Monday, June 28, 2010

harsh board test

I love testing boards.

One of the reasons I love my job is that I get to try all kinds of boards.
Lately I've been playing a lot with some short Starboard standup boards.

The report of the test sessions (kinda boring if you're not into it) is in this thread of the standupzone forum.

Here are some photos that give you an idea of the kind of harsh environment the test was conducted in.

"Don't drop in on me!" paddle holding technique.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

a boring world cup post

Just watched the Italy game versus Slovakia.

Italy is out and they deserved too. 30 minutes (the last ones) of decent football are not enough to qualify.

I used to dislike football (soccer for the americans), but lately I've been enjoying it a lot. I watched plenty games of both the italian Serie A and the english Premiere Legue last season. Enough to have an opinion about Italy's performance, so here you have it.

IMO the manager Lippi did a really bad job at selecting the players. He left home players like Totti and Cassano who would have done sure better than Montolivo or Pepe or Iaquinta.

He left sitting on the bench two great Napoli players: Quagliarella and Maggio. As soon as those two entered the game (together with another great player Pirlo, who had been injured till then) the difference was clearly noticeable.

But the biggest mistake of all was to replace the injured keeper Buffon with the inexperienced Marchetti who looked and acted quite nervous. Napoli goal keeper De Sanctis (sitting on the bench) would have done a much better job.

Now that the first round is almost over, the tournament will get interesting. I sure don't want to miss Germany vs England, let's hope for a good game.
At the very beginning of the the world cup, England was my favorite. So much talent (despite all the injuries) on the pitch, let's see if Capello finally will let them play they way they know to.

That's all I have to say and to try to avoid to make this the most boring post ever, here's a lil south swell shot.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Dave Kalama's secret spot revealed

The little south swell is pumping (I know, that's an oxymoron) and yesterday I ended up behind a celebrity on the highway.

He's my paparazzi job.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

a peculiar pet

The first two comments inspired me to add some information.

Average number of people killed by sharks worldwide every year: 4
Average number of people killed in car accidents worldwide every year: 1.2 millions
Average number of people killed by DOGS IN THE USA ONLY every year: 26

In contrast we are killing close to 100 million sharks per year and most of them are simply killed for their fins to make shark fin soup, a status symbol in China. Next time you go into a chinese restaurant and you see shark fin soup on the menu remember an animal that has almost the same life span as you died for that soup and his fins were severed from his body and the body dumped over the side.

Virtually all the shark attacks happened because the shark thought the victim was either a seal (in the case of a surfer think how a surfer looks from below) or there was poor visibility in shallow water. Virtually all attacks are a single bite and the shark didn't come back for more because it didn't taste like he expected. The deaths are usually due to blood loss.
For more info on shark attacks and the number of sharks killed by humans go to:

Friday, June 18, 2010

true, been slacking a bit... with apologies

Post update.

I apologize with Daniele De Rossi. A (pissed off) italian reader sent me an email and pointed out that the Paraguay guy actually did hit him.
In the slow motion at minute 1:02, you can see the Paraguay guy lifting the front of his foot in order to hit De Rossi's left foot. He steps on De Rossi's left hill and De Rossi will fall a step after that. Quite a dangerous contact actually, since he could have tore his Achille's tendon.

That's one case in which the replay would have not helped much... at least if I was the referee!
Maybe instead of a hand held device in the hand of the referee, there should be a team of experts evaluating each case on a big screen HD tv on the side of the pitch.


As kindly reminded, I've been slacking a bit (surfing some) and here's the report of a couple of decent wave sailing days at Hookipa.
I'll start from Wednesday 16, Tuesday 15 coming up soon.

Don't really have a favorite, so I'll leave the chronological order, also because the one I kinda liked best was the first one anyway.
Laurent goiter.

Nico takes the Maui Surf Report logo high up. He's my best team rider, for sure.

Mark, mutant clew first.

Fireman Vince Steves.

Spanish sailor Anna Blanc bails out.





Yeah, let's put Griffin up too.

Pascal's body language seems to indicate that he wasn't particularly challenged by this wave.

Been doing some surfing as I was saying.
Standup is no problem, but regular surfing... oh boy. Even though I'm sure it is part of the problem, I'm not even going to blame the stiffness of my foot. It's just that after almost three months of not surfing you just suck at it when you try it again.
Tried Hookipa first and the patheticness of the attempt was mind blowing.
South shore was much better, but still far from what I used to be able to do.
Now. Should I be pissed off that I can't surf like I used to or happy that I'm finally able to surf again? The answer is too easy... bloody pissed off! :)

Jokes apart, being able to be in the water again is great.
Those little waves on the south shore made me completely forget about the standup downwinders and the July race, maybe will do a few more in the weekend, waiting for the new south swell to show up. Midweek should be good. Not as big as I first thought (gale winds weren't as strong as forecasted), but hopefully we'll see some head highers on the Lahaina side. Let's see how I do with those.

Stay tuned for the second wave sailing report and aloha.

PS. Oh yeah, Italy put all that hard training to use right away.
Seems like Daniele De Rossi will be selected as part of the Italian Diving team at the next Olympics. His interpretation was so convincing that even the Paraguay guy apologized thinking he really hit him...

There's one simple way shameful behaviors like these could be easily avoided by the FIFA: the use of replays. Even if not caught by the referee live, nowadays technology would easily allow the referee to review the action from many different angles on spot with a hand held device. NBA referees do that all the times (btw, yesterday's one was the worse final game ever!).
And even if the referee doesn't catch it at all, the day after the game a specialized team should review each game and when they spot something like this, they should issue a one year suspension to the cheating player. Immediately all cheatings would stop. That simple.

PPS. KP did this video of the first the of the Pistol River wave contest in Oregon.

Pistol River Wave Bash Day 1 from Kevin Pritchard on Vimeo.

Good job Samantha for organizing a contest that seems to have grouped quite a few sailors despite the cold water and cross on conditions.
Is this a sign that it's time for someone to try to organize a wave contest in Maui again? I think it's well overdue...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Battle of the Paddle press release + Italy football team training

HONOLULU - (Sunday, June 13, 2010) -- Stand-up paddling (SUP) came full circle back to its home of Waikiki, Hawaii, this weekend, surpassing every conceivable expectation with the ultimate combination of sport and lifestyle. Over 600 paddlers from around the world gathered for the inaugural Rainbow Sandals Gerry Lopez Battle of the Paddle Hawaii, presented by Quiksilver Waterman Collection, and thousands turned out to watch. When all was said and done, everyone had a story to tell.

The turquoise waters of Waikiki, and surreal backdrop of Diamond Head, were reminders of a time long ago, when the upright figure of Duke Kahanamoku riding a board first captured imaginations.

But it was Californian Danny Ching (Redondo Beach), 27, who captivated the crowd this time around, making a clean sweep of the 5-mile Elite Battle and the 10-mile Downwinder.

Above: Elite Race Excitement
Photo: Pat Huber/Rainbow Sandals

In Saturday's Elite race, Ching was embroiled in a 5-mile battle royale with dark horse Australian paddler Travis Grant (Gold Coast). Punctuated by 19 buoy turns and two 75-yard beach sprints, their race ended in a sprint for the shoreline that left them separated by just 13 seconds after close to an hour and a half of dueling. He then overcame Sunday morning's fatigue to go on and win the 10-mile distance race.

"I didn't expect that at all," said Ching. "I was hoping to win one of the days but luckily it panned out for me. I definitely felt fatigued (in the distance race). But once I got out into the surf I was able to build a bit of a gap. I was figuring that would hold them off at the end because if you raced (the Elite race) you were going to have a hard time making the final push the last two miles.

"Sparky's Rainbow Sandal races are the best," said Ching. "He puts up the biggest prize purse, the best competitors and the biggest event. Everything about it is amazing."

Ching crossed the Elite race line in one hour, 22 minutes and 42 seconds to take win $5,000. He completed the 10-mile downwind race in 1 hour and 26 minutes for an added $1,100.

Grant, 27, finished the Elite race in 1:22:55 for $3,500; and veteran Hawaiian paddler Aaron Napoleon, 43, was third in 1:26:30 for $2,500. Jamie Mitchell (Australia), the most dominant paddleboarder in the world, was fourth in 1:27:00.

In the women's division, San Clemente's Candice Appleby took out the Elite battle, earning $2,500 with her time of 1:35:25. Second was Australian Shakira Westdorp. In the distance race, Maui's Andrea Moller took line honors.

Beyond the world's best, paddlers who participated this weekend ranged from pint-sized, surf-savy kids, to mothers, grand-mothers, and 72-year-old Frank Perna (Malibu, CA) - the oldest competitor of the weekend.

The Battle of the Paddle also featured exhibits, booths, clinics for children, relays for families, fun races and plenty of SUP sampling. There were spirit-moving cultural ceremonies, impassioned volunteers and priceless ocean-based programs like Na Kama Kai. But beneath it all, there was the pure and simple fun that Waikiki has famously offered the world for centuries.

In some ingenious way, Gerry Lopez, Jay "Sparky" Longley, and the families of Rainbow Sandals and Quiksilver Waterman Collection tied together all the best elements of the stand-up paddle lifestyle and presented them in an exciting, easy to grasp, 21st century framework. The total prize purse for the weekend was equally stunning: $25,000.

It takes a community to raise a lifestyle: Mahalo to the SUP families of Rainbow Sandals, Quiksilver Waterman Collection, Patagonia, Maui Jim Sunglasses, Outrigger Hotels & Resorts, Kona Brewing Co., DaKine, Duke's Waikiki, and Surftech, for bringing a new dawn of SUP to Waikiki Beach.


1 1 hour 22 minutes 42.3 seconds DANNY CHING (Redondo Beach, CA)
2 1:22:55.1 - TRAVIS GRANT (Queensland, Australia)
3 1:26:30.8 - AARON NAPOLEON (Waianae, HI)
4 1:27:00.6 - JAMIE MITCHELL (Queensland, Australia)
5 1:27:20.6 - BYRON KURT
6 1:27:23.1 - SCOTT GAMBLE
7 1:27:26.1 - SLATER TROUT (Maui, HI)
8 1:27:32.7 - CONNOR BAXTER (Maui, HI)
9 1:28:39.0 - MATT BECKER
10 1:28:47.4 - SEPA K. NAPOLEON

1. 1:35:25.3 - CANDICE APPLEBY (San Clemente, CA/Honolulu, HI)
2. 1:36:35.2 - SHAKIRA WESTDORP (Queensland, Australia)
3. 1:37:51.6 - BRANDI BAKSIC (San Clemente, CA)
4. 1:41:30.2 - JENNY KALMBACH (Big Island, HI)
5. 1:41:50.9 - MORGAN HOESTEREY (Oahu, HI)


1st male: DANNY CHING (Redondo Beach, CA)
1st female: ANDREA MOLLER (Maui)


Ok, that was the end of the press release, and since there's no official result on the race website, I'm going to unofficially add that Scott Gamble came second in the long distance (I think... I was helping a customer and I overheard that), while I'm sure that Connor Baxter came third.

So congrats to Andrea and Connor, but I was overly impressed by Danny Ching, who took the place of Jamie Mitchell as the new paddling machine to beat.
Temporarily, I'd say... they will all have to deal with me and my ultra hi-tech Timpone 12.6 in July! :)

Oh, Italy is about to play their first game this morning. I'm quite excited, since the italians have been refining their unique skills with some pretty hard training lately. Check this out:

Sunday, June 13, 2010

June new moon low tide...

...pretty much as low as it gets.

A couple of extremely rare knee high CLEAN waves.

Fortunately, I was able to entertain myself with these photos, because the surfing, as usual, sucked.
I can take knee high and clean or shoulder high and onshore, but not the two things (knee high and onshore) together. And that is what most of the times, unfortunately, Maui's south shore offers when the buoy is at 2 feet.
Under the same conditions, Oahu offers shoulder high and offshore, that's why last year I went there and had a blast.

Fortunately, I can now see the first decent fetch in the south pacific maps. This one is forecasted to happen on Thursday June 17 and that means after one week we'll have a big south swell. Bigger than two feet at the buoy, so hopefully we'll see some energy in the water.
I wouldn't get excited if I were you, since you never know with the south swells... but I am actually excited because it will hopefully be my return on a regular surfboard. Man, I hope I can still pop upright...

Very nice webcast of the Battle of the paddle yesterday from Waikiki (good job Bart, who came in before Mark, Scott and Livio!). Today's there's a "downwind" course. Start at 10am Hawaii time.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


This is the best animated surfing video I've ever seen.

PS. Battle of the paddle live from Waikiki here.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

best SUP downwinders ever

Back in early 2004, I invented the SUP downwinders.

I know it sounds quite arrogant (don't I always sound arrogant?), but if you did a downwinder before that, let me know and I won't claim it anymore...
One day I'll write an article to describe how it happened and what kind of routine I came up with in order to be able to do downwinders without needing a ride back. I did that all summer and that led me to win the first official downwind paddling race with an SUP division.

After a while I got over them and moved on to something else, but lately I've been doing a hell lot of them: 5 in the last 5 days!
It's a great therapy for my healing foot and it's way more fun than those boring exercises that the physical therapist gave me. The rougher the water is, the more I engage all those little muscles in the feet that need to be awaken after such a long sleep.

Not having a downwind board (my Kazuma 9.3x27.5 is not exactly the best board for it), I went to the lifeguards at Kanaha, to which last year I donated my historical 12.6 Timpone, and asked them if I could have it back for a couple of months.
It weighs a ton and it's clearly not the fastest board, but it's 26 inches wide (or should I say narrow) and the balance on it is extremely challenging. Great! The more challenging, the better for my foot.

My plan is to do a downwinder a day (ok, maybe 5 a week is more realistic) for the next month or so and eventually enter the Naish race on July 18th... I stand no chances because in the meantime specialized race boards have proliferated, but the whole north shore will probably do the race and it would be fun to just hang out with friends.

It's not always easy to find someone to organize a downwinder with (you need a ride back) and even though there's now a shuttle service for canoe and SUP downwinders ($10 per ride), I found a cheaper and more often available way... the Maui bus! One dollah!

Here's my routine.
Every morning I drop my board on the beach at Kuau. It's a very safe neighborhood and no one would steal it (also because of its weight and age).
Then I go home (100 yards from the beach) and load my bicycle on my car. I drive to work in Kahului and work my 4 hours shift (when I say life is too short work 8 hours a day, I mean it!) from 10 to 2.
When I'm done, I drive to Kanaha, park the car, and with the bike I go to the airport and catch the bus at 2.40. The only risk is that there's already two bikes on the bus rack. In that case, I have two options: go back to the beach and hang out 1.5 hours waiting for the next bus or pedal my way against the wind to Kuau. Good luck with that on my bike!

When I get to Kuau, I drop the bike at home, walk to the beach and start my downwinder there. Getting in the water with a 35 pounds board in the strong wind on the slippery rocks is by far the toughest part of it, but it's a old board and I almost slide it on the rocks...

Once in the water, the magic starts.
Now, let me state this very clear. Even though I know plenty people that absolutely love downwinders more than any other sport activity and even though I enjoy them a lot too (otherwise there would be no such post), one good wave ridden on a regular surfboard is for me source of more fun then an hour of paddling downwind.
You do catch glides when downwinding, but you pretty much go straight, don't do any turns, don't hit any lips.

It's a completely different game, in which your goal is to try to catch as many windwaves as possible and stay with them as long as possible.
What I like about the downwinders is that from the moment I start to the moment I arrive, my focus is entirely dedicated to keeping the front of the board barely out of the water and adjusting the speed trying not to poke the next wind wave in front.

It's as close as I can get to meditation. Absolutely no time to think about anything else. Once in a while I have to look more forward to see if I'm going in the right direction or if I'm approaching an outside reef that is breaking (there's a couple of them on the way and I try to stay away from them), but most of the time I watching and analyzing the water between the front of the board and 10 feet ahead of it.

That's what my universe is reduce to during downwinders and I found it extremely refreshing not to let the mind wonder over any of the artificially created thoughts that I would otherwise be thinking (how's the NBA game going to be tonight, I need groceries for dinner, what kind of camera lens should I buy, when is my foot going to be 100% normal again, etc...).

Downwinders are not spectacular. Nonetheless, my friend Bill did an excellent job in documenting one, but watching it and doing it are two really different things.
Anyway, here's his remarkable effort.

As the title clearly suggests, the cranking wind lately has made for some of the best runs ever.
Here's yesterday's wind graph from

And here's some unofficial new records.

A source of excellent tips and an overall very enjoyable site is Dave Kalama's blog.

A couple of windsurfing related links.

New issue of Windsurfer International.

Two high jump contests: the first one at the same time of the Pistol River wave bash, the second later in the Gorge.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

5 30 Hookipa shots

Time to post those shots I took quite a few days ago (the first day of the Goya/Quatro photoshoot).

Photo of the day goes to Kevin Ponichera (who gave name to the move Ponch).

Chronological order now.


Pio makes the blog. Azz!


Levi (blurred, but too good action to leave out).


Pascal trademark top turn.


Laurent and mini-Jake.
I think Jake was doing an aerial on the wave that you can see in the bottom of the photo, while Laurent jumped the wave before and that one is not in the photo at all (didn't have time to zoom out early enough). Hence the optical reduction of Jake into mini-Jake.

So cute.

Josh smiles for the photographer.

A beauty goes windsurfing.





Josh. Love his push loops.


Another beauty has gone windsurfing.

Checking the water photos... right off the water.


Junko broke two masts!