Saturday, July 25, 2020

Celebrating the Life of Mike Shurely


I've been pretty quiet most of this year and a lot of that had to do with my good friend and surf mentor Mike Shurley passing away. And with all this virus stuff going around and the new “Social distancing” we surfers can’t celebrate life the way that we love. We can’t get together, hold hands, cry on each other’s shoulders and paddle out like we have done for so many of our friends and family that have passed away over the years.
Many of us are now in self imposed isolation in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. The beaches are getting shut down too. A traditional paddle out can still be done in the future, but let’s hold off on that for now to keep each other safer. Please show your support to your friends and family that may have passed away during this global pandemic any way you can (but try not to leave your home).

“I’m just a man trying to catch a few waves. How about you?”
-Mike Shurley.

I met Mike Shurely back in 2004 when my new friend Cliff Makaena first introduced me to the 26th street Ohana surf club. Everyone knows Mike as “The Mayor” and I was never really sure if he was the Mayor of the city, the surf club, the parking lot at the beach or everything. He had that knack for being so well tempered, well-spoken, a charmer and could just connect with anyone. He worked his butt off so he could retire early and have the opportunity to surf every day, and at the best tides. His life revolved around family and surfing. 

 

Even when things got rough he continued to have a grateful outlook and was happy. Surfing makes room for happiness. It forces the surfer to focus on the present, every detail all at once and that leaves no room for land locked worries. The water washes off the bull shit, the nightmares, and the residue of worry. The water holds a space for you to be you. Mike knew this too and looked forward to paddling out and washing off any leftover negativity. Doing that consistently (as he did) seemed to always push more positivity, happiness and gratefulness into his life, by washing away stressors with each surf session.

 

At a certain point a surfer washers away enough bullshit that the internal balance can finally shift to happiness. Once that happens there is new room for gratefulness and a new opportunity to give back. Giving back means doing something for someone else without expecting anything in return. Giving back to the ocean, to the community, to friends, to strangers.

 


I once met up with Mike at Camp Pendleton Wounded Warrior Olympics trails were we added lifeguard support to the Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation (JMMF). The JMMF is a team of supportive experts and volunteers that provide Surfing/ Water therapy to military personnel and their families. I’ve always wanted to support something like that but didn’t know where or how to begin. Mike told me how to get connected, but went even further and met me down that at the front gate that day so I could just followed him in. The he introduced me to everyone in his diplomatic surf fashion. Everyone was great, the day was sunny and warm (but not too hot or windy). I remember sitting way outside the surf break with a soldier and he was just smiling. He said that he doesn’t get to surf very often but when he does it feels like he is really home. I could tell he had a moment of peace right then. That all the weight was off his shoulders and there was still space for happiness to return to him.

 

Let me attempt to explain some surfing philosophy as not everyone knows this stuff (not everyone surfs). The highest achievement any surfer can ever attain is an attitude of happiness and gratitude in and out of the water.  This comes (* in part) from doing the things that are not easy, like waking up early when you had the choice to sleep in, paddling out in the winter when the water feels like ice water and putting time into things that you are not yet good at. Even catching waves in Manhattan Beach (the Southbay) is very challenging. Some of the fastest waves in the world break on our beaches and learning to ride them is extremely difficult. If you can ride these waves you can pretty much surf anywhere in the world (generally speaking). There are many potential obstacles just as there are many potential benefits.

 

Surfing is filled with opportunities for happiness, when you show up! And just so you know, Mike showed up consistently! He usually got prime parking where he didn’t have to worry about paying the parking meter in the parking lot at 26th St after 8 am. Often you could find him and few others at Larry’s bench checking out the spots between the 26th St tower and the “Drain.” Catching up, sipping coffee, laughing, getting each other a little more pumped to paddle out before it got crowded. 



There are all sorts of surfers. Some paddle out and just sit there (for hours) and nothing really seems to change. Others seems to be moving along with currents, matching the rhythms of the ocean with a dream like playfulness.  Mike was always hungry for surf and it showed in his smile and his gratitude. He would always make time to talk (well maybe you’d have to wait till he paddled back out after catching another good wave). I’d spot him out there and paddle over to him to catch up on things (plus he was always in a good spot for peaky waves). “Morning Mike, how you doing?” I’d ask. And he would always the same thing with that kid like smile, “I’m just a man trying to catch a few waves. How about you?”

 

I’d say the same thing back, “I’m just a man trying to catch a few waves.” Maybe it was just something he and I would say to each other, but it always made us both laugh (it still makes me laugh). I feel like that was part of his philosophy about surfing; Show up consistently, add more happiness with every opportunity, and give back when you can. All of that added to Mike’s attitude of happiness and gratitude in and out of the water.


Since the beaches were closed at the time I had a paddle out in my backyard to get wet and honor my buddy and mentor Mike Shurely...





It’s a girl!


Let me introduce you to Zoey my english bulldog puppy.

While on my trip in Nosara Costa Rica my wife and I would see Coco a brindle puppy outside the surf shop at the end of the street from where we were staying. My wife wanted to keep him, which says a lot because my wife only allows female dogs into her life. It’s very likely that Coco was the catalyst that set everything into motion.

Once we made it back home my wife was set on me getting a puppy, and she wanted me to pick choose it. I did lots of research looking for the right girl for me, not too big, not too small, not too energetic, and not too lazy, loyal but not too clingy, all with a face that I could love forever (even after she’s all grown up). I journeyed down the internet rabbit hole in search of possibilities.

I found all the usual breeds that I already knew about, Rotties, Australian cattle dogs, French bulldogs, boxers, corgies.

Then I found some breeds I’d never heard of like the beauceron, Catahoula leopard dog, frug (French bulldog/pug mix). Boxer/beagle mixes. 

I was getting over-whelmed. I needed to narrow the scope of my search. I wanted her to be medium size, somewhere between a 20 to 40 LBS (about a third of the size of our rottie). That’s when I really started looking at bulldogs. It turns out that there are lots of bulldog body types out there. There’s the huge Old English Bulldog and there’s the miniature English Bulldog/Pug mix and pretty much everything in-between. They really come in all shapes, sizes, colors and attitudes.

 

I was often drawn to merle breeds. My wife was drawn to the tri color ones that had the same markings as our rottie (no surprise there as my wife has had rotties all her life). I started searching deeper for English bulldog puppies and looked at them compared to their parents. In some cases the parents looked like huge pop-bellied angry drunkards. In other cases the parents looked fit and stocky, happy and had faces that I could love forever.

 

One challenge that I ran into was finding a female puppy that was ideally 8 weeks old and ready to come home with me. I didn’t want to have her shipped on an airplane or train or anything like that. Our rottie was shipped from Chicago in a crate when she was just 8 weeks old and I think that was a very traumatic experience for her. My wife and I had no say in any of that. My wife’s dad had made all those decisions without us (unfairly in my opinion). It was his dog not ours at that time but that’s another story that I don’t want to get into right now.

 

I searched everything, Akc dog finder, California bulldog rescues, puppy finder, the recycler, craigslist, joined bulldog groups on facebook. I eventually narrowed it down to these possible choices.

·         A tri color 300 miles away. My wife was very excited about her and I was not excited about the drive or the price (those factors matter to me I’m not sure why but they do). She was cute, but I didn’t get those heart fluttering butterfly feelings that I was looking for. I felt like I could do better.

·         A merle 40 minutes away.. but she was already sold. I was too late.

·         A merle 40 minutes away, super cute for sure. I wasn’t totally in love with how her parents looked all grown up. And she had more white on her coat that I wanted, but I could easily love her forever.

·         A chocolate merle 30 minutes away. A bit pricier that I wanted to pay, but I needed to see her in person to be 100% sure if this could be love.

·         A black and White

·         A bridle but this one turned out to be a boy

The list goes on and on, phone calls, text messages, emails, and screen shots for following up on requests for more info, more internet searches.

Do you have any female English bulldogs available? Can you share pictures of her parents? What is your fee?

 

That all went round and round for a while.  I had a very strong feeling that Sunday was going to be D-Day (Doggy Day). We had already run a few errands and picked up a dog bed, pottypads, training treat etc. I was pretty set on a tri merle that was a bit whiter than I wanted, so I was having second thoughts. I had heard that a lot of white (or mostly white) dogs usually have bad allergies (to grass, dust ect). We still had planned to meet up that afternoon, and I felt the pressure of the clock ticking away.

 

There was one other brindle that I wanted to see first. That way I would still have options if my first pick didn’t feel right in person. When I talked with the owner I found out that the brindle was actually a male and that wasn’t going to work for my wife and me. He said that he also had a female that was really great (I feel like they all say that). I still wanted to see something before heading out to the white merle.

 

We eventually met up in the early afternoon and he showed us this wonderful tan beauty. She was fit, active but not rough, gentle and happy. My wife looked very excited and asked me if I wanted her. It was love at first sight, I didn’t miss a beat- YES. I could tell my wife was totally for it. We were all very excited!


I'm sure you can see that she's got me wrapped around her paw. She was 9 weeks old and about 10 lbs when my wife and I added her to our family. She gotten bigger and she's a huge (wonderful) part of my life. I'll also say that one of the benefits of this global pandemic is that I get work from home now and every day is bring my puppy to work day! (... and that's pretty cool!)


Well, stay safe and take care of yourself and your family. 


Making Waves - A Louisiana Surfing Documentary



I just discovered this short surf documentary about surfing in Louisiana... Check this out:

Making Waves - A Louisiana Surfing Documentary


Film made possible by Vans Spirit of DIY Team. Ever wondered if you could surf in Louisiana? Making Waves highlights the little known surf community in Southeast Louisiana. For more info about surfing in Louisiana visit: https://www.pontcha.com Film by: Nicholas Dorsey Project Manager: Kelly Mckerr Music: Motel Radio Damian Coccio Zane Alexander Sponsorship: Vans Visit https://coo795.wixsite.com/nicholasdo... to see more work, and follow here: INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/nickdorse/

Arctic Swell - Surfing the Ends of the Earth



Arctic Swell - Surfing the Ends of the Earth


Photographer Chris Burkard and Professional Surfers Patrick Millin, Brett Barley, and Chadd Konig brave sub-zero temperatures in the Arctic Circle to capture moments of raw beauty in conditions that rank among the harshest in the natural world. The bitterly cold seas and wind exact a large price on their minds and bodies, but the reward - adventure, amazement, and self-knowledge - draws them closer together and pushes them to tackle the next frontier in surfing. Producer: SmugMug, http://www.smugmug.com/ Cinematography and Editing: Anton Lorimer Featured Photographer: Chris Burkard, http://www.burkardphoto.com/ Featured Surfers: Patrick Millin, Brett Barley, and Chadd Konig Subscribe to the SmugMug Films YouTube channel and get first access to each new episode: http://www.youtube.com/SmugMugFilms.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

The beginners guide to the rules of surfing and how to catch those first waves...

Maybe you just got your first surfboard or maybe you have have a friend that is a beginner and need a little help to get catch and ride more waves. I discovered these very helpful videos that I think will help. Check these out, share your knowledge and keep your friends safe in the water!

                Surf Etiquette | Top 9 Surf Rules you need to know



Published on Jul 12, 2018
Learn the important unwritten rules of surfing. Stay safe and be respectful of other surfers.
Online Surf Courses: https://barefootsurftravel.com/surf-t...
Surf Coaching Retreats: https://barefootsurftravel.com

Learn to surf with us:
Check out our surf coaching retreats designed especially for beginners & intermediate surfers, in some of the best locations on earth to learn how to surf:
https://barefootsurftravel.com

Want to surf better, faster?
Click here to get access to 23+ surfing tutorials:
https://vimeo.com/ondemand/barefootsu...

For a full article with custom illustrations, video & images on Surf Etiquette:
https://barefootsurftravel.com/livemo...

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Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/barefoot_surf/
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvOh...



        How to Surf | 7 Tips beginners need to know to Start Surfing



Published on Dec 3, 2019
Planning on learning how to surf? Here are 7 things that you need to learn about.
Online Surf Courses: https://barefootsurftravel.com/surf-t...
Surf Coaching Retreats: https://barefootsurftravel.com

Here below are our top 7 Steps to learn surfing safely and efficiently:
#1: 0:32 Learn on the right surfboard
#2: 1:56 Choose the proper surf spot
#3: 3:38 Security aspects
#4: 7:05 Surf etiquette
#5: 8:41 Do a spot check
#6: 8:55 Staying in control of your surfboard
#7: 9:44 Pop up & paddling technique

More information about surf etiquette:
https://barefootsurftravel.com/livemo...

More information about the turtle roll:
https://barefootsurftravel.com/livemo...

More information about the push-through technique:
https://barefootsurftravel.com/livemo...

More information about the pop-up technique:
https://barefootsurftravel.com/livemo...

More information about paddling techniques:
https://barefootsurftravel.com/livemo...


How to Catch an Unbroken Wave | How to Surf - Paddling into Green Waves


Barefoot Surf 
Published on Mar 18, 2018
Get better at positioning yourself for unbroken waves & match their speed in order to catch them.
Online Surf Courses: https://barefootsurftravel.com/surf-t...
Surf Coaching Retreats: https://barefootsurftravel.com

Want to surf better, faster?
Click here to get access to 23+ surfing tutorials:
https://vimeo.com/ondemand/barefootsu...

Learn to surf with us:
Check out our surf coaching retreats designed especially for beginners & intermediate surfers, in some of the best locations on earth to learn how to surf:
https://barefootsurftravel.com

For a full article with custom illustrations, video & images on how to Find & Catch Green Waves:
https://barefootsurftravel.com/livemo...

Follow us:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/barefootsurf...
Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/barefoot_surf/
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvOh...


How to Pop Up on a Surfboard | Beginner Take Off Technique


Barefoot Surf 


Published on Feb 2, 2018
Learn an efficient technique to take off successfully and stand up on your longboard.
Online Surf Courses: https://barefootsurftravel.com/surf-t...
Surf Coaching Retreats: https://barefootsurftravel.com

Want to surf better, faster?
Click here to get access to 23+ surfing tutorials:
https://barefootsurftravel.com/surf-t...

Learn to surf with us:
Check out our surf coaching retreats designed especially for beginners & intermediate surfers, in some of the best locations on earth to learn how to surf:
https://barefootsurftravel.com

It becomes much easier to pop up properly on your Surfboard with a proper takeoff technique. You can practice this technique at home! Struggling with your Take Offs? For a Full Article with Custom Illustrations to help your practice:
https://barefootsurftravel.com/livemo...

For the “chicken wing” Take Off Technique that works better on smaller surfboards:
https://barefootsurftravel.com/livemo...


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How to Surf | Top 15 Tips for Intermediate Surfers | Improve your Technique


Barefoot Surf 


Published on Dec 5, 2019
Do you want to improve your surfing? Here is our top 15 advice to reach the next level.
Online Surf Courses: https://barefootsurftravel.com/surf-t...
Surf Coaching Retreats: https://barefootsurftravel.com

Below are the top 15 tips for intermediate surfers to progress to the next level:
#1 0:30 Surf the proper board for conditions & your level
#2 1:00 Positioning on the wave
#3 1:28 Improve your bottom turn
#4 1:56 Your head is your steering wheel
#5 2:19 Turning, step by step
#6 2:48 Compress the lower body
#7 3:17 Catch the wave at the peak
#8 3:47 Generate your own speed
#9 4:14 Paddle with power
#10 4:33 Move your feet
#11 4:50 Learn from other surfers
#12 5:05 Practice rail-to-rail surfing
#13 5:32 Focus
#14 5:45 Visualize
#15 6:27 Have fun!

More information about the bottom turn:
https://barefootsurftravel.com/livemo...

More information about speed generation:
https://barefootsurftravel.com/livemo...

More information about paddling techniques:
https://barefootsurftravel.com/livemo...

Want to surf better, faster?
Click here to get access to 23+ surfing tutorials:
https://vimeo.com/ondemand/barefootsu...

Learn to surf with us:
Check out our surf coaching retreats designed especially for beginners & intermediate surfers, in some of the best locations on earth to learn how to surf:
https://barefootsurftravel.com

How to Duck Dive | Surfing Tutorial to Pass the Break Efficiently



Published on Dec 14, 2019
Waste less energy passing the break with a proper duck dive technique.
Online Surf Coaching Package: https://barefootsurftravel.com/surf-t...
Surf Coaching Retreats: https://barefootsurftravel.com

Want to surf better, faster?
Click here to get access to 23+ surfing tutorials:
https://vimeo.com/ondemand/barefootsu...

Learn to surf with us:
Check out our surf coaching retreats designed especially for beginners & intermediate surfers, in some of the best locations on earth to learn how to surf:
https://barefootsurftravel.com

For a complete article on the duck dive with step by step techniques & illustrations:
https://barefootsurftravel.com/livemo...


Follow us:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/barefootsurf...
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/barefoot_surf/
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvOh...