Archive for May, 2008

May 14 2008

Peru: New Hotspot Surf Destination

Published by under Destinations,Travel

Chicama, Peru

It’s safe to say that if you’ve read about a surf spot in the New York Times, then it’s no longer an underground spot. I read about El Salvador in NYT three or four years ago, then Nicaragua and Panama. Surfing has been blowing up around the world, and surfers are by nature travelers. It was only a matter of time before it became the en vogue sport. The New York Times last week published a travel article on Peru and specifically surf in the North around Mancora. Peru has great exposure to Southern swell (they also pick up bigger Westerly and Northern swells during North America’s winter). They’ve got every kind of break, from big wave spots to some of the longest point breaks in world. Waveshunters has a good summary of the best waves in Peru (link). The best part about Peru is how many of your surfers buddies do you know that have been down there?! I’ve got one that’s surfed there.

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May 13 2008

Shark Attack Risk of Death…

Published by under Sharks

Shark Cartoon

With all the recent shark attacks and hysteria surrounding them in the media, I decided to look up some statistics on shark attacks and death. The International Shark Attack File has tons of good information and statistics on shark attacks. This page compares the risk of death of shark attacks to everything from an alligator attacks to a “collapsing sand hole incident.” And according to their graph below what you’ve heard is true, you’re far more likely to die from a lightning strike or fireworks than from a shark attack (let alone heart disease, car accident, or multiple drug-resistant bacteria). So buckle up, wear a helmet, watch out for collapsing sand hole, and surf your brains out.

Shark Attack Relative Risk of Death

Check our post on annual number of shark attack and deaths (here).

See Other Amazing Posts:

The Most Amazing Photos You’ll Ever See of Waves

Diver Fights and Kills 12 ft. Tiger Shark (Photos)

1000 Lb Stingray and a Fish with a Transparent Head

More Plastic in the Pacific than Plankton

Incredible HD Footage of Surfer in the Barrel

44 responses so far

May 12 2008

Surfwise – The Documentary

Published by under Lifestyle,Videos

If you’re a surfer, it’s crossed your mind on more than a few occasions–buying a camper, packing it all up, and heading south. Surfwise is a documentary about Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz and his family doing that. Doc was a Stanford educated physician who in the 1950s decided to live the surf life on the road and loaded the family in a 24 ft. camper (nine children all together). Jonathan Paskowitz, a professional surfer, tells the story of his family, their travels, adventures, and surf. Apple has a high-def version of the trailer. NPR has an interview with Jonathan Paskowitz, Doc’s son and a producer on the film. Surfwise was released in theaters on May 9, 2008.

[youtube xodt6GE71_Y]

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May 11 2008

Avoid the Scam. Travel Tips: Car and Truck Rentals-Mexico and Beyond

Published by under Destinations,Travel Tips

There’s always some sort of racket with car and truck rentals abroad. On my last trip to Zihuatanejo and Guerrero, Mexico, I rented a car through Orbitz and Thrifty for $200 for days. It was supposedly their full size car, Orbitz even offered third party insurance through Access America for $99 for the entire trip. 10 day car rental and insurance for $299 for ten days. Yes, too good to be true. We arrived, the car was a wreck (even though it was Thrifty), and they claimed they didn’t accept third party insurance. We drove the car off reluctantly after buying their insurance, hit one speed bump and the muffler came off. Somehow we were able to return it later that day and exchange for a truck without them realizing that the muffler was ruined.

What happens often in Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and all these surf destinations that never happens here with rentals is bargaining, even with the big name brand companies like Thrifty, Avis, etc. Which is why I would recommend not reserving a car in advance. First off, you never really know what you’re getting, and secondly, you won’t be able to bargain and they’ll likely charge you extra for insurance claiming it wasn’t included. In most major destinations, they’ll have plenty of cars and trucks. By not reserving, in advance you’ll be able to check different vendors (more destinations also have non-brand label rentals also, cheaper and a bit sketchier) and work out the best deal.

Here’s a list of suggestions for dealing with rentals on surf trips:

  1. Check to see if you need an international driver’s license for the destination (you can get one through the AAA office, they’re around $20). You don’t for Mexico and most of Central America.
  2. Figure out in advance in you need a 4×4 or not. For lots of destinations, you don’t need one and they’re often more than twice as much.
  3. Make sure to bring soft racks and straps with you on the trip.
  4. Don’t book in advance unless it’s high season and likely to be busy at the destination. (Also, check into booking and then canceling the rental if you find a better deal).
  5. Get prices from a couple different rental agencies at the airport, make sure they include full insurance coverage. Get prices also from third party rentals, often in pick-up area of airport.
  6. Agree on price and contract. Also, make sure you get the best exchange rate or better yet, negotiate the price in local currency instead of dollars. On my last trip, I negotiated a better rate with the agent only to find out he gave me a 10% higher exchange rate.
  7. Go over their insurance policy. Many agencies will have tiered levels of “full coverage” some of which have very high deductibles. Check the papers and make sure they’re in order, local police often will use any mistakes, etc to bribe you.
  8. Visually inspect the car or truck very closely including the windshield and undercarriage. Make sure they have a spare and jack. Don’t rent car or trucks that look like they’re in bad shape.
  9. Keep the paperwork in the car in a safe place.
  10. Get contact numbers from the office in case of problem. Lots can and will go wrong. It’s a lot easier if you can contact their office directly.

8 responses so far

May 08 2008

Destination: Guerrero and Michoacan, Mexico

Published by under Destinations,Mexico,Travel

I just got back from my 10 day trip to Guerrero (North of Zihuatanejo and Ixtapa) and Michoacan. We scored two solid swells down there and great waves all around. It was an easy trip from the West Coast (Alaska has direct flights from LAX to Zihuatanejo and last minute fares were cheap ($450). There’s plenty of good breaks down there (favoring the goofy foot though) with good swell exposure. Winds generally picked up late morning, but did not always blow out the surf and many afternoons were still surfable. Don’t expect to partying until dawn every night (or any night), but Zihuatanejo has an old-town charm and there’s incredible fishing up and down the coast. North of Zihuatenajo there’s hardly anything on the coast at all except a few fishing villages. Overall, the area is a great area to plan a trip or to score last minute waves.

Troncones Point and Manzanillo Bay

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10 responses so far

May 05 2008

The Barrel Cam – Red Bull Shows Us The World’s Biggest Barrel From the Inside Out

Published by under Towsurfing,Travel,Videos

Barrel Shot At Teahupoo From Red Bull 360 Cam

Red Bull teamed up with the world’s best barrel riders (Jamie O’Brien, Jamie Sterling, Ian Walsh, and Raimana Van Bastolear) to film the world’s heaviest barrel in the that’s never been done before. Using a 360 cam (I’d never heard of one either) strapped to their backs, they film the barrel from all angles. The resulting footage allows you to see the barrel from the surfer’s perspective and actually move the camera around the barrel for 360 degree views! Incredible stuff. You can actually pause the camera at any point and move the camera around and see the barrel from all angles. Since most of us won’t probably ever be dropping into 10 ft. Teahupoo, it’s a good as we can get for now. Here’s the link to the Red Bull site on the project with videos. Check out the photos below.

Jamie O’Brien stands tall at Teahupoo with Red Bull 360 Degree Video Camera

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May 05 2008

More Shark Attacks – Global Warming to Blame?

Published by under Environment,Sharks

Great white food chain

We’ve blamed pretty much everything else on global warming, why not increased shark attacks? The Guardian UK published an article linking the recent shark attacks to global warming. There’s been an increase on shark attacks in the last couple of years (especially in Florida). US has suffered the worst with 70% of the worldwide sharks attacks in 2007 occurring in US waters. The author suggests more people visiting the coast (due to higher general population), increased seal populations, and warmer sea temps potentially causing sharks into areas they haven’t been in the past. All the evidence seems anecdotal, and the scientists seem to be postulating rather than having any real evidence. Here’s a graph from the International Shark Attack File that shows how much shark attacks have increased in the past century. (more after the jump)

Shark Attacks by Decade

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17 responses so far

May 05 2008

Tow Surfing…. With Sharks

Published by under Sharks,Towsurfing

After such a bad couple weeks of shark news, I figured it was probably time to add a little humor with Whitey.

[youtube VVfucFO1prk]

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