El Salvador, Playa Sunzal, Kayu

by The Good Life on January 3, 2015

in Holiday, Surfing, Uncategorized

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After much deliberation about where to go and when to go, we finally pushed go on a trip to a new place for us, El Salvador and in particular Playa Sunzal/El Tunco

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We were definitely a little unsure of how it might be down in El Salvador, having not heard much about it before, apart from a few things on the internet which didn’t really fill me in any more.  Anyways, we left Portland at 8pm, and took a red eye through LAX and arrived at 6.30am to be greeted by waves like this as above….IMG_3334_675x450

It was definitely one of those waves that when you turn up you just smile, and think how hyped your going to be surfing this break for a week.

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This was the place we stayed, the Kayu, which is the indonesian word for Wood.  We had a suite facing the ocean so it was literally drag yourself out of bed, run over the road and get in amongst it in the water.

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This is the view from the pool at sunrise.  The Kayu is one of the nicest places I have ever stayed in around 8 years of surfing, but it really is nice to have the chance to get a really good nights sleep, followed by a great surf then followed by an amazing breakfast.  It makes a huge difference to your surfing the amount of sleep, relaxation you get in amongst all the surf.

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The Kayu has a really nice restaurant but then also a couple of levels on the beach, where you can get your breakfast too.  Amazing to watch the surf from there

The hotel has internet, amazing food, and probably better than anything a great set of staff who are there to make your stay as enjoyable as possible, led by the one and only Marvin who in between working finds time to paddle out on his stand up.

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This is the zone around where we stayed, right by the break.  There is also a few other spots to stay here which also looked nice too.

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This is El Tunco itself.  There is a load of hostels here too incase you ever want a budget holiday, and to make your money stretch that little bit further.  Amazing restaurants up here and small road side places making Papposos.

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Everyone was friendly and as a small town it provided enough for a week in terms of places to eat and drink, although as it was getting dark at 5pm, i was knackered enough to be in bed by 9pm most nights!

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Of course there was some local music to savour.

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As you do fellas, just taking the old nags down the beach.

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#skateeverydamnday

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In El Tunco there was loads of people fishing too, including these guys throwing nets down from the rocks, these must be the most well sought after fishing spots in town…

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There was also an ambulance of places to do yoga, eat, drink, get massages, and anything else you may need on a holiday.

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So then, by now your probably thinking….. “just tell me about the surf”

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Well this was the first couple of days, super fun, a peeling right, which was so good.  The first two days were best then it dropped a bit but somehow despite it being flat everywhere, it found a way of breaking even though there was hardly any swell.

IMG_3346_675x450The great thing about where we stayed was that you could just look down for when it was working and then just head down and paddle out to get it when its at its best.

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This was around 6am, Mareike was getting up for sunrise also and taking a few pictures of us too…. Lucky me i know right?…. but this was the waves even when it was small, so pretty good for getting more confident.

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One of the things I did was write down after each session how many waves I got.  I know sounds super lame, but I saw someone at the coast in Oregon do it and its actually pretty good way of remembering little things you may do wrong, or simply whether it was a good session or not.  Definitely worth doing though.

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Damn it was nice to surf rights again after being in Bali.

IMG_3318_675x450This guy was effectively my mobile christmas tree.
IMG_3559_675x450Mareike getting artsy mid breakfast.
IMG_3781_675x450Slow shutter speed for breakfast.
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One day we got this bus into La Libertad.  Now that was an experience.  Crazy infact.  The bus doesn’t stop for you they just slow down and hope you jump on without breaking yourself.. I will upload a video from that day and the whole trip later today too.

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Yes there was a lot of these drunk, Daiquiris and Margaritas for lunch.

You remember the Bintang in Bali…..? This is the local version.  Goes down easy and costs $1.50.
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This was Miriam who we met in our hotel who was up at 5.30am already paddling out each morning whilst i was simply trying to get coffee and come to terms with the world!
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We ended up booking using a company locally based in El Salvador who helped with all transfers and booked our rooms for us.  Its a great idea as you just work with one reliable person for a great overall vacation experience.  definitely recommend you going that route.  If you want to check them out take a look at http://sunzal.com/Sunzal/ and hit up Adrian via the website who will take care of your needs.  When you head somewhere new on a surf trip it definitely makes life easier when you have someone helping you out on the other end with airport picks up and accommodation booking.  Definitely recommend working with these guys.
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It really is a great place for quick get away…

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So whilst we were there Mareike also surfed, and took to it pretty easy, considering she has been out the water for a while but she was straight out and standing up… even with better style than me..

IMG_4281 1_675x450She was cruising whilst i was just getting that english sunburn going on.
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IMG_4558_675x450That sunset again though…

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Anywhere on earth, maybe besides the US you will find the peoples game being played.IMG_4135_675x450

Sunset on our last night.  Insane how beautiful it was.IMG_4553_675x450

Madam sunshine herself.

IMG_4144_675x450I know Christmas at the beach sounds weird right? but its actually super fun!

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See you next year hopefully!

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After a few delays by some technical problems I managed to get this back and running and what better way than the first day of the season up in Mt Bachelor, Oregon.  It was for one of the most legendary events in Snowboarding, which I have heard a lot about but due to the Dew Tour Clashing, its always managed to mean I couldn’t make it.IMG_2886_675x450

The Dirksen Derby, is a hand dug banked slalom through trees deep in the woods of Bachelor.  Its pretty easy to see why the kids who come out of here are so good at snowboarding if this is the kind of thing they ride regularly.

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In our house we had one of the leading lights in the “gentlemens division”.

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Ami along with his partner in crime Coleen where both on it at all times, and when not practising where waxing, stretching, cracking backs and generally getting ready to dominate.

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Me and the lady weaver were up here but purely in media relations capacity and scoping the course for next year.

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The course itself is pretty amazing with some of the tightest turns you’ll see anywhere meaning board control is a must.  Triple cork trampoline skidding kids need not apply. These two Kevin and Scotty obviously have all the triples on lock but stuck to the aggressive turning for the sake of going for the win.
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Two of the best getting game face ready.

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Sani Alibabic is pretty famous for his pre contest hugs with his team but here Bryan Fox seems to have a knack of giving a good one as his girlfriend finished 2nd, and also his boyfriend too, Austin Smith so I assume that he must have been doing double duty.

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10% rule x 2 right Bryan?

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Besides pros, ams, gentlemens and children there was also a sit ski race, which was amazing.  No messing I was intimidated from riding that course and these guys were ripping it apart.  Serious respect, and next time you moan about conditions up the hill, have a word with yourself.

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Her from #breaktheinternet notoriety Madam YoBeat herself Brooke, who used to actually work with us at Nike.  Enjoy that one haters.
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The good thing about this event was the element of community about it, exemplified by the amazing Clam Chowder which the locals made and brought up the hill for all to enjoy.IMG_2955_675x450
It really did get me thinking, there was a good couple of hundred people here, all die hard snowboarders, all in love with it for the right reasons.  No big money, no TV, but its honestly events like this and Wangl Tangl which is what snowboarding is all about.  Damn I miss Wangl.  If people did that event these days kids would freak.  I think I need to do another blog on competitive snowboarding soon.  
Ami below just getting at it.
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This guy below.  Mr Java Fernandez.  I don’t think words can describe what a good man he is.  We worked together on Never Not and he was an amazing person to work alongside, always with some amazing stories, and amazing sense of humour.  Stance have well and truly got themselves a diamond in Java.  It was amazing to see him, and despite still not being able to ride because of his knee, he couldn’t get enough of it up here.  IMG_3231_675x450

 

Bend and Bachelor was an amazing weekend and this for the first weekend for the mrs, was a great start to Snowboarding in Oregon for her.IMG_2878_675x450

The road home, and the first few shots from the wife behind the camera.IMG_3239_675x450

The high desert between Bend and Mt Hood.

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Its insane that you have snow, then desert then snow again.  Nice drive though!IMG_3251_675x450

I think thats Hood in the distance?IMG_3265_675x450Thanks, and have a nice start to the new year!

 

Pacific City – Oregon at its Best

by The Good Life on November 18, 2014

in Surfing

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Pacific City, Oregon, November 16th, 2014.

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I thought I should start by stating the date, as my mind is constantly blown by how nice the seasons in Oregon can be.  The onset of Fall and Winter, whilst its abrupt change from long, warm sunny days, there is something to be said for getting wrapped up warm and getting out in the elements.  Especially when the elements are blue sky, clear water, good waves and offshore winds.
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This weekend we headed to the beach for Colleen Quigleys birthday, who celebrated her 30th.  In that shimmering blue water is about 8 good looking people posing as shark bait.

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Coleen, Leanne and Hannah getting at it.

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This was our view waking up.  Yes, it takes a while for my eyes to focus in the morning.  It was seriously one of the most amazing views ever to wake up to though.

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There is something amazing about being by the ocean which probably stems from spending week after week by the beach in Wales, which looks a lot like Oregon (and the water is just as cold).

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Like I say, the waves this weekend were amazing.  The wind was kind, and with a good crew it made for an amazing bit of surfing.  Before you say it, yes my camera has something on the lens.  I am no pro, but yes, cleaning up the camera once in a while would have been a good idea.

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Mornings haven’t looked this good in a while over a coffee.

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In the water things were looking good.

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People had head the rumors about the crew getting in the water, so there was a heavy media presence on the beach.IMG_2294

Meanwhile our surf team was just as focused on the warm up as the surf…  Those old legs need stretching….

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Like I said earlier, great weather, good swell, it doesn’t get much better.  This was an unidentified ripper who seemed to be on every single wave on sunday morning.  Crusher.

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The morning surf check crew.  Ami (yellow card Ami) and Cale.

IMG_2291Cale Meyer, amazing snowboarder, great bloke and good person to go surf with.  As you can see below, he was just oh so eager to pull in and wet the babies head.  This is the during.IMG_2537

This is the after,

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and this is the feeling everyone knows once they have finished surfing and then eaten their own body weight in food.  Nothing else compares to the after surf snooze.

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Whilst talking of him, this photo below shows some of the waves, very very fast, and lots of offshore wind.  This was Cale, but I had exactly the same.

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On my first wave on sunday I took a wave and then swam back up and next thing…. the board lands on my head…

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That blood means that the final score was Board 1 – 0 Me.

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After my injury, I headed for a walk with the wife instead and did some exploring to the cliff tops here.

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Its amazing how colorful the rocks are here…

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And after the horror stories I heard about the water being dark and murky, this weekend shows me how clear and beautiful it was.

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I also really enjoy taking pictures of surfing from a different angle to the beach.  I’d love to be able to shoot from a heli or something on a big swell, it must be insane.

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Surf Addict joined us sunday too to throw himself in the cave.

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I just got this new wetsuit from Hurley which is only a 4’3 but kept me just as warm as a 5’3 which is amazing as its way more flexible and stretchy which you can imagine helps with those slow old office arms.  Being thinner means it dries out quicker.

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Which should help me getting in this position.  I was convinced this was Aidan at one point… I’ll let him have it.

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The one and only Eric Wallis who brought “lasagna with a street value of $22″.  Amazing stuff!

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On saturday night, waiting for Ami to finish surfing I was actually just lying in the sea as it was warmer than the air.  If you know the cold water in Oregon, you know how cold the air was.  Absoloutely freezing… i didn’t have gloves on either so it made it a cold walk back to the house.

The woman herself.  The team captain of cramp vibes and surf explorer.

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Thank You Colleen and the gang for a great weekend!IMG_2190Thank You Oregon.

 

Portland falling into Autumn

by The Good Life on November 10, 2014

in America

 

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Every year in Portland around this time, at some point I always want to spend a day enjoying autumn and just taking some photos.  The colors are amazing, the light is great and whilst living by the beach and warm sunshine day in day out would be great I do enjoy the changing of the seasons.

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There is something amazing about this time of year.

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As you can see, she can’t wait either….

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The trees are always either yellow,

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or red,

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or german.

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I don’t normally post photos of myself, but with this hat on I thought it deserved a bit of a spotlight.

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Portland always looks good…

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We were up in Mt Tabor, and its like an amusement park for runners, bikers, hikers, power walkers and doggie walkers.

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And stair runners!IMG_2026

Thats right.  This way please to Spider man.
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You see…?

We ended up playing some golf at the end of the day, and the sunset was insane, so beautiful.
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Thank you Portland.IMG_2151

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