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surfing and wave sailing

Original Post
Olaf Mitchell · · Paia, Maui, Hi, · Joined Mar 2007 · Points: 4,190

Do any of you Mountain Projecteers surf or practice surf related ocean sports.
In the 70's/80's in Eldorado we had a small group that were surfers as well as climbers. It was always fun to hear everyone's stories.
When I would go to the valley I would take my surfboard and a wet suit.I have found great climbing/bouldering at many of the surf destinations that I have visited also.
I am injured at the moment and out of the game but usually surf or wave sail every day that the conditions allow.
I would enjoy your response and your stories.

Eastvillage · · New York, NY · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 80

I'm an occasional surfer here in NYC and used to travel to Maui to windsurf. Windsurfing in Maui is the greatest, speeding across big swells on the ocean blue. Climbing is good, playing in the Ocean is good.

J. Thompson · · denver, co · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,470

I love to surf.
In a good year I get in 10-15 days surfing and alot more climbing.
I'm looking into surfing some of the rivers here in CO.
Apparently the whitewater park in Glenwood has a standing wave that is perfect!


Olaf Mitchell · · Paia, Maui, Hi, · Joined Mar 2007 · Points: 4,190

For rivers I hear stand up paddling is catching on like crazy. I wish I knew about it when I did the Grand Canyon. It would have been a perfect way to have enjoyed that trip. Where do you surf? The waves have been good here on Maui so far. Although, we haven't had a real makker north swell yet this year.

Andrew Gram · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 3,580

I surfed a lot when I drove to Panama earlier this year. El Salvador especially is fantastic. I'm not a very good surfer, but I enjoy flailing around on a longboard.

J. Thompson · · denver, co · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,470


I've only surfed the West coast. Mostly around Ventura. My favorite breaks are, C-street, Silver Strand and Jalama.


Buff Johnson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2005 · Points: 1,145

regular foot in Fla -- sebastian inlet, hobe sound, reef road, ft pierce

Two stories -- initiation in school, swam out about 1000 yards or so, they took my board & had to swim it; but turned out cool, I was pretty strong swimmer, that crap ended pretty quick.

Best one was hurricane swells off of Panama City, great rides for probably half a mile or so. The storm pushed the sharks more inland; me and friend drove early morning heard about a couple of attacks. We went out anyway, refused to go back in when the authorities shut it down, lost my board on one fall, swam in almost got arrested, grabbed my board swam out again. They couldn't really arrest us for trespassing, so we got a lecture about the dangers & some such, when we got done. It was more important we got some fearless rides on big swells. Been a trouble maker for authority ever since..

Olaf Mitchell · · Paia, Maui, Hi, · Joined Mar 2007 · Points: 4,190

Hay Eastvillage, I agree, the Maui wind surfing is very special. You should get back over here again sometime and do some more schredding on some of our beautiful warm ocean swells!
Andrew, I have heard great things about the surf in Central America. I must have been great surfing your way down to Panama I would enjoy hearing more details. I have always been in awe of the trip that Y.C. and company made from So Cal to Patagonia. They surfed all the way down the coast from Mexico through the Central American countries, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile; to climb, was it "Fitz Roy"?
Josh, I only surfed Ventura once. We were picking up some gear that my climbing partner had stashed at Chiounard’s store in Ventura. We were on our way from The Valley to J.Tree. My partner had no intrest in surfing was chomping at the bit to get on the road. I insisted that it was very important, so indulged me and waited on the beach while I paddled out. I didn’t get a single wave and my wet suit was way too thin. I was near hypothermic by the end of the sesh.
Mark, what a coincidence, I started surfing at N/S Jetties at Fort Pierce and Sebastian Inlet. Some great surfers come from that area Kelly Slater for one.
It sounds as though your friend’s ination test was a good idea. I have had to swim in from the outside reef in pounding surf and strong ripping currents due to broken leashes or broken boards several times it’s good to know that you can swim for ever (without freaking) if it comes to it.
Since you brought it up I too have surfed some sharky water. We have a lot more tigers here on Maui than the press would like to admit. South Florida had the highest shark population they were small but they nailed swimmers regularly at Ft pierce. I lived on the Oregon Coast for a while and surfed the freezing water at Cape Sebastian and Cape Blanco. The Oregon coast has Great Whites! It is always in the back of your mind when you are surfing in those waters. I have been very fortunate in that I have never had a personal shark encounter nor have any of my bros. It is their turf and we are the visitors.

J. Thompson · · denver, co · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,470

Regarding sharks...

There are three things I always consider.
#1 Having alot of surfers in the lineup might suck for catching a ride...but I sure like the odds when you consider the landlord.
#2 I LOVE seeing dolphins in the water. They are not only cool to watch, but they keep the bigger meaner critters in line.
#3 See Lions IN the water. If they are getting out in a hurry you probably should too!


Olaf Mitchell · · Paia, Maui, Hi, · Joined Mar 2007 · Points: 4,190

Josh,Those are very good points.If you see a good sized fish jump something larger spooked it. If sea turtles are surfacing it's a good bet that "the man in the grey suit" is else where. On the subject of the land lord, my friend Kurt is a helicopter pilot that flys tours out of Kahalui heli port. He flys fairly low over Kanaha Beach park every day. I surf Kanaha a lot. Kurt tells me that when the water is real clear he has seen 10' tigers near the area of reef that we surf! It's near the harbor and also close to the water treatment facility. My feeling is if a fish is that big it has no predators and goes anywhere feels like. It is surprising that we don't have more incidents but it's truly rare. I have never been told to get out of the water at Kanaha yet. Acouple of weeks ago the beach patrole evacuated the surf brake at Hookipa Beach Park for about an hour after a shark sighting. I can see both of those brakes from my house.

PNUT · · San Diego CA · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 0

My favorite topic, the surfing and climbing 1,2 punch... I live in San Diego and figure it has the best surf/climb mixture around; Im sure New Zealand would be good in this respect too, but I've never been there. I try to balance the two as much as possible. If there are waves, I will not climb because good waves only come around so often, and the rock is always there. One good thing about climbing is I've never started up a route and had some one come from behind me, yank me off the route, and take it for himself; unfortunately, I can't say the same for the surfing around here.... Nothing better than climbing Mt Woodson in the morning and surfing at Blacks in the afternoon!!!

Olaf Mitchell · · Paia, Maui, Hi, · Joined Mar 2007 · Points: 4,190

PUNT, You have made a great point.I have literally been climbed over and around by impatient stronger faster parties but not that many times.I have never been yanked off the rock.Surfing is definantly the most aggressive activity that I have ever been involved in. There are breaks that I just avoid because of the Local vibe. Luckily we have many places to surf and can choose the volume of aggro. Mostly we surf with friends. I totally agree with your geographical choice of places to live.The San Diego area sounds ideal to me.I love Baja and it's right at your door step.I was just hanging out with some San Diego kite boarders last night and we were telling Baja stories. I started kinda missing it. The grass is always greener, as they say. The truth is if I can rehab this broken leg and get back to my usual routine of surf, work, wave sail and occasionally sneaking off to Colorado for some snowboarding and a few climbs. I'll be a happier guy. I am not very patient when it comes to sitting on the sidelines.

Buff Johnson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2005 · Points: 1,145

Sea Urchins are the Devil!!

Rick Witting · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2005 · Points: 80

I've tried (key word "tried")surfing a number of times over the years at a few really cool places, Kauai (Poipu Beach), Baja (San Jose del Cabo), Coco Beach Fla, the Jersey shore, Dana Point CA, Manhattan Beach CA, Mission Beach Ca and some other places in CA. The first time was in 1986 in Kauai and as recently as June in Sayulita Mexico. With long intervals in between and only a day or two at a time, the learning curve is pretty big. I've had my share of being tumbled in the spin dry and now look for smaller breaks. Forget the short boards, the long ones are the only ones I can manage. I love to see a shark scuba diving, but I'll pass when I'm on board.

If I'm only a mediocre climber, I'm a total hack at surfing, but I enjoy both. My son, who is a pretty decent climber, has given it up for wind surfing and would love to relocate to San Diego to surf. He's still getting in the water this weekend!

Olaf Mitchell · · Paia, Maui, Hi, · Joined Mar 2007 · Points: 4,190

Mark, Sea Urchins aka Vauana are very un pleasant and there is no real remedy that I know of. One of my favorite south shore breaks has a section that we call "Vauana Land". Many people have made the mistake of not kicking out before they are deep into Vauana Land. The wave makes this last sweet little section onto this rocky shallow point that is completely covered with the stuff.Since we don't use wetsuits or booties here in Hawaii it is extremely important to never touch the rocks EVER!
Another little nasty is our Portuguese Man of War.Unlike sea urchins they are not only extremely painful, they will kill you, if your allergic. From what I understand the poison is accumulative and your resistance lessens with each event. All I know is I have been covered with those stinging tentacles(that is a whole story of it's own)and it was extremely painful,BUT, the last time I was nailed was by a small one and only in one spot.I became very ill from it.

Buff Johnson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2005 · Points: 1,145

Your sensitivity is probably related more to your lymph nodes than an accumulation. Death is more contributory as to allergy/anaphylaxis, which could also actually lead to drowning, than the venom itself.

One of my friends got wrapped up, we hit him with tenderizer & salt water and called the paramedic for epi.

This differs from some of the Box Jellies, of which 2 have the most deadliest venoms. The Irukandji Jellyfish is the tiny one. I don't know how you could tell the difference between it and the Man o War when out on your board in your part of the world. I guess progressively worsening symptoms if you're not allergic & don't have acute nodes would be the indicator.

You could indeed have been hit with a Box or just had an acute node reaction. Was the initial contact just a single & minor irritation or full on hit?

They say initial first aid vinegar for the jellies and not for the man o war; urine worsens the situation -- either way, get it off as safely as possible; I've just grabbed the man o war and ripped it off. From reading, magnesium seems to be the treatment for the killer jelly.

I dunno how you'd know when it is a small critter, which one actually hit you so you could treat yourself/seek medical -- I guess look for that tell tale blue-ish float in which you're probably just gonna have to suck it up. Thoughts from your side o the world? Little Bro lurkin?? anything from the dive master?

Sorry, got off the track; interesting, though.

Olaf Mitchell · · Paia, Maui, Hi, · Joined Mar 2007 · Points: 4,190

Mark, Thanks for your much researched and informative input on the Box Jellyfish and Portuguese Man o War, they are some very annoying ocean critters.
I have had encounters with both but this one comes to mind. One day I was wave sailing at Hookipa and needed to make a gear adjustment. I sailed pretty far outside and slogged to a stop and dropped into the water. Just as I did I noticed that the water all around me was effervescent blue. To add to my situation the wind had nearly shut off and I had trouble getting a water start and get going again. I flailed around for a while in that virtual sea of (slimy blue) stinging tentacles. I must tell you I was nearly frantic by the time I got enough wind in my sail to pop up and get my body out of the water. When I did I had meters the of blue tentacles hanging from my booms. They were plastered to my mono film sail, and I was toeing a vast amount that were hooked to my foot straps and caught on my fin. If that wasn’t bad enough I had two of the buggers draped across my torso. Luckily I had put on a lite neoprene vest and that saved my torso somewhat. The other one was stuck to my board shorts. I was just grabbing the slimy blue villains with my bare fingers. I pulled the two that were on my body off but the one attached to my board shorts stayed in place and continued to sting me in the exact worst place imaginable! (It felt like a continuous pulse of electric shock!) Needles to say, I headed for the nearest beach that I could come in on. I was pretty far offshore so it took a while to get in and I had made a couple of stops along the way to try to remove the tentacles that were attached to my equipment. By the time I made to the rocky launch at Kuau I had pretty well removed them, all except the one that was on my board shorts.

Pete Elliott · · Co Spgs CO · Joined Jul 2006 · Points: 95

I've ridden in a bunch of places but grew up surfing in the (sigh) Gulf of Mexico. Some good waves here and there along the coast if you know where to look (especially when storms are coming). Always rode a big honkin' 1968 Island Classics 9'8 that I got from a trash pile of all places. Weighed about 70 lbs but you could ride foot highs and way overhead no worries.

There was a deep sandbar waaaaaay offshore at Surfside by Galveston. Long paddle out through deep water but worth it in winter (we called it the eights but I am sure that was not the name). I saw a picture taken from a helicopter at a bait shop after we had been surfing there for years and there had to be several hundred sharks cruising in the muddy waters where we would paddle out. Always gives me the frickin' wiggles thinking about it.

I haven't been to the ocean in years. I miss it.

Olaf Mitchell · · Paia, Maui, Hi, · Joined Mar 2007 · Points: 4,190

Pete that is truly a spooky story! Especially in that as you mentioned the water was murky.
From what I understand a sharks vision isn’t very good and they are inclined to bite and try a taste. They often mistake a surfer for something more desirable like a turtle or sea lion. They then spit out the awful tasting rubber and fiberglass. Leaving the unfortunate victim to bleed to death while inviting every other shark in the area to have a taste.

Rick, from that impressive list of spots that you have paddled out at, I would say that you have considerable surf experience.
I feel that just paddling out with the intent to catch a wave while observing the universal rights of way (locals have all the rights), is surfing! Catching a wave is a bonus. Riding it? Well, that's the prize.
We are all Kooks in the ocean. If you want to be humbled, watch the dolphins surf.
The good surfers that I know live near the ocean and surf the same breaks often.
The GREAT surfers that I know grew up at the beach and ditched a lot of classes in their youth.
There are so many ever changing elements involved in surfing, tides, currents, bottom configuration, swell size,interval,and direction. Just to name a few.
For years I traveled to surf destinations and found that unless I stayed for at least a month, my skills really didn’t improve. I also have used the assistance of area locals. They are respected and know the area.They will usually put you in the right spot and run interference so that you get some waves too.
A while back I made the decision and moved to Hawaii so I could surf and wave sail all the time. I don’t regret that decision. Since I have been injured I’m spending a lot of time reminiscing my climbing days and following MP and Super Taco. Thanks for posting.

KevinCO · · Loveland, CO · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 60

Fascinating thread, as I have briefly 'tried' surfing a few times and dream of spending a summer surfing.

Has anyone surfed the tidal bore of Turnagain Arm near Anchorage?

Katy H · · Kernville, CA · Joined Aug 2008 · Points: 725

Surfing is my passion in life but after moving out to Colorado, it seems that climbing is taking over!
I grew up surfing in Florida - Cocoa Beach, Sebastian Inlet (monster hole)and Spanish House.Have also spent some time surfing near San Diego as well.
In January I am going to Costa Rica for two months to surf at Pavones! Longest left in the Southern Hemisphere is what I hear!

I've been interested in trying some river surf, but have no idea where you can find that kind of stuff in CO...any ideas?

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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