Tuesday, April 28, 2009

and the seasons they are a changin'

scooby doo fog blanketed lima this morning, from the coastline to a few kilometers inland. that means summer is over and winter has started. normally, there are 5 months of sun in lima and 7 months of fog. there's no in between. it mainly depends on currents. on saturday the water was warm, but on monday it was cold and had dropped about 5 degrees celsius. cold water currents interact with tropical sun to create fog. so there you go. peru is all about microclimates. the good news about winter surfing is that fewer people are in the water. lots of whimps, and you need to say that by accentuating the h and holding it, stay home in the summer, thinking it is too cold to surf. that means bigger waves and fewer people. the waves yesterday were big and full, but it was high tide so they fattened out after the thick and mushy breaks. i've surfed here in fog so thick that you couldn't see the line up from the shore, and the only way to navigate was by listening for voices or the sound of breaking waves.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

sunset session

a nice, peaceful sunset session at caballeros yesterday. fairly high frequency sets, but a bit mushy for the first 45 minutes. just as the sun was setting the next swell started arriving. it is producing 8.5 foot waves in peru right now. it was high tide at caballeros, so the take off spot furthest out was fat, along with the section that links it to the other take off spot on the shoulder. but i realized that if you take off on the shoulder, you can pretty much just go down the line and not worry so much about trying to stay on the edge of the whitewater to generate speed. so lots of fun. and here's a link to a revolutionary board builder, full of the best of what the californian spirit is all about. i think surfing without fins would be akin to riding super hard skate wheels on a masonite ramp. or a slip and slide. finless boards

Thursday, April 23, 2009

glassy and big

this morning was smooth gliding and glassy. takeoffs were especially slow at pampilla because it was high tide, but the 8.5 foot waves gave you lots of space to play on. it was a wee bit early for hard charging and i would have gone to a faster wave if i weren't alone. but it was fun. once you got up you could pick up nice amounts of speed. twice i cut back thinking i needed to get near the whitewater, only to end up not making it through the next section. i should have just gone down the line, but it wasn't walling up enough to convince me. no complaints. i'd really like to start surfing herradura in the morning, but it only works when it's big and it's not a place you can surf alone.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

crazy photos

so i found another cool link on the quality peoples blog, with photos from one of the guys behind the motorcycling and surfing across australia site. the photo on the right in this link required genius to dream up and execute

who is missing the 9 foot swell?

Me! what an awful feeling, hopefully i can get out of work before sunset tonight and get a few waves in.

Friday, April 17, 2009

steel horses and boards

click here if you want to see some amazing surf photography . don't know how new or old the site is, but the quality of the production is astonishing. here's a teaser image from the site...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

best skate video ever?

i'm getting ready to buy a gopro underwater camera and stumbled onto this video on the company's site. it's the sickest skate video i've ever seen. it may just surpass the classic videos like bones brigade. it takes a couple minutes to load, but the editing and the sensation of speed and adrenaline that it communicates are overwhelming. and look at the shots of what have to be southern california, either santa barbara or ventura county, i would guess. just gorgeous. how about the shot where they round the curve and the only thing in front of them is the shining blue pacific ocean? epic.

UPDATE: the link is funky so you have to click on 'sample videos' and then scroll down to the downhill skateboarding one.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

blustery and mushy

i ventured out for 30 minutes of surfing after work today. blustery winds, and some big sets, but fairly sloppy and mushy. i got two quick rides in and decided to save my energy for thursday. i watched some excellent surfing for a good half hour before i went into the water, including a longboarder and a guy on an orange fish who were ripping. and after the short session, i bought an ice cream sandwich and watched the sunset. bliss.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

americo, the shaper of quiver boards

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the rocks at senoritas

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row that boat

hollow 5 foot waves and few people today at punta roquitas. summer officially ends here after easter and, thankfully, lots of people in peru only surf in the summer because they think it's too cold in winter. i feel like i've got my rhythm back after being beat up in chilean surf. lots of fun takeoffs, a backside ride in which i focused on tucking my ass under me, forcing myself to crouch down by holding a rail and making faster, more frequent cut backs. i was so elated with that backside ride that as it closed out i turned my board straight into the wave and launched myself into one of those comical jumps that leave you upside down. one left that i caught, which took me all the way to the beach, was pure joy. it walled up nicely, didn't close out too fast and, just as a section was about to fall, i would stick my hand into the wall and row myself along it to get past the crumbling section. physics laws would probably say i was doing myself a disservice, but it felt like lots of fun. it's hard to get that kind of intimacy with a wave.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

punta hermosa

a great, long day of surfing today at punta hermosa. clear skies, nicely shaped waves and dozens of takeoffs. i had trouble making it around some sections, but managed to get through others, and carved up onto several big walls that left me hooting in joy. here are two photos, the first of the paddle out to caballeros from a rocky shore that is also the place to jump in to paddle to senoritas. the second is of the shaping bay at quiver boards, where i am going to get a new board done that is a bit shorter and thinner and easier to duck dive in the winter...

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Friday, April 10, 2009

surfing in the classics

my dad, a voracious reader, has spotted another reference to surfing in classical literature. an earlier post was about surfing in homer's illiad. here's another, from Virgil's The Aeneid, written late 1st centry bc, 700 years after the Illiad. virgil, i'm told, was literate, whereas homer's epic was essentially a poem told in the oral tradition. i would imagine it took hours if not days to recite. In the story, virgil takes a character from the illiad, aeneas, and makes him a trojan survivor of the destruction of Troy. he sets out to found a new city and becomes the founder of Rome. in Aeneid, book 1, a great storm at sea threatens Aeneas' ships, inducing Neptune and his buddy Triton to calm things down. "and Triton, side by side, worked to dislodge the grounded ships; then Neptune with his trident Heaved them away, opened the miles of shoals, Tempered the sea, and in his car departed, gliding over the wave-tops on light wheels."
makes me wonder how far back wave gliding was considered a super human ability? walking on water figures as an idea in the new testament as well, and even geeks at MIT have trained science on the subject.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

surfing at sunset

surfing after a big lunch of mashed potatos, pork loin and asparagus isn't recommended, but i went out to pampilla this afternoon, which is nice and easy, so fortunately i didn't get stomach cramps from surfing on a full belly. it was late in the day and i watched the sunset behind the islands off the port of callao. there were lots of waves and the swell has been about 7.5 feet for days now, which is a sign that winter is here and summer is gone. there is nothing like watching sunsets over water, which is in part why i love the west coast of the americas. the late summer sunsets here are awesome, with just enough thin patchy clouds that the light refracts off to create hues that are rich and deep.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


i surfed senoritas this morning, and it was especially tricky, with what seemed to be a low tide, and waves hitting from the north and south that made it difficult to figure out where to sit while the sets rolled in. i was thrown into the whirlpool three times, and found myself having to duck dive too often given that my board is fairly wide. i'm going to start using a friends thruster when i go out there. life is much calmer when you have an easy board to duck dive. on the first few waves, i had either sloppy takeoffs or sloppy pop ups, which was frustrating, but the last few i had that heavenly feeling where you take off on plenty of smooth water, make a nice clean pop up and sense throughout the whole process like you have all the time and space in the world to get your groove on. those fleeting moments made all the suffering worthwhile.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

the chilean innovator

so when i was down in chile, i heard people talk about ramon navarro, a surfboarder from pichilemu. he was one of the early serious surfers in chile. he's an incredible character. anybody who grew up surfing at punta de lobos can surf anywhere, as far as i can tell. here he is in a video with shots from punta de lobos. some of the drop ins are downright scary to watch...

Monday, April 6, 2009

tough chileans

work had me away from blogging and the beach last week, but i made it down to the chilean coast for the first time in my life over the weekend. it was grueling, frigid and humbling. the water is ice cold, the currents are lightning quick, and the breaks are heavy and often double overhead. punta de lobos, the longest left in chile, is probably the most demanding break i've ever seen up close. and once you wipe out, chances are you'll be swept the one or two kilometers into the shore in just a few minutes by the whitewater. at least it takes you in the right direction. we went out briefly the first day but it was so foggy you couldn't see where you were going and we couldn't figure out the paddle. then we almost went out on our third day but were too exhausted from our second day, which included hiking for more than an hour to a place called puertecillo, a gorgeous place that requires you to essentially go bouldering with your surfboard to reach the point and jump in. what most amazed me though is that all the serious year rounders in the area do windsurfing, attach kites to their surfboards, or do tow in surfing. there's just too much wind and too much current most of the time to do anything else. and a lot of the time the waves are moving too fast to get into. maybe that's why they built a three-sided bowl out of wood to skate on when the fog rolls in. here's a video of the place. check out the hike down to punta de lobos, the paddle across the channel, and the climb onto the islands. what they didn't show is the guys waiting for 20 minutes on the islands for a tiny lull in the sets to padde out.