Santa Cruz Local: Covewater Rules

We love to explore new surf spots when we visit the coast. Recently we got a bonus in Santa Cruz.  After grabbing some fun waves at Cowells and Indicators – skipping Steamer Lane – we spent a flat day in town.  Off on Water St we discovered Covewater Paddle Surf, a shop fully dedicated to SUP.

covepaddleWalls of the brands that innovate and lead SUP design line the walls, including the Kialoa GL Hulu paddle. Accessories and apparel are neatly displayed – with a vast array of choices.

We were fortunate to meet Olivier, the store owner – enthusiastic, knowledgable and eager to connect with the community – both locals and visitors.

When asked what’s the most fun about taking groups on SUP trips to local beaches, Olivier had this to share, “It’s all about sharing the passion of stand up paddling. The most fun is like when you have new paddlers who really get stoked. They realize that’s all they want to do now after taking a class with us . One by one they become part of the SUP community.”

coveshopdesignI spotted a great design on a sweet, vibrant colored hoodie and immediately inquired about the Polynesian inspired design.

Olivier filled me in, “We wanted to refresh the logo and the identity of Covewater. I have a lot of interest in Polynesian art and culture that is very oriented to the ocean.

From there I had a chance to start working with James de Leon at 57 Design. James aka JD was the perfect person to work with on this project. He has the same passion as I do about stand up surfing but also about the Hawaiian and Polynesian culture and art.

We both really enjoyed this  project that included a new logo and also a full new website featuringthe Covewater apparel. “olivier-design1

 

Take some time to learn about the history and culture of Covewater Paddle Surf, a history that brings the entire team pride in what they do.
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Driftwood: SUP Film Review

From ski movies to films about surfing, SUP, cycling and wilderness adventures, I love to vicariously travel and experience sports stories. While I work in words, music and images presented in films can impart an energy and immersion like nothing else.  Last night I had the pleasure of viewing a film envisioned and produced by Jim Brewer. The film is Driftwood. Directed by Peter Trow and narrated by Shaun Tomson, it carries the viewer on an extraordinary journey.

driftwood1 Driftwood is more than simply a film about paddle surfing, but equally about culture and discovery. Surfers Sam George, Noah Yap, Ammy Naff, and Jim Brewer travel to Sri Lanka, Iceland, and Colombia, among other places, on their quest to paddle rivers and oceans around the world. In a conversation with Jim Brewer, her shared, ” I had an idea to make a film that focused more on the places we visited rather than the travelers themselves. It was my job to capture details for each location. Hopefully, the viewer will get a sense of the experience of the many different locations and cultures.”

In my mind, the team did exactly that! While I have no aptitude for music, I couldn’t miss the dance between breath-taking local images and the rhythm and style of the soundtrack. Jim explains it like this, “I put an incredible amount of time into finding the soundtrack for the film. I wanted the music of the film to be representative of locations we visited and help to create a feeling for the country and our adventures there. For me, the music is the most important part of the film so I put a lot of effort into finding tracks that help to highlight the images.”

They nailed it! I read a review of the film by Glenn Dubock and couldn’t agree more with his description of the Driftwood experience, “Imagine yourself free floating in a liquid Technicolor world; here, you interact with locals and wildlife in places that haven’t seen anyone ply their waters on a craft quite like yours. This is exactly what the creative Jim Brewer and Peter Trow so masterfully captured in high definition during their globetrotting adventure on standup paddleboards. “Driftwood,” as Brewer clearly states, is not a movie about SUP—SUP just happens to be the watercraft of choice that allows Brewer and Trow to enter into some very far off places and become involved with some very far-out people.”

Put your passport away and grab a beer and some popcorn – the adventure comes to your home.  Enjoy a short trailer here, then grab your copy of Driftwood.

DRIFTWOOD from Jim Brewer – Santa Barbara on Vimeo.

Weekend R&R: Hood River Inn

hrrr22It’s mid-November and we headed to Hood River, Oregon. We came with plans for fishing but the timing was not on our side. The salmon run was about over and the steelhead were not quite running. It was pretty cool for down wind runs on our standup boards in the Columbia. But a weekend – winter or fall – at the Best Western Plus Hood River Inn in Hood River was just the ticket for some much needed R&R. We came for the views, the room, the food and some amazing local hikes (think waterfalls).

We arrived late afternoon on Friday. Yes, there was music in the bar (beautiful blues) and (what a bonus) buy one amazing entree in the Riverside dining room and get one half off. Such perks are just the tip of the “bonus” iceberg at the Hood River Inn.  One of our favorites is the collection of art, featuring the beauty and spirit of the area, gracing every hall throughout the property. We always take the time to stroll the spacious hallways from wing to wing, noticing each unique painting and photo. Nothing gets you in the Pacific Northwest mood like these plentiful images. hrrrspe

Even though we could have enjoyed being on the river in Hood River’s only waterfront dining room, it was winter-dark at 6:00. We decided to sit in the bar with its “Friday Night Fun” energy and ambiance. Food, as always, perfect. We were in the mood for a great hamburger and were not disappointed.  From fresh and local seafood to exquisitely prepared pasta, choices abound.

Morning dawned sunny and stellar so we grabbed a riverside table for the (included) freshly prepared breakfast. Check out the menu for all the choices. We chose the shaved prime rib and bacon hash with eggs – yes, it was over-the-moon fantastic. We wanted a stick-to-our-ribs breakfast because the day was perfect for some waterfall hiking.

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Dry Creek Falls

There are plenty of hikes that are ideal for the crisp days of Fall and Winter in the Hood River area. Our decision about which hike to do was not easy. We stopped at the reception desk and Hood River Inn staff chatted, full of information from their own experiences. They offered a colorful map with eight different waterfall hikes detailed and mapped.

One hike is the easy to moderate 5 mile out-and-back hike begins below the Bridge of the Gods — spanning the Columbia River off I-84 — and runs along the Pacific Crest Trail for a little more than two miles before reaching a dirt road that leads to Dry Creek Falls. Colors are best in mid- to late October. Even in late November the woods and mossy greens are delightful.

This is your invitation to visit Hood River in the Fall and Winter. It’s an experience to savor.

 

Oregon Coast: Gotta Go Fish

pc20153We packed our trailer and headed out from Bend, OR in mid-September with iflatables for cruising adventures and a couple of boards for SUP surf. Pacific City – here we come. The weekend kicked off with the annual Longboard competition. Saturday offered up some sweet waves, glassy and chest to head high. Riding a swell all the way to shore in the shadow of beautiful Cape Kiwanda on a warm sunny day is just about paradise.pc20151

In spite of dozens of trips to Pacific City and a few days catching salmon in both the spring and fall runs, we had never paddled the branch of the Nestucca River that flows east from town all the way to the inlet where the Pacific comes roaring in.

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Screenshot (152)On our first trip we knew we were paddling out on an out-going tide. With a spinning rod on Ed’s board and my net strapped to my board we planned to fish at the inlet where all the boats seemed to have the most luck. After a few hours of fishing, the tide would be incoming, making the paddle back a breeze.

We put in at “Guardrails,” just across from Bob Straub State Park. The trip was idyllic – seals sunbathed by the dozens on untracked sandy beaches, forested cliffs reached high to the south and the closer we got to the inlet the more clear and marine blue it became.pc20159

Currents swirled with plenty of energy as we approached the south side of the inlet. Absolutely wear your PFD and use a leash. There were so many combinations of eddies, waves and powerful current that it took concentration to get from the inlet area to the pocket beach we founf on shore – but was it ever WORTH IT! pc201522

After about an hour of casting, Ed hooked in to a HUGE salmon. As it leaped, guys in the 16 boats fishing the inlet gave a thumbs up and the fight was on. Just as Ed was about to get spooled, the fish began to turn. Then, unawares, a boat cruised across the inlet and cut the line. We lost the fish but gained some friends among the fishermen.

A few days later we were back for the third time and one of the guys from the first day – the BIG fish day – offered to put Ed in his boat and take him out for a salmon. They had caught their limit and had to admire Ed’s presistance. I also think they admired our trips up and down the river stretch paddling our SUPs in all kinds of conditions over the week.

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The one day that an incoming tide couldn’t match the 20-25 mph headwind on our return home was something we would not like to repeat. Even the best laid plans come up against good old Mother Nature. Be prepared, know your waters, tides, winds and currents and stya with your paddle buddy.

pc20157Our last night in Pacific City with fresh grilled salmon, a beach walk at sunset and a local brew could not have been better.

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Your Little Beach Town: Off-Season Awesome

cck4On the deck of Cottage 13 of the Cottages at Cape Kiwanda this morning I was sipping Fogcutter coffee freshly made from the Five Rivers coffee provided in our kitchen. Small lines of waves rolled past the Haystack Rock bobbing a few early morning surfers when two dark “somethings” rolled southward just off shore of their position.  “Whales or seals?” I wondered. Then the playful duo began to roll and ride the waves – definitely a couple of seals out for fun.

I have probably spent 100 days on this Pacific City beach over the past 10 years in every season and in all sorts of weather. There is something magical and unique about being here in what many consider the “off-seasons” of Fall and Winter. Few crowds, less fog and the opportunity of availability and lower rates at the luxurious 2- and 3-bedroom oceanfront suites of the Cottage at Cape Kiwanda on the Oregon Coast.

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cck2After a day hiking the beach in the “all to ourselves” afternoon in this mid September off-season, we ended our yesterday the same way we began our today – “Good night and good morning” from the cottage deck perched high enough on the dune to give an amazing view of beach life in and out of the sea.

After hiking up the shoulder of  Cape Kiwanda with my daughter – granddaughter squealing with glee in her hiking pack we strolled around sunset gilded tide pools where tiny toes danced in Pacific Ocean waves for the very first time. Ready for the fireplace and some home-cooked dinner we played “gourmet chef” in the fully appointed kitchen. Spaghetti sauce and meatballs simmered in the Cuisinart cookware while music stereo system filled every corner with our favorite tunes.

cck5From the custom-made cherry tables and dovetail-joint dressers, hand-blown glass sconces and rich leather sofas we enjoyed the perfect blend of contemporary and cozy. We have only been here 18 hours – and 8 of those hours were spent sleeping like a baby – yes, even the baby – nestled in the luxury that only top quality beds and bedding can provide.

With our bedroom window tipped slightly open the soothing sound of the sea buoy mingled with sleepy rolling surf kissing the shore. Before heading out for today’s fun we freshened up with a shower that was nothing less than a spa experience in itself. If you haven’t been spoiled by luxurious bamboo linens
and SpaH2O bath amenities be ready for absolute bliss. cck7

Yes! We are ready to head out for another day of fun – and are already looking forward to coming back to our wonderful home away from home Cottage.

Surf the Turf with Laird Hamilton: GolfBoard

Laird catching a glide on a frozen

Laird catching a glide on a frozen “wave.”

Don’t you crave that feeling of “the Glide” when you catch a wave or down wind current? No matter our ability, that moment when wind and wave propel us forward we feel young and wild and free. After catching some solid waves we’re happier, friendlier and more relaxed. I live in Bend, Oregon so I think about surfing more than actually paddling for waves. When winter brings the ski-snowboard season and glides come from frozen waves – it’s all good. Fun, play, being active and the exhilarating feeling of wind in my hair – that’s the ticket!

Laird Hamilton is a co-founder of GolfBoard, based in Sisters, OR.

Laird Hamilton is a co-founder of GolfBoard, based in Sisters, OR.

While tens of thousands of surfers play golf, I spilt from the links a few decades ago. That was, until last weekend when I had the opportunity to chat with Laird Hamilton about his role in a company immersed in play, innovation, imagination and cool engineering: GolfBoard. (video HERE)

Laird was in town with friend and training partner, Don Wildman and the GolfBoard team as part of the festivities around the world’s first GolfBoard-only tournament at Tetherow. In the early stages of the interview while Laird and I got to know each other a bit, I happened to mention I was turning 66 in a few days with the shrug that said, “I am so old.”

Laird laughed and said, ‘You’re only as old as you think or behave. Energy and a sense of play keep you young. I’d like you to meet my great friend and the inventive mind behind GolfBoard, Don Wildman.” With that Don came over to join the conversation. How lucky was I to share in a conversation with these two guys. Do NOT miss the chance to learn more about Don Wildman (perfect name for this guy) and his life and training philosophies.

The following is an excerpt from the conversation I had with Laird before Don took over to teach me (in 1 minute) how to ride the GolfBoard. I loved the “woohoo” experience that just might have me dusting off the clubs and heading out for 9 holes of surfing the turf.

ElderSUP: What is it about the way you experience sports that influences your unique ability to innovate, invent and collaborate?

LH: I think innovation is in my DNA. I come from a long line of thinkers with a background in the sciences. I was a kid during the short board revolution in the 60’s so I was used to a lot of change around the sport of surfing.  We lived at the end of a street where we didn’t watch much TV. We didn’t have a ton of toys so we all just went out to play, imagine, create – play was the key that fed my imagination. My Mom was a big factor in developing the way I think. She read to me a lot, great books like LORD OF THE RINGS and such. I love to create. In fact, I love the process more than the end result. If I build something that I think is cool and then i see someone else using it – with a big grin – there’s the reward and confirmation that what I build was good.gb2

ES: How tough do you think it will be for clubs immersed in the conventional and traditional way of playing golf to take a more hybrid approach.  How will GolfBoard grow among golfers and their courses/clubs?

LH: I know that you ski, and you have plenty of snowboarders at Mt. Bachelor. Ski engineering and design was revolutionized by snowboard design. On the other hand, snowboarding evolved as it did because snowboarders were able to use the infrastructure of lifts and grooming at a ski resort. Golf has a long history and a huge worldwide following, but clubs need to innovate and change in order to gain a broader membership, bring in younger players and engage golfers in new ways. By testing GolfBoard, Speed Golf and even Don’s version of Renegade Golf at the  “early adopter” clubs like Tetherow we can use feedback – and watch for the smiles on the faces of golfers – in order to learn how to make the transition the best it can be. GolfBoard can impact the game of golf like snowboarding did for skiing.

ES: What are some benefits golf clubs and golfers can expect to gain by adopting GolfBoard and new way of playing?

LH: Golf has plenty of adaptation to scoring and play that change up the game, and for many players it makes the game more fun. One example is ‘best ball.” The scoring system in golf is based in a frustration cycle that measures all the failures. When a player moves from shot to shot on a GolfBoard, especially after a bad shot, they arrive ready to hit their next shot from a more relaxed and playful place. You have to concentrate and stay in engaged in the process of riding the GolfBoard. I hear it all the time. After a round or two playing on the GolfBoard people say, “That’s the most fun I have ever had playing golf.”

When people play golf the way strong and agile octegenarian Don Wildman does it will become more fun and dynamic

When people play golf the way strong and agile octegenarian Don Wildman does it will become more fun and dynamic

Don Wildman, GolfBoard inventor added some thoughtful insights, “People are busy and time is the most valuable commodity for many. One way to get more done is multi-tasking. Playing golf on the GolfBoard is faster. Speed of play is one of the most frustating aspect of golf for many players and one of the complaints most heard by club management.”

Don continued, “It’s great for the older golfer for many reasons. If a person was used to walking the course, instead of moving into riding a cart as walking becomes more difficult, they can switch to the GolfBoard. For any golfer it’s easy to get stiff while sitting in a cart between shots. If you balance and move your whole body from shot to shot you arrive at the next shot more relaxed and ready.”

ES: How hard is it to learn to ride the GolfBoard?

LH:  The learning curve is about as close to zero as it can be. Similar to standup paddling, once a person is on the board the actual riding or paddling is intuitive. We have had more than 1100 golfers riding the GolfBoard without a crash. We built the GolfBoard with specifications suited to preserve the conservancy of golf as a sport and the course.

gb7I appreciate the time with Laird, Don and the entire GolfBoard team. The inaugural GolfBoard tournament at Tetherow was stellar!  You can FOLLOW GolfBoard on FACEBOOK.

I have to stop writing now and go workout (not exactly how Laird goes about it) – and maybe grab Ed and head over to Aspen Lakes or Tetherow for some GolfBoard turf-surfing.

SUP Surprises: Oregon Coast Delivers

Two "Elder SUPs" on an adventure

Two “Elder SUPs” on an adventure

It was the final day of our “SUP Surf” trip tp the southern Oregon Coast.  A wicked series of winter storms fueled by gale force winds and torrential rain filled the creeks and rivers to flood stage. The best surfing is near the mouths of these rivers and conditions were not good for our favorite water play. So we hiked and explored for eight amazing days.

On our final day we took a hike that hadn’t been advertised much, and we took off through the wonderous forest without much expectation – and then we came upon Indian Sands Beach. The 3 hours we were held spell-bound flew by. The video captures a bit of the adventure but you must see it for yourself.

Below the video is a collection of links to all of the articles which journal each day of the “2015 Great Winter SUP Trip.”

Great Winter SUP Trip Great Winter Trip Day 2SUP Travel: Expect Wonder Rainy Days and Sunday: Cozy FoodHere Comes the SunWinter Glassy Surf: Brookings OregonStories from Under the Waves –SUP Adventures:  Nature Dictates –