Can you surf on Whidbey Island? Is it worth the drive from Seattle? Are their 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 waters 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.
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 backwards 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 were 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 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, Whidey 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).
I can, kinda. I have been wanting to keep better tabs on the live concerts I have seen for many years. In addition to being daunting, it was equally frustrating because I know I am leaving out shows. That said, I think I have done a pretty good job with remembering most of them. If you add up the estimated ticket cost and merchandise I bought, you would have a pretty nice retirement plan. Then again, the memories of these shows are priceless!
30 Seconds to Mars
Arctic Monkeys (Bad ass show)
Bauhaus (very depressing)
Built to Spill
Chris Cornell (a freak)
Cold War Kids
Dead or Alive
Death Cab for Cutie
Depeche Mode, Music for the Masses Tour, Rose Bowl (epic)
Echo and the Bunnymen
Electric Six (At the Croc, great show)
English Beat, Redondo Beach Pier (KROQ show, 21+, worse fake ID ever but it worked)
Everclear (bandmate sister hitting on me the whole show)
Fine Young Cannibals
Foster the People
Franz Ferdinand (saw 2x, both great shows)
General Public (great energy)
Ice Cube (such a bad ass show)
Idiot Pilot (wild, great energy, reckless, my kinda show!)
Jack White (so much talent)
Jonas Brothers (kids insisted)
Kaiser Chiefs (solid)
Kanye West (great artist/entertainer)
Kendrick Lamar (legit)
Kings of Leon
Marina and the Diamonds (Good energy, fun show)
Miley Cyrus (Children insisted, kinda fun)
Modest Mouse (killer show at Lake Union)
New York Dolls
Of Monsters and Men
Of Montreal (fun band to see live)
Pearl Jam (many times)
Pet Shop Boys
Pokey LaFarge & The South City Three
Ramones (Hollywood Palladium. I was 15 years old and went by myself. So fast, so raw. This was a great show. First taste Hollywood, as a teen).
Reba McEntire and Ronnie Milsap (first concert)
Shiny Toy Guns
Siouxsie and the Banshees
Stryper (La Mirada High School)
The Alarm (Irvine Meadows)
The Beastie Boys (at the Crocodile!)
The Black Crows
The Gap Band (great show, under the Space Needle)
The Kills (so great to see them live)
The Presidents of the United States of America (drummer got bounced from stage by security)
The Raconteurs (1st show in Hollywood plus several others)
The Smashing Pumpkins (sat in sound booth with son)
The Strokes (killer show)
The Thompson Twins
The White Stripes (at least 15x)
Vampire Weekend (the end show, they canceled the Marymoor show)
Wolfmother (raw, great show)
Yeah Yeah Yeahs (met Karen-O backstage, Fever to Tell just came out. One of the best shows I have ever seen)
Alright, I already remember one that I missed! The Fastbacks, JayZ, and Beyonce. My biggest regret is not going to SFO on New Years Eve and seeing The Red Hot Chili Peppers/Pearl Jam/Nirvana show that my friends Mark Jimenez and Jimmy Gherke had invited me to. Talk about an epic show!
Finding negativity in your everyday life is easy to do. One does not have to look far. We all have friends and acquaintances who offer the negativity “gift” on a daily basis. What you do with this gift is what counts. You can choose to accept the gift and re-gift it to others in the same wrapping paper (probably the most innate action), or you can choose to accept the gift and change the wrapping paper before you re-gift it, and/or keep the gift for yourself.
Negativity is an opportunity. When you are faced with negativity from another person or a situation, it is completely within your control how to accept it or not accept it. Some may challenge you to not accept the gift at all, and that is a fine action. However, why let that gift go to waste? Why not accept that gift and create an opportunity?
If someone tells me with negative tones that I dance like a robot, I would probably laugh first. Then I would thank them for their astute observation. Then I would take their gift and do two things. The next time I was dancing I would make sure to rock the robot like no one has ever rocked it before. Then I would make it a point to compliment my dance partner on her great moves or offer that same compliment to another on the dance floor. The recipient feels good, the sender feels good, and I am also rocking the robot. Can you say win-win?
Don’t let negativity dictate your energy. Use negativity to empower your actions and choose happiness.
Mark, thank you so very very much for allowing me to have a guest post on your most amazing of blogs. I have been a fan of yours for a long time and especially enjoyed your post on Surviving Road Rage.
Now listen to me Mark, because I am going to give you some solid advice. Do not spend your precious energy on things that are out of your control. Show up. Be the awesome person you are and do not spend your time worrying about things that you cannot control. Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes. Continue being happy Mark. It looks good on you.
If you have arrived at this blog you are probably on the fence about which device to get, the Apple Watch or the Fitbit Surge. I spent a lot of time wondering the same thing so I thought I would share my thought process in hopes of helping you.
About me. I am a mid 40’s guy in pretty good shape. I work out 5-6 days a week, mostly CrossFt, a boxing class, surfing and some P90X for good measure. I have had the Fitbit Flex for over a year and like the idea of it but did not like that I had to manually set it to track my sleep, and also that it did not track other metrics I was interested in (Heart rate, exercise, etc). My girlfriend, who is also active, has one of the first Fitbit trackers that I’m pretty sure has a hamster on a wheel powering the thing. It works though and she constantly crushes me in steps.
When the Apple Watch was announced I was super pumped and already counting the days until I could get it. It sounded like it was going to give me everything I ever wanted in a fitness tracker plus all of the additional communication channels that an iPhone gives me. I devoured every article I could on the subject and was in virtual line, awaiting the opportunity to make the purchase.
However, the closer the date came to pre-order, the more I started second guessing the purchase. I then read a review (cannot find it to link) about a gent who opted out due to the constant notifications. I know you can disable them, but isn’t that one of the benefits of the watch? As the day grew closer I was getting ready to order them when I started paying more attention to our behavior with our iPhone’s. Anytime a notification would come in we were both on it, instantly. Then I imagined how that would look by adding the Apple Watch (aka Ball and Chain) and I knew at that moment that we were not getting Apple Watches.
We are both very active and the main reason for the Apple Watch in the first place was to track our fitness better. That is when I started looking into alternative trackers which led me to a familiar brand, Fitbit. After learning more about their new offerings, I was torn between the Fitbit Surge (top of the line fitness tracker) and the FitBit Charge. My girlfriend decided on the Fitbit Charge (no HR). It is sleek, and it gives her way more metrics than her first Fitbit. I honestly think she would have been happy with a Fitbit Flex to replace her ancient tracker! I opted for the Fitbit Surge because I read so many positive views on it. We are still in the honeymoon phase with our new toys but we both have nothing but positive things to say about them.
I cannot believe 2014 is coming to a close. Setting resolutions for myself have proven quite productive. While not all goals were met, a few key ones were and I am a better person because of it. Here is my 2014 list, let’s see how I did:
Visit the dentist for normal maintenance–Easy goal to get the ball rolling. Done!
Visit the doctor for annual physical–I am in such good health that Dr. Oz is asking me for tips.
Refinish hardwoods–Yeah right. I was proud of myself for sweeping. This did not happen.
Either fix or remove back deck–Did not complete and no timeline for doing so.
Commit to lap swim at GSSC 3x a week–I did swim more but definitely did not get to the pool 3x a week.
Find tennis partner (preferably Anna Kournikova) to play 1x a week at GSSC–Great news! I found a tennis partner that is way hotter than Anna Kournikova. Her ping pong game confirms that she will be wild with a racket, but she is super fun! She also happens to be the love of my life and is the sole reason why 2014 is the best year I can remember and also why 2015 and beyond will be even better.
Refinish front deck/stairs–I decided to skip this project in 2014 and go for a shabby chic look.
Landscape front yard–Funny story about landscaping and Tinder. Did not complete this, front still looks like desert inspired.
Remove play structure and plant garden –Stoked that I did this. Garden was crapola but that was due to the soil. 2015 will be much better.
Union Gospel Mission Cap Hill at least 6X–Killed it. Went at least 10 months out of 12. This is one of the best investments of my time. Recharges my grateful battery.
Fence in backyard–Nope. But I know this will happen in 2015 for sure because we will have doggie house guests that need to stretch their legs.
Fence in side yard–Nope. But I got a feeling this will happen in 2015 for shizzle.
Find a solution for front fence–Nope. Will probably do something in 2015.
Finish storage area–Did not finish this either. Just zero time.
Get barreled at Pipeline–Did not make the trip to Oahu but I did log in a record amount of surf this year.
Get excellent surfing footage with Go Pro–I got the best pictures and videos this year.
More surfing, more camping–Hell yeah. Surfed and camped a ton.
Do at least 3 rounds of P90X3–Worked out the entire year. In great shape.
Write a business plan for dickenscaps.com–No time. Bonanza is my main focus.
Audition for Jet City or Theatresports–I did audition several times. Landed my first show and got to perform at the Gum Wall Theater which was a huge goal of mine.
After reviewing that list, I can see that I did a lot of things for myself (hence, why I am so damn happy) but I was not the best homeowner which means I have a bunch of projects piling up, that need my love. I like my choices for 2014 and would not change a thing. Now, on to 2015.
Take my family vacation to Lake Chelan.
Build backyard fence so I can keep dogs secure.
Build side yard fence so I can let dogs out through the side door and make BBQ area nicer.
Do at least 3 rounds of P90X.
Continue to live a Paleo lifestyle.
More surfing and more camping along with great Go Pro shots.
Import quality soil for garden and have the best vegetable garden ever!
Get some new bedsheets.
Teach Noah how to drive.
Add roof vent for stove vent.
Get Amazon11 on a surfboard.
Get Amazon11 to do flip turns.
Many BBQs and lazy days at the pool.
Take more walks with the family.
Feed my family healthier meals and give them healthier choices for snacks.
Investigate and solve the mystery leak around the chimney.
Seal ceiling by mystery fireplace leak and repaint the front room.
Continue to serve in Cap Hill and maybe bring Amazon11, Amazon12 to help.
Quartermaster harbor fireworks show. Need to get hotel/room.
Do a minimum of 3 stand-up comedy routines at Comedy Underground.
Shop more farmers markets and become familiar with my food sources.
There you have it. Lofty goals indeed and I am excited to get started on them. Happy New Year!