June 2014

June 25, 2014

Let's Be Still

I really love this band, and their newest album Let's Be Still is only better than their first.

Here's a sample of their title track:
The world's just spinning
A little too fast
If things don't slow down soon we might not last.
The world's not forgiving
Of everyone's fears.
The days turn into months the months turn into years.
So just for a moment, let's be still
It begs the question: are you ever still?
I tried it, and it's really difficult. I felt like I needed to be doing something, or I was simply wasting time. Our lives are either about productivity or entertainment -- creating or consuming. To sit and do neither feels like time misspent. But is it?

I did a search to see what the bible says about being still. Here are some standout verses:
Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! (Psalm 46:10)
The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent. (Exodus 14:14)
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. (Psalm 62:5)
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! (Psalm 37:7)
I love that last one -- don't worry about how people get ahead, just be still and patient before God. That's a-whole-nother post in itself....
So it seems that if we let ourselves be still, we will gain an awe for God, peace, and He will accomplish things for us. That sounds pretty good to me!
Try and be still at some point today: not going anywhere, not doing anything, just abiding where you are. See what happens and let me know here, because I'm curious what you might find. I'll try it too!

June 23, 2014

4 Years, 5 Spots - Surfing in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is a tough town, full of cutthroat executives and self-preservationists living alongside an influx of dreamers that will do anything for free if it’s good for their career. LA will either make or break you...actually, even if it makes you there’s a good chance some breaking will still be involved. But as every surfer knows, a good break can be a wonderful thing (see what I did there?), and for me, the last four years have been marked by a different break every summer. So if you’re new to town, here’s the breakdown of what some of our most popular beaches have to offer.
El Porto
My first full summer in Los Angeles was spent surfing every week at Santa Monica. I wouldn’t say Santa Monica has a reputation as a great surf spot, but I’ve had so many good days there that it’s definitely worth checking out. Watch out though -- on bigger days this spot can close out faster and heavier than your bank account after moving here with no job, so check the surf report before you go. Other downfalls include dirty water and pricey parking. I recommend parking at Ocean Way and Bay St. before 7AM (the meters are free). It’s also a great place to take a surf lesson, with a host of schools stationed there.
Later that year I also discovered Sunset and Pacific Coast Highway, one of my favorite spots in the city. Here you’ll get beautiful, long right-hand waves with faces as smooth as a 40-foot skate ramp. It gets crowded though, and you have to paddle pretty far to get to the main part of the break; but sometimes you can hang out on the far end and catch the leftovers, which is akin to leftover turkey sandwiches after Thanksgiving...not the main course but just as good in their own way.
Crowded day at El Porto
2011 became the year of Venice, which every LA visitor needs to experience at least once. Parking is a nightmare and there’s always the chance you’ll happen across a hypodermic needle floating by in between sets. Still, if you want to get to the roots of LA surfing, this is a good place to be. It’s nice for beginners, as the shallow water before the break tends to extend pretty far, giving tourists plenty of space to frolick in the dirty water while you hone your skills on the smaller break. Also, if the waves are ever bad, there’s a great skatepark nearby for those who keep a board in their trunks at all times.
The following year was a flat summer, and so the only spot that had any resemblance of a wave was El Porto. The northernmost part of Manhattan Beach, this is where the majority of surfers in the Los Angeles area flock to. It probably has the most consistent waves in the area, at least when it comes to size. However, it can get dumpy and powerful, making it difficult to paddle out at times, especially for a beginner (here’s an article to help on a challenging paddle out). But when every other break in LA is flat, Porto usually has enough power to pick you up, which is why it’s also one of the most crowded spots in the city. For that reason, I tend to head a little north to my favorite Los Angeles spot - Dockweiler.
Dockweiler at Tower 45
When 2013 rolled around, I moved two miles from Dockweiler and made it a personal goal to surf more than I ever had in my life. The waves are just a tad smaller than El Porto, but fewer crowds and ample free parking make it a worthy sacrifice in my book. Though the waves are smaller, the right swell can bring head-high lefts at Lifeguard Tower 45 (corner of Vista Del Mar and Napoleon St.). I’ve also had a host of great rides at the groin at Tower 49. Just a few yards south of this, you can grab a fire pit and have a good old fashioned California bonfire after a long day of surfing -- what else could you ask for in a spot?
So what does the summer of 2014 hold? The Golden Coast is a long one and Los Angeles surfing is just the beginning. Hopefully this helps you pick which spot to check out as you explore the City of Angels.
Know of a good spot I missed? Comment below and maybe I’ll see you there!
(Originally published on the StoreYourBoard.com blog)

June 17, 2014

Yonder Breaks

I haven't written anything here in quite a while. There are two reasons:
  1. We had a kid
  2. I bought a website
First reason: having a child. It inspires more ideas to write about, but takes up way more time, inhibiting writing them. That's a funny thing, right? I'm still figuring out that balance, and will probably never get "there," but hopefully closer to wherever "there" is (Lord willing).

Second reason: I watched this video...

Seeing these guys doing so much of what they love inspired me to do something I love -- write and surf. So I bought a website to share what I write about..


Go there if you like to read things that I write, and I'll continue writing things that people hopefully want to read.

Once again, that's www.yonderbreaks.com

Thanks for reading!!

A Father's First Day

Last Sunday was my first Father's Day, and it wasn't what I expected....
Father's Day is when Dad gets special treatment, right? You go out to eat where he wants, buy him something cool and mow the lawn so he doesn't have to. And so I went into Father's Day with that mindset -- my day. And sure enough, when my day came I heard over and over, "It's your day! Do what you want!"
What did I want? If I really had what I wanted, I would have gone on a surf adventure that lasted all day, to a break my family probably would not have enjoyed, and eaten tacos afterwards at T2 Tacos. And that's not because I didn't want to hang out with my family -- I love my family -- but if you give me a day and call it mine, I'm going to do something I love doing, but probably don't get to do that often; which in this case was go on a surf adventure to a gnarly spot.
My friend Russell at the gnarly spot (photo by @jinheejoung).

But what kind of a Father's Day is that? Dad out in the ocean with some friends while the family hangs back home -- it might as well be called Act-like-a-Bachelor Day. A father isn't a father, after all, without his family.
So maybe Father's Day is less about doing what I want to do, and more about being a good father? There was just one problem -- I still kept hearing "it's your day" and I really wanted to go surfing. Therein lies my issue, but also my point: life is about balance.
When I graduated high school I asked my dad to give me one piece of advice. He said to keep my life in balance the best I could -- work, school, family, God, hobbies...all in balance. It's been many years since I received that advice, and I still haven't figured out how to do it. However, it has been a recurring theme in my life lately, and will be for some time I suspect, so I might as well keep trying.
Unbalanced = bad ride

I ended up spending my Father's Day at church, and then going to lunch somewhere I enjoyed, but wouldn't have been my first choice (I didn't want to subject my family to cheap tacos). After that, I spent a good bit of time with my family and then went for a quick surf at a nearby break I've been meaning to try, followed by a movie at a friend's house. It felt like a pretty balanced day -- and that was good.
So my Father's Day was a mix of selfishness and sacrifice. I'm not sure if I did it right, but it at least felt like one more step towards a life of balance, and that's okay with me.