Monday, December 27, 2010

la frontera

surfed la frontera on friday, a joyous day with only a couple other people in the water, a swift but smooth entry on a wave that is often times too fast and heavy. the size was nice and for the first time in three months i got into a deep groove and felt wave after wave coming to me, nailing my drop ins and going off to the races. i bumped into ernesto b. that day, nearly a year after he introduced me to the wave. thanks for the good vibes!

Friday, November 26, 2010


another amazing video i saw on quality peoples that hits on all the themes of diet, and practice and having a positive attitude...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

painful exits...

thanks to qpeeps for this. reminds me of trying to leave the water at herradura, which requires loads of patience, finding the sweet spot, and paddling like hell. i have destroyed the points of two boards there and got loads of dings...

Monday, November 8, 2010

more dirt on the peru-australian beef!

here in el comercio you can read the closest the peruvian press has come to talking about the rock-throwing peruvian hooligans who attacked members of australia's surf team the other weekend at the ISA games. or, maybe you can't. this story has mulanovich and villaran basically defending tough tactics in the water (blocking a competitor to prevent him from catching a wave so that members of the peru team would advance to the next round) but not talking about what happened afterwards. the australian surfer complained, there was some pushing in the water and then, when the australian came ashore, a bunch of peruvian fans threw rocks at him. classy! australia has said it won't send its junior team here next here for the world's, and other coaches have raised a stink. i say this: if you can't control your own fans you need to tell them to go home. keep in mind that this attack happened on one of the most expensive beaches in the whole country. it is full of rich people. what's this say about the people who live there?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

classy peruvians!

here is a link to the other story from the ISA world championship that wasn't told. it's about how peru's team blocked an australian from catching waves and how the local crowd threw rocks at the australian (even though he was the victim. i guess he didn't have the right to complain about being in the water with a rude sport). of course there were no decent security guards or police on hand to protect anybody when he was hit in the head by rocks. of course all local press coverage was all about the glory, even though there was lots of second guessing the judges. on sunday i was in the water, somebody paddled in front of me while i was going for a wave, our leashes got tangled and me, being the nice guy, volunteered to take off my leash to untangle us. truth be told, the guy who's fault it was didn't say thanks and didn't apologize. he just silently paddled away. classy! i've also seen peruvian surfers routinely mistreat parking lot attendants just because it makes them feel good to beat up on people. classy!

Friday, October 22, 2010

back in the saddle...

surfed today for the first time in a month after being far away from the ocean getting whipped like a rented mule. pumping swell has been hitting peru for two or three days now and there is a big championship going on in Punta Hermosa. i surfed triangulo today to ease my way back into the water. needless to say, i felt weak and didn't have much power when i paddled. the water also felt cold. enough of me. i was just reading julio adler today. i'm more convinced than ever that he's probably one of the best people out there writing about surfing and his prose drips style. smart and insightful without being full of all kinds of macho, U.S.-style football metaphors...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

a new secret wave near lima!

i don't know the exact whereabouts of this wave, but a friend with the initials DM says it's buenazo!
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family and finless surfing

a lovely video from northern peru...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

fantasy sliding on a finless board

i saw this on quality peoples, which is always awesome. the video left me in awe, feeling like i've got years and years and years to go until i can get mo' respect that rodney dangerfield...

glassy at herradura

i woke up this morning by chance, checked the clock, and it was 4:21 am. i then pulled up the surf forecast on my phone and couldn't believe my eyes: 7.5 foot waves, low tide at 6:23 am, little wind and a swell direction that had shifted much more westerly after a long bout of south-souths. the swell was arriving a day earlier than expected. i headed out to herradura and was the first of two guys in the water. a third joined later and in the third hour another two. lots of waves. two big ones, one so long and powerful that i rode it nearly all the way to the shore. the paddle back is so far that i got out and walked several hundred yards back to the point. big open faces early in the session, though later ones were faster and tougher to ride. i suffered lots of wipeouts and got swept onto the rocks when i was getting back in the water for the second time, having misjudged the current. i think the sets grew while i was out there and i mostly paddled to the outside to avoid them. the last two guys in the water were getting barreled repeatedly, which is something i've never seen up close at herradura. all they would say was "el mar esta buenazooo huevon." despite all the tumbles, the two good waves of the day, along with a few other ones, were well worth it. the big one i caught was so large and open faced that you could carve all over the place and it wouldn't run out of steam... (stock phontos above)

Monday, August 2, 2010

and a photo...

it was a lot bigger than this...

maiden voyage...

a ding in my pod prompted me to try out my new red beauty a day earlier than i expected on saturday. it performed splendidly. i tried it first at caballeros. it easily caught waves and allowed me to get on the wave much earlier and further inside than most folks. with one swift pump it also shot through a section that is normally difficult to make. the second wave i caught there was much larger, around 9 feet, and the board worked perfectly -- eager to run down the line and carve up onto big steep faces. its narrow front is much funner than to drive on steep sections than my pod. the next day took us to puerto viejo, which had a heavy current and was extra fat near the take off zone. i caught the biggest wave of my life there, one so large that i turned white in fear when i got out of the water and got three dunkings on the way in after the wave crashed behind me. on the inside after it walled up, it was easily 15 feet high, if not more. it was so convincingly large that i had the distinct feeling that a shorter board would have simply not caught the wave, or bounced all around the chop, there was so much force in the water. puerto viejo can quickly go from a fat point break to a nasty beach break, and being caught in one of those closeouts, even if you turn toward the beach at the last minute, isn't fun. strangely, when i was on a fat section of that wave, on a face so big that it became amorphous, i cut back to the steeper part only to see a big dorsal fin sticking out of the water. it was my friend the dolphin. not wanting to get in his way, i turned back left only to see two more dorsal fins. they were surfing alongside me. i've seen dolphins at puerto viejo before, but never so many on such a big wave, one that i happened to be riding. talk about a spiritual experience! afterwards, when i paddled out, there were half a dozen of me circling my board, so close to me that i could see them underwater, and they made a point of playing around, as if to say "nice wave, dude!"

Friday, July 23, 2010


callao, the port city next to lima, is a favorite place of mine, probably because it's slummy and neglected. it has at least three good breaks that i've never surfed but always oggled. one on the island of san lorenzo, and another a sandbar in the middle of the bay that formed when an earthquake sunk the tip of the point jutting out into the bay. here is a link for a video that mb sent me. thanks, it's amazing! i've heard stories of people taking boats out there, dropping the anchor, and ripping...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

asu times two!

peruvian photographer ernesto benavides, who snapped the photo published here of chilca, has won an award from the inter american press association for a special on guano islands and the people who harvest bird dung for a living. it's a very popular organic fertilizer...

Monday, July 12, 2010

new board

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this is my newest board, inspired by merrick's black beauty, for big days on big points in peru. it's a 7 foot by 20 1/4 by 2 7/8. foam is your friend ladies and gentlemen... the same board in white is laying down on the shaping horses. the board has lots of rocker in the nose and then flattens out through the tail. it is drying right now...

dario of derrem

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this is dario, the shaper of derrem boards, which i think are incredibly well made and designed. the guy has talent, delivers his boards on time, and treats customers well. what more could you ask for? the quad pod he made me rides so well i asked him to make me another...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

the one wind-proof spot in southern peru?

the swell has been consistently above 9 feet for more than a week now, and though the winds are howling because of a strange phenomenon out at sea thas has shut down most spots, triangulo has emerged as the go-to wave if you want to surf glassy breakers despite the gales. i'm not sure most people have clued into this, but i have. triangulo is known as a great wave to surf on big days because it approaches something close to perfect when most other spots in lima become too messy or closeout on big south swells. but it's special characteristic of being hidden from the wind and tucked into a cove where offshore winds gently bounce off the bluffs, is less well known. and monday at sunset we were the only two people in the water as the tide hit its lowest point in the past 24 hours at 6:15 p.m., sending one perfect set after another rolling in and cutting the usual wait at triangulo to less than 3 minutes from the usual 20. pure bliss.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

wind in peru? blah!

strange conditions the past few days in lima, with heavy windswell accompanying a big and powerful groundswell that left frustrated surfers in short-cycle sets that resembled washing machines. mushy 10 foot waves kept most people out of the water and the extreme southerly swell direction didn't help either. peru's coast is probably one of the least wind places on earth, which normally means you can surf on glassy waves at sunset, but these last few days have been an anomaly of sorts...
that being said, triangulo came alive as it does on occasion, and on saturday morning we were the only two surfers out as it started to crank up... it's also pretty much the only break in southern peru perfectly sheltered from the wind...

Monday, June 21, 2010


after a hiatus, i'm happy to be back surfing in peru. surfed a few times in san diego a couple of weeks ago and was miffed by the gutless windswell. saturday took us to arica, a beachbreak that was throwing up a fairly nasty lip and proved to be lots of fun. it was our first time out there and normally is a place that people go to when the points are flat. (picture above from a big day at arica). sunday took us to san bartolo, which worked about as well as i've ever seen it, and further out in the bay penascal was cracking. that drop looks awfully exciting, but you need a big board to get into the wave. also, happy to hear spinalsurfer surfing with our leaping friends.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

ripping in uganda

the kids got skills in uganda. hat tip to breed.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


qpeeps has overhauled his site to be more photo driven. he's always cooking up great stuff. and here's a link that i clicked through to that i thought was great.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Flutua como uma borboleta, fere como uma abelha

above is the portuguese translation of mohammed ali's famous line "float like a butterfly sting like a bee" done by the fine writer over at goiabada. i think he's probably the most engaging surf journalist anywhere in any language.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

blown away

i saw this video on artificial reefs over at brownfish, whose handplanes i've been drooling over for months. and you can check out the web page for the company that designed the project here. one of the most inspiring things i've seen in an awfully long time.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

the thursday morning blog roundup...

via q peeps, secret forts has old photos from life magazine. i just hope they are hailing the waves in that one photo, not some madman. a friend's dad was once snapped by life in a raft in a river in borneo. how dope is that? spinalsurfer talks about love on the waves, and jair has some sharp photos up of mike vallely in bertioga, brazil, where i used to buy fish from the fishmongers. nothing like a beachside halfpipe made of concrete! pix courtesy of dezzert magazine in japan...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

surfen and baden verboten, achtung baby!

photos below from a dispatch by our special envoy to the bundesland, who has been stranded for the last few days by volcanic ash from iceland, subsisting on little more than wieners and bier...
in all seriousness, big ups to my man CD, and thanks for keeping the InkaWaves spirit alive. these cats in full neoprene merit loads of respect for taking surfing to new places and innovating when real waves aren't within reach...


a shot of chilca taken by the famed ernesto b. on a big day a week or so ago. he described it as a 5 meter (15 foot) beachbreak. ouch! i lightened the photo in an editor and by chance noticed that now you can see the beast sucking up sand! oh man that is intimidating. it makes you wonder if this wave is shaping up to be peru's puerto escondido, famous for breaking just about everything...

Monday, April 19, 2010

neglected spot or famous spot?

i surfed saturday at a neglected wave in punta hermosa, one that years ago had a nice tube, then fell apart, and more recently is reforming. i surfed with two other guys. it was great: a drop that can be tricky, a short paddle, and a wall that is steep enough to put you in those jams where you ask "should I pump down the line to make the section, or do I have enough time to make some turns?" I then went to have lunch overlooking caballeros and ate fish soup while watching 40 people crawl over each other for waves, which were really good. sunday was puerto viejo, a bit crowded but mostly manageable. the take off can be awfully messy and fat, so i sat a bit on the inside and picked off some nice waves. the last one was one of those classic walls at puerto viejo, where you just barely make it through a series of sections in a kind of perfect rhythm, throwing a turn, then pumping, repeating...

Saturday, April 17, 2010


people started talking about chilca last year as a new wave, one that hadn't been surfed before. a bodyboard contest was put on, and then last week quiksilver sponsored a surfing contest, in which mainly peruvians were invited. the waves were 11 foot that day, and people who attended told me it was the nastiest beach break they'd ever seen. the one time i went there i had trouble seeing how it would be surfable, but apparently they were towing in, either for the contest or the day after, not sure which. in any event, check out the photos here. the fourth one is easily the best shot i've seen in peru...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

punta roquitas, i have missed you...

punta roquitas, which i've neglected during the last few weeks of big swells, settled down today into perfection: glassy waves, with feisty lips jutting forward, the makings of tiny barrels, and only about 5 people in the water. most people thought it was closing out and went a bit further south to pampilla this morning, but they were wrong. punta roquitas today was screaming, loads of fun, gobs of waves good enough to make me forget that i missed the 11' foot swell on sunday.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

drift on africa

i strongly recommend reading the article on africa in drift magazine, which you can find here. some wonderful writing on what it's like to drop in on a powerful and fast break... not sure i've read anything better...

"I put my head down and paddle, eyes fixed on the water ahead of me as it begins to draw off the reef. The ocean begins to warp around the shallow rock, visible beneath the surface, covered in barnacles and disconcertingly close. I paddle hard as the wave begins to grow, down the line the wall stands up and horseshoes as the bottom begins to drop. I pop, grab my rail and pray, freefalling to the bottom and grasping for the wall with my free hand as I feel my fins bite and I guess at a line. The wave curls over my head and I’m enveloped by a soft roar. The light recedes and the moist air is thick with water droplets until suddenly I am in the channel. The crowd is now distant, I am alone in a moment of euphoria with a barrel under my belt at last. I paddle back slowly, with more confidence, enjoying the moment."

Sunday, April 4, 2010

chop top at sunset

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breaky break

had this drink post surf at a old sandwich joint in lima. it's milk, algarrobina (which is a strange little shrub that grows in the desert and produces a sweet sap full of vitamins) plus ground up maca (which is an andean root chock full of just about everything you need to live on). the old man who runs the place told me it would make me strong.
today's first meal was a blend of kiwicha and quinoa, yogurt, almonds and pecans, topped with yogurt, maca, honey and raspberries. word.

the first surf rig?

there is a point in the late days of summer in lima when people let it all hang out. the eight months of fog become a distant memory, the sun shines from sunrise to sunset, and you can almost convince yourself that the weather is going to be this perfect all year long. san diego or mexico? hey, we have it right here, or so the thinking goes. this surf rig has appeared in the last few days at pampilla, parked there all day, the old longboard is always on the car, not in the water. the back windows are full of grateful dead stickers and obscure hawaiian surf stickers. a necklace of sea shells hangs from the rearview mirror, a sentimental touch. but it's not overdone, one of the windows was rolled down and a rumpled tabloid paper was on the driver's seat. the thing still works, has been restored but not too much, it's the real deal, i'd say. who is the owner? i know not. i assume it's a guy from the first generation of peruvian surfers who lived in hawaii way back in the day and brought the duke over to lima...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

surf rig

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ginga and surfing

this video courtesy of goiabada, with shots of jeronimo vargas of brazil surfing in mexico i believe. this video brought forth a bunch of thoughts about the brazilian style of surfing versus the one in peru. let's just say that it projects ginga and creativity versus something else that is more restrained and, perhaps, less expressive. plenty has been written about ginga as a concept in brazilian culture, and it's presence in soccer, but fewer people recognize that it comes from capoeira, which in my mind is the best starting point to appreciate vast swaths of brazilian culture and get an idea as to why brazil is so different than the rest of latin america. jeronimo tem dende! i surfed with a cearense on wednesday who had the relaxed demeanor of a malandro even on big eight foot faces -- out for a cruise and pulling off elegant, effortless turns... great stuff to watch. i also think ginga is what is going to push brazilian surfers further up the ranks of the global surf tour, a trend that has judges and other pros on their heels.

Jeronimo Vargas ...Nachos y Cerveza 2008 from Jeronimo Vargas on Vimeo.

Friday, March 26, 2010

oh man...

saw this clip on the facebook page of an old friend from my hometown who turned an airstream into a hair salon...
dreamy video. i've seen this band play in seattle, nyc, sf, and cambridge.
they rock. one time they sent me a postcard saying thanks after i sent
them a gushy piece of fan mail. rest assured there aren't any good waves
in hoboken...

Thursday, March 25, 2010


made my first pilgrimmage to bermejo yesterday, and the 222 km drive north of lima wasn't so bad. i managed to get two sessions in. bermejo is quite possibly the best wave in peru. i'd been dreaming of surfing it for months. locals say that it always has a stiff offshore wind, which hits squarely and makes the face of the waves wall up and stay up for what seems like an eternity. there are two sections, one out the back, which is pictured below but rarely works, and the inside section, which is more consistent. i'm told that with big westerly swells, of 9 to 10 feet, soft barrels form that roll across both sections, which together are maybe a kilometer long or more. the takeoff on the inside section can be either too fat or too fast, depending on the sands that get deposited near the rocks, and wave height and direction. yesterday it was a bit shifty, with 7.5 foot waves. i got worked at least twice taking off too late, but also had lots of waves of pure joy. big walls to carve on, and the quad held lines high up on the wave and accelerated like a rocket the moment you pumped your legs hard to gain speed down the line. i even pulled off my first floater, but didn't risk a reentry. i don't think i've ever ridden a faster board. still, i probably should have taken my thruster. a little less buoyancy on the takeoff would have given me more control with some of the white water splashing down during the drop, as it was a little too fat sometimes on the clean stuff and impatience means that you will risk a wipeout if the squeezed takeoff looks possible. it all depends of course on what you want to do.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

fill it to the brim

i woke up today at 2:30 a.m., unable to control my excitement over the swell charts, which all showed 9 foot waves in lima. that means that el triangulo, a finicky break that rarely goes off, would be working. and when it works, it is bliss. it's the glassiest break i've ever seen, and looks like a reflection pond with a perfect wave running through it. i spent three hours making a big breakfast and reading before i went out in the dark. trouble is, when i got there, the waves were horseshit and even places that normally work were weak and gutless. so i turned around and went home, hoping to save my energy for when the swell finally hits, if it does.
thank god for fine organic arabica from oxapampa. this is the most chocolatey bag of coffee i've ever had...

Monday, March 22, 2010

a volvo p1800

this is probably my favorite coupe ever. a guy around the corner from my apartment owns this one, which is red with a white racing stripe. when i was a kid, a guy at the end of my street had a mustard yellow one. i'd say the red one wins.

Friday, March 19, 2010

small feet

this is a shot my friend jeffersonstevens took of me and my son, lucas. nice stuff. i only realized this week that q peep's son has almost the same name. lucky i put an s on the end, otherwise i'd be a straight up copy cat.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

teaching an alpaca new tricks...

if you are so inclined, you can read about a surfing alpaca in peru here
check the video too.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

hi denise

oops, i'd also like to say hi to denise, who has an elegant pop up and is polite in the water. she beat us out there this morning!


here is a video i saw over at goiabada, whose author is a fine writer who drops slang from rio de janeiro artfully into his prose. he also has impeccable taste in music. he saw this video here.

BIRTHRIGHT from Sean Mullens on Vimeo.

welcome back!

woke up at 4:30 a.m. today to surf south of lima. it was my first session since returning from aching chile. sure was nice to wash away all the stress from the quake and just focus on waves. we surfed for three hours. good waves, nice drops, a fair amount of punch on some waves. not as wally as i'd like, but excellent water temperature. i tried a friend's tiny thruster for the last 45 minutes or so, and enjoyed taking off late on it and changing direction on a dime. fun stuff.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

a streamlined variation on the sting ray

these photos were taken not more than 50 feet from where i saw the classic schwinn stingray with monkey bars last week, right near my office. this bike shares the same color, but notice the double crossbar that wraps down into the rear end, an effect that streamlines the chopper. the tubes going into the bottom bracket were also tweaked. amazing. i suppose the two owners work together on the construction site and practice doing skids together in their free time...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


i would just like to give a proper shout out to spinalsurfer, whose writing is inspired and fun. his blog, which was already hugely entertaining, is now even better since he returned to cornwall. he is probably the most maniacally passionate surfer i know. keep it up mate!