Monday, July 30, 2007

How Nau?

A few months ago I went on a little quest to ski, paddle a river, and surf all in the same day. I forgot to actually link to the resulting movie when it was finally posted on the Nau website. After seeing my sad first attempt at skiing, you may think that I "conveniently" forgot.

It was an amazing spring day and I was happy to be a part of it. One of my chums, Markarito, actually made the video and I contributed some drawings (and comic relief) to the production. The surfing sequence at the end is a pretty desperate attempt to catch a wave with the sun going down and angry storm surf tumbling in. Doc was there, he can vouch.

Hall & Oates - I Can't Go for That

PS - Finally back from Nica. Getting back to work and nursing a weird hip injury...

Friday, July 27, 2007

Shades of Nicaragua

Nicaragua is an amazingly colorful country. We took a lot of pictures between surf sessions. Dogs, crabs, pasture baseball games, kids fishing in their underwear. A trip to Granada during one of the lulls provided so much inspiration. The colonial city reminds me of how Havana must be: old open air markets on the streets, rusty bikes and old cars, Cuban cigars, and no matter how shanty the storefront, a layer of bright paint would provide a festive feeling that belies the country's current economic struggles. The rolling blackouts seemed to get longer in the days before we left. Thanks to my wife for the pics, who has an amazing eye, and to Tom of for the unforgettable sunset on this page and the action photos from my previous posts.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Tunnel Vision: The Saga Continues

Hey Banditos,

Thanks for all the words of wisdom, kudos and judos. The small board WAS a bit touch-n-go on the bigger set waves, but I think my lack of shackdom has been purely the result of bad technique. I've reviewed the pictures of the big wave two posts ago a few times (it's still flat) and know that if I had taken a higher line and thrown on the breaks a bit I woulda been there. Just like Gaz and Doc said in the comments.

What really happened was that I looked up, saw the curtain start to fall, and made the mistake of trying to "punch through" the back instead of straightening out. The yellow t-shirt that I was sporting was ripped over my head and twisted tight around my arms (ala a good hockey fight), making it pretty tough to get back up for air. But I made it through the sandy foam in time. This guy from SF who we were surfing with said if I went for any more of the set waves I'd have to call my blog "Charger Fish."

Hey Nash, the Mandala suffered a pretty nasty gash right on the stringer. Not anticipating this flat spell, I hurried it to a Nica ding repair dude who patched it with a really big brown blob of fiberglass right in the middle. Oh well, back in the chilly PNW I'll always remember kicking out the back of a tropical Panga Drops "bomba," not realizing I was five feet up when I came down on my board. I'm sure it'll warm my heart.

Porky, I'll definitely still take you up on the Occster. Since riding the Manny 2+1 and my North Pacific step-up (which is also in the dusty hands of the ding maestro in a fishing village to the south) I'm starting to wonder how dangerous tri-fins can actually be...

P.S. If you were wondering, this post actually started out as a comment on the "Hollow-lujah" blog, but then it got so long I realized I should just give it its own entry.


P.P.S. The series of shots above is another failed trip to Tooby Town. There are tons of insects in Nica. Did I mention that? One fairly rare breed is the stink bug. But here we have one captured on film.

The Clash - Sandinista!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Colorado Right

Mostly a-frames at Playa Colorado, which, when given the choice, I’ll take the left side of every time. But every so often I’d find myself perfectly set up for a right and have nobody on the inside. People would hoot and I’d have no other choice than to go for it. Actually, I’m finding rights more fun when they reel perfectly for 50 yards… not something you get often in Oregon.

Things have gone pretty flat here, and it looks like it’ll stay that way for a few days. We’ve done some sight seeing, including a trip to Granada and the volcanos of Ometepe. Today we might actually break down and pay for a round of golf. I’ll also be painting a lot to kill the frustration...

Saturday, July 14, 2007


OS is insits that I put these pics up while I still have an internet connection, so here they are. For those who haven't been following my blog for the past couple years, my goal in life is to get shacked. And though it hasn't happened in the last week, I've gotten damn close. I've also paid for my boldness. Both of my boards (my North Pacific AND my Mandala) are now casualties of a psychosis I call "tunnel vision." That's why I'm riding my 5'8" in this series of pics. Wouldn't that be a great reality TV show? A show called "Tunnel Vision" where an novice surfer tries to get his very first tube? Imagine the carnage! Not sure if the camera crew would have the patience for the payoff of an actual barrel, but it would be great to have a coach like Occy or whomever you'd pic teaching a dude like me how to get the old in-n-out. Maybe the show could be called "In-N-Out Urge." No, I like Tunnel Vision better.

Anyway, so much for building up to the big waves. We've had some swell the past few days. I have more (less interesting) photos, which I'll post later when I'm not drunk on Tonas in a ramshackle bar surrounded by stray pigs, mosquitos, and torrential rain...

Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah

Thursday, July 12, 2007

"Tell 'Em I'm Alright."

I should have guessed that in a relatively undeveloped country like Nicaragua, high speed internet would be as sketchy as the dirt roads we bounced along to get to Playa Iguana. But like the trip to get here a week ago, I finally made a connection today.

There were near disasters though, starting at the Portland airport, when Continental Airlines told us that they didn't allow surfboards on flights to any countries but Costa Rica. We ended up transferring to a Taca Air flight in Miami that allowed us to bring our sticks. Note to Continental: Surfing is one of the main tourist attractions in Nica, so it would behoove the airline and the country to work something out during vacation months...

On arriving to Managua several hours late, we found out our rental car had been given away (even though we'd called Budget and informed them of our delay in Miami). Luckily, we begged the agent to rent us a 4X4 truck (in place of the little Suzuki SUV we'd reserved) and we were only held back one night by all the mishaps.

And then there was the lack of internet, which has really slowed down my Sissyfish posts and also given my headaches trying to get any "real" work done.

Now about the surf: We're staying very close to a swell magnet called Panga Drops that is kind of a right reef break over rock and sand. It looks like a beachie, but it breaks pretty damn far outside. The waves have consistently been overhead there since our arrival, pushing the head and a half range. The pics above are from there. I've managed to snag a few lefts there as well. You can always count on my trying to do that.

The next spot down is a beach break called Playa Colorado. Things started out pretty friendly there a week ago, with waves in the shoulder to head-high range. They were playful and easy at times, breaking right and left, with potential for the cheeky tube here and there. There were only five guys out and one was a dude I recognized from snapshots in the Surfer Magazine forum. He has a big beard, dreads, and rips on a Pavel Speed Dialer. He goes by the handle "Liquid." He was really cool, coaching me on how to get barreled. He told me that he looks at it like fishing: He'd rather see me get my first tube than score 10 himself. Liquid, if you're out there, thanks. I'm still working on it and when I do, you'll hear about it and be credited here!

A few days later, the real swell arrived.

Colorado was throwing head-high plus barrels with regularity. I got my ass handed to me with regularity. I saw a local kid get a full stand up tube and get spit out waving shakas in the air. There have been some special days, and we have two weeks left.

Though I have had my share of amazing waves, I've been struggling in the huge stuff. I have tucked into some heaving, dredging tubes and been swallowed up alive then sent over the falls and into the sandy bottom. My brand new Art Colyer-shaped rounded pintail is dinged to hell after a really bad wipeout at Pangas last night. Two fins are broken completely off and there's a massive hole in the deck and bottom. Out of commish. Pics to follow soon.

Tonight I'm taking a boat to Manzanillo, the famed left point break. I'm bringing my Mandala 2+1, which has been my daily driver down here. Wish me luck!

PS: To build some stoke after the humbling/humiliating surf sessions of the past couple days, I watched "Morning of the Earth" from start to finish this morning. That's where the title of this post comes from.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Mini Shakas

Wow. You'll have to forgive me for the lack of posts. As you can see, I've been busy. Got a first look at "Baby Chum" today and was pleasantly surprised to find the little gremlin throwing a mini-shaka our way. And no, we're not finding out the sex.

In other news, I've been packing my bags for Nica the last couple days and setting myself up for a nice little vacation. Waves looked really good yesterday where we'll be "shacking" up... I'll make up for the less frequent blogging starting tomorrow.


The Knife - Heartbeats

(You've heard the song, but have you seen this amazing video?)