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Surfing Builds Character
Whether you’re surfing on the North Shore of Oahu or skimboarding ankle biters, any experienced surfer can tell you that surfing isn’t a sport that comes with an easy benchmark for success. Put into practice first by high-born Polynesians, the surfing tradition has evolved as the centuries have, calling on generations of participants to learn the patience that comes with waiting for just the right wave and the select combination of skill and intuition.. The fundamental truth of surfing is this: Unlike politics and investment banking, you’re unlikely to reach those lofty peaks with only yourself in mind. Engaging with the Sea The best surfers learn early that, with respect for the wave comes respect for the ocean – at least in part because the sport itself is entirely contingent on nature's cooperation. If the waters are choked with trash, if the wind isn't moving, if any number of interdependent factors fail to come together at the right moment, no amount of skill on the board can change the outcome. Though every surfer hopes for the chance to snag a snapshot moment on a high wave, the chance means waiting – sometimes for hours or even days – and accepting no certainty of reward at the end. Going Green With the ocean currently under threat from an increasing litany of issues directly relating to change, including rising seas and pollution, surfers have begun to come together with astonishing political power. Several groups have called for cleaner beaches and a stronger movement to halt sea level rise – which continues to contribute to erosion in a growing number of communities, whose members are even now watching the stunning landscapes that once put them on the map slip irretrievably away. One such community is the Save Trestles Campaign, which took action against plans to construct a road that would have endangered San Mateo Creek – a popular surfing spot and thriving habitat for marine animals. Other groups have singlehandedly, and often successfully, tackled environmentally destructive development plans and pollution, saving beaches and wild animals from habitat loss. Staying Safe Of course, no surfer enters the water without the deeply held understanding that any wrong move can mean injury and even death – for themselves and bystanders. Surprisingly, attacks by marine animals are among the most common causes of injury, followed by wipe-outs on sand or rocky outcroppings. A surfer who's miscalculated the energy and breadth of a wave can also easily be swept underneath, held down by a surging current, or knocked unconscious by a falling surfboard, all of which can lead to drowning or serious injury. In the communal environment inherent to beach life, it’s nearly impossible, and always conspicuous, to surf without the safety of others in mind. Established beach etiquette, though still largely unspoken, arose as American surf culture did in the 1960s, as popular beaches became increasingly crowded and chaotic. The rules, though they vary by location and culture, are strictly enforced by most beach-goers, and those eager to cut corners for a shot at glory will often find themselves outnumbered. Surfers also use shorthand to define the right of way in the water, and a line order that everyone is expected to follow while paddling out. The system is simple, but it works, ensuring that everyone in the water understands where to expect other surfers to appear and how to avoid them when necessary. Fewer injuries are typically reported at beaches with a cohesive system of rules, and, as a community, surfers have proven more than willing to embrace them. Down to Mindset Balancing over hundreds of feet of crashing water takes more than an afternoon of practice to master, which is largely why so many experienced surfers paddle out at nearly every available moment. Persistence is the key to mastery. And persistence means falling hundreds, sometimes thousands of times, often in front of spectators, and running the gantlet of emotions that go hand in hand with continuous failure. And still, the best of the best are those still willing to get up, dust themselves off, and paddle right back out for another try. Like so many other difficult tasks in life, it usually is not enough to suffer a public fall only once. With everything in the water in constant flux, nailing a perfect run means cultivating the ability to think far past the moment, without ever letting outside distractions in. As new contingencies evolve by the moment, even pitch-perfect accuracy and positioning isn't always enough, and, in many cases, success comes down to hard-won practice, and the ability to suffer with grace the consequences of wrong actions. The Art of Technique Surfing techniques, from the standard paddle to the more visually stunning front side snap, are nearly as individual as surfers themselves are. Those who stick with the sport often choose to brand themselves with signature moves, such as Australian champion Tyler Wright—who famously made the Big Frontside Kick her own. It's a recognized mark of a professional, to be able to bring a spark of creative flair to a sport that requires so much intensive focus. Generations of surfers – both pro and those at an amateur level – have upped the ante for newcomers by imbuing the sport with a healthy sense of creative, as well as physical, competition. Final Thoughts In any sport with a diverse range of participants, equipment selection often comes down to skill and often requires a helping hand from a professional in the know. Surfing is a great sport. Not only is it fun and a great way to remain in shape, but it can also help build character. Respect for nature and yourself remains an essential element of surfer culture.
Bathing Suit Season: Don’t Fear It Any Longer
The summertime is synonymous with fun for many people. The longer hours of daylight and warmer temperatures allow everyone to get outdoors and have some fun in the sun. The beach, lake, and pool are all hot spots that people flock to during this hot season. However, there is one aspect of summer that many despise – swimsuit season. After a long winter of covering up and holiday eating, it can be frightening to walk down the beach with your head held high in a bikini. Even the task of finding the right bathing suit can seem impossible. Most women loathe an afternoon spent trying on suit after suit under the bright lights in a dressing room. However, you can’t exactly wear your clothes to the beach. So, what’s a girl to do? You can’t avoid swimsuit season, but there are ways to make it a little better. Believe it or not, you can feel carefree and confident in your swimsuit. The key to beach confidence is wearing a bathing suit that you feel good in. One that complements your frame and body type. A good bathing suit should not only fit, but draw the eye to areas you want to highlight and away from areas you don’t. The Secret Have you ever seen other bikini-clad girls splashing in the ocean or running down the beach confidently and wondered how do they do it? Meanwhile, you’re busy pulling on and adjusting your bathing suit, and wishing you could cover up. If you don’t feel too hot in your swimsuit, it makes it even harder to emerge from under the umbrella, let alone strut your stuff down the beach. Everyone should love the bathing suit they wear. We want everyone to feel confident and have fun on the water. That’s why we’re going to let you in on a little secret. It’s all in the fit. When you go to try on swimsuits, if you know what styles and cuts to look for, along with selecting one that fits you correctly, you’ll walk away with a suit that you feel good in. If you’re stressing about the impending swimsuit season, don’t worry! Below, we have included all the different bathing suit styles that complement each body type. Body Types First, you need a crash course in body types. If you are unsure of what body type you may be, then there’s a good chance you’ve been wearing the wrong bathing suits – which might explain while you haven’t felt fully confident. Below is a guide to the most common body types for women. Hourglass As the name insinuates, you are shaped like an hourglass. This means you have curvy hips and a larger bust. Your waist is cinched, meaning it is drastically smaller than your hips and bust.  Pear Shaped Pear shaped women are wider on the bottom than they are up top. Their upper bodies are usually slender with a smaller bust. They have great hips, which are the widest part of the body. Petite Petite women are small all over. Short in height and weight, these ladies likely have a smaller bust and hips.  Full Figured Full figured gals have an all-over curvy or heavy figure. With larger bust and hips, however, measurements aren’t as drastic as hourglass figures. Straight Up and Down Ladies who are described as straight up and down have very few curves, and their hip-bust-waist measurements are similar. Athletic Women with athletic figures have broader shoulders with narrower hips and naturally muscular or toned legs. Apple Women with apple figures resemble the rounded fruit, with thinner legs and arms, but a fuller torso.   The Style and Cut for You Now that you have your body type figured out, find out the style or cut that’s perfect for you!  Triangle top Triangle tops have cups that are – you guessed it – shaped in a triangle with string ties. They work best for those with a smaller bust, as they don’t give any added support. They also accentuate broad shoulders, toned arms, and smaller upper bodies. Bandeau tops Since these tops have no straps, ladies with a bigger bust should stay away, as they give no extra support. Also, those with an apple shape should steer clear, as the straight across cut will only bring more attention to broad shoulders and round belly. Underwire and halter tops Women who need more support should turn to molded cups and underwires. Halters are another great look that gives you an added lift. Molded cups Those with a smaller chest might like molded cups as they create a fuller bust line. Hipster bottoms These bottoms are shaped like boy shorts or briefs and sit at the hip. They are perfect for those who want full coverage on their lower half. Another option is the currently popular high waist bottom. Fuller bottoms tend to look the best on pear and athletic-shaped women. Petite women should stay away from them as they might overwhelm their frame. String bottoms String bottoms complement triangle tops and have an adjustable tie at each hip. They have medium coverage with little support. They tend to look better on athletic, straight up and down, and petite figures. Brazilian cuts Brazilian cuts are not for the faint of heart! They have very minimal covering and are perfect for ladies who want to show off their backside. While they look good on most bodies, athletic, hourglass, and petite figures usually gravitate toward this style to show off their great lower halves. Current Trends for Everyone With that being said, there are several bathing suit trends that look great on everyone.  One-piece styles are no longer reserved for older women. One-pieces have made a comeback. Many have taken inspiration from suits of the past with the high leg and deep back from the 80s and 90s. Mesh is also a biggie this season. You can find just about any type of suit with mesh detailing – high waist bottoms, one-pieces, triangle tops, etc. – so try one out! They look great on the beach, and the extra detail makes a solid-colored suit pop. Lastly, no matter what your body type or the suit you choose, mixing and matching will never go out of style. So, have fun and mix two of your favorite colors together for a head-turning look.  Also, keep in mind that cutouts, ruffles, and patterns are always on trend. Just because you’re in a bathing suit, it doesn’t mean you have to play it safe with solids (unless you want to.)
Catching Waves: Finding Your Surf Haven
Finding that perfect wave is a very subjective hunt because skill level and personal preferences play a big part in where to go and what kind of wave you want to ride. There are some amazing places all over this ocean-filled world. With seven oceans, and innumerable seas to choose from, the most important factor is what kind of experience are you searching for? Casual or beginner surfers may dream of the ultimate surfing experience, such as surfing Pipeline, a well known Hot Zone, where heavy and hollow waves break very close to shore. If you fit into this category, you may find yourself frustrated because of localism. Typically, this type of surf attracts professionals or expert level surfers for whom these waves are their nirvana. Injecting yourself to their line-up can result in not only feeling the stress to match their skill and speed, but they too will become resentful of your casual approach. Conversely, if you are a highly skilled surfer and surfing is a part of your life, then finding a laid back beach, known as a Cool Zone, where it is crowded with newbies, families and weekend warriors, the experience will leave you unsated.  The waves may be mellow and crashing at a perfect angle, with that glass like glaze on the ocean, but you won't have the fulfilling adventure of chasing the wave with other like-minded members of a competitive pack. By all means, track down that rising swell, coming fast and hard towards the beach. High performance rippers will find the Hot Zones more culturally acclimated to their skill level. There are always the unspoken Bill of Rights and Lefts that should be followed no matter what level you are. Straight from www.surfline.com, here are the ten commandments that every ripper should follow. Bill of Rights and Lefts Pick the right location. Hot Zones versus Cool Zones, depending on your skill level, should be chosen wisely. Every surfer should have the experience they desire, and certainly can accomplish this with a little research of the area they want to hit. Don't drop in or snake your fellow surfer. These are the two types of essentially taking away another surfer's wave. Dropping in is when a rider has already claimed the wave, and someone else picks it up from further out on the shoulder. This may be an accidental occurrence, especially in a crowded line-up. If you do happen to drop in on someone's wave, be sure to get off as quickly as possible and apologize. Snaking is a more malicious because it is intentional and though still dangerous, often happens with highly competitive surfers. Essentially, when one surfer is lined up, preparing to take a     wave, the snaker will come up behind them while the first surfer is totally focused on the wave, and follow them off the shoulder. It appears that the rightful rider of the wave dropped in on the snaker, which onlookers will know the truth. Note: You may be visiting an area where you see drop-ins happen with a pack, and they are smiling and having an epic good time. They are probably friends enjoying a ride share, and by no means does this give you the a-okay to do the same. Respect the locals. While paddling out to or within a break, it is your responsibility to stay out of the way of riders on waves. Once a rider has caught a wave, it is good manners to allow them to enjoy the wave and do your best not to interfere. If you do find yourself caught in whitewater, push through it and don't frantically paddle to reach the shoulder. It is extremely bad etiquette, as well as paddling directly into a rider's take-off. Not only can this cause you or the rider to wipeout, you can get seriously injured and risk the wrath of your fellow ripper. Though shalt learn to take turns. Surfers tend to be greedy creatures, wanting all the best waves, all the time. However, unless you are surfing alone, it is a best practice to share wave-catching opportunities and keep the peace on the ocean. On occasion, hot surf spots will be packed with long line-ups and not enough waves for everyone. Surfline recommends you adjust your attitude to the situation, or find a better, less crowded spot to ride. In any surf session, respect the pre-existing vibe in the lineup. Any surfer will tell you that there is a distinct vibe in every session, and you can feel it change with new riders coming to join. The vibes may vary on the type of surf and the time of day, but ultimately the determining factor is attitude. To get a feel for the vibe, ask questions of surfers coming off the water. Ask various questions like “Get any good ones?” or “Much room out there?” This will give you an idea of whether or not it is a good spot for you to join, or move to a different area of the beach. Always aid another surfer in trouble. As with any potentially dangerous situations, you must keep your own safety at the forefront of your mind. However, surfing is a unique sport because often there are no paramedical services close-by, and riders rely on one another to stay safe. Being at the mercy of the power of the ocean proposes its own dangers, so be conscientious of your fellow surfers and be sure to help in any way you can if one is in trouble. When traveling, thou shalt respect the local surfers and their rights and customs, without forfeiting your own right to a wave. It doesn't matter if the “local” surfers grew up there or have only been surfing for a week in that location. They have more history there than you and know how the sessions roll. If you are traveling in numbers to a spot, don't immediately charge the water to catch the next set of waves. Take a little time to watch, and other riders will come in to give you space to join the session. Especially take heed when traveling to other countries to surf, as customs vary around the world as much as languages. Let the locals set the pace, and fall into their rhythm. This not only will create a positive experience for you, but leave the local surfers more open to the next rider who comes to town. Always thank them for sharing their spot and invite them to your home surf spot. Though shalt not use your surfing advantage to abuse your fellow surfers. This may seem like a complex piece of etiquette, it can be summarized in four simple words: don't be an a-hole. You may be stronger, bigger, have a longer board, better surfing skills, higher surfing fitness, and/or more knowledge of the local customs, but it doesn't mean you wield it to the detriment of your fellow riders. Surfing is all about escaping the rat race, to be able to have a physical activity one can enjoy, in the sun, on the surf, and for many it is a zen-like experience. Recognize advantages you may have over your fellow surfers and don't use them to put others at ease, or worse, in danger. At all times, be responsible for your own equipment and respectful of others'. Surfboards can be dangerous when mishandled, like letting one go in the middle of a ride. Never throw away your board, as it can injure others. Keep your board in good maintenance, free of nicks, sharp fins, or any other damage as it can cause problems out on the ocean. If you do cause damage to someone else's board, always arrange to have it repaired or agree upon a solution. Lastly, relax, have fun, and enjoy your surfing and that of your fellow surfer. Drew Kampion, famous surf writer and editor says, “Life is a wave and your attitude is your surfboard!” A good attitude goes a long way in life, and on the ocean. Always remember your fellow surfers' experience matters just as much as yours. Creating a surf haven for everyone to enjoy is up to each individual rider. Respect each other, and keep chasing your perfect wave.