Ten Things All Surfers Know

Posted by on Jun 28, 2017 in Surfing

1)  Crossing hot sand with bare feet, aim to step in the deepest footprints – it’s cooler there. And of course, the white lines on the crosswalk. 2)  Surfers can ‘see’ the ocean floor just by looking at how the waves break. They can spot the deep and shallow spots, and find the channel that makes the paddle out much easier. 3)  Hollywood NEVER gets it right. 4)  Surfers can tell if you’re a surfer just by the way you carry your board. 5)  Surfers have a talent for discretion whenever they change in a crowded parking lot. 6)  When the waves are good, sewage spills and shark warning signs are meaningless. 7)  Shortboards suck for learning. 8)  Rip currents can be as dangerous as they are helpful. 9)  There’s always more paddling than surfing. 10)  Afternoons are for kooks and...

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Surf Slang

Posted by on Apr 18, 2017 in Surfing

Surf Slang

Talking ‘Dude’ 101 Surfing carries a long tradition of slang terms. Most of us know the old-school terms like ‘wipeout’ and ‘cowabunga’. Here’s a list of some of our newer favorites. This should help you translate things your instructor says. “Going off” – “Dude, Brookhurst is going OFF!” This means the waves are good. You could also say, it’s “off the richter”, “cranking”, “macking” or “epic”. (“awesome” is way overused). “Inside” – “We got caught inside”. This is the area closer to the beach where smaller waves are breaking. However, on bigger days, there is an area just inside called “the impact zone”. This is where you think you might be safe from the waves, but instead you get your clock cleaned by big waves because, in fact, It’s better to be sitting outside where the wave won’t break, and then laugh at your friends who didn’t know that. “Outside” or “Out the Back” – “Dude, the outside break is going off.” This means the farthest break from the beach, or “outside” of the breaking waves where the (supposedly) more experienced surfers are sitting. If you’re in the water and hear someone say ‘outside’, that means big waves are coming; Move further out, … quickly. “Onshore/Offshore” – “This morning there were ‘nuggets’, but it’s onshore now.” We’re talking about the WIND here; Onshore means it’s blowing ‘onto the shore’, making the waves mushy and crumbly, not usually desirable. “Offshore” winds blow off the shore into the waves, holding them open for better ‘barrels’. (Most large land masses – ie USA, Mexico, UK – will have onshore winds in the afternoon, as the land heats up) “Closeout” – “The whole place was wally and closed-out.” A closeout is when the whole wave (or ‘wall’) breaks at once, leaving no place for a surfer to slide across the open/unbroken wave face. Closeouts are the least desirable waves for surfing. “Left” or “Right” – “Wow, that’s a nice left.” This term refers to the direction that a wave will peel (or is breaking), from the surfer’s perspective. So, when seen from shore, a left peels across the beach towards your right. In Hawaii, the famous Banzai Pipeline (our namesake :) is a left. “Swell” – “There’s a good swell this weekend.” We confuse more people with this simple term. It means a wave event, or a series of days when there will be waves. A swell is usually coming from a particular direction, and is labeled a “south swell”, a “west swell”, or just “a big south”. “Tubular” – “Dude, nobody’s said ‘tubular’ since the 1980’s.” So yes, it’s not new, and more commonly now called “barreling” or “hollow” or “pitching”. It means when a wave opens up and breaks hard, top-to-bottom, “gnarly”, allowing room for a surfer to maneuver through. (Not usually desirable for beginning surfers) “Frothing” – “I checked the...

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How to Surf – Your One-Minute Surf Lesson!

Posted by on Aug 7, 2016 in Surfing

Surfing Basics FIRST: • Location Location: Start in a surfing area that’s within your abilities. Ask around. • Always start off with a BIG board, and a SMALL wave, and NOT the other way around :) IN THE WATER: • Unless the waves are tiny, you should be learning in the broken ‘whitewater’ waves, on the shoreward side of the ‘pros’. • When you’re lying down paddling your surfboard, keep your toes on the tail (or thereabouts). That should keep the board in the right trim. (Especially true for the Costco ‘WaveStorm’ boards) • When you’re walking or paddling out, keep the board pointed straight into the waves. • 3 keys to CATCHING waves: Toes on tail, board straight towards shore, paddle hard! • When you stand up, keep BOTH FEET ON THE CENTER line of the board. Weight back for control, forward for speed. Those are my best surfing tips; The quick pointers that I give whenever I pass new surfers that are struggling. They should save you some frustration. And for the dedicated, let’s add this one: • Learn to paddle STRONG. Surfing is 90% paddling. If you just want to try surfing for a day, it’s not a big issue: Your instructor will help you into waves. But if you’re serious about surfing, get serious about paddling. Upper body strength: This is why old surfers are built like roosters :) FOUR KEYS TO GREAT SURFING: • AWARENESS • TOES AND TRIM • STANDING CENTER-WIDE-LOW • PADDLE STRONG. If you’ve tried surfing and you’re wondering ‘why does my surfboard dig-under’, keep ‘nose-diving’ or ‘pearling’, check out our ‘How to do a perfect takeoff’...

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The HoLtZ!

Posted by on May 19, 2016 in Surfing

The HoLtZ!

Chris Holtz has been coming to Banzai Surf School every week for the past four years. It might seem like he should’ve ‘graduated’ by now, but Chris isn’t our average surfer. In 1995, a twenty-year-old Chris – known in his neighborhood as the indestructible kid who rode his BMX bike off the roof – crashed his pickup truck into an illegally parked car in Long Beach and was almost killed. He sustained brain damage that caused tremors and left him unable to walk or function normally. His right side is still almost paralyzed – cut-off from the command center. His speech is slurred, and visual acuity is limited. And he’s a big guy – 250lbs. Years ago when I answered the call from his Occupational Therapist, Diane, she briefed me on her patient Chris, and thought surfing might be good therapy. They had been to several other ADA recommended programs and surf camps, but none of them worked out. After giving me the full list of his disabilities, I was thinking this could be a tough lesson to do, and it might be hard to find the right instructors. Then she added, ‘Oh, … and he says whatever comes into his head, including hollering and profanity’. I said, ‘Bring him down’. (We like spontaneous people :) Since then, ‘Holtzenegger’ has surfed with us every Tuesday morning, including the cold winters. He walks with a cane and an assistant, so he never stands up on the board. He’s a joker and a kind soul – a social butterfly who says hi to everyone. He greets new friends with a handshake routine that’s become part of a series of ‘auto-pilot’ habits that Diane is trying to replace with something that better demands his … engagement. We customized a 10 foot surfboard for him; extra thick with grip pads and handles to pull himself aboard. On good days, he can get up to his knees. On his off-days, he’ll roll off the board and lie face down in the water, pretending like he’s drowning. The first time he did that I sprinted over in a panic and heaved him face-up in the water. He just broke out laughing. He’s also the only lesson who comes with an entourage: Diane, a Banzai instructor, and Edison (the ‘muscle’). Edison’s job is to keep Chris upright and do the heavy lifting (and Chris is heavy). Last summer Chris’s mother Linda was joined by his grandmother to watch one of his surf sessions from the beach. They stood there and cried with joy. It comes down to what every surfer knows: The ocean heals. There’s something about seawater that speaks to our DNA – it puts all the pieces back together. Holtz has been surfing with us for four years now, and Diane has noticed on his surfing days he’s happier, more ‘perky’, as if someone...

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