The Wedge Got Huge This Weekend - Surfing

This past week Southern California had a large swell which caused the famous spot in Newport Beach, CA called “The Wedge” to get pretty big. The media circus showed up on May 19th which hyped up the swell even more.

Why Not Just Use Your Foot?! - Land Paddling

Land Paddling is relatively new but seems to be catching on pretty fast. The basic idea behind it is using a long stick with a rubber knob on the end to push you along while riding a longboard skateboard.

The Weather Outside Sucks Today - Running

Since the weather outside is not ideal for surfing today I decided to go for a run instead. Running has got to be my least favorite activity. I have had two knee surgeries in the past which can make running a bit painful so I absolutely despise it.

I Stood Up! - Surfing

Yesterday I went surfing right after work again. When we first got there the wave conditions were not that great… But I am a beginner so I really didn’t care. The waves were about 2 to 3 foot and it was blown out.

You Don't Have To Be Lance Armstrong - Road Biking

My first day back from my long trip back East and I was highly unmotivated but determined to get outside and try something… anything. So, I grabbed my road bike and headed down to my favorite riding spot.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Getting Back At It - Surfing

I have been lagging the past week and have not been able to get out to surf.  We are heading into the summer months here in SoCal and I am noticing the amount of people in the water is growing fast.  I have been looking forward to the summer, not only for the warm weather but also because the waves are supposed to get smaller which is good for me.  I went out a few days ago and got thrown around by 4-5 ft waves.  I left the surf that day feeling discouraged and beaten.  I didn't catch anything and pearled once when attempting to catch some white water.  I guess surfing is like golf, if you don't do it often you can get worse!

I know this is not the case but it sure felt that way.  I spoke to a guy I work with that has been surfing for years and he said that he has days like that and to not let it discourage me.  I thought yesterday was my day to get back at it but after I got to my surf spot I saw an endless line of surfers in the water.  There had to be at least 150 surfers sitting out in the lineup over the span of about half a mile.  After seeing that, my buddy and I decided to skip it for the day.  Of course I felt like a quitter and like I had not accomplished anything for the day after dipping on surfing so I started today with a new mindset.  I need to keep at it!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Channeling My Inner Michael Phelps - Swimming

One exercise I have been overlooking for a while is swimming. I have not been in a pool to swim laps in many years. This is mostly because I did not have access to a pool for a few years and now that I do, the pool is a bit over crowded. I decided a few days ago to stop using that as an excuse and jump back in the pool to swim some laps. The main reason I am getting back into swimming is because I have been reading a lot of articles online that have been talking about thermodynamics in relation to weight loss.

Supposedly, and from what I am reading the science backs up the claims, if you spend time in a colder environment your body's natural desire to maintain your appropriate body temperature increases the number of calories you burn during your activity. I am completely serious, Google it! There are actually people that are talking ice baths now and going for "shiver walks". While I am not ready or willing to jump into a bath full of ice water for 15 minutes, I am willing to hop in a pool that is about 70 to 80 degrees and swim some laps.

A little while ago Michael Phelps came out with a claim that he eats some insane amount of calories a day while training for his swim competitions, I believe the number was around 12,000. Well, some people starting scratching their heads stating that the math isn't adding up. Some people calculated that if he spent 4 hours a day in a pool training that would only equate to the number of calories burnt while running a marathon, somewhere around 2,600 calories. 12,000 - 2,600 - your average daily expenditure does not add up! So how was he eating that much and still burning enough calories to stay thing?! Well, the simple answer that is being proposed is that while swimming in a pool for 4 hours a day he is forcing his body to work much harder to maintain that 98.6 body temperature.

This proposal seems to make perfect sense, so I figured why not?  I need to lose some pounds and I actually like to swim AND it would help me with my surfing.  So all that being said, I decided to give swimming another shot and bought me some swim goggles and ear plugs today.

I used to swim quite a bit about 6 years ago when I was a lifeguard.  I hope it doesn't take long for me to get the hang of it again.  No more excuses!  Time to go for a swim.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dolphins, Sunsets, and Awesome Waves - Surfing

Yesterday had to easily be the best day I have had surfing since I began a few months ago. My roommate and I originally decided to try and stand up paddle board based off of the report for our surf spot that was claiming 1-2 ft conditions. Also, the day before it was 1-2 ft and very mild with very few people at the spot on a Sunday. So, based off of these two indicators I thought it would be even slower on a Monday with the same conditions… I was wrong. After we loaded the massive stand up paddle board on to my car we drove down and were completely surprised to see the parking lot packed. After we finally found a spot we walked down to the beach and were even more surprised when we saw 2-4 ft waves that were completely glassy with a nice long wave to ride and plenty to go around. In addition to that, there had to be at least 30 surfers in the lineup as well.

This was not a good day to try and stand up paddle board in the surf with a packed lineup for the first time so we made a decision to book it back to our place and swap out the stand up paddle board for our surfboards. After we got back to our surf spot we paddled out into the most spectacular surf conditions I have seen since I have started. The only down side is that it was packed with surfers of all skill levels so it was a bit of a zoo out there. Right after we paddled out past the break an awesome set came in and because I still had fresh shoulders I was able to turn my board, hit the turbo button, and catch a wave within minutes of paddling out! I have never been able to do that before so that showed me I am making progress and was a good motivator to turn back out and try again.

I caught about 3 waves that I was able to stand up on yesterday. One wave I stood up on and rode down the face of the wave because I was able to pop up quickly. At one point my roommate pointed out in front of me because he spotted a small pack of dolphins that were playing in the waves a few yards out. This in addition to a crystal clear sunset pretty much solidified one of the more epic days this noob has ever seen and will keep me coming back for more in the hopes of experiencing more days like that.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Tim Boydell Indy Surf Film - Surfing

I came across this teaser trailer by Tim Boydell for what looks to be an independent film about surfing around the world and wanted to share. I love the visuals and the music they chose.  The surfing clips were very motivational and now, after watching it, I find myself staring at the clock wishing it was 5 so I can go surf.

TR7 Productions 2010/2011 from Tim Boydell on Vimeo.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Cruising On The Tan Tien - Skateboarding

Just as I had started to get going with an awesome routine and was making great progress with surfing I got sick a few days ago.  It was some sort of head cold that pretty much knocked me out of commission for the past three days.  I was still feeling it a little yesterday but I felt well enough to get out so I decided to go for a ride on my Tan Tien.  I stayed away from surfing because the water temp here in San Diego is right about 64 degrees so I figured it wasn't a good idea to sit in cold water when you are just getting over a cold.

My roommate and I grabbed our boards and headed down to the bay to skateboard around.  I usually use the Kahuna Big Stick when I longboard skateboard because of my knee issues but I decided not to use it this time and try to focus on learning how to pump with my foot.  One of the things that I noticed is that when I am using the big stick to land paddle around I feel like my feet are locked into place and anytime I need to shift my feet on the deck of the board I feel unstable.  After pumping with my foot for about an hour I got way more comfortable with the board.  This was great and I kind of wish I had of payed my dues and started pushing with my foot first because it gives you a good foundation and better stability on the board.

After about an hour of pumping with my foot my knee was definitely yelling at me.  I need to be careful and not push it too hard too fast because if I really injure my knee I will be out of all of these sport for a while until I can get my knee fixed.  I learned a lot yesterday and got a great workout too.  I passed by a bunch of people doing their scheduled movement time.  There was one group of women that were jumping up and down, I am assuming doing some kind of jumping squats, all together.  It looked so incredibly boring and I bet all they could think about was how long until they were done.  For me, I was getting just as good of a workout and I didn't even notice until I stopped and my muscles for tired.  Skateboarding is so much fun and a great workout too.

Monday, June 13, 2011

One Week Down - Weight Training

As of today I have completed one week of weight training.  It doesn't sound like much but to me it's great because it makes it significantly easier to get myself to the gym knowing I have some foundation to build from when the next week comes along.  Also, I am now one week closer to making a habit out getting to the gym.  The hardest part for me is just GETTING to the gym.  I always seem to find some sort of excuse to opt out for the day.  Excuses like I have to go to the bank, I didn't bring my gym clothes, and traffic will be bad when I get out.

These excuses may sound dumb to a hardened gym rat but someone like that has got years of solid gym time.  When you are just starting out it is hard to get motivated and also difficult to create a routine you can stick to.  I am pretty happy with the routine I have right now.  I am coming into work early enough so that I can hit the gym right after work and then head out to whatever "alternative exercise" I have planned for that day.  Another benefit of getting the first week out of the way is that I now have a better idea of what weight I should be using for each muscle group.  It is kind of a crap shoot at first and you could potentially go too heavy or too light when starting out.

My legs are still pretty sore from last week so I know I hit them hard enough.  The rest of my body is a different story though.  I need to add weight to pretty much all the exercises I did with the exception of legs.  I didn't want to attempt too much weight starting out because last time I did that I couldn't work out the following week because I was still to sore.  All in all I am pretty happy with my performance at the gym and glad to get that first week out of the way.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pop Up Technique - Surfing

Myself and two buddies went out surfing yesterday at the surf spot out by my job.  The conditions were awesome!  We had sets with 4 - 6 ft waves with plenty to go around.  I have to admit that as a beginner, 4 - 6 ft waves still scare me but I just decided to give it a shot and I am glad I did.  At first we didn't realize how big the sets would get when we got in the water.  We made the long paddle out to the break with little trouble.  There was some chop but not too bad.  After we got out there a bigger set came in so my buddy yelled "outside!".  After I heard that I looked out and saw a nice wave heading straight for me so I got in my paddle position on the board and hit the turbo button so I can get out past the breaking point of this set.

Luckily, I managed to make it past the first big wave from the set but my buddies weren't so lucky.  I looked back after the wave crashed and they were carried in towards the shore and ended up having to fight through this big set to get back out to where I was.  I still wasn't completely past the break and had to turtle roll 3 more waves that were almost crashing right on me.  This was a good learning experience though because I had to pretty much wrestle the wave to remain in control of my board when the wave was passing over me.  After the waves passed I rolled back onto my board and took some time to rest because that really took it out of me.

I have not had too much success with popping up quickly so far.  I spoke to another guy I work with that surfs and stand up paddle boards up in Oregon where 15 foot waves are fairly common.  I explained that I was not able to stand up quickly and that the board seems very unstable as I am trying to push myself up with my hands.  He asked me where I was positioning my hands when I was trying to pop up and I told him that I grab the rails to try and push myself up.  He had to think about it for a minute to determine how he popped up because it is all muscle memory for him now but he figured out that he is placing his hands flat on the deck of the board to push up.  This made perfect sense so I gave it a shot yesterday and man what a difference something as simple as that made.

This may not be the best way, but it definitely worked great for me.  I would of never thought about it but it makes perfect sense.  My hands are closer in towards the center of the board so I am able to keep the board stable with less effort which in turn allows me to focus more on everything else that is going on, like where I am placing my feet.  The best part of the whole day was that I caught a wave that was reforming on the inner break and managed to stand up for the longest I have ever stood up before!  With this new technique I was able to pop up much quicker so I rode the wave in the standing position for at least 4 seconds.  For the first time in my life I felt what it was like to stand up on a surfboard with a wave behind me.  I am now hooked.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Alternative Exercises To Squats - Weight Lifting

I have absolutely terrible knees and I am always looking for alternative exercises to squats because they cause a great deal of knee pain for me.  I recently have decided to get back to the gym and the main reason for that is so that I can strengthen my legs to make me more stable during my other exercises like surfing and skateboarding.  So that being said I have started researching alternatives to squats and this is what I have found.

Leg Presses

One exercise that I am able to do with relatively less knee pain is the leg press.  The leg press machine allows me to be in a seated position so I can isolate the legs muscles with a very controlled and stable pressing motion.  After I complete a set on the leg press machine I can feel the burn in my quads and hamstrings.  Everyone says that squats are the "king of all exercises" but if you can't do them then I think leg presses might be the next best thing.

Leg Press Machine

Wall Sits

Wall sits will not be as beneficial as squats but my main focus is here is what you can do if you have knee issues.  Wall sits are very simple but can really punish you if you do them right and don't cheat.  Basically, you stand in front of a wall and then squat down into a seated position with your back pressed against the wall.  You simply hold that position as long as you can and feel the burn in your quads and hamstrings.  I am unable to do these for very long at this point but I am getting better!

Wall Sit

Dead lifts

Dead lifts are a great exercise for your legs and lower back.  Because of the motion it is extremely important that you perform this exercise with proper form to avoid injury.  I am just starting to do these exercises again so I am by no means an expert on proper form for this exercise.  After a youtube search I came across the video below which explains proper dead lift form.

I plan on doing these exercises religiously for the next few months in order to strengthen my legs so that I can have a very solid foundation.  I am finding that leg strength is very important for the activities I am attempting to get good at and with my knee history I need all the help I can get.

Funboard FTW? - Surfing

I have actually managed to go surfing 3 days in a row as of yesterday.  I am still trying to determine which shape and size board I want to really focus on so the last three days I used 3 different size boards.  On Saturday I used my roommate’s 9’0’’ longboard that I repaired, on Sunday I used my own 6’6’’ fish, and yesterday I took out my 7’6’’ board.  Each one is completely different for sure.  I need to make a decision because I think I am not progressing as fast as I should due to the fact that I keep jumping between 3 different board styles.  The short fish shaped board is definitely too short for me at this time so I think I am taking that one out of the rotation for sure.  Now I am torn between a longboard or what is called a funboard.

Funboard Surfboard

A funboard is a mid range board that is anywhere from 7’ 0’’ to as long as 8’ 0’’.  They usually have a rounded off nose like a longboard.  I do have a 7’ 6’’ board which I guess can be classified as a funboard but the nose comes to a point so I lose a little bit of stability.  That is the board I took out yesterday and actually had a good time on it.  The surf conditions were blown out and about 2 – 4 ft.  I paddled out past the break and sat there for a minute and then decided I want to paddle back in to the shore break to play around in the white water so I can try to stand up on the board.

I spent a little over an hour catching white water and managed to stand for about… half a second a few times.  I think this board size will be the one I stick with and spend most time on, for a while at least.  I really want to try an egg shaped funboard though and may end up picking up an old one this weekend.  So far I am definitely leaning to the longer sized boards for sure.  They have a lot more size to them and are harder to manage getting around outside of the water and in but they make it quite a bit easier to stand on which makes you want to keep going back to try again because the learning curve is not as steep as a shortboard.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Weight Training Begins Today - Weight Training

So today is my official day for getting back to the gym for a set workout routine for lifting weights.  I have been putting this off for as long as I can but it is becoming more and more evident that I need to do some strength training in order to speed up my progress in my other exercises.  I have had a few times where a wave has taken the board out of my hands when I am trying to turtle roll so I really want to strengthen my arms for that.  Also, I am a bit sluggish when it comes to popping up after I catch a wave so my goal is to strengthen my chest with some dumbbell chest press and flys.

I am not new to lifting weights.  I used to be really into it about 5 to 6 years ago when I was much more active.  I do know the basics for a solid workout routine and have used that knowledge to put together a weight training workout.  My goal is not to bulk up but instead to build strength and tone up so I will be focusing on lighter weight and more reps.  I also do not like to do 2 pulling or pushing exercises on consecutive days.  An example of this would be to do a chest workout on Monday and then a triceps workout on Tuesday.  Since your triceps are supplemental muscles for your chest workout I like to give them at least 24 hours to recover after a chest workout.  The same concept also works for back and biceps.

So that being said this will be my routine for the next 6 weeks at least:

Monday: Chest
Tuesday: Back
Wednesday: Shoulders
Thursday: Legs
Friday:  Triceps and Biceps

I think I will completely mix everything up after 6 weeks to try and get some muscle confusion going to avoid a plateau.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Shane Dorian Flotation Wetsuit - Surfing

After a scary wipeout at Mavericks surf spot in California pro surfer Shane Dorian came up with an idea to add an air bladder to a wetsuit that would inflate to bring a surfer to the surface in the event of a hold-down scenario.  This concept is amazing and I cannot believe no one has thought of this yet.  Below is a video explaining the development process Shane and Billabong went through to produce an early prototype.

Right now it appears that this type of wetsuit is only available for the upper elite pro surfers but hopefully this idea will catch on and become available to the rest of us.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Getting Started In Kite Boarding - Kiteboarding

Kiteboarding is a sport that I have been trying to get into for many years now.  One of my main setbacks in regards to getting involved with this sport is that it requires a lot of equipment.  Another reason I have not been able to get heavily involved yet is because of the cost associated with learning this sport.  It is highly recommended you take lessons with a certified kiteboarding instructor instead of trying to learn on your own, because of the unforgiving nature of a kiteboarding mishap.  So, on top of having to purchase all of the gear, you will have to add kiteboarding lessons into you budget as well.  I have checked online and lessons can run you anywhere from $150 to $600 depending on what instruction and gear are offered during the course.  I would recommend Googling “Kite board lessons” plus your area to see if anyone is offering quality lessons close to where you live.

Another thing to think about is how often you will be able to kiteboard where you live.  Kiteboarding is obviously dependant on favorable wind conditions.  You will find yourself checking wind advisory websites very often if you get involved in the sport.  One site that I check regularly is  This site gives you wind conditions that are separated out by regions.  The only catch is that you have to pay a fee for some of the better wind spots.  I usually just check another wind station that is free and close by to try and get a good idea of the conditions at my favorite spot.  If I do end up getting into this sport more I will probably break down and buy a membership for the site, just another thing to think about.

Make sure you do some research to determine the average wind speeds for your region.  This is important because you will need to know this when purchasing your kite.  If you are on a budget and can only afford one kite when you start out, then you should get a kite that you will be able to use more often.  Larger kites (16 to 20 sq meters) are good for lighter winds (10-15 mph), medium kites (12 to 15 sq meters) are ideal for medium winds (15-20 mph), and small kites (6 to 10 sq meters) are best in higher winds (20-25 mph).

A good way to learn how to fly a kite without going out and buying a full size kite is to get what’s called a trainer kite.  I bought a trainer kite called a Rush 3 Pro from a local kite boarding shop called Calikites and I love it.  It is a 3 meter kite with a safety line running down the middle just in case you need to deflate the kite quickly to remove all of its power.  Below is a video of a guy demonstrating the Rush 3 Pro.

Here are some pics of my Rush 3 Pro.  Again, I bought it from Calikites so they put their logo on it but it is a Rush 3 Pro.

Here are a couple of photos of me flying the Rush 3 Pro.

If you put in some time with a trainer kite and are able to fly it without having to think about it then you are in good shape for when you decide to move onto a bigger kite.  I am still in the early stages of learning this sport.  I can't wait until I am able to get all the gear required and go out on the water.  I am just being patient with the sport because San Diego is not the ideal location for Kite Boarding because of the moderate winds we get.  Here are some pics I took a few days ago at Tourmaline when the surf was blown out from an onshore wind.  Those conditions are not good for surfing but perfect for Kite Surfers.  Enjoy.

I also took a video that day.  I figured I would add these images and the video below for some extra motivation.  Wanting these guys glide across the water is awesome and I can't wait until I am proficient enough to be able to get out in the surf, that is my ultimate goal.

I hope this information is useful.  Once I get more involved I will be post a lot more about this sport.


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