All posts by Water Words

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Beneath the Surface – With Zane Schweitzer

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Photo by Matty Schweitzer – Mat5o Media

It’s almost like having a visit from Zane on Christmas morning, Your favorite paddler, surfer or Ocean Enthusiast will dive right into this first edition book before the last piece of pumpkin pie has been served.

Click below and get ready to be the most popular Santa on the beach! (Sold on Amazon.com)

I know it seems impossible to imagine InZane (Zaniac) Zane Schweitzer sitting down long enough to wrote a book. The truth is in the title, BENEATH THE SURFACE! Because Zane has been keeping a daily journal since was 13 years old, all of his adventures, challenges, journeys, travel, friends and family stories were there – ready for this incredible collection of life stories. journal write zane

Enjoy this video while you wait for your books to arrive.

MUSE Camp: Dave Kalama, Stealth and Presence

I am in the midst of creating a workbook for the attendees of my SUP session at MUSE Camp near Bend, Oregon this August. There are so many things I want to share. It’s funny how inspiration for a section occurs. Often, a segment of an article will play visually in my mind, like a video. That happened this time.

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Photo Tomoko Okazaki

Today I was paddling up-current and into the wind on the Deschutes River. I was noticing how noisy my board was clipping along the wind chop. Suddenly, I realized that my paddle entering the water with gurgling and bubbles was part of the soundtrack. At that moment a visual flashed through my mind. It was just 10 days ago when i was paddling out on a glassy, chest high day at Launiupoko when who should come gliding by on a SUP foil – but Dave Kalama! (video here)

Dave and Laird Hamilton are like the fathers of standup paddling. I have interviewed this legend before, but it was by phone. Here I was in the water as Dave, a big guy, comes absolutely silently and gracefully swooping through the gin-clear wave in front of me. Our eyes met, and he flashed that kid-in-a-candy-store grin we all know.

Today, the most impressive part of that visual memory was the absolute stealth silence of the foil. It reminded me of a clinic Dave had taught. He taught us to really reach before making a clean, quiet stab into the water with the entire paddle blade. The catch is when the paddler puts the blade of the paddle into the water.  It’s basically all about getting a clean.  To get a clean entry you avoid bringing an excessive amount of air bubbles down into the water and no splashing.  The catch phase sets up the success for the other parts of the stroke.  If you mess up the catch, there is no way the rest of the stroke is going to work as it should.  

Dave Kalama says the most common mistake he sees people making with their stroke is not getting the blade all the way down into the water.  He says, you paid for the whole paddle, you might as well use the whole paddle.

I decided to really pay attention (read, “be present”) during this paddle and work on getting my catch quiet, full blade (KIALOA Tiare) immersed and no bubbles. While I was at it I thought a relaxed meditation would be fun, as well. I began with the mantra of “Be mindful, focused, present, breathe.” With each word I watched my paddle blade slip stealth-like into the water. Then came the return and reach – time for another catch. Each catch matched a word. This went on for maybe 35 minutes while I did a sweet up and down current loop.

Time flew by, I was surprised how quickly the distance clicked by. Thank you, Dave Kalama. I mixed stealth and presence for a fantastic paddle experience.

Surf’s UP: Hampton Inn PDX

Flying to Mexico, Hawaii, California or points more exotic for your standup paddle or surf adventure. Traveling with a SUP or longboard is an adventure (not always a good one) in itself. We had to drive from Bend to Portland in order to catch a plane that would carry a board longer than 115″ (LXWXH). Rather than have the drive and negotiate the timing to make our morning flight, we decided to come in the night before and stay somewhere that would safely keep our car for a good value price.

Imagine our delight at the experience we had at the Portland (OR) Airport Hampton Inn. We checked in about 6 PM (using the Stay and Fly process found online) and were delighted at our clean, modern, large room. Before crashing for the night we decided to drive the short distance to the north side of the airport to enjoy the view, the beer and the grindz at The Deck. It is a unique “secret” place well worth the hunt.

Back at the Hampton we had a nice cup of tea and enjoyed a movie on the flat screen television. Wifi is free so we did some Facebook updates then off the sleep. We had time to hit the clean, well-equipped fitness room for an hour of cardio, catch up with the news and some balance and strength training with the kettlebells and medicine balls. By then we welcomed fresh fruit, coffee, eggs and sausage for the complementary breakfast. The waffles looked great but we had beaches waiting for us.

We arrived at the airport easily 90 minutes before our flight – rested, exercised and well fed. Consider the Portland Airport Hampton Inn when you fly to your SUP or surf destinations.

A Sense of Wonder: Joyful Ripple Efect

Every day we wake up one day older – physically. Each day we have an incredible choice- to be a kid at heart, weaving wonder and joy into simple, ordinary moments. Last December, I had the opportunity to meet a woman whose personality, generous heart, wise spirit and open heart has changed and inspired the lives of her family and hundreds of others. I had a chance to chat with Carolyn Jackson for a few hours.

Carolyn’s life was too short, she passed on while surrounded by the love of her family just last month, but her spirit and energy remain alive – rippling out through the people she touched. Last night at her celebration of life her daughter, Shawneen Schweitzer, shared parts of this blog article written by Carolyn over nine years ago. One line resonated back to my heart this morning as I set out on a short walk along the beach on Maui.

“Come for a walk with me as I envelop myself in the abundance of Maui. Take a deep breath and see yourself cavorting with nature. This is the most wonderful way to start my day.”

The first thing I spotted along my walk were many joggers collecting their miles – and I wondered if they were collecting their smiles along the way. So I did what many friends of Carolyn’s mentioned last night, “Smile first.” So, I did. Soon we were all collecting smiles.

I was  dressed in shorts and a shirt, planning a calm walk along the shore. I recalled some questions Carolyn asked in her wonderful article, “How many of us are that capable of being true to our own inspiration. Should I do it? Should I get dressed [as Mary Poppins with her umbrella] and dance on the boardwalk? Should I completely embarrass my family? mmmm I think I should. What do you think?”

I felt pulled into the crystal clear water and stood knee deep watching the shore break swell cascade from my left toward me. Mesmerized, I watched it growing in size until I was eye-level with deep blue as the wave crashed at me waist-high, dousing me with kid-like pleasure. Normally, I would have jumped out of the way (keep your clothes dry, grownup). Not on this morning. I felt Carolyn there being an anonymous player in the sea with me.

ionsHer grandson, Zane, shared some facts I hadn’t heard before. If you stand with your feet sinking into the gooey, soft sand at the water’s edge, positive ions will flow from your body and you’ll receive energizing negative ions. Ions or not, as my feet sank deeper, to calf high, I just grinned. Now I was stuck and the waves played tag with me. My grin couldn’t have been bigger. A fresh spirit washed over me along with the salty water.

My day began in a wonderful way. No matter what your current sense of wonder or your existing spirit of presence and loving kindness, I invite you to let it expand even more by sharing this blog, “Clarity with Carolyn.” Begin your own ripple effect. P2SUP is my method of sharing. If you have thoughts on the subject or blogs/articles from which you glean inspiration please feel free to add them in the COMMENTS.

 

 

 

SUP Surf Photography: Maui

launiupoko217Sometimes I wish we had a drone with a great camera – and of course, some sweet editing skills to really document the fun we have had on knee to chest high waves on Maui this week. The zoom on our iPhone can’t quite capture the take off, far out from shore. Sometimes a still shot catches the wrong image. The videos show a small dot moving across a sweet wave. What can we do to really grab the most amazing images from a special trip?

 

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This image was taken by Dennis Oliphant from the water at a spot in Mexico, no zoom needed.

So, I have no great pictures from this week, but I do have a strategy. I have a collection of images captured in my mind. It is a skill I learned from my son about 15 years ago. I requires an active and vivid reflection on the experience you want to save as an “image in the mind.”

I was out at Launiupoko and it was bigger and different than it had been the past few days we’d been there. I got some rides and I got hammered some. To be 68 and to get pounded is cool in itself. Anyway, I was taking my last wave in and I caught a chest high glassy swell. It was a right (my fav) and the wall held up so that I could carve up and down the face of that beauty.

I can feel my feet on the my board, the rail responding to shifts in weight bring me from the left angled take-off, to a bottom turn toward the right. I see the green blue of the wave face shimmering ahead of me. I usually find a breaking wave in front of me, but on this ride the wave held up and I carved toward the top, then slid smoothly back down. There was time to do this twice, so rare for me. With very little effort i can bring the image to my mind at will. I believe that ride will stay with me for a long time.

The funny thing is, the ride is a lot more beautiful and extraordinary in my mind than it likely would have been even if the best videographer captured it. I invite you to hone your mental-image photography skill.

I cut out of the wave, went in and now we had a Big Swell IPA while watching the US Open at a bar on the beach. Life is so good.

 

Class of ’67: Florida Reunion and Hood River Tradition

Fifty years ago when this Florida surf chick wannabe was graduating from high school in Hollywood Florida an icon of Pacific Northwest hospitality opened its doors in Hood River.  Last weekend my daughter and granddaughter and I enjoyed another wonderful “girl trip” experience at Best Western Plus Hood River Inn. With “new” properties vying for your vacation attention pop up all the time it is refreshing and grounding to enjoy the amenities and customer service 50 years in the making. The culture of Hood River Inn greet you from the first moment.

On April 29, 1967, the Eddie Mays Inn original hotel-restaurant complex opened as a 64-unit, two level motel, two level restaurant that incorporated a lounge, main dining room, 24-hour coffee shop, two banquet rooms, and fruit grower’s sales building. Its opening attracted thousands of people, for tours of what would be a premier destination for lodging, dining, business and social events in the Gorge.

This weekend under the sunny skies of Hood River, surrounded by the sparkling waters of the Columbia River just steps away from the newly renovated riverfront dining areas and deck, we enjoyed the first night’s sunset wine and dinner outdoors. Were we hungry for the fresh and local fare? Absolutely! We had sunned and splashed at the outdoor pool protected from the wind by clear glass that allowed a full view of the river and sweeping panorama views.

It’s an easy walk to the event center where you can rent SUP, windsurf or kiting equipment and lessons. A mile will take to downtown amenities and you are close to the fruit, berries and wineries Hood River is known for. World class fishing is literally a stone’s throw away.

Think modern, clean, attention to detail and comfort when thinking about the accommodations. In 50 years, the Hood River Inn has more than tripled in size by many measures, into a 194-unit hotel, vibrant restaurant and lounge, providing 12,000 square feet of meeting space. Some of the hotel’s mid-nineteenth century “modern” design character remains, but the operations are firmly planted in the hospitality standards of today. The Best Western Plus Hood River Inn currently ranks as one of the best hotels in Oregon*on top review site, TripAdvisor, for “Best Value + Top Rated.” It’s among the top five most-reviewed hotels in the state on the same site. Its many awards and honors are evidence that, in its 50-year history, the Best Western Plus Hood River Inn has become one of the best destination and convention hotels in Oregon.

It’s summer – make your reservation now. And plan ahead for Fall. That’s a season the Hood River Inn is stellar for water athletes and lovers of fruit, leaves and fine dining.

 

 

 

SUP Mexico: Grand Palladium Vallarta Resort & Spa

It was the best way to put a wrap on the coldest, snowiest winter I have ever experienced. We watched all the YOUTUBE videos on how to pack a board, flew to Puerto Vallarta and drove a cool Nissan surf truck from Gecko car rentals to our resort – The Grand Palladium Vallarta Resort and Spa. Surprises and adventures beyond our imagination awaited. Most importantly – it was the people that added so much to the experience.

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Let’s begin with the waves! After all, that’s what we came for. Day one dawned and we peeked out from our ocean view balcony to the break called Burros just to the left of the more protected swimming beach in from of the Palladium. The little jutting out of land you see on the map is where the adult infinity pool and the friendliest bar you’d ever want to find is located. Burros was a solid 8 feet with occasion much larger sets rolling. No, you’re right, we had no business going out that day – but the water was warm and we were excited. Both Ed and I got some sweet lefts (the locals sort of owned the rights) – and we also got worked. It was a LOT of fun and adrenaline laced adventure. Yes, we did relax with a tropical drink afterward.  The team at the beach shack where you can borrow boogie boards, surf boards and SUP boards were amazing. Led by Eder and Elvin, each was knowledgeable and friendly – really added to the experience.

The next day we opted for a less challenging break so we drove in to Punta Mita to try the Anclote break. Holy cow, what a day! The consistent chest high, glassy rights were uncrowded and beyond fun.  To access the beach you can park then walk through the alley near the Cinco Hotel or (surprisingly) right through the El Coral restaurant! Water shoes can help, the shore is rocky and there are sea urchins. Once you get out to the break there is plenty of water. Long rights and an easy paddle out await – it was heaven.  (Photo credit and so much gratitude for the adventure – Dennis Oliphant)

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This ride will go “into the mind’s eye images” bank. As I am about to turn 68, this will inspire me.

Each day brought a slight change in the swell – we enjoyed the break to the far right (from the map perspective) of Burros, in front of a sweet sandy beach. This day the swell was more chest to head high and came in definite sets so the paddle out was easy. There is a channel at surfer’s left of the break, so we’d paddle out there but line up to catch our waves in front of a shoreline rocky ledge. They only thing that will bring you back to shore is the out-going tide – and the thought of lunch at the Palladium.

Grand Palladium Vallarta Resort & Spa - junior suite_5Did I mention that in addition to fresh, clean rooms cared for by an incredible, friendly staff, the resort is all inclusive. We chose to visit the buffet (you do need to practice restraint) for breakfast and lunch. You can be as healthy or decadent as you wish. Egg white omelets to an expanse of fresh baked treats, or every sort of Mexican traditional delight you could ask for are there for you. Top quality yumminess and – again – friendly and attentive staff. After a strenuous morning surf session I leaped for the home baked pizza with a light and crisp crust – and a beer – most days for lunch. Salad? Yup, from fresh fruit of every kind to greens and veggies you will be happy.

We spent off water time taking long beach walks. We loved the area to the northwest of the Palladium the best. Huge cracks and fissures in the shoreline rock ledges created openings for the swells large and small to crash and spray with azure and white beauty. Tide pools large and small were host to all sorts of little critters and fish – and yes, sea urchins. Be aware.

(SIDEBAR: When you surf and play and beach explore in the wonderful sunny heat in Punta Mita you will get thirsty. One of the most wonderful aspects of what is available at the The Grand Palladium Vallarta Resort and Spa is the ever available filtered water. Whether it is cold bottled water in the all-inclusive refrigerator in every room to the cool pitchers of water offered at every meal, quench your thirst without concern about water. In addition, the filtered water ice is clear and plentiful).

It always happened that we arrived at dinner starving – and we were not disappointed. We chose to download the Palladium app so that it was easy to reserve at one of the ala carte restaurants each evening. Our favorites were Bambu, an oriental themed spot, and PortFino, which had a great selection of Italian cuisine. The Mexican restaurant perched high on the bluff had inside and outside dining choices and a magnificent view of the break at Burros.

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Above the pools and on the bluff is the Mexican Restaurant

While we enjoyed the food, again, it was the the people that made the experience. For example, we didn’t order sushi our first night at Bambu. Oh my, our waiter, Francisco, was devastated. “Ramon is a master sushi chef, please, you must try his chef special.” So we did. We were not disappointed. Ramon created a beautiful plate with three varieties of sushi, all light, fresh and delicious. And Ramon visited our table to see how we liked it – and we did. His grin could light up a room. Needless to say we returned often.

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The blue area on the right side is the adult-only infinity pool for relaxing ocean watching

After dinner a walk was always needed. From exploring the vast property or strolling the beach with a fresh drink, we passed the time until the 9 PM POP (people of Palladium) show. Talent to the max – we enjoyed each show, different every night. It was obvious that “People of Palladium” have a mission to create a great experience for us all.

No story about our Punta Mita experience would be complete without mention of the unique service and team at Gecko car rental. We were collected at the airport with VIP service with boards and bags quickly loaded into an air conditioned van for the 20 minute ride to the Gecko office. In no time our boards were on the truck – and we were handed a book. Little did we know how valuable that book would be. It was the most comprehensive and well-written guide to an area I have ever used. truck

In addition, we had trouble with a sensor light (the truck was new and the sensors were finicky). In no time a driver from gecko met us at our hotel with a different truck – no problem at all. Smiles ruled the day.