Saturday, September 30, 2006

Both are paradise

So many pictures to post... I don't know from where to start.
Actually, I do.
How about this one?

What, need a closer look?

Even this guy was left speechless...

A vision that made my visor flip upside down.

All right, let's go back to the surf. This is Tunnels. I didn't go out. It's a gnarly, windy right and I didn't want to get stuck on the inside... this guy.

I decided to surf the shore break of Hanalei bay, instead. Check it out.

I didn't do as good as this kid, though.

That's what I mean.

Hanalei bay.

Same as above. From a little higher.

This is a close up of that break at the west (left on the photo above) end of the bay. The surfable wave is actually that peak just starting to break, a little outside. It's not a long ride. You have to kick out, before getting too deep. That's what I figured after having ridden one all the way to the inside and having got stuck there. I had to paddle all the way around those waves you see in this photo. It took me 25 minutes to get back, exhausted, to the peak. If I only had remembered this photo, I would have just got back to the beach and walked up to the peak again. It didn't seem that bad from the water...

Quite a beginner mistake, I'd say.
This is the launching point. And that is a big one.

One week in Kauai is almost over and I'm ready for my final comment.
It's a very beautiful island.
Maui, still much better though. For me, at least. For what I like. Here's why:
- not much windsurfing in Kauai (not as often, at least). I love surfing, but windsurfing on waves is not boring either. And it gives me (and my muscles) a little variety.
- the best waves are mostly rights. I like lefts better. Maui got some great lefts (specially on the south shore).
- too much distance between north shore and south shore. If the traffic is bad, it's a two hours deal. I met former Mauian shaper Mark Angel and asked him what he does summer time. He said that there's spots on the north shore that collect a little bit of windswell. Like Pavillions...
Oh boy, If I could only surf Pavillions in summer time I would go nuts!
- yes, I could paddle my one man canoe in the river, but what about those smoking downwinders from Maliko to Kanaha when the trades are 30+?

Ok, let me clarify this. I'm comparing Paradise A to Paradise B. I just like one a little more than the other. But still... both are paradise.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Kauai days two and three

Day two we went back to Pakala, but the waves weren't as good as Sunday because of a light onshore wind. I surfed anyway and I had fun anyway.
At sunset we sat on the beach at Hanalei bay: what a magic place! Here's a standupper coming in after a session out on the reef.

Day three, like last year, we rented a kayak and went surfing just outside Hanalei bay. Here's the front paddler with her hair still dry (hey, we capsized only once! I must have learned something on my one man canoe...).

And here's how the waves looked out there.

The NW buoy already senses 4 feet from 320. That means that tomorrow I'm going to surf. Oh, by the way, I surfed today too. Shore break in one of those beaches facing east at Kapaa... so damn difficult!
Friday and Saturday it's going to be big. I can't wait to see how Hanalei bay will change.
But now, I'm going to login to
to watch the surf contest live in France. I just love the technology these days...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Kauai day one

What a great first day in Kauai!

We arrived early in the morning and immediately drove south to check the surf (every vacation should start like this).
The south swell was pumping and we ended up at the spot we surfed last year, where there was even a contest going on. This first photo is not from the contest, though... next break over, still in our confortable vision, sitting in the shade on a perfectly mowed grass. This guy is coming from a quite deep bottom turn.

Same ride, a couple of turns later.

This is clearly the contest, instead. The spot is called PK's and it's a big often closing out right that you can catch on the outside and then, if you can keep up with the white water, it reforms on the inside to the left till the rocks.
I think the photo actually shows exactly what I'm talking about.

What I like in this turn is that you usually see that body position on the surf magazine, maybe on a 6 feet wave. I think it's even more difficult to do it on a little mushy wave like that.

This is a new kind of skateboard, I suppose. It only has one wheel on respectively the front and the back and it can twist along its axis. It really turns a lot.

I showed this photo to this surfer, when he got out of the water.
"I can send it to you, if you want", I said.
He didn't even answer.
I would pay some money (say... even 20 bucks!) for a photo like that!

I really like this one.

I decided not to surf here. Too gnarly. Backside on the shortboard? I'm not nearly as good as this guy...

Thanks to Michelle's wavefinder, I ended up surfing a more mellow left called Pakala. Not exactly mellow, as you can see from this photo...

Well, that was a big set. I sat on the inside and caught a bunch of smaller ones. Something like this one...

As you guys probably figured out, there's a wireless connection at the place where we're staying, so I can eventually do a daily report.
The forecast is really good, calling for one or two more days of south swell and then a small NW on Wednesday and a big NW on Friday for the whole weekend. We leave on Sunday afternoon. I think I have quite a good opportunity to surf every day (like if I was doing something different in Maui...).
Last year in September we were in Costa Rica flooded by heavy rains with shitty beach break waves in brown water and onshore wind.
I'm sure Costa Rica is great in a different season. But, trust me, beating this is not going to be easy.
I officially confess that I have some surfing expectations out of this trip. And that's never a good thing... We'll see.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The longest left in Maui

Here we go: another short (not really... 7.30 min!) surf video, shot the same day of the Launiupoko barrel frenzy.
In the morning this same spot had some double overhead sets. About 40 people in the water, shitty energy, some fights (at least they told me so). I surfed it at sunset and I caught three memorable waves (and no punches in the face). I really love that wave. You can really work all those different sections.
Anyway, next week I'm in Kauai and I don't think I'll have internet connection (unless there's an unprotected wireless network where I'll stay that I can sneak in...).
Don't fret though, I would be collecting a lot of posting materials...
See ya soon!

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Launiupoko barrel frenzy

Launiupoko is probably the surf spot in Maui where you would least expect to see people trying to get barreled.
In fact, it's a great beginner spot that usually offers small and mushy waves. Unless there's a big south swell and strong offshore wind.
For the people of Maui this little movie (4 minutes) will be almost hard to believe.
Later on the same day, I shot another video in another spot, but I still have to edit that one. Stay tuned.
By the way, clearly I didn't use my little waterproof camera, but my other one with a 12x zoom.
Geez, wasn't I the one complaining about materialism and owning too many objects?

Nacque, visse e si contradisse (F. Di Giacomo)...

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Sunday, September 17, 2006

The best life in the world

If you are in a hurry, don't even start reading this post. Come back when you got some time...

Here I am again, with my new little toy that I used this time to take photos/videos of surfing.

Let's have a grand start with Sharon trying to catch a mini-wave at 1000 peaks yesterday, Saturday Sept 16th. This video is called: "windmill paddling".

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There she is again with a radical bottom turn with her hand in the water.

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Here she shows off her recently acquired nose riding skill.

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Got to work on that one a little more, dear... nice style, though!
In this one, she shows off some other skills that she manages with more confidence (I started filming while I was still underwater).

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Ooops, lost the balance there... well, those things must weight quite a bit!
There she is, ladies and gentlemen, let's give her a big applause for the splendid entertainment!

This one shows Ulli catching one on the standup board. Look at the beauty of the mountain...

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This is my portable shower (half of it, actually, 'cause I got another bottle like that). After the session, I'm getting ready to go see a John Keawe concert at the Macc. Excellent performances! Both the shower and the slack key guitar playing.

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Today (Sunday) I started my fabulous day with a surf session at my favorite spot. Unfortunately the waves sucked, but look at what I could film underwater. I had no fins and no mask. That means that snorkeling is going to be another killer application for this amazing camera.

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Then I went to another of my favorite spots on the island where, instead, the waves were extremely fun.
Here are three little videos (taken from the channel after my ride), just to give you a glimpse of the conditions.

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And check this still picture of a big local guy ripping on his longboard!

Later in the afternoon, after a tasty lunch (leftover pasta e patate!) and a short nap, I ended the day with a magic session standing up the 12.6 at Launiupoko. Here's Michelle doing the same thing.

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At sunset the waves got really smooth and I had a couple of really good rides.
This picture is not perfectly horizontal, but I took it standing up on the board, with the paddle in the other hand...

I got out of the water so late that I couldn't find my slippers in the dark. Not too bad... $2.50 at Long's. I would be happy to pay $2.50 a day for the rest of my life to alwyas have days like this...
You know what? No need in Maui... they come for free!
On the way back, I could notice how my stereo is having a moment of great form. I must have finally figured out the levels of the subwoofer...
The shuffle dj did a pretty damn good job too!
I was sipping a cold beer out of the cooler (still working on my DUI over the internet...) and I did a toast to the best life in the world: mine.

Why? Because If I die tomorrow, the total number of regrets I would have would be: none. Nil, zero, nada, niente. Ask yourself the same question and if you come up with an answer different from mine, do something about it... now!

So long.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

the helmet mount

Here we go.
Thanks to David and Suzie ( today I got a helmet to continue to experiment. A PVC pipe was the main building block for the mounting system that I engineered as soon as I got back home. There it is, in this hystorical self-shot. Rather hysterical, actually.

And here's a couple of videos I took with it. Actually, for this first one, I was just holding the helmet in my hands. It's called "(distorted) faces".

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In this one, I use the good old trick of the camera to attract the attention of a young cute windsurfer girl. She jibes and then she stops to ask me how she can get a copy of the video...

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After she hears the answer, she tries to sail away as fast as possible... and the chase starts!

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Hard to keep her in the shot, I guess I need to be closer.
Well, I ended up having dinner with her and a girlfriend of her, so my 80 bucks investment is already paying back...
I'd say.

Hana relay weekend

Finally, the photos from the Hana relay weekend.
Here's some sexy shoes.

Here's the fantastic four (nice grab, Ulli!).

Hey, what's in there?

Ops, even my glasses must have fallen in there...

Here's a cuople of picture of me from the surf session at Koki beach on sunday morning. Thanks to Ulli for taking them.

This little kid is three and a half years old...

Jesus, what a posting marathon! Got to go now. Got to pick up an helmet for my new camera and figure a way of mounting it on...
See ya, everybody!


I can finally upload photos again.
To fix the problem, I had to install Firefox. Maybe I'm in the conspiracy mode, but I believe it's an agreement between Blogspot and Mozilla to push the use of Firefox. Not that I'm particularly attached to microsoft IE, but this way of doing things bugs me. Talking about conspiracy, did you guys checked those sites about 9/11? I always suspected it was organized by the american government, but now that those guys explain with no possible doubt that the building were brought down by explosives, my mind is really blown away. I didn't even know there was a third building that collapsed at the WTC without having been hit by a plane!
Watch this:
As explained in " Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Collapse? " at point 9 (the whole document is 48 pages long... defenetly worth it!), without explosive the top of the first tower would have toppled over and fell well on the side of the building. Unbelievable.
They killed thousands of fellow countrymen just to have an excuse to go kill some more in Asia and get richer. Human beings are the worse animals on the planet, that's for sure.
Sorry, as usual I got caught a bit on that, I just wanted to say that I posted the remaining surf photos at the end of the "the best thing on earth" post below.

funny papaya

Look at the (familiar) shape of this thing. I wonder if that's why it tasted particularly delicious...

the misterious toy

Ok, ok... here is what the toy is:

You can actually buy on for $70 (not sure if you need to be a member), but I prefered to invest 10 bucks more and buy it from, because it seemed it was possible to return it for three months.
You can read all the technical specs on the web, here's my feedback after two days of use:
This is a killer product. Whoever had the idea is going to make major bucks.
It's simple, basic and cheap.
No LCD screen, one little AAA battery (I just bought a pack of 4 rechargeable ones, so I'm good for the eternity).
There's a strep that allows you to put it on you wrist. I also put it on the mast (the videos will be vertical, though), on the boom, on the harness.
Let's see how to operate it.
There's two little buttons on the waterproof housing. You push the one on the front once and it turns the camera on, in the still picture mode. If you want to take a little video, you have to push the same button three more times to set it in the video mode. Unfortunately, that only lasts a few seconds and if you didn't start your video pushing the shutter button on the top, it returns to the still picture mode.
That's the only thing that I would change so far.
If you don't push the shutter at all, the camera turns off by itself after 30 seconds. And that's good, otherwise the little battery would die too soon.
I haven't used it for surfing yet, but I think it's going to be great (specially taking videos of the other surfers).
Shooting while windsurfing is not even mentioned on their website. Operating it is not particularly easy (got to push those buttons while hooked in the harness with one hand on the boom and one on the camera), but a little practice already made me a lot better at it.
The ride is quite bumpy itself, so you better focus on one subject without moving the camera around too much. Another thing I like is that the videos are 12 to 20 seconds long (the video is stops by itself when it reaches 1MB) and that means that no editing will be needed. You go home, download them on the computer, check them out, it you got a good one, you keep it. If not, delete everything.
Anyways, for 80 bucks, I'm having a lot of fun already. And it's only the start.
Here's a little video from yesterday's sessions. It's a mast mounted one, so turn you laptop vertical to the left... Sorry, I don't know how to turn a video 90 degrees... can anybody help?
The video is called: "I get hungry sometimes while sailing..."

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PS I'm watching
a Trestle. Today the main event is off, but they are doing an interesting format with two surfers of the same country surfing together (they have to ride a wave together too). It's quite fun and perfect blogging background activity...
Wow! Taj Burrow just did a huge arial 360 on a small mushy wave!! These guys are incredible...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

new little amazing toy

Even though I got plenty other stuff to post (you guys should check out Sharon's blog for the photos from Hana..., today I received a new little cheap toy, so the other photos will have to wait.
I had so much fun experimenting this thing at Hookipa. Let's say that I have ample margins of improvement... but here's a couple of shots that already blog-worth-it.
Here's the very first one in the first attempt (camera mounted on the boom). I just like the color of the ocean...

This other one shows uncle Robby on the beach. He's barely in the picture, but I like it anyway. Looks like he got a boob job...

In this other one, for some reasons, I was able to better focus on the subject. Unseen, like 007, I secretely pushed the shutter of the little camera mounted on the harness bar and... got it!

Just in case you were wondering what size I was on...

But, let's get to what I think is going to be the killer application of this amazing little toy. Short videos. Very small and short, I think I have to buy a helmet and mount it on it to film thru the window of the sail. You can't really see much if it's attached to the harness. In this first one, though, you can see kind of a wave and a first top turn and then a second and then a wipe out and then the reef... How cool is that? Play it a few times and spot the ghost face in the reef...

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In this other one, I was shooting at my feet. The wind was extremely light and I was coming in at Hoo without being in the footstreps. I got that board free at a garage sale, fixed it and now is my light wind wave board (even though it's a freeride board... it's not what you ride, it's how you ride!).

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Well, I think I will have a lot of fun with this little thing. In five years, I'll probably laugh about it (new technologies will have made it obsolete), but so far... I'm loving it!
Can't wait till some big swells hit Kanaha and I'll sail with the longboard... and what about the surfing? Applications are unlimited. You can pretty much stick that think on anything tubular...
I'll leave this one to your imagination...

Sunday, September 10, 2006

the best thing on earth

Got a lot of stuff to post, but little time to do it.
Here we go, let's start with this surf session at my favorite spot in Maui on Sept 7th. The day before I got it even better and surfed it very inspired for a few hours. This day, instead, I couldn't tune in the sesh. My arms were tired and I missed the first four waves (I never do that!). Not only I had a confidence crash, but also I didn't get any more respect from the other surfers who consistently dropped in on me. That's the way it goes. If they see you missing a few, next time they'll paddle for it even if they don't technically have the priority to do so. And you know what? There's nothing wrong with that. Waves should not go unridden when it's crowded, so I totally deserved the drop ins.
I decided to get out of the water and take a few pics, which are posted below. Enjoy them.

Let's start with a sequence entirely dedicated to Michelle (this is the pay off for the wipe out in the shore brake at Hoo in the previous post...). Here she is with a nice take off with the hand in the water to stay close to the breaking section and hopefully getting a little cover-up.

Nice top turn with a little spray on this other one.

Here she plays with the lip. I like the "rasta" hair...
Nice shot!

I like this guy's cut back with the hand in the water.

Just like this one.

Grab the rail, hand in the water and hope to get shacked.

Look at that wave!

The same day, at sunset, I drove pretty much to the opposite side of the island to surf another of my favorite waves. We're talking top 5 favorite waves in Maui. I got in the water at 6.20pm and it was very crowded. I waited patiently until my turn came (like, half an hour later) and I scored a great one. Head high, with a lot of different fun sections to make, almost dark, people cheering from the inside. I did three cut backs (or is it cuts back?). Now, three cut backs on the same wave with a longboard... that was a damn good wave!
Around 7 I had to come out because it wes pretty dark. But I knew the moon was going to be full. And I knew it was going to rise soon.
So I went to eat something (I even scored a free hula show at the mall), and one hour later I was back on the spot. The only car in the parking was mine. I entered the water at 8.10pm, with the moon still behind some clouds, but I could tell it was about to pop out. It actually didn't. Or, at least, not as soon as I hoped. So, finding the channel was a little adventurous.
I made it to the break, and even though I was trying to line up with some lights on the shore, the positioning was pretty much left to the luck.
I had to give up on some really good ones, just because I was a few feet off the take off spot. In the daylight, I would have been easy to paddle towards the peak, but with the full moon, you only see the wave at the last moment. But in the daylight, there would have been 30 more people too!
I got lucky a couple of times and took off in the right spot.
Let's see if I can describe how cool it is to ride a wave with the full moon. I'm not even going to mention how beautiful the waves look in the moonlight. I'm not even going to mention how great it is to be the only one out.
I'm just going to say that without the full help of the vision, riding a wave is a matter of feel.
It's the board that sends the feedback to the brain of how the wave is in that moment. You feel the wave is steep and you push on the rail to make the section. You feel the board is slowing down and you walk a little forward to push the nose back down the hill. It's a quite pure form of surfing. On an uncrowded day, I should sometimes try to close my eyes while riding and see what happens... Mmmm, maybe that would be a bit too much.
Anyway, here's another thing worth to mention about night sessions.
Even though I'm never scared by the fact that I know that when I enter in the ocean I'm not on top of the food chain anymore, at night it's a different story. Big fish eat at night, I know that and my brain can't avoid to go there. I try to relax. I try to think to the statistics that make me aware of the fact that big fish eat other fish and that the probability of a mistake and hence of an attack is extremely low. But it's a tough mind game. When the wave comes, all these stupid thoughts disappear. It's when you wait for the set that it's hard to get full control of the brain.
Anyway, I had to leave around 9.30, because the tide was getting too low and it would have been a little sketchy to get back in.
On the beach, a lonely local fisherman went like:"Eh brah, I saw you carving all da way out dere!"
"Me carving? You must have smoked da kine, brah..."
We laughed.
It felt good to know that not only I was having a deep connection with mother nature, but also entertaining the only witness.

I rode the snake again... I even carved on it!

Last thing I want to add at the end of this post.
The waves in these photos are close to perfect. The waves at night were pretty damn good too. But today, at Koki beach in Hana, the waves were all messy and disorganized. Guess what? Me and Michelle had a blast anyway. I couldn't believe we were having so much fun in such poor conditions.
I started surfing 5 years ago, when I moved in Maui. Since then, the level of stoke is constantly going higher and higher. I wonder if it will ever stop. I hope not.

Because surfing is the best thing on earth.