his, g., who i've met once, had just had surgery to put a metal plate in below his cheekbone. he wiped out a few days ago at caballeros and the tip of the board hit him in the face, breaking the tip and hurting him badly. freak, nasty accidents happen to even the best surfers. and g is top notch. here's to a quick recovery for g., a quality guy.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

dolphins blowing bubbles

i've surfed enough times near dolphins to notice that they are incredibly smart, playful and have active minds. check out this video to see how they pass the time. instead of twiddling their thumbs, they blow bubbles underwater...

surf art

the quality peoples blog by ed always has excellent gems on design and art, and one that caught my eye was this drawing that mixes wave gliding with mexican day of the dead style. there's also a link to the island jive site if you want more. some of the other stuff quotes the 70s, in a fun kind of way...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

i love the smell of guano in the mornin'

it's true. guano is bird droppings. it's the calcified looking white stuff that smells like ammonia and piles up on coastal islands and beaches along peru's desert coast. before that age of petroleum based fertilizers, it was valuable, so valuable that chile and peru fought a war over it, and now it is coming back into vogue among organic farmers. it's full of nitrates. down at punta roquitas today, i saw thousands upon thousands of hungry white cormorans. so many that far out on the horizon they looked little black dots, and close up next to me they were dive bombing for little anchovas. the original kamikazes. man, when nature is on, it's really on. overwhelming in its intensity.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

back in the saddle

i surfed punta roquitas this morning. glassy and 4.5 foot waves. one of those days at punta roquitas where you make the short paddle, chill out, and then do two quick strokes to get into the wave. i still can't believe how easily my board can catch junk waves, and how it performs so well in big waves too. it's a great board. today was my first time in the water since i got stitches and went on vacation. it felt great. i even managed to ignore the two surf schools whose students took up all the parking spaces, flooded the best peak and made hooting sounds while wearing color coded vests. i just hung out by the jetty and tried to focus on the water. the concentration surfing requires is akin to motorcycling, and if you focus you can work your way into a zone where all the tasks you have to do that are bouncing around in your head disappear.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

weightlessness and surfing

a kind reader, ebear, sent me this video. amazing footage that beautifully draws parallels between flying and wave gliding. if it is new for you, great. if you have already seen it, check it out again. great stuff.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

soccer museum

the new soccer museum in sao paulo, underneath the bleachers of the art deco pacaembu stadium, is world class. amazing use of technology, curators who deeply understand the ties between soccer and brazilian culture, and tremendous design and architectural work. so powerful that tears formed in my eyes several times while i was there yesterday, especially in front of the huge screens of cheering fans. pure intensity. here's a photo of garrincha, one of brazil's greatest players ever. he had two crooked legs, was illiterate and a drunk, but played with such a light-hearted style that his dribbles were humorous, jesting and dazzling. i like this photo because it expresses a sense of pure joy that you often see in brazil, a vibe that makes is such a special place.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

the illiad and surfing horses

surfing has long captured the imagination...
from homer's ILLIAD, book 20: "when these foals played over the grain-giving ploughland, they could run across the tops of the ears of corn without bruising the crop: and when they played on the sea's broad back, they would run along the surface of the waves where the grey sea breaks."
a beautiful image. even though we normally think of surfing as having originated in hawaii, and we know that tiny reed boats were used in the waves along the coast of peru for thousands of years, people have always dreamed about walking on water...
and there is a photographer, clark little, who captures these dreams...

Monday, March 2, 2009

chin straps and sunsets

two photos here: the sun setting in sao paulo from a friend's balcony today, and my new rip curl baseball hat, complete with neoprene chin strap and a flap of nylon that hangs over your ears and neck. this is a way better design than the earlier model i had from rip curl, which just had an inflexible nylon strap and no flap for your neck. several times i lost the hat while surfing, and had to wait for the whitewater to settle and then padde after it before another wave arrived. one time, at cerro azul, i thought i lost it altogether and then, magically, it reappeared after i just caught my last wave of the day. i bought two of the new models, and they weren't on display at the rip curl store here. you had to ask for them. sao paulo sunsets are nice, but they don't hold a candle to sunsets on the pacific, like in lima.