Surfing Article

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Thanks to the wonderful efforts of Anna Crowe, a truncated version of my guide to surfing was published in Southern California Life Magazine! Click the link below to check out the article.

5 Tips to Taking up Surfing

Gray Whales and Blue

Never having been a fan of winter, there is one thing that I look forward to when the temperatures drop and the sun sets before the end of the work day. And that’s the annual Grey Whale migration. They begin their journey in October off the coast of Alaska, cruising past La Jolla between the months of November and March before reaching the endpoint in the lagoons of Baja California where they breed and give birth.

It’s an amazing time. Literally thousands of these magnificent mammals migrate along the same route every year. You can see their spouts as they breath from the cliffs of San Diego, as they’re only a couple of miles offshore.

The Whale Watching tourism in San Diego is growing every year to take advantage of this beautiful event. And the most intimate way to watch these whales is from the seat of a kayak. Self-propelled, there’s no loud motor to disturb the whales. Nothing but the calm open ocean and the peaceful meanderings of mammoth mammals.

On the last day of 2015, I was lucky enough to conduct a Whale Watching Kayak tour with my brother at work. We paddled about 2.5 miles out, spotting spouts to our North West 3/4 of the way there. We lined ourselves up to end up alongside 12 Grey Whales as they passed. Three of them breached just feet from our group as we sat there in the quiet stillness of the ocean. It is one of the most spectacular and humbling moments you can experience. They move by, completely aware of you, with a slow grace that lights a fire of intense connection with them. Life on such a scale, 40 tons, washes over your being and you can’t help but smile.

I didn’t get any footage, but one of our customer’s did. It’s amazing. You can find it on our Everyday California Instagram page. But, I did find some amazing footage my buddy took a couple of years ago of the time him and I kayaked alongside Blue Whales. Click the link below to see up close the largest creature to have ever existed.

Get Shredded with your Kayak

Get Shredded with your Kayak

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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!

Stand Up Paddle Boarding for Beginners

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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.

HAVE FUN!

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!

My Body of Work

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It’s funny, I’ve always wanted to be in a magazine—and I knew that I probably would be, but I thought it’d be through my words, instead of my body. But I’ll take it. And maybe my words will follow.

To be honest, I enjoyed the photo shoot, despite the chill in the air and the overcast sky. I wasn’t bothered by the directions given to “look this way” “turn your shoulders to the right” “jut out your jaw”. It didn’t feel nearly as awkward as I thought it would be, taking photos on a busy public beach like the La Jolla Shores with a dude holding a reflector just three feet from my face, every passerby stopping to gawk and the writer watching intently as her photographer directed me on how to hold my paddle. But then, I always did like being on stage. Now I just need to find the time and the discipline to get my words printed on the page.

The Pain of Love

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“I am too old and enmeshed in everything you do and are, that I cannot conceive of life without you,” read her suicide note. “My going will leave quite a rumor, but you can say I was overworked and overwrought. Your reputation with your friends and fans will not be harmed.” These are the last words written by Helen Geisel. Infused in them is the pain of her love for one of our country’s most celebrated authors, Dr. Suess.

Born Theodor Suess Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts to a family of recent German immigrants, Geisel would meet his first wife Helen while attending Lincoln College, Oxford in pursuit of a PhD in English Literature. Helen encouraged him to abandon this course in favor of committing to his true passion, drawing. The Saturday Evening Post published his first cartoon on July 16, 1927. After receiving a check for $25 for the cartoon, he packed up and moved to New York and landed a job at Judge, a humor magazine. With his new job, Geisel felt financially stable enough to propose to Helen and the two were married on November 29, 1927.

The Geisel newlyweds made it through the great depression from Ted’s “mad men” work for ad agencies, drawing cartoon ads for companies such as  General Electric, NBC, Standard Oil, Narragansett Brewing Company and others. The couple had plenty of money and no children so they traveled often and explored much of the world. But Geisel’s lasting success would come after returning from one of the couple’s adventures when he bumped into an old college friend on the streets of New York.

Geisel had attended Dartmouth during the years of prohibition and was once the editor-in-chief for the college paper. After being busted for drinking gin with nine of his college friends, Geisel was forced to leave his position for the paper and contributed afterward with cartoons and articles under the pen name we all know and love, Suess. Interesting enough, the original pronunciation of his mother’s maiden name is similar to the word “voice”. After many years of people mispronouncing Suess, he decided to adhere to the incorrect way because it rhymed with Mother Goose and he believed this helped him in his endeavors as a children’s author. And his foray into children’s literature began after his old college friend helped him publish And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.

But before he would utilize his mild success from his first book to venture into the realms of children’s stories, Suess contributed to political cartoon publications and worked with the United States Army during the war to produce films for propaganda and training. After the war, he would be challenged to incorporate 250 words deemed essential for first graders in improving the nation’s literacy. 236 of these words became the famous Cat in the Hat.

Suess added “Dr.” to his pen name in honor of his father who had wanted his son to become a medical doctor. Dr. Suess would go on to produce seminal works of children’s literature that would have an unforetold lasting effect on American culture. The love and support of his first wife Helen nurtured his work throughout most of his distinguished career. They remained together until her decade-long struggle with Guillain-Barré syndrome and his suspected affair with longtime friend and future wife Audrey became too much for her to bear.

When we recall our love for the infamous Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham, let us not forget that without the love of Helen Geisel, we would never have been fortunate enough to experience the world of Dr. Suess. She steered him down the path he was meant to tread and we are all lucky she had the conviction to push him to pursue his dreams and share them with the world.

Dr. Suess passed away in 1991, from oral cancer. His second wife Audrey is still alive and well, living in La Jolla, CA.