NoPro GoPro

28 05 2010

Here is the first in a series of videos shot with a GoPro Hero camera.  You know–those little waterproof cameras mounted on your wrist or on your board.

The videos can only get better.  You’ll see what I mean.

It’s tough getting used to the camera.  Then, I only had an hour to edit the clips into a single video.

Check it out.

Another Real GoPro Hero!

25 05 2010

I’ve been working on some footage with my new GoPro underwater camera.  It takes awhile to get it down.

But, let me introduce you to James Taylor, a real hero from Capetown.  Check out his presence of mind–rock solid.  He has obviously used his camera before and knows how to use it.  But, that is not why he is a hero.  You need to watch this.

You think you got smashed on that failed barrel during your last session?

Gotta watch those sandbars.

James–join the Crowd next time you’re in SoCal.   We share your pain.

Art and Soul

18 05 2010

This one goes without comment.  If you’ve ever surfed Rincon, you’ll get what I mean.   John Vandendries passed it on through his blog.  Thanks John.

Got Weed?

17 05 2010

This one ought to get some hits, but not that kind of hit.  No, it’s not what you thought.

Water Hemlock--looks pretty, but . . .

The Trestles marsh is one of the richest wetland habitats in Southern California.  But, all that green stuff you see as you walk down the trail is not all native.  There are several invasive weeds that have tried to choke out the natives.  Hopefully, this quick guide can help you figure out which ones need to go.

The water hemlock is one of those that can take over an entire area.  You can spot it by the small white flowers, lacy greenery, and spots on its stock.

It doesn’t stay green all year, but it is easy to “spot” when it’s in bloom.   Hemlock is also one of the most poisonous wild plants.  Just takes a mouthfull to kill ya.  So, don’t get it confused with wild parsnips.

Castor Bean Plant

Castor bean is another common, highly poisonous plant.  It can grow into huge trees/shrubs.  The beans are what castor oil is made of.  The poison, ricin, can be concentrated by distillation.  Homeland Security keeps an eye on this one, because a small quantity can kill a large number of people; perfect for terrorists.

The last one in this lesson is black mustard.  It is pretty to look at, but it is a deadly killer for plants.  It can choke out even the hardiest of plants.  It blooms mostly in the Spring, then shrinks back and dries out by Summer.

So, why are these mentioned in a blog about our Trestles?

Mustard and Hemlock in Full Bloom

State Parks and their volunteers and consultants have been working hard to eliminate the invasive weeds from the fringes of the marsh.  If we all get to know which plants are natives and which are weeds, then maybe we will stop along the way to pull the weeds before they take over again.  But, make sure you have gloves and you pull the right plants.

If nothing else, perhaps by seeing, we will realize what a huge effort it is to weed the marsh. And, in turn, perhaps we will even come to appreciate a little more our treasure at the intersection of San Mateo Creek and the sea.

By the way, that other “weed” grows in the marsh too.  But, I would stay away from it; for lots of reasons, not the least of which is you may need a machete and AK-47 to get to it, or at least to get back out of the marsh.   What do you suppose would happen if one of our San Mateo Creek beavers ran across it?  Maybe that’s what happened to our furry friend in February.

Can You Hear Me Now?

13 05 2010

We think the guy who hopped us just has selective hearing, but it may not be that simple.   It could be “Surfer’s Ear.”

No, that’s not the ailment of ignoring the pleas of the surfer deep in the pit behind you at takeoff.  It’s what you can get when you surf a lot, especially in cold water.

Its clinical name is Exostosis.  It occurs when the bone around the ear canal grows into the ear canal, eventually closing it off, even leading to deafness.

A good friend had to have his ears reamed out when he was about 21.  Beyond the excruciating pain and emotional trauma, the worst part was the long recovery period when the waves were mackin’.  He also couldn’t hear for awhile until everything healed.

With the advances in surgical tools and techniques in recent years, the surgery isn’t nearly so brutal.  Here’s a short video by a Newport Beach surgeon that may not be able to beat RotoRooter on price, but could make it a little less painful.

Of course, your mother would probably tell you the best treatment is prevention.   That’s where the ear plugs come in.  Not long ago, anyone with ear plugs was considered a severe medical anomaly or a kook.  Now, the plugs may be why that guy in front of you just scored your wave–“Sorry man, didn’t hear you.”  They have even become fashionable, sort of.

For more information on surfer’s ear, here’s a link to Transworld Surf’s piece on the topic:


See John’s comment from today.  Thanks for the info John.  You might want to pass on our URL to the Doc.

Also, check out John’s blog for more photos of our favorite surf spot (Uppers of course).

David–John can be a staff photographer anytime.

Southern California Oil Spill

4 05 2010

Look familiar? Nowhere Near Louisiana

Felt a little depressed listening to the news from the Gulf of Mexico over the last couple weeks?

You’re not the only one.

Whether you were proclaiming “Drill Baby Drill” or “Yes We Can” in Fall 2008, you have to feel the sadness of the devastation in the Gulf; unless you are living in denial.  We don’t know yet whether the impacts will be short term, long term or permanent, but there will be impacts.

We’ll soon be hearing the extremes–everything from “the fisheries have been eliminated for good” to “the news media is exaggerating the situation again–there was no oil spilled.”  The real picture is likely somewhere in between.  Fish populations will at least be disrupted.  The atmosphere will have more volatile chemicals than if the spill hadn’t happened.  The shorelines will have tar on them for a long time.  Birds and mammals will be threatened, at least for a time.

It’s sort of like spilling a 55-gallon drum of heavy crude in your kitchen.  It can be cleaned up, but the cleanup will be expensive and take a long time.  Somebody may die, but will at least get sick for a time.  The kitchen will probably never be the same.  And, you are riding on a knife edge while it’s there, especially if someone lights a match.

I’m old enough to remember walking along the beach at Newport after the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill.  Yes, that’s right, Santa Barbara.  (  That was only 3 million gallons, but the impacts were felt up and down the coast from San Francisco to Baja for years afterward.  We were still picking the tar out from between our toes right up through the 70’s.   We thought we learned our lesson.  I suppose that is why drilling was stopped along the California coast and it hasn’t been brought back yet.

As an engineer, I marvel at how sophisticated deep ocean drilling is.  The oil industry in the Gulf has a stellar history with very few “incidents.”  The problem is that it only takes one spill to have a cataclysmic impact on the environment and the coastal economy of an entire region.

I believe that at this point in history we still need an energy portfolio that includes oil.  But, we need to drill any new wells from land and minimize our footprint for those wells.  Modern drilling allows several wells to be drilled at a slant from a single drill site.  We need to wean ourselves from our dependence on oil.  Just because it is relatively cheap and easy doesn’t make it right in the long term.  Let’s continue what we started as we build up our renewables,  find ways to cut back our energy consumption, and develop new energy technologies.

Let’s avoid bringing ocean drilling back to our Southern California coastline.  Could you imagine what another Southern California oil spill would be like?

I don’t mean to rant or bring you down.  I just wanted to try to get into words what I have been feeling.

No suicide watch here.  Just need a heavy dose of the Colbert Report, or maybe Rush.  [They’re not real people — are they?]

Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro This Week–A Different Expression Session

1 05 2010

Some bad news and some good news.

The contest moves in on Tuesday.   (  That’s the bad news–not too bad.  Just means the Lowers Crowd will need to share some water time.  Shouldn’t be too bad for Uppers; just some out-of-town visitors.  As Tim Elsner says, surf early!

The good news is that Nike 6.0’s Safe Trestles contestants get to unveil their design submissions.  So, even if the surf doesn’t show, it’s still a great opportunity to let your mind wander a bit, following some of the creativity that is sure to spark some great ideas.  Here’s an example:

Check out the incredible jury (  Some I know personally; others only by reputation.  I think we can trust their judgment to protect our sacred place.

The other good news is that Nike 6.0 is trying to be sensitive to the special nature of Trestles.  Nice to know they aren’t just air-dropping in, closing the beach, leaving their trash, and posting the results.  Thanks Nike 6.0.

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