Surfing and Entrepreneurialism Grew Up Together

The Orange County region of southern California is famous for lots of reasons and its reputation as an entrepreneurial hotspot is one of the features that continue to attract newcomers. Although the people behind the counters at surf shops and the people shopping for gear might not seem to have much in common at first blush, surf-centered tourism and recreation is part of what drove the business boom in Irvine. It is hard to believe that just a couple generations ago Irvine was a sleepy college town. Today, in addition to the renowned UC Irvine campus, this entire area is filled with start-ups, growing companies, and legacy corporations. The influx of business-minded leaders was brought in part by all the attention that the first waves of surfing enthusiasts generated.

The Perfect California Look

Young adults lured by Orange County’s year-round great weather, world-class surfing conditions, and pristine beaches in the 1960’s and 1970’s quickly wanted to find ways to sustain their favorite hobbies. These young people found work at restaurants, bars, and newly-opened surf shops; before long, they were opening businesses of their own to combine their new career skills with their passion for surfing and surf culture.

Any stroll down busy Irvine streets will give you an up-close look at many of the products that got their start thanks to OC surf culture and those early enterprising pioneers. You can thank those crazy kids for goods like:

  • Fashionable swimming trunks
  • Board shorts
  • Wet suits and surf suits
  • Beach dresses and sun dresses
  • Skate shoes

The styles from brands like ROXY, Vans, Rip Curl, Ocean Pacific, and PacSun (Pacific Sunwear), and Quiksilver have helped distinguish the true look of Orange County and surf culture.

Orange County Beach

Innovation and Adventure Go Hand in Hand

When you think about it, the kind of people who spend their days chasing the perfect wave may have the same spirit of adventure required for taking chances in the business world. Maybe that’s why I feel so at home in this part of the state.

Top 4 Surfing Apps

Technology continues to improve the way in which we do things in society. This is especially true within surfing. Nowadays, smartphone apps can have a positive impact on our daily surfing experience. Before you make plans to go to a beach, check out these top four surfing apps.

NOAA Ocean Buoys

Having trouble sometimes deciding how the ocean will be before you go surfing? Well, this unique app has got you covered.  It gives you weather information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Buoy Center. Now, how awesome is that? At the palm of your hand, you will get to know the wind speed, air and water temperature and even tide information. I think you should download this app asap!

Surf Stoaked

Surf stoaked is a great app that allows surfers to track all of the awesome things they do in the ocean. From sharing the gorgeous photos to rating their day’s surf this app truly has it all. This app is great for surfers to get recommendations to surf at other locations.  If you have friends that surf as well you can invite each other to your next surfing session in a blink of an eye. Instead of taking hours of your day searching the internet to discover a place to surf that day, you can simply log on to the app and have multiple destinations with ratings right in front of your eyes.


The iSurfer app is one of my favorite apps out on the market because it has everything for every type of surfer.  If you are a beginner or experienced, it provides you with great tips and techniques to perform in the ocean. It also gives you advice on which board to select based on your experience level. I highly recommend this surfing app!


There are apps out there that give you tide information, including NOAA Ocean Buoys which I have discussed above. However, Tidegraph is the only app that can give you a view of an entire month’s worth of data in a single snapshot. You have the ability to check out if the tide is dropping or rising at any point in the day.

Longboard or Shortboard – Which would you rather?

Looking to get into surfing? Well, before you go hit the ocean, you must decide which type of board to use. There are two types of boards to choose from and they are longboards and shortboards. Each board type offers different ways to shred through the waters. Today, we can take a look at some the key differences from each board, so you can decide for yourself which one fits you best.


One of the first type of surfboards to shred through to the waters was the longboard. Over time the longboard has gone through some changes, but the simple design remains the same. Longboards and shortboards are both extremely popular in the surfing world today. But the extra length in the longboard gives some surfers more stability while they are surfing. This is great for surfers who have just started and are looking to learn the basics. Surfing is fun, but not an easy sport to learn at first, so I definitely recommend using the longboard for starters. For all beginners, paddling is one of the first things you learn when you hit the ocean and it is much easier to paddle on a longboard than on a shortboard. A longboard is a no brainer if you are a newbie.


The Shortboard was designed during the 1960’s and many referred this as the surfing revolution. After hundreds of years with only the one type of surfboard hitting the ocean, a new unique board was joining the party. The shortboard was a huge hit when it made it’s way into stores. I mean who wouldn’t want to try out this awesome new board in the ocean. However, the shortboard is definitely more difficult to learn for beginners due to it’s smaller size. Shortboards are mostly used by professional surfers as the shortboards offer more freedom for them to make sharper cuts into waves. In my opinion, if you are a beginner I would go with the longboard first and once you get the hang of the basics and feel more confident take out the shortboard for a try.

What to Expect at Your First Surfing Lesson


surf-863696_960_720Surfing is an amazing sport to learn, but it can be challenging and overwhelming as it takes a lot practice and hard work to get the hang of everything. For those who are interested in surfing, it might be best to take a lesson or two to get yourself familiar with the sport. Before you head to your first lesson here are three important things to expect.

Learn the Basics
Before you make your way into the water you will need to go over the basics with your instructor. It is best to start out on the sand so you can understand the mechanics of surfing. These are very important tools to grasp early on, especially when you are dealing with the rough and intense waves.

It’s Hard Work
If there is one piece of advice I can give you it’s that surfing is far from easy. It takes a lot of hard work and practice to get good at this sport. For those who haven’t spent much time swimming in open water, or swimming out into waves this sport might be challenging. You also must have a strong swimming background before you take your first lesson because if you don’t surfing can be dangerous. I highly recommend you master swimming before anything else. Your instructor can still make things easier for you on your first lesson either by taking things slow or avoiding the big waves early on.

Surfing Attire
It is very important to know what to wear when you go surfing for the first time. The boards that are used for beginners have a great grip to surf, but can cause an irritation to the skin that can be rather frustrating. To prevent this from occurring I recommend you wear a wetsuit or long sleeves that will cover your arms to allow you enjoy your first surfing experience.

Top 3 Influential Surfers of All-Time

Duke Kahanamoku

One of the most influential surfers of all-time is no other than Duke Kahanamoku. Duke was born in Honolulu Hawaii and is responsible for spreading a view of surfing that has since soaked into masses and stuck fast. The full-blooded Hawaiian broke American Records at the age of 20, which included short-distance swimming record for the 50 yard sprint and 100 yard world record by almost five seconds. Think that was impressive? Well, the next year the Duke set yet another astonishing record at the Olympics in Stockholm. He won the gold medal in both the 100 and 400-meter freestyle relay.  Duke Kahanamoku died of a heart attack at the age of 77, after a lifetime of piling the building blocks that would become modern surfing. He was named Surfer of the Century in 1999, and the U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp honoring him in 2002.

Miki Dora

Miki Dora was the undisputed king of Malibu in the 1950’s and early 60’s. He carried himself in such a way that many people admired him and wanted to imitate his definitive surfing style. As he grew older, though, he spent more time at Malibu, eventually mastering the wave in a way that no one had before, or has since. An interesting thing to point out is that even with all the publicity Dora received he still remains one of the least known surfers.

Kelly Slater

Nowadays, when you think of surfing two words come to mind and they are Kelly Slater. Slater is one of the most famous surfers ever and there aren’t too many people that can come close to what he has accomplished so far in his career. He came on to the scene right away as he took he took home the Rookie of the Year award in 1991. The next year and he took home the World Title after cement it at Pipe.  The 1990s saw Kelly Slater register possibly the most dominant performance of any athlete in any other sport, as he won the Pipe Masters in ’92, ’94, ’95, ’96, and ’99. His home state of Florida has a Kelly Slater Day and a 10-foot tall statue of him. GQ Magazine called him one of the 25 Coolest Athletes of All Time, Surfer Magazine called him the Greatest Surfer of All Time,

For the rest of the influential surfers, please read this article:


Top 4 Places in The World To Go Surfing

Pipeline, Oahu, Hawaii

One of the most popular places to go surfing in the world is Pipeline, Oahu, Hawaii. It is every surfer’s dream  to ride the huge breathtaking waves, but most surfers do not get the chance of riding because of the extreme difficulty. However, if you feel you are up to challenge than go for it, it will definitely be a experience you will remember for the rest of your life.

El Salvador

El Salvador continues to be a hot commodity for surfers around the world. Some of the popular spots that tourists have been heading to are El Zonte Sunzal, and Libertad because the crowd is not as hectic. With having more space to enjoy the waves and not worry about crowds this location is definitely at the top of the list.

Costa Rica

Another awesome location for surfers to travel is Costa Rica! This unique place is where the majority “hardcore” surfers meet to enjoy the intense waves. I suggest heading down between April and October because that is when the coastlines  produce the best waves, especially in Playa Naranjo. Even if you are not an expert at surfing, Costa Rica still offers places for beginners such as Tamarindo Beach in Tamarindo.


The last location we have is Samoa and it is located just northeast of Fiji. This incredible place offers warm waters, a tropical paradise, and consistent waves from April to October. Did you book a trip here yet? This place is truly unforgettable. The best part of Samoa is has two main islands, Upolu and Savai’i that offer a range of waves so diverse that every surfer will find one they want to gorge on.

The Evolution of the Surfboard

There are many different types of surfers and locations where to surf, but all of them have one thing in common – the surfboard! The surfboard has changed and developed over the past thousand years. Historians have been able to trace the roots of surfing back to 2000 BC where many of the boards were crudely constructed. I created a presentation to showcase the development of the surfboard. Please feel free to comment or share with anyone who might find this interesting!

The Evolution of the Surfboard from Russell Wallace on Vimeo.

“Eddie” Returns After A Six Year Absence

“Eddie”, a big wave competition, took place at Waimea Beach for the first time in six years this past weekend. The waves reached a record height as many of them reached to be 60 feet. In order for a competition to be considered an “Eddie”, the waves must be over forty feet high and be sustainable all day. This year, El-Nino played a big part to the height of these waves as the weather pattern fueled the water and the creation of them.

2010_mavericks_competitionBig-Wave surfing has consistently drawn in a big crowd to the beaches of Hawaii. A record number of people lined the beach to watch 28 professional surfers engage the monster surges of the bay. It’s estimated that over 25,000 people came to the beach in awe of getting the chance to see the “Eddie”. Some people camped out for 24 hours to get a prime view of the competition.

Many people do not know the legend behind the heroic person it honors. Eddie Aikau was a Waimea Bay lifeguard and a surfing pioneer when it came to Big Wave surfing. The legend says that not a single person passed during his tenure as a lifeguard. At 31  years old, he lost his life retracing the route from Hawaii to Tahiti; something his Polynesian ancestors did. The canoe Aikau and his team were in capsized twelve miles off the coast of the Hawaiian island, Molokai. Eddie was last seen paddling on his surfboard in an attempt to seek help.

The competition was named after him to honor his contributions to the surfing community and the way he would brave waves that others were too afraid to. The competition name was cemented in 1984 after organizers of the competition debated if the conditions of the water were too dangerous. One professional surfer responded to the organizers stating that Eddie would go. Eddie’s brother, Clyde Aikau, is the only surfer to have entered the previous eight competitions. At the age of 66, this year was the last year he will be participating.

Besides the return of the “Eddie”, the competition had the largest payout in big wave surfing with a prize of $75,000. This year’s winner was John John Florence, a 23 year old native of Hawaii. He scored 301 points out of a possible 400. It was his first “Eddie” and a dream come true for him. He tweeted after the competition that “Such an honor. Thank you Aikau family, Brock, and Hawaiian water patrol ! A day I won’t forget.”

Murky Surfing

The winter season brings with it winter storms. Despite California’s “perfect” weather, the state still gets slapped with some awful storms from time to time. This winter with the return of “El Niño” – a complex weather pattern that creates fluctuating temperatures, and high winds, resulting in fierce storms – has brought with it an array of problems to the California coastline. Power Outages, flooding, fallen trees, and even deaths were reported during the most recent ENSO (El Niño-Southern Oscillation) cycle. According to, beach goers and surfers are seeing some different effects, as California coastlines are pumped with loads of dirty water.

Water-1560x1170According to Heal the Bay’s Senior Coastal Policy Manager Dana Murray, one inch of rain from a storm can translate into one billion gallons of runoff in LA County storm drains. Since so much surface area is covered by asphalt, large quantities of rainfall are not absorbed into the soil, but instead streamed right into municipal storm drains. Most of Southern California’s storm drains run into the ocean, draining billions of gallons of LA street water into the ocean. Yuck.

“Dirty water” running into the ocean is definitely a health hazard for surfers and beach goers in California. Since much of the runoff originates from streets and sidewalks, much of the dirty waters flowing from the region’s storm drains contain harmful pathogens, pollutants, and fecal bacteria. This pathogens can cause infectious diseases like Hepatitis, Salmonella, Shigellosis, E Coli., Enterococci, MRSA, Conjunctivitis, and others. Each of these is just as harmful as the other if not treated properly. Some, even with treatment, can be unpleasant. Therefore, in order to avoid future discomforts, you should take a few extra precautions before running into the water after a storm.

For starters, don’t surf in dirty water. Once the 72-hour warning goes into effect, heed that warning. Find the discipline to stay away from the water even if you’re a beach bum or surf aficionado. If you have any open wounds, it is ABSOLUTELY imperative that you stay out of the water.

Secondly, screen your surf turf. Be very selective of where you choose to surf and swim after a storm. Definitely avoid swimming in areas near storm drains and river mouths. Make sure the area you surf doesn’t seem too murky, and please, avoid taking gulps of bacteria soup while you’re in the water.

Finally, check yourself thoroughly after the fact. If even a few days have passed it’s better to be safe than sorry. First try to blow as much water from your sinuses as possible. Scrub and disinfect any cuts or abrasions with alcohol and anti-bacterial products. And lastly, shower and brush your teeth immediately (either at home or at the beach showers). Don’t forget to clean behind the ears !

If you liked this post and are interested in reading more info on surf and swim, check out my blog for more. Thanks for reading!

Kelly Slater Becomes A Hero As Monster Waves Hit Hawaii

Kelly Slater - photo by Rob Keaton

Kelly Slater – photo by Rob Keaton

It’s winter in Hawaii and the surfers are loving it. During the winter, Hawaii experiences enormous waves that head towards the north shore of Hawaii. This year’s winter sent over 40-foot waves for surfers to ride. Surfers from all over decided to head over to Waimea Bay to catch these gargantuan waves. Surfers such as Tom Dosland, Clark Kittle, Kelly Slater were around the festivities of surfers attempting to surf.

During all the surfing action, an Australian tourist Sarah White and her baby after a rogue wave swept them all the way to the street. Luckily the 43-year-old surfer Kelly Slater was denied action to surf happened to be around the area and was able to rescue Sarah White and her baby. Although, White sustained some cuts and bruises she and her baby made it out the water safe and secure.

Later that day, the husband of the two victims wrote on his Instagram saying, “So thankful the surf gods denied @kellyslater today cos [sic] for whatever reason he was right there to save my wife and kid who were swept across the road by a freak wave today”.

Kelly Slater just happened to be in the right area at the right time. Slater did mention, he was happy that he was able to save the mother and baby, but the lifeguards were not too far from the scene to contribute to the situation.

Lifeguard’s understand how risky it is for surfers during the winter time because of the intensive waves. One of the lifeguards of Waimea Bay mentioned surfers know how dangerous it is to go surfing with waves that high, but they still do it. Hawaii News Now reported, by the end of the day, the waves at Waimea Bay had grown so tall that lifeguards had to ride jet skis to help at minimum 25 surfers who weren’t able to paddle back to the beach themselves.

Being a surfer is about taking the risk, which means catching the biggest wave even though it’s not the safest thing to do. Surfing in the Winter, is the best time to catch waves taller than the typical waves you would surf in the summer.

Below, you can watch footage of the surfers catching the waves out at Waimea Bay.