Surfing on Whidbey Island Fort Ebey State Park

IMG_7319
The view from the Tower

Can you surf on Whidbey Island? Is it worth the drive from Seattle? Are there locals to contend with? What is the surf break situation? How consistent are the waves? What are the best conditions? Read on to find out!

How to get there: Whidbey Island is a short jaunt from Seattle. From Seattle, you take I-5 northbound to the Mulkiteo Ferry (about 40 minutes North of Seattle). The Ferry ride to Whidbey Island is about a 15-minute ride. Once on the island, it is about a 40-minute scenic drive to Fort Ebey (watch out for deer and speed traps!). Ignore Google Maps trying to take you all the way north on I-5. Seattle-Mulkiteo Ferry-Whidbey Island is the way (unless you are coming from Bellingham or north). Fort Ebey State Park is well marked from the main highway. When you enter the park, you will pass by the ranger station where you will present your Discover Pass (if you do not have one, there is a station to purchase a daily pass ($10.00 at the time of this writing) in the parking lot. If you do not have a Discover Pass you will get a $ 99.00 ticket, guaranteed, so don’t chance it.

How to get to the Surf Break: There are two parking lots, an upper and a lower. The upper parking lot has decent bathroom facilities and access to the coast but is less desirable than the lower parking lot, which is a short walk to the surf break. The lower parking lot has about 12 spaces so it is best to get there early and claim one for the day. If the lower lot is full then the upper will do just fine. From the lower lot, you will be able to see the water. Walk straight out from the lot to the water’s edge. From there you will go left about 75 yards to the point. This is where the left point is (there is also a shipping marker up the cliff that marks the spot you will sit while in the line up). About 300 or so yards to the north is a right point.

95484648-225x300
This is the tower you use to line up on the point

The Surf: The left is a left point over a rocky reef. Don’t worry, you aren’t going to slice your feet off if you touch the rocks lol. Also, don’t get intimidated by the rocky bottom, just respect it and be aware. Don’t fall head first. When you fall, fall backward or sideways. Don’t ride a wave all the way in, kick out (or fall smartly) before that point. The best swell for this spot is an 8’+ WNW swell on the incoming tide (though my last surf was on a solid W swell and it was just fine). The water was 47 degrees. I wore a 4/3 full suit, booties, gloves, and a hood and if it were not for my leaky booties I would have remained warm the whole time. The take-off zone for the left depends on the tide/swell but you can use the shipping lane marker as a guide and line up there or just a smidge north of the marker. With the right swell, the waves are super fun, consistent, and have an excellent shape. On an 8′ swell, you can expect shoulder high sets. You may even happen upon a small barrel towards the inside section. The right point had some nice sets coming in as well but I surf goofy foot and I was having too much fun riding the lefts. There were a few regular footed surfers surfing the left point too so perhaps the left is the better of the two. You can check the swell, wind, and tide forecast here. I would not make the trip unless it was a W or WNW swell direction with a minimum of 8′ but I would gladly welcome a larger swell. During my session, the wind was 15-20kts and a combo of side shore and offshore. At one point the conditions seemed completely blown out, but as I was waiting for a set wave to ride in, the winds changed back to offshore and I surfed for another hour. In summary, if you go when the conditions are such, you are going to catch some fun waves. Important to note, this is not a spot for beginners. A beginner will have a miserable time here solely because of the rocks. You should only surf this spot if you can consistently pop up on a wave and ride it. Otherwise, you are not going to have fun here.

The Locals: If you do a quick search on Google you will get misinformation about localism on Whidbey Island. In short, there are no locals. There are just a bunch of friendly surfers that welcome you with open arms. During my session, there were 3 obvious locals surfing. One local in particular, I think his name was Rob (surfed a fun board with several strips of tape on the nose, regular footed), went out of his way to make me feel welcome. Rob was cheering me into waves and complimenting me on my surfing. He chatted with me about the surf break and was perplexed that more Seattle surfers did not come to share the spot. When you do come to surf Fort Ebey, please make sure to keep an eye out for Rob and give him a big hello from his new Seattle friend!

Grinds: Not a lot of obvious options for after surf grinds. However, the espresso business just south of Fort Ebey (in the gas station) had an array of organic and healthy treats in addition to tasty coffee. There are also a few grocery stores. Otherwise, pack it in, you are not going to find many fast food choices here.

Final verdict: If you live in Seattle you should be surfing Fort Ebey, Whidbey Island, every chance you get. It is a short drive from Seattle, and the trip is a mini surfari. Fort Ebey State Park has numerous trails with amazing views. There are also many options for picnic’s and the State Park is dog-friendly (keep them on their leashes though).

IMG_7313-768x1024

IMG_7312-768x1024
Gus approves of this surf destination
Advertisements

Momentum Generation Review

Time is our most valuable asset in life. We are not promised tomorrow and the only time we have is right now. So it goes without saying that if I am taking my precious and valuable time to write a review for the new Momentum Generation documentary, with this type of outlook, the you have to know that this documentary is worth your time.

I first learned of the documentary from @kellyslater ‘s instagram account. I had read his book, Pipe Dreams and enjoyed his honesty and his story so I figured that this documentary should be good if he was endorsing it. He also happens to be the best surfer in the history of surfing and the most dominating athlete in any sport, so there’s that.

I grew up surfing in this generation and being able to get so close to a pack of surfers I idolized, was so great. During this era, I subscribed to both Surfing & Surfer Magazine, I was on top of the scene and thought I knew everything about the Momentum Generation. I suppose on a surface level I did, but not at the level that the documentary delivered.

This documentary is a back stage pass to the Momentum Generation. It shows a human side of each of them that is normally only seen by the closest friends or family. I teared up few times as my idols suffered through personal tragedies, just like all humans do. Todd Chesser, wow, what a legend. Benji Weatherly, you’re awesome and I wish I could have hung out at your Pipeline crib with the crew. Kelly Slater, please read this and invite me to your wave ranch but please turn the engines down a bit, it looks HUGE to me!

The Momentum Generation documentary covers the top surfers during a period when surfing started to scale and become more mainstream and marketable. The Momentum Generation documentary takes you behind the scenes to see the human side of professional surfing and viral growth. The surfing industry as a whole would never be where it is today without the Momentum Generation.

Why Does Watermelon Always Taste Better at Work?

Anytime I bring a watermelon to work for lunch, my quality control diminishes. I can’t quite get a beat on why.

At home, I savor the best pieces of watermelon and then leave the remaining edges of the melon in the fridge, where I hope they will be eaten by others. Sometimes, while I am throwing together a quick Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 12.52.27 PMlunch, I humor myself by packing a baggie of the factory seconds that I abandoned earlier.

As hunger ensues, I head to the office fridge, grab the baggie, proudly walk with it in plain view back to my desk. Then it happens, the party starts. The watermelon pieces that I discarded as not being good enough are now prime pieces of fruit and I am enjoying them possibly more than the gluttonous party the night before.

If you can help explain this anomaly please do tell!

Walking Tall

Last week I was at the Jack White show at the WaMu (Century Link) venue. These day’s Jack White’s shows are hit and miss. Don’t get me wrong, Jack is special and you are going to be blown away when you see him, but when he went solo, he started to get a little soft. He was playing a more of a country/bluegrass style than the raw rock he was playing when with The White Stripes and Dead Weather. The Raconteurs were great, but again, not hard rock like the aforementioned bands. So when you see a Jack White show, it is hard to know which Jack will show up. On this night in Seattle, the raw, Detroit fueled rocker took the stage and played a solid and hard rock show.

My senses were a bit more alive at this show because Jack does not allow cell phones at his shows (he is using a super cool start-up product, Yondr, who has created a locking cell phone case that you keep with you). Additionally, Jack’s sets are usually monochromatic and industrial. Tonight it was all blue and very visual.

IMG_3317
Christ the Redeemer who might be the tallest of them all.

The other element that completed this experience was that I had a clear view of the stage all night. I was midway back from the stage and literally, every person in front of me or within my view was shorter than me. Of everything I experienced, this was the thing that I reflected on the next day, which is how grateful I am to be tall.

There are not too many cons to being tall. A bumped head here and there. Planes and seating can be a little uncomfortable, tee shirts are never long enough (can someone please make a decent XLT tee shirt please?), but for the most part, being tall is awesome. I am on the low end of “tall” at 6’2″ and the past year or two I have been noticing more and more how tall I am compared to everyone else, especially in crowds. According to my Daddy, only 3.9% of U.S. men are 6’2″ or taller.  That is not a lot of people and the number gets much smaller the taller you are.

I am grateful for my height. It is not something that I could have developed, it was in my cards and I just got lucky. And for Jack? He is 6’2″ and also happens to be a badass so no hard feelings about you getting soft OK Jackie?

How Do You Motivate Yourself To Exercise?

Working out is not easy. If you are like most humans, you are met with a constant stream of internal discussions why you should skip exercising, “You need a rest day” “Your going to hurt your back” “Don’t worry, you will get it tomorrow,” I could go on and on, to infinity (Shinehead reference), but you get my point. In addition to overcoming mental roadblocks, there are also physical blocks (family, partner, wine, Netflix, sleep, etc) that are a constant battle.

If that were not enough, once you make that commitment to exercise, you then have to struggle with fatigue while working out, “You don’t need to do all 4 sets, 2 is fine,” I’m telling you, the struggle is real! When I am hitting the weights (especially when bench pressing), I pretend I just walked into a prison yard filled with shady characters who are sizing me up as I approach the bench. As I position the bar and get my hands aligned I can feel their eyes on me, in disbelief that I am getting ready to press so much weight. As I successfully finish my set and get up from the bench, the thugs part and I walk away unscathed.

Screen Shot 2018-07-19 at 4.30.03 PM

For the most part, I have overcome most of the demons that show themselves when it is time to exercise but it has not been easy. Probably my biggest motivator is my attitude and how I view exercise. For example, I don’t have to exercise, I get to exercise. Imagine how many people in the world who are not able to exercise that would love to be able to. If you can change your mindset to really appreciate that point, it will help a bunch. You will start viewing exercise as a positive versus a negative. Lastly, if you have children they are also great motivators. My 7 year old would often accompany me working out before she went to school in the morning. Having her in the room with me motivated me to have the best form, and to model the best habits that she will hopefully follow when she is older.

The Elusive Calzone

Newport Beach, California, 1987. I had just finished a surf at 54th street and starvation ensued. We parked by the famous Frog House and sauntered into an establishment that served up what would be the best Calzone I have ever had in my life! I am sure that my starvation played a key role in my fondness for the iconic meal I was about to have. It could have also been that we were in Orange County, in the mid 80’s and just finished surfing Newport Beach. There were a lot of stimulating elements at play. As for the Calzone, I remember a perfect overdoing of cheese, pepperoni’s, sauce and dough that would satisfy my hunger in a way I had not previously experienced. Everything was in sync. The proportions and each ingredient complimented the other (kinda like all of Kanye’s albums).

Fast forward to 2018. Last night I had dinner at La Vita E Bella in Seattle. As I was browsing the reviews online, I saw that a customer posted a picture of their Calzone for all the internets to see:

Screen Shot 2018-03-28 at 9.49.20 AM.png

At that point, I had already decided on another entree, but, the waiter had not yet returned to take our order. I immediately started to have flashbacks of that elusive Calzone I had 31 years earlier. All of the emotions and senses alive in me on that day in 1987 were returning as they had never left, only dormant until the right opportunity presented itself. I ended up ordering the Calzone and enjoyed the anticipation and endorphins that were flowing until my entree arrived.

And? Well, it looked exactly as the above picture illustrates but I was quickly let down. As with all other Calzones I have had since, none would match the intensity of that experience I had years ago. I immediately nicknamed it “doughball” and braced myself for the gluten express that my body would soon accept, albeit begrudgingly. This has nothing to do with you La Vita E Bella, you are great. This is internal.

At some point in each of our lives, we are all introduced to a “Calzone” that blows our minds. We may spend our entire lives trying to reproduce that nirvana. Some of us are successful in our search, and some of us are not. The key for me is to never stop searching. No matter how many bad “Calzones” I stumble upon, it is important to not give up hope and to keep searching.

I am still searching for that elusive Calzone and will gladly accept any recommendations you want to share!

Dropcam vs Nest Cam IQ Outdoor Camera

Ten years ago, security cameras are something that I would have never considered for my home (due to the complexity of installation and the expense). When Dropcam came along, it solved the problem of hardwiring a security camera and made it simple. I purchased a Dropcam (now Nest) a few years ago so I can keep an eye on the entryway of my home. The image quality has been pretty good and the alerts have been helpful. With my Dropcam, I can see when I get deliveries, visitors, and the random cat prowling around at 3am. This is especially helpful because I live by myself. In any case, having a security camera for your home is no longer a novelty item, it is a necessity.

There is nothing really wrong with my Dropcam, but I have heard a lot of chatter recently about the all new Nest Cam IQ Outdoor Camera so I set out to learn as much as I can, and investigate the possibility of upgrading. The first thing I learned is that they are much more expensive than my existing Dropcam which I think was less than $100. The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor are $ 349 each or $ 598 for a package of two (not an affiliate link).

Screen Shot 2018-02-06 at 5.46.33 PM.png

The second thing I learned is that IQ Outdoor comes with advanced features. One of my favorites is the facial recognition feature. You can read the overview of the features here. The third thing I learned is that they were sold out and unable to ship for 5-6 weeks at the time I was considering upgrading. This posed a problem as I was planning on heading out of town and having an upgraded security camera all of sudden became urgent. While searching the internets I stumbled on an eBay listing for the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor from a dealer and immediately bought it (especially because at the time they were sold out everywhere).

The first thing I noticed when I received the product is that the camera is noticeably bigger than my Dropcam and looks really nice. Everything it says it does, it does really well. The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is a huge upgrade from my original Dropcam. What really surprised me is the quality of the image. Most reviews said there was no difference in the image resolution (from Dropcam). After I installed the new camera, I still had the old one installed so I can compare them side by side:

IMG_3981.png

That is a pretty noticeable improvement! Another bonus is that it integrates with my Google Home. All in all, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is a huge upgrade from my trusty old Dropcam. They are not cheap, but they are definitely worth the extra expense. They are super easy to install. It took me about 30 minutes tops. No hard wiring necessary provided you have an electrical outlet within 25′ of where you plan on installing it. I highly recommend that you add these camera’s to your home too.

I Agree With Marshawn Lynch

Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 2.39.52 PM

Former Running Back for the Seattle Seahawks (current RB for the Oakland Raiders), Marshawn Lynch, has gained notoriety for dodging the media. Time after time he would ignore the media’s self-serving questions and remain silent. The few times he would speak, he would often say, “I’m just bout that action boss.”

His statement says a lot about who he is as a person. In his world, talking about achievements, performance, etc. have zero value. Marshawn values action. Let’s take a look at some of his actions:

  1. His 67 yard run against New Orleans caused a small earthquake in Seattle (Now known as the Beast Quake). He plowed through tackler after tackler with an epic straight arm in the end as he launched himself into the end zone for a score. Marshawn Lynch is tough, and he does not give up.
  2. After an epic performance in High School, Marshawn Lynch was interviewed after the game. Rather than focus on himself, he applauded his linemen for their contribution and said if he had enough money he was going to take them to Sizzler. Marshawn Lynch is humble.
  3. Early in 2016, Marshawn Lynch retired from football. When he learned that the Oakland Raiders were moving to Las Vegas, he came out of retirement to join the Raiders roster in 2017. Lynch said he was inspired to come out of retirement by the team’s impending move to Las Vegas saying that he wanted children currently growing up in Oakland to be able to see a home-grown football star play for the Raiders before the team is gone. Marshawn Lynch cares about his community.

Now before you light up the comments section with a list of the things he has done that were not desirable (Hit and run, etc.), that is not the point of my post. The point is that you can get insight into who a person is by paying attention to their actions.

Personally, I strive to be kind to everyone. I am sure that there are times that my actions do not support that trait for whatever reason, but I am positive that the majority of the time I am kind to people, mostly because I genuinely love most people. When I am not kind, I am aware of it because it is important to me. An argument can be made for my definition of kindness vs yours and if you find yourself going down that road (especially in a relationship) then you are self-serving because your focus should be on your partners’ needs versus your own. Don’t believe me? Then read it for yourself.

I’m with Marshawn. I don’t want to hear about how great you are. I don’t want to hear how nice you are. I want you to show me, consistently, with actions.