Thursday, April 29, 2010

Banff Mountain Film Festival

A few weeks ago, Rob and I had the good fortune to attend the Banff Mountain Film Festival showing at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte. It was an excellent collection of outdoor adventure films, along with good food, drink, and live music. Below is a trailer of the entire collection of the 2009/2010 Banff Mountain Film Festival films on tour, and then some trailers and descriptions of some of the films we saw at the USNWC.

Banff Mountain Film Festival North American Tour

Africa Revolutions Tour (whitewater kayaking tour in Africa for a cause - solar power)

Check out the insane white water kayaking action at 3:15.

Go here to see the trailer for "Take a Seat" - a documentary about a Brit, Dominic Gil, who rode a tandem bicycle from the tip of Alaska to the tip of South America. It took him over 2 years and he had over 200 strangers jump on the rear saddle to ride with him over the course of his journey. This was a festival favorite and certainly one of mine. Dominic was there at the USNWC to present his film. See this film if you can find it.

Kranked: Revolve (mountain biking)

Deep/Shinsetsu (deep powder snow skiing)

deep/shinsetsu TRAILER from ebis films. on Vimeo.

First Ascent - Alone on the Wall
This features climber Alex Honnold, for his landmark free solo of “Moonlight Buttress” (V, 5.12, 9 pitches) in Zion National Park in April of 2008, and his next challenge: free solo of the “Regular Northwest Face” route (VI, 5.12a, 23 pitches) on Yosemite’s Half Dome. One word - insane. Sadly, I can't find any video trailers of this on the net, and for some reason it's not at the producers' web site, but it was an amazing film to watch.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

April 25th WIND

Great day on the lake. Couldn't make it to the coast or to Ramsey Park with the rest of the crew...only had a limited amount of time to windsurf today so I stayed close to home. Rob came out with me and we were fully lit up on 6.4s but could have been on 5.4s. We rigged for what we thought would be the average wind speed and we were close. The wind was SW 15-30mph on a partly sunny high 70s beautiful day. We're both very pleased with our gear and how it responds to big gusts and overpowered conditions. Here's today's evidence including a brief 1 minute video...

April 25 '10 LKN Windsurfing from WaterTurtle Productions on Vimeo.

Check the Charlotte Windsurfing Forum for others' posts and pictures of today's windsurfing at the lake and the coast.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


First saw this linked from GP.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

California Trip Wrap-up

Back home...what an awesome trip. I updated the previous four posts with captions under the pictures.

Highlights and summary -

Our goal of the trip was to visit our friends and former neighbors, Cary & Julie and their kids, and go exploring as much as we could of Southern and Central California in one week.

Cary & Julie live in Huntington Beach. A big thanks to Cary, Julie and their kids for hosting us. We had a blast and enjoyed exploring CA with you! All the kids did great, they traveled well, and I hope they remember this experience for a long time.

Huntington Beach really is Surf City, USA. When Cary & I went to SUP surf early one morning, there were a lot of surfers already in the water at 6:45am. When we left the water to go back and meet the family at 9am, there were many more folks in the water....everywhere for miles between Bolsa Chica and Huntington pier. If you love surfing and want to be around many other surfers, this is the place. Waves everywhere with surfers of all sizes, shapes, and ages. We took the kids stand up paddling at Huntington Harbor. Cary has his whole family paddling now...very cool.

I want to give a big shout out to the good folks at the Stand Up Paddle Co of Laguna Beach. Here is a recent local write up on them. I met and spoke to the owner, Tommy Donnelly, and we talked about the SUP stoke on the east coast. He had just paddled that morning with EJ Johnson in Dana Point. Our conversation was about 1 minute before the earthquake struck that made big news on Easter. I had stepped out of the shop for just a moment to speak with one of my sons when it hit and I didn't even feel it. I think I didn't notice it because I was so focused on my son and was bent over at his level. But Cary came running out to show me the chandeliers still swaying back and forth in the shop. Everyone else felt it. So here's to Tommy and the good folks at the Stand Up Paddle Co of Laguna was good to share our first earthquake with you...on their 2nd day of being open...Cheers! It's a very nice shop by the way...go check them out if you're in the area. By the way, I definitely felt one of the aftershocks the next morning.

Thanks also to Ralph Bill of Sup-Position for coming out to SUP surf with Cary and I at the Bolsa Chica jetties and bringing me the Starboard Element to try out. Contact Ralph if you're in the area....nice guy and was super stoked out on the water.

We checked out Dana Point Harbor and Doheny State Park. This is SUP central where a lot of the SoCal pro SUP'ers train and is home to the Battle of the Paddle. A very nice area. I was hoping to test some race boards while there but our timing was off with it being Easter and everyone was closed (except for the Laguna shop).

Santa Barbara - another cool beach town. A big thanks to Will V for providing some great recommendations and also coming out of his way to greet Cary and I early at the beach to point out where to SUP surf. Unfortunately, work called and he couldn't surf with us. Saw a dolphin while we were SUP surfing - always good karma. Loved that right hand point break...perfect for SUP surfing.

Pismo Beach - another cool beach town (see the pattern forming here?). We saw whales from our room's balcony at Spyglass Inn overlooking Shell Beach. Also saw sea otters hanging out in the kelp close to shore and seal pups swimming up to the beach. The kids had a blast playing in the tidal pools and seeing lot of little sea critters. Lots of surfers were out there....big overhead waves. Saw a few SUP'ers out there.

Cambria/San Simeon - one word...stunning. Absolutely gorgeous country. As Alan says, it's dreamland. The beautiful Pacific Ocean with big rolling green hills and mountains abutting right up next to it. The pictures don't do it justice. There were hundreds of Elephant Seals at the beach four miles north of San Simeon. We loved watching them as much as the kids did. We took a very nice hike out on the point of San Simeon Bay at WR Hearst Park. We visited the Hearst Castle but didn't do the full tour experience which would have taken over 1/2 day and lots of $$. But it is an impressive sight to see. We drove several miles north of San Simeon towards Big Sur but didn't go very far before turning around. Those roads aren't for the faint of heart. We didn't have time and the kids didn't have the stomachs for the whole Big Sur driving experience. But what little views we saw were absolutely beautiful. Stopped by Arroyo Laguna, the local windsurfing/kitesurfing beach. One kiter was already out and others were rigging their sails and kites...the wind really picked up that afternoon. Big thanks to Brian Caserio for all the great tips/recommendations on things to do in this area.

Our last day was just a mental day with no plans but to drive south back towards LAX and see what we could. We saw the Oceano Dunes State Park, the cool little Danish town of Solvang, the town of Ventura, and did the PCH Hwy 1 drive from Ventura down to Malibu and on to Santa Montica. On the way, we saw many of the famous SoCal surf breaks - Rincon, C Street, Leo Carrillo, Point Dume, Zuma Beach. I wanted to see Jalama but we just plain ran out of time for that out of the way drive.

There is so much to see and do that you possibly can't do it all in one week. I'm grateful for the two SUP surf sessions we had and for everything we were able to experience. Whenever I return, I want to spend more time in Santa Barbara and the Cambria/San Simeon area....and go see all of the Big Sur Hwy 1 drive between San Simeon and Carmel. I also want to spend more time in the Dana Point, San Clemente, and San Onofre area for more stand up paddling.

On to the next outdoor adventure...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Where Are We? Part Quatre

UPDATED 4/10/10 with picture captions -
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In my previous post, there were two locations...the first was Santa Barbara. That right hand point break where we SUP surfed was near Goleta Beach. One of the pictures was of the Farmers Market on State Street...the main drag with all the shops and restaurants.

Check Mark's comment in the last post...I promise we did not speak this week and I have no idea how he guessed what he did. Mark must have had esp because we did eat at the Beach Side Bar & Grill at Goleta Beach and I did actually eat the Halibut for dinner...and Kris actually had the shrimp soup. This is where I took the pics of the palms trees on the beach and the pier in the previous post. I think he's using Google Maps street view but his guess for our dinner fare was spot on. If you're in the Santa Barbara area, go eat here and get a table outside next to the beach. A very big thank you to local Will V for the dinner recommendations and the tips on the local SUP surfing.

No one guessed the second's Pismo Beach, our home base for a couple of days. We're staying at the Spyglass Inn. It's also the site of the first three pictures below. After that, you'll have to guess where we should be an easy guess even if you've never been there (there are actually four different areas pictured but they are very close together)......

Pismo Beach (Shell Beach)

Pismo Beach (Shell Beach)

Pismo Beach (Shell Beach)

Morro Rock at Morro Bay

downtown Cambria

WR Hearst Park at San Simeon Bay - we hiked out to the end of the point

WR Hearst Park at San Simeon Bay - we hiked out to the end of the point

on our hike, looking back at San Simeon Bay and pier. The Hearst Castle is on top of that mountain in the background.

Arroyo Laguna - the windsurfing and kitesurfing beach at San Simeon

view looking south from Ragged Point, 12 miles north of San Simeon

Elephant seals, 4 miles north of San Simeon

Elephant seal

Elephant Seals, 4 miles north of San Simeon

Hearst Castle, San Simeon

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Where Are We? Part Tres

UPDATED 4/10/10 with picture captions -

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

So we started our trip at Huntington Beach with our friends and former neighbors (and now HB residents), Cary & Julie and their kids. Our last morning there (after a touristy day in L.A. hence the Santa Monica pier shot from the previous post), Cary and I stand up paddle surfed at the Bolsa Chica jetties with local Ralph Bill of Sup-Position. I rented a Starboard Element (9'8" x 30") for the session from Ralph. My own board is a great all arounder 10'10" (SOS Big Blue - the 1st production SUP board) so I was very curious how it would feel to be on a shorter board. It was definitely tippy at first but I got more comfortable on it after a while. A few more sessions on that board and I could have it wired. I liked the Element but I now appreciate my Big Blue even more now because it's so stable and is a wave catching machine. Anyway, the conditions were interesting...the waves came in wobbly peaks and to catch them, you had to paddle into the steepest part of the peak for the drop in. They were waist to chest high with a few overhead waves. Great morning session before we set off for other parts...

...those other parts included another morning SUP session the next day in mellower knee to waist high waves on a nice right hand point break. It was like a conveyor belt of after the other. Here's a quick video clip of the only other guy out there with us. A picture of that point break is just below the video. We paddled out to it from the spot I took that pic.

Campus Point, Goleta

Goleta Beach Park

Goleta Beach Park pier and Beach Side Bar & Grill

Goleta Beach Park

Farmers Market, State Street, Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara Yacht Club building at the wharf and marina waterfront area

Then we moved on to other parts again...

Pismo Beach

The view from our room at the Spyglass Inn

The view from our room at Spyglass Inn

the boardwalk in front of oceanfront hotels at Pismo Beach (Shell Beach area)

Pismo Beach (view from Shell Beach)

Pismo Beach (Shell Beach)

Pismo Beach (Shell Beach)

Pismo Beach (Shell Beach)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Where Are We? Part Deux

UPDATED 4/10/10 with picture captions -
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

We started out in Huntington Beach, staying with our good friends Cary & Julie and their kids. That first pic in the last post with the Huntington Beach pier in the background was taken at TKs across the street...great cheeseburgers. We're starting to move to different places however...

Santa Monica pier...looking north towards Malibu

Santa Monica pier

It has been an exciting start to the trip. An unfortunate big quake centered in northwest Mexico gave us our first earthquake experience. And of all places to experience it, it was in a Stand Up Paddle shop...Stand Up Paddle Co of Laguna Beach on their 2nd day of being open. Funny thing – I didn’t even notice but everyone else did. Only when I saw the chandeliers swaying in the shop did I notice. Everyone was saying it felt like they were on the water and for some reason I didn’t even feel or notice that. At the moment it hit, I was bent over talking to my son just outside the front door. My son said he didn’t notice it either. My wife and other son were sitting in the car out front. She thought one of us was standing on the rear car bumper and shaking the car, then she looked up and saw the street sign shaking. This morning, I awoke to an aftershock and definitely felt that one. I heard a low rumble and then a jolting shake of the house for 1 second and that was it.

Wave conditions haven't worked in our favor yet for SUP surfing because of onshore winds. Today would have been a great day to windsurf but the logistics of getting all the gear together in the right place was too big to overcome. Still hoping to test some SUP boards and keeping fingers crossed for tomorrow...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Where Are We?

UPDATED 4/10/10 with picture captions -
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

at TKs in Huntington Beach across from the pier. Great cheeseburgers at TKs!

Some flat water paddling with the kids in Huntington Harbor. Great spot for SUP...take in the houses and boats.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Cabarete Memories

One year ago, I took the family to Cabarete, Dominican Republic. If you have a family and are interested in taking them to a windsurfing destination, consider Cabarete. Consider Cabarete even if you don't have a family...there's something for everyone. You can windsurf in waves or flat water, surf, stand up paddle in flat water or waves, kitesurf, mountain bike, hike, shop, go snorkeling, or just plain sunbathing on the beach or poolside.

Here is a collection of posts from our week there that will give you a good indication of what you can expect...

We're here...Cabarete

Waves Got Bigger

Cabarete Images

Final Thoughts On Cabarete

Cabarete Reef Video

and the family video I put together...

Cabarete Memories from WaterTurtle Productions on Vimeo.