Monday, February 28, 2011

Review: Kikkor Golf Shoes

Although I missed the PGA Merchandise Show this year the cool folks at Kikkor Golf didn't want me to miss out on their cool style. Talk about being stoked!

I just got my pair of Retra - Purple Bornelle delivered today. They look even better in person than I had imagined. Seriously!

Not only are they super comfortable but they are incredibly cool looking. I can totally identify with this brand image as I'm not your everyday golfer. Yeah, I'm that golfer that has a more modern style, especially that I'm much better of a surfer than a golfer. Sure, you'll find me wearing some funky vintage styles but the emphasis on the funky! These fit right in with that style as they have that look of a retro running shoe.

I can't wait to get these babies out on the course. Now I've got a really good excuse to get out there this weekend. Woot! Woot!

I have to thank the guys at Kikkor for hooking me up with this sweet pair of kicks. Also, a shout out to my bud Rob for his awesome video that he took at the PGA Merchandise Show this year that I stole from YouTube for the top of this post.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Book Review: Run Like A Girl

I was contacted by Mina Samuels, author of Run Like a Girl: How Strong Women Make Happy Lives about reviewing her book. I was excited to check it out after hearing about it.

Part locker-room confidential, inspiring manifesto, and personal memoir, this book shows us through stories how the confidence women build by participating in sports—whether it’s running or rock climbing, swimming or yoga—can transform our lives in profound ways.

Lively, funny, and sometimes heartbreaking, the candid stories of nearly a hundred women fill the pages: from a U.S.-ranked amateur triathlete who’s raising an autistic son, to a woman who runs her first marathon at sixty; and a young mother with scoliosis who cycles her way back to health; as well as sports icons Kathrine Switzer, Rebecca Rusch, and Molly Barker. These women all share how sports helped them overcome life’s obstacles and achieve the happiness and success they’d been running toward.

I would have to agree that the sports I participate in profoundly contribute to my quality of life. My husband even notices the "high" I'm on after an awesome surf session. That's the ultimate for me. If I can't surf that day, I've just got get on the treadmill/bike/elliptical for at least an hour or I am not human. Exercise and sport are vital for me.

I am really enjoying getting in to this book. It's an interesting read that has great little quotes throughout. Check out Mina's blog and get your copy of the book here.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Surfer's Ear or Swimmer's Ear?

The video above really explains the difference between surfer's ear and swimmer's ear quite well.

Surfer's ear develops after many years of surfing in cold water and can require surgery. Swimmer's ear is an infection of the ear. Neither is pleasant.

I'm writing about ears as mine are a bit unhappy today. I woke up with a bit of vertigo so I used up a sick day to stay in bed and try to sleep it off. It seems to be working, the dizziness is subsiding and my left ear just feels a bit heavy. It's been incredibly cold in the morning for dawn patrol so I should really get some ear plugs. Ear plugs are a preventative measure against surfer's ear as are wearing a hood. The latter is a bit difficult for me though. I can easily wear a hood when scuba diving but for surfing it's a whole other thing.

What experience have you had with surfer's or swimmer's ear?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dolphins Playing With Surfers

Yes, it happens. I had only heard about people having dolphins really make contact with them while surfing and had never experienced it first hand (in spite of how much time I've spent in the water). I don't mean just swimming by. That has happened to me plenty of times. I've watched pods of dolphins swim underneath me. Dolphins have "dropped in" on people that I was surfing with. I see them out in the distance feeding, playing, and just swimming by.

This morning was different. It started out like many other mornings. Walking out to the shore, I carry my board to the edge of the water. Next I stretch and put the leash around my ankle. I look up and see a pod of dolphins feeding out in the distance. They seem to be feeding because you can see them circling around one area and stirring up the water quite a bit. Every so often, one or two jump out of the water and chase each other. They seemed to be having fun.

I was sitting on my board in the lineup (well, there was only me and one other guy out there) looking at the swell and waiting for my set. Out of nowhere I felt a THUMP on the back of my board and looked back to see what it was. Just then, one of the dolphins jumped out of the water.

Yeah, it startled me. That would startle anyone.

Next they circled me and the one other surfer in the water. It was as if they wanted to play with us. They eventually lost interest and went back out farther and then headed south.

It was pretty awesome.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Can I Just Embed This Again?

Santa Monica Surfer's El Porto 11/13/10 from Helge Steffen on Vimeo.

This was one of the most awesome days at this spot. The video always makes me smile. I caught so many waves that day! This was only weeks after my 2nd place showing at the Haunted Heats surf contest. I love this surf spot when it's not holding me under and working me over.

Why A Marriage Works

My husband and I have a lot in common, obviously. I don't buy that whole business that opposites attract. Although we appear to be opposites on the surface, we are so alike it's not even funny. That's for another time - this post is about sports.

This morning I was going surfing with friends. Hubby was invited. He doesn't surf but he'll come with the hound and watch. Sometimes he even takes pictures. At the last minute this morning he told me that he was gonna stay home and I should just go. He wasn't being spiteful or smarty pants either.

I went. I met up with 2 guys and 1 girl. He knows I surf mostly with guys. He's cool with it.

No, I don't surf mostly with guys because I don't like to surf with girls. It just so happens that I go at times and to breaks where there are mostly guys in the water. Hubby knows I am out there to surf. He's seen me enough. I get out there and catch waves.

Among the guys I surf with it's perfectly acceptable to stop talking in mid-sentence and turn around to catch a wave. In fact, it's perfectly acceptable to not talk at all. I can't say the same for the girls I usually surf with (with one notable exception - you know who you are).

Now before you call me a traitor to women - take a deep breath. Most of the girls I know like to sit out there and act like a buoy while they chat. I'm not out there to float around. I'm out there to surf. You can come with me - heck - I'll even switch boards with you and chat a bit. However, I am out there to surf. If you're a surf chick and you want to go surfing with me just shoot me a note and you are invited.

During the week for dawn patrol my surf bud is a guy. Sometimes I just go alone. If I waited for someone to surf with me I would never go.

At any rate, hubby is cool with it.

He's now off to the range. I am not a huge fan of staying at the driving range for 3 or 4 hours. He is. I'm much happier playing 18. I can stand a range for about a small bucket - maybe a medium on a good day. I trust him to go work on his game. He's as focused on golf as I am on surfing. It totally works for us.

Why don't I go with? I do sometimes. We just don't like paying for dog daycare every day we want to go out (if you also had a bloodhound you'd understand).

Anyways, this is why a marriage works. We trust each other. We are both obsessed with our sport and understand each others need for their sport.

They might just have to change the definition for surf widow.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Northern Trust Open 2011: Sunday

This post is now sponsored by Los Angeles golf courses. However, the opinions are my own and this is not how I scored tickets to this event. The tickets were from a friend of mine.

I was incredibly excited to score weekend tickets to the Northern Trust Open. Yes, both days. Never mind that I got them for no charge, but they were also Clubhouse tickets. Needless to say, I was pumped.

That was, I was totally pumped until I got there. It's a good thing I didn't have to pay the $75 face value of the ticket. I would have flipped out. Really, the only benefits to these higher-priced tickets were that you got to use the fabulous & clean restrooms in the clubhouse instead of the portables. Some may argue this is worth the extra fee. You did also get access to a private dining area with a VERY limited menu. Yes, you still had to pay for the food and drink and it wasn't a great value if you get my drift.

Now let me just say that I was still pumped to be there. This is my 3rd year in a row at the tournament and I enjoy every moment of it. You did hear me say that I had tickets for the weekend - I only got out there today. No matter what I tried, I could not get hubby out there yesterday. This is quite odd considering I'm the surfer girl that he got into golf about 5 years ago. I love watching it in person so much better than on the TV and the course at Riviera is so awesome to be at. Top that off with the week of rain we've had and I just wanted to get outside.

Anyways - we managed to park at the 9th and see some great players roll by. First was KJ Choi, Trevor Immelman, and Vaughn Taylor. There was a toddler standing close by that said "KJ Choi" as he walked up. The golfer turned and smiled and as he walked up to the tee his caddy handed the youngster a ball.

Next was JB Holmes, Stuart Appleby, and Martin Laird. Its true what they say about Holmes. That guy can crush the ball. Even more interesting is he's not the biggest guy out there.

The next group was Justin Rose, Stewart Cink, and Spencer Levin. They were followed by Harrison Frazar, Jimmy Walker, and Robert Allenby. I just love watching some of these big-name golfers tee off. It's amazing how well they hit the ball and seeing it in person just makes your jaw drop.

Finally John Senden, Ryan Moore, and Vijay Singh were up. Vijay looks so much bigger on TV. In person you see that he's in amazing shape. We stood there in awe as he crushed a massive drive.

And lastly the leaders came - Fred Couples, Kevin Na, and Aaron Baddeley. Somehow, the most obnoxious guy in the crowd was standing right behind us. If you were watching on TV and heard the dude on 9 yelling his encouragement to Couples, he was right behind us. There were also a couple of 12-year-old girls wearing homemade t-shirts that said, "I <3 Baddeley". Many of the media photogs stopped and snapped their picture.

Badds can sure hit the ball. It was epic. Na didn't do so bad either. We totally felt for Couples, you could tell he was experiencing some pain as he winced through his drive.

Overall, it's a great event but they're getting cheaper in a lot of ways. This time they were doing buy 1 get 1 free tickets and let everyone in free after 1:30 pm today. You could tell this affected the rest of the event. A can of soda was $5 and trying to find the free magazine program was impossible. This is the first year I didn't get one. To top that off, there were much fewer food choices this year and those that were available were pricier than Dodger Stadium (which is saying quite a bit if you've ever been there). This year in "The Grove" food court there was ONE choice for food. Outside of this area you were pretty much down to hamburgers and hot dogs. Two years ago they had several clinics and fun things for the fans to do, like taking a picture with a life size Phil Mickelson cutout that they would email to you.

I'll still get down there next year. I love going. Now I've just got to find someone that will take me to play Riviera. I've just got to play this place.

Congrats on the win to Aaron Baddeley!

Book Review: The Undisputed Guide To Pro Basketball

The team at FREEDARKO.COM have a new book out called The Undisputed Guide To Pro Basketball. I was sent a review copy along with the usual press info and dug in.

I've got to say, this is one of the most fun books I've delved into in some time. This isn't to say it doesn't have it's serious content though. There is a legitimate historical narrative that starts things off in Chapter 0 with the time line starting in 1891. Following is info on the early barnstorming teams with incredibly interesting names like The Terrible Swedes and the ladies of the men's rule playing All American Red Heads.

Get a bit further into the book and you've got fabulous infographics like the "Head Hair Key" and "Hair Champions". My hometown Lakers 1975-76 team have the distinct honor of being named the hairiest team. The fun doesn't stop there - there's a section later in the book dedicated to Charles Barkley that's aptly coined "Loud, Fat, and Gifted". Epic.

This book is a must-have for any basketball nut. The authors include a disclaimer that the history is far from complete but they really do include quite a lot in this hardcover of 200+ pages.

You can pick up a copy here for yourself or the basketball fan in your life.

Go Lakers!*

*I can't possibly mention basketball without saying that.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Indoor Exercise Routine

We've had a rainy week here in SoCal so my morning routine has been stuck indoors for now. I definitely get cabin fever and really want to spend several hours outside today. Unfortunately, we're expecting more showers. Boo. I honestly don't know how people who have real winters deal with being cooped up for so much of the year.

With my indoor workouts this week I've had a hard time reaching my limit. Yesterday morning I did an hour of cardio and didn't feel finished but I had to get to the office. The day before was 1.5 hours. Today I finally got really good results after 2 hours.

I started on the treadmill on a program called "cross training" for 30 minutes. This alternates from 0-6% incline and from 2-4 in speed. At certain times during the cycle there is a little light that comes on and you're supposed to do work with weights at this point. I used my resistance bands for my arms and did several cycles of curls, reverse curls, and a few others.

Next was 30 minutes on the stationary bike. I've got an older model bike that only has a manual control for more or less resistance. I kept it on enough to make me work hard enough really get a good sweat going. If it ever feels easy then I add a bit more resistance.

After the bike I was on the elliptical for 30 minutes on a "random" program at level 12. It was great and I really worked up a sweat. I especially like how my arms are involved the entire time.

The final part of the workout was back on the treadmill for another 30 for the same "cross training" program. This time I only did isolation exercises with my arms (hold in front of you for 60 seconds, rest for 60, repeat for five times total). By this time my calves were finally feeling it. Success.

I'm in really great shape these days from getting up at 4:30 am and getting in the very cold Pacific Ocean for 1.5-2 hours every morning. I didn't realize how much better shape I was in until recently and it feels pretty fabulous.

I should get back out into the water in the next few days. I had moved from my long to short board recently since the waves called for it now. I had been worried that I would have a harder time keeping up with everyone paddling but that wasn't the case at all. In fact, I out-paddled a guy that was a bit taller than I am (and on a long board) back out to the lineup last Friday. Yeah, it made my confidence swell up a bit but can you blame me?

P.S. I got a new waterproof video cam that I plan on taking out with me quite a bit so stay tuned for dawn patrol vids!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Catching Up With The Latest - Fresh Air Fund

I have been spending most of my time concentrating on the day job and to sticking to my fitness goals (that is, participating much more) and haven't done as much philanthropic highlighting. It's been really good for my overall health and I feel pretty fabulous. However, I need to give some link love to one of my favorite causes:

Fresh Air Fund
: Yep, it's that time of year again. On March 20 the Fresh Air Fund half-marathon is happening. They need your help:

The Fresh Air Fund is looking for runners and sponsors to join our Fresh Air Fund-Racers team for the NYC Half-Marathon this coming March 20th. This is a great way to participate in NYC's premier road race while helping Fresh Air Fund children.

We are also in need of host families for this Summer. Host families are volunteers who open their hearts and home to a child from the city to give them a fresh air experience they never forget.

Go to the link here for more information.

Not every child is fortunate enough to have grown up on the coast of California and able to surf, swim, and dive like I was (or even near a forest or other wonderful outdoor space). Although I didn't have much growing up I always had nature and for that I am quite grateful. Check out the Fresh Air Fund and see how you can help.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Still Got It On a Shorty!

I've been thinking about taking the short board out again. It's been sitting in the garage since the beginning of the summer. Lately, the size of the waves and steep drops that happen at my usual spots have me thinking I was going to snap my 8' if I kept riding it.

So today was the day. I brought out the 6'8" (okay, not THAT short but short for me). Hubby was taking his time getting ready this morning and it was getting closer to high tide. I was worried that the waves would be too mushy if I didn't get out there.

I got out in the lineup and my shoulders were burning! To top it off, my left contact came out somewhere on the way (that really stinks). I gained my composure and sat there for a bit. It was pretty crowded and the mush was in full effect.

I was trying to stay out of the way of all the hot shots that were carving it up. I just wanted to catch a nice little corner and get my bearings. There were a lot of rollers coming though but the combo swell was making it pretty choppy at times. Finally, I saw my chance and went for it. I got right up and had a pretty decent ride. It felt great, I could still get up on my shorty.

It took me a while to get another but when I did it was a very nice right that I dropped in on and made a nice cutback. Overall, the session was quite nice.

I feel good about my shorty and will take her out the rest of the week. My poor shoulders are still feeling it and it honestly strains me to type right now. However, I'm incredibly stoked that I am continuing to improve.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Surfing Inspiration

From time to time, even I get a little burned out with surfing. Sure, it doesn't last long but a very cold or unproductive session can zap my motivation away. Especially demotivating is a nasty wipe out or two. I've had a couple of those lately that linger in the back of my mind when I'm out in the lineup. I'll be waiting for a set and if something looks remotely like one of the waves that I didn't do so well on then my heart will race a bit. I've been working on shaking that feeling but it is sometimes difficult, especially if there's a strong current or consistent overhead plus waves.

I recently stumbled upon a couple of stories that have served as a great point of inspiration. The first is that of Sarah Gerhardt, a big wave rider. Just seeing pictures of her surf Maverick's gives me goosebumps. Sarah was the first woman to ride a wave standing up at the famous big wave spot. In addition to being an elite athlete she's also a PhD in physical chemistry. Go Sarah!

The second source of inspiration is a post on Surfline's Surf Tips With Layne that talks about fear. It's quite good and examines some of the feelings I've had recently, although not in gigantic Hawaiian swell. Still, while fear is good to have a little bit it is not good to let it paralyze you.

As long as I surf 4-6 times a week I'm going to fall off waves, wipe out, and possibly get held under. It's all part of the game. However, I'll also get some great rides, stay close to my beloved ocean, and keep fit in a very fun way. I must say - the good definitely outweigh the bad.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Surf Blogging

Interestingly enough, I have discovered that there are several surf blogs for my main surf spot. However, I never seem to meet these people that write about our favorite spot. Yes, they name it by name - even considering this is a major no-no in the surf world. Although, there is one surf blogger in particular that has a clearly elitist attitude and cites antiquated BS "rules". Even though I don't blog about where I go exactly, I would tell you to meet me there if you honestly asked and wanted to come. I know that I am skilled enough to get my share and that we should definitely share the swell and have a great time.

By the way, today was National Girls and Women in Sports Day. Although I was recovering from a lame hesitation move from yesterday and didn't actually participate in a sport today I do partake the other 5-6 days a week. Yeah, just always remember - don't hesitate! If you do you can really cause yourself some pain and a slight limp for a few days. DOH!

And just for the record, I'm also that friendly chick in the lineup that smiles and greets other women in the lineup rather than giving them attitude. Actually, I show everyone in the water much respect. I seriously believe that you should always surf with aloha and that all surfers are connected by one ocean. I won't drop in on you and I'll even let a wave go that was rightfully mine. There will be more and there is no reason for anyone to get hurt.

So I'm wondering - who out there is an elitist? What is it about you that makes you more important in the lineup than me? Go ahead, give me your best argument and tell me why. I'm all ears.

Maybe this is a bunch of babble. Maybe not. Oh well.