I love to travel, experiencing new cultures, exploring unfamiliar terrain, and of course catching waves in some exotic location. Living in Oregon, one has to appreciate the novelty of surfing in a wetsuit. That being said, most of us also very much enjoy a lil’ break from our cocoon of 5 mil neoprene. That’s why when a friend asked me to accompany her on a Central American adventure to Panama and Costa Rica, I enthusiastically joined forces with her. When travelling there are lots of things to take into consideration, what to pack, language barriers, important documents, change in climate, water quality, where to stay etc etc etc. The “change of climate” category really struck a cord in my planning efforts.
See I live in Oregon out of necessity as much as I live here because it is near and dear to my heart.
I have been pretty psyched on the upcoming Fall 2013 Patagonia Wetsuits for a while now, and I recently got my hands on a new 2013 Patagonia R4 Wetsuit. This is my first wetsuit from Patagonia and so far I am extremely impressed with the quality. It’s hard to explain, but it just feels better than any other wetsuit I have worn. I am talking about the first impression when I had the suit in my hand and felt the neoprene, and new external seam seal. The new neoprene is soft, and the liquid seams appear sleek and sealed to perfection. Anyways, that’s what I think about the suit out of the water. Read on to hear my initial thoughts after a few sessions in new Patagonia R4.
The new 2013 John John Florence Futures Fin is here! Before going into the performance aspects of this fin, I just want to say that it is one of the sickest fin graphics out there. Each fin has it’s own unique graphic, but as a whole they are truly a work of art. These fins are based off of the F4 TechFlex John John grew up riding, but lately he has outgrown them so he started developing something a bit bigger, and more tailored towards his surf style. The results…a medium sized light weight fin that balances drive and release for optimal control. Check out the 10 point air from this years ASP event in Bali. John John was no doubt riding a prototype of these fins in that contest. After over a year of testing the fin is ready for the public, but the question still remains….are you ready?
- John John Signature Futures - Blue Side
- John John Signature Futures - Yellow Side
The Billabong Foil Wetsuit for Fall 2013 and Winter 2014 is in, and this year there are a couple of added features that make the suit an even better value than ever. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this suit, it is the entry level wetsuit from Billabong and comes in under $200 in all thickness, making it one of the best entry level wetsuits on the market to date. In the past Billabong included a detachable hood with this suit in the 5/4/3 thickness. This year they have added a new 5/4mm wetsuit to the line and upgraded it with a fully integrated hood and chest zip, adding warmth by reducing the likelihood of the suit flushing. If you are in a cold water region like the Pacific Northwest where the water temperature is generally in the mid 50’s, then there really isn’t a suit that will beat this new 5/4mm Foil Wetsuit with an attached hood. At least not at such a low price. The Foil is also made in a 3/2, 4/3, both in back zip and chest zip. All Foil wetsuits are the same except their thickness, and zipper type with the exception of the Foil 3/2 Flatlock which is a steal for only $120 due to the lack of GBS seams.
This year I went up to checkout the Traditions event in La Push, Washington. Four and a half hours north on 101 from Seaside, it was a journey well worth it. La Push is a beautiful stretch of coastline on the North Washington Coast and Olympic Peninsula, and it turns out they have a pretty rad beach break too. Lib Tech has been sponsoring this event for the last two years and North By Northwest has been a key organizer and sponsor for many more years. Not only was there a surf contest on Sunday, but also a ton of prizes raffled off, and a salmon feed(check out the pictures) that was definitely the best bonfire salmon I have ever had.
It turned out to be a foggy day(all day), but the surf showed up, along with the competitors and a handful of spectators. With a $50 entry fee for each of the 32 entrants, first place received a $1000 price, 2nd, and 3rd got a smaller amount, and proceeds went to the the local surf camp. Competitors traveled from far and wide, including Oregon, Washington, and Australia to enter this event. It’s the biggest and fastest growing surf contest on the Olympic Peninsula no doubt. Check out the results below.
1st – Johnathan Grubbs – Lib Tech Shredder and Waterboard Craftsman.
2nd – Blair Habenicht – Lib Tech Snow Shredder.
3rd – Sam Holmes – Australian Wild Card, guy came outta nowhere!
Thanks to Lib Tech, NxNW, and the local Quileute Tribe for making this event possible(and feeding everyone some amazing salmon), and hope to see an even bigger turnout next year!
Check out some photos below, and apologies for the out of focus shots I took!
All Non-Blurry Photography by Maya Dooley.