Travel is one thing I maybe haven’t had the chance to do a crazy amount of in my life. And not for any particular reason, really. The places I’ve been outside the USA are sparse, but there’s plenty to see in America-especially if you’ve hopped around states and seen all the quadrants of the country. Long story short, whenever I get to take in a new zone I get excited and always tend to make sure to capture the beauty and local flavor with both my handy iphone and also my canon film camera (which unfortunately is suffering some light leaks).
Recently, I got the opportunity to hop on over from Orange County to the beautiful island of Oahu in the island chain of Hawaii. I had only been once before-circa 20ish years ago. And as a surfer, the north shore of Oahu is pretty much a hajj any dedicated surfer needs to take (but more on that later). I really didn’t have much recollection of the inaugural trip, so I was excited to get back over there and take in the change of scenery.
The landscape of Oahu is lush and green. You land in the city of Honolulu but as soon as you get on the H highway system, you are often surrounded by green on all sides. The air smells fresh. It had a refreshing breeze so we rolled with the windows down. I feel like after 5 hours on a plane any type of fresh air feels good. But this air felt especially good.
40 minutes later and we got into the stretch of island I would spend most of my time at-the 7 mile miracle aka the north shore. So much green and blue. Seeing 10 foot waves groomed with trade (offshore) winds got the heart beating pretty quickly. What would come in the next 12 days would be tons of surfing, plenty of sightseeing, seeing old friends while making new ones, and just an overall stress-free stretch of time. It’s easy living.
As much as I think I am a good writer and a rather descriptive one, I think some of the pictures would tell a better story. Here are a few selections from my film rolls in Hawaii:
This is a post from my alternative website Welcome Progress. Before I turned off the site, I grabbed a couple pieces I liked to be redistributed here. The timing on this one seems right on the button, as I have been surfing exclusively a twin fin since the start of 2021.
To keep something fresh, sometimes changes need to be made. Mindset, environment, etc. The list goes on and on. Some people might fear change. This is definitely a problem, considering no man or woman has achieved greatness by staying stagnant or true to their routine for too long. Sure, having something dialed feels good and if they are good habits and routines keep them going. But the old saying goes “variety is the spice of life”, so incorporating things outside of your comfort zone is essential for development.
Change breeds a different mindset. No matter how comfortably you are sitting or how zenned out you might feel, mindset is one thing that can always evolve and will just make you a better person. Mindset is something you can reference when making a decision or thinking about a choice, and doesn’t necessarily sway you one way or the other. Having an expandable and broad mindset lets you see the whole painting rather than the corner or image that just catches your eye. In order to expand and have our mindset grow, we either need more experience or experience from others. This pretty much boils down to trying new things or reading material from those who have pushed boundaries or embraced change with open arms.
So where are we taking this? The underlying theme is mindset and opening up your brain to things that you might never have considered previously.
So let’s talk about alternative surfboards. Not to shift the focus from the main idea, but rather provide an example that will be relevant to almost anything you apply it to. Let’s begin.
Most people are hard in their ways about the boards they ride. If this were on a graph, it would go as follows: those who have surfed longer and are more proficient tend to get more finicky about boards. Surfing for the most part is a constant learning curve. Most who pick it up dream of ability well beyond the realm of reality. But, if you practice enough you can get there (aside from the 5% of surfers who are really F1 drivers in a realm of speed junkies). Not to get sidetracked, the point is people are stuck in their routine of surfboard shapes. Most lineups are filled with performance surfboards or a beefier, more “domestic” version of the performance shortboard.
But as time has gone on, you are starting to see a retro revolution of old school shapes and “alternative” boards. These boards are breathing a breath of fresh air into the lineup, and you see people of all skill levels gliding atop these pre-2000s shapes. These people have the right idea. People are all built differently, and believe it or not some people definitely fare better on a fish than the hypersensitive shortboard that your favorite surfer is riding in a heat. You could hop on a fish and just be blown away with the ride this shape has gifted you. And fishes are just the tip of the iceberg: mid lengths, asymmetricals, bars of soap. Thrusters, quads, twins, singles, finless. The possibilities are endless.
Riding boards outside the comfort zone stirs in your brain new ways of wave riding. How you once thought you had to surf two foot waves has been turned upside down. Having this broader mindset of what to ride, when to ride it, and how to ride it can add a large amount of milk froth into your brains surfing coffee cup. Seeing a dribbly two foot reform can stoke you out if you have the right board to tackle it. Every surfer knows how fun getting wet is, even if the results are more sub par than you expected. Most become better people after they’ve had a surf in their day, and these boards will help you tack up more sessions than ever before. Many have jumped on the alternative shape bandwagon, but tons are still stuck in their ways.
To circle back, not apply this short tale of the evolution of surf craft to whatever you want. You only listen to two genres of music: expand your taste and you could find a whole new world of tunes that you really like. All of this is about programming your brain to not fear change and embrace trying new things. Yes, this is much easier said than done. And there are much scarier choices and experiences that require trying something new than picking what surfboard you ride or what music you listen to while you work. Between home life, professional life, and just life in general, oftentimes we are thrown a curveball whether we like it or not. Having a flexible mindset can help you hit it out of the park, or at least anticipate what pitch is coming next.
Here’s some inspiration: someone with a high-performance background welcoming alternative shapes with open arms.
We constantly are spending hours out of the 16 hour machine, assuming you get a recommended 8 hours of sleep. I feel like 6-8 hours of sleep is pretty solid for someone who is trying to function properly and keep their body healthy. Let’s not get distracted though. We are almost in a time machine right now (not the hot tub kind). Days come and go. Weeks come and go. Seasons come and go. Blink twice and it’s a new month. What have you guys been up to? Staying productive? Keeping it G? I want to know. Just a heads up, there isn’t much substance behind this post. I am just giving you fair warning before you continue to move forward. But nonetheless, I felt like checking in. The year is past the halfway mark. We are almost out of 2020.
Can you believe it is already August? How fast time flies. The saying goes “time flies when you are having fun.” Are we having fun? The easy answer is no. How could we be having fun right now? The world is in a shitstorm (cite this as my tenth time referencing the state of mother earth). So why is time flying? We surely aren’t enjoying every minute to the fullest. Or are we? I look at it this way: there isn’t a lot we can’t do in this situation. We can definitely voice our opinions and fight for causes we believe in, but as far as COVID-19 and certain situations regarding work, we are just making due with what we’ve got. The playing field is leveled to a certain extent. We either take advantage of what we can or wait patiently for things to get back to normal. But how long will it take?
Hopefully not long (this is wishful thinking). It seems like certain states and zones are doing a lot better than others. But this thing is so big and prevalent that I don’t see it ending in the near future. Some places are doing quite the opposite of the better performing zones, instead taking steps backward instead of forward. As someone living in Southern California, specifically Orange County, I don’t see an immediate remedy for us. There has been a second outbreak that shut most things back down while they were only open for less than a month. It’s still quite weird, since it is summer and places are bursting with people all over on the weekends and even during the week. The lineups are crowded and it’s as congested as if there wasn’t a virus. Like I said earlier, it seems like a lot of people are just rolling with the punches and trying to have some fun. We are trying to make the time grow wings and fly. And if the indication of how fast this year has gone by means anything, it seems to be working.
It’s crazy to think 2021 is around the corner. It feels like we just started 2020. Soon enough fall will be easing in, and the heatwave (for some places) of summer will be long gone. The crowds will dwindle and we will be back to the start of this crazy year. The year starts in winter, and is going to end in winter, cold weather and holidays included. How will our fates be decided in these next couple months? Will there be a halloween? Will Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations be dwindled down because of this state of the world? Are these even important things to care about? There are huge problems in the world right now. And while these things that are directly in our orbit seem important, there are definitely other things to focus on currently and direct our attention to. It seems like every couple weeks something truly catastrophic happens, and the memes about canceling 2020 start popping back up again. No matter how bad we want this year not to count or be a joke, it’s very real. All we can do is take what we’ve got and run with it. It’s already August, soon it’ll be September, and don’t blink: or it’ll be December. Keep it going. Keep moving forward.
I’ve been sitting on this post for almost a month now. For some reason I haven’t hit publish. And the reason is unknown to me.
Even with all the free time I’ve had on my hands, I still find myself having to choose what to do. You’d surely think I’d have time to do everything I wanted to with this new quarantine lifestyle. But maybe I’ve bitten off more than I can chew? See here’s the thing: they say splitting your focus into too many different lanes is counterproductive. But I would disagree. I think things that are new and fresh are going to require more focus until you hone them to the level of expertise similar to other activities. So since trying new things, I’ve devoted more time to these activities I am far less familiar with. As usual, every morning consists of a surf. Just to get it out of the way. Not that it is a chore, but getting up early and striking before winds and crowds has definitely been my wavelength as of late. Even though it might be one of the things I am most an expert in (don’t take that the wrong way), I still love to give it the time and attention it deserves. Sure, I’ve woken up at 6 for the past xxx mornings, but I’ve fully gotten used to it and even when I don’t surf I still rise fairly early. If it’s a work day, I am preoccupied until around 5 or 6. Those days are a little more boring. I can pick 1 of the things I like to do after work. I have that 2 hour window to do whatever. Then it’s eat around 8 and watch a TV show with my roommates. In bed at 10. The TV show might be looked at as wasted time, but it’s time all of us sit on the couch and shoot the shit. Sometimes we pass on it but most of the time it’s our bonding (aside from our daily sunset bike cruise). So maybe I’ll fish. Or maybe I’ll read. Maybe I’ll cook up a beat. Maybe I’ll go on a run. Maybe I’ll work out. Maybe I’ll surf. Maybe I’ll write. Do you see where I am going with this?
It seems like I keep writing these posts saying the same thing: writing has taken the backseat. But no longer! I had mentioned in an earlier piece about a side project I have quietly been working on, and I think it’s about time to let it rip. They say you have to fail a ton of times to succeed. And this might be a shot in the dark that amounts to nothing. But the cool aspect of it is that things are cemented on the internet, and I’ll always be able to look back on it and smile. And maybe learn from the mistakes. If you don’t put yourself out there, you’ll never know what the outcome could be. So here’s a quick synopsis on my new site.
Yes, it’s another website. Why? Because why not! I love this site, and it seems like (very few) others do too! Love is a strong word, but just work with me. It’s a snapshot of my professional career and me flexing my writing chops (if I even have any to flex). If you know me, you know I really don’t like things to be about me. If it doesn’t pertain to any but me, I usually don’t talk about it. I try not to gloat or boast. I (typically) am humble and quiet. As it should be. So it only made sense to make something that wasn’t all about me. Enter: Welcome Progress. I grew up glued to some surf media outlets. What Youth, Stab, SURFING (RIP), etc. Things have surely changed as far as paper magazines and how these sites are ran, but I loved reading interviews and pieces penned about things in the surf world I was enamored by. I still read articles off sites like GQ, Pitchfork, Stab, Inherent Bummer, etc. The shift from pure surf media started happening as I grew older and also more found of writing and styles. I am definitely a surf turkey by nature, but at this point in life I like to think I am a lot more. I think just being labeled a surfer got so stale. So let’s spin from that into what Welcome Progress will be about. It’s going to have some elements of surf. That’d go under the realm of “Activity”. There is also Mindset and Everyday. It’ll just be cheeky little pieces that fit into each one of those bins (or the trash bin if it sucks). Opinionated or fabricated pieces, made easily digestible.
But it’ll be more than just my writing. I will reach out to others and post their shit. I want to talk to some of my friends and get their opinion, because I like to think I have a pretty diverse group of friends. With varying degrees of notoriety, hustle, and intellect. Some I talk to way more than others. Some tell me a lot more than others. But that’s not the point. I only know so much. Other people know a lot more. It would be strange to let other people in on a website that was named after me, so peer work will live here. Just a whole bunch of random shit! I also tried decently hard to make it look good. I think the layout is cool and a more complete site in comparison to my current site. The homepage is a mood board, linked to @welcomeprogress. It will be embedded with art, design, surf, and anything I think is cool or fits the brand. It’s still me at the helm, so you could probably guess the vibe (if you know me). Well, that’s it. Let’s see what happens!! If you are keen to give it a look, click HERE. If you want in on it, text me or reach out on the contact page. Come one come all! There’s not much currently, but if you want give the Instagram a follow and check out the little pieces I wrote under each category.
We have a lot of time on our hands. Whether we like it or not, we are going to be stuck in the same routine for a while. Working from home, not really leaving the house, and seeing whoever you live with all day long are going to be very real circumstances for the time being (and most likely quite some time after). If you dwell on it too much, you are going to bum yourself out. Remember: it is for the greater good. The quicker we oblige to social distancing and quarantine practices, the quicker we can get out of the very funky time (hopefully). With all this free time on our hands and about a quarter of the social interactions we are used to on the daily, you need some noise to fill the gaps. Music is obviously a great choice (and that, we will be saving for pt. 2), but sometimes we need to switch it up. Ever listen to a podcast? Well, now’s the time to start. Here are some recommendations per the writers interests and biases (with duration included, as some are into short-form and others into long-form):
The Joe Budden Podcast (Long)
This podcast got me through transitioning from working in places that required interaction with customers to working in an office space. While I have loved all my previous and current coworkers, there are certainly times where I just need to plug in and focus to get things done. I felt often that music I was familiar with I would sing along or get easily sidetracked. Locking into a podcast of just banter was one of the best ways I could effectively get work done (at the time, this was mainly copywriting so it wouldn’t side track my word flow on docs). The Joe Budden Podcast is predominantly a music podcast, starting with roots in hip-hop but now covering most everything music related (from releases to the business to specific artists, even to Joe’s music career). The more you listen, the more you start to know about each of the characters and get the jokes that often fly under the table. In it’s evolution, they also cover current events and just about anything that makes headlines. The JBP is for sure the podcast I listen to most, and haven’t missed an episode since 217 (they are now on 334).
This music podcast differs starkly from the JBP. It’s main contributor is Cole Cuchna, a music nerd much like myself, but he is on a completely different level. Dissect takes iconic albums and breaks them down song by song, really taking a deep dive on underlying themes and even the construction of modern music. His selection is for sure Hip-Hop based, but covers some of the most critically acclaimed albums, from KDots TPAB and DAMN to Kanye’s MBDTF. I started with the Kanye album, and by the time I was finished I would argue that MBDTF is probably the best album of the 2000s. While some of it might be a little too in depth on musical notes and history, it does feel awesome to finish a season and have a whole new understanding of an album you already loved.
The first surf podcast I really took a liking to and since I’ve I listened and enjoyed every episode. The two hosts carry the show quite well, one a more average surfer and one an ex-QS surfer turned coach. They both typically tend to have varying perspectives, but always are crushing salt lagers (beers) in unison. Whether it’s contest wrap-ups, contest previews, fantasy surf picks, or the odd guests, they have classic surf banter you and your mates have. They definitely are tapped in to surfing, and especially that coming from their homeland (Australia). It is always nice to hear from the ex-QS surfer (Cahill Bell-Warren) as he has had a wildcard spot on the CT and has grinded the QS for quite some time. Now a surf coach, it’s funny to hear him talk either ultra technical as far as surfing or aussie-slang heavy about surfs or nights out on the piss.
Guilty bias since my dad was a guest on this one (you even can here me chime in on occasion), I actually had listened to the podcast before the invite was extended. The surf world is massive, and there is a lot going on in between the CT surfers, huge corporate brands, and just the culture itself. L8 Night and Choccy do a great job highlighting the more low key but integral parts of surfing’s upbringing. Whether it’s lifelong shop owners, people who steered some of the biggest brands before buyouts, or small groups of surf-minded individuals (companies or boardrider clubs), they cover it all. Both lifelong rippers and both currently working in the industry, it doesn’t get much more core. Whether it’s surf talk, brand talk, or just about anything surrounding the sport or the industry, these guys have the inside scoop.
I really like The Lineup. For me, I am guilty of listening to them all but really only love the ones based on the guest. One thing I love about every single episode though is the lightning round: 10 questions for the guest. My favorite to hear people’s response to is best & worst person to share a session with.
Forerunners is a Surfline-powered podcast that explains wave forecasts to their perspective zones. I couldn’t put it as a favorite since it covers everywhere, and I don’t need to listen to the east coast forecast if I ain’t gonna be over there. But I do love to get the most in-depth breakdown on surf if there is a forecast that looks promising.
Mike Stud has always been an artist I’ve been fond of since I found him. While I do like a ton of his songs, his personality at first is what sold me. I was tipped off by a friend to check him out around sophomore/junior year of college, and then fell into the vortex of his Tourings Boring series. One of the earliest vlogs for musicians (salute Wiz Khalifa with DayToday), it follows Stud and his childhood friends in all sorts of debauchery and trouble a couple of lower to mid-20 year olds could get into. Super loose, he was a party guy. When I listened to the first episode of the pod, I realized he had definitely made a lifestyle switch. Post break-up, Mike took his time to slow down and find himself, and in the process became very spiritual. He has taken the podcast platform to interview his friend circle and beyond: fellow musicians, top-level athletes, and entrepreneurs. You can cherry pick the people who you are familiar with, watch ’em all, or listen to their friendly banter when they are sans guests and just with the Steves.
Most of the pods spotlit during this post are in the middle or on the longer side. For me, I typically like to save podcasts for longer periods of time. However, there are some bite-sized podcasts out there that really give you a bang for your buck as far as quality content in a smaller package. While one that comes to mind is the NYTimes podcast The Daily, it recently got a little too corona crazy for me to want to listen to. The GQ podcast Airplane Mode gives you easy to digest tidbits of information, coming from all sorts of different people. From trainers to artists to writers, they all cover topics that they can transfer valuable info based on experience. From 30 minutes to an hour, with the odd long form podcast in there, Airplane mode is good to just get a quick fix. And I always gotta stay true to the GQ brand.
Here’s some shameless self(brother)-promotion. My brother recently beat me into getting into the podcast space (more on that potential later) by starting a pod with two of his closest friends. One thing brought them together when they were younger and it’s something they all still do currently, and that one thing is their love for classic nintendo games. Enter the Nintendads, as these 3 fathers chop it up about game news, express their biases, and overall just goof around. I gotta put some respect on the brozay, as they are only getting more and more quality. While I can’t always follow the subject matter, we all grew up on nintendo games, so the nostalgia just hits home. My one beef with theirs is that there is no video to go along with (while it is understandable since they do not live near each other). Knowing how all of them are, it would be pretty good to see their facial reactions to certain topics.
The Medium Rare Podcast (Short-Medium)
This one is my newest discovery on the podcast front. It is for sure my guilty pleasure podcast. It is no way embarrassing, but sometimes I just think to myself “why am I watching this”. It pretty much details the late-night antics and clout-driven activities between 3 close friends with money. While I am sure if me and my buddies somehow attained a nice amount of loot and a social following, we would be doing the same shit. In a nutshell, it covers girls, going out, fashion, and food. The food part is definitely what first drew me in, as it is interesting to hear their opinions about different food scenes (although it is all very high-end dining, which I won’t be partaking in anytime soon). But like I said, I got sucked in and now am playing catch up. It will act as an inspiration for when we are off quarantine and back to sending it (that’s some shit they would say). This is one I’d say is essential to watch, just because you can see how close of friends they are based on the body language and jargon between them.