Places That Are Better to Be Alone Than Alone at a Party

Have you ever gone to a party or a bar with a friend because that friend talked you into it? It’ll be fun, they said. You need to get out more, they say. The guy/girl of your dreams could be there tonight and you’ll never know it if you don’t get out there, they said.Pine Trees at Golden Hour

These are all logical points and it seems like a good idea until you show up and realize you know nobody. Yikes! If you think walking into a room full of muggles you don’t know is one of the scariest situations, then you and I are a lot alike. Walking into that congested room with my friend, I look at my friend and think to myself you better not drink or you had better have remarkable control over your bladder because you are not leaving me, not even to use the bathroom. Like clockwork the worst thing happens, my friend has to go to the bathroom and I’m left alone amongst a sea of faces I don’t know and I don’t know what to do to not draw attention to myself. Maybe you’ve felt the same way. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I start thinking of places I’d rather be, alone. Sound familiar?

Next time you’re in the same situation, just think to yourself, what I would give to be alone and enjoying my time here…

Watching the sunrise

Isn’t it great to watch a new beginning appear right before your eyes? I think so and it’s always perfection whether it’s at the beach, in the mountains, or even on the way to work. Seeing the sky painted with pastel colors is always worth the early morning wake up call.

Taking pictures at Golden Hour

Before getting into photography and videography, I thought the best times to get landscape pictures was high noon. When the sun’s at its highest and it’s bright out, assuming there aren’t clouds in the area, and you don’t even have to worry about shadows. Golden Hour’s a beauty of its own with the rays of light beaming into your lens and streaming through clouds, trees, tall grass, and all around you.

Drinking a homemade cocktail at sunset

Sitting back and reflecting on the day, week, month, life itself with a drink in your hand. That’s the time when you can really do some deep thinking and soul searching alone.

Hiking a trail

Go for a hike alone and you get to see all the wildlife you want to see. Never do you have to worry about the person with you making too much ruckus to scare off that deer 10 feet away from you. The shutter from your camera will do that though.

Camping

Whether you’re car camping or on an overnight backpacking trip, you just have to watch out for yourself. Only you have to ration water and food for your needs and you’ll never have to punch someone for reaching for your Swedish Fish when no one’s around you. Unless a bear’s going for your Swedish Fish, you should just let the bear have your Swedish Fish.

Surfing at your secret spot

The surf lineup’s getting more and more crowded these days and if you find a secret spot, you better hold that information close. Don’t let anyone know and you could be surfing pristine waves alone and by yourself for years, maybe even decades, to come.

Riding your bike

The wind whipping past your face as you get lost counting your pedals to figure out your rpm’s. Or maybe it’s just for a ride around the city so you can bomb that badass hill that you love so much. It’s a lot of fun going alone, not having to worry about getting separated from someone or your friend getting mad at you for making them eat your dust.

I feel a tap on my shoulder and the nightmare’s over. My friend has come back to rescue me from these faces that are just going to be forgotten the minute I look away. Sound familiar? But maybe my friend that drags me out and your friend that drags you out to a social gathering to be social have got a point.

Having alone time is phenomenal. Sometimes alone time’s essential for anyone’s well being, but come to think of it, it might be nice to share a sunrise, sunset, take someone special’s picture at golden hour. Carry a little extra weight in the pack so their load’s a little lighter, race down that badass hill on bikes together, and setting up camp after a long day on the trail’s a lot easier when one person’s setting up the tent and the other’s starting dinner. And you know they like you as a person when they offer to share their Swedish Fish with you and you know that offering to share your Swedish Fish is one of the kindest gestures.

Maybe holding a blue security blanket like Linus Van Pelt is holding us back from getting out there and having fun. I guess we’ll never know until we leave it at home and get out there.

International Surfing Day 2015

Saturday was International Surfing Day 2015. Like the title suggests, it’s a day that surfers set aside to go surfing, enjoy it, and maybe introduce some people to the lifestyle for the first time. Surprisingly I almost chose NOT to go surfing. Crazy right?

All the excuses rolled off my tongue while my family and I were packing up for the beach.

The waves suck

I’m tired

I don’t feel well (partly true – stupid allergies!)

I really don’t feel like dealing with the typical jerks

There’s not enough time

The sun’s beating down real hard and the UV rays are going to wreck my brand new tattoo

And so on and so forth. When my brother finally pulled the–You’re not surfing on International Surfing Day?–card, I had to give in.Surfing on International Surfing Day 2015

The sun beat down on us and within 10 seconds I was ready to get in the water. The paddle was what I was used to. Run out, take a couple strokes and I’m out past the knee high break. Unlike the last time I was surfing, in Mexico, with that dreaded 500 meter paddle out. Wave to some friends, look out on the horizon and see a clean one to two foot four wave set rolling up. I don’t even paddle battle anyone for the  smaller, first couple waves, of the set. As the rest of the set rolls through I get into position for my wave. It creeps up on me and I take a couple strokes, the wave has me in the pocket and I pop up. Instinct took over and my cross stepping feet carried me to the nose of my board and they let me hang there for a few endless seconds before the wave started to close out. They took me back to the tail just in time to kick out before the wave collapsed on me.

I paddled back out and repeated that same process over and over and over again. Occasionally sharing a wave with my brother and trying to ride tandem until he kicked the board away from me right as I was about to step on.

It’s funny how we make excuses not to do the thing we love and when we finally give in, we remember why we do what we love. We surf because it brings us peace. Climb because it helps us to operate in the moment. Read comics and books to escape reality and live in a different world for a little while. Ride bikes to feel the wind whip past us. Cook to bring joy to us, and others. The list can go on, but I think there’s times when we need to go back to the basics of things we love.

Put everything aside and just love what we do because we wouldn’t rather be doing anything else.

How to Get and Rock a Wetsuit Tan

It looks like winter’s finally drawing to a close with the time change and rising temperatures throughout the week. Spring’s on its way and in the southern parts of the northern hemisphere, wetsuit season’s almost gone, and swimsuit season’s upon us. One thing your liable to see at the beach towards the end of wetsuit season is the wetsuit tan.How to Get and Rock a Wetsuit Tan

Photo: Adam Fricke Photography

The wetsuit tan is earned by surfers throughout the winter that spent enough time surfing in the cold and resulted in some awkward tan lines. It might sound a little weird, but if you ski and/or snowboard, it’s the equivalent of working hard all season to have the gnarliest goggle tan.

How do you get a wetsuit tan?

For most surfers, it all starts in early fall. Down here in Florida, we’re all a bunch of weenies when it comes to the cold. Nothing new there, so when the water temperature dips below 75, you’re bound to start seeing surfers wearing their spring wetsuit. It’s the wetsuit with short legs and short sleeves and sometimes short legs and long sleeves. This starts happening around October and it gives a solid base tan around the neck.

Most surfers have already got a solid tan line that wraps around the middle part of their neck come December and it only builds from there. End of November to the beginning of December is when the full length winter wetsuits start coming out. That’s when things start to get weird.

The full length wetsuits stick around until the middle of March and that gives ample time for surfers to keep building on that neck tan and start on their hand tan. Picture someone walking around witch tan hands, face, a half tan neck, half pale white neck, and pale arms. It’s a sight to see, but every surfer’s damn proud of those tan lines.

As the air starts to warm up, so does the water and we’re back to spring wetsuits where the head and half neck tan continue, but the arms start to even out with the legs. Yet the neck tan still remains.

How do you rock a wetsuit tan?

When we get closer to summer and the air warms up, we typically don’t need a wetsuit and the wetsuit tan begins to dissipate. We need to enjoy it and flaunt it as much as we can while we’ve got it. That means you should wear a tank top as often as you can. Oh and those crew neck shirts with the low neck line that those scene kids wore in the early 2000’s, prime way to show off that half tan neck of yours.

Own those awkward tan lines, throw your shoulders back and own that wetsuit tan you’ve worked so hard to get. Summer’s just around the corner and before you know it, you’ll have a uni-tan once again.

How do you get and rock a wetsuit tan?

Surf so much in the winter your brains start spilling out of your ears and then own it so well that others are jealous they don’t have your rad wetsuit tan.

Pin It

Why Sometimes We Need to Suffer

The wind whipped my face making the chilly 40 degree morning make it feel like it was in the 30’s. As the wintry Atlantic Ocean rushed up against my feet, I realized the water’s warmer than the cold windy air and the best way to stay warm was going to be to stay in the water and let my wetsuit do what it’s designed to do.Suffer surf at Cocoa Beach

Photo: Adam Fricke Photography

I waited for the sets to pass and took the polar plunge and the cold water took my breathe away, but not in the way a beautiful girl does. White water was coming at me, I took a deep breath and drove my surfboard underneath the broken wave. It passed over me and I took a huge breath upon breaching the surface, only to inflate my lungs with the wintry Atlantic Ocean from the second wave right behind it. After expelling all the water out of my lungs and refilling them with air, I paddled 50 yards out to the lineup.

An hour later I still hadn’t caught a wave and was sick of shivering. Feeling angry and cold, I paddled in and proceeded to sit and pout while I warmed up in my car and waited for my brother and our friends to roll up. An hour later I wasn’t convinced the cold wind was worth dealing with again for lack luster waves.

We checked a spot a couple miles down the road and it was like night and day difference. The wind had died down, the sun was warming up everything, and the waves were even better. After a couple hours, I caught a couple mediocre waves that Kelly Slater would’ve ripped to shreds, but to me, they felt so good.

Later on, taking pictures of everyone else surfing, the air was warm again, sun shining, and I was kind of glad I had to suffer earlier in the day. Shivering, breathing water, not catching any waves, that all sucks, but it was worth it in the end. Without suffering a little in the beginning, a fairly mediocre surf session probably would’ve made for a mediocre day.

In order to fully enjoy ourselves, I think we need to suffer a little bit. I think that’s why some of the best moments in our lives are the ones where we had to suffer and feel some pain to get there.

Pin It

Surfing and shenanigans in El Salvador-Recap Part III

Wednesday finally rolled around and we took our typical boat trip to Punta Mango where I got to say “so long” to my new Aussie friends and catch a couple last waves at Punta Mango. We came back, ate some breakfast, and before we knew it we were on our way to The West end of El Salvador to meet up with the rest of our group at La Playa del Tunco (The beach of the pig). The reason the beach is called El Tunco is there’s a rock formation that looks like the head of a pig or something like that. You be the judge, I sure as heck don’t see it.The rock at La Playa del Tunco

We arrived to little-to-no surf and just decided to grab some food and have a few beers with the other six guys that met up with us for this leg of our trip. Adam, John, and I had an apartment style room with a nice living area and a big balcony. I decided to set up my Double Deluxe Hammock, that ENO had sent me, and Bug Net, Adam got to experience his first night in an ENO hammock (I gave him my Doublenest and Slap Strap Pros). Lucky for John, there was a handwoven El Salvadorian hammock already set up when we got there. I’ll be honest, I lasted until about 1:00 a.m. outside until it got too hot for me, but I commend Adam and John for sleeping outside all night.

We woke up early the next morning and our surf guides took us to a spot I had been to the previous year, El Zonte. This is another right point break that breaks right on top of some jagged rocks (which I found on my first wave). Aside from that, it’s pretty fast and isn’t a long paddle out making it a very popular wave to surf. We caught some fun waves and had a great time, all 11 of us. A couple locals joined us out there and I got to see this crazy boogie boarder again. The locals on the beach were saying that he’s the best in the country and it shows. The guy rides his boogie board exactly like a surfboard, but without any fins, and catches huge airs doing 360’s and aerial maneuvers. The fact that he stood up on his boogie board was crazy to me, but when he was actually landing all these maneuvers, I just didn’t know what to think.

IMG_5260

After a couple hours and two broken boards, the tide started to shift and the sets became few and far between. We headed back to the hotel just in time to grab some breakfast. We took a couple looks down the beach and Sunzal was going off. Unfortunately a lot of people realized that too and about 30-40 people had paddled out to the lineup. Adam, John, and my dad were itching to go out, so they grabbed their board (Adam grabbed my longboard) and headed out while I hung back on the beach to take pictures. It was super crowded and Adam, who catches what seems like at least 10 waves per hours, only caught three waves in an hour. However, they all still managed to have some fun.

The rest of the afternoon ended up being rest and read time, where I got a split second to get some writing done. I think I re-appeared and well refreshed around 5:00 p.m. to watch some locals put on a nice “air show” at Sunzalito and Bocanita, two beach breaks right in front of our hotel. Every time I see a bunch of locals doing aerial maneuvers I can’t help but think that maybe if I lived there as long as they did, that maybe I could be doing that same stuff…Nah

The next morning we were all up early again and checked out km 59, but the swell just wasn’t right. We headed back to El Zonte and after six days of consecutive surfing, I was beat. The waves looked OK, but not good enough for me to paddle my but out there. I just sat on the beach and hung out with some locals for a couple hours and watched everyone surf. It was actually pretty fun. Again, we headed back to the hotel and this time my dad and I headed out to Sunzal because it looked like a nice longboard break and wasn’t very crowded. Go figure, it was a ton of fun, but everyone saw us catching waves and before I knew it, I was surrounded by 30 other people. I cut my losses and headed in to grab an early lunch.

It may sound a little monotonous, but trust me, what we do the rest of the day on Friday and on Saturday is going to blow your mind. Let’s just say there’s a waterfall and El Salvadorian club involved.