Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Surf Movie I Made!

Put this together with my GoPro Hero camera. Footage is all from Punta Mita and its relatively small but hey, still a ton of fun!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Video Work - Old post

I didn’t do much today. The surf has been pretty small overall so today I focused on working on my surfing video I have been putting together. That led to other events and overall is was quite a busy day.

I finished the overall editing of the video last night before I went to sleep and it wasn’t too much work. I was quite happy with the overall product and after a few test renders I was quite happy. I couldn’t do the final render however because I needed an internet connection to check up on the latest Youtube requirements and recommendations for video encoding and I needed some software. I spent the entire afternoon working on the encoding process for youtube and getting some software I needed. I ate a can of tuna for lunch with a coke. I have been craving some fruit but the local shops have been severely lacking on the fruit front lately. All of their products are usually rotten after 3 days if you don’t catch the fresh batch.

I was working on my video when a girl I met the other day came inside the courtyard of the hotel where I camp and asked if she could have an old towel for a dying dog nearby. I got her a towel from Lisa (owner of the hotel) and I went with her to help her with the dog. The dog was the average homeless Mexican street dog and was in very poor condition. He was bleeding pretty badly from what appeared to be a wound on his neck and he was covered in ticks and in overall very bad condition. He was extremely malnourished and every bone in his ribcage and hip was showing. She called a vet and then went to find her while I helped the supposed “owner” move the dog into the shade and out of the sun. I got my muzzle for this task because I didn’t want to risk a bite from a street dog with no history of a single vaccination.

The girl returned with the vet and I tried to help the best I could The vet set out to rescue the poor dog but I had to intervene and ask if possibly euthanizing the animal would be the best option. Adoption for dogs down here is almost non existent, especially for a 9 year old Mexican street dog but the vet seemed positive about the situation so I let her work. Turns out the wound on his throat was some type of tumor or serious infection that had opened up. She had to give him a mild anesthetic so she could open it more and drain the fluid and blood and I watched this girl lance open this dogs very swollen throat with a razor blade. She took very good care of him and overall he seemed to just be happy for the attention he was getting. Its such a sad sight…

I finished working on my video and uploaded it to youtube only to find out that for some reason the youtube compression schemes changed what I sent in, and interlaced the project. Interlacing is more complicated than I can explain but basically, its horizontal lines, usually visible in fast motion on the screen. The video quality overall is pretty impressive but I have a better video that is de-interlaced that I need to upload in its place.

Me and the surfer crew all went to dinner at a local place and returned back to one of their rooms to watch Borat and that’s pretty much the conclusion of my night.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Good Waves and the Balance of Life

Well we ended up going to Sayulita last night and boy did we have fun. We didn’t back to Mita until 5am so that meant I didn’t wake up until 12:30pm today, it’s a hard life let me tell you.

I ran over to Debo’s because I had to meet and talk to these two guys that wanted to discuss a small side trip with me to explore. I had hung up some business cards on her board as a joke and they wrote “Surf Guide – Have Van, Will Travel” and these two guys inquired. We talked for awhile about the area they wanted to go and they changed their minds. We are thinking now like a 2 day camping trip up into the Sierra outside of Vallarta, to a small town called San Sebastian. They came down to Mexico after crewing on a sailboat in the Baja Ha Ha regatta and have been boat hopping ever since. Currently, they are working on and watching (for room and board) the 62ft catamaran of the owners of Latitude 38 magazine! The cat is huge and has been anchored off the beach for awhile and I have been wondering about it.

I came back to catch Tim and we decided to head out for a surf. We chose Anclote because its close, easy and extremely fun on a longboard. It wasn’t that big out there, maybe knee to thigh high but it’s a long wave and it just peels for yards. I caught a few rides that were close to 100 yards even in the small conditions! The sets were few and far between though so we basically decided it would all be party waves and drop ins would be allowed due to lack of waves. I dropped in on Tim several times and it was fun to look back behind me and see him gliding along maybe 20ft behind. The sunset was absolutely perfect as I watched it sink behind the hills and condos, casting an orange glow over the water and the rest of Mita. I looked back at shore for awhile, everything being bathed in that orange glow. The palm trees blowing in the offshore winds and the fishing boats zoomed by to return and sell their catch for dinner in the restaurants. I could see Chica, sitting on the beach waiting patiently for me to return, occasionally playing with other dogs and barking furiously at innocent passersby’s. I realized that this is what I came here for. I relaxed some of the constant shit Ive been giving myself for staying here so long and realized that happiness is happiness. Good waves, good friends and a good town. Really, what more can I ask for? Im living my dream and in paradise with consistent surf. That is enough for me and Im working to tone down my constant bashing of myself and this place.

Tim, Christian (the newly arrived aussie) and I are heading out Sunday to a secret spot Tim and I know about 2 hours south of here. We are hoping to score some juicy powerful waves that will pick up the southern swell better than here and this place is known for pull in barrels and fast down the line beachbreak. I got my ass handed to me here about 4 years ago but my surfing has much improved since then so Im looking for a barrel to get myself into, even if I have to take a few beatings from mother ocean. That’s the price for hiding in the green room a little. With surfing and almost all things involving our mother ocean, you must give in order to receive from her and that is the balance of life I guess.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mind Ramblings...

My day started off pretty good. I woke up early around 8am and went to help out Debo with the opening of her restaurant. Turns out she didn’t need much help so I ordered some food and hung out. I ended up hanging out all day at her place with nothing else better to do but talk with some of her customers, friends and more friends. Not a bad day that’s for sure as I could think of a million other things I’d hate to be doing.

After a while my Argentinean friend Alvaro showed up and we hung out for the remainder of the day at Debo’s. We talked about many things, women, the world and traveling. He came from Argentina on a whim and ended up staying and working here. He used to work at a restaurant here in town but that didn’t pan out for him and now he is freelancing selling boat trips and renting kayaks to tourists. He also gets together with other spear fishermen like himself and heads out into the ocean and spear fish for money and sometimes they do pretty well!

Later that night a girl I met exactly 1 month ago on my birthday night showed up and by then we had started in on the beers. I have been taking it very slow the past 2 weeks so I decided to reward myself and step it up a notch with these good friends. We hung out until Debo couldn’t keep her eyes open anymore and we headed out into the night to Alvaro’s apartment where he had beers waiting for us. First we swung by his old work to pick up his girlfriend so he and I killed time on the jetty with my baseball bat knocking rocks out to sea which ended up being great fun if not a bit difficult due to low lighting and beers. We went back to his place with his girlfriend who is the chef at the restaurant. That girl is an amazing cook and is super cool and we spent a few hours talking and trying to convince her to quit her job and go work for Debo.

There hasn’t been much surf lately, I mean its waist high but I just can’t seem to get my shit together right now. I’m happy but not truly happy. I figured out some of the problem by thinking a lot into what it is that is bothering me. I spent 4 years dreaming of this trip and putting the money together to make it happen. That dream, that goal was my sole reason for waking up in the morning and keeping my life together. Without it, I was lost. Now that I am living that dream, that huge goal I now have a bad vacuum in my life. I no longer see the reasons for waking up in the morning to lounge around doing nothing. To some people this sounds like heaven, to me its almost hell at times. Without a purpose, a goal or a dream what the hell are we doing here and what the hell do we do when we accomplish that dream? I need to sit down and try and build a new goal system for myself. Ive never had a problem in my life making goals like so many people do but right now Im struggling for reasons. Im struggling for dreams. Im finding myself more and more stuck in the town of Punta Mita. Why move on? Why even be here? I love surfing but the stoke is dead right now. I did such a good job of killing my desire to ride waves for the past 3 years. I was working and I knew it was silly to keep filling my head with visions of surfing waves and desires to take side trips and now I find it very difficult to turn it BACK ON! Here I am in a prime surfing destination and I haven’t done a morning and afternoon session even once! I surf for a few hours and get my fill and that’s it for the day! What the hell is wrong with me???? Ive been talking to a surfing friend on the internet and he advised me to head to Baja for great cheap camping, cool people and great waves in the wintertime. Baja isn’t too far for me and riding the 18 hour ferry across the Sea of Cortez sounds appealing but I can hardly make myself stir at this thought. Truly stuck. What the hell??? I should be taking off at a moments notice and heading for new destinations and sunsets. I have the money, the means and sure as hell have the ability and yet I find myself unable to do anything more than drive 5 minutes to my nearest break. I haven’t even tried to surf any of the other 5 spots in this area!!! I need to get out of this rut. I need to find a purpose again, a good goal. Im not thinking suicidal or anything so please don’t be concerned. Ive always loathed suicides as such a waste of a good opportunity. When you no longer fear death and actually wish for it, you have become the most powerful person in the world and you should put it to good use or go out like a champ, not in your closet with a shotgun. Im just in a slump and I don’t really know why. I hate to sound like im bitching to all my readers but basically my blog is also my form of a journal and Im trying to get somewhere on the path of recovery by writing this and getting it out of me. This is very therapeutic for me and I enjoy it so just skip this post if you find it annoying to read about the kid who has everything and lives the dream in his van down in Mexico and is now depressed. Im at least waiting until I get my foam (should be tomorrow) to repair my surfboard before I move on because I do not know when I may be able to score some again. Anyways… Im headed to bed.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Small Surf...

Today was an interesting day in the sense that I didn’t do a single thing all day long and man did it feel good! I woke up around 11am in the van parked out front of my friends place in Nuevo Vallarta and grabbed all my cooking stuff and made us eggs with refried beans and it wasn’t bad. The eggs weren’t anything special but the beans I decided to get a little creative and added some diced jalepinos and a few other things like some Salsa Huichol and boy they turned out great!

I sat around all day doing nothing but watching movies because I just could not bring myself to find a reason to do anything else. Finally I decided to go surfing and get out of Nuevo Vallarta and back out to Mita for some camping and alone time. Im really starting to like some of my time being semi alone most of the day. I pulled up at La Lancha and caught a friend walking out saying it was small and 20 people out due to the Mexican holiday and he didn’t even bother paddling out. Well crap, me neither. I know it sounds shallow but I was just not in the mood to fight crowds for small surf so I headed into Mita to check out Anclote, another surf spot that has long slow peeling waves, perfect for longboarding. I found it barely breaking with only one guy out so I decided that surfing was not going to happen that day. I swung by Debo’s and talked with her for a minute and got an invitation to join her for dinner. She had several large fillets of Castel or something and wanted to take it to a nearby restaurant.

I took a shower back at Lisa’s place and headed back over to meet Debo and we walked down to a local restaurant and had them cook the fillets in coconut with a side of mango sauce. The fish was incredible and I highly enjoyed it! We had way too much on our hands so I ate like 5 fillets and became totally sick of coconut by the end of that experience.

After dinner I retired to my van in my normal camping location. I started reading Hunter S. Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” for the first time. I have seen the movie but like always the book was just better. It did however make it a much funnier read because I could play out the movie in my head as I was reading the lines and I could picture the crazy insanity that was being described. One of my favorite lines in the book is “We had several narrow escapes: at one point I tried to drive the Great Red Shark into the laundry room of the Landmark Hotel – but the door was too narrow, and the people inside seemed dangerously excited.”. That line just makes me roll with laughter at the hilarity of the statement, dangerously excited? Really?

I also dug into an interesting book I had been wanting to start reading called “Sex, Drugs, Einstein, & Elves” by Clifford A. Pickover. It’s a book about highly complicated and at times esoteric topics like DMT and alternate universes, the concepts of language and if it limits the human ability to think. I love the book so far and you can read the mini topics easily and put it down for another night. I read about DMT and other mind expanding drugs and the debate if alternate dimensions do in fact exist and people can indeed visit them with the help of drugs, or if they are just really high and our super powerful brains are creating alternate realities and experiences. DMT is a chemical found naturally in the body in the pineal gland in the brain and some scientists believe it is responsible for the images and sights commonly described by people that have “near-death” experiences. It is highly hallucinogenic and mind altering and actually used with success to treat heroin addicts and alcoholics, often with the patients never having the desire to abuse their drugs again!

Well that’s about it for this journal entry.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day of Exploring - No Swell

Today was an awesome day! I spent the night at my friend Mar’s house last night with plans to show her some beaches she hasn’t had the time or energy to visit since moving to Vallarta almost 2 years ago. Its kind of sad really considering how accessible all of these beaches are and how close they are! Most people know that I try to encourage others to get out and explore their world around them. A lot of people complain that they do not have the money to go on vacation but they don’t know anything about the very world around them that I easily and cheaply accessible.

We took off to an unmentioned beach and when we arrived we were surprised to see the very small town packed out with Mexican tourists. This town and beach are not very big so it was super crowded and overall I don’t think she liked it. We sat in the sand and talked for a bit and then she wanted to go back to Rincon de Guayabitos, another beach town in the area. We headed out in the car back to the main highway when she mentioned offhand about going to San Blas, which I know a little. There is are several beautiful beaches on the way and Matanchen bay is just awesome with a great view of the sunset. I told her it was a bit of a drive, which it was and so we headed out through the country side. We had a great drive and when she saw the beach she was super excited. We caught an awesome sunset and are now back at her house where Im camping in my car out front. I thought I could write more about today but I just don’t feel like it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Closeout Sets!

I didn’t do very much today as I was slightly hung over in the morning from Tim and I’s trip to Sayluita the night before. We hung out with a bunch of people and met some cool people, including this crazy Chilean dude I met that probably cheerzed me like 50 times before the night was over. He just kept saying over and over, “Vive Chile!! Vive Houston!!!” hahahah, good times. We didn’t actually drink that much, it was just more of the late night and the 6pack we split of Bohemia Dark, and dark beer always hurts me the next morning.

When I finally woke up I decided I wouldn’t do much that day except for start a new book. I have been wanting to read this book by Scott Williams that I bought before I left. Its about his adventures kayaking through the Caribbean, literally crossing almost the whole thing in a 17ft sea kayak. It was very inspiring to say the least and when I say I couldn’t set it down, Im not lying. I read the whole damn book in one sitting! It really made me think about my future and what I would like my next set of dreams to be and now that I know its totally possible to cross through these areas on such a small craft, my ideas for a nice beachable 24ft catamaran might be doable.

I was heading to my friend’s house so we could go explore some beaches the next day and I decided that I HAD to get wet. I couldn’t spend the whole damn day just sitting in my van reading and resting right? I caught La Lancha right at sunset and I knew I had to make the most of the maybe 40 minutes remaining until sunset. I immediately started catching waves and working on a fear Ive been having lately in the water that cost me dearly the other day. I went to surf a very sketchy spot with a friend that I have been fearing for a while due to the rocks and reef in the line up. Even the paddle out can be a bitch but we made it out unscathed but I beefed it chasing a smaller wave to the inside and basically when right into the rocks. My problem is I have been fearing waves with super lined up walls thinking that they are about to pitch and closeout and catch me down on the inside. So that afternoon at La Lancha I started working on taking waves that looked like closeouts to me and tried racing the lips. I caught one that pitched so I told myself to shoot to the bottom and work around the closed section and sure enough it worked! I need to keep this up because these waves are usually the most fun anyways as they give a racy section to beat and surf up and down with long cutbacks after you make it. I surfed past sundown and thoroughly enjoyed the amazing sunset before I caught a huge closeout wave to the beach. I made it to Mar’s house where we hung out for a bit and crashed. And that’s the conclusion to that day!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

More Great Surf and Car Troubles

Today I woke up on a mission to get in some surf so I took off around 10am to La Lancha with my longboard in tow. I didn’t make it very far before I realized I had left my board shorts back at the hotel as they were drying from a washing the previous day. I finally got back to the break and decided to gear up the camera and see if I could get some decent footage of some good drops and nice down the line surfing without all the whitewater washing over the tail of the board.

I got the camera mounted and secured and tied off its leash to my leash just in case it decides to go for a swim. The break was a little packed and there were a few boats out with students, my perfect type of surf. Even though it looks crowded, a close observation reveals that no one is really catching waves on their save for a few guys and the instructors. Perfect. I paddle out right into the thick of it getting some odd stares for the camera mounted on the tail end of my board but I held my ground. I got a wave pretty quickly but I fell off going backside. I took a few on the head but Im getting my turtle roll down pretty well and slowly letting go of my fear of being in decent size surf on a longboard. See, with a shortboard or a fish, which are normally what I ride, you can go down below the water when a breaking wave is in front of you. We call this move a “duckdive” after the ducks that do it so well in the ocean! Just watch them next time you have a chance, the birds will duck just in front of big waves and go right below them! A longboard is a totally different story. It is almost impossible to duckdive a longboard so surfers have come up with several other methods for not getting annihilated in breaking waves. Sometimes you can paddle through some of the whitewater but mostly we do a move called the “turtle-roll” and that’s pretty much what you do. You roll the board upside down with you below it under the water hanging on to the board. Your body effectively acts like an anchor and you can kind of hold your position. Today I learned to hang on a little in front of the board to force the nose down through the whitewater.

I got a few more good rides before I finally noticed my camera wasn’t taking video like it was supposed to because the batteries were dead. CRAP! I took a few more good waves and my last ride was basically what every surfer dreams of. I paddled in for a semi late drop and made it with a nice long bottom turn off the bottom and shot down the line. However La Lancha is easy to outrun so I had a nice long cutback to get back into the curl of the wave and here I did another long bottom turn and shot off the line again. I did another long cutback and really felt it this time. I extended my front leg to the max and forced the board with my back foot to turn back the other direction to the left and really cranked on it and boy was it fun! I did another good bottom turn and practiced my pumping Im learning off the bottom. Pumping is the way a surfer generates speed in slow or flat sections of the wave and it is a concept Im finally getting the hang of and its pretty fun too! I made a small cut back straight to let the wave catch up and I noticed Im nearing the beach rapidly. I watch the wave line up and get ready to explode into a close out so I turn back straight and laid down and rode the whitewater straight into the beach, terminating the ride in 1.5ft of water. I unleashed and walked up the sand and noticed these 3 guys sitting there with dumbfounded looks on their faces as I had just pulled off the move every surfer dreams of, to practically step off your board from a long good ride onto the beach. I was so damn happy about the ride I totally forgot about the camera batteries being dead but I really wish I would have gotten that one on video.

I went into Nuevo Vallarta to pick up a few things for Chica and me, namely dog food and rechargeable AAA batteries for my surfing camera. Then I grabbed a burger at Carls Jr. and it was pretty epic. I went over to Mar’s house and chatted with her for a bit and she seemed to be doing well. I haven’t talked to or seen her in over a week so I was wondering how she was doing. We talked for a while and she had to run to a quincenera, or a sweet 15 party so I headed back to Mita. I went over to Debo’s and chatted with her for a second and got invited to this new place just a couple of houses from her so I joined her and her friend Dianne and Alejandro. The food was pretty good and I spent my time talking with Alejandro and it wasn’t until the end of the meal that I finally figured out where I knew him from. Some weeks ago I was drunk with Paul and Mel and we were driving through the main street of Mita when we happened upon some friends drinking on the street corner so we bailed out, paid our mariachi friend to play some songs and drank with them in the street for a bit. Alejandro and I laughed about this for a while as we both remembered at once and it turns out I know his dad very well. He is the security for the place we have been camping for the past 4 years when we come here!

I then met up with Alvaro, a friend from the restaurant Si Senor. I told him the other day I would sell him my wettie (wetsuit) for a good price and I let it go for $400 pesos, about $35usd which is what I paid for it anyways. He is a spear fishermen and his suit was donated to him and its old and torn, letting in more and more of the cold pacific waters every day. I hope this new suit will be good for him and keep him warm. He’s a cool guy, down here working and looking for adventure from his native Argentina. II wish him all the best luck.

Tomorrow there is talk of possibly heading to the paradise beach north of here so we shall see how that goes. Dianne also knows a great welder (they call him Juan, the man of steel) so I will talk to him about mounting my water tanks under the van and maybe some type of freaking table on the door or something so I don’t have to cook on the floor anymore. Who knows… more adventure coming soon though. Mita is getting old and im getting an itching to hit the road so I will be headed south in a few days. Im also considering heading back to Florencia for a few days and having the guys take a look at my van because the gas mileage has totally gone to shit, like 11mpg shit. I replaced my fuel filter the other day and it was pretty clogged with black crap and Ill try resetting the computer for the engine just to make sure its not stuck on a high elevation fuel setting but I don’t have much faith it will work. Eh, just another day in paradise!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I made a promise to wake up early and surf with Neil and his girlfriend Laura today so I got my knock this morning at 8am, rise and shine. This doesn’t sound very early but it is the earliest I have had to be up in a long time so don’t judge me.

We hit La Lancha and I brought my fish as I was bound and determined to get back into some fun rippers Ive been having on that board. Well as it turns out, the ocean and La Lancha teamed up once again against me and had other plans. It was kind of small and the rides were short as observed from the beach and with the cold wind blowing and even colder water, I opted to sleep on the beach. I passed out for about an hour and it was a great nap sleeping on a log fashioned into a sitting bench and I actually got cold for a bit! The weather here has been very pleasant but a little chilly at times. Neil and Laura had a good session and that’s all that matters as they are flying out Friday morning. I have time so I wasn’t too worried about missing one session and trust me the nap was great. I cant imagine a better place to take a nap, sound of the waves, the surfers, barking dogs playing on the beach and the wind rustling through the trees. I laid there with a slight chill over my body from the brisk morning air and the wind and I let sleep overcome me and boy was it great!

We headed back to the hotel and they whipped up an awesome breakfast that could only be described as some sort of egg tortas (a scrambed egg sandwich with ham) and it was epic! I ran them over to Sayulita so Laura could sell her board. She ended up selling it to a shop, I think the same shop she bought it from for like $2500 pesos, about $200usd. We bummed around Sayulita for a little while and I fell asleep in a chair while they were shopping in a store. I guess it was just my day to sleep!

We came back and I pretty much went back to sleep for a little while. I met up with Debo and shared a beer with her. She put me on a mission to score some tortillas for dinner as she was whipping up some of the fresh tuna caught just a couple of days ago by some badass fishermen staying at Lisa’s place. These guys are nailing like 150lb yellowfin tuna with spear guns as they freedive to depths around 50ft and boy are they good. They have been nailing them nonstop and just giving all the meat away as they have no need for it and they are flying back to California in a few days. Anyways the tortillaria was closed down. This is a place where you go to get fresh corn tortillas and its dirt cheap, like 1lb of tortillas sets me back $5 pesos, about .50 cents. I swung by a good taco stand I know and saw the lady their making her tortillas by hand and I was able to purchase half a kilo (about 1lb) for double the price at $10 pesos, about .90cents. Debo created some amazing mixture of sautéed tuna with onions, tomatoes, jalepinos and bell pepers! It was incredible!!

I came home after that and watched a butt load of two and a half men, thanks again Mike! Then I passed out.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Debo is Back in Town!

Today I didn’t do much. I was supposed to go to Chacala with Mar but things didn’t work out. She never made plans with me and didn’t start txting me about it until noon and I pretty much blew that idea off. She then wanted me to come to the pool with her and have carne asada tacos but I didn’t feel like making the trek to Nuevo Vallarta today. I didn’t wake up until 11 because the swell was dropping and Sunday the beaches around here just get packed out so there is no sense in fighting 20 people in the water for small waves. I have more time than them anyways haha.

I got up and headed over to talk to my buddy Debo and to recharge my cell phone because I used all my credit. I hung out at her place and talked to her buddy all afternoon and had fun. He’s a cool guy and has been all over Mexico for the last 25 years or so and it was really cool talking Mexico history with him. Ahhh how this place must have been back then! Dirt roads to almost everywhere, no major coastal development! He even knew some of the places I have been in Guatemala and told me what they were like 20 years ago! We headed over to the restaurant Si Senor for a few beers and watched the surfers and boy was it packed! 15 people and a few stand up paddleboarders (SUPers) fighting for knee high waves and it didn’t look like much fun. We returned to Debo’s where I bid my goodbyes and finalized plans for dinner at 7.

I got back to my campsite in front of my favorite hotel and started working on the sanding phase of my surfboard repair. This is the longest and hardest phase and can really take a considerable amount of time to complete. My process is usually starting off with a rough grit like a 60 to get all the rough edges smoothed out and try and get it near level with the board. Now where I go from here depends on a few things like if I need to actually “reshape” parts of the board. Im still learning the arts of fiberglass work and Im not sure how actually “shape” with it. For instance I have a bad hole in my rail and even though its now glassed and protected, the rail of the board indents about ¼ of an inch. Normally I think most people would ignore this but I want the rail back to normal so I must add thickness using fiberglass, a semi runny material and its hard. Sometimes I will seal the hole with a layer of glass and goup on a bunch of suncure epoxy resin because it is very thick like paste and can add density to my hole I need to fill. So if all is well and its just a patch job, Ill smooth it out with either 60 or 80 grit. From here I step up to 120 and really work out all the scratches the 60 puts into the board. Ill usually sand in opposite directions or perpendicular to the scratches to try and work them out of the surface. From there Ill step up just for a second to 180 and then the final is a semi wetsand with 220 grit. This really brings the shine back into the board and u can hardly tell there was ever a repair job done there but it does require time to complete all these steps correctly. With the amount of repairs Im currently doing to the Fish, this could take several days counting in resin cure times! The good news is, the board will look great when Im finished and should be ready for another round of action. The only problem is the board has a blue bottom with like a magenta deck and I don’t have cloth or resin color so all my repairs are white and are very obvious despite the quality of the repair. Such is life..

I went to have dinner tonight with Debo, her friend and my buddy Neil I met the other day. We went back to the same place we ate last night because its super good and only open on Saturdays and Sundays. I had two beef quesadillas (18 pesos each) and 2 beers and it was perfect. We all thoroughly enjoyed our food and she dropped Neil and I back off at the hotel. I took a walk for a bottle of water and to check out the town dance that was going on but the dance was just coming to a conclusion by time I arrived. It looked like some type of local band practicing and they were actually pretty good! I love the Banda music! Banda is a type of music here in northern Mexico that usually has a whole array of instruments. Good strong beats, Tuba, Trumpets, Clarinets, trombones and flutes at times and it really is a treat to hear it live as it throws the listener into the heat of it. I just got back to the van where Im typing this right now and considering going to bed except that it is quite early! Maybe Ill watch some more Trailer Park Boys and call it a night.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Best Surfing Yet!

Today was the best damn day of surfing I have had in a long time. I woke up on a mission to make it happen even though I was a little late. I wanted to surf Burros and the rule is to get on it early before the crowds arrive, especially for a Saturday. I bought a bottle of orange juice and headed down the road but didn’t arrive there until 10am. The original plan was for 8:30am but hey, I was going to get some waves one way or another.

I saw Dave’s truck (the couple that own the hotel where Im camping) so I parked in front of him. I didn’t see many other vehicles and that was a good sign so I took off sprinting down the trail to the beach. Burros is a unique spot in that there is a damn resort just in front of the wave and many times hordes of gringos on vacation with surfboards will paddle out from the front of the hotel and just instantly crowd the wave, or insta-crowd as we say. It make me a little angry at times because I worked hard to get to these waves when these clowns flew in, taxied to the hotel and woke up and paddled out front. Just doesn’t seem right at times but hey, what can ya do?

The trail leading to Burros is one of the coolest I have ever walked on in Mexico and especially to get to a wave. It goes deep into the jungle following a small creek (arroyo in Spanish) and the sunlight is almost totally blocked at times from the thick palms overhead. I pity the hotel guests as they actually miss this quick hike through some of the coolest jungle in this area. I got through there as fast as I could and made it to the beach to find only around 7 people out. I talked to a guy on the beach who had a fish just like me and turns out he was a guest in the hotel where I was camping and rode down with Dave. The waves looked decent and there were some sizable sets coming through, around head high and clean… perfect!

I paddled out and let the line up take their turns on the next 2 sets of waves, after that it was my turn as is a common courtesy when first paddling out. You can be a rude asshole and paddle out and take the very first wave but it will not earn you much respect, in my book anyways. The first wave I took off on was a fast right and boy did I enjoy it! I raced along the wall for a minute before heading down into the flat to come back to the top of the wave. I made a big long carve and a small cut back to put me back into position as to not outrun the shoulder, or power section of the wave. If you shoot too far on the shoulder you will get into the parts of the wave that are still jacking up and they have less power, often ending your ride prematurely. The second wave I caught was perhaps my best with a nice racy section again and finally I smacked the lip on this fish. I went vertical and turned almost 180 degrees off the top lip and boom shot forward back towards the bottom of the wave with the speed of the pitching wave pushing me bottomward. My balance got a little wacked here because of the sudden rush of speed and after making a small bottom turn I fell backward off my board. My third wave was decent but my leash was wrapped around my back foot and I was actually standing on it while surfing, highly distracting me. The ride was good with 2 cutbacks to put myself back into position on the wave. The last ride was good enough to send me to the beach because I was just too happy at this point. This was some o the best surfing I have done in my short career and I was highly excited. Plus the sets were starting to become fewer and fewer with larger time frames in between so I called it a morning and went back to the hotel.

I started working on my fish which has been needing serious repair for a few months. I found a ton of things I need to fix and I started busting open crappy fiberglass and exposing the wet foam beneath and letting it dry. In all I found 6 major spots that needed some serious repair and Ive started on 4 of them. Two as of today are finished after much sanding and final touches but the others are going to require some more extensive work. Im a perfectionist of a sort when it comes to my board repair work and I will not call it complete until its damn near perfect. I don’t like uneven or rough finishes especially on the bottom of a board, after all if it was “ok” to have rough spots on the bottom then why would the shaper go through so much trouble to make sure the board was smooth as glass? Would it not interfere with the hydrodynamics of a planing surfboard if there were rough patches on the bottom? My guess is yes, it would interfere in little and possibly unnoticeable ways but it is only a tad more work to seek perfection and eliminate any doubt or wonder.

After the first layers of fiberglass were laid and curing I decided to go for an afternoon surf with Neil and his girlfriend Laura. They are from Utah and both have very interesting jobs/lives. They both work as river guides and in the winter Neil works ski patrol and Laura works as an ESL teacher, how cool is that? They are great people and have been exploring the Mexican coastline via bus for the last month and a half and actually ran into the Israeli guy that was with me a few weeks ago! Dave gave us all a ride to Anclote, the surf point right in front of Punta Mita. I haven’t seen this wave ever work as much as it has been since I got here. Every day is at least knee high and loggable if you want to get wet. Today it was about knee to thigh with occasional sets in the waist high range and boy was it fun! We started snagging long rides one after another and at one point an old guy tried to drop in on me but I fended him off with my hands. I talked to the guy who was with him and later found out that he was just learning to surf and tonight was his last night in Mita and the guy with whom I was talking to was his guide. So I told him Id back off and let him take his share of waves seeing as it could be his last time for a long time. I even blocked a bunch of people and made sure he got his ride of the day which he took all the way to the beach! It was cool seeing someone so stoked even at his age to be riding waves. I got a few more rides and then finally I took my last ride which was a waist high peeler. I took this wave to the maximum and almost ran into the jetti! I had so many nice little cutbacks and fast sections that I fell in love with surfing all over again. Ahhh… the art of wave riding, especially on a longboard. Right when I thought my day could not get any better from my session that morning I totally blew the day away with my afternoon session.

We walked back to the hotel and we all showered and headed out for some great tacos, quesadillas and a few beers. We concluded the night in their room watching a few of the surf movies I brought along on my trip and over all it was a great day!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Time to Clean Up!

I woke up this morning at my friend Mar’s house in Nuevo Vallarta and I knew that it was time to get out of there. I have been staying on her couch for the past 3 days and I felt like I was intruding a tad even though she assured me I could stay as long as I wanted. Ive been getting tired of the drive to surf from her house which is about 40 minutes through the mountains and it eats the gas in the van so here I am, back in Punta Mita camped out on the street in front of my friend’s hotel.

I have been trying to clean up for the past couple of days and just live healthier overall. I needed to take a break from beer and all that mess so I’m going to go a week or two with nothing and find some clarity in my mind and get back on track. I’ve noticed that I’m increasingly getting lost about what Im doing down here overall. I used to have a mission and now I just feel a little lost. I don’t want to return to a work based society yet but I need to find some form of a project or something. Im not really sure what is wrong, just a slump I guess. Ive had these before where I just kind of drop out but they usually don’t last that long. Ill fight through this and get my head back in the game.

I surfed out at La Lancha today and it was just a crapshoot. There were some big waves coming through and frankly I was pretty nervous. It has been awhile since I have been in surf with any size to it and La Lancha was definitely pumping them out. Just massive walls of messy waves coming through all disorganized and La Lancha doing what it does best, shift all over the place. I took my first wave which was kind of a late drop and I saw the wall pitching so I quickly shot to the top and tried out make it out but got sucked under and had a bit of a spill. It shook me up a little and I spent the next hour dodging a little. I set up perfectly for a few good ones but usually I got beat to them as the non closing out lines were not very common. Everyone took a wave in and I found myself alone out there to face my fears and I was a little unnerved. Big surf can be a but nerve racking but its always better to share the fear with fellow surfers. Here I was alone and waves were coming in sets, seemingly stacked to the horizon. That’s when you paddle your ass off and try and get out of the impact zone. I made it through a few sets before I worked my way back in a little to try and pick off some of the smaller waves on the inside. I took one which turned out to be an elevator drop and I missed the bottom turn and pretty much shot straight while the whole thing collapsed on my head as I fell off the back of the board. I only made one more wave and I got killed on that one too and that’s when I decided to call it quits for La Lancha for the day.

There was a strong longshore current running with all the water moving around and especially with the waves angling out of the west. I was being dragged rapidly toward a rocky patch when I noticed a Canadian couple I met the other day paddling just inside me. The wife took a ride inside and I got a chance to have a word with the husband when I noticed a large wave angling down on us. I raced for the outside and made it over the top just in time to turn around and see that 6ft wall of water collapse on his head. Boom! I watched him be dragged under water for a little ways before resurfacing and he caught a small wave to the beach. I gave up paddling against the current and instead turned with it and very swiftly cleared the rocky area when I bellied in (rode a wave staying on my stomach on the board) to the beach. Phew! What a day!

I drove into Mita and bought a loaf of bread and a coke and headed to my camp site to make PP&J sandwiches. I had 2, finished my coke and then pretty much passed out from exhaustion. I just woke up around 630pm and talked with the hotel owner a bit and about some other surf spots around here that work better with the large NW we have filling in. Im going to try Burros in the morning and maybe Anclote in the afternoon, but we shall see how all that pans out.

My friend Debo is coming in tomorrow after driving in from Texas. She stopped in San Miguel de Allende for a few days and she should be arriving some time tomorrow. Im glad she came back down because a few weeks ago she was thinking about returning to Texas for awhile to work and let Mexico cool down. I think she made a great decision and hopefully it will work out for her when she reopens her restaurant in a few weeks. Tourist season is here and its starting to pick up a little which is good because it was a really slow summer with all the travel advisories and the bad press Mexico has been getting lately. Its weird though because Ive been noticing a pattern in the vehicles Ive been seeing. It seems only people from California, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Arizona and Canada are coming in. I have one of the only Texas plates I have seen and Im one of the only Texas I have met up until this point. I don’t feel like getting into a big social rant right now so Ill leave that alone. Im sure someone will leave a smartass comment about it though.

It has been a little lonely and quiet with Joe and Paul both gone. I have been hanging out with Mar and she has been a great help in talking to me about my crazy problems Ive been having lately with anxiety and general paranoia. I read about some breathing techniques on the net that Im going to start trying the next time I feel it kicking in. Its something I have been struggling with ever since I got down here and I don’t understand it. I have never really had a form of mental illness (that I knew about haha) that I’ve had to deal with and confront on an almost day to day basis. It has been taking a toll on me mentally but I think Im starting to get a grip on it and control it. We shall see anyways.

My plan right now is to hang out a few more days and see what happens with the surf. I would like to go south but its just so good here right now with size I don’t see a reason to pull out just yet. Maybe Im avoiding the inevitable of facing my fear of driving through Michoacan and Guerrero but honestly the surf is just too good. I really want to hit south Jalisco and explore Bahia Tenacatita and Chamela as I have scouted some awesome looking camping sites using aerial photographs. Ok, Im off to read a book before calling it a night.