EAST MEETS WEST: LOCAL SUMMER

I tried to keep some little columns consistent on this site, as it was fine to write to the stipulations each one held. East Meets West is a fun one, as I’ve lived in both sides of the United States for a decent chunk of time now. Here is me revisiting it since the last post on MARCH 3RD, 2020.

LOCAL SUMMER

Local summer is a phenomenon I really came to appreciate as I grew older and became more washed up. As a grom all throughout highschool and during my early years of college, I longed to be home for the summer. Lavallette (my hometown) is a special place in the summer. A town with the population of 2000 jumps to I don’t even know. I’d like to say it triples, and that might even be an understatement. This mile long town and the bordering small towns jam in as many people they can on the weekends, and even during the week it is still filled to the brim. The amount of traffic my small beach town would gain in the summer was one of the most exciting things to me as a kid. Memorial Day weekend was when the gates would open, the 4th of July marked a somewhat halfway point, and Labor Day weekend was the last hoorah.  Going from a school year with all my same classmates and the routine of school then to 3 months of more friends coming down from out of town, more to do, and more people to see. Working in Ocean Hut during the summer was always a ball. It’s always fun to see the same customers supporting the local business and chopping it up with pops and later me as I grew older right in front of them. I started working there in 8th grade, and stayed all the way until I was going into my senior year of college, so many regular customers saw me change quite a bit. Long story short, Lavallette summers were what I longed for every year.

It felt like my whole life I wanted to be 21 and truly enjoy summertime outside of the normal operations. But funnily enough, by the time I hit this life milestone my allure of summer had started to wear off. Don’t get me wrong, Summer at home is still probably the most fun time for me, as I have a ton of friends who don’t live in Lavallette so in the off season it’s quiet. But simple tasks like getting a coffee or driving to work take twice as long during the summer. Even parking is tough. It’s funny: little did I know it, but the place I now live in faces the same summertime influx. Newport is way more populated in the offseason than Lavallette, but in the summer we face the same overcrowding as home. This is where we make an ode to the local summer. 

AT HOME: A TRUE LOCAL SUMMER

Lavallette is a place that truly faces the pure definition of a local summer. When labor day weekend passes by and everyone goes back to schooling/work, the beaches become desolate. Days where there were once hundreds of people sprawled across the sane turn into days where you might see one or two people. Most local businesses are still open, but the lines and crowds are at a minimum. It is almost the best of both worlds, as weekends see the influx of people return, but still not as much as a summer day. The most crowded it gets is when there is surf during the local summer. Lavallette is an untouched beach town in this month or two span for the most part, as I have had so many surfs and beach days with absolutely no one around. The temperatures are still warm both on land and in the water. I haven’t got to experience September in a while back in Lavallette, as I come home roughly twice a year- once during the holidays and then usually once in the summer. But I think that needs to change. Hurricanes swells, warmth, and nonexistent crowds is what we are looking for, and fall typically delivers all the above. As far as really warm temperatures, September is where it is at, and October could be really nice or start to dip down.

CALIFORNIA: STILL CROWDED

California’s local summer is a little different, but not all that different. They typically coin local summer to include September and (potentially) October as the local summer season, and in California these might as well be extended summer months. This year in particular, we experienced extremely warm weather and water temperatures in both September and October, so I think the local summer has a little extension cord on the west coast by a month. Just last Sunday, I spent a day at the beach sunbathing on the first day of November. By that time at home, the temperatures have dipped. As far as crammed crowds and difficulty doing things, Newport gets just as bad as home in the summer months. People driving from inland to escape the heat and hit the beach make it hard to drive anywhere (especially to the beach) and navigate around town. In peak summer months, we typically bike to the beach to avoid the 30 minute extravaganza that is finding a stall. Businesses are booming, the same 3 holidays (MDW, The 4th, and LDW) are jam packed, and it isn’t much different than home. One stark contrast is that in Newport, summer can bring some solid swell and September and October I’ve had some of my favorite surfs (similar to how home is pretty good during (September/October). With the extended local summer, the crowds stick around till mid September, but by October you are in the clear.

It Starts With Us

(This is an old piece from my minor in writing and rhetoric at Chapman University. Since most of my writing is pretty loose on here, I figured it would be cool to post something that had more structure. I wish I could find the prompt, alas I cannot. I also could not find the grade.)

Here are a couple cold hard facts just to preface this conversation:

  1. Everyone that surfs more than a couple times a week really enjoys the sport, whether it’s the act of surfing or being surrounded by mother nature
  2. Everyone thinks the ocean is beautiful and loves even just gazing at her horizon.

So, we can see the ocean is something not to take for granted and is really a precious jewel in the beautiful place we call earth. Speaking of earth, the ocean makes up <75% of the earths surface, so obviously it demands our attention.

Over the years, we see plenty of surf companies taking a proactive, initiative step in reducing waste. Recycled board shorts and surfboard blanks (reusing the foam so we don’t have to dispose of it) are just two forms we see surf companies realizing the bigger picture and trying to keep their practices as environmentally friendly as they can. While this is a great step towards helping the environment, it definitely does not suffice.

Let’s step back and take a look at the two facts at the top of this passage. Adding 1 and 2 together tells me that the ocean is something we need to hold onto. The sad fact is, pollution of the ocean is ever prevalent and getting worse and worse thorough the years. Let’s first take a look at it through a local standpoint. Situated literally as the dividing line of Newport beach and Huntington beach lies the Santa Ana river jetties. A local standout surf break, this spot can produce barrels some surfers could maybe claim as the wave of their season. Known for being shallow and hollow, it produces one of the best A-frames in the area on a good swell. The only bummer? Surf it after a rain and you are guaranteed a nice sinus infection at least, going all the way to extreme illness. Even when I’m driving over the bridge to go to Huntington because I know not to surf there after a rain, I can smell the urban runoff even with my windows up. Gnarly. Only 2 times have I been stupid enough to ignore the danger and surf. Both times I woke up with a violent illness I’d rather not get into detail about.

Urban runoff is especially brutal around the OC and LA area, since it is so densely populated. Check this video out detailing what goes into runoff entering the ocean from rain.

Last time I Googled this stat, it was recorded that there are 23 million surfers worldwide. I mean, the earth has a massive population, but this just shows the sheer interest in the sport. That’s a huge collective of people that can really make a difference. Sure, every now and then a beach cleanup is performed and everyone feels like they have done their part. The surfers come out, show their support for their community, and return to day to day life. There are two problems with this formula. One, beach cleanups need to be done more than monthly. Try weekly. Literally day by day I see new pieces of trash on the shoreline or floating in the lineup. Lately when I’ve been doing a run around between paddling out (due to a big current the last couple of swells) I see trash and I got out of my way to run it to the dumpster. I try to pick up the biggest piece I can see or apiece I know an animal in the ocean could mistake for food. If I stopped to pick up every piece, I wouldn’t surf; I would just be picking up trash. Yes there is that much on the shoreline alone, not to mention the trash in the water and up on the actual beach.

Even if everybody picked up all the trash they saw, this still would not solve the problem. The problem traces all the way back to the house of the surfer or even the workplace of the surfer. Recycling the right things and staying away form certain items can really make a difference. The only thing is that some of this is easier said than done. Here are two examples.

  1. Using body wash with exfoliating beads feels great and gives you a new dimension of clean, however most of these beads don’t dissolve and go straight down the drain into the ocean.
  2. Singles use non-biodegradable utensil likes forks and straws have tricky recycling practices, and when not disposed of properly can end up like this (viewer discretion advised).

Solving the problem of beach and ocean pollution is going to require some work. I think it all boils down to one thing: education. People need to know what practices lead to cleaner oceans and less urban runoff, and this is how I will be using my voice and platform for. A call to action to inform and encourage people to take care of something that when it goes away will change the way we live our lives. Surfing will be the last thing we are thinking about.

The Perfect Summer Day

The Perfect summer day

With the summer solstice recently passing and the beautiful days ahead of us in the months of July and August, I thought I’d share my secret recipe for a all killer no filler summer day. You probably could already guess some of the parts, but we are going to break it down from sunrise to sunset, and then some. Buckle up, let’s roll.

7AM

The timing on this one is tentative; if the waves are cooking it could be a little earlier. But factoring in all possible times I could wake up, I would say 7 o clock is the apex. Earlier and you might burn out during the day, and later you are just wasting away the day. While I don’t want to say my ideal summer day requires a hangover (because that sounds like signs of someone with a problem), it is always a little more fun reminiscing on the night before. Let’s say you went out and had a great time, and expected to unexplainably hungover, but came out unscathed and felt great the next morning. (If you are really hungover, check these tips.) Ideally, the next thing before immediately taking a dip would be acquiring some Joe. Most of the time, I make it at home, but if we were talking about the perfect day, I’d pick up an almond milk cappuccino from Vacancy Coffee. Great coffee a stone throw away from where I like to surf. Following after sucking down the nectar, it’s time to take a dip. The perfect situation is pumping toobies in some boardies. On a perfect day, this surf should cure any hangover left.

10AM

Post dip, its time to retreat back home and figure out the rest of the day. I’ll most likely just whip something up from my groceries for a brunch, but on occasion treat myself with something nice (probably a c’est si bon sandwich). After this we could be running it back for a second session if the waves are cooking or planning some sort of other outdoor activity. Most of the time it involves the beach, since it is so beautiful out this time of year. As the food settles, I get my scroll on and if it is Sunday I try and write something decent. On a perfect day, I write something good.

1PM

Now it’s time to hit the beach. While I am open to doing other things, it’s hard to argue against it. Maybe a skate or something we don’t do that often could substitute, but if I had to pick, we are hitting the beach. Ideally I’d be doing something that lets me tan but also not just be lying still, so maybe some bodysurfing or stand up boogie. I can’t think of the last time I went to the beach and didn’t try to catch a session, so boards are always at the camp. Now we just sit back and let the skin sizzle. On a perfect day, I don’t get burned.

4PM

Unless I am just locked at the beach, I either will return home and relax or try to go get a workout in. While it seems like this is a lot for one day, I’d rather always have something to do rather than thinking of things to do. It would definitely be a light workout, but it feels good to get a nice sweat especially if we hit it hard the night before. End it in the sauna and head on home. If no gym time is happening, I might lie in the hammock or rip some Skate 3 to pass the time. On a perfect day, I crush a workout AND have time to play some skate.

7PM

My favorite way to end the day is in the ocean. Nothing like surfing at sunset as the sun descends into the darkness. However, we have had ample beach time already this day, so I’d swap sunset surf with a sunset BBQ. After all this action throughout the day, I am going to need to refuel. While I sometimes just run it solo or with my roommates, I enjoy it most when we have a couple extras and just cook up a storm. Beers are optional, and I usually opt out depending on the amount of alcohol consumed over the weekend. On a perfect day, the chicken doesn’t get too crispy.

10PM

At this point I am either laying in bed on my laptop or fresh out the shower getting ready to start sipping. On a perfect day, I’ll take either option.

Film Flash(come)back

After a fun night out with some friends and waking up later than usual, I was faced this morning with a challenge: I had no post written up for today and did not really have any idea what this post should be about. There was a surf related post as well as music related one floating around in my head, but they seemed a little too easy. I rolled around in bed until I thought going for surf would kick start the day and maybe something would come to me in the water. All morning before the surf I heavily contemplated not doing one today, or posting like a sentence as a gag. But the show must go on. Here we are.

I have a film camera, and I definitely don’t use it nearly enough. I used to try to bring it a lot of places, but it is a little on the larger/heavier side, so it usually just looks like a chore rather than an ancient time freezer. However, the last two years of high school I had it in my backseat and whenever I remembered to capture the moment, I did. A lot of shitty photos came out of this, but there are definitely some I am proud of. And now you might be able to see where I am going with this.

Above is the best picture I have ever captured on my film camera. I look at it and can immediately put myself in the same spot I stood capturing it. This is a rather small day at home surf check. When it looks perfect for an ant to get barreled. Ankle high and cooking. This photo really just tells the story of my hometown Lavallette. From the days exactly like this were you haven’t surfed in a month to the days were this wave is scaled up to a 6 footer and you just have yourself a day.

The best part is even if it was cranking surf; the scene would remain the same. And this is the telling aspect. Home in the off-season is so quiet and tranquil and often you can wander in the sand without seeing a soul. Very different to the California living and I enthralled in currently.

I can’t really get too technical with the shot itself, but the contrasting blues in the sky and the fact the bench is in the corner with no one sitting on it makes the photo seem like I knew what I was doing. A perfect right and left reel away, unridden since the only thing that could ride that wave are fish. I have surfed at this beach for all of my life, and is pretty close to a second home during the summer months. My families surf shop is right down the street. You could blindfold me and I could probably make it from the shop to the beach.

While I know this post is admittedly rushed and more filler than killer, I hope it can spark an interest again in lugging around the camera and capturing some moments.

6 Must Haves for Summer 2019 at the Beach

I’ve compiled a list of what I deem essential items for the incoming season: Summer. 

A Filled-to-the-Brim Hydroflask

(Yes I know it is missing in the photo.) Hydration is probably one of the most underrated aspects to living a healthy lifestyle. Whether it boils down to getting your daily 100 ounces of water to reduce inflammation and ensure peak physical performance, or just guzzling gallons after a big night out, water can be your best friend. Also, the single use plastic epidemic is getting scarily big. It is guaranteed when walking the beach you will stumble upon thousands of water bottle caps, and even just the full empty water bottle. Do your part and also ensure you can be your best self and invest in a reusable water bottle. Hydroflask makes one that is pleasing to the eye. I suggest getting the 32 oz Wide Mouth, since all you need is ~3 to hit your 100 ounces and get in the “bonus realm” (100+ ounces of water a day).

A (Soft) Surfboard

It is never to late to pick up surfing. All you need to do is try one surf lesson and you will realize how much fun can be had trying to learn something new that revolves around summer. After a couple of goes, you might want to try it by yourself, and if you have the bills purchase your very own surfboard. While there are levels in price to this item, a soft surfboard tends to tick all the boxes. Durable, check. Cheap(er), check. Stylish, check (depending on the brand). A soft surfboard is a board that everyone can learn on, and even the experienced fellow can have a go and grin from ear to ear. My preference might have a slight bias, but Catch Surf makes a damn good soft board, and cater to beginner and expert riders. My quiver consists of two, the 54 Special for fun in a small bundle (you can for sure rip on these) and the stand up boogie AKA the black ball battler (you can for sure rip on these, if your name is Kalani.)

A Good Pair of Sunnies

In a perfect world, the sun is shining all summer long. You need to protect your eyeballs. You need to also be looking A-1 at the beach, driving, or pretty much doing anything outdoors. You could flex these inside, but I wouldn’t recommend it (unless suffering from a >tier 3 hangover, but how about instead you scope this). This is a staple pair of sunnies. Whether it’s one old reliable all summer long, or a couple of styles to switch it up with, it’s hard to leave the house without these on. While I dabble in all brands, I found Otis Eyewear makes a pretty nice pair, both durable (glass lenses make them tough to scratch) and fashionable. The only downside to this item is it might run you a couple blue faces and they can be gone in an instant (deaths including dropping, sitting on, loosing, drowning). My personal favorite is the Winston.

A Stylish Sarong/Towel

Probably one of the most multi-functional items on the list is the sarong/towel. If you have ever frequented Coachella, you might have seen a bunch wrapped around people’s heads or necks, and then doubled in use as a matt to sit and listen to the sounds. These could be used also at the beach, in the same exact way. A very easy to fold and lightweight one works best, ensuring it will fit in your beach bag and be easy to tote around. The cherry on top for this one is you can get some pretty aesthetically pleasing ones, with fun and foreign patterns. I purchased 2 for Coachella and am anxious to get them some use at the beach. You can find them all over the place, mine are from Amazon.

A Gritty Grill

It’s getting to that time of the year where sunsets are as late as it was when you would cuddle up in bed and read a good book in those colder months. Little is more euphoric than grilling with some of ya mates with a blazing sunset in the background. You can potentially get some good Instagram content and are going to end up with a delicious meal. It’s for sure a win win. When it comes down to which grill, I have no idea. Ours is pretty average and in rougher shape, but that just adds character. Maybe a Traeger?

A Classic Beach Cruiser

Living in a beach community that ramps up in traffic over the summer has always been a blessing and a curse. While on one hand there are many new people to meet and it makes the town a little more exciting, the flip side of the coin is overcrowded roads and lines at coffee shops. Getting in the car can be a real drag when it is a beautiful day, and a normal 10 minute commute can turn to a 20 or 30 minute commute. A bike helps solve this problem, making it easy to move around in the crowded streets. Get some fresh air and take in some sunshine while moving from A to B. I always opted for the garage sale bike that needs a little bit of love, just for the culture. A little elbow grease it’ll be looking like new. I also did this since I never locked up my bike, and they tend to get stolen often.

BONUS: Half-Day Fridays

Maybe just a California bias, but these definitely don’t suck. When the sun is shining, nothing feels worse than being inside. Working can make it tough to get out and absorb some vitamin D, but with this awesome holiday(?) it makes sure everyone has an equal opportunity to earn a tan.