Jun 7, 2010

maui rainbow retreat in Japan

Izu is great in a sence that it is an excellent surf spot but also offers great trails for biking , trainrunning and hiking. wall climbing ( not that I have one it but heard it is good) and offeres great hot springs and seafood! what more can you ask for?(keiko teaching)
This time we did the small yoga retreat with our teacher from Maui Keiko. the owner of the lodge Tomoko cooked healthy meal with all local ingredients and her husband took care of so many things like driving, making sure everyone is comfortable.many of the girls surf too so we got to surf , yoga and enjoy great local food that Tomoko( owner of the lodge) offered. Onsen and great food, and talked all night with all kinds of snacks from all the places. great get together.(Hot spring , Onsen in Japanese, this is a very old traditional japanese building and had huge Hinoki wood Tub, amazing relaxation)
Many of the girls went sightseeing, Aiko who run bike trip service in Izu took us to some of the beautiful spot( and great cute shops)The place we stayed is Villa Shirahama and its location is great, as well as the host, They built the yoga studio last year and there are so many cool things around the whole property and the view is mind blowing , not to mention you can check the surf from where you sleep.
Anyone visiting Japan should consider visiting Izu, since it is fairly close from Tokyo , yet offers beautiful ocean with waves, lush green forest and old historical sites with great food! and experience all that by staying this Villa and meet Soma Family can guarantee to make the trip memorable.
check out www.villa-shirahama.com

It's always good to see old friends!

Some of the friends I got to see in this Japan trip.

Chikara Tsumura in Ishigaki, we got to explore some new spots and rode some waves all by ourselves. Ishigaki is one of the Yaeyama islands where I feel very connected. rush green, crystal clear water and bright corals . local music and sincere people. I love this place!

Tokuoka family and friends in Iriomote.
This island really reminds me of Haiku where I live but even more remote. everyone is very friendly and I always feel at home when I come. I dont even have to surf or kite , just being here and relax , walk on the beach and look for shells ( pick some eatable seaweed and others ) makes me sooo happy!
If I ever choose a place to live in Japan, Iriomote would be on top of the list( except I am very afraid of Habu snake)

Omaezaki is windsurfing Mecca of Japan. and many of my friends including my best friend motoko and my favorite kid Sumomo( motoko's daughter) live here.
This time Motoko introduced me to standup fishing. I saw it on her blog that she was catching some real good eating big fish and I was like . " If Motoko can do it, I should be able to do it"
I got to try it twice but I didnt catch anything in Omaezaki, but the idea of catching the diner was so sttractive I bought the whole setup and started practicing. it is a great way to train for paddling too. You end up paddling for a long time hoping to catch something.

Izu is one of the closest beach resort area from Tokyo but it is so quiet and beautiful. This Place also reminds me of Haiku , where Lush green meets surf.
I got to know this beautiful family who run a vacation place and they help us organize yoga retreat there. Soma family is such a beautiful creative family that every time I visit them they make me feel right at home and also inspired to be more creative. 3 sisiters, Minami,natsu, and Nonno are so cute, too!
We had some Patagonia staff camp here as well and since then I heard may Patagonia staff get together and use this facility for surf trips.

I can go on and on about people and places in this trip. I guess there is no place like home!

Apr 21, 2010

Butterfly Effect 100+ girls at the beach!

This week seems like a Girls Power week! After doing the KB for girls camp , now we have a Butterfly Effect event. This is I believe 4th annual event organized by one of the top winfsurfer/surfer/ fun loving watergirl Tatiana Howard. She started this event just to get all the girls together and have fun but now as the event name say it all, it has an butterfly effect and they are going global. having event in Tahiti, Fiji, Dominican republic, Oregon, etc. and every place has its own venue but the purpse is the same, get all te girls together and have a good time in the water and also help each other.
This year, we donate some food, used clothers to help local community. and many of the sponsors gave the participants all kinds of goodies.

The day of the event was a bit nerve wrecking, usually in May, we dont get big waves but today it was about 6ft and onshore, not so easy for most of the girls who came. Tatiana had to decide to do the downwind run from Sprecklesville which was very wise. Of course they are some girls who can handle and may want to challenge but one serious injury or rescue can ruin the whole meaning of the event, it is not a contest, it is all about fun and have to enjoy te ocean safely. After doing some warm up yoga at Hookipa most of the girls drive down to Sprecklesville and went down to Kanaha on whatever the gear they chose, windsurfing, kiting, stand up board and canoe , it was a sight to say the least.

Coolest thing is you get to meet the girls who does different ocean sports and they are all very passionate and inspiring. I didnt go to the night party but I bet that went pretty crazy. Thanks to Tati who orgazined this event and all the sponsor who helped her !

KB for Girls Kiteboarding Clinic

Kristen Boese is one the the world top kiteboarder and world champion. We met in Turkey many years ago for travel stories . it was a super fun memorable trip and 4 of us in that trip, Marley, me , kristen and the photographer Ugo are still real close now.
Kristen e-mailed me while ago about this camp she was gonna have on Maui, it is a part of the KB for girls which she organize the camp all over the world for girls and they can sign up for free coaching and get together and have a great time.

She works so hard for it and I am very grateful of her dedication. So it was my honor to be part of it and help while she is doing the camp on Maui.(one of the camper and my friend Marie and I carrying demo kites to the beach)
I was just recovering from crazy flu that I had on the way back from MArshall, I thought this could be deadly , I lost 18 pounds in a week and I had never suffered as much as this flu before so I wasnt in shape for kiting but I got to be at the beach and make sure everyone is safe. and I did what I was good at, talking! I dont hang out at kite beach so much lately so I never knew that there were that many female kiteboarders on the island, it was such a great oppotunity for me to get to meet everyone. Everyone seemed super stoked on their progress and the fact that we got to kite together.
Thanks Kristen for having this event for all the Maui girls and the girls who were visiting here.

Apr 8, 2010

Sophie and Didier

Our host for this Marshall boat trip is this French couple Didier and Sophie, I met them a year ago in Marshall and as soon as I saw Sophie, we both knew we had so much in common. I heard about them in Majuro and I was paddling around the anchoring yachts to look for their yacht.
We finally met after hearing about each other from many people ( Majuro is a very small town and if something new happens everyone knows about it).
Anyway we talked about all the travels , their life was fascinating. They both worked in boats, and sailing since they are in teens and decided to own their own boat and do charters, they are specialized in very remote places ( many that you cannot get to by planes) and rough seas like Antarctica , Alaska, Patagonia.
I was telling them my dream is to go to Aleusian Islands and they were like " Oh, that is where we are heading after here, you want to come along?"
I wish! but sailing in the rough sea all the way to Aleusian for 3 weeks or so , I didin't think I was capable of. I am not that tough.
But we kept in touch as often as we could and I could follow their travels, Aleusian, Kodiak, Chile, Easter island. Tahiti, Tuamotu, Kiribatu, Tonga, Ahh... all my dream places.
Then they e-mailed me that they have opening to have me in Marshall again.( Didier coming back with some fish as Sophie grading coconuts to make some maccaroons)
There was no way I was gonna pass this oppotunity. With their yacht , we could explore different atolls, new spots, and have it all to ourselves.
I cannot thank them enough for the experience and hospitality. I learned so much while I was on the boat with them. People may think living on a boat is relaxing and kicking back , you play and eat and life is slow pace. No, they work so hard and there is always something to work on. and when something goes wrong, there is no repair guy , store to buy parts, or lifeguards to save you, you are on your own. They are the toughest people I know and they dont even act that way. But I know they can be calm in a very serious situation or even crack some joke about it, and that is real toughness. Knowing that I am in their hands really made me feel safe.Sophie was a burst of energy and always find somer fun things to do, most of the time hard excercise. She paddles against the strong wind just for fun. and even when boat is rocking and I can barely stand still. she uses that to make it more challenging for her to do aerobics . She was a amazing chef and I got some great recipes from her using coconuts and sea food. Didier's cute sence of humor and knowledge of the ocean was facinating that I could never get tired of listening to his stories.
They are very special people and I often think of them. Just knowing they are somewhere so far away from everyone and living simply and dealing with raw power of nature in daily basis, makes me feel good. At least someone is doing it.

This trip was amazing not only because if the beautiful islands and great waves but also and more so because of Sophie and Didier. it sure was inspiring.

Marshall Islands Sailing Trip

Just came back from Marshall Islands. 2 weeks on a boat and 5 days or so in Majuro .
It was amazing, not the typical boat trip for surfing. it was more like ocean workshop for me.
Many times I was not in my comfortable element , I was seasick at first and many days I was feeling super drousy from the drugs.
my back wnet out again and I had to lay down and lay low for several days. being on a boat hoping to get some good suring and kiting and possibly good shot. being stuck inside the boat in a hot humid day, laying in agony of pain wasn't fun .

But our hosts, Sophie and Didier were great. and so tough and comfortable with open ocean that made me feel so safe and relaxed about that. if it wasn't them, having 2 storms with lots of wind , being on a boat could have been scary for me.

Ocean was healthy in Marshalls, so healthy that there are fish everywhere and so are sharks.
I had never been worrid or scared of sharks on Maui but here, I was . towards the end I was even scared to jump in to snorkel.
once when I was kiting in shallow sandbar I saw big gray shadow, which at first i thought it was shadow of my kite that I was stirring.
but it didn't move the way I was moving the kite.
it was very close and buzzing near me. I guess it was gray shark being terrutorial.Other incident was when I was already nervous going through the passage towards outside of the lagoon to ride some waves, I saw black fins swimming right by me. between 2 little islands, there was a windshadow and I almost dropped the kite. I would have been super scared if I dropped the kite there since Didier told me there are many sharks hanging out in the passage.
but all of a sudden I saw those fins were 2 of them and not sharks but dolphins. whew!
When the boys went spear fishing, once they catch the fish , thay had to rush up to the surface and get on a boat and out the fish in a boat and leave the spot and go to the next spot, because within a minute , pretty good size shark will be lurking around you every time.
I guess that is you call "healthy sea"
When we were walking around exploring shallow sandy lagoon. we saw plenty of reef sharks blacktips, etc.they weren't big but they are still sharks. i guess if you dive,you are used to seeing them and you don't get scared. but once I got scared, i had hard time getting rid of the fear.Nonetheless, I fully enjoyed the whole trip. especially being in the middle of nowhere and see noone around .
we would pick some lime , breadfruit growing wild and catch all kinds of fish and eat like kings and queens.
You have plenty of time. not being rushed for anything, and shells! I had never seen any place like that.

We got to kite and were planning to catch some swell in one Atoll, I had amazing time last time I was there and was looking forward to it but mother nature had different plan, the storm was approaching and it would have been dagerous if we get stuc there so we had to go straight back to Majuro, and turned out it be that decision was good, because we were stuck in Majuro with crazy rain and wind for days after that.

My windsurfing freids from Maui were traveling there a week before we were there and they had a same kind of swell size and direction while there were there and scored! they have a great footage and shots to prove them and it will probably come out in media and the movie this coming summer. I am looking forward to that!

Traveling to places like Marshall Islands , it is not just for the surf, even though you would love to score some unknown uncrowded surf, that is a bonus.
I was so thankful of Sauvage Yacht, soshie and Didier for giving me the oppotunity to experience the power of big ocean, enjoying the simplest way of life and being humbled by mother nature constantly, I think we all need that once in a while.

I cannot wait to go back there again!


I didn't want to go anywhere this winter, Maui was too good to leave. I didn't make any plans till the waves were gone.
Well, it started to get windy and I started to think about other places. Maui was still good but just as I started thinking about traveling. my friend Sophie and Didier mentioned about saiking trip in Marshalls.
I met the couple 2 years ago when I visited Marshalls for the first time and we had a great connection. we had so many mutural interest and it felt like I could talk forever with them about interesting places and adventures. they are a true adventurers and real tough oceanists.
They do charters of their 60ft yacht but their speciality is rough seas like Antarctica, Patagonia, Aleusian Islands and very remote places like Tuamotu, Kiribati, Ganbier, and many other I haven't even heard of!Marshall Islands were one of the most beautiful place I have been and I had a amazing time last time, great surf, good wind and noone around! It is a matter of time to be discovered by mass and will be like other places like Pompei. Indo, Mentawai.
In fact Indies Trader is there in the winter time, probably setting up some kind of surf vacation ( but they are very confidential about it because they realize they started something and created monster in Mentawai)
It is a great place but it is still3rd world and there are hardly any planes flying to outer islands so boat is the only way to explore all the remote spot.
I felt like this trip with Sophie and Didier is life time experience that if I miss this time, I may not be able to do it.

There were still pretty good surf and wind at home and I didn't have budget but I packed the luggage and used the mileage to purchase the ticket and jumped on a plane with Andrew who just came back from Jackson Hole couple days ago . Now he is off again.

We will see what this trip brings. I love this feeling of not knowing.

Tradewind is back!

We had amazing glassy condition in Dec, Jan and part of Feb with nonstop pumping swells one after another.
I don't know anyone who can remember winter better than this one . As fa as I know, everyone seems to agree that this is the best one ever and cannot imagine it would be better next winter( that makes us sad)
It seems like never ending but we all know that spring is around the corner. and summer is following and then we will have flat spell for months on th northshore.

So far we are still getting many northswells but tradewind seems to kick in lately and that is the sign of spring season .

I am a kitesurfer and I don't mind the wind , but i didn't mind not having wind this winter because it was so good for surfing those amazing waves.
I miss those glassy kanaha days already , but at least we can still go out and enjoy wind sport.
If you live on Maui , you gotta do some kind of windsports, because if you have to wait for the wind to stop. you might be waiting for months till next winter.

Mar 6, 2010

Honolua Bay

As I woke up and cheked my e-mails, I found an e- mail from my friend who is in Northshore Oahu for the whole season shootong watershots. it said that he was coming to Maui to catch some shots in Honolua with couple japanese pro surfers.
I called his number and they were already at Honolua at 7 am. They decided to come last night and rallied around 2 am to get to airport and then took first flight and got rental car. and here they are dawn patroling Honolua! That is pretty good!It was too onshore to kite on the northside so I was thinking about going to west side in the first place, I drove all the way to Honolua to see them.They were already in the water. waves were going off. I watched them for hours . I know when it is good here, it is hard to catch good set waves because all the locals will catch it and there are not much left . and by the time next sets come, those locals who cought the last one will be back in a lineup.
But they managed to snagg some good ones .There were also other really good surfers and bodyboarders, later on I found out they were Jamie O'brien and Liam Mcmanara, some local ripper I cannot remember the name , and world body board champ Jeff HUbbard etc.(this is Jamie after hours of surfing , locals didn't show too much welcome, he was getting dropped in on left and right, poor thing, that wasn't cool but he was ripping)

Surf art legend John Severson once told me
# Honolua is like Yankee stadium of surfing. any kid can play baseball at yankee stadium technichally but they don't and they shouldn't. Honolua should be that way , too"
I kinda got what he meant. I understand you earn your way up by dealing with junk waves or wait in line for the long time but if you do that and put effort long enough , you will be the one who gets the waves you want. it is total pecking order but I think it is Ok.

Anyways, what a great waves and it wasn't even that windy, everywhere else on the island was gale force! Special place indeed!

Sunset Standup paddle big wave contest

this newest board sport call Standup paddle is growing so fast! now they have a world tour and ran the first event in Sunset.
They had the real Sunset condition and they fully charged the waves.
most of them are already great big wave surfers who can handle this or pipe or Waimea or outer reefs but man! with standup board attchd to your leg, I don't think you want to get worked or dragged in this kind of wave.
I was so excited to see how the guys do and tried to follow the results etc, and came up with this shot of Kala Alexander on the internet.
whew, pretty intense. when you think you are getting better. evryone else is getting better 5 times faster than you. well more like 10 times fastr than me!

Just wonder how far it is going to go, I already see many maui guys riding way more aggressive than last year. I guess it is nice to have guys who can make the trail for you so you have a long long trail to follow . The fun ever ends that way.

Outer reefs, big boys' playground

This winter, I got to experience some outer reefs on a ery good day, the day I enjoyed was the day the spots weren't fully on fire. when it braks full potential ( like these photos ) it is too big for me, I would be way in the channel looking at the big boys ripping way deep and far back , dropping in on some huge bombers.
There are many days that I didn't go out because I knew I didn't belong there and even though I would have enjoyed watching from the channel, I know they enjoyed having that spot with only the people who deserve to be there and no kooks getting in their way.
As much as I was frustrated with my lack f skills and being chicken, I was so stiked to see the boys charging and thier eyes get totally lit up with adrenalin and highest level of high. it was so inspiring!

I think Now I know how big I can handle when I have sup board that drags me in the watr for ever( not big) . it is sad but true, and I sure hope maybe next year I can handle just a little bit bigger and powerful waves , but not this year.
But how lucky I am to have all these guys who charges right in front of you and make it look so good and make you want to feel what they feel soooo bad! They are my huge inspirations.
when it gets big like that , line up has no arguments, no sup, surf,kite windsurf classes, it is all love and happiness and everyone respect each other and take turns ( becaue there are plenty of waves and a lot fewer people than usual)
Just for that reason, I would love to get better and feel comfortable being out there so no one is going to give me stink eyes or see people yelling at each other.

This winter is the one to remember!

Jan 15, 2010

Epic Lanes with Kona wind


Jan 8, 2010

Big X'mas Present!

Dec 28, 2009

never ending glassy waves!