Category Archives: Surfing

Wish you were here…Tofino

We live our lives sometimes on the crossroads between should and must. Also the title of a good book by Elle Luna. A few years back, I watched the “Groundswell” film by the Malloy brothers. The stunning remote waves and brash wilderness called to me. We speak of wills and waves.

Must set the wheels in motion to help orcas in any way possible. Step 1. Apply for an environmental internship from my shop job at Patagonia. The future depends on our actions. We cannot pretend that nothing is happening. We must move away from the fossil fuel debauchery. Luck was on my side. I was awarded an internship to volunteer for the Georgia Strait Alliance in Vancouver, B.C. for five weeks in September-October.

Tasks included gathering signatures in opposition to the Kinder Morgan Pipeline extension, being a presence for GSA at some festivals and other projects, shooting photographs for the Waterfront Initiative and Water’s Edge Day.

This was my first time in Vancouver. An eclectic, diverse city with gorgeous parks hop-skip wilderness, hikes, climbing, sailing, kayaking, skiing and industry at your door step. I was not initially looking to be in a city. The more remote the better for me. For the internship it seemed to make the most sense with having access to the office etc. other folks, getting things done.

One rainy Saturday morning at 7 am, I took the one-hour bus to a three-hour ferry to Salt Spring Island. So excited to visit my friends Snow and Rob, go crab fishing and check out some hikes and the fall fair. Rob entered the smoked Salmon contest and the their daughter Maia showed her dog-in the pet parade in a scarecrow costume no less. Encouraging to see how my friends seamlessly slipped out of L. A. first to Portland then to Bainbridge Island, finally to British Columbia where Snow grew up. Just in time to avoid the shenanigans that our circus is providing back in the good ole U.S. of A. On the ferry back to Van City, I caught a glimpse of full breech and orca family along the ships starboard side. Only the captain and I saw it. It made my trip and my birthday extraordinary.

Tail end of my stay in Vancouver, I had reserved a few days for excursion and again on the bus, to a ferry to Nanaimo. It was a gray, coolish rainy day. Back onto another bus to the B.C. equivalent to the North Shore Tofino. A friend provided a 5.4 wetsuit with a hood, bless her heart! Thank heavens, I had my 3ml booties. No gloves. This is the fairest time for water temps in the area. The first night was spent in this gorgeous botanical garden and the next two in a not-so-splendid motel, but at least it was close to the beach. Would have preferred a sleeping bag and tent but had none of that on this trip.

My friend’s cousin is a heli pilot in B.C.. After a series of messages, he and I had a meal in Kitsilano. We shared stories of travel, surf and I tried to convince him to join me but alas, he had to work. He was generous, funny and kind. He offered to loan me a unique custom board he had stored at a friends in Tofino. Game on.

One girl hits the two-lane highway to catch a few waves in Tofino. The bus droped me off about 1km from the place I was to pick up the board. So happy to meet the wise and bold Giselle Bruhwiler. She was kind as can be. We spoke French as she is from Montreal. Together we chatted about life, love, children and grandchildren, waves, Switzerland and trees. She got me the board, asked Raph to take me to a break he was going to. “I am not coming back this way,” he said. Win some, lose some. Note made for the next trip hopefully with a buddy, camping gear, boards and a rental car. This time I was on foot with a 8’6″ gun-ish type board and a roller bag that was pretty much all wet suit. It poured rain the rest of the day, so I read. When the rain stopped after dinner I took a long walk amidst the trees and stars were so bright.

Next morning I jumped out of bed suited up and traipsed the board over to the beach. It was a large bay. Lots of people. A beginner spot, or several different levels of surf depending how far you are willing to paddle. Eagerly I looked for a left breaking wave. This was my first time surfing in a 5.4 wet suit. Can we say boyant? There were a few hazards the bulb kelp was gigantic and every once in a while a 40′ log. You wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of that. It wasn’t a big day. Thought I’d only last an hour but it was pretty fun. As usual, lost track of time. Hint: That makes surfing a “MUST.” When I could no longer feel my hands, I decided it was time for a hot shower. A French girl Sarah had to help me get the hood and wet suit off. Now friends for life.

So much of the island I cannot wait to explore further. This was a teaser, teaser, teaser of a trip. At least I made my bottom line — in and out of the water safely. Check.

If you would like to help orcas too or want to find out more about GSA. Also chomping at the bit to watch the next Bruhwiler Country.

 

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Filed under Advice, Beach, Environment, General, Sea Life, Surf Movies, Surfing, Travel

Interview with Filmmaker Dayla Soul

Headshot Dayla Soul Director IAP I recently watched It Ain’t Pretty, a documentary about the women who surf the heavy, and often well-overhead, waves at Ocean Beach, San Francisco. I loved the sisterhood of the surfers portrayed in the film and the ultimate message of the film: women overcoming challenges and sexism that are rampant in the surf industry. The film focuses in on Bianca Valenti’s journey from childhood phenom to big-wave charger. Seeing images of authentic women getting out there and ripping is inspiring. After watching the film, I had to reach out to filmmaker Dayla Soul to ask her a few questions.

What inspired you to make this film?  
I have been a surfer my whole life. I grew up on the north shore of Kauai where I learned to surf. Now living near Ocean Beach in San Francisco I have been surfing here for 20 years. I noticed other women surfing here would go out when it was fairly big. I would see them drop in to solid 15 footers. One particular women I would see actually getting barreled on big days turned out to be Bianca Valenti. I kind of wondered if there were any female surfing films of women that surfed here in Norcal. After doing a little research I only found one that was about Sarah Gerhardt and how she was the first women to surf Mavericks. The film was called One Winter Story directed by Elizabeth Pepin Silva and Sally Lundburg. That was pretty much it on women in Big Waves films that I found. I was perplexed because there are a lot of films on women surfing but they are usually in warm water surfing small waves in bikinis set to soft girl genre music. So one day after getting out of the water I was like, why don’t I make a short feature on couple of the girls surfing here and rent out our local theater? Long story short, it just spiraled into a much bigger story and project. I thought of the title before I even started filming. I was tired of seeing the same bikini images in surfing, and I wanted the title to represent that it is not always pretty. Sometimes it’s gnarly cold water in wetsuits!

What do you think is the most important message in the film?
My goal was to put out real footage on everyday dedicated surfers. Not necessarily professionals but super courageous women that surf everyday. To create images of women doing something that inspires others. Especially the youth. To use surfing as a metaphor in life to go out and get it!

What were the challenges in making this film?
Money was and still is a big challenge in filmmaking. I ran a Kickstarter early on that enabled me to buy good camera equipment. However, much of the film was paid for out of pocket. It was difficult juggling jobs while paying for the film. I’m happy that it is out there and finished. I’m not sure if I will make any money back, but I feel proud of the accomplishment and love that there is now a film that represents us in Norcal.

What is your relationship with surfing and the ocean?
I am married to the sea ! At times we battle, but we love each other. Surfing is everything to me!

What does it mean to you to “surf like a girl”?
A girl that surfs. Redefining what it is to be a women in the water is owning who we have always been. Taking back the view of being misrepresented in the world. Nothing has changed with us except peoples perspectives on what they think a girl can do. However it doesn’t mean we haven’t been doing those things all along.

Okay, tell us about your name?
My mom was a hippie and gave us interesting names. My brothers name is Corderoy. So that kinda how I walked away with this name. I was happy to find out about the band De La Soul in my 20’s. That kinda made me feel cool.

Any last thoughts?
The main thing I want people to get from the film is that anything is possible if you put your mind and “Soul” to it. Including holding the media accountable for images that misrepresent 90% of female surfing and give young girls a false standard to try and live up to.

Thank you, Dayla, for showing us what women’s surfing is all about–not string bikinis in crystal clear waves, but bad-ass women in full-suits, gloves, and hoods going out into macking, icy waves and totally charging!

Check out It Ain’t Pretty on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and Comcast.

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Beginner/Intermediate

Have you always wanted to learn to surf? Would you like to take your surfing to the next level? Join Heather Alley and myself for a one week intensive. Space is limited and we are really looking forward to this trip! For more info and to reserve your spot click here.

 

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Tia Blanco’s Journey

Nineteen-year-old Tia Blanco has already made her mark on the world of surfing by becoming the 2015 Gold medalist in the ISA World Surfing Games. Famous for her skills in the lineup as well as her dedication to sharing her love of the ocean with others, Tia recently traveled to Playa Gigante, Nicaragua with Sony Artisans David McLain and Gabe Rogel to surf and immerse themselves in this special place.  Check it out!

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Liz Clark

Calling all co-sailing, surf, adventure enthusiasts. I have been following Captain Liz Clark’s voyage on Swell since she set sail back around ten years ago. At that time she was not a Patagonia Ambassador nor a Nat Geo Adventurer but boy has she earned both those titles. We are so excited to have her stop in Santa Monica. Join us if you can. For her 10 ways to make a better world, click the link above. Hope to see you there!PAT_S16_WsActive_LizClark_SantaMonica

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Filed under Beach, Books, Environment, General, Photos, Sea Life, Surf Movies, Surfing, Travel

Not Pretty Enough to Sponsor?

Sometimes we are sorely disappointed in the surf industry. BBC News Magazine shares a short documentary of bad-ass Brazilian surfer, Silvana Lima. Although she is Brazil’s number one surfer, she had trouble obtaining sponsorship because she didn’t have “model” looks. Attention should be paid to surfers with significant talent rather than basing sponsorship dollars on a pretty face.

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Lei Days with Tatiana Weston-Webb

Tatiana Weston-Webb stars in Lei Days. Shot entirely on location in Maui after Tati advanced to the Quarterfinals in the 2015 Target Maui Pro.  As the youngest competitor on the Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour, Tati began the year as the 16th seed and put the world on notice as she steadily marched her way to an impressive 7th place finish. Lei Days aims to celebrate the one of a kind beauty and athleticism that is Tatiana Weston-Webb. 

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