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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A One-Way Trip Around the World | Why Steve Quit His Job

My friend Steve right now is about half way (geographically) through his trip around the world.  I have to share this because it is such a great story and I am really, really jealous.

Steve quit his job and bought a one-way ticket around the world.  Steve is a friend of mine from college.  He always had plans to graduate and get a job in New York City to pursue a career in finance, makes tons of money, enjoy his life and ride off into the sunset.  But after a few years working for JP Morgan in the Big Apple, the awesome life and the sunset weren't there, so Steve decided to check out and planned his trip around the world.

The trip he planned is awesome: Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand over the course of a year plus.  Full details and story are at his blog Operation Backpack the World Tour.  The pictures he has are unreal and, like I said, I get very jealous.  The least I can do is post some of them to social media pages for other people to check out too.

Some highlights of Steve's trip so far:
  • Bungee Jumping in Interlaken, Switzerland.  Words don't do it justice.
  • Roadtrip to Sarajevo, Bosnia.  More to Bosnia than bad "war" stories.  
  • Hockey Game: Zagreb v Salzburg.  Not exactly the NHL.
  • Caving in Laos. Try to do that in the US.    
  • Cambodian Temples.  Needed a map to find Cambodia.
  • Full Moon Party, Thailand.  Like a midnight beachfront rave.  
And there are tons of other things Steve has done and still has to do, including the continent of Australia.  But Steve's trip has been awesome, in addition to all the places he has been, because he took a few leaps of faith:
  • Traveling by Himself.  Steve had some people visit him at his stops along his journey, but he is traveling by himself.  This means he has to go out of his way and ensure that he is meeting new people and making new friends all the time. 
  • Plane Ticket Around the World.  I didn't know these really existed.  I'm sketchy on the restrictions: you can only fly in one direction each flight (east or west), get multiple flights but have to change countries, etc., but it makes it way more realistic and affordable to travel to Europe, Asia and Australia, for example.
  • Quit His Job.  There is no time table for Steve's return.  He's not on a short vacation.  He gets to take his time to experience new places, new people and their cultures.  You can't beat that.
  • Surf!.  Steve will be paddling out in Australia.  For me, a trip around the world wouldn't be complete without getting on waves at world-class destinations.    

It sounds crazy to quit your job, change your life and travel around the world.  But if you're looking for some inspiration, Steve is your guy.  

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Surfing's WCT 2013: Title Preview and Schedule of Events

If you didn't already know, the ASP's Surfing World Championship Tour (WCT) is getting ready to kickoff for 2013!  The waiting period for the tour's first stop begins March 2.


Check out the full schedule of events for 2013:
  1. Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast – March 2 – 13, 2013
  2. Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach – March 27 – April 7, 2013
  3. Billabong Rio Pro – May 8 – 19, 2013
  4. Volcom Pro Fiji – June 2 – 14, 2013
  5. Billabong Pro Teahupo’o – August 15 – 26, 2013
  6. Hurley Pro at Trestles – September 15 – 21, 2013
  7. Quiksilver Pro France – September 27 – October 7, 2013
  8. Rip Curl Pro Portugal – October 9 – 20, 2013
  9. Billabong Pipe Masters – December 8 – 20, 2013  
The tour starts off in Queensland at Snapper with the first of two events Down Under.  It may be winter in the northern hemisphere but right now it's late summer in the southern hemi, making for the perfect atmosphere for the WCT season-opening event.  

The 2 event stretch of Fiji and Teahupo'o are the most exotic locations on the WCT and also have the potential for the biggest waves.  Teahupo'o was blowing up for last year and Cloudbreak was going off too - hopefully the same is true for this year. 
Kelly at Cloudbreak!
The WCT comes to the US when it sets up shop at Trestles in mid-September.  If you are looking for a reason to schedule a trip to California, you just found one.

Who will win the 2013 WCT Crown??

Here's the final 2012 WCT standings; Parko took the title back to Australia:
Parko, stoked on his title
  1. Joel Parkinson (AUS)
  2. Kelly Slater (USA)
  3. Mick Fanning (AUS)
  4. John John Florence (HAW)
  5. Adriano de Souza (BRA)
  6. Taj Burrow (AUS)
  7. Gabriel Medina (BRA)
  8. Josh Kerr (AUS)
  9. Julian Wilson (AUS)
  10. Owen Wright (AUS) 

It goes without saying that Parko, Kelly and Mick are all favorites for 2013 with their combined world title experience.  But outside of that crew, John John Florence is knocking on the door.  Last year in his first season on tour he had some huge results and was able to finish in 4th.  Imagine what he can do with a year of experience.
The Brazilians are also lurking and looking to make more noise (as they always do) this season.  Could one of the "next" guys like Jordy or Julian make a title push?  How about newcomer Sebastian "Seabass" Zietz, who killed it on the North Shore this winter? 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

How to Make the Best Green Smoothie | 10 Tips to Make Your Green Smoothie Even Better

Hi guys! I know you are dying to hear about my tips for making the perfect green smoothie...have you followed my green smoothie recipe yet??

Check out my top 10 tips below for making your green smoothie even better!

  1. Blend. Blend some more. Then blend for another minute. It tastes better the finer the chop.  
  1. Drink it on ice. Cold smoothies go down easier than warm ones. 
  1. Go easy on the kale in the beginning. Raw kale can rip through your stomach and cause a little bloating if you aren't used to eating it. I would suggest making your smoothies with kale and spinach or kale and another veggie in the beginning. 
  1. This isn't called a fruit smoothie.  It's called a green smoothie, so just chill with adding those extra apples.
  1. Adding lemon juice or lime juice helps to cut any bitterness and give it a little zip. 
  1. Get creative. There are tons of great veggies and fruits out there that blend well together. This is what I am drinking right now:  kale, swiss chard, spinach, strawberry, coconut water, chia seeds & lemon juice.  
  1. Use a straw (they are fun!)
  1. Understand that if you choose to use mustard greens, no matter what else you blend with it, no matter how much fruit or ANYTHING you put in there, it will taste like mustard. We learned the hard way on that one. 
  1. Pressed for time in the mornings and feel like this is a huge process?? No prob. Just make 2 batches of smoothie at night and put them in a plastic container with a tight lid, like an old Gatorade bottle or juice container. Then you can enjoy your smoothies for a day or 2 without the daily work! 
  1. You can find more recipes on Raw Family too.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Best Surf Competitions Around the World

By Andrew Sachs
Whether you're an avid surf enthusiast, a newcomer to the lifestyle, or just a sports fan looking to check out something new, a major surfing competition is an exciting event to see.  Tons of fans everywhere, ocean swells and the talents of the world's greatest surfers is something that everyone can get into. Check out some of the biggest surf events that take place around the world that should be on your bucket list!

ISA World Masters Surfing Championship
Montañita Beach, Ecuador for 2013

The ISA World Masters Championship is one of the biggest events in surfing, welcoming both professionals and amateurs alike. Changing venues every one-to-two years, the ISA World Masters Championship takes place at some of the finest surfing venues that the world has to offer, while keeping the event fresh year after year, making it one of the most popular contests among both the competitors and the fans. The ISA is also home to the World Surfing Games, the World Bodyboard and Kneeboard Championship, and the World Junior Surfing Championship.
The Quiksilver Pro
Landes Coastline, France

Featuring live entertainment, a concert, and of course, a surf competition, the Quiksilver Pro is thought of by many as the largest surfing event in Europe. Taking place over 4 separate beaches along the Landes Coastline of France, the Quiksilver Pro guarantees optimal conditions for the competition, helping to draw some of the biggest names in surfing. The perfect waves, professional riders, and live entertainment make the Quiksilver Pro just as much a beach party as it is a surf competition.
Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions
Kuda Huraa, Maldives

Considered "the world's most luxurious surfing contest," the Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Championship takes place on one of the country's best beaches. The calm waves, mixed with the occasionally extreme swells, make it the perfect event to watch your favorite professional rider showcase his skills. The local hotels even offer special package-stays for surfing professionals and fans alike.
Telstra Drug Aware Pro
Perth, Australia

Taking place in one of the most picturesque spots on Earth, the Telstra Drug Aware Pro Surf Competition takes some of the best surfers in the world and throws them into the mix with the famous Australian waves and culture. The Telstra Drug Aware Pro is held along the coastline of the Margaret River, a prime example of the great waves you'd expect to find in Australia. The competition has events for both male and female riders, and has brought out some of the surfing world's greatest riders.

Getting the chance to attend any of these four events is an excellent opportunity to plunge feet-first into the world of competitive surfing. Whether you're looking to hit the swell yourself, or just watch some of surfing's legends carve the waves, these events are great fun and something that everyone should get a chance to attend in their lifetime!
Post by guest author Will from Fellow, purveyors of the finest quality board shorts and surfing accessories.  Fellow believes in making the highest quality products which last.  Learn more about their products by connecting with them on facebook.  

Thursday, February 14, 2013

How to Make the Best Green Smoothie | Green Smoothie Recipes

I love being healthy. I love exercising and I love finding out about new products (like the TRX I got for Christmas) or new supplements (milk thistle & dandelion root to help liver function) to help me in my never-ending quest for maximum health. 

But sometimes life just gets in the way of your good intentions...which is how I was feeling this past September. Travel, social events, laziness...I was frustrated and needed a boost. A course correction dietarily speaking.  I came across this book called Green for Life,  by author Victoria Boutenko. The gist of Mrs. Boutenko's book is we all need way more raw leafy greens in our diets. WAY MORE. They are the holy grail of health and will make us look and feel better. The easiest way to consume greens in the sufficient quantities we need - blended green smoothies.  BOOM.  I'm all in.  

The book listed a bunch of sample recipes, so we started with those...

Here's a simple example:
1 cup kale
1 cup spinach
2 apples, peeled
1 1/2 cups water

So easy, right?? 

We chopped, we blended, we drank.  Oh - and when I say we, I mean my husband Donny and I (he is such a good sport).  Day 1-4, I was like, these aren't terrible, but I wasn't jumping out of bed every morning with excitement to drink my new smoothie. However, something magical happened on day 5. The smoothie tasted so GOOD. I was excited to get out of bed for these. I just needed a few days for taste buds to get used to the change.  Physically, I felt like my skin cleared up a little, I wasn't craving sugar nearly as much (I have a huge sweet tooth), I felt full and satisfied during the day and I was sleeping much better. Donny was really vibing on them too.  It's February and we are still drinking our daily smoothies. I love knowing that I am getting a ton of great nutrients and like the routine of the morning chop.

Tips for making the perfect green smoothie to come in part 2!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Help Save Our Ocean | Sign the Petition Against Rehoboth Beach's Ocean Dumping Plan

Rehoboth, on the Delmarva Peninsula
If you love the ocean and everything that goes with it, please lend a hand in doing your part to protect the environment!  Take 60 seconds to sign the petition against Rehoboth Beach, Delaware's plan to dump "effluent", aka treated waste water from its city's sewage treatment plant, into the Atlantic Ocean!

Rehoboth is a beach town located in southern Delaware about 15 miles north of the Maryland/Delaware border.  In the summer, its population swells as a beach vacation destination.  I grew up heading to Rehoboth for its boardwalk's rides, Grotto Pizza and the horse-race game.          

Unfortunately, Rehoboth is proposing one pollution problem to solve another.  Currently, Rehoboth is discharging its sewage wastewater into the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal, which flows into the Rehoboth Bay and the Indian River Bay.  Not surprisingly, the water in those bays is suffering from excess algae growth, which is highly detrimental to water quality.  So Rehoboth has to find another place to dump its wastewater.  Since the bays didn't work out as a dumping spot, it's new solution is the Atlantic Ocean.

Their harmful solution: "treated effluent is discharged through an outfall and diffuser into the
ocean at a depth and distance from the shore that allows adequate mixing with the sea water such
that all water quality criteria and public health standards are achieved."  It's funny how harmless they can make it sound.  Why the ocean?  It's "the most practical solution."  Perfect.

In case you didn't know, effluent from a wastewater treatment plant may contain many different substances that "could impact physical, biological, and/or human environments when it is discharged.  Of primary concern are:

  •  Nutrients 
  •  Bacteria 
  •  Metals, Volatiles, Semi-Volatiles, Phenolics, and Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) 
  •  Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs)"      

What can you do to help out?  Surfrider Delaware is doing its best to promote this issue to the public.  It's offering a easy link to submit your opposition to the Rehoboth Outfall Pipe - sign your name and email and your comment goes to the Director of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.  Please sign the petition now - the comment period closes February 26.

And help keep wildlife - plants, animals and humans alike - from swimming with metals and personal care products!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The World's Best Après Ski | Ski Bars

By Andrew Sachs
Like the nineteenth hole of a golf course, the après ski can be, for many, the best part of the ski experience.  "Après ski" is French for "after-ski" aka the after-ski party!  If you like to party as much as you like the slopes, choosing a resort with a good après ski scene will be high on your list of priorities. Whether you like to ski the advanced trails, snowboard the lower slopes or are an absolute novice to winter sports don’t miss out on the sheer abandon and fun of a world class après ski.

So, where are the best ones?

 Krazy Kanguruh

St. Anton, Austria

Located in this popular Austrian resort, right next to the slopes, the bar has just about the best après ski atmosphere you are likely to find. Things start to get lively from as early as mid-afternoon in the season and most people simply turn up fresh from the slopes in their ski clothing. Head toward the Galzig ski lift and be prepared to party. As of January 2013, Krazy Kangaruh has launched Jägermeister themed parties so you can expect shots to be delivered directly to your table. The food served is simple and hearty fare but reasonably priced. DJs take over in the evening and a good place to hang out is the sun terrace as the sun goes down. Providing a great après ski since 1965 this party palace looks set to continue for years to come.

Hotel Post 

Zermatt, Switzerland

This Swiss resort is situated in the German speaking part of the country in the canton of Valais. The whole area may seem a little stiff to newcomers as it is packed with high rollers attracted by the casino and restaurants. Nevertheless, the après ski scene is not formal at all. The Broken Bar club is probably the most legendary club in the Alps and it is frequented by younger skiers looking for a night-long party. If you like live music as well, there are a couple of venues that cater for different genres. Pink Live Music Bar often has a blend of soul, funk, jazz and R&B, so head there for good times that go on until at least 2am.

Smithy’s Tavern 

Les Deux Alpes, France 

This French bar has a pub-like atmosphere and is now firmly established as the trendy place to dine and party in the resort. It looks just like an authentic Alpine chalet from the exterior, but don’t be fooled. Inside, there is a huge bar and a restaurant that covers two floors. The restaurant and bar games, like foosball and pool, are the mainstay of the scene until mid evening when the party atmosphere really takes off. Expect rock music, pumping DJs and plenty of mulled wine to get the crowd going.

Trofana Alm 

Ischgl, Austria

Another Austrian après ski favorite, the Trofana Alm is a restaurant and bar which serves traditional alpine cuisine and great pizzas. The whole resort seems to take après ski even more seriously than the skiing itself. It will be hard to go wrong if you are seeking a place to party in Ischgl, but for the more intrepid Trofana Alm has it all. Expect a noisy, not to say boisterous, atmosphere of tightly packed bodies. Everyone seems to be drinking hard or singing loudly. Don’t stop in for a soda.

Dick’s Tea Bar 

Val d’Isère, France

This French resort is synonymous with après ski. Opened in 1979, Dick’s Tea Bar is one of the best venues for a party you could find in the whole country, let alone ski resorts. The bar opens at 4pm everyday so head straight there from the slopes. Dick’s offers an unrivalled combination of live music, DJs and a nightclub like atmosphere that takes over in the later evening, into the early hours.

Whether you are an advanced skier or a novice, don’t miss out on the after party!  Pick one of these resorts with an infamously lively après ski scene for your next ski trip and you won’t be disappointed.

This article is by VIP SKI, the leading experts in luxury ski holidays, with luxury accommodation options throughout the Alps including everything from hotels in St Anton to chalets in Val d'Isere.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Valentine's Day Gifts for Fun People | Surfers, Skiers, Skateboarders and Bikers

The holiday-who-will-not-be-named is coming up in about a week...

Ladies: what should you get for the boyfriend/husband who never seems to want anything because he's too busy skiing/snowboarding to spend any time with you?

Guys: how do you avoid awkward, annoying shopping trips and spending tons of money?

Check out our top gift ideas for fun people:

1.  Skateboard Rack: this is the top-selling rack on our website.  Why?  Because you can't beat the price at $19.99, it can hold skateboards, snowboards, ski poles and more, and it holds 3 of whatever you're storing.  If you're working off a budget (everyone is!) grab this rack as a gift and maybe you'll get lucky...

2. Surfboard Rack: maybe your significant other seems to like his/her surfboards more than he/she seems to like you...maybe it's actually true!  Show them that you care about the things they care about - get them this versatile surfboard rack that can store up to 6 boards and maybe you'll get noticed!

3. Bike Rack: are you that annoying couple that does everything together so much so that you have matching bikes?  Believe it or not, we even have a rack for you!  Store your matching bikes on this freestanding vertical bike rack with storage for two bikes.  And stay away from the rest of us.

4. Ski Rack: getting ready to hang up your skis and settle down?  We have the rack for that; it can hold up to 6 pairs of skis.  Need to let your girlfriend/boyfriend know that you want to move on?  Buy yourself this ski rack and tell her/him it's from the other person you're dating.  I think they call this killing two birds with one're single with a new ski rack!

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Kelly Slater Wave Company!?!

People have been wondering: what would Kelly Slater, with more surfing world titles than most (normal) people have fingers, do for the follow-up act to his surfing career?  It looks like we now may know at least part of the answer.  He plans to develop wave/surf theme parks around the world.  Sounds crazy, I know.  But so does 11 world titles!

the perfect wave?

Some general plans for his wave/surf theme parks are laid out on his website,  The biggest draw is a circular wave pool: "Kelly Slater Wave Company's unique circular format allows for maximized wave production, efficiency and a continuous stream of surfers on and off waves.  It also allows for the optimum use of spectator vantage points on the large outer perimeter."  Really.

world titles on world titles on world titles

The wave/theme park is then built around the circular wave pool.  It will offer more than just the wave, it will offer "popular amenities" and "unique entertainment" for family and friends too.  But who are we kidding, the wave is the main draw.  It claims to offer waves tailored to an individual's ability and preference - count me in for a long barrel!  Pity the fool who begs for the blown-out storm chop...

But haven't wave pools been tried in other places, and failed?  The KSWCo. says it has or will develop proprietary hydrofoil generators to create specific types of swell that form directly next to the generators.  "KSWC does not pump air or water to generate waves, as these processes are inefficient and unreliable."  Hey don't tell that to mother nature!  But seriously, "Advanced Patent Pending technologies control currents, waves and chop within the closed circular basin.  These include wave, seice, and chop cancellation; passive flow redirection; and other current mitigation systems.  The bathymetry of the basic is designed to provide optimal wave shape and guest safety."

no comment

The idea of a circular wave pool that spits out perfect waves on repeat is so unbelievable it's hard to imagine.  On one hand, I get psyched just thinking about tucking into barrels that I would otherwise have no chance of tucking into.  On the other hand, wouldn't this be the ultimate commercialization of surfing?  The best surfer ever selling out the sport to make $$$?  If you think there are a lot of kooks out there now, wait until there are circular wave pools!

My hope is that the fake waves are so good that people forget about the real ones.  I won't mind getting up at the crack of dawn to grab glassy sets by myself while the sun rises.  Even if the waves are "inefficient" or "unreliable."  Thanks Kelly, I can get used to that.