Taking in the scenery: Oahu, Hawaii

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:

What’s The big Whoop All About: An honest opinion on a pretty cool piece of tech

My Whoop and Whoop tan.

I wear the Whoop band everyday. I sleep with it on, shower with it on, sweat with it on, surf with it on. It’s pretty much life-proof. And that’s the point. If you’re confused as to what I am referring to-see below.

If you didn’t click play, whoop is essentially a “fit-bit” that measures daily stress on your body, how your body recovers from said stress, and then the sleep you get to help you recover from said stress. Strain, recovery, and sleep are the 3 pillars of the whoop system, and I check them at the beginning and end of each day. You can really put together a lot of useful information and health statistics that can help you feel much better more often. Here’s a couple things I have taken away from owning one since last April:

-Learn When To Take Your Foot Off The Gas

Working out feels good. This is just a fact, and when you get in a solid rhythm it becomes rather easy. Prior to getting a whoop I was pretty hard in my ways on certain days requiring this workout, run, etc. However, with whoop telling you about your recovery from the day prior and your sleep performance before starting your day, it’s easy to tell when you might want to have a rest day. When you have a lower recovery, if you put up high strain again you will need an unrealistic amount of sleep (at least if you are in the working world). When I see a yellow or red recovery, I know I might take today as a rest day instead of my usual day or tune a workout to be lighter than anticipated. 

-In That Same Breath: Trust Your Instinct

In the beginning, I took the recoveries very literally. And I think a lot of people do get stuck in the rut of relying on their whoop to dictate the workout. This directly goes against what I said above, but trust your instinct. If you feel good, ignore the lower recovery. If you feel so-so, maybe heed the caution. Sometimes I feel great and have a less than ideal recovery, and other times it is warranted and I feel a little less pep in my step. 

-Sleep Is VERY Important

Sleeping is one of the pillars, and really can make a difference in how you feel, how you perform, and how you pretty much live day to day life. At first I would just wake up at my usual 6:30AM wakeup call, and sometimes my recoveries would suffer if I went to bed too late but still woke up at this hour. On top of this, the whoop breaks down your sleep stages, so you can see how much light sleep, deep sleep and REM. Deep sleep and REM are what help your body recover, so getting sufficient sleep in these stages is vital. The Whoop has really made me be analytical of mty sleep and strive to get a solid recovery the next day. 

-Things That Ruin You The Next Day

There are a myriad of factors that can mess around with your body and have it be seen on the Whoop. However, the one that was most startling to me was drinking booze. Waking up in the red the day after a night out is bad enough. At first it was comical as I am pretty good about not letting it ruin my next day. Going surfing on a 1% recovery? Check. However, when you do a deep dive on the numbers and see the difference in your heart rates before and after alcohol, it’s a bit startling. Drinking really does a number on your body, and having the whoop has made me pull back my habits a bit.  

-Competitive Drive

On the whoop interface, you can join teams of all sorts of varieties. I have one with 2 of my close friends. One with some of my favorite surfers. Even one that is just a bunch of people with the name James. Some of these teams I often am in the #1 spot. Others I have to really work to be ranked #1. But seeing other people push it and also seeing my ranking on the teams can fire me up to put the pedal to the metal. I probably look at this aspect the most, but sometimes you just want to be number 1. 

-It’s All About Balance

When it comes down to it, life’s all about balance. There’s gonna be days you can’t get enough sleep. There are days you’re gonna have a shit recovery. The whoop should be used as a means to know when it’s best to dial it up or down, not so much to tell you the exact days. There are plenty of surprises that happen in a lifetime, so sometimes you gotta live in the moment. But it doesn’t hurt to know how your body is feeling when these moments arise.

THINKING THROUGH ALTERNATIVE SHAPES

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.

Said twin fin.

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.

A YEAR IN CLOSURE

It’s 8PM on a Friday. It’s actually NYE, to be precise. I take another sip of wine out of a stemless glass (they just look better). Mixtape Lil’ Wayne plays out of my Macbook speakers. I have a pretty decent speaker setup in my bedroom, but something about the old music with the rawness of kinda shit speakers strikes a cord. Now about the wine. One of my new things to try in 2022 is wine. Sure, I’ve slapped the bag and drank wine before. There have been many deadly hangovers in my day from a classic Wine Wednesday. But I’d like to get an appreciation for it-similar to my love for coffee. It’s funny though, I make a resolution to drink more alcohol even though I am trying to kick liquor of all kinds to the curb in 2022. Not for any reason other than it just makes you feel so shit the next day. Don’t worry-I’m still going out tonight. I can’t just sit at home on Fridays and Saturdays. But it’ll be light in comparison to previous years. 

The idea of resolutions I think are great. I saw somewhere on social media someone say a statement along the lines of “I don’t make resolutions because I don’t wait”. Sick man. I’m not saying I wait until the new year to actively try something either or achieve a certain goal. But I find a new year let’s you account for all happenings of the last year and focus on things you might not have gotten to put attention towards or you missed out on trying. Sometimes, it’s a challenge to do something within the year (like surf 365 surf sessions, or my new number based challenge, train 1000 rounds of boxing drills). I also feel like it’s a time at the end of the year where people are more comfortable sharing what they improve on (even though that should constantly be in conversation).

If anyone thought I was doubling down on 365 surfs as a resolution-you are wrong. It wasn’t terrible in the moment, but it was grindy. There just wasn’t enough swell this year (not that I was trying). And I knew with how I was approaching it that it probably wasn’t going to happen. The number? A little over 300. Not bad but a decent bit off. I just always try to surf when I can.

This wine is OK. In my newfound trials I have for sure found better. But I still don’t know much about it. “Banned” by Lil Wayne just came on. It’s Weezy sliding over the old N.O.R.E. beat from Banned From TV. A classic. But back to the year coming to a close. I’ve been lagging on writing, which is unfortunate because when I get in a groove with it I write my best and it just feels good to vomit on the word doc. That’s kind of what this one’s about. Just a quick journal-esque rambling before I decide to shower and head out. What else can I jam in here before it seems like some quickly written blabber (in pure honesty it is)? Upon taking one last sip and looking up, this has some decent substance to it. Self reflection, new ideas for 2022, surfing, music, and some witty sentences (self proclaimed). Check ’em all off. That’ll do. Onto 2022.

REST IN PEACE WELCOME PROGRESS

It’s time to pour some out for a failed endeavor. Early in the quarantine of 2020, I found myself with tons of time outside of work. Mainly on Friday and Saturday nights-times where me and my friends would normally go socialize on the streets of Newport or Costa Mesa. Without these longer nights, I found myself unoccupied from around 8PM-11PM (if I didn’t go to bed at my normal 10PM time) and then I was also waking up spry and ready to go at 6:30AM, sans hangover. So what to do with all this time? 

Surf a bunch, that’s a given. I wrote quite a bit. I picked up producing music-which lasted a little longer than expected but has certainty waned off. Not for lack of enjoyment. Cooking beats is so fun and enjoyable, but I will say when I was really deep in it I was trying to at least touch the program almost once a day. With more and more time off, it seems harder and harder to replicate previous works I was proud of. Maybe one day. [Sidebar: there’s plenty of music to listen to from Himothys discog (here)]. I feel the same about writing-if I am not doing it often, it’s harder to be inspired and also harder to string together words in a pleasant manner. 

But I found myself wanting to try to build something bigger than my own personal site. A site that had a little more depth and a bit more of a refined scope than my often written ramblings you can find all over this site. So I took my very ameutuer website design skills and took a crack at it. I decided on the name and went to work. I often would spend an hour or two a night when I had the time tinkering with the design. Don’t get me wrong-I love the design of my personal sight. It gets the job done, but is very basic. In comparison, it took me quite some time to figure out how to build my second site in comparison to my first (shouldn’t it be the other way around?).

Welcomeprogress.com lived approximately from the middle of  2020 to early 2021. Upon looking back on the pieces embedded on the site, there are for sure some writings I thought were better than average and differed from the first person storytelling perspective found on this site. I think before I pull the plug on the site I am going to transfer some of the works to this site-so they may live forever and potentially be read. I even built out an IG profile that was embedded to the homepage, acting as a moodboard and easy way to share that new posts were on the site. 

For full transparency, I didn’t push Welcome Progress super hard. I knew it was sub-par as far as the effort I was truly putting into some of the writing, and by the time it stopped getting posted on I was knee deep in work that nothing was getting written for both sites. I could see myself swinging the bat again, but I think it needs a little more fine focus and ideas behind it before the next launch.