Trestles

The last few days have been spent in the Costa Mesa and Huntington Beach area. Yesterday we went to check out a surf spot called Trestles, located about an hour south of LA. Trestles is said to be one of the most consistent spots in all of North America. Therefore, I’m very happy to report that it lived up to our expectations 🙂

Trestles consists of several peaks spread out along a long stretch of beach, namely Church, Middles, Lower, Upper, and Cotton. I went out in between Middles and Lower (Eivind gave Lower a go). It was only me and a couple of good fellows from Florida out there, the wind was calm, and fun size waves of about 2-4 feet kept rolling in on a pretty regular basis. The only partly gnarly part is that the bottom is made up of round rocks, and with only waist deep water some places, one shouldn’t ride the waves too close to the shore. But it turned out to be a great session, I was able to catch a decent number of waves, and had a blast out there. So, I put together another video. Chose the Norwegian band Donkeyboy to accompany the GoPro clips this time, a song called Silver Moon.

Pacific Beach

Following Ocean Beach we moved just a few miles up the road to another part of San Diego, called Pacific Beach. PB is a little bigger than OB, and has more things going on, such as a pretty steaming nightlife. It also offers good surf, and we had three days in a row with very similar conditions (fun size surf around 2-3 feet). All three sessions took place around sunset, and afterwards I started playing around with the GoPro videos in Movie Maker, and ended up creating this short film. Music by Norwegian electronica artist Todd Terje, a song called Inspector Norse 🙂

Ocean Beach II

Yep, still in Ocean Beach (OB). Found such good vibes here, so we decided to stick around for a while. One reason being the hostel we’re staying at, the Ocean Beach International Hostel. It has a great location, friendly staff, and we met a lot of good people here. The staff is also great at organizing events, such as yoga, bike rides, pub crawls, and bonfires on the beach. So if you’re ever going to OB, check out this colorful hostel:

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In addition, every Wednesday it’s farmers market in the street right outside the hostel (Newport Ave) from 4pm – 8pm. Definitely worth a closer look, with tons of tasty food, clothes etc, and a homemade atmosphere to it.

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So we’ve been hanging out in the OB neighbourhood, and been going to the beach for surfing, pretty much every day. The surf hasn’t been great, but all in all it’s been okay. The size has been good, in the range between 3 and 5 feet, but it’s been a little messy out there. Waves are closing out, and it can be pretty tricky to read where they will peak. On the upside, the crowd has been relatively small. It’s been good practice though, and every once in a while I’ve caught a nice one. Here’s the money shot 🙂

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I’d like to add that there’s heaps of seaweed at OB, especially close to the shore. When you paddle out, it almost feels like you’re floating through a field of grass. Every paddlestroke you take you feel the seaweed with your hands. I got used to it pretty fast, it’s just part of the environment out there. Besides, it makes for a fun beard 😉

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Thought I’d wrap up this post with a few clips from the last days, so you can get a glimpse of the highlights.

I shot this final clip as I was heading back to shore after doing a sunset session. In surfing there’s a term called transport. That’s when you bodyboard on a wave back to shore. I was really lucky with this one, it took me all the way! So, saved me from having to paddle back to the beach 😉

Ocean Beach

The adventure continues, and we have moved on from Hawaii to California. Currently staying in Ocean Beach, San Diego. It’s a chill neighbourhood down by the beach.

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What’s more, I’ve bought a new board. Well, not exactly new, more like second or third or maybe even tenth hand. The point being one can definitely tell it has been used, it’s a little banged up. But it’s still definitely surf-worthy. The dimensions are: 6’6 long, 20 3/4 wide, and 2 5/8 thick. The eager reader will notice that I’m gradually going down in size. If you remember the old board I traded off in Australia, it was 7’4, 22, and 2 3/4. It’s a sign of improvement that I can go down in size and still catch waves, as a bigger board is usually easier to get up on. I do feel like I picked up my game a couple of marks in Hawaii, so here’s to improvement, however slow it may be 😉

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I feel like the dealer I bought it from, Coconut Pete’s, deserves a shoutout. The price for the board with fins, new pad, new leash, basecoat, and wax came to a total of $172,- That’s a pretty freaking fair price right there.

I’ve gone out with the board three times so far. All the sessions have been right down the road, at Ocean Beach. It’s been fairly small, like 3-4 feet, maybe 5 on a few occasions. The wind has been moderate, but it has been a little bumpy out there, and the interval between the swells has been a little short, so clean waves are hard to come by. Perhaps that’s why the crowd has been almost non-existent, which is a big plus. There are definitely fun waves coming through every now and then though.

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As mentioned in my previous post, the Pacific ocean claimed my GoPro in Hawaii. Therefore I had to buy a new one, working with the GoPro is too much fun to cheap out on. Went for the GoPro 4 Silver Edition this time, an upgrade from my old 3 Black Edition. Today I took it out for the first time. Believe you me, I made sure that thing was SECURELY attached! The results are absolutely satisfying, it shoots crystal clear videos. Here are a couple of samples, the first one from a wave I caught right by the pier.

And here’s another one, had the pleasure of riding this wave a bit longer 🙂

Oahu surf report and a small hike

We’ve been on Oahu now for a little more than a week. The temperature has really picked up since we first arrived here, climbing up to almost 30 degrees celsius lately. Most pleasant 🙂 We’ve also enjoyed some good surfing up on the infamous North Shore. I’ve been renting different boards every day. It’s fun to try on a variety of boards, and definitely a useful experience to experiment with different shapes and sizes. Here’s a quick run-through of the latest surf:

Saturday: Went to Sunset Beach. The size of the waves were about 3-5 feet, little wind, and a quite small crowd. Super conditions in other words, I caught a bunch of waves, and had a ton of fun out there. The only gnarly part was that the waves were breaking over some half-way shallow reef, so I felt the bottom a couple of times, but still felt I had control.

Sunday: Went to Sunset Beach again. The swell had picked up quite a bit, and waves up to double overhead (12 feet) were coming in. The spot was a completely different scenario compared to the day before. It’s some of the biggest waves I’ve ever been out in, and they were hollow as well, so I didn’t catch a single one. However, it was a very useful experience just to be out there, and maneuver around the sets. I did get washed pretty good one time though, must have been under for about ten seconds. No stress though. Here’s what it was like (look way out there):

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Monday: Checked out a spot called Freddyland. When we first got in it was very good, but it changed after about ten minutes. The waves became fat and tricky to read, not least to catch. An average day of surfing.

Tuesday: Went back to Sunset Beach again. The swell had calmed down, waves were about 4-6 feet, and almost no wind. Pretty big crowd, but only a few really good surfers were out there. I rented a board with a GoPro mount, so I reckoned it was time to do some filming again. I caught a nice wave after only five minutes out there, rode it for a little while, then jumped off. As I got back up, the GoPro was nowhere to be seen! The damn thing fell off 😦 I don’t know how it happened, the foot must have been worn or something. It felt rock solid when I attached it, but I guess not. Such a bummer, bloody hell is an understatement. Guess I’ll have to buy a new. Besides the very expensive wave it was a good session out there.

We also did a small hike this morning, before going surfing. Went up a small peak called Diamond Head which is right by Honolulu. It’s an old volcanic crater, and the top offers a nice view of the city and the other surroundings. There used to be an army base up there, and the bunkers are part of the attraction.

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This almost concludes our stay in Hawaii. On Thursday night we’re flying over to Los Angeles.

Pearl Harbor

A couple of days ago we left Kauai and made our way to another of the Hawaiian islands; Oahu. That’s where Honolulu is located, and Pearl Harbor. Yesterday we paid a visit to the museum and war memorial where the Americans were caught off guard by Japan on the 7th of December 1941. We purchased a ticket (only a total of $59) for three of the attractions; The Battleship Missouri, the Pacific aviation museum, and the submarine USS Bowfin.

The Battleship Missouri

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Also known by her nickname “Mighty Mo”, she was christened by Margaret Truman, daughter of Harry Truman, who later became the US President. The fact that the Missouri was christened by Truman’s daughter, made it “his ship”, and so there was no coincidence that the Missouri was chosen as the place for Japan to officially surrender. The Missouri was anchored in Tokyo bay and the Japanese were invited on board September 2nd, 1945. General MacArthur made a short speach, and then the documents for surrender were signed. It took place right here on this deck.

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We were allowed to walk freely around most of the ship. Very fascinating indeed to be on board such a mighty battleship. In fact, the Missouri stayed in service all the way from WWII through the Persian Gulf War. Naturally, she went through some modernization over the years, and had for example Tomahawk missiles installed. Here’s a photo from the missile control center. One can only imagine the amount of fire power and the destruction that has been carried out from this room.

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The Pacific aviation museum

Spread out in two big hangars, plus a few planes outside, the aviation museum had a vast display of various warbirds from WWII and all the way up to modern times.

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The impressive exhibition also included some enemy airplanes, such as this Japanese Mitsubishi Zero from WWII.

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And here’s a Russian MIG, still airborne.

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The USS Bowfin

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I had never been on, or should I perhaps say inside, a submarine before. So this was an exciting finish of the tour. As we boarded the Bowfin, we were handed head sets which provided a full one hour audio tour. The audio tour was absolutely great, as it mostly had recordings and explanations of former crew members. Being on board a submarine during WWII was both an effective way of doing damage to the enemy, but it was also a great risk involved. A total of 19% of the US submarines were destroyed during WWII. As explained by former crew members, there was nothing more depressing than chasing a target for maybe ten hours, and then miss it, or worse, have a torpedo malfunction. Especially in the early phases of the war, a lot of torpedos malfunctioned. In the worst cases, the torpedo actually turned around and came back towards the submarine! Here’s the torpedo room on board the Bowfin.

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Following a torpedo launch it was standard drill to go into “Quiet mode”. This meant diving to depths to as much as 600 feet (180 meters), and turning off most of the equipment to avoid being detected and destroyed. There was no such luxury as air condition, and it’s a pretty small place, so sweat was dripping into big pools every time the Bowfin went into Quiet mode.

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In order to keep morale high on board, the crew of a submarine enjoyed good and varied food, better than what was served in the rest of the Navy. In addition, the dress code was more casual on board a submarine. Here’s a photo of the dining area, which was also used by the men to socialize when they had time off. Many a card game has been played here.

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Exploring Kauai

As forecasted, the surfing conditions have been very sweet on Kauai recently. In particular from Sunday-Wednesday, with the swell coming in from the north, and the wind turning to other directions. With the change of the wind, the temperature picked up a few degrees, making it rather pleasant out here (about 25 celsius during the day) 🙂 Here’s a map of the island that I found, so you can better follow the different locations I mention in this post.

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We’ve had about 2-3 hours in the water every day lately, enjoying the good conditions up north in Hanalei bay. I definitely feel it in my back, core, and shoulders now! Surfing is quite a workout with all that paddling. Unfortunately I’ve got no video/ photos to show for, as I couldn’t attach my GoPro on the rental-board. It is in fact a GoPro-holder on the board, but the half-wit who put it on placed it way too far down, so I would surely have banged my head in the camera. And that would not have been good. So, sorry to disappoint peeps, but I’ll surely get the GoPro going again soon.

Instead, I can tempt you with a photo of Eivind cooking up a feast on the bbq by the pool in the resort where we live 🙂 The resort, located in Kapaa on the east coast, is a little bit beyond our budget, but cheap accomodation is hard to find on Kauai. However, the great bbq facilities partly make up for it, as we can eat in every day here.

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Today, we explored the south and the west of Kauai a bit. We drove up to what is known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, the Waimea Canyon. A spectacular view awaited us with the tropical forested canyon half-way covered in fog and clouds.

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We even spotted a few goats climbing the canyon walls! Amazingly nimble and sure-footed creatures.

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We even drove all the way out to Polihale on the west coast. It’s a famous surfspot, but it’s well-known for superstrong rips and currents. We brought our boards in case though. However, it wasn’t a good day for us to go out there. It was too big and wild, and we could actually see the currents ripping through the ocean! And not a single surfer was out there. Better safe than sorry, but it’s nice scenery at Polihale, so definitely worth the drive.

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The Sleeping Giant & Sunrise Shells

For the last couple of days the swell from the north has been rather strong, but so has the wind from the same direction… Result: Very messy conditions. Therefore, we’ve had to seek out alternative activities. Kauai island is nicknamed the Garden Island due to its lush rainforests and flourishing flora. In fact, the centre of the island is one of the wettest places on earth, with an annual average precipitation of 374 inches (881 cm). About half of the forest on the island remains intact, and as there are several peaks and mountains here, hiking the beautiful nature has become a popular activity. Norwegians never pass on a chance to do some hiking, so we decided to get up on a nearby peak called the Sleeping Giant.

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The Sleeping Giant stands 1160 feet high (354 m), and the trail took us through some pretty dense forest.

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The last part of the trail actually involves a small bit of climbing. Good way to get the pulse up! 🙂

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The top offers a very nice view around the island. Alltogether it was a nice little hike of 2,5 hours.

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Another recent happening worth blogging about, is related to a type of shell called Sunrise Shells. This is a type of shell that is only found by some of the Hawaiian islands and nowhere else in the world. The Sunrise Shells grow deep in the ocean (100 feet (30 m) and deeper), so divers go out in search for them. Sometimes the shells are washed ashore, so one can be lucky enough to find a Sunrise Shell laying on the beach. In the old days, only Hawaiian royalty were allowed to wear Sunrise Shells, as they were considered sacred.

It just so happened that I met a girl yesterday (yes, through Tinder 😉 ) who works as a juveller here on Kauai, specializing in shells. As a memory of her, she gave me nothing less than a Sunrise Shell. What an amazing gift. She drilled a hole in it and attached it to a necklace I have, it made a perfect combo. So thankful. And in case you wondered, that shell would sell for $200 (!).

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According to the forecast, the wind is suppose to change direction tomorrow, with good-sized swell still coming in from the north. Fingers crossed for sweet conditions!

Aloha!

So we crossed the equator, and the international dateline, and are currently in Hawaii! Everyone here greets you with the phrase “Aloha”, which is Hawaiian for “love”, or “care”, but it can also mean “hi” or “good bye”. Quite a useful phrase 🙂 To be more precise about our Hawaiian location, we’re on the island of Kauai.

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One of the top priorities here was to get our hands on some surfboards. We were initially planning on buying second hand boards, but as it turns out that those are hard to come by on this island, we decided to rent boards instead. Fortunately we were able to score a pretty good deal at Tamba Surf Company here on Kauai. The actual price for renting a board for the desired period (March 10th – 22nd) was $165 per board, but we got it for $125. Thank you Tamba! 🙂

I went for a board similar to the one I rented in New Zealand; 6-8 long, 21 wide, and 2 7/8 thick. It has kind of a narrow nose though, and it definitely feels a little more wiggly than my old board, but I’m starting to get used to it after a couple of sessions. It’s also faster than my old board, and of course should be easier to maneuver, as it’s smaller.

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Today’s session took place up north on the island, at Hanalei bay. The surf was smaller than predicted, like 2-3 foot. And it was a little messy out there, even though the wind wasn’t all that strong today. But despite the conditions being pretty average, it was good to get some practice in on my new board. And the scenery is quite stunning. So as I was sitting out there on the board, waiting for the swell to pick up, I just enjoyed looking in at the amazing tropical rainforest. Could have been worse right. However, I must add that I thought Hawaii would be a little warmer! It’s barely 20 degrees celsius here, and a grim north wind actually makes it straight out dangerous to walk out the door without a sweater! Equator is right down the road, and this is what we get. What worries me more though, is the fact that this is what a Norwegian summer is often like. How then, will I ever make it through another winter in Norway! I might have to become a climate refugee 😉

Anyway, here’s Hanalei bay 🙂

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We also rented a car as we need some wheels to get around on the island to the different spots. Went for a Ford Fiesta this time. Small, but all right. Fits us and the surfboards (barely!), so that’s all we need 🙂

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South Island activities

After we got off the ferry in Picton it’s been a pretty busy week here in New Zealand. Quite a lot of driving down the beautiful west coast of the South Island, and we made a few stops here and there on our way down to Queenstown.

Route South Island New Zealand

Queenstown might just be the extreme sport capital of the world. You’ll find just about any adrenalin-rushing activities you can think of here, and probably a few you haven’t even heard of. We decided to try out a couple we haven’t explored yet: Paragliding and Canyoning!

First out was paragliding. I had some butterflies before leaping off the cliff, but after that it was pure joy. It felt like flying, and I even spotted a hawk cruising along underneath us. My instructor, Omar, was great and got us down in one piece 🙂

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Next up was canyoning. This sport is basically about going down a river-canyon. There are several ways to get down: Walking, sliding, jumping, swimming, abseiling, and even zip-lining. We tried them all 🙂 It was an absolutely fantastic experience, quite a thrill and a bit physical too. The water was definitely not warm, so good thing we were active. I brought my GoPro with me, and I didn’t smash it against the rocks, so you can check out some photos and videos here 🙂

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And here’s the video 🙂