Dream Land, Kauai

Kauai, HI

A chain of islands in the north pacific ocean. Each Island is unique in that Hawaii (the main island) is mostly all volcanic rock with black beaches, while Kauai and Oahu have soft tan sand mixed with tumbled shell bits.IMG_9382

Every year I always seem to end up on one of these islands. This past year, I visited Kauai with Xiaxia, Adam and Chet.  We all stayed on the south shore at a point called PK’s. This surf spot is beautiful. The waves break at three different reefs, the inside being the best one for bodysurfing.  As Adam and I swam out to the farthest break, we looked down to see the 2 abysses between the reefs. We both got spookedIMG_1431 and caught the next wave in. The water is always super clear so when you look down you all the colors of the reef. There are rainbow fish, yellow triggerfish, and a blue parrot fish.  We spent 3 days surfing for 8  hours straight each day.  Our last night there the sunset was like nothing we had ever seen with pink puffy clouds and a moon behind.

The next day we drove up to the north shore to stay in Hanalei. This place is like a second home to me and where I first learned to surf.  Coming here brings back so
IMG_1252many happy and adventurous memories.  We drove into Princeville along the gorgeous golf course to our house for the next week.  After we unpacked we walked down a hidden path to a place called Queens Bath. It had rained earlier that day so everyone laughed as was slid down the path. Halfway down you come to a little waterfall where we all rinsed off the mud and sat for a while.  We eventually made it down to the waterfront to see where the river met with the ocean. The ocean was clear and warm.  We crept IMG_2327along the path to the main jumping spot.  Adam was the first to jump off with a free fall dive.  As I looked down I spotted a group of 4 turtles floating in the current, so I jumped in and followed them to around the point. There such beautiful creatures and I hope everyone gets a chance to swim alongside one at least once.
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Ciudad de los Colores

Guatemala, a place of many colors.

Guatemala sits at the base of Mexico and above El Salvador.  It is full of lush forests and vibrant cities. I was lucky enough to travel there twice in my life. The IMG_6529first time was when I was 6, for a relatives wedding.  I have faint memories of that trip, mostly of the brides dress, but a few of the city and the people. The second was over this past winter break. We had a family reunion where we visited our distant relatives who owned some of the biggest coffee plantations in Guatemala.

We arrived into Guatemala city as the sun was setting behind the two volcanoes surrounding the city.  The ski was afire with golden light bouncing off of the IMG_6830clouds above.  As we stepped onto the tarmac, a woman with beautiful long brown hair and a giant smile, came running up to us and gave us all kisses on the cheek. This was our distant aunt, Adriana.

The next few days we spent traveling around to different cities. We took a bus to Antigua which is a town filled with history, culture and the most friendly people you would ever meet. There were to Mayan temples surrounded with cobblestone streets. The children played in the streets with there toys and the adults worked in markets filled with fruits of all flavors and fabrics of all colors.

IMG_6616Our next stop was at a lake called Atitlán.  This lake sits at the base of three volcanoes, one that was active enough to put on a little show for us. There is
only one entrance and it is a steep and windy road down the face of a mountain. At the bottom you come to a vintage hotel sitting at the base of the water.  There are three Mayan villages that can only be excesses by boat, so they are very rarely seen by tourists.  IMG_6764One of our relatives owned a house on the lake with a boat that we chartered out towards the villages.  Each one was entirely different then the next, with unique clothing and housing.

The next day my uncle flew in with his helicopter to meet us for dinner in the village.  We all climbed into Tuk Tuks and headed towards our destination. On the way two of our
Tuk Tuk drivers decided to have a high speed chase through the busy cobblestone streets. It was an amazing end to our trip.

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Dreamin of the Queen

Rincon Point is known as the Queen of the coast alongside the King of the coast, Malibu point. Rincon point is a surf break where on a good day, one can catch a wave from Indicator (the top) all the way down through the Rivermouth and into
DSC_0411the Cove. Surfers from all over the world come to surf this wave.  But that can be a bit of a problem for the locals. This point is one of the most crowded breaks on the coast of Santa Barbara.

This is my old stomping ground. I learned to surf in the cove and as I became stronger and more experienced I would slowly move further up the point. This wave is one of my favorites in Santa Barbara because of the locals who surf it and how clean of a break it is. The water is crystal clear allowing you to see what liesScreen Shot 2014-08-25 at 6.57.40 PM below. You can spot everything from Sand Sharks to little Rock Fish amongst the swaying seaweed.  During a loll in the sets, I float on the ocean surface staring up to clouds drifting by and seagulls catching the air currents.

Last summer I had an injury that kept me out of the water so on the days with good surf I would go sit on my friends porch with my camera and take picture of them surfing.  I love watching my friends surf because each of them have a very unique style.  This down time allowed me to better understand my new camera.  Slowly but DSC_0128surely I started to figure out all the key points and was able to produce some fun pictures.  One evening, there was a very unique lighting on the waves that just made them so unbelievable.  The spray from the surfers would hit the light making them look like little jewels hovering in the air.  Later, as the sun was touching the ocean, a pod of dolphins crept up behind the waves.  They jumped and lipped around playfully with each other, eventually catching waves all the way into the cove.

That day is a day I will never forget, hanging with friends in the warm ocean water with perfect waves. DSC_0099

 

Keeping up with the Hoodlums

A day at More Mesa

I wish I had a truck. It would make my life so much easier.  As you may have noticed I am a pretty sporty person so when I need to haul around my toys I needDSC_3967 something easy.  Well anyways, today started out with me getting super frustrated with my bike rack….  But I figured it out eventually (thank god). So I drove out to meet a group of guys who had already been biking and doing jumps for over an hour.  I parked and took my bike off its rack and started the trek to the jumps in the middle of More Mesa.

More Mesa is a preservation on the coast of Santa Barbara where you can walk along the cliffs and look down over 100ft. Its a reminder to many people of what Santa Barbara would look like if it was never inhabited like it is today.DSC_3935

As I made my way through the little valleys and over a river bed, in the distance popped up the jumps.  Little black figures could be seen flying through the air.  I pulled up next to a boy named Chase who was standing there with a camera pointed towards the flying figures.  These jumps had looked to have been built by a mad man, some where impossible to land and some just ended in a ditch. But these guys didn’t care.ezgif.com-gif-maker-2 copy 2

They began to experiment further with there crazy ideas. All of a sudden I turn to find Logan sitting in the middle of a jump where a kid was headed full speed. I rushed to turn the camera on to get this shot. I clicked it on at the perfect time to catch this move. Logan just looks at me with a casual look as the kid flew over himDSC_3934

As the day progressed, we decided to start heading back.  We biked into a valley and noticed someone had built there own little jump going up the face of the valley. ezgif.com-gif-maker-2Everyone dashed up to the top of the other side so they could drop in. Mike was the first to test it. He sped down the valley and up the jump. As he launched into the air he shot his bike out and landed on too feet. It was a funny sight. After everyone got there tries in we all biked back to our cars and called it a day.

TinType Photography

TinType Photo Shoot with Joni Sternbach

My Valentines day did not go as I had planned. But it wasn’t a bad thing. I got a text from my surf coach, JP Garcia, who told me a well known photographer was looking for a few local surfers for a photoshoot. He showed me a picture of her work and realized I knew her from the past.  She had previously done a photoshoot with my friend Xiaxia and Chet Taylor.  Her work looks like it came from a vintage surf journal or portraits from the turn of the century.  This type of photography really intrigued me, it is known as Tintype.

Tintype is a process in which you start in a dark room with a clean tin plate then you pour collodion on the piece.  After the collodion is on, you put it in a silver nitrate bath where it sits for 3 minutes allowing it to become light sensitive. IMG_7992

You then run it over to the camera, where you had earlier set it up, and place it in an old film holder (so it is light tight). The frame rate takes about 0.5 to 1 seconds so the subject of the picture has to stand as still as possible.  All ready to take your picture!  After pull the film holder out and take it back to the darkroom. Slip the plate out and cover it in developer.  The image will begin to appear like magic.  Splash water on it so the plate washes off the developer.  Place it into the fixer and develop!  

The result is an incredible photo like none other.


Overall the whole experience is something I will never forget.  Being able to hang with some of the inspirational surfers of Santa Barbara, to laugh and to smile.  We started off by getting into our wetsuits and grabbing our boards for the first shot. This one was a group shot.  Joni placed us in stacked rows with our surf boards between out legs. She told us to keep a straight face and to not move. *click* … *click*.  “You can relax now girls. Great shot!”, said Joni.FullSizeRender

We spent about 4 hours moving around and experimenting with angles to get the next few shots.

Check out Joni Sternbach’s work here!

http://jonisternbach.com/

 

 

 

Dawn Patrol 

 

dawn·patrol

/dôn/pəˈtrōl/

noun

1.

The act of getting up extremely early – sometimes before sunrise – to go surfing.

On Wednesdays we surf. We surf the early hours before the sun hits the mesa bluffs. As our toes hit the crisp ocean water it sends a little shiver through our bones. But this is what we love.

We all huddle in a circle as the few laggers run from there cars.  JP, our surf coach, stands with a clipboard as he calls out our names.  Today we have half our team here. JP announces we will be working out 20 before we paddle out since the surf conditions aren’t the finest.  We start out with stretches then work our way to crunches and planks.  The sky is slowly fading into a lighter blue and the waves are beginning to perk up.  A set of 3 waves pound the shorebreak behind us as we all whine and beg to paddle out. JP looks to us and says, “Alright fine you guy can paddle out now…”  We all sprint to our boards and dash into the water.  The cold hits me like a rock.  But I paddle on.  We make it to our line up just in time to see the top of the sun over the bluffs.  I peer over my sholder to see that the sun hasn’t hit JP yet.  He stands on the rocks with his camera pointed out towards the islands behind us.  

I spread my arms wide so the sun may warm my back.  Angel paddles up next to me and gazes out across the never ending sea. A movement in the ocean way ahead of us catches our attention, a set.  We lift up on our boards to get a better look then slide down to move into position. Angel paddles to the left of the peak as I paddle right.  The wave picks us both up and carries us towards the beach. As I pop up I look over to see Angel mirroring my movements.  I start by centering my board on the wave, then stepping forward with my back foot.  I move up to the nose of my board and stick my left foot’s toes over the edge and bend my back knee.

This is what pushes me to keep going, the feeling of freedom. We are sirens of the sea.