Saturday, November 29, 2008

How To: Pro-Gress

Ello there disciples of shralp,it's another lovely day down here in the land of Jewels! Had an epic Thanksgiving filled with frothy myrts, shralpy waves, and the good ol' fashioned flu! Having a cold/flu at thanksgiving is like having to take a shit on a Tuesday... not fun! The worst part about it was the fact that everyone knows that there will be waves on Thanksgiving, as has been the case for the past 10 years (I think it has something to do with the Mayflower's wake? joke drum? dun dun sheesh!). Anywhoo, we are gathered here today to talk with non other than myself about progressing your surfing skillz.

Experimenting with your surfing skills can be fun but also dangerous at the same time (kinda like visiting the glory hole at 127 San Pedro street behind the taco stand ummmmm I mean ummmmmm ummmm I don't know what the fuck you are talking about?!!). On the one hand, you have to experiment to progress and go to new places with your surfing. However, on the other hand you don't want to be pushing yourself to the point where you leave the water everyday with a 13 stitched fat lip that makes you look like a friggin cartoon dinosaur (I should know, this happened to me, no joke, ask Hsoj). So where is the happy medium? The happy medium lies somewhere in between.

You ought to first think to yourself for a moment and ask:
a) "where do I want my surfing to go? "
and b) "why do I surf?"

If you're anything like me and have been uber obsessed with the new flicks out on the streets these days like Stranger Than Fiction and the likes, then you probably answered
a) "I want to do rodeo flips, air reverses, and surf like Dane"
and b) "so I can get some ass."
For those of you who this applies to and are older than 20 years of age, have a job, or other full time commitments that keep you out of the water, two words of advice: "WAKE UP AND SMELL THE ROSES SUSAN!" Don't worry though, you are not alone, I once was just as naive as you. I once thought I could drop out of college, surf all day, and become pro within 4 years. Who knows, may be I could have, but things are much more different now (shoulda woulda coulda).

The straight up caliber of surfing that is being thrown down these days by pros ontop of the level of athleticism that they so frequently display is much gnarlier than any of us could have ever imagined! Sad but true, the obvious standard for even being considered for a sponsorship these days is a bare minimum ability to pull off flawless air reverses (and that might just get you a Fro-Yo sponsor or some bull shit like that). Take a look at these groms for example, bet they're a hell of a lot better than you:

One fact remains, surfing has gotten Gnarls Barkx! It's gotten Bob Gnarly! It's gotten Burlington Coat Factory on our asses! Etc Etc. Needless to say, surfing has reached an unfathomable pinnacle. So what does this all mean?

Do not despair my fine frothy friends, fun is found in foolery (say that 69 times fast, dare you). Progression in surfing is monitored and documented in steps. First, you learn to stand up. Next you learn to go down the line. Then you learn how to pump, bottom turn, top turn, floater, off the lip etc. The progression is obviously similar to any kind of path to mastery; things start off small but gradually increase in skill level, difficulty, and concentration. When you were a kid watching MJ do the moon dance on MTV were you able to immediately start busting sick spins, backwards moon walks, and crotch grabs? No! (well may be except for a few, like legends Wade and Slade). I digress... Progressing in surfing in general is a very long a drawn out process that resembles a gradual sloping curve. Some of us are born with it, most of us are not.

Through my 14 or so years of surfing I have come to notice a thing or two. What I've noticed the most about improvement is that it comes when you least expect it and especially when nobody is watching ("did ja see that Kerr flip I just did?" Nope!). Here are some helpful hints that ought to better you on your way to progressing your surfing:

1. Water Time!
If time in the water could be physically measured by something like notches on a belt, Kelly Slater could open a Belt Barn the size of 4 and a half Disney Worlds (I should know, I measured and did the math on my TI86!). Regardless of the lame analogy, the bottom line is: pros spend more time in the water than you spend time sitting in your cubicle, on your couch eating potater chips, and taking shits reading Maxim combined! If you want to get good at surfing, you have to put in the hours, days, months, and years of water time! It's just common sense! The more time you spend in the water, it is truly inevitable that you will at some point start to progress. So do what I started recently doing and get up everyday at 5:40 rain or shine, flat or not, and paddle your tired ass out to your closest line up whether you get to surf for 30 minutes or 2 hours! Just getting out there and being motivated to progress will set you apart from all the other weekend warriors at your local swamp!

2. ADIDAS (All Day I Dream About Shralping)
Whether you're in or out of the water, there should always be two things on your mind:
1) surfing
2) surfing
If you really want to become good at something, you have to be obsessed and dedicated with it both physically (water time) and mentally (adidas). You can get by just doing one or the other, but you can not progress without physically experiencing something and then mentally internalizing the thing you want to get good at. When I'm out of the water all I see is waves and sections to do shit on. Like when I drive down the freeway and see some big hill on the side of the road I'll just fully be mind shralping the shit out of the thing doing backside floater tweaks, to round house cutbacks, and ending with a backside air reverse. Think that's weird? Think again my friends! Most of the pro surfers that I encounter or interact with from time to time, think, talk, and dream about surfing to a point that I can't even come close to! Like just the other day a pro I was hanging with saw the video camera we were using as it quickly tilted back on its tripod head and slammed into the tripod legs; to which he commented: "haaaaa! laaaayyybaaack! sick!". So again, to get good at something, one must involve all of the senses (thinking, feeling, doing, smelling, tasting, etc) to really capture the essence of its being!

Cajones, rasins, crasins, juevos rancheros, berries, scrotels, bubble gum, what ever you want to call 'em, they're the things in between your legs (or for some of you, your ears) that make you sack up and do shit you really don't want to do! Girl or guy, human or dog, surfer or kook, there are many things in life that will bring you great success and happiness but they are never going to be given to you! Life is a risk involving struggles of bravery and valor, especially for things of which you so badly desire! If you really desire progression in your surfing life then take proactive steps to taking risks in your surfing.

One such risk involves traveling the world wide and surfing new breaks that will push you into foreign territories both in and out of the water. Traveling should be in a class of its own due to how much it really grows you as a person, not to mention improves the hell out of your surfing.

Another risk could be to try a new trick you've never tried. What's stopping you from trying to do an air, or a rodeo flip, or a Kerr-Agius? Repetition goes hand in hand with internalization. Sure, the first time you try to bust an alley oop or some shit like that it's gona be weird and awkward but the more and more you do it, the closer and more comfortable you will come to landing it. And guess what, after about 200 tries, I'm sure you will have at least landed one in this lifetime or the next!

All and all progressing your surfing is a complex yet fun adventure because there are so many different kinds of surfing, so many different ways of improving, and so many other people out there who probably have better advice than I (NOTTTTTT!). The bottom line is surfing can be fun, surfing can be work, surfing can be sport, and surfing can be art but at the end of the day surfing is always reality! Never stop the stoke, never fade the Shralp!
Live to ride, ride to Shralp!

until next time, peeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeace
-Surf Ambassador Hendo
Best Blog Tips

Monday, November 24, 2008

E! True Hollywood Story: Sketch Island

Here ye here ye, ladies and gents, the moment you have all been waiting for has risen upon us like a cobra snake at a flute convention! It's about time that I do the honors of introducing my legendary older brother to the show along with the remarkable tale he has to tell about an epic traveling experience he and a few mates had a while back. Andrew has been consistently shralping since the very day we both learned to surf and continues to blow my mind each time we paddle out together. The wisdom, guidance, and knowledge he has given me in and out of the water is truly priceless and all that a little bro could eva ask for. So without further adieu, it is my true pleasure and honor to welcome to the stage my big bro Andrew and his E! True Hollywood Story about "Sketch Island". Hold on tight,cause this is one hell of a Mr. Toad's Wild Ride!
Take it away my friend...

Sketch Island
After spending the last ten days surfing consistently head-high waves in the warm Pacific waters off Central America, it is hard to justify my appreciation of the used couch I currently sit on in my humble abode in Bay Park, San Diego, a comfortable nine miles from the beach. That is until one learns about the experiences my friends and I had on a quaint island off the Southern Pacific coast of Central America. Some of the names and places in this recollection have been altered so as to not incriminate any people and or organizations, but I assure you that the following account is absolutely true. I should know—I was there.

Within twenty minutes of leaving aeropuerto internacional, we found ourselves stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on a two-lane urban road entering the heart of the capital. Trying our very best to take in the sights, sounds and smells of a city completely unfamiliar to any of the four of us in the car, we were promptly caught off-guard by a young local male (no more than 18 years old) quickly running past our car and straight to a bulldozer we were currently next to. This startled us but still didn't seem to elicit much conversation as for all we knew, this could have been a common practice in this Central American country (“bulldozer gallivanting” could be popular in this part of the world) but it still managed to catch our attention. However, this attention was minimal compared to that captured by the police officer quickly following with his pistol drawn.

What followed next was something one would only expect to see on an old episode of The Three Stooges as the young man and police officer ran around this bulldozer for what seemed like ten minutes (it was probably about one minute but felt interminable) constantly changing directions as well as the aim of the gun. There were at least five instances in which I was being directly shielded by the pursued, and my mind was racing that should the cop decide to end this fruitless pursuit more quickly, I was in danger of being struck with a bullet that missed its intended target.

Finally, another gun-first police officer appeared on the scene and the two were able to orchestrate a rather simple two-on-one scenario, closing on either side of the bulldozer to capture their suspect. At this point traffic started to move again and as we glanced behind us we were careful to note the forceful knees to the head the suspect was enduring. A sense of "notinSanDiegoanymore" uneasiness began to settle in – though little did we know just how intense the unease would get during our week away from home.

After sleeping that night in a rustic, mosquito-filled cabin, we were awakened early by the anxious boat driver we’d enlisted to take us to our next destination -- a remote private camp on an island about thirty minutes away. We arrived on the island and were greeted by fun four-foot waves directly in front of our room. After surfing once again at a local beach break, followed by dinner and about three beers each, we decided to call it an early night in hopes of good waves the next day on another one of the surrounding islands.The air was rife with anticipation that morning as the wave out front was already a couple feet larger than it had looked the day before during our breakfast observation. The three friends I was traveling with, two other campers, the surf guide/boat driver and I were quick to take down our eggs, toast and coffee in order to hop in the ponga.

We reached the small island and it became clear that there was certainly potential for great surf. We observed a slab of a wave that appeared to be no more than a crazy drop and a slight hint at a backdoor barrel but nothing more. The second wave we checked was a left that lined up a bit more and lent itself to a few turns prior to the next set of boils that were poking their heads out of the water. Three of my companions and I decided to try our luck at this smaller yet more lined up left while the guide and the remaining two decided to paddle out to the bigger slab of a wave.
After a solid hour and a half of trading fun waves with my friends, I noticed that the surf guide was directing the boat back our way. I caught one more fun wave and during my paddle-out noticed my buddy waving us all toward the boat. I wanted to surf some more but figured that someone must have hit the sharp coral reef and we needed to head back to camp for medical attention. Looking back, this would have been the best-case scenario. Upon paddling close to the boat, I was greeted with one of my friends demanding: "Get the hell in the boat...we need to figure something out!" My friend's words seemed to add to the confusion, but after hoisting myself into the boat, the situation quickly became all too clear.

On the bow of the boat was a large bag made of material resembling the cloth used to fashion ponchos one might encounter on the streets of Tijuana. The bag had been cut open, and I could see part of its contents lying next to the larger bundle. Rob, a Humboldt, California, native who can only be described as unique, had decided to cut open the large presumed "pillow" they had seen floating and then hauled into the boat to investigate.

In our estimate, there were close to 20 kilos of pure cocaine that had been broken into distinct bricks, each of which had been vacuum sealed prior to the entire bundle being vacuum sealed in saran wrap, all of which was placed in thin rubber and then finally sealed within the aforementioned burlap sack. Based on a rough per ounce calculation – again, Humboldt Rob adding his expertise and shedding some light on the situation – it was determined that there was roughly $1.75 million worth of pure cocaine. You figure that when cut, that number easily doubles if not triples or quadruples.

Needless to say, a few of the people onboard must have been contemplating their distribution, collection and ultimately laundering schemes. However, for me, there was only one clear choice:

My idea didn’t initially seem to set in with the rest of the crew. The boat driver, a 37- year-old gringo who had been living on the island for the last two years and whose brain surely showed signs of sun damage, offered his opinion that we should probably try to take the package to the nearby naval base. This prompted my immediate rebuttal as to what would happen should we be stopped by Colombians, police, the Coast Guard, etc. en route? What happens if we get to the naval base and they don’t believe us? Aren’t the chances good that someone at the naval base knows who this actually belongs to and would see to it that this package arrives to its intended owner and or get rid of any sheepish gringos who may have stumbled on something they shouldn’t have? As everyone else contemplated my list of hypotheticals, I decided to take matters into my own hands and enact my aforementioned plan. First went the loose brick, which once it landed in the water, quickly started dissolving as Humboldt Rob had chopped into it to make sure it was what he already knew it was. Just to make 100% sure that he hadn’t stumbled upon over fifty pounds of baking soda, he’d decided to take a quick gummer, soon after which he remarked that he couldn’t feel his face.

Others on the boat soon took notice and decided my actions were the best plan of attack. As I struggled to get the massive bundle of the remaining forty-plus bricks off the side of the boat, I received some assistance from one of my friends. I released a sigh of pure and utter relief once I saw that massive burlap bundle hit the water, but it soon became clear that the relief—if not the sigh itself--was premature.

As my glance strayed from the bundle, I noticed a boat on the horizon that was pointed directly at us. The boat was far off but appeared to be traveling at Mach 4 speed, with bow looking almost vertical. It seems that our hearts jumped into our throats at the same exact second and we looked right at the driver, who didn’t need to hear a word to know what we were telling him; the 60 horse power motor on our small surf ponga puttered to a start on his third attempt.
As we crept back to the island that was the seemingly thousands of miles away (really only 12 but at about 18 miles an hour with Colombians hot on your tail, that is really far) our collective gaze was affixed on this boat, which was getting closer by the second. The boat and its occupants seemed to be gliding above the water, not at all affected by the slight wind chop that had settled on the water about an hour before.

Once we appeared to be about a quarter of the way to our destination, our suspicions became more evident and the fear in the boat, more palpable. The speedboat that was giving chase was directly in the spot we had just left. My mind became inundated with scenarios but the most prevalent was the scariest: too many eyes had seen what they weren’t supposed to and it would be beneficial for the continuation of business development to quash this little problem.

This theory seemed to become more realistic as I remembered the dissolving brick I had hastily placed back in its salty home and one can only wonder about the tens of thousands of dollars that may have cost someone. I began hatching my plan for what to do when the Colombians inevitably caught up to our boat. Because we had another thirty minutes of puttering through the Pacific before we would reach the camp but it would take less then ten minutes for the Colombians to catch up with us, it was clear that my safe escape from these undoubtedly gun-yielding drug lords would involve creating some sort of air-hole underneath the bow of the boat. I was searching for PVC piping, hollow motor parts, possibly the lens from someone’s camera, anything that would lend itself to a quick MacGyver-made snorkel.

As we inched our way closer to the island, the drug boat slowly started to recede into the distance. We continued to hold our collective breath, as it seemed any exhalation might roust the currently dormant dealers. Finally, we were within a mile of the camp and seemingly clear of any angry Colombians. Our approach to safety brought with it a solemn oath that we all agreed to: No one will speak of this occurrence once we make it back to the camp. There were too many locals living at the camp who might know who that package belonged to, and the last thing we needed was for word to get back to the rightful owners about our discovery.

As the day progressed and the oath was continually pushed to its limits vis-à-vis whispers, murmurs and occasional snickers, life seemed to be on the up and up. That is until we noticed a small boat making its way into the expansive cove the camp rested in. The binoculars circulated from person to person, each weighing in on whether they thought it was the same boat. The “yays” had it four votes to three. There was a large antenna pointing from the cabin area, which we presumed was utilized during the GPS locating of their stash. The boat seemed to be trolling and didn’t appear to me to be capable of the speed we’d witnessed.

The boat never got closer then a mile offshore of the camp, and as it continued back in the direction from whence it came, we were left feeling its temporary proximity may have been a warning. A warning from the owners of the precarious package that we unknowingly stumbled upon but undoubtedly hampered with. A warning that we were to keep our mouths closed because they know where we were. A warning reminding us of things that could have been – lost riches, lost friends, lost lives.As I fell asleep that night on that small island my mind raced with what I had witnessed that day and the potential Colombian infiltration that awaited us that night. My escape plan included a Jackie Chan-esque move out the screen window and hightailing it through the rainforest surrounding the camp. I had visions of living in the trees for a few days, feasting on any grub worms I stumbled upon and making a fashionable yet secure loincloth out of palm fronds. My thoughts took a quick turn toward the loved ones I’d left back at home and how much I wished I could reach out to them and tell them how much they mean to me and why it takes a life-threatening experience to make you appreciate what you have. My worries and preoccupations faded as my loved ones kept me company that night, and as I clutched at the last moments of consciousness, I knew I had been extraordinarily lucky – life seemed far too tangible that morning. but the gratefulness for another chance to do things right brought me comfort as the evening engulfed me. 

- Andrew Bayer
Best Blog Tips

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Panamaniacs 2008

Panamaniacs 2008
Hola amigos,
so as you all may or may not know, my brother Drewzer shralps and our 3 friends Caesar, The Horse, and Barker all shralp as well. It just so happens that this crew of young shralpers got together a few weeks ago and ventured down south to the dark depths of Panama. As I shoved them off for their voyage at LAX, I slipped my camera into their luggage and said "if it moves, film it". And indeed they did!
The footage i got back from these guys was nothing short of wild! I mean talk about adventure! Not only does the video I edited of these guys entitled "Panamaniacs 2008" depict the tale of their radical sabbatical, it also shows the gratitude and satisfaction that comes with taking risks in life and traveling the World round! Check out the video for now!
Check it:

Best Blog Tips

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hangin With Da Gudauskas Bros

Yo, pardon the delay on the posts, but the ambassador has been busy as a naked mole rat lately!

Anyway, here's a quick post about my encounter with the Guauskas brothers the other day with my work. Super chill cats who shralp the shit outa anywhere they go!
Sit tight for now, cause there is plenty more freakishly glorious content on its way!
The Gudauskas Bros

Load up the board bags, pack your trunks, and hop on the plane, it's time to get dialed in for the North Shore season again! Everyone at my work has been amping to get out to Hawaii and begin documenting the radness of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing and it just so happens that we picked up some uber shredders along the way. The other day, we stopped by San Clemente and met up with the Gudauskas brothers as they prepared for their epic voyage out to Hawaii. Upon reaching the Gudauskas' pimp pad, we were greeted by the fully stoked faces of Tanner, Dane, and Patrick just as they were loading their 30 boards into their truck headed straight for LAX. As of lately, Cali has had some decent waves, but the boys were more than ready to leave their wetsuits behind and venture out to shralp in the tropical land full of sick pits and frothy faces. As we barged up to LAX, the Gudauskas bros gave us some incredible insight about their experiences, predictions, hopes, and thoughts about everything that is the Triple Crown. With the the classic entertainment of the Gudauskas Trestles Trio, the Triple Crown TV show is already off to an amazing start and will definitely be something you won't want to miss!

Stay tuned for more updates involving: a naked man running through Panama, a boat filled with shneeks, chocolate barrells, my freakish toe, a super fun Wind An Sea swell, the Spring Street Shralper's double mission, and much much more!

Keep the faith, and always be shralping!

Shout out to Cam Cam C-Train aka El Chingon De Mierda!
Best Blog Tips