I'm originally from California, graduated from UC Irvine. I love to surf (obviously), cook, paint/draw/woodburn, snowboard and play music. I sing and write songs and play guitar and piano, solo and in a band called Los Tikkilyches!
Imagine a wave so long that you have to get out of the water and walk back to the break after you’ve ridden it for almost a mile! Welcome to Peru- home of one of the longest surf breaks in the world: Chicama.
Not only that, all you goofy-footers out there (you lucky, lucky surfers), Peru has almost all left breaks! Another crazy addition to the mix is that Peru’s seasons are the opposite of those in the Northern Hemisphere, so our winter is their summer.
How cool is that!? To learn more about the surf in Peru, there just happens to be a great video: Peel: The Peru Project, by T.J. Barrack and Wes Brown. It shows surf pros not only ripping it up on gnarly waves, but also visiting crazy sights, such as the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu. So much to surf and see, so little time!
I just want to say how nice it is when there is a good vibe in the water. In Mexico, we call it “una buena onda.” You can call people or different things “buena onda” and even say it as a, “Thank you so much, you’re so sweet!” = “Gracias! Buena onda!” I forget sometimes how much I love surfing with people who respect each other in the water. No territorialism, no competition, just a bunch of rad people enjoying one of the many magnificent wonders of the world……gorgeous waves! It’s so much more satisfying surfing with people when you’re taking turns catching waves (or even sometimes accepting the party wave), instead of trying to catch every single one yourself. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be proud of yourself for being able to catch every wave, but it’s kind of like sharing…..you know, what you learned when you were a wee child. What should be a fun, no stress time in the water, has somehow turned competitive even when there is no real competition going on. Why can’t we all just stick with “una buena onda,” enjoying and appreciating what you’ve got, while you’ve still got it goin’ on.
Surfers can be territorial sometimes, especially where I live in Mexico. The locals (not all of them, but a good majority) are constantly yelling at beginner tourists who get in their way. There is this one local who supposedly has been banned from surfing, after pushing people off of their boards and surfing with a weapon to threaten them. The police said if they see him surfing, he’ll be in jail immediately. The craziest situation I experienced was this one day when we had this great swell. There were these two girls who had been bravely learning to surf and had been living in the town for a few months. The waves were throwing them around like rag dolls and I gave them mad props for not giving up. Soon enough, this local guy (who is known to be an a**hole to everyone in town) said something mean to the poor girls and their friend (another local) stood up for them. All of a sudden, I look over and the two guys were going at it in the water. It was mostly the a**hole who was throwing the punches, while the other one (a pretty peaceful guy) was just trying to defend himself as best as he could. Water was splashing everywhere, words were flying and I took the opportunity to catch the great waves that everyone involved in the fight was missing out on. Eventually, they took the fight to shore, where the a**hole was still punching and kicking, while the other one was calmly swatting his fists away like a fly. I was actually happy the a**hole local left the water because he does not surf fairly and was pissing everybody off. All I have to say is, is it ever really worth the fight? C’mon guys!
A while back, I bought a used 6’0 Kennedy Fish. It was nice and thick, so it caught waves like a longboard, but it was still fast, like a shortboard. I caught waves on that baby that were almost non-existent. I also liked to use it on big days because it was easier to paddle and easier to catch waves than my 5’7 board. It’s one of those boards that make you kind of cocky, that is until you break out a smaller, less thick board and you’re back to beginner status again. I love the board to death, but now it’s kind of crapping out on me. Now whenever I take the board out, no matter what, I come back with a ding! Even if I’m surfing a sandbar! I keep having to get it repaired and now the poor board looks like a mosaic! And it’s not even that old! Someone said that the thickness of the board is the reason it dings so much, but honestly, the tail is in constant need of repair and so is the nose! Now one of the fin boxes is starting to come out! I love that board so much, but I really wish it was more resilient. I can only use it about once a week because after every surf sesh, it needs to be dried out and fixed. Maybe it’s just old and has seen better days? Either way, I hate to say it, but I think I’m going to be in the market for a new board, maybe this time an epoxy.
When the waves are not surfable with a board, but just right for body-surfing, I ran into this fun, little accessory. It’s a mini-surfboard that straps to your hand, so you can get the ultimate body-surf! Plus it comes with fins! I haven’t actually tried it out yet, but I already have the perfect break in mind! Supposedly, the combination of the fins, plus the super-glidy mini-board, makes you just cruise, cruise, cruise. Or, if you want to get super, super high tech and have the ultimate, ULTIMATE body surf experience, you can go for the wave blades!! Maybe a little crazy, but looks pretty rad to me!! Any takers?
So the surf is, again…flatter than flat. But, after not surfing for a week, my friend and I decide to hit up the ankle rollers and test our luck. We had already gotten the heads-up from a surf buddy, “Tiny, but fun!” So we paddled out to the usually kook-filled main beach. We usually like to go to the left break on the other end of the beach, but the tide was super low and rocky, so we were forced to go to the right. I brought my thicker 6’0 Kennedy fish (the closest thing I have to a longboard) and was pleasantly surprised. The waves weren’t too bad. “Tiny, but fun” was a perfect description. I never really got a wave by myself, (that’s what happens when the kooks are out) but it was just nice being in the gorgeous warm water until…………all of a sudden…………..wait! What’s that!? Uh oh! A SWARM OF KOOKS heading right towards us!!! Sh*t!!!!! As the swarm paddled towards us, the number of kooks in the water more than doubled. That’s when it came time for me to take my last wave in. The more kooks, the more chaos, the more hazardous to my health.
On the second day of the swell that just hit, a friend and I hit the waves, this time with a non-surfer and his video camera. Not only was this a chance to get some footage for our upcoming music video (aww yeah), but it also gave us a chance to check out our surf style. Best thing we ever did!! Although I was slightly disappointed with my stance and totally thought I had caught bigger waves than I actually did, it really gave me a good idea of things I needed to work on. The most frustrating part was seeing all the waves I went for and missed, that had been about two paddles away from catching! Either way, I would recommend it to any surfer who wants to improve their surf style, or just wants to have some record of ridin’ some waves.
So, yes it has been awhile since I’ve written, but the surf has not been treating me that well lately. I decided to subject myself to surf the itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny-ankle rollers that were the only things coming in last week, in order to prepare myself for the “gnarly swell” that was supposed to come last Sunday. Well, just like most swell reports, the swell came Friday (not the predicted Sunday) and by Sunday it had already died. Monday there was NOTHING. WHYYYY!!!????? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I surfed my a** off Friday and Saturday, compensating for the lack of waves we’ve had, but seriously, why the hell could it not have lasted more than 2 days? How can the waves go from a lake to head-high overnight and then become a lake just like that? I don’t get it, man……….mother nature just isn’t on my side right now.
Surfwise: The Amazing True Odyssey of the Paskowitz Family is a documentary about the eleven-member Paskowitz family, who crammed into a motorhome and just surfed and traveled for pretty much the kids’ whole childhood-to-teenage years. The dad, ‘Doc’ Dorian Paskowitz, was a Stanford grad doctor who decided to give up his monotonous life to travel, surf and live off the land. He and his wife, Juliette, then decided to raise their nine kids (one girl and eight boys) the same way. Screw education, eat an extremely healthy diet, surf, and do things the hard way, were the kinds of things he taught them. Their motto was “Live clean, surf clean and eat clean.” The kids then go on to win surf competitions all over the place, become famous musicians, start a surf camp in California and even some now have what you a call, a ‘normal’ life. What I liked about the movie was that it showed the footage of their journey, the waves they surfed, and gave you pros and cons of the lifestyle from each one in the family years later. Check it out and see what you think!
Longboard? Shortboard? Whatever! It’s really nice to switch it up once in awhile. I usually use my favorite 5’7” little fish: duck diving is always a dream, paddling is kind of a bitch, but it’s nice and turny and fast. Just recently, (after being sore from head to toe after an African dance class), I decided to longboard on pretty good sized waves. The point was a pretty far paddle and I just zoomed by the short boarders, not even having to turtle roll once. I thought I’d be pretty flail-y on the longboard since its been so…long (haha) since the last time I’ve ridden one. Much to my pleasant surprise, it was a blast! I took off so easily on a wave (two paddles and go!), riding up and down, tried a slight floater, then hang 5, and even slightly crept into a two second barrel before it totally closed in on me. It was probably one of the longest and most fun rides I’ve ever taken. In conclusion, it really doesn’t matter what sized board you ride because it’s always really fun to switch it up and improve your surf style even more!
From Peru, travelers brought surf to Hawaii and that is where surfing blew up. The word ‘surfing’ is actually Hawaiian for ‘wave sliding.’ The boards back in the day were made of wood (definitely not as easy to use as fiberglass). In 1953, the Waikiki Surf Club hosted the first international surf championships (wow, way-back-when) and the judges based their scores on: length of ride, number of waves caught, skill, sportsmanship, and grace. It was thought to be Duke Kahanamoku (olympic swimmer and water sports fanatic) who introduced the sport and made it more well-known. Then came Laird Hamilton ripping up 70ft waves and surfing speeds of 50 mph! It was he who popularized the tow-in method. After that, surfing got all kinds of crazy, as you well know.
After about a week of flat flat flat, finally a swell has hit my part of mainland Mexico! Going a week just staring at the ocean, wishing for something to come has paid off! Yesterday, my friend informed me with the fantastic news, “Oh my god, did you see the waves today?! They look f***in rad!!” Unfortunately, my job didn’t get the heads up of the awesome waves, so the surf would have to wait til the next day. The night before I was going to surf, I woke up in the middle of the night (I kind of live in the jungle where you can hear the crash of waves and you are surrounded by all sorts of insects and jungle life). The air was unusually calm, the bugs were biting like they hadn’t seen human flesh in years, and there was a hot (lately its been pretty chilly at night), odd, uncomfortable stillness in the air. In the morning, I woke up and it had rained! Talk about calm before the storm! Now, for all of you who live in the North, rain is very common in February, but where I live in Mexico it is almost unheard of. Something along the lines of global warming must be the cause of it, which also made last year in Mexico the coldest winter it had seen in 50 years. That’s some crazy sh*t right there! I don’t want to surf indoors because its too hot, or sunny or because its perpetually flat.
Have you ever wondered where surfing comes from? I definitely have, so I when I came across this information, I thought I’d share it with you all! Much to our surprise, surfing did not come from Hawaii, it came from Peru. Surfers in Peru actually started tearing it up 3,000 years ago, except the board was a mini fishing boat/canoe-thing and it was made out of plant reeds. There is actually ancient pottery that shows people surfing and it happens to be dated before people were even living in Hawaii. It wasn’t until 1,500 years later that surfing came to Hawaii….(to be continued)…
…(Continued from part 1) …The waves were pretty strong and just kept coming in with almost no lull between sets. l was definitely not in shape for bigger waves after waiting a week for something decent. There was a really friendly vibe in the water between the few people that were surfing. The non-territorial locals were out, luckily, and we were all having a good time. Suddenly, from down the beach we heard yelling. I wasn’t really paying attention because I was into catching some choice waves, until Patricio Gonzales, national longboard champion of Mexico, comes whizzing by saying, “Alguien ocupa ayuda!” (Translation: “someone needs help!”). In about 2.5 seconds, he had paddled all the way to the end of the beach, saved the people, and was back rocking 360’s and noserides. I actually hadn’t even realized he had left! Thanks Patricio, for being not only a sweet guy, but a great lifeguard too!!
Lately, it’s been stormy seas here in Mexico where I live. I was starting to have enough of the mushy random swell, wave after sloppy wave, and to top it all off, (our favorite) onshore winds. However, yesterday there was a break in the sloppiness when the tide dropped super low, the wind stopped, and all of a sudden the waves became gorgeous and glassy. FINALLY!!! I went out to the left break on my 5’7 quad fin fish, and it took a bit to paddle out because the current was extremely strong and kept pushing everyone left. The waves were amazing! Nice big faces, long rides and not only was the point break going off, but the beach break was out of control too! It was surprisingly uncrowded for this time of year, so I was just having my pick of great wave after great wave. (To be continued)…
If anyone was looking for a vacation surf spot that is not as crowded or expenisive as Hawaii, and not as far away as Indonesia, let me draw your attention to El Salvador. El Salvador most likely gets overlooked due to its “unsafe” reputation, but traveling down there (with four other girls) this summer proved that theory wrong. Most El Salvadoreans we met were some the nicest people in Central America. El Salvador goes West to East instead of your usual North to South, and there are breaks all along the coast. On the West side, you have Punta Roca, which has been called Central America’s Pipeline by some travel books. Just fifteen minutes away from Punta Roca, you have a handful of breaks right next to each other, such as El Tunco, El Sunzal, Sunzalito, and another fifteen minutes away you have El Zonte. There are buses that run from each break all through the day (for only like 50 cents). Then, on the East side, there is Las Flores, which is even less crowded. The towns around the breaks are basically made for surf and have just a few bars and very few restaurants where you can get a breakfast with coffee, eggs, tortillas, beans and fried plantains for only $2. And to top it off, you don’t even have to change money because the currency is dollars! Let’s just call it a surfer’s paradise.
“Eh…(as he shook his hand in a so-so, unconvincing motion) at least it’s not raining,” were the words that came out of the surfer’s mouth when I asked him, “How were the waves?” I knew how the waves were, I’d seen them: blown-out, no clear lines, small and mushy. I was in Venice Beach, CA, on my Christmas break from the gorgeous warm water and usual nice winter swell of my new home, Mexico. It hadn’t been raining that day, but was still bitter cold (for my standards because I’m such a p**sy when it comes to cold), so I felt incredibly compelled to ask this lone surfer how the surf was. I got my answer……not convincing enough. I’m sorry for all of you who have to endure the freezing winter surf. I couldn’t do it – I barely could even when I lived in California full-time. I give you all serious props and wish you warm waters, good surf, and Happy Holidays!
As much as I hate to admit it, he is usually a great surfer. He is usually a local. He feels that it is his God-given right to be taking every wave. He also feels that it is his God-given right to be dropping in on everyone else’s wave. He is that one a**hole in the water.
In my town, there is a small handfull of them, but there is one who is by far the worst. Just yesterday, I heard him yell to another surfing buddy, “nada para nadie,” a.k.a, don’t let anyone take any wave. He is always telling girls (no matter if they can surf or they can’t) to get out of the main line-up and sit on the sidelines, and he’s always getting in fights with other guys in the water (he is the guy in one of my previous posts who started a fight in the water). What is the point of bringing all this bad energy to the water? Why can’t he just play fair like the rest of them? Some of the locals are way chill and it’s a much a better surf sesh when it doesn’t feel like there is a war going on in the water. All I have to say is, play fair; you might be better than some, but that doesn’t mean you have to be that one a**hole in the water.
Do you sometimes feel lazy, depressed, fat and worthless? Has it been awhile since your last surf sesh? If so, you may be experiencing what I like to call “surfer’s withdrawal”, i.e. that sh*tty feeling that overcomes you when you haven’t surfed in awhile. It may be caused by extremely flat surf, busy-and-important-morning-to-night-type days, or just being burnt out on surfing (what?!?!). After some time (for me it’s about a week) you start to notice the symptoms: gazing longingly at anything that resembles a wave (sometimes even gazing at water if you are really bad), the feeling of just pure laziness (this is when I start to feel like a fat pig), and then the depression kicks in. There is only one cure for surfer’s withdrawal: a nice, long, amazing surf sesh.
Finally, after much waiting and wishing, the surf went from flat to a gorgeous shoulder-high. In the winter season here, the water gets colder, the days get windier, and I find surfing at sunset the most pleasant time to surf. We went out around 4:30-ish, the tide was pretty high, and the left point breakand beach break were both looking beautiful. I paddled out on my 5’8 little fish shaped by ‘Pronto,’ a guy who lives here in town. Surprisingly not that crowded for a Sunday, there were plenty of waves for everyone, and I even caught some random rights that were shaping up. All of a sudden, a guy sitting on the outside starts making a bird-call type thing and making praying gestures* to the ocean.
*Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being spiritual and thanking Mother Earth for all of her goodness, but while he was making bird-calls to summon waves that were already coming in consistently, he was missing some choice waves. Hey, I guess whatever floats your board…