Archive for April 2011

Good Vibes   Leave a comment

Surfing is supposed to be a nurturing, surreal, exciting, and overall positive experience. In “West of Jesus”, a spiritual book about how surfing saved the author, he talks about how surfing is so unique in the sense that every session and every wave is different. As a result, our body is dumping different hormones into our brain that are secreted uniquely per situation we’re in when out in the water. In football, it’s easy to say “hey, let’s go back to this play” but in surfing you can never go back to THAT wave. That’s how unique the gift of surfing is.

But how many times have you seen someone who brings bad vibes into the water? How many times have you heard someone cussing, slapping the water, screaming at anyone that gives the wrong look as they paddle back out? No one is immune to this negative mindset. I used to lose my mind if I dug a rail, fell, couldn’t get a wave, or sat for a half hour waiting for a set. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve begun to grow out of that energy-draining psyche. If I fall, I laugh. If I bog a rail, I smile. There’s always another wave and another chance to get better. So getting upset over one ill fated ride is just two steps back from your goal of realizing your potential.

If those eerily spiritual, it is. Even if you don’t believe in God, energy is all around is and our reactions to it directly determine how we’ll do things in the future. Paddling out with a calmness and clarity is much healthier than paddling out with baggage. Pangs of the past and fears of the future are what hold you back from being centered in the moment in your best surfing. I don’t think I’ve ever kicked out of a great ride and not been smiling or frothing harder than a five year old after three red bulls. So smile…your next great ride is right around the corner.

AND NOW YOUR MOMENT OF MEDITATION…

“Every sinner has a future, every saint has a past…”

-Trav 

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Posted April 28, 2011 by travstradewinds in Uncategorized

5 reasons to be VERY excited for UCLA Football   Leave a comment

Four months out from the return to the Rose Bowl and Rick Neuheisel is staring down the barrel of a big gun. After going 7-6 with a bowl win, UCLA took a step backwards falling to 4-8 in Rick’s third season. But all is not doom and gloom and in fact there are several reasons to get psyched for the day long tail gates, eight claps, and hang overs by 6 at night. Come September 3rd, here’s a few reasons to renew your ticket packages and consider investing in a new grill…

*DEFENSE IS BACK. For the last five years, UCLA has prided itself on shut down corners, fierce interior linemen, and hard hitting line backers. Believe it or not, these are the guys who kept us in games and now finally after years of me saying the same thing Joe Tresey has arrived to make some drastic changes. Instead of playing prevent defense and letting receivers and backs get the ball in space, Tresey plans on implementing a system where they rush four and let the secondary play more man to man coverage. In the past, we couldn’t tackle in the open field but one thing we’ve always been able to do is run stride for stride with whomever lines up across from us. Datone Jones is healthy again and that means bad things for the O-line of the other team. Need proof? The defense logged 18 tackles for loss in the first spring scrimmage.

*BREHAUT WILL GET THE NOD. Prince can’t stay healthy week to week and his mechanics are far too slow for how fast the PAC-10 plays. Brehaut has a faster delivery and can make all the throws whether it’s the long ball or underneath. He may not have the speed of Prince of freshman phenom Brett Hundley BUT he scrambles well enough and there’s no questioning his confidence when he lets the ball go. On top of that, there’s a freak of an athlete waiting in the wings in Hundley. We already have guys who can run but we need someone who can throw.

*CHOW LEFT. Yes, this is a good thing. Chow was trying way too hard to fit our guys into a system where Mike Johnson will develop a system that suits them. The pistol offense wasn’t an awful idea until we stopped throwing the ball and pretty much forgot how to. This is not to say it’s not useful for certain situations but we have to get back to hitting guys down field and in space with strikes.

*THE RUN GAME. Coleman and Franklin are back and compliment each other ridiculously well. Last year may have been the best we’ve ever run the ball since Khalil Bell and Maurice Jones Drew were still at UCLA in ’05. Franklin is the lightning to Coleman’s thunder and if Franklin can hold on to the ball he could be a Heisman candidate. In addition, Malcom Jones returns along with Jordan James who just got healthy.

*NEUHEISEL. Rick walked into a situation that needed fixing. He was well on his way. He just surrounded himself with the wrong people. He’s the king of optimism but make no mistake he’s real about the situation. This guy bleeds blue and gold and knows that it’s this season or bust. He needs at least six wins but he’s put himself in a position to get that much at least. He’s not necessarily surrounded by the big names he wanted at coordinators. He’s surrounded by the guys he needs.

-Trav

Posted April 18, 2011 by travstradewinds in Uncategorized

Bells picks   Leave a comment

Here are my picks for the Bells contest…

Kelly->I did my research and you know what the chances are that Kelly wins a world title if he gets a win in Australia to start the year? 100%. It’s never a prerequisite but every time he wins Bells, Manly, Snapper or wherever the event in Oz happens to be he is raising silverware above his head at the end of the year. Kelly has seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of Bells and will be ready for whatever it has to throw at him. Like I said…he’s not giving it back. Someone has to take it from him.

Mick Fanning->One of the few guys on tour who can blend power with quickness and speed, Mick’s range suits tricky point breaks like Bells. We know he’ll always be overly prepared. Getting smoked in his backyard doesn’t sit right with Mick and it shouldn’t. Don’t expect an early exit.

Dusty Payne->Dusty graduated from a video sensation to a contender in that round four heat where for once someone knew how to surf Mick’s home break better than he did. Dusty is in no mood for a buzzer beater again this year. He’ll set himself up early. He showed he can scratch at confusing point breaks and he’ll only get better when he gets to Tahiti and Brazil should be interesting.

Joel Parkinson->After watching Joel’s “I surf because…” video, I expected big things this year and they haven’t transpired. He’s fit. He’s focused. But something’s missing. Joel is the one guy who hasn’t shown he can mix airs and tricks with his traditional power carve. Dooma Fahrenfort says that his surfing is “easy on the eyes” and I’m inclined to agree but that effortless ability can sometimes get confused for lack of effort. Joel will make at least quarters.

Jordy Smith->Jordy showed not just solid surfing but FIRE at Snapper. He wants it even more this year and aside from God given talent that’s exactly what you need. His lone event win is at a far more challenging point break in his own country and all Jordy has to do is show up.

AND NOW YOUR MOMENT OF MEDITATION…

“When you believe in yourself and take actions from that place, the universe rushes to your aid.”

-Trav

Posted April 18, 2011 by travstradewinds in Uncategorized

Functional Upper Body Training for the surf…   Leave a comment

Matt Griggs once said that the explosive part of surfing comes from the actual surfing of the wave. Once you stand up, your speed generation, your quick reaction times, and your power through maneuvers all revolve around your ability to turn on your fast twitch muscles. Obviously, if you’re surfing a long wave then you need a little bit of endurance in the core and leg muscles so you can stay springy the whole way through. However, the paddling portion is supposed to be when you’re recovering or when you’re catching your breath. I don’t entirely agree with that BUT for the sake of argument we’re going to talk about ways to strengthen the upper body without compromising muscle length or flexibility.

Paddling alone makes you pretty darn strong but if that’s all you’re doing then you run the risk of acquiring imbalances in the upper body. It’s important to work everything but not with heavy weight. Most of these you can do with your own body weight or very light dumb bells. When doing these exercises, don’t concern yourself with how much much volume. Just get through as many reps as it takes to feel the burn in the target areas. So without further delay…

*Push-Ups-It sounds rudimentary but it’s shocking to think how many times you do this a session. The great part is you can start with the normal version on flat ground or an incline and then you can move on to clap push ups, plyo push ups on to a medicine ball, or even push ups with straps. The chest is a big muscle and this is very important for strengthening that part of the shoulder girdle.

*Pull-Ups-That burning feeling in your back when you’re pulling through a paddle…that’s your lats and they get worked hard through pull ups. Think these three grips: palms away, palms facing you, and palms facing each other. All work the back but throw in other muscles like the rhomboids, low back, and biceps.

*Raises-Try this. Grab a pair of five pound weights. Lift them in front of you up to shoulder height 20 times. Then lift them out to the side 20 times. Then holding a band in front of you pull it backwards. BAM! You’ve hit the entire deltoid. That’s the potato looking muscle that connects your shoulder blades to your arms. It should burn a lot through this three part circuit because you’re hitting the front, lateral, and rear parts of it.

*Rows-With one knee on a bench, let the dumb bell drop and pull it back up towards your body. These are for your traps and rhomboids. These are muscles in your back that bring your arms back to the body or PULL. If you’re looking to challenge yourself, get in push up position and hold on to the dumb bells and row them up that way one at a time. Try to keep your hips level.

*Back Extensions-When you’re paddling and constantly keep your head up to see what the waves are doing, this takes strength in your low back’s erector muscles. These are what allow the back to extend up. Place your heels behind the pads and lay your torso over the front. Lower yourself down and then come back up to starting position.

Key thing…make your reps high around 15-20 and make sure you’re feeling the burn. The important part is not to throw around a lot of weight. It’s to use good form and increase the endurance in those muscles.

AND NOW YOUR MOMENT OF MEDITATION…

“Experience is the teacher of all things.”-Caesar

-Trav

A reflection on a legend…   Leave a comment

I was watching some vintage …LOST footage today from …LOST at sea and inevitably Andy Irons’ part came up. This is back when he was still sponsored by MCD, HIC, and Arnette. This is back when he was still figuring stuff out on boat trips with the maestros of his generation. This was back when he was still walking the fine line between depression and burn out. But even then…he was killing it. I watched him streak through section after section at this right and emerge victorious from the deepest barrels like a gladiator. I watched him smash lips at Macaronis leaving spray still flying even after he’d reached the next section. I watched him loft airs into a different stratosphere and stick them in time for a reverse or carve. That’s when it dawned on me how well rounded Andy was. Bruce for awhile was always heralded as the rock star of the two defying odds at Pipe and other hollow spots but Andy was capable of the same. Andy even won Pipe more than Bruce did. But Andy had the ability go from there to two foot Huntington and still make sense of it. He was not just more talented but much more well rounded than his anti-hero brother.

There’s no question that Andy was a complicated individual but most of us will not remember him for his problems. We’ll remember him for the way he traversed progressive free surfing and tactically sound heat strategies and blended the two together brilliantly at times. Whether it was at cavernous Tahiti or spread out, punchy French beach break or long, roping Jeffrey’s Bay, Andy had it all. My favorite memory was probably the 2006 Pipe Masters final between Kelly and Andy. Rob and Corey were also in the heat but that was really a modest sideshow compared to the fireworks happening in the water at first reef. All eyes were on the two most dominant surfers at the time. They exchanged 6s…then 7s…then 8s…then 9s. Finally, a set came booming out of the North. Andy paddled like a mad man and even had to navigates Kelly’s priority shenanigans as he tried to back paddle Andy. But at the last second Andy back paddled over Kelly’s legs, stroked in, pulled in deep behind two enormous sections, and emerged with a fist pump. Like any heavy weight fight, Andy had just delivered the knock out punch and done so in decisive fashion.

Regardless of how his autopsy comes out, I’m hoping people remember Andy for moments like that. He was a tremendous competitor, athlete, and surfer and if his faults must be brought up then let them be brought up in a constructive way. Teach the future generations how to navigate the dark alleys and thrive through balance and not excess. After all, before Andy was defeated through his issues, he was victorious as our champion.

AND NOW YOUR MOMENT OF MEDITATION…

“In order to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.”

-Trav

Posted April 1, 2011 by travstradewinds in Uncategorized