BeAutiful lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe pope beach…

Kayaked into Tahoe keys marina with earl. Enjoyed a beautiful afternoon on the beach with Trisha Peggy and earl. Lived the sound of water lapping on the share and the wind in the tall pines. Ducks checking us out and nibbling on our toes.

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Linda mar surf lessons

Parking: plenty of free parking steps from the beach

Conditions: sandy bottom with some rocks. Best on incoming to high tide.

Rentals: NorCal surf shop right there has great gear and helpful

Food available at fresh n easy and hot food at restaurant right there. Starbucks across pch and great donuts and even a cigar shop

Great for beginners at south end of beach and experienced surfers toward the north end. Good vibe all around

Our day in the water

Great session at Linda mar in Pacifica near San Francisco with Christian, his mom and dad and his buddy Anthony and his parents. I put the kids on 7″ wavestorm soft tips and they did great. Standing up and riding all the way to the beach with big smiles…love those I am surfing smiles ! Van and Catena went out on 9″ wave storms and did great once Catena bought some booties. Water temp was high 50s and air temp low 50s with some wind and fog. Van got to his knees and Catena stood up and even survived a nasty pearl on a big set wave. She came up spitting out water but smiling. I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since my last lessons but my body is reminding me today. 4 hours in the cold water left me pretty sore.

Jeff and Kristen met us at the beach and I spent the evening with them in berkeley enjoying my favorite Thai food and fishing on a little lake near their house.

Quite a fun adventure!

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“Soul Surfer” inspired 10 year old really charging it!

Christian's second surf lesson at Stinson Beach

5 November 2011: Christian’s second surf lesson at Stinson Beach, just north of San Francisco near Muir Woods. Christian did GREAT! We rented gear from LIVE WATERS surf shop in Stinson Beach. They have a great selection of like new gear. I got a 7.2 blackfin soft top board and Christian rented a wetsuit. We paddled out in front of the lifeguard tower with Christian on his 6.0 Doyle soft top and me on the Blackfin. The surf was head high to overhead and closing out on the sandbar about 20 yards from the beach. We worked in the whitewater for about an hour and then the alarm sounded for everyone to get out of the water. The lifeguards had spotted a couple of great whites just outside of the break right where we were surfing on the inside. YIKES! Christian’s Mom suited up and we played around on the beach and dug for sand crabs for another hour, then the rain set in and we called it a day. We stayed the night at the Sandpiper Inn at Stinson Beach in a cute little rustic cabin. It was a little pricey (about $200/night) but it fit 4 of us comfortably with satellite TV with DVD player, kitchen and plenty of hot water. Which was appreciated since the water temp was around 50 and so was the air temp.

15 October 2011

Christian was laughing so hard, he could hardly stand up! And getting on the booties was a real laugh-fest!


Christian’s first time in the ocean at Cowell’s Beach in Santa Cruz today. Weather was great, rented gear from Cowell’s Surf Shop at 30 Front Street (great gear/large selections), surf was small shorebreak. Christian jumped right in and after messing around in the whitewater, he paddled right on out! Very courageous…
Caught a couple of waves all the way to shore and got most of the way up on the board (6.0 Doyle Soft top) in the morning. Took a lunch break at the wharf (try the half vanilla/half strawberry milkshakes!) Then turned in my 9.2 soft top for 7.6 soft top for Christian to have a bit easier job catching the small shore break waves. He took a couple of pretty gnarly wipe-outs right into the sand, but kept on trying until there was nothing left to catch. We dug in the sand and caught sand crabs until 4:30 hoping the dropping time would improved conditions, but it didn’t and the surf school came out and took over the beach.

Getting Christian into surf booties was a real "laugh-fest!"


Thanks to Van (Christian’s Dad) for driving (3 hours plus each way with traffic), got home around 10PM. Long day, but tons of fun and Christian did great. Will post more pics when available.

SurfRandy

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Christian is an awesome 10 year old with some physical challenges that keep him out of the usual kid’s sports. BUT surfing HE CAN DO! I love his can do attitude. He is 110% STOKED on learning to surf and I am so excited to lead him to surfing excellence.

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Beach BBQ and Family Surf Day at Buckaneer Beach in Oside

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The day started out cold, cloudy and windy and finished the same way. Not to be deterred, however, we braved the cold weather and poor surfing conditions to make the best of our beach BBQ and family surf day at Buckaneer Beach in Oceanside.

Theo has scheduled a lesson with e in the morning and did great. We started out on the GLS 9.0 soft top, then moved to the GLS 10.0 soft top and finally to the Becker 9.2 hard board. Theo got the feel for the board and paddled into the last wave of the day himself and took it all the way to shore. Way to go, Theo!

The BBQ started around 1PM with a great turn out. Trish and Marilyn plus Friends from Toastmasters (Daniel, Valerie and Steve), Maureen from Operation BIGGS at Camp Pendleton and her hubby Tom and their friends Jerry and Laura, Lillian from Colon Cancer Alliance and her family, my surfing buddies, Richard and Daniel, Rich and Nikki from Del Mar, Lisa and her Mom from our condos.

In addition to Theo, we introduced several others to surfing today including Nikki (she’s a natural and stood up on the second wave she took), and Lillian’s Family.” Lillian is a cancer survivor, like me, and she wanted to check off an item on her bucket list by joining her family in a surfing lesson. Well we got 3 of her kids out on surfboards, and Lillian out into the water, too. Lots of laughs all around. Check off that item from the list!

Great time in spite of the bad weather and poor surf conditions (windy and blown out.)

Randy

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Wounded Warriors & Operation Amped

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23 July: Folsom, CA
Signed up for the OperationAmped weekend at Camp Pendleton on August 11-13 to help our wounded warriors and their families enjoy a surf weekend. Josh and Earl are also volunteering. Looking forward to getting back in the water and sharing the stoke with our heroes.
Concept:

This will gearing to be the Largest Event of the year, in terms of the number of vets we’ll be teaching to surf. There will be 20 – 25 in all, with a range of disabilities from traumatic brain injuries to amputations to post traumatic stress disorders.

WHAT IS NEEDED?

We also REALLY need donations. It will only take an additional $4000 to provide these 3 days for these men and women who’ve given so much to our country. Maybe you know someone who would like to financially support this cause? Maybe you work for a company which could afford to donate $250 tax-deductible dollars? Please go to our website at www.OperationAmped.com and click on the “Donate” button to make your donation.

PARTING THOUGHTS:

I still find it hard to describe the feeling I walk away with when I get to know these Heroes and share the “Stoke” of the ocean and surfing with them. I feel I’ve given a little back to those who’ve given so much for our country!

www.operationamped.com

OperationAmped: Serving those who serve!

8 July 2011: Many many Thanks to those who donated the surf leashes for the guys including Richard Tong, Richard Simmons, and Lynda Chang.

7 July 2011: Del Mar Beach
My last session with the crew before we move north. Betty was talking out a time in the future when we would look back and say things like “remember when we had to haul all our gear every week!” I am proud to be a part of this group of caring individual who come together every week, week after week, to make something special available for our wounded service men and women and their families. Today, Ben and Shane and I took three newbies out. One guy and two women. Conditions were excellent, summer has arrived! 2-3 foot easy rollers with water and air about 70 degrees. Getting a bid crowded, but no one ran over anyone. Connected with a young man who was out on a WaveStorm softy for the first time and really ripping it up. He was maybe 10 years old. The lifeguards took the outrigger out which is always a treat! Kayak crew arrived and everyone was out in the water on something that floated. Have to write Betty a note to say that I am moving and will participate as my return schedule to San Diego allows. A bit sad, but hey, I got to participate almost every week for a couple of months, and friends joined me in providing 3 new surfboards and leashes to the cause. AWESOME! Thanks everyone…more to come…SurfRandy

30 June 2011: Del Mar Beach
I was graced with the opportunity this week to teach a man and his daughter to surf. The man is a amputee of his right leg below the knee. He walks on a prosthetic foot. His daughter is a delightful 11 year old who had never surfed before. Dad wanted her to go first, so I took her out on a 7 foot INT softop. Conditions were a little challening, 3-4 foot fairly consistent surf with a tough shorebreak. Regardless, the young lady was so excited to ride the whitewater in toward her Dad, who was standing on shore encouraging her. When she stood up and rode all the way in to her Dad, they both light up like roman candles. What a beautiful and touching Father/Daughter moment! Then it was Dad’s turn. I took him out on a 9 foot GLS soft top after we got about waste deep, he removed his prosthetic foot and handed it to his daughter…like here you go, sweetie, hold Daddy leg, was a normal as holding his sunglasses. What great spirit! Dad’s balance was challenged with the imbalance of weight in his lower body. Dad rolled, pearled and just about every way wiped out time and again to the wild laughter of both Father and Daughter. Until, finally he rode one all the way in to shore where his daughter was waiting to hug him and return his prosthetic to him. As they walked together arm in arm back down the beach, I was reminded that the love of a child for a parent overcomes all obstacles and sees through any perceived impairment right to the heart. And I cried.

Great turn out at the Wounded Warriors Surf Camp in Del Mar today. Special thanks for Qualcom employees who turn out in force to assist and sponsored a yummy lunch for Jersey Mike’s subs.

M*, with both legs and one arm missing, got out on one of the new soft top boards from GLS Surf and Rescue in Oceanside and had a great time. His courage continues to show in his actions to try try try and try again to figure out how to surf. I am truly inspired by Mark and all of the heroes at the surf camp.

Many thanks for Richard and Julie Simmons who donated money to buy two new soft top surfboards. With more equipment, our heroes don’t have to wait in line to enjoy the waves. Thanks and blessings to Richard and Julie.

Betty keeps us all organized and her love for the heroes and us volunteers is evident every moment we are on the beach together. Keep up the great work, Betty! And thanks to all the volunteers who keep showing up to make each Thursday morning so very special.

Also, the ladies at Swell Stuff wetsuit repair in Leucadia have agreed to alter and repair wetsuits at NO CHARGE to our Wounded Warriors. Just mention Wounded Warriors and tell them Randy sent you.

Blessings!
Randy

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10 year old from England learns to surf at La Jolla Shores

Steve and his family were over on a working vacation from England. I met Steve at work and he said his son wanted to learn to surf, so we scheduled a surf lesson at La Jolla Shores.

Steve’s son was 10 at the time, did some skateboarding, but did not spend much time in the ocean, as the water is quite chilly in England most of the time. As you can see in the video, he did quite well, and Steve did a super job with the video and editing. Thanks Steve!

Click here for the video

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SurfRandy

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Fabulous Feasts, Wonderful Weddings, Sucky Surf and Cool Connections at La Fonda K59 Baja

We had rescheduled the trip twice before for various reasons…expired passports, lack of interest, shortage of funds, but the third time was the charm, for sure!

La Fonda Hotel and Restaurant, K59 in Baja is one of our favorite surf destinations


Josh, Vince, Sasha-doggy and I headed down to La Fonda at K59 in Baja on Friday afternoon around 2PM. We were in the water by 3:30PM even with a “devastacion” (detour) on the toll road that added some extra time to the trip. Also, there seems to be a new inspection going into Mexico by US authorities under the initials CBP (Custom’s Boarder Protection, maybe?) Other than a voluntary stop to declare any commercial items, I have never had to stop upon entry to Mexico before. I didn’t see anyone being pulled over by the CBP and we were waved through without any issues. Staying to the right immediately upon entering Mexico, we took the “scenic” road/Cuota to Ensenada turn off (second right, not the first one at the bottom, but the second exit at the top of the overpass. However, just a mile or so south as you begin to climb the hill to the coast, the two lane road drops to one lane and you we worked our way through a few side streets and traffic until we were back on the toll road and smiling again. Once we hit the coast and paid our first $2.35 toll, we were buzzing on toward K59, La Fonda, our destination for our weekend surfing safari. There was more construction on the toll road and we dropped to one lane in each direction with only cones separating the oncoming cars. Not bad in the daytime, but I don’t think I would want to drive it at night. We paid our second toll of $2.35 around Rosarito (K30 or so.) and reached La Fonda in less than 90 minutes from our departure from Vista.

Secure parking right beside the stairs to our room made unloading/loading really easy


We arrived early enough to get a parking place in their parking lot right at the base of the stairs leading up to our room (Sweet Two) that had three beds, plenty of hot water and a killer view of the beach. Total for two nights was $172.00, less than $30.00 per person per night. What a great value! We paid for our room, picked up the key, unloaded the truck and headed for the beach.

Just 60 steps to the beautiful sandy beach. But watch out at night, they can be trecherous!


Just 60 steps from the hotel to the beach and we were in the water. To our surprise the mix of swells was creating a non-stop onslaught of 5 foot whitewater, which made paddling out impossible for me on my longboard and more work than either Josh or Vince were up for on their shortboards. So after about an hour of trying to get past the whitewater on the inside, we headed back to the room for a game of spades on the desk overlooking the beach. With the sound of the waves crashing and the sun shining down, Josh pounded Vince and me at spades, then we headed to the restaurant for dinner around 6PM.

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The restaurant at La Fonda is incredible! The food is consistently excellent, the service is terrific, and the views are incredible! From 7PM to 11PM, they have live music and the band is really good. A nice mix of rock and classical Mexican music with a small dance floor that gets a lot of use. I had the ribs, Josh and Vince enjoyed the lobster feast and we all shared. YUMMY! I had a four course meal for under $20.00, what a great value!

Back to the room for more cards until we noticed a large bon-fire on the beach below our deck. There was a wedding party being held at the hotel and they were having a bon-fire party on the beach. Not wanting to be anti-social, we decided to join the party. Sasha was an immediate hit and broke the ice for us with the bride, Christina, who had brought her new wedding gift, “boda” her new puppy. Sasha loves puppies and we were quickly included in the wedding party festivities that continued until the wee-hours of the morning. After helping those less able get back to the hotel, we finally got to bed anticipating an early morning session of improved surf conditions.

Crashing the wedding party's bon-fire on Friday night was quite "memorable"


That was not to be, however. Saturday morning brought slightly less frequent swells, but the high tide also created mostly closed out conditions. Again we tried to paddle out, got push back time and again, and decided it was time for breakfast. Vince selected the Chile Verde on my recommendation, Josh got the steak and eggs and I chose juevos rancheros all under $10/plate and delicious and filling with fresh made flour tortillas. Back to the room for a nap before what we hoped would be a more successful afternoon surf session. However, conditions did not improve with the dropping of the tide, so I enjoyed a great one on one chatwith Vince and a nice nap with Josh and Sasha-doggy. We decided to take an afternoon swim since the surf had not improved and found that the water temp had dropped to the mid-50s, which was a shock to our systems as we went swimming in just our board shorts. BRRRRRRR…ice cream headaches around, we headed back to the room for hot showers and more cards and another nap before dinner.

Saturday night at the restaurant is usually quite lively with many well to do local families and couples enjoying the great food, good music and fun dancing. This Saturday night was even more special as the wedding party took over a good portion of the restaurant. The food was excellent as always with Vince enjoying a rare fillet mignot with bacon wrapping, and the two of us having the mexican combo plate. We were stuffed and headed back to the room to watch “Venture Team” videos on Vince’s portable DVD player. We fell asleep crashed out on the big bed and awoke when the music stopped around 12:30PM and the wedding party headed to their rooms.

We were up at 5:30 and on the road by 6:05AM hoping to beat the traffic at the border back into the US. We did…our wait was less than 30 minutes and after stopping at the Starbucks in Solano Beach, we were back to Vista by 9AM. Josh and Vince grabbed their stuff from Tricia’s truck and they headed back to Vince’s for hot showers and a nap, I’ll bet!

Trish and I enjoyed a relaxing Sunday together (with another nap included). All in all, it was a FUN, safe and very enjoyable weekend of fabulous feasts, wonderful wedding parties, and cool connect time even if it was sucky surf conditions.

Can’t wait for our next trip to La Fonda, K59, Baja California Norte, Mexico.

Randy

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