Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tsunami surfing

Tsunami warnings for the pacific rim were issued this morning following a massive 8.8 earthquake off Chile. South facing beaches seemed more agitated this morning

while protected north west facing beaches were totally flat until around 9:30 this morning.

State and county lifeguards shut down all the state beaches by 9am but I was able to find a place to paddle out anyways.

I surfed for three hours finally getting out a little before 1 pm. Conditions were all over today- it was cloudy, sunny, & rainy at different times and the waves ranged from knee high to occasional overhead sets. I was even able to get covered up a couple times.

The crazy thing is that a lot of beginners with their foam boards were wading into the surf as I left and the full force of the tsunami was supposed to hit around 1:30pm. It'll probably be like the Mavericks competion where a massive wave took out a crowd of spectators and some even ended up in the hospital with broken legs.

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Surfing Lessons

I took my oldest daughter out this afternoon and the conditions were pretty good- about 1-3' and pretty smooth. She has a 8' Wavestorm blue foamboard so if the board hits her it won't be as rough on her. I pushed her into several waves and she able to get up on a couple. After a while she got bored & started making sand castles so I took her board out and got a bunch of waves too. The wavestorm isn't as nice as my other boards but I was still able to have fun.

I just got her a wetsuit off eBay for $60, a O'Neill 3/2 Mutant. I spent last weekend with my daughter going to all the local shops looking for a new wetsuit for her but couldn't find anything good for less than $120. Kids grow so fast it's hard to keep them in wetsuits! She will probably go through two a year. I feel bad about not buying local & supporting my local shops, mais c'est la vie et la situation economique maintenant.

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

I may have a problem...

I checked the surf report & my heart rate picked up. I checked the surf cam & started feeling anxious.

Gotta go, I'll be back in 3 hours.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Lunch Recess

I snuck away during lunch today and surfed for an hour- waves were about knee high and glassy. There was a surf school monopolizing the main break so I surfed the next one over and still got many nice ones without getting run over. Doesn't look like they are teaching surf etiquette in these schools as its often a free for all with these guys.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Presidents Day Surf

Beautiful day in California for Presidents Day! I got to sleep in and then surf for three hours. The waves were head high+ with lots of closeouts approaching double overhead. I started out on my longboard and quickly realized was on the wrong board and swapped it out for my 6'10" short board. The waves were large enough to keep all the foam boards on the beach so there was only three of us in the lineup. The drops were steep, but fun. At the end I had a funky tan line on my neck from my wetsuit. I am sure i'll hear about it tomorrow as its a couple inches above my shirt collar.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Winter Olympics

Africa is represented by 7 countries at the 2010 winter Olympics in Vancouver: Algeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, Madagascar, Morocco, Senegal, and South Africa. My favorite story so far from Africa is the Ethiopian skier Robel Teklemariam who dry-land skis through Addis for training. I am looking forward to watching the Africans through these Olympic games.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Staying up late

Staying up way too late tonight researching a good travel surfboard and a replacement wetsuit. Considering a tuflite board since they can take a beating and are easy to repair- and will still work/float even if they have a hole in 'em. Some of the leading boards I am considering include the Rusty Desert Island and the Channel Islands M13. Need something that can handle a wide variety of conditions and be a 1 board quiver.

My current boards are the JC Hawaii Flomaster 9' longboard and a 6' 10" JC Hawaii Equalizer. Both are good boards and the Flomaster can handle a wider variety of conditions, but would be tougher to travel with given its larger size. Also considering a fish...

My plan is to pick one up as a souvenir on our next trip back to Hawaii this spring.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Niger faces food crisis

In preparing my news article for french class tomorrow i came across an article on the Radio France International website that is very interesting in how the government is approaching the looming food crisis If my translation is correct 2.7 million people in Niger are facing a food shortage and the response of the government was to release 6 million de francs CFA to buy cereals.

That sounds like a lot of money until you plug it into a currency converter, then the amount seems really small- only $12,523. You can't even buy a "good" car for that much in Niger- how far is $12,523 going to stretch? This amount seems ridiculous when you consider how much money the government spends on other things, but at least its a something (about a 1/2 cent per person).

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Don't Forget the Pepto!

I went out to get some dinner last night at a local pizza place. The food tasted alright but about 30 minutes later my stomach started to make terrible noises & I almost doubled over. The rest of the evening was ruined as I couldn't stray to far from the toilet. Normally I have a very strong constitution but this was abrupt & violent. The last couple times I traveled in Asia & Europe I never had a problem so it's weird I was taken down by a pizza place in a regular American city.

This incident reinforced the importance of packing a variety of medicines and first aid stuff for the African expedition. I won't forget the pepto! I should bring a couple different kinds & flavors since I am going to be abroad for about a year.

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Stormy seas

Yesterday we had every type of weather but good. When I paddled out at my usual spot there were about a dozen or so in the water but as the weather got progressively worse they got out of the water until it was just two of us. We were trading waist high drops in a light rain and a steady onshore wind. In the end I got in a 2 1/2 hour session.

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

My Inspiration: Endless Summer

The Endless Summer has been my inspiration for my African trip. I learned to surf while i went to school in Hawaii and have surfed both the east and west coasts of the USA. I am living in Northern California while i go to school for french and surfing as much as possible.

Here's a link to a youtube video of the Endless Summer

Getting Around Africa

I originally wanted to drive around the continent like ONS4 who managed to drive around the continent with 2 young kids but after some calculations decided to base myself out of Dakar. Dakar would also provide decent surf when i was in town and not on the road exploring.

I found a place where i can stay for cheap in Dakar and borrow a Toyota Landcruiser for local use so i can get around alright. From Dakar I can fly to most of Africa either by Johannesburg or through Paris (much more expensive). Flights from Dakar to Capetown through Johannesburg cost around $1300 round trip on South African Airlines and its about the same for most flights through SAA. Through Paris the prices triple or double.

My plan is to use local transportation as available: trains, buses as well as rent a 4x4 for the trips along the beach. It looks like Hertz has the best rates so far and have the most locations around the continent.

My rough plan for my first trip after arriving in Africa is to fly down to Johannesburg, take a train to see the countryside to Capetown, then rent a car and spend a couple weeks driving the coast from Namibia to Mozambique stopping to surf where ever it looks good, then take the train back from Durban and fly back to Dakar.

French Lessons

French classes are going pretty good. Today we had another series of tests - each was an hour long for reading, listening, and speaking. Most passages were taken from french newspapers or radio news articles.

Normally each class we present a news article and have to present a vocabulary list, summary, and go through a question and answer session with the class. The article i presented yesterday was from Radio France International (RFI) about the Magal in Senegal:

So far we have learned the following tenses: present, passé composé, imparfait, futur simple, futur proche, conditionel, and subjunctif. When this last semester is complete i will get an associates degree in French!

2 Session Friday

I was able to get two surf sessions in today between French classes- I went at lunch and then again in the afternoon after class and the conditions were very different even though i surfed the same break. Lunch was low tide and after school was high tide.

Low tide was small- mostly shin to knee high sets and very short rides. High tide was much better with waist high sets to head-high closeouts. I rode my JC Hawaii Flomaster 9' Longboard for both sessions and its a great all around board. I was able to get the smaller waves as well as take the head-high drops on the same board.

The Big Idea

I am preparing for a year-long African adventure starting this summer- i will be based out of Dakar, Senegal and will try to visit as many countries as possible with my budget of $40,000. My initial plan is to surf around the continent in as many countries as possible, but will check out other places in Africa as well. I am planning a Feb or March Kilimanjaro ascent as well as tour of the Rift Valley.

I am preparing for this year long expedition by studying French full time and surfing as much as possible in different conditions so I can be ready for whatever the African surf throws at me. I already speak Portuguese (i lived in Rio de Janeiro for a couple years) so i should be able to make it around the continent without any problem communicating with the locals.