4th Annual Walter Caloca Surf Contest in San Miguel Day 1

On Saturday March 22, 2014  young surfers from Mexico and the U.S. gathered in San Miguel, Baja California to participate in the 4th Annual Walter Caloca Surf Contest. Organized by Alfredo Ramirez and United Athletes of the Pacific Ocean (UAPO) with the help of Zach Plopper and WILDCOAST/COSTASALVAJE, the event provided a forum for young surfers to rip 2-4′ waves and celebrate international friendships. Additionally, Day 1, included the SUP and bodyboard divisions.

It was a great day. Day 2 on March 23, is the open event. The photos here are all from Day 1.

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Daniel Dedina with San Miguel local and artist Jaime Noia.

Daniel Dedina with San Miguel local and artist Jaime Noia.

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Afredo Ramirez of UAPO with competitors. The best part of this contest is bringing together surfers from Mexico and the U.S.

Afredo Ramirez of UAPO with competitors. The best part of this contest is bringing together surfers from Mexico and the U.S.

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Girls contestants.

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Daniel Dedina, Jack Stewart and Cameron Bartz from IB.

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Jack Stewart and Cameron Bartz await their final heat.

Jack Stewart and Cameron Bartz await their final heat.

Cameron Bartz.

Cameron Bartz.

Lance Mann

Lance Mann

Paul Stewart.

Paul Stewart.

Daniel Dedina

Daniel Dedina

Dakotah Hooker

Dakotah Hooker

Josh Johnson

Josh Johnson

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Dakotah Hooker.

Dakotah Hooker.

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Paul Stewart.

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Javi Meza

Javi Meza

Daniel Dedina

Daniel Dedina

SUP finalists.

SUP finalists.

Grom finalists.

Grom finalists.

Girls finalists.

Girls finalists.

Bodyboard finalists.

Bodyboard finalists.

Junior finalists.

Junior finalists.

Cameron Bartz, Paul Steward, Lance Mann and Daniel Dedina.

Cameron Bartz, Paul Steward, Lance Mann and Daniel Dedina. It is great to see so many young surfers surfing and making friends south of the border. It is great for them to travel and make lots of friends up and down the coast. That is the true spirit of surfing.

Superbowl Surf Weekend.

The weather and surf were great over the Superbowl Weekend in Southern California. In Imperial Beach, the groms were having a great time.

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Wombats Surf in Baja

My kids filmed and edited this little video on our recent trip south of the border that includes their little buddy Josh.

Why Trestles Matters: A Thanksgiving Tale

The groms enjoying their adventure at Trestles.

A couple of days before Thanksgiving and a couple of days after over 200MGD of sewage polluted water flowed out of the TJ River, my sons, Israel 15 and Daniel 13, and their friend Jake 15, boarded a bus in Imperial Beach with their boards, backbacks, and bicycles.

Five hours later they departed the bus at the Carls Jr. in San Clemente for a two-day surf safari at Trestles and campout at San Mateo Campground.

This is the text I received that night:

“All is well..roasting wieners by a roaring fire and sipping hot choco and got perfect three to four foot trestles with four people.”

If there is any reason to stop the Toll Road, it is so generations of kids can have the best adventures of their lives at Trestles/San Mateo/and San Onofre and experience California as it is supposed to be.

So thanks to all of you for “Saving Trestles” and your ongoing commitment to making sure a toll road doesn’t plow through one of the last best places on the planet.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

(thanks to my buddy Mark Rauscher of the Surfrider Foundation for posting this on the Save Trestles blog)

Surfing at its Best: Katy’s Endless Summer Surf Contest

Katy Fallon of Katy's Cafe with a local grom and my son Daniel on the right.

Katy Fallon of Katy’s Cafe in my hometown of Imperial Beach is one of the nicest and community-minded surfers around. On Sunday she held her second free surf contest for children, Katy’s Endless Summer Surf Contest. More than 75 groms (boys and girls) surfed fun 2-4′ waves at the north end of Imperial Beach. For a while the waves were fun and offshore. Then the tide dropped and a wicked south wind hit. But the conditions were surfable to the end and everyone had a great time. My longtime friend Manny Vargas was the contest Director, with a great crew of hardcore IB surfers acting as judges.

Since the month before I had been immersed in the WiLDCOAST Dempsey Holder Surf Contest and Ocean Festival, this was a great opportunity just to watch my sons and surf and hang out with longtime friends and my family.

Longtime IB surfer Manny Vargas who was the contest director.

I was really proud of both my sons who won wetsuits as prizes for winning and quickly donated them to other kids. This event is all about giving back. And I am thankful that Katy and Manny set the right tone for this gem of an event.

My son Daniel in his first heat when the waves were fun and offshore. Before the south wind and then later a huge strorm hit San Diego.

There is a nice tradition of free events for kids in San Diego. The Dempsey is free to any child who can’t afford to pay. And the Jetty Kids Contest in Mission Beach is the same.

Thankfully there are lots of surfers out there who have remembered that our sport and lifestyle are about giving back and working with the next generation of surfers.

Mahalo to Katy and Manny!!

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Surfing the Day After the Storm

Normally you are not supposed to surf within 72 hours of rainfall hitting southern California. Runoff from storm drains, streets and everything else washes into the ocean. But the Silver Strand State Beach in Coronado, just up the beach from where we live in Imperial Beach, is almost free of development. There is no runoff to speak of, since the parking lots drain east toward the bay. Unless the sewage plume from the Tijuana River travels north, the Silver Strand can be a good bet.

Most of the time the Strand is a horrible place to surf. The waves are almost always closed out. I worked as a lifeguard there for eight years and rarely saw it good. But with the rain and storm swell that hit Southern California yesterday, the waves at the Strand were a little broken up this morning and the groms scored some fun corners that were helped out by an offshore wind.

A Great Day at the Dempsey

More than 150 surfers participated in the 8th Annual WiLDCOAST Dempsey Holder Ocean Festival and Surf Contest–the largest field ever for the Dempsey. The surf sort of cooperated with 2-4′ south swell peaks. Unfortunately it was a bit windy all day. But the competitors made the most of it.

Surfers from Mexico and Venezuela showed up to participate as well, making this truly an international surfing event thanks to a partnership with United Athletes of the Pacific Ocean (UAPO).

Thanks to all the Dempsey sponsors such as the County of San Diego, REI, Oakley, Billabong, Emerald City, Alan Cuniff, Pacific Realty, Pacifica Companies, URT, Cowabunga and all of the scholarship supporters and everyone who pitched in to make it “the best day ever!”

 

Oaxaca Dreams 2011

Here is a video slideshow from our summer Oaxaca adventure. One of my best surf trips ever.

Los Tres Amgos Part II: Surfing in Mexico

My sons made this second video of their recent Mexico surfing adventures with their buddy Josh.

The Road to Barra

The road seemed endless. After ascending the highway along the 7,000-foot elevation pine-covered peaks that separates the valley of Oaxaca in south central Mexico from the Pacific Ocean, I expected a long but easy descent.

I was wrong.

Although we only had about 130 miles to reach the coastal resort town of Huatulco, we had another four hours of the windiest, curviest, scariest two-lane highway imaginable.

Members of Oaxaca’s diverse indigenous communities hiked along the highway that was lined with villages precariously perched among the pines along the steep cliffs.

Women in traditional garb balanced their heavy loads on their heads. Others carried machetes on their way home from work.

The drive was made worse by the simple fact that Darren Johnson and I had spent the previous night on a red-eye flight from Tijuana to Oaxaca. Joey Fallon dropped me and Darren’s families off at the Tijuana airport at 10 in the evening.

Israel and Daniel waiting to go through immigration at the TJ airport.

Our flight departed Tijuana at 2 a.m. and arrived in Oaxaca, considered one of Mexico’s most traditional and beautiful capital cities, at 8 a.m. After picking up our small rental cars, we made our way southwest to the Pacific.

Josh, 14, was the first to vomit. Darren notified us via walkie-talkie that he had to stop. After a stretch, I found a slight turnoff on the wrong side of the highway next to a tree-covered deep ravine and halted. Darren followed.

As soon as my sons Israel and Daniel exited our Chevy, Israel projectile vomited.

Everyone gets sick on the Oaxaca to Huatulco highway.

Three hours later, after descending from the pine trees into thick coastal rainforest, we found Huatulco. After purchasing supplies and groceries, we finally reached our destination for the next two weeks, a brightly covered beach house tucked away on a remote cove protected by rocky headlands on each side.

The point down the beach.

The surf was sideshore and about 4-5 feet. Daren, Josh and my two sons claimed the thumping beachbreak peaks in the middle of the cove. I walked down and made a stab at the hollow peaks breaking off the point.

We were all reminded of how the crunching power of the surf in southern Mexico.

The waves pitched quickly and unforgivably.

The next morning the boys woke at dawn to patrol the point, and eventually joined a group of groms from the nearby village.

Israel practiced his Spanish. The local groms were pleased to share hoots when someone inevitably scored a barrel.

When the wind turned offshore in the afternoon the surf picked up considerably and the boys enjoyed another round of hollow zippers.

The next morning it was even bigger. The boys were the first ones out, and I could see them pull into a few choice barrels as I walked down the beach.

The sets were overhead and powerful. I cautiously dropped in on a few shoulders.

The boys charged.

“Josh got a stand up barrel,” Israel yelled.

Darren, a goofy-foot, paddled out. Fit and trim at 45, Darren still surfs like a teenager.

As a set approached, I scrambled to get outside. I caught the biggest wave, managed to make the late drop, raced down the line, straightened out in the soup, then got hammered in the whitewater.

We all came in. It was time to hit Barra.

The groms at Barra.

Barra de la Cruz is considered one of the best places in the world for waves. A sand bottom point that winds down the beach in perfect cylinders, Barra is the subject of countless surf films and has even served as the location of a Rip Curl Pro Search surf contest.

These barrels have become a magnet for surfers worldwide.

A set at Barra.

After a short drive, I parked the car and the boys jumped out to check the surf.

The waves were perfect and the lineup was crowded. The boys grabbed their gear and raced down the beach eager to sample a few of the waves they day-dreamed about for years.

The long drive down the never-ending highway was worth it.

Me on a fun one.

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