Surfing and Beach Lifestyle

Dude, I’m a Genius

Sometimes you want to make a date with a new gal more interesting. I tend to do the same things over and over like everyone else; and even though they may involve surfing and water recreation, it is nice to try something new. I practically live at the beach so there are only so many activities you can indulge in. The magic of the ocean with its white-cresting waves beckons. I love the glint of the sun on the water and the smooth expanse of pillow soft sand. I want to impress this new woman and I decided to rent some beach cruiser bikes for a day of peddling along the shore. Who wouldn’t enjoy such an outing, especially if the weather is nice.

I wanted a two-wheeled adventure like no other that would look cool and also feel comfortable. The last thing you want to hear on a date are complaints. We cruised the boardwalk after we did the beach, or took a late day trip into town. A good beach cruiser bike like the ones here, will give you a great ride wherever you are. It is not limited to the shore. What a great idea and in point of fact, it went over really big. A cruiser is a little different than a regular bike. The frame geometry places the pedals fore of the seatpost, which creates the desired low center of gravity you want and puts the rider in an upright, balanced position. It also has simple a single-speed drivetrain and rear coaster brakes that are easy enough to use. In other words, you pedal in reverse to brake. With 26 inch wheels, you get complete stability through turns at slow speeds. Plus, the platform pedal works with whatever shoe or sandal you may be wearing. Finally, one size fits most. It’s an easy choice.

Okay, we did our stint on our cruiser bikes and ended up in a boardwalk café for a light snack. The bikes are a genius idea as my date was in the best mood. We shared a seafood salad and a couple of beers before heading home. All my date could talk about in the car was how wonderful the day had been due to these custom beach bikes. Not everyone has tried them out unless they are on an extended beach vacation.

I got a lot of hits from my date that she would like to mirror the date at another time. I don’t know if she really like me as good company or the bikes. No matter, this is how relationships begin. You make some kind of connection doing something you like in common and it progresses from there. I am happy enough to give a fair share of the credit to the bikes. Don’t cheat yourself out of a new kind of cycling fun. I highly recommend you plan an adventure on the next sunny day. Take a camera and document the day, highlighting the unique cruiser bike as the center of attention.

Easy Water Fun

I like things easy, so I really loved finding a plug and play hot tub–minimal set up, maximum reward! It is the easiest way to enjoy a hot tub according to aficionados. You simply plug the hot tub into a 110V outlet, fill, and jump in. Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide have discovered the benefits of hot tub ownership in this way. Now with plug and play hot tub models, installing a spa is totally hassle free. There are multiple advantages: no plumber or electrician required for installation. All you need is an outlet and a garden hose. Most Plug and Play Spas come with a GFCI right on the cord. There are models for two to eight persons. You decide how many people you want to accommodate.

I got my hot tub from Lifesmart. Forget the inflatable spas, acrylic units, and expensive wood models you normally see in people’s backyards. Here is the product description that goes with my unit. A Plug and Play 4-person spa, for example, has the same standard parts and features as any brand name hot tub, such as Balboa topside controls, adjustable jets, and a top-loading filter, but also features a highly indestructible RockSolid Shell. The Discovery Simplicity is a 110 volt Plug & Play spa. This feature avoids the high cost of hot tub installation. Simply set it up, fill it up and plug it in. Only Lifesmart uses Eco Smart technology, the highly efficient energy management system built into every Lifesmart Simplicity spa. These Spas require less energy and deliver better performance due to a full-foam insulation system and a thick energy-saving spa cover designed to save money on the operation of the spa. It even meets the strict Energy Mandate for spas and hot tubs. The Lifesmart Simplicity Spa has 4 deep bucket seats complete with rotating back jets, a waterfall, and top-side comfort valves that allow you to find the perfect mix of air and water for the perfect massage. The Simplicity also features a top side digital command center and a spa light with interchangeable mood lens caps.

This is it in a product writer’s nutshell. It is a simple concept and a great choice for any would be hot tub owner. I compared other brands and features and settled on this one. You can have easy water fun on your patio in minutes. If you are the kind of person who likes to save time and do things the simple way, I recommend plug and play. You can spend more money and do things the hard way, too, but why. Life is too short to make things complicated. Kids love these hot tubs and you can offer them hours of backyard recreation. It is a great family purchase. Come summer you will be grateful. It will be the focal point of activity in your neighborhood to be sure. Invite the local kids for a special water experience.

Big Trip Planned?

I am always in search of water adventures of any type. I have experienced most of the traditional ones like riding a Jet Ski, snorkeling by a reef, boating, rafting, kayaking. There are dozens more. I just want to be on, in, or near the water. There is something purely relaxing, magical, and mind expanding about the liquid: whether fresh water or salt. When I have free time and a vacation coming, you better bet that I will be going somewhere known for surfing and/or water sports. I have my special choices. This gives me a lot of choices on virtually every continent in the world. I like to rotate the places I go for variety and scenic excitement. A good water vacation is put a plane ride away. Sometimes a long one, however. I don’t mind. To explore the surf on other shores, I am willing to spend time in a claustrophobic hollow metal cabin. That’s what I think of flying. It is not my favorite pastime. The air gets so bad after a few hours that you worry for your health. You also wonder what disease you could be catching sitting next to other passengers.

A few tips are in order when you fly. Some people even wear HEPA filters. You never know from where other travelers are coming and what maladies they bring onto the plane. I wish there were medical professionals on every flight. It would ease my troubled mind. I am a wreck by the time I get to my destination. No wonder I need the soothing relief of water the whole time. I have gotten a bit paranoid. I am at the point where I wear compression socks designed for nurses to reduce the risk of blood clots. They are similar to the kind you wear in surgery when you are under the knife for many hours for the same reason. They are the type nurses wear to improve their circulation as they work long hours on their feet.

I am in a quandary about where to go for my next vacation. It has gotten to the point where I could open an atlas and aim a dart and go there. I no doubt would not have been, but would be happy to give it a fair try. I feel that I should limit my airplane ride to 8 hours since I worry about blood clots, but this fear is a little over dramatic. With my compression socks, why not go to Australia, Tahiti, or beyond. I will be well protected for the extra hours on board.

I mentioned the socks to a friend, and guess what?, he got me a pair for a bon voyage present. How a propos. Also a bit odd. I was about to run some down on the Internet, not knowing where nurses and other people who wear compression legwear buy them. Maybe a travel store? The kind that sells sunscreen clothing, hiking gear, and assorted camouflage hats. They are a medical type of attire so a medical supply store might also be the place. No matter. I now own a pair.

Ensuring Comfort on Your Surfing Travels

If you were in a sleep lab, they would measure your REM, your breathing, any physical changes, and the quality of rest you get in terms of hours. They would also immediately notice your category: a back, stomach, or side sleeper. Apparently people are consistent as to which mode they prefer, and which brings the deepest sleep. It is likely in most cases that people do not readily change positions or else it takes a long time to adjust. I would definitely throw in the nature of the mattress, because that can be a deterrent to good sleep.

I often travel for surf competitions and stay in budget hotels. The bedding is not always the best. If I were in the sleep lab, I would have low-rated sleep. I have experienced anything from a nice, firm, new mattress to an inflatable one that sags in the middle. I have felt the springs inching gradually into my flesh and the ridges created gouge my hide. As for pillows away from home, they can be the worst! They are either old indented foam (no memory stuff here), or flat-as-a-pancake down that has seen better days.

What is a guy to do? You take your own pillow from town to town to avoid succumbing to the inevitable. You can’t perform well on the waves if you are exhausted after a sleepless night. You toss and turn on a hard mattress while attempting to fluff up a dead cushion. If these hotels buy pillows more than once every ten years, I would be surprised.

My own pillow is made for stomach sleepers. By that I mean that it is at the right height for people who sleep on their stomachs, so that you don’t wake up with a headache. Because it’s small, you can then toss it into a backpack or any size luggage. It is a great idea for anyone who can’t adapt. You get the familiarity of your own pillow with a choice of down or memory foam.

These pillows are a godsend. You can take them in a car, on a train, a bus, or a plane. They aren’t that expensive so you may want more than one. I like sleeping with a dual set. I get better head elevation to avoid congestion. If breathing at night is any kind of issue, finding the right pillow for your sleeping style is a must.

The materials in these babies is hypoallergenic and machine washable. The outer fabric is soft enough to sleep on but sturdy enough to last for quite a long time. I find they make a great gift for family and friends, and those assorted people who have everything. I bet you don’t have one!

Getting good rest depends therefore on bedding to a great extent. You can’t do much about the quality of the mattress, but you can cradle your head in softness every night. No matter if you sleep on your stomach, back, or sides, you can use the same one. There is a bit of an odd one you can buy, however, that is a kind of donut shape with an indention in the middle. This is not my first choice and seems very specialized. I go with the typical model which serves me quite well.

Glassing or Glossing Your Board

I could write a paean to surfing in every blog I offer; it is that important. If you agree, you are a fellow traveler. You know who you are! When you have an activity or interest that occupies your life, you are a richer person indeed. Surfing is more than riding the waves with aplomb. It is living the culture throughout your days, even to the point of monopolization. You can assume that I do it often and well.

Who doesn’t love that miraculous combination of sand and sea. There is something wonderful on any beach in the world. If you can live nearby, you are in heaven. A real surfer will find a way to so reside. On a good day, you have sun-kissed waves. You feel buoyant and alive. You chase the experience every time. Surfing is gliding through life with every moment a challenge. The results are truly exhilarating.

Surfing needn’t be an expensive sport, especially if you don’t need to travel. I know people who roam from Chile to Hawaii with ease. The plane fares can add up as can the basic equipment. I am thinking wetsuits and the like. You take it in stride as moving about the globe is part of the sport. There are times when the old board just gives out or you are “bored with the board”. It is time to have some fabricating fun.

I pride myself on my ability to make a new board when necessity calls. I have a space set up in the garage with plenty of much-needed ventilation. You use materials and products that can be dangerous to breathe in. More than one board maker has fainted on the spot. I love that I can build the board from scratch from foam and epoxy resin. Just make sure you have a good dehumidifier in the room as you work to take excess moisture from the air. Protect your health at all times. Air quality is important if you want to inhale and exhale comfortably. You can get console models that don’t take up much space, but that really do the job. These air-sucking machines are divine.

There are many steps and stages, but let me be brief. You plan your design, make a stringer and glue it between block foam, remove bulk foam from the block, do a rough shape of the board and cut it from the blank, create some artwork, proceed to fiberglassing and laminating, hot coat application and sanding, gloss coat application and sanding, and final polishing before you head out to the waves. Not easy, but it produces results.

You can see that there are chemicals and smells involved, hence the need for adequate ventilation. In a garage, you can open the door. Working close to the opening is your best bet. Whether you are building a board in the summer or winter, the dehumidifier will work on moisture and impurities alike. You want to stabilize your environment the best you can.

The Collector

I have buddies who share my love of water recreation, even though they have a given favorite sport, and I have other friends who don’t. To each his own so they say. One of the latter is a gun enthusiast who prefers to hunt and shoot above all else. I prefer my own pastimes, but was willing to hear him out on the subject recently. He enjoys firearms for sport and it is not about politics, citizens’ rights, or self-protection from assorted perils. He does not envision an imminent hone invasion or mugging. He just loves guns in and for themselves and he wanted to share the news. He got a new gun safe he calls “the Collector” and he swears it is a marvel to behold.

Guns and gun safes go neatly together as a pair. If you own guns, you must secure them from view. You don’t want kids to get any ideas nor robbers to boot. A good gun safe will protect the public from harm while safeguarding your assets from rust and corrosion, not to mention fire, flooding, and other acts of God. You can choose to hide the safes out of sight or have them prominently displayed. Your decision will dictate the right product. My friend opted for a decent size unit made of sturdy ten-gauge metal. It has a hinged door that he says deters robbers from picking the lock. I must say that even as a casual onlooker, I was pretty impressed.

I thought it was interesting that my friend went on and on about the lock. I didn’t know you had a choice of type. He insisted that his combination dial was superior to an electric lock as it doesn’t need a battery and wouldn’t go on the fritz. I can’t believe he spent a half hour raving about it. I looked dutifully and tried to smile. “I see it is durable and trouble-free.” He liked my attentiveness and went on to describe the standard most-acceptable and highest visibility “front read” white on black dial. “You have to avoid those cheap imported electronic locks,” he droned on. “The keypad internals just wear out. Plus, people often reprogram their locks and forget the combination!” What about dial locks? I thought to myself. What if you forget to lock the safe after opening it?

He went on to measure his safe in my presence and pronounce its perfection for his particular collection of rifles. You always go several inches higher than your tallest one and the same goes for width. He also pointed out the handy shelf he used for a couple of pistols and the organized racks inside the unit. I got lost when he raved about bolts, fire linings, and relockers and got misty eyed over protective seals that dissolved to fill in crevasses during a fire or flood. You would think the guns would be more interesting to him at this point. Nonetheless, I learned a lot about gun safes from his description and gained a new respect for the devices.

Custom Boards

One thing about surfers is that we like to be part of a tribe yet be uniquely ourselves. Something that we really get to express ourselves with is our boards. My board is my baby, so I’m always going to treat her right. I got the opportunity the other day to get some custom paint work done on my board, and it came out super awesome so I had to share the story.

I went to try out a new beach a couple weeks ago just to shake things up a bit. I met some new people there and we got to talking. One of the guys is a graphic artist, and he calls himself “The Board Artist.” He told me that he tattoos boards like others tattoo people. He’s got a little shop down on the boardwalk and everything. He told me that he’d do a small custom design on my board if I take it back to my ‘home beach’ and tell everybody about him.

Heck Yeah!

I went up there a couple days later and we got to talking about this one day when I was on vacation and out in the water. A dolphin swam right by me and tried to entice me to play. It was hands-down one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had in my life. Just writing that gave me the chills. So, naturally, I’m telling The Board Artist this story and he gets this “Eureka!” look on his face. He mocks up a stencil on a tablet he’s got with him. It’s this super great looking dolphin in these amazingly bright colors.

I signed off on the design and was crazy stoked about it. He started talking me through how he does it. He prints out a stencil and then pulls all the paint colors he wants to use. Then he loads the paint in what he called a high volume low-pressure paint spray gun. I don’t know what that means but apparently it’s better for the environment and wastes way less paint. He said that because he’s got the best HVLP paint sprayer on the market, he can do designs quickly and neatly and not lose all his profits to paint overspray. I just smiled and nodded because not only did I not know what he was talking about, I didn’t think I’d get it even if he explained it to me. I dunno, it sounded good.

So I hung around for awhile as he did the painting and then once it was dry I headed home. Yesterday I tested it out for the first time and it felt like the same ol’ board, which was fantastic, but paddling out there among the waves, I certainly felt like my long-ago dolphin friend was right there with me, ready to have another adventure. I gotta say, it was pretty cool. Got some compliments, too, so I guess The Board Artist’s plan worked and is going to get some more customers from my end of the beach.

A Surfer’s Best Friend

Do you want to know what is a surfer’s best friend? It is not the board or your favourite beach towel. From my point of view, it is a g shock watch that keeps track of the tides, making it easier to know when to head out to ride the waves. I have a great one by Casio so I know. I had never had a shock-resistant watch before, nor a timepiece this expensive. Not only does it track the tides, but it checks temperature and direction, especially useful under tough, abnormal conditions.

The functionality of the watch comes from twin sensors. The watch also features a high-luminosity LED backlight and multiple gaskets. I love the way it fits securely and comfortably by means of a thin strap. It is known for its digital compass that uses a hand indication of North and gives sixty seconds of continuous measurement. Not to bore you with too much technical stuff, the watch also uses bidirectional calibration, has magnetic declination correction (don’t ask me to explain), and keeps everything in memory.

Wait! There’s more. The Casio has a thermometer and display unit, it has an auto light switch, selectable duration, and afterglow. It can even be used as a snooze alarm or stop watch. Now we are getting super practical. Who doesn’t want a countdown timer? This one goes from sixty minutes, then measuring in one second and one minute increments. It features both 12-hour and 24-hour formats and has a low battery indicator so you are never caught by surprise.

I like so much about this watch. It is accurate to approximately fifteen seconds each month, it has analog and digital configurations, and a pre-programmed auto calendar to 2099. What more could you ask for. I take it almost everywhere and of course it is waterproof. One time at the beach I took it off for a moment and placed it on my towel. I forgot about it and went for a dip. When I returned, I couldn’t find it. I was hysterical at the loss. I dug about in the surrounding sand and after much effort, I found it. I was so relieved!

You can find the best g shock watches at varying prices and they make a great gift for the man who has everything. I have a few surfer buddies and now I know what will commemorate a special birthday. You can find many fine models on line and they all have a unique appearance. A lot of good design has gone into this type of watch. Looks are as important as functionality. You have to imagine the recipient’s reaction when giving such a watch. You want to be sure to get one that suits their taste and lifestyle. Read all the descriptions, compare prices, and glance at the reviews to be sure the item you select is reliable, durable, and long-lasting. If you get a well-known brand, you can never go wrong.

When You Get Cut, Staple Up!

If surf’s up, then I am too. You don’t even have to ask. Water recreation is my passion for those new to my blog. I want to share a world of fun and adventure with others who might be of the same ilk. New people are flocking to the sport every day when they hear about its benefits. Sometimes I share a few misadventures as well, like the time I surfed my way into a coral reef, achieving a major wipeout in the process. There were some consequences, although not a real threat to life and limb.

Was I not paying attention? Was my mind wandering? Who knows. I ended up with some serious cuts on my legs that had to be stapled up. Yes, I said stapled. When you have emergency care right there on the gritty sand, you don’t get a plastic surgeon by your side with needle and dissolvable thread. The wound just has to be cleaned and stopped from any further bleeding, whatever it takes. They want to send you home in one bandaged piece. As for scars, they are irrelevant.

Surfing isn’t that dangerous for the most part. I don’t want to give a bad impression and deter you from partaking. When the waves are colossal, maybe it borders on peril like a rough day at the Banzai Pipeline, but most of the time they are tame and timid. You don’t have to give it a second thought. I haven’t been hurt in quite some time. The worst is a bit of swallowed water as I descend after a fall. Falling off your board, by the way, is pretty common, if not mandatory. No one is perfect. Everyone wipes out regularly. If you say you don’t, you are showing off. The trick is to avoid hitting your head in a wipeout.

So for newbies thinking of taking up this wonderful sport, fear not. You will not need stapling, I promise. You will need some good, sound swimming skills, a lot of moxie, and a dash of guts. You need balance and quick reaction time, not to mention stamina and drive. Anyone, at any age, is eligible for a great day at the beach. If you like sun and sand, this is your sport. A bit of research on the best locales will tell you if you are within driving or flying vicinity. You can plan your vacations accordingly. By the way, coral reefs are mostly in Hawaii, the Caribbean, and Australia. You can avoid them if you like.

In closing, perhaps I should suggest that you put a box stapler in your first aid kit and keep it handy. Just kidding.

You might want to consider keeping a basic kit in the car or backpack, however, for minor inflictions that don’t merit a call to Triple Zero. Some Bandaids and other types of small dressings are automatic along with some antibiotic ointment, tape, and mini scissors. Some aspirin might also be included. Finding your abandoned surfboard down the beach can give any aficionado a big headache.

The Culture of Surfing

Getting involved in surfing does not just entail getting on a board and learning how to surf. It is a process of immersing oneself in a different culture, much like traveling to or living in a foreign country.

Surf culture is an interesting and slightly complicated concept that is often misrepresented unfairly in mainstream culture and through commercialization of the sport.

Rooted deeply in its Polynesian beginnings, surfing embodies the ideals of cooperation, peaceful existence, kindness and environmentalism. It seems from this perspective more than just a sport, but a way of life.

Indeed to some surfers there is a spiritual aspect to it. Many centre their spiritual lives around the water and the surfboard and typically these are the surfers who truly transcend any stereotype or criticism of the surfing subculture.

They are the ones who seem to just take life as it comes, like the ebb and flow of the tide. They are very easy going and willing to share their knowledge and time.

Music and movies brought surfing to the mainstream in the 1950’s -1960’s and perhaps are reason for the erroneous ideas that surfers are beach bums, rarely holding down jobs and sometimes depicted as less than intelligent.

As with any subculture there is a lingo that surfers understand and if you don’t know it, listening to a conversation may be like hearing a foreign language. If you are just getting into the sport and have never been around the surf scene, it can be downright confusing. Most of their slang has to do with talking about the waves and the way of life and many surfers are highly irritated at the misrepresentation of their lingo in the mainstream.

As with any culture there is a certain wariness of newbies – or kooks as they are so called, but overall surfers are happy to share their love of the water and waves and see someone trying to learn and to help out with that. As the sport grows more popular and competitive however, these ideals are not always present and kooks can find themselves being ridiculed and singled out for criticism without really understanding why.

Getting involved in a sport with such a strong and slightly mysterious subculture can make it harder than just learning how to do the sport. Surf culture is complex because of the misrepresentations and commercialisations but once beyond that it is actually simple.

And Fun!