16 Story Filled Photos of 2016

I was going to start this post in a completely different way. I wanted to share 16 of my favorite photos from 2016. As I was sorting through 23,613 photos I found myself reminiscing about the stories behind each and every photo. I vividly remembered what I was thinking as I took each photo, how cold or hot it was, what I was feeling (this year taught me I have feelings and that it’s ok to have feelings), how many people were around, what got me there, what I did after, and so much more.

Eventually I found a way to narrow 23,613 photos down to 32. And somehow I cut that number in half. Below are 16 story filled photos from 2016 that hold some of my favorite stories; in sequential order.

Enjoy

January 19, 2016

Rumbling Bald, NC

Katie Boue climbing at Rumbling Bald

This year would have never happened if it wasn’t for this girl. Katie is the one that planted the idea of a yearlong road trip in my girlfriend’s head 4 years ago. Long story short, that girl dumped me and I roped my brother into this incredible yearlong road trip we took together. At this point in the year Adam and I were wondering how we’d get through the rest of the year (terrifying, I know). She talked some sense into us, gave us an idea of what we were in for, and calmed our worrisome souls.

April 13, 2016

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Las Vegas Strip overlook in Red Rock Canyon

We had just rolled into Nevada from California. Adam wanted to see Las Vegas for the first time. Having been before, I wanted nothing to do with Las Vegas. The day was fading and we wanted to do something interesting. A park ranger told us about this trail that’d lead us to a viewpoint overlooking the Vegas Strip. I didn’t think the view would be worth it after an hour of hiking. Adam went ahead and a few minutes later I heard him calling my name. Telling me I had to see this.

April 26, 2016

Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend is famous. And that’s an understatement. The parking lot was littered with tourists, like myself. Walking through the sand dunes I saw the entire rim of the canyon covered with tripods and people standing next to them. Everyone was there wanting to get the same exact picture. In pictures this place looks so peaceful, like no one’s around. I guarantee you that in every single photo you see there are at least 100 other people around. This made me question social media’s impact on the environment for the first time.

May 19, 2016

Yosemite National Park

Travis Burke at Glacier Pointe

This was my last morning in Yosemite National Park. Adam and I woke up early to take photos of each other skating this stretch of road. As I was taking photos of him I saw an all too familiar grey van drive past. That van belongs to Travis Burke. He’s an incredible lensman (another understatement) and someone I truly look up to and admire. Surprisingly I didn’t fanboy over him when he stood next to me to snap some pictures of Adam skating as well.

May 27, 2016

The Wave

The Wave Arizona

Circa 2012 I changed the background on my desktop computer in my cubicle to a beautiful sandstone formation carved by wind and sand over thousands of years. A coworker of mine walked past and asked where it was I went to get that photo. I had no idea where in the world this place existed. I told her it was a background that came with Windows 7 and that I’d be more than happy to change her desktop background to that photo if she wanted. Hundreds of people play the lottery to get 1 of 10 coveted permits to see The Wave. On our second day, Adam and I won the lottery.

June 20, 2016

Shoshone Falls

Shoshone Falls, ID
I have no idea how, but Shoshone Falls is bigger than Niagara Falls. We got hooked up with kayak rentals for the day and paddled our way up the Snake River to the base of the falls. As we got closer the waves got big. I thought I was going to capsize the waves got so rough. Look close, Adam’s in a kayak at the base of the falls. This was by far the best summer solstice I’ve ever had.

August 2, 2o16

Kenai Fjords National Park

Exit Glacier

Alaska’s the Last Frontier and to my surprise; there was a butt load of people there! A few days prior I went to the base of Exit Glacier with scores of other tourists. I looked at the glacier and wished I could explore. By some miracle I found myself attaching crampons to my feet for the first time in my life, traversing a moving sheet of ice, and learning about this entire valley and glacier. Pro tip: the faster you hike up to the glacier, the more of the glacier your guide gets to show you.

September 7, 2016

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

I was imagining how many double taps I’d get on Instagram as I was taking this photo.

October 22, 2016

Red River Gorge
Red River Gorge

Sorry mom! That’s become my favorite phrase to say. When I say that I know I’m living, really, living my life to the fullest. Although I may freak out my mom as I’m dangling in the air taking photos of my friends climbing, she knows it’s what I’m supposed to be doing. And I think she’s grown to love it when I say sorry mom!

November 6, 2016

Oahu
Oahu by helicopter

Doors off of a helicopter makes it really cold. For some reason my left nostril begins to drip snot profusely when I get cold. It’s not in the frame, thankfully, but there’s a huge strand of snot flying out of my nose as I blindly stuck my camera out the side of the helicopter to snap this photo. This was also the first time I’ve ever flown in a helicopter. Do I know any helicopter pilots out there that want to take me for a joy ride sometime?

November 15, 2016

Baltimore, MDYellowcard in Baltimore, MD

You know how there’s that one band that seems to speak to you? That no matter what you’re going through they seem to always have a song for that. Yellowcard is that band for me. They’re on their farewell tour. This might have been the last time I ever saw them live. My voice was virtually gone after this show.

November 23, 2016

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park sunset

4:30pm and the sun began to set in Acadia National Park. Adam, Tanner, and I pulled off the road to watch the sun dip below the horizon. What happened next I’ve seen happen a couple of times. The clouds got into position, readying themselves for the light of the setting sun to hit them and set them on fire. My fingers started going numb and my left nostril started dripping snot. It was so cold. We piled back into the van and blasted the heater as the sky turned dark.

November 27, 2016

Vermont

Vermont Bachelor Party

There’s no right or wrong way to throw a bachelor party. My friend Tanner (the guy grinning at the camera) joined us for 10 days on the road and called it his bachelor party. Usually beer’s involved so we hiked to the top of a mountain in Vermont and had a summit beer.

December 8, 2016

Upstate New York

New York Blizzard

All I could think about was how stoked I was to be experiencing lake effect snow. Being raised in Florida it’s something I only ever heard about on the news. For the first time I finally understood lake effect snow and how it can just dump ungodly amounts of fluffy white snow in a matter of minutes.

December 11, 2016

Eastern Pennsylvania

Chimney Climbing

20 degrees is a little cold to go climbing. But when’s the next time I’ll ever get to climb a chimney that was built to be climbed? The lesson I learned here is to just do it no matter how uncomfortable it is. It’ll always be worth it in the end. I climbed a chimney!

December 11, 2016

New Jersey

Delaware Water Gap

50 states, 1 US Territory, District of Columbia, and 3 Canadian Provinces in one year. Holy balls that actually happened. And we’re still friends. No matter what happens next no one can ever take this experience from us. Would you be able to travel for an entire year with your sibling(s) and still be friends in the end?

Parting Thoughts

As I was driving across the country in 2016 one phrase kept popping into my head. Just Do It. We’re told that we can’t more often than we can. It’s only until you go out on a limb that you realize what you’re capable of accomplishing. I was told I can’t take a year to visit all 50 states with my brother. Whoever told me that was right. To their dismay I did more than that because I can.

Whatever it is Just Do It.

 

How to Get Companies to Pay You to Travel: My Story

A couple times a week I get a message on Facebook, Instagram, or through email from someone asking questions about how they can get their upcoming trip sponsored, like I have.

My friends/significant other and I have been planning this trip…love to travel…take pictures…have fun…inspire…video…et cetera–how do we get a company like Merrell or EnerPlex to sponsor us?

Sponsorships are kind of like mermaids. They’re never seen and often talked about. So let’s talk about sponsorship for a trip.How to Get Companies to Pay You to Travel: My Story

There are two types of sponsorship:

  • Product
  • Monetary

I’ve seen lots of people get sponsored on a product level. It’s awesome not having to pay for a product/service you need and you’re saving money. Getting sponsored on a monetary level is tough. Unless you have a big following, you have to prove yourself and stand out from the rest.

Companies need to see a return: Companies see this in 1 of 2 ways. They A.) expect you to leverage your massive following to show off their product/service. B.) They believe you have a special set of skills (photography, videography, writing, etc.) that will supplement their marketing/advertising efforts.

In order to qualify for Scenario A, your social media following usually has to be on par with, or larger than the company’s.

BIG travel is king: Everyone goes on weekend trips, sometimes weeklong trips, and occasionally trips that last a month or two. Hardly anyone dedicates their life to travel. If you’re willing to dedicate the next year or two of your life to traveling, your chances skyrocket. But you have to prove that you’re going to do what you say you’re going to do with or without the help of a company or two.

In order to prove to companies that you’re doing this trip with or without them, you need to self fund it first. It took Adam and I two years to save up what we thought we’d need to buy a van, build it out, money for the year, and a little extra on the side in case something happened. It wasn’t easy; we lived at home, worked our normal jobs while picking up freelance gigs, and every extra dollar we made we put into savings. When Merrell and EnerPlex came along, they just helped make our yearlong road trip even better and have in some ways certainly made our live easier than what they would have been.

You’re not getting paid to go on vacation: When you get your trip sponsored, it all of a sudden turns into a job and is no longer a vacation. Granted your job is way awesome to brag about, but you’re going to constantly be on the lookout for ways that you can fulfill the promises you made to your sponsors. You might even find yourself working while you’re traveling.

Don’t expect to get paid right away: Think of it as dating. Usually you want to get to know someone, go on a few dates, introduce them to your friends and family, and then maybe you make it Facebook Official. That’s usually how long-term relationships happen, at least in my case. Hardly ever do one-night stands turn into any long last relationship. Expect to actually get to know a company over time. Work with them on a product level for a while and interact with them on social media.

The industry’s small: Every industry is small. Do a stellar job and over deliver to your sponsor(s) and other companies may take notice.

You can just travel: Being sponsored and paid to travel’s great and all. But you can still travel because you love it and believe it’s what’s best for you and the best way to spend your time.

Getting sponsored to travel doesn’t happen overnight. It’s helpful if you’re already active within the industry and have made some connections in one way or another: social media, working with PR companies, working directly with brands, meeting others in the industry at trade shows/conferences, etc. Perhaps sharing my story could help shed some light on the topic.

Here we go:

I’ve always loved to travel. My parents showed me from an early age that it’s best to collect experiences rather than things. My dad went to a lot of conferences for work when I just started walking and my brother was a little baby. My dad got to bring my mom, my brother, and me along and to this day my mom tells people that I could basically find our seats on a plane by the time I could walk. It was fun, my mom made it a game, kind of like “Hide and Go Seek.” As Adam and I got older we’d take family road trips to visit extended family in North Carolina and snow ski, down to the Keys to snorkel and fish, and in 2010 my mom insisted the 3 of us guys start going on an all guys surf trip.

We listened to her.

One day my dad came home from work and told Adam and me that his book publisher somehow found a way to see a baseball game in every stadium with some friends one summer in college. Oh and they got sponsored to do it. About that time I had just started The Weekend Warrior and Adam was getting savvy with a camera. My dad threw out a challenge to us, get some companies to sponsor our annual all guys surf trip. That epically failed, Adam and I didn’t really make an effort, but if you’ve seen The Bro’d Trip website or watched any of our vlogs, you’ll see that we’re not doing this alone. We’re working with some companies on a BIG level and they’re helping make this yearlong road trip better than what we had originally imagined.

I’m sure every traveler has a timeline about how they got their career started and eventually got companies to sponsor their trips on a product AND monetary level. This is my timeline:

  • April 2012: Boss tells me I’m a terrible writer and shouldn’t focus my efforts on writing. I start The Weekend Warrior to practice my writing skills and give others some motivation to get out and enjoy their own hobbies outside of work, school, family life, etc.
  • Summer 2012 – Fall 2013: Continue working at a job I don’t like, have awesome adventures outside of work, and meet a whole new batch of online outdoor bloggers and freelance creatives.
  • October 2013: Go on a fun 9 day road trip with my girlfriend and climb with friends that are on the tail end of their yearlong road trip. Girlfriend is enamored with this life and begins pestering me about quitting my job when she graduates college in 2 years to take off on our own yearlong road trip.
  • December 2014: I succumb to her pestering. We begin saving.
  • March 2014: Girlfriend dumps me, for good reason, and I decide I still want to do this road trip. Talk my brother into doing this year on the road with me, after he graduates in December 2015. We’ll write about it and share photos while on the road and make a documentary about our year on the road when all’s said and done.
  • Summer 2014-Summer 2015: Continue working my desk job, pick up freelance writing gigs on the side, and lose out on a social life. Going out with friends becomes a luxury. My dating life becomes virtually nonexistent. Adam continues to go to school, wait tables, and work at a surf camp over the summer.
  • July & August 2015: Put together a proposal to send to companies that we think will take an interest in what we’re doing and align with our vision. Lose our sh!t in excitement when companies actually approach us and want to work with us.
  • September 2015: Quit my job. I give 6 weeks notice because they were nothing but stellar to me for the past 4 years. Everyone at the office is excited, jealous, and somewhat confused at what I’m doing.
  • October 2015: Buy a Sprinter Van from a nice retired couple in Rhode Island and begin building it out.
  • November 2015: Continue building out Sprinter Van and have my last day at work.
  • December 2015: Finish building out Sprinter Van, throw a going away party for all our friends and family, and move stuff into storage unit.
  • January 2016: Hit the road for a year!

I should make known that a life and career centered around travel isn’t always glamorous, at least it isn’t for me. One night I got chased out of a site I wanted to call home for the night and didn’t find another site until 10:30pm. As I sit here writing this, I smell terrible. I’ve lost track of how many days it’s been without a shower, have only worn deodorant on one of those days, and changed clothes yesterday for the first time in over a week. Today my diet has consisted of a couple granola bars, a banana, and a sandwich. But I did spend the better part of the day rock climbing with new friends, taking photos and video, and that’s pretty cool I get to call that work.

If you’re interested in reaching out to a company to help support your trip, here are a few tips that might help:

  • Stand out from the rest: See “BIG travel is king” above.
  • Solicit your skills: Are you a baller at editing, take stunning photos, have a way with words, or have some other marketable skill? Use that to your advantage!
  • Put together a proposal: Companies get pitched all the time (hundreds, if not thousands, of times a day). Make your proposal stand out from the rest; your proposal is the best way to show off your marketable skills.
  • Follow up: Be persistent without being annoying. Getting your foot in the door’s one of the toughest things to do and chances are that your proposal won’t do the trick. Follow up with the person (or info email account) you sent your proposal to let the gatekeeper know you’re serious and deserve to speak with the decision maker.

Parting thoughts

Do the work first, build an audience, hone your skills, show your value, and prove that you’re different from the tens, possibly hundreds, of thousands that have the same dream. Demonstrate that you can provide an ROI (return on investment) to the company. Do all that and then maybe a company will have the confidence to invest in you and give you the creative freedom you want that will ultimately benefit them and their bottom line.

Be great at all this and maybe you’ll have companies vying to work with you. I’ve only very recently realized this and am constantly learning more and more about this career every single day.

The Traveler’s Currency

Wait. What state number is this for you? What’s been your most fun experience on the trip so far? Have you had any close calls? What’s next? How are you and your brother doing?

It’s been exactly a month and a half since setting out on the road and those are some of the questions I get. Most of the time I like to think I have a good story to tell. It really depends on how great my memory’s working that day. Hunkering down for the night at a truck stop in Alabama to wait out a storm that was spewing tornados left and right happened maybe a week or two ago and is a little more fresh on my mind than when my brother crashed and burned, hard, skating down a steep hill in North Carolina.The Traveler's Currency on The Weekend Warrior

Lots of my friends have been very welcoming and have opened their homes to a couple of stinky brothers looking for a fresh shower and a place to do some laundry, and hangout with friends, of course. In this situation I don’t have much to offer in return for their kindness. The most I have to offer are stories and it seems like that’s more than enough.

Stories are the currency of travelers. Almost everyone loves to travel for different reasons: collect things, the thrill of not knowing anyone, seeing different sights, getting away from bosses, learning to put down the phone, reconnect with oneself, etc. That’s a short list of why we travel, but the one thing we want most when we travel is to collect stories.

We love to collect and tell those stories. That’s part of the reason I wanted to do this yearlong road trip. I wasn’t living a great story, in my opinion, and I needed something more. Something had to change in order for me to live a better story. Little did I know that these stories I’m collecting would turn into some form of currency.

Stories, they don’t carry a monetary value. They aren’t much to offer to someone letting me into their home, but I like to think it’s worth something. I like to think that a story is the traveler’s currency.

How to be a Hot Mess While Traveling

I’ve been pretty fortunate when it comes to my travels the last 25 years. Within the United States I’ve gone to some pretty rad cities like New York City, Minneapolis, Dallas, Seattle, Asheville, Philadelphia, and some others. International travel’s been the same, flying to Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and El Salvador on multiple occasions for surf trips and then to other countries like the Bahamas for family vacations. Since I was a baby I’ve been flying on airplanes. Supposedly I’ve flown to Europe too, but I was just a little baby/toddler when my parents took me. I don’t remember it so I just believe my parents when they told me I’ve been there.How to be a Hot Mess While Traveling

Traveling’s one of my favorite things to do and you think I’d be pretty good at it since I’ve been doing it for 25 years. I even thought I was good at traveling until it finally hit me this weekend when I was flying up to Rhode Island with my brother. I suck at traveling. Getting from Point A to Point B is no problem; I can do that. Actually looking like I have my shit together is a different story.

When I travel, I look like a hot mess who just can’t get it together. Sometimes it’s fun and if you’re one of the people I envy; who has it all together when they travel, but you want to look like a nutcase while you’re traveling, then keep reading.

How to be a Hot Mess While Traveling

Step 1: Overpack

You never know what you might need and when. I think that’s a hoarders motto, but the same applies here. Bring every last thing you might need and shove it into your carry-on bags. Use the “If it fits it ships” method. As long as you can cram everything into your bags then you can bring it onto the plane. When you do this you’ll be sure to hold up the line of people behind you waiting to get to their seats because you can’t shove your too big bag into the too small overhead compartment.

Step 2: Forget the rules

When you sit in an emergency exit row you typically can’t have anything sitting on your lap because your hands need to be free in case you need to assist in getting people out the door if the plane were to crash. Pretend the rules don’t apply to you and put something on your lap like your laptop. When the flight attendant comes around he/she will ask you to put it away; giving you the perfect opportunity to hold up the herd of people waiting to get to their seats as you grab your too big bag out of the too small overhead compartment.

Step 3: Walk around wide eyed

The wider you open your eyes, the sooner you’ll be able to spot your gate. That’s a fact.

 

Step 4: Walk fast

You’re in the airport; good. Now even though you arrived two hours early you need to book it to your gate. Walk fast and get to the gate way ahead of time just in case the plane decides to take off earlier than planned.

Step 5: Breathe heavy

Shouldn’t be a problem if you did Step 5 properly

Step 6: Adopt restless foot tapping syndrome

Even though you’re already sitting at the gate waiting for your group to be called to board stay nervous. Be nervous you won’t be able to hear your group called. Miss your calling and there’s no chance you’ll find enough space for your too big bag in the too small overhead compartment.

Step 7: Be hot

How can you be a hot mess if you’re not hot? I mean come on, it’s in the slang term.

 

New Smyrna Beach: A Perfect Getaway

Alright I’ve never done this, so bare with me as I brag on one of my favorite places in the world which just so happens to be my second home (literally) New Smyrna Beach, FL. New Smyrna Beach is a quaint little surf town about an hour northeast of Orlando, FL and about 30 minutes south of iconic Daytona Beach, FL, home of the Daytona 500.

What about this little surf town makes me love it so much, let a lone entices me to write an entire blog post about it? Strap on your seat belts and let me take you on a virtual tour of New Smyrna Beach, FL.

It’s a tiny town that feels “homie.” Littered with local restaurants, coffee shops, and retail shops you start to get to know a lot of people when you’ve been there for a while. Before you know it, you’ll be walking into places and waving at people you know. Everyone gathers at the same places, so just be ready to feel at home and welcome.

The lifestyle and vibe is something that you just can’t compete with. One summer when I was living at my parents beach condo and was working as a surf instructor, I decided that I wanted to go barefoot as much as I could. I just stopped wearing shoes and sandals all together. There I was, walking the streets barefoot, went to the grocery store barefoot, picked up some stuff at the local surf shops barefoot, and no one said a word or gave me any weird stares. The only places that I’d wear shoes was into restaurants because they had the typical “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” signs plastered everywhere. Other than that, it was barefoot all the time and it was awesome!

New Smyrna Beach is filled with different outdoor adventures. You can take a quick hike through the woods. Paddle a kayak, canoe, or stand up paddle board through the mangroves. Play a round of golf or hit the beach for some fun. My favorite thing to do outside is surf. I’ve called New Smyrna Beach my home surf break for just over 15 years and evidently I made a good choice since Surfer Magazine ranked it number nine in the “best surf towns” poll in July 2009. New Smyrna Beach was also recognized as “one of the world’s top 20 surf town” by National Geographic Magazine. If you do decide to go to the beach, just keep an eye out for some curious little sharks that frequent the shores. They’re not vicious monsters like the news makes them out to be, just a little curious and I’ve yet to be bitten (knock on wood). One new outdoor activity that I’ve been trying to introduce to New Smyrna Beach is the slackline game. People have seen me set up at a few places around town and have been very intrigued. I’m hoping it’ll start to catch on in a couple years.

Believe it or not, New Smyrna Beach is actually rich in history. If you’re looking for museums, forget about it. Pick up a couple local magazines and you’ll usually find some interesting facts. For instance, years ago my mom was reading through a local magazine and came across an article about an interesting aspect to a residential road. Centuries ago when the area was being discovered, the land was a dense forest and wild game roamed the land. The son of a a rich land owner went hunting and was accidentally shot. His dad came looking for him, found his deceased son and then buried him on the spot. Fast forward a few centuries when developers were coming through, paving roads, and found this old burial spot. Instead of disrespecting the grave site and moving it, they built a road around it. Now you can see the grave site that’s been maintained in a nice subdivision as you go by looking at million dollar homes.

Let me know if you’re ever visiting New Smyrna Beach and I’d be happy to take you by there.

What really puts New Smyrna Beach at the top of my charts are the people. Super nice and always high on life kind of people. One day I was getting my Slyde handboard set up with my GoPro and a local surfer saw me and took a profound interest in what I was doing. Our conversation went a little something like this:

Local: Dude! Is that one of those handboards!?

Me: Yup.

Local: Sweet man, can I come check it out?

Me: Sure. (I mean I had no choice. He was already walking over.)

Local: Oh man that thing looks so rad. I bet you get shacked so hard in the tube every time.

Me: I’ll have to get back with you on that one. I just got it yesterday and this is going to be my first time taking out.

Local: No way! Dude that’s so sick. Bro you must be stokin’ so hard right now.

Me: I’m pretty excited.

Local: I bet! Thanks for showing me this bro. Have fun out there dude!

For those of you who don’t speak surfer, you might be thinking that he was trying to sell me drugs or could’ve been cussing me out. Quite the contrary. He was excited for me that I was trying something new out in the water. I honestly don’t know where else you can get that kind of enthusiasm in that form.

When you get tired of freezing your toosh off this winter or are looking for a great summer vacation spot, keep New Smyrna Beach at the top of your list. We’d love to show you around when you come and stay for a while.

P.S. No joke. If you do decide to make a trip to New Smyrna Beach, give me a heads up and I’d love to show you around.

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.