My recent guide to Stand Up Paddle Boarding was featured in SUP Examiner! Check it out:
Many moons ago, I posted a brief piece of fictitious travel writing that I thought would make for an interesting comic book. A few moons later, I wrote out the first five pages. It’s my first attempt at writing in such a format. It’s similar to a movie script in that you almost do the opposite of the great rule for storytelling: Show, don’t tell. In writing a comic book you’re job isn’t to show the reader through your exquisite prose the wonderful story you’ve created, that’s the job of the artist. Your words tell the artist what to show the reader. They are a guideline for the images to be rendered. It is a very different and interesting way to write. And here are those first five pages…
PAGE 1 (ONE PANEL)
PANEL 1: The surface of the sun fills the entire page with the curvature going from the top left and arcing wide, ending in the bottom right of the page. A massive coronal ejection is shooting off from the middle, angling toward the reader. Smaller ejections are occurring across the rest of the sun. One man, in a very simplistic white space suit with a golden visor is drifting over a darkened area of the sun on the right side. He is ERIK KALLDRON, a journalist. On his suit, a patch reading Virgin Sun can be seen on his left shoulder. A tether line, attached to the backside of his helmet and to the middle of his back is running off the page.
PAGE 2 (THREE PANELS)
PANEL 1: From inside the helmet of ERIK we see a closer look at the sun, tinged from the visor which has a Heads Up Display. Among the infographics the HUD is displaying about the sun, e.g. temperature, position, etc., there is a chunk that is less opaque which shows an advertisement for a cereal company. This space will show different ads each time it is in a scene. There will be small ads like this running rampant throughout many panels. Through the visor, we see three other figures. They are in similar suits although in different colors. Two are in pink spacesuits. These are tourist suits. The tourist should look like they are blundering around. The third is in a dark blue suit and this one is a scientist attending to a plasma collector that resembles a spider with folded-up legs. It is a large machine.
I feel like my suit should be melting. The electromagnetic shielding is the only real barrier between me and total annihilation. We’re touring the photosphere, a mere 7,200 degrees F. A low temp area, for the sun.
PANEL 2: Zooming out, we see an overhead view of all four sun travelers. The scientist, DR. TORVOLD, is bent over the plasma collector. The pink tourists are still floating around like idiots. ERIK is typing on a wrap-around screen attached to his left forearm.
Virgin Sun has wisely programmed our suits with navigational boundaries, actively adjusting to the ever changing conditions of the sun. They can withstand temperatures as high as 30,000 degrees F.
PANEL 3: Zooming in, we see DR. TORVOLD still hunched over his plasma collector, only his helmet is turned, looking in the direction of the free floating blundering tourists.
I watch Dr. Torvold babysit the tourists and myself. His scientific purpose is mired in capital gains. The privatization of space allowed him and the scientific community to continue their work when the government sponsored programs ended. Space exploration has become space exploitation.
PAGE 3 (THREE PANELS)
PANEL 1: Over the shoulder of DR. TORVOLD we see him working the controls of the plasma collector, his attention clearly focused on the tourists. On the instrument panel, the words WARNING appear in small red letters in one of the corners of the display. They should be conspicuous, part of a mass of information depicted on the complex machine. The tourists are on the left side of the panel, their bodies in awkward positions and their tether lines tangled up. ERIK is off center to the right of the panel, his body relaxed, ankles crossed, focused on typing on his forearm.
When the billionaires first launched their space programs they had precious metals in mind. A modern day gold rush to the stars. Mining the nearby asteroids for silver, gold, and platinum. It’s ironic they didn’t realize what a successful haul of space gold would do to the market.
PANEL 2: Zooming out a little, with DR. TORVOLD still working the plasma collector and still keeping his attention on the tourists. The arms of the collector are unfolded, except for one which is pointed in the direction of ERIK. The ends of the arms have a blue glow of highly charged particles beginning to gather.
They flooded it. The platinum, the gold, the silver were precious no more. The first haul was almost the last. But capitalism is too tenacious to be balked by an initial failure. A change in tactics to wring money out of the infinite confines of space led to tourism. And it worked. Our dear Dr. Torvold is really just hitching a ride.
PANEL 3: Returning to the view from inside ERIK’S visor, we see the tourists in the corner, still blundering along. We see the plasma collector arms, minus one, extended out and above the center of the large machine. The charged particles on the ends are bigger and sending out tendrils that are starting to coalesce in the middle, above the center of the machine. The HUD display has an ad stretching thinly across the top advertising a trip to a moon-based resort. An almost transparent word doc takes up the middle with the words ERIK has been typing on his forearm (the article he is writing that the reader is reading right now).
PAGE 4 & 5 (SPLASH PAGE WITH ONE SMALLER PANEL ON PAGE 4 IN THE MIDDLE)
SMALL PANEL: Close up of DR. TORVOLD’s finger pushing the firing button on the control panel.
SPLASH PAGE: The plasma collector is fully discharging a thick beam of blue and white energy with lighting-like tendrils fraying off on PAGE 5. The beam is pounding into the sun, penetrating through the photosphere. The renegade collector arm is shooting a smaller similar beam at ERIK. We see him with arms and legs spread, head arched back, the beam wrapping around him, making his electromagnetic shielding visible. Purple bolts are penetrating his shielding, burning away his suit and piercing his body. The bumbling tourists are floating around on PAGE 4. DR. TORVOLD is frantically engaged in the instrument panel trying to disengage the plasma collector beam.
As for myself, I’m collateral damage.
Last month I was fortunate enough to be featured in Pacific Magazine’s The Body article. This month I was stoked to spend three hours with Heather Lake on Fox 5’s morning show and today, my friends, my geek is stoked to be on Jonathan Morrison’s YouTube video for the OnePlus2. It’s just a snapchat video asking what the feel in hand is like for one-handed operation, but still, I love mobile tech and the popularity of YouTube tech personalities fascinates me.
What is the OnePlus 2? It’s a smartphone. But it’s from a company trying to redefine the paradigm of the smartphone market. And when you look at the global market, there are some interesting differences not many in the United States are aware of. Namely the subsidized carrier programs.
Almost everyone who’s purchased a smartphone in the United States in the last decade know that if they sign a two-year contract with a carrier, they’ll be able to buy the latest and greatest flagship smartphone for around $200. This deal subsidizes the price of the smartphone from the full price of around $600-$750 to the substantially lower $200 price point because you are guaranteeing the carrier two years of monthly payments. This is unique to the United States. Should you want a new iPhone or Galaxy Swhatever while you’re living in the UK, France or Spain you’re paying the full price.
This is why many tech-heads loved the Google Nexus line (prior to the Nexus 6) because you could get near-top-of-the-line hardware, along with an untainted android experience, for around $300 without a contract. And for those that enjoy the latest and greatest but not the associated expense, they could upgrade yearly and even explore other carriers to their heart’s desire.
Unfortunately, the Google Nexus smartphone line really only gained popularity with android enthusiasts and tech-heads. Which is disappointing because it’s a program many would probably have taken advantage of had Google spent some money for marketing. And now that Google has abandoned (at least for now) the idea of offering a high-end device for an affordable price, that allows consumers to sever the two-year contract leash, another company has sought to fill that space.
The OnePlus 2 is a beautifully crafted device with attention paid to the things that matter the most to those of us who love mobile tech.
- Build quality and design
- High resolution display
- Camera quality
- Battery life
- Unencumbered UI experience (no bloatware)
So for those of us in the US, we can be contract free with an amazing device that let’s us choose our carriers at will. Globally, it allows anyone in the market for a smartphone to get a top of the line piece of hardware for budget phone prices.
What’s also interesting about the OnePlus 2 is that anyone can get one. Last year’s OnePlus 1 was available to purchase through special invite only, which was a head-scratcher. But I think the company was trying to create hype and ensure initial sales. When you’re not Samsung or Apple, you simply do not have the money and marketing might to get you noticed in a market that is increasingly offering more competitive products from more and more companies.
The OnePlus 1 was a well-reviewed gorgeous device. It launched with a few bugs, like many new smartphones, but the company was quick to respond and the future looks bright for the second iteration. We’ll see what some of the YouTube tech-heads have to say when they publish their full reviews but the initial impressions are promising and I’m still unbelievably stoked to be in one of my favorite reviewer’s videos!
Get Shredded with your Kayak
Kayaking has long been known as a fantastic activity for both sport and leisure. It’s also a nice light workout, utilizing your upper body. But if you want to get a little crazy and don’t mind looking strange, you can turn your sea kayaking into a fun and serious workout. Inspired by my buddy Luke, the Luke Camp Boot Camp Kayak routine will have you sweating and using your entire body while enjoying your time on the water.
First thing you need is a kayak, preferably a sit-on-top sea kayak. This routine is perfect for bays, calm days on the open ocean and any placid body of water. You’ll also need a paddle, PFD (personal floatation device) and I’d recommend a bottle of water.
Here’s the breakdown:
-Warm-up with a 20 minute continuous but easy pace, kayaking out to your designated zone.
-Get out of your kayak and flip it over. You’re going to look crazy here, but who cares!
-Get on your flipped over kayak. The slope of the bottom of the kayak will make balance difficult and engage your stabilizing muscles.
-It’s burpee time! Doing four-count burpees on your flipped over kayak is difficult and funny to watch, but will also get your blood pumping and work your entire body. Start by standing, hit the deck, kick out your legs, do a push-up, bring your legs back to your hands and finish with a jump-squat. Do ten of these.
-Get off your kayak and flip it over. Get into your kayak and commit to a 2 minute vigorous pace, kayaking as if you’re racing for your life!
-Rest for a minute. Take deep breaths, hands on your head.
-Now back paddle, kayaking in reverse for another 2 minutes, vigorously.
Get out your kayak, flip it over and do ten more four-count burpees.
Consider that whole crazy routine as one set. Do as many sets as you can until you feel the burn! Once you’re gassed, cool down with a leisurely pace, kayaking back in for another 20 minute journey.
The Luke Camp Boot Camp Kayak routine is best done with others, because if you’re going to look like a loon it’s best if you’re not the only one. I guarantee you’ll laugh at each other and have a blast while you get in shape. And the more the merrier!
Getting started in the fastest growing watersport in the world, Stand up paddle boarding:
If you’ve never used an SUP, here’s a quick guide to enjoying the water while getting a killer full-body workout. You’ll need a few things to get started, namely an SUP, Paddle, PFD and most important, a body of water! You can SUP in a lake, a pond, rivers, bays and the open ocean. Your intended location is one of the most important considerations when choosing your stand up paddle board. For more information on how to choose the right board, check out REI’s article Stand Up Paddle Boards: How to Choose.
GET THE GEAR:
Stand up paddle board: This will be, by far, the most expensive item that comes in all shapes and sizes. Choosing the right board can seem like a daunting task. For beginners, the longer, wider and thicker boards are the best starting point. Wider, longer and thicker boards offer greater stability, ensuring beginners spend more time standing and less time falling. The downside is transport. The bigger boards are naturally heavier and unwieldy. Larger boards will almost always have a handle in the middle of the board for carrying, but again, if transporting more than a couple of block’s worth of distance, this will be difficult and tiresome. There are many kinds of dollies or wheel transport systems out there for getting your SUP to and from the water. But if you’re looking at SUPing as a workout activity, view the transport as part of the workout!
Paddle: When choosing a paddle, the type of water you’re going to be in also weighs in heavy on your choice. For placid waters, longer paddles are preferred. For rougher waters or surfing conditions, you’re going to want a shorter paddle for quicker maneuverability. In general, the paddle you choose should be 6-10 inches taller than you.
PFD (Personal Floatation Device): The U.S. Coast Guard considers stand up paddle boards as vessels and thus require all people to have a PFD while paddleboarding. There are many types, make sure the one you choose is Coast Guard approved, usually Type II and III. Inflatable lifejackets are great for being light-weight and unobtrusive. Safety whistles are always a good idea and if you’re paddleboarding during sunset, carry a light for when it’s dark.
Leash: Most often sold separately, leashes ensure you don’t lose your expensive board and also add a measure of safety as they tether you to your board which is a large floatation device. There are different types of leashes for different bodies of water; choose accordingly.
Attire: Remember: You’re getting in the water, you will get wet so do not wear cotton clothing! The appropriate attire is water-wicking clothing or swimwear. If you’re going to be in colder waters, wear a wetsuit. Long sleeved rash guards are great for keeping you cool and protected from the sun. And don’t forget your sunscreen!
GET IN THE WATER:
Calm and flat waters are the best when you’re just starting out. This will help you find your balance and get used to using your stabilizing muscles to keep you upright. Many find it easier to start off kneeling to get a better feel for how the board moves while in the water. The goal is to find the balance point of the board where the nose doesn’t rise up and the tail doesn’t dig in, or vice versa. To keep your balance utilize the following tips:
- Keep your feet parallel and centered on the board between the rails with a wide stance, hip-with or little wider.
- Keep your upper body upright and straight, absorbing motion through your ankles, knees and hips. Keep your knees slightly bent.
- Do not look at your feet, keep your gaze on the horizon to help keep your balance.
- Get moving: forward momentum will increase your stability.
TIME TO PADDLE:
The key to getting the most from your stroke is holding the paddle correctly and utilizing your core for power. Many beginners wear themselves out quickly by relying too much on their arms and aren’t able to traverse very far. Proper technique will utilize your entire body, creating an efficient stroke that will propel you and your board smoothly. Here are some easy ways to ensure you get the most out of your stroke:
- It’s not a broomstick, keep your top hand on the grip with your bottom hand about shoulder width or wider down the shaft.
- When paddling on the right, your top hand is your left hand.
- The bend of the elbow of the blade should mirror your own elbows, not your knees. This will seem counterintuitive for anyone who has paddled a canoe or kayak as it is the exact opposite but will ensure that the flat of the blade pushing the maximum amount of water at the proper angle.
- Completely submerge the blade and utilize your core and back muscles in your stroke. When the blade hits the water and you begin your pull, it starts from your feet. Your legs absorb the motion from the water and “push” your board forward while your arms act as a fulcrum to your torso as you pull yourself forward.
- To go straight, paddle a couple of times on each side before switching sides.
- Turning is the law of opposites: To turn right, you paddle on your left and lean your weight on the right rail.
- Remember to switch hands when switching the paddle to the other side.
Remember above all else to have fun and enjoy your vantage point! Stand up paddle boarding is a great activity for sport, leisure or a workout. It’s an investment to be sure, but if you have the time it is definitely worth it. And if you’re not sure it’s something that’s going to be worth the initial investment, try it out first. There are plenty of places that rent stand up paddleboards, like the company I work for: Everyday California. And most rental companies cater to beginners with big, wide boards perfect for starting out. Once you try it, you’re love it. So get in the water!