Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Point

When you read my title, The Point, you're probably hoping to hear about an awesome secret point break I found in Baja Mexico. Well, my friends, that's not the case this time... Today I'm going to write about the point, or rather, the points on a sea urchin.  

It's amazing how much you can learn from Google. I discovered that there are many types of sea urchin.  The points, or spines of the sea urchin release toxins and are reversed-barbed, like a fish hook, making pulling them out almost impossible.  Some are poisonous, some are deadly.  Now, why would I be so interested in sea urchins? Well, let's just say that I had a chance to get to know a couple of my urchin friends while surfing in Baja.  It wasn't fun.  I stepped on some during a surf session-- both feet.  It's amazing how much pain these little creatures caused... for days.  Actually, it's been 3 weeks now since that day and I still have a few of the spines in my foot.  Even now, when I glance at the bottom of my left foot, I can see purple dots that are the remnants of spines embedded in the sole of my foot.  You can actually feel them when you run your finger over the skin and the spots are still tender.  This is an experience I would never wish on anyone (well, maybe one person) and I'd like to share some new learned wisdom.

1.) Wear surf booties, especially when you're surfing in a new location.  I think this tip is geared especially toward females and those with tender feet like mine.  The boots help me walk across rocky shores as well as protect my feet against danger (I did have my boots on during this session but the spines got through the neoprene on the sides).  If I didn't have my boots on, the injury would have been much worse and the spines probably would have gone in deeper.

2.) Don't stand up even in shallow water.  You never know what is on the bottom.  After a wipe out, tread water by sculling with your hands- DON'T KICK WITH YOUR FEET and get back on your board right away.

3.) Keep a first aid kit in your surf mobile.  I'm adding a couple of needles, tweezers and blade to the kit.  Apparently, it's best to remove the spines right away if you can.  We were more than an hour away from civilization so I waited until the following day to take care of my feet. I was shuffling around like an old lady in Ugg boots because I couldn't put any shoes on due to the pain and slight swelling.  

4.) Soak your feet in vinegar if you still have spines in your foot.  Supposedly this will help disintegrate them faster than your body can push them to the surface.

5.) Soak your feet in scalding hot water, as much as you can handle.  I finally sucked it up and practically boiled my feet after three days of shuffling like a zombie and it was a huge relief.  If you have a jacuzzi set it for max temp, that's what I did- very convenient. 

One of these little guys-- which don't attack or move unless
the surf pushes them, caused me so much pain.
I entered the surf past the point you see on top of the pic.
The surface was cobblestones, no sea urchins.
Tons of sea urchins on this side of the point. Those rocks in the picture
are actually sea urchin and the dotted the shallow water.
A sample- It looks small and painless.  That's the top of it.
Imagine driving a small nail into your foot.  Ouch!
Chivalry is not dead! My boyfriend drove his truck down to the beach to
pick me up so I didn't have to hobble up the hill back to the truck.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Secret to Success

The secret to a long, fun surf session (aside from finding the perfect break), is having the energy to paddle for hours. This requires having a hearty breakfast at four or five in the morning. I don't know about you but I'm hardly in the mood to break out the frying pan while I'm still half asleep that early in the morning. So usually when we're home, we do a Starbuck's or McDonalds drive-by. 

Exploring new places makes it a little difficult to find a good place for fast food or food in general. But here is a simple tip: follow the locals. The locals aren't hanging out at the trendy places that the tourist generally get sucked into. The locals go where the food is good. The places aren't always the types that stand-out. In Baja, a local gave us a tip on a small little burrito place that only opened in the morning. It was open at the crack of dawn, just what we needed. And the classic indicator of it being a true gem? It was packed with locals!

La Parcelyta is conveniently located at a junction
before we head out into the vast desert of nothing, until you hit the surf.

The sisters make the burritos fresh while you wait. It's a small staff so it takes
a little longer than a typical drive-thru but so worth the wait.

They serve tasty burritos that come in the various flavors listed above.
I suggest trying the pollo salsa verde... my favorite. We ordered 20 burritos that cost about $1(US). That's the other benefit for eating where the locals eat- the food is usually cheap! We ate some on the way and had enough yummy burritos to share after our long surf session.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Chasing Waves

True surfers get up BEFORE the crack of dawn, drive hours to a break out in the middle of nowhere, just because the winds were heading in the right direction and the swells were right, not knowing whether or not that when they arrived the surf will actually be good. It's a risk that hard-core surfers are willing to take because when the stars are aligned and all goes well... you end up with a good adventure and a great surf day!

Driving through Baja can take you through some rough terrain.
I learned that you need to let some air out of your tires to make the bumpy
road less stressful on your vehicle.

Who said you needed a 4x4? Gotta give this volvo credit for getting
through some steep, bumpy terrain and the crazy driver
willing to take the journey. He scraped bottom a few times
but he'd tell you it was well-worth the drive and some scratches.

This is what makes the effort all worth it!  

We hit several breaks in one day. All perfect waves.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Best Surf Trip

My boyfriend and his friends leave the cold of San Diego every winter to escape to the warmth and surf of Baja Mexico. I met them this year for a fast-flying week. My main goal was to paddle surf. I only got to surf one day out of the seven but I can still call it my best surf trip thus far. Not because of that one surf session- it's actually one of the worst ever (I'll explain in another post). Being able to witness other more experience surfers get the opportunity to surf in some barreling, fast waves was exciting. The surf was beautiful. You couldn't help to want to get out there. It sucks to have to be on the sidelines, but you have to know your limitations.  

I really wished I could have surfed one of these barreling waves. We were the only ones out there-- beautiful.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I'm Back!

I'm back...
... on my blog.
... from Baja.
... on the scene-- surf scene.

So much to tell about.
Where shall I start?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Choosing Battles

Aaahhh... the Battle of the Paddle came up so quickly this year!  It was just a couple of "Battles" ago where I won first place in the surfboard division.  Those were the days when I had time everyday after work to get out on the water.  Currently, I can't even find time in the week to cruise up to the beach to dip my toes in, let alone go for a long-distance paddle.  These days I'm chauffeuring my senior daughter from one activity to the next and shuffling paperwork for college applications.  So unfortunately, I'll have to skip another Battle of the Paddle to do the Battle of the Colleges (visiting Cal Poly SLO the same weekend).  If you're not having to choose between battles like I am, make it out to beautiful Doheny Beach and give Uncle Gerry a big hug for me.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I'm a Loser

I like stand up paddle races- even if I never, ever win. I know this sounds crazy but I've come to the happy realization that it's more about soaking up the good vibes, positive energy and enthusiasm then coming in at the front to the pack. I may be a loser when it comes to the podium, but in the goofy-smile-spread-across-my-face division, I'm the all time champion- especially when I run into a keiki (child) racer on the course. I'll be dying, my toes cramping up so much it feels like they're trying to braid themselves, and there will be this little racer wiggling to the finish with a paddle that's twice their body length. I'm dying, they're giggling; which makes me realize that the best racer out there is the one having the most fun!

Definitely not a loser!