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Pro Skier Problems, by KC DEANE

 

Most people that you talk to look at professional athletes and think, man they got the life.  Travel all over the world, just doing what you love, what an easy life.  Now I’m not saying that isn’t exactly the case.  I get to go ski and see amazing places all over the world, and that indeed is pretty awesome.  Even as a teenager looking up to pro skiers and thought the same thing,  but you never really comprehend what the athletes go through year to year.

This year for me has been tough.  The winter started off by an amazing trip to Japan. Great snow, amazing people, and of course the food is always a highlight being over there, but the list of injuries this season seem to have started off there.  While carrying a 70lbs backpack filled with flash and camera gear I got pulled off a large drop and hurt my knee.  3 days later after my knee started feeling better I re-injured the same knee which plagued me for the rest of the trip.  As an athlete its so frustrating to not be 100%.  Imagine going to work everyday and only being able to do it at 60%, not exactly the best recipe for success. After Japan I took some time to get my knee strong and headed north to British Columbia to start filming with Voleurz.  After a few weeks of being there, and only getting to film a few days I was hitting a jump and went a little to large and severely sprained my left ankle.  When I came to a stop I was in so much pain I couldn’t even stand up.  I limped over to one of the sleds and sat there shaking in pain.  I ended up filming the rest of the day and just tried to fight through the pain.  After one more day of trying to film the pain was too great and had to take the next 8-9 days off just to get back to being able to get my foot and ankle into my ski boot.  Finally back to where I can ski, only about 75% but still good enough to shoot and start filming.  Only a few days after finally feeling strong again, I’m back in Mt Baker shooting and decided to ski a line that I have been looking at for a few years now. Widowmaker.  It’s a 2 hour boot pack to the top of the peak, followed by a multi pitch rappel to get into the 50 degree line filled with spines.  As I got in and took my first few turns the snow quickly turned to ice and I began rag dolling down almost the entire face before I self arrested.  Mid fall I felt myself cartwheeling through ice chunks, at one point I was sure that I snapped my right arm, and or dislocated my shoulder.  As I slid to a stop the pain in my shoulder and knee quickly took over.  However I did hike back up get my ski and ski the line I had just fallen on.  After the adrenaline wore off the pain really started to sink in.  Sitting here as I write this, my knee resembles some sort of large fruit.  ACL test showed my knee is intact but I have massive swelling and can only bend my knee to 90 degrees.

Seems like just as soon as you get healthy enough to get back out there something else pops up, wether it be a nagging injury or a new one.  The most frustrating part is not being able to ski, or in some cases not being able to ski 100%.  Not exactly something I had imagined when I dreamed about becoming a professional athlete.  They never showed this in the movies, but then again when I’m headed up to the top of a line at sunrise, surrounded by mountain peaks as far as you can see and perfect snow, I think about people that aren’t able to do this so what am I complaining about?

Parkour?

It’s been bothering me since I first heard about it, Parkour.  Is it cool or lame?  There’s no question that it takes ‘mad skills’ and intense physical stamina.. and shown in the right light it’s badass as hell.  However there in lies the issue, lighting.  The only mainstream outlet I’ve seen was MTV’s Ultimate Parkour Challenge, which in my opinion makes it look like a mix between American Gladiators and Wipeout.  Also, while I realize the roots of the name “Parkour” stem from the French Military (which is pretty badass), it just doesn’t translate properly to the American dialect.  It sounds like a cheese, or butter of some sort.  I’ve heard it called Freerunning.. which might be something totally different, regardless I would push for if I were they.. them?

Featured above:  OT Athlete Michael-Frosti-Zernow

Now, you maybe thinking “Hey man, that’s pretty f-ing superficial” and I’d agree.  It’s also missing the point of the entire practice of Parkour.  But that’s not what this article is about right now, so shut it.  Plus if you’re telling me that this isn’t an image based industry, then I’d tell you to check your facts kid, and brush your teeth.. your breath stinks.  Really I just don’t want Parkour to go the way of Rollerblading (RIP).

Featured above:  OT Athlete Daniel-Knox-Manino

So I’ve decided that Parkour is in fact awesome, but it’s name and the way it’s been shown has earned it a negative connotation.  Much like our efforts with our Bluetooth Tags.  We saw an opportunity in a very valid product with limitless potential that just hasn’t been done right yet.

On a somewhat related side note, I’m a bit taken back lately to find the amount of judgment and hatred between sports in the “Action” sports community.  Skiers are gay blah blah blah.. I understand a good rivalry but it’s important to realize that at their core, all athletes in the action sports community share a similar passion for testing the limits, both their own and each others… so grow up and quit bitchin.

DJ Slims Review: KDAY Racing

Here’s a quick excerpt, but check out the full review at kdayracing.com

“Hav­ing used them nearly every day now for about three weeks, I’ve pretty much sold every­one in the office on a pair. The con­ve­nience alone is worth it to me. Also, in years past, I’ve used SDAY’S Mac­book pro to watch videos while ped­al­ing away on the rollers. It’s a pretty good sys­tem that I can set up just about any­where, but I’ve never been able to fully hear the audio… until now. The DJ Slims are per­fect for a lit­tle trainer time. At 103 grams, they’re light enough to wear for a few hours with lit­tle or no adjustment.”

-KDAY Racing

 

Surfing with Google Earth

Our story begins at a party in Venice CA, the other night.  I over heard what I decided was an Australian adult male, talking about the “epic, round the world surf trip” he was on.  I’m not sure if he said epic.. I might have made that up.  Regardless, I was interested in what he was saying.  This guy, Jason Henderson, put his whole life on hold and just took off Into the Wild style.  I’ve always been jealous of that sort of thing.
That wasn’t the most interesting part, what I found totes amazeballs was how he was finding his waves.  I promised that i wouldn’t give any specific secrets away, but Jason’s been traveling around the world using Google Earth to find the best secret surf spots on the planet… or at least the places on the planet that he visited.
Read the full interview below if your A.D.D. hasn’t already gotten the best of you.  Don’t worry, there’s pictures.
__________________________
Hey Jason, it’s me.. via the internet.  Tell us a bit about yourself, and your trip.
G’day Mike

My names Jason Henderson, I’m Australian but moved to hawaii in 1998 to live the dream. Recently I just got back from a 5 month trip through central america, where I started in Costa Rica and basically chased waves all the way north to California. I went down to Costa Rica solo and I spoke zero spanish and didn’t know anybody, but I did have a few maps and surf guide books and went down to see what waves were around.

 

Playa Hermosa next to Jaco was where I first landed and from there I started looking at swell charts and maps and started plotting where I was going to go next. This year I was actually super lucky as it was a really active storm season in the southern hemisphere and I was fortunate enough to score waves in every country except Guatamala.

What inspired you to put life on hold?

I’m 33 and like most people have been working for years and had girlfriends and car bills and other commitments which have kept me from travelling for extended amounts of time and finally I was so fed up with the rat race that I decided that there has to be more to life and sold up everything and just went for it,This trip of mine started as a journey chasing the swells and finding uncrowded waves but getting to these spots and meeting all the random people that were travelling around doing the same thing was one of the best experience of the trip.


I feel you.. At some point I plan to just start running, Forrest Gump style.  Where has the trip taken you?

I first spent 6 weeks in costa rica and pretty much just jumped around from place to place chasing swells. Basically I started in playa Hermosa and from there went north to Santa Teresa and onto Tamarindo aka Tamagringo. And thats when I saw a huge swell on the charts approaching and did a 2 day bus ride  all the way down to Pavones in the south of Costa Rica that has the second longest wave in the world where I camped out for about a month on and off.

I then went up to San Jose to see the Red Hot Chilli Peppers play and then bussed it north to Popoyo, Nicaragua where I stayed for another few weeks chasing waves around that area of coastline. I then saw another large south swell approaching so I bussed it all the  way north to El Salvadore, Las Flores to be specifc and scored some of the unbelievable right hand point breaks that El Salvador has to offer.

After that I was thinking I might start to make my way back to costa rica as i had a flight booked out of San Jose but a huge tropical storm formed off the coast of El Salvador  with 60mph winds that was supposed to hit the next day so I decided it was in my best interests to run away from the beach asap as being in a third world country is not where you want to be when a storm hits, so I decided to run and went north to guatamala to check out the mayan ruins while the storm passed. The storm then turned into a huge tropical depression and sat over guatamala and proceed to rain for weeks. Unfortunately I did get stuck there in the town of Antigua due to mud slides and crazy flooding but after about a week there. The road to Rivas in the north east opened up and I went to Tikal to see the Mayan ruins.

From there I bussed it north to mexico and travelled all the way through the mountains and down to Huatulco and chased waves all around that area for a month. From there I flew to Puerto Vallarta and jumped on a yacht and surfed/fished/dived my way north chasing another swell for just under 2 weeks until the swell went flat and then flew up to tijuana and walked across the border and spent a few weeks in cali waiting for waves but nothing really happened and the cold was killing me so I flew back home to hawaii and now i’m sitting on the beach watching the Pipe masters as i type this.

What’s next?

I’ll stay in hawaii and bartend and teach surfing and do some surf guiding for the next few months and refill the bank acct and then i’ll be off to the bahamas searching for waves in late march for a few months and then I’m not sure. We’ll see what opportunities arise, maybe mex again or indo

I remember you told me you didn’t have any interest in competition (which I like), can you elaborate?

I used to compete back in the day in australia and when I first moved to hawaii but found I wasn’t really enjoying that side of surfing and that I’d prefer to surf more alternative style surfboards and chase uncrowded waves when I wasn’t working.

Any gnarly/ near death/ exciting stories from this trip?

Apart from almost being struck by lightning twice and my car almost getting washed away by flood waters while leaving Pavones.(http://youtu.be/kEx4wi5Rs78) All of central america was kinda gnarly and not understanding everything that was going on around me due to my lack of spanish was definitely one of the scariest things. The other main fear was the fear of the unknown as I never knew what , central america has such a bad rap  due to the drug war that is going on at the moment but I personally had no problems at all.

As far as waves go though, I surfed so many waves in the middle of know where with no one else around that every spot had its own gnarly element to it. Whether it was crocodiles or other large creatures swimming around, or just strange water currents. But my scariest would have been last month in Mex at this secret spot called LA Bamba when i snapped my leash on a heavy takeoff and the current swept me down the beach and into a rock jetty and then I took another 6 waves on the head till it had washed me past it and I could come in around the corner.

Google Earth – How do you utilize it (without going into detail on specific spots)

Google earth has definitely changed the way that I look for surf. With all this new technology that we have on hand, ie satellite charts, bouoy readings for size and swell direction. We can make great calculated guesses on where and when the swell will hit and due to most roads in central america not following the coast. I could use google earth and see what points/reefs/bays were around. Which saved me so much  as I could figure out not only what the coast looked like but roads to access these spots.

OT BLUETOOTH TAGS – CNET REVIEW

“Few things are more jarring than getting your headphone cord yanked out of your ears, but Outdoor Technology’s Bluetooth Tags put an end to tangles with a wireless signal that eliminates the need for a dangling wire. The plastic clips keep the headphones securely attached to your ears (so they’re also ideal for athletes), and you can navigate your music library using the small controls on the right earpiece. The Tags don’t sound as clear as wired headphones, but if you’re willing to sacrifice fidelity to cut the cord, these $80 headphones are a worthwhile purchase”

Check out the full review.