Monday, June 17, 2013

Looking Around Corners in Barcelona

Barcelona is a wonderful place to get lost; a place to wander for hours with no plan in mind. Navigating the narrow alleyways, with music often echoing off the tall buildings from no where in particular. Just walk. Meander. Stroll. Drink in the bucketfuls of culture. Leave your map in your pocket and let see where the city takes you. Stop and take photos; grab a glass of Sangria and some tapas and then head back out. Never know what you'll find. Mainly places the tourist groups would never take you. Which – for those of us who like to really travel – is a good thing. You won't be sorry.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Moments From Winter X Games 17

Stale Sandbech practicing for Big Air.
Extreme sports, as they were once known, aren't for everyone. Well, at least not at the highest level. I spent the weekend in Aspen, Colo., covering the Winter X Games for Oakley, and how there aren't more catastrophic injuries (RIP, Caleb Moore), I really don't understand. What these guys are gals are doing over hard-packed snow and ice is just mind-blowing. Double and now triple rotations while 20 and 30 feet off the ground.

Despite the injury risk, it's really a rewarding experience to get to see what these incredibly talented individuals are capable of doing up close and personal.

Here are a few moments from my time at Winter X 17.

Stale Sandbech, Slopestyle course.

Halldor Helgason, completely a peace, mid-backflip.

X Games Superpipe.

Big Air.

Shaun White. Trying for the podium in Slopestyle. #fail

X Games crowd.

Stale Sandbech testing density. Big Air Bronze.

To Mark McMorris go the spoils. Slopestyle Gold.

Aspens in Aspen.

Kaya Turski's skis.

Henrik Harlaut, dropping in to Big Air.

Kaya Turski in Silver Medal-winning flight off the cannon in Slopestyle.

Kaya Turski.

Maddy Schaffrick mute in Superpipe.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

To Bali, With Love

Dear Bali,

It's been weeks since we've parted. Your smells and textures and sights come to me in dreams as though it were just yesterday. Nasi goreng. Black sand between my toes. Aqua-marine cylinders at Keramas. The monkey temple. Motorbikes. Rice fields. A Bintang haze. Sunsets at Uluwatu. The smoke rising from the morning blessings. The warmth and friendliness of the people. 

Indonesia is such a stunning part of the world. The major cities are a cluster of motorbikes and semi-controlled chaos, but the further you find yourself removed from said chaos, the simpler the surroundings, the more of the culture you discover. Roadways condense to bike lanes, and the rice paddies come into view, thatch houses next to exquisite architectural buildings, and more smiling faces. A simple place with so much to offer.

I hope we cross paths again soon. -CM

Friday, September 21, 2012

Moments from the 2012 Hurley Pro

Spent a couple days watching liquid perfection roll into the cobblestone pointbreak of Lower Trestles for the Hurley Pro. I ran around taking photos, being a one-man social media machine and taking notes on behalf of Oakley as part of a new gig. It's hard to complain about days spent on the beach under beautiful California sunshine, but nonetheless, I was sweating profusely and was grinding. Here are a few moments from amongst the chaos that is the ASP World Tour circus.

Jordy Smith: too fast for the camera shutter.
Nose pick by Julian Wilson.
Joel Parkinson goes pirate flag big.
Joel Parkinson smooth, as usual.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Panama: From East to West (or North to South, Depending)

Due to the shape of the country, Panama is an odd place to navigate. I'm used to thinking one coast is to my west and the other is to my east. Leaving Panama City for the Caribbean, the most direct route is heading north. To reach the Pacific one can head due South or straight West. I found myself constantly having to readjust my thinking. Fortunately, it's a small country. Traveling from one body of water to another can be done in nearly two hours, depending on where you are. It's a small country, but it's rich with culture and its infrastructure is being upgraded and evolving by the day. Construction projects along the highways were many, and the Panama Canal is in the process of being widened. It's one of the few countries in the world where the economy is said to be flourishing.

There are a few select images from a recent trip with my ladyfriend to what is now my favorite country in Central America. Images will come in groups, from the colors to the scenery to the defining landmarks of the country.

Isla Grande, Panama. Caribbean Ocean. April 2012
Parque Nacional Soberania. Panamanian Rainforest. April 2012
Playa Venao, Panama. Pacific Ocean. April 2012

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Terry Martin Legacy: "Shaping Life" [VIDEO]

Hands of a true master shaper, Terry Martin. 
Every Friday for almost a year the young surfboard shaper met with the veteran shaper. They talked about shaping and life and their faith. Mostly, the veteran shaper did the talking: Fridays with Terry Martin. Donny Brink was introduced to Terry and the pair, both blessed with a curious and capable mind, clicked. Sort of an apprentice/mentor relationship, but on everything that pertains to this life. It's a beautiful and inspiring piece of work. It played at his Memorial and the Fundraiser and brought many women and grown men to tears.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Big-Wave Charger Ben Wilkinson: "The New Black"

The "Big Ben" nickname is fitting. At six-foot-two and 250 pounds, he's a big guy. The waves he likes to ride are big: in the 15- to 25-foot range at one of the most terrifying waves in all the world, Maverick's. And as almost everyone I spoke to for my story for the premiere issue of Kelp Magazine will tell you, he's got a big heart.

Born in North Narrabeen, on the east coast of Australia, Big Ben Wilkinson came from modest beginnings, but was raised to be respectful and hard-working by his large-framed father and best friend, Mark. Ben tells a story about how when he was young he would accompany his dad to the beach when he went surfing, and his dad would draw a large square in the sand, indicating his son's boundaries while he was in the water. Ben says he never stepped foot outside those squares. "He respected me, so I always respected him," Ben told me.

When Mark was diagnosed with a debilitating disease, Ben willingly put his plans and his life on hold. His best friend was sick, so he needed to do what he could, from making his meals to paying his bills to taking him on a final trip to Tahiti.

After his father passed away, Ben, eventually, rediscovered his path in life. He's put his carpentry skills to use to pay the bills, but his passion is in riding the biggest possible waves using only the strength of his shoulders. He's starting to make a name for himself, evidenced in his recent selection as an alternate for the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau Big-Wave Invitational at Waimea Bay on the North Shore of Oahu, but riches and spoils have yet to come. His closest friends and his fellow competitors believe he has the talent and the ability to have a big future in big-wave surfing.

As I wrote in the story, once you meet and get to know Big Ben, you can't help but root for him.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Starry Sky in Joshua Tree

Jumbo Rocks Campground, Joshua Tree National Forest, May 2012
With no waves in the forecast, limited funds for a trip and no desire to stay in a hotel, my ladyfriend and I decided we'd try someplace new. I was reluctant to head to any place without water (an ocean, lake, river or waterfall) for selfish, preferential reasons, but an agreement was made: Joshua Tree National Park. We traded the overflowing beach parking lots of Memorial Day weekend for boulders and trees straight out of a Dr. Seuss book, and a starry night and a meal cooked over a fire. A little bit of gettin' back to nature. Success.
Cholla Cactus Garden. Joshua Tree National Park, May 2012
Tired feet. Joshua Tree National Park, May 2012
Desert sunset. Joshua Tree National Park, May 2012

Saturday, May 12, 2012

R.I.P Terry Martin – A True Master Craftsman

Terry loved to share his gift for shaping.
Photo: Chasen Marshall
After a morning spent on the ocean, surrounded by dolphins and sea life, I learned of Terry Martin's passing. He'd been fighting Melanoma for nearly two years. It had stolen much of his weight and most of his trademark thick white beard, but it never put a dent on his spirit. Or his love for making surfboards. Up until a week before the Saturday morning that he passed, Terry was doing what he'd been doing for the previous 60 years – creating what must be described as art. He turned strips of balsa and redwood into a 10-foot beauty of a board. It was an exact replica of the first board he made as a 13-year-old while growing up in San Diego.

The board will be up for auction at the Terry Martin Project fundraiser on May 20, which was put together by friends, co-workers and loved ones in order to help pay some of the medical bills. The fundraiser will still go on and the life of Terry Martin will be celebrated.

He was a kind man who expected and asked for little, but gave everything that he had to those he knew – and even to those who he just met. I was fortunate to spend the past five months hanging out with Terry for a story I wrote about him for a surf publication. We just met in December 2011, but he opened his heart and his home to me and I'll be forever grateful that I had the opportunity to get to him. I'll miss his story-telling and unrelenting positive outlook on life.

His memory will live on with the countless friends he had, the 80,000-plus surfboards he shaped and the lives he changed. Much love to Candy and the rest of the Martin family during this difficult time.

Mahalo for being you, Terry. We'll miss you.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Peru: The Colors, Personalities and Action

Despite protestation from every surfer not riding one, Stand-Up Paddleboarding has managed to establish itself as a discipline of surfing that is here to stay. The surfing and racing component has found traction in oceans, lakes and rivers across the globe; from San Clemente to Lake Geneva in Switzerland to Rio de Janiero, Brazil, SUP communities are sprouting. The best SUP racers and surfers, along with their ancestors, the prone paddlers, from 17 countries descended on Lima, Peru for the inaugural ISA World StandUp Paddle and Paddleboarding Championship. I was there to take in the spectacle and write a few press releases about it all.

Team Switzerland in the Parade of the Nations. Miraflores, Lima, Peru, February 2012
Legend of paddle racing, Jamie Mitchell. Playa Hermosa, Lima, Peru, February 2012
SUP Technical Race. Playa Hermosa, Lima, Peru, February 2012 
The sprint to the finish – Travis Grant and Jamie Mitchell (right). Playa Hermosa, Lima, Peru, February 2012

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Peru: The Arrival

Backseat vantage point in a taxi in Peru.
I'm a long way from home, thousands of miles in fact, but seemingly not that far: "Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster the People is on the radio. I'm in the back seat of a rickety taxi, which is driving me through the dark streets of Lima, Peru. The warm night air is thick with body odor and diesel exhaust. I was a bit apprehensive when I saw the vehicle: it looked as though it doubles as a bumper car. I'm in this car because once I came through customs at the airport, this man had a sign with my name and the name of the organization I'm working with. Therefore, I trusted him with my life and all of my belongings.

On second thought, the sign was drawn with a Sharpie. I hope I haven't made a grave mistake.

I don't know much about Peru and it seems, sadly, that my grasp of the Spanish language is about the same. The driver tries to speak with me, something about my first time in Peru. I manage a 'Si,' and I think he senses that's about the extent of my conversational skills, so he goes silent. I watch the buildings pass by, looking for those little things that set one country apart from another: architecture, color schemes, refrigeration. I try to read some of the billboards, understanding little. I take further comfort in the fact that I, at least, know the music on the radio.

If there is one universal lesson I've learned in my travels it's that transportation is always a wildcard. Riding in a taxi teaches you about the culture, the people. Are they patient? Are they protective of one another? In both China and now Peru, the goal just seems to be "get there, and get there fast." It's like riding in a New York taxi, with zero attention paid to whatever laws may exist. Or maybe that's the problem: I didn't see anything resembling a police officer who gave a damn about reckless driving in either country. The similarity between the drivers in the two countries were liberal use of the horn. It's used for announcing you're passing someone on the shoulder, announcing that you're not stopping at an intersection, scaring tourists, greeting other drivers, and for adding to the already unpleasant experience of sitting in traffic and for whatever reason believing it will provide a solution to said traffic (this one applies in the US of A).

In the end, it all works out. I arrive at my destination in one piece, having passed the Atlantic City Hotel-Casino and lots of other buildings draped in bright sparkling lights. Casinos are a big part of the economy in Lima, I learn. This ruins my excitement about the city a bit. Not that it will much matter. I didn't come to Lima to gamble, I came to work and to eat ceviche.

Part of the drawback of my role as a Media Manager for the International Surfing Association is the long hours of work once an event is on. We're in Peru for the inaugural ISA World StandUp Paddle and Paddleboard Championship. Mostly I write press releases, write most every script needed for web announcers, beach announcers and everyone else, and make sure that media around the world who may be covering the event has what it needs. It's mostly thankless work, but it pays and it gets me around the world.

The work and the hours keeps this from being a vacation and keeps me from having time to be a tourist.

In China, the location was so remote and the buffet-style food so palette-numbing, that I didn't get to experience the Chinese culture as much as I would have liked. I make it this trips focus not to let anything similar transpire. I will be a tourist.

To be continued...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Photography Series: Up Above

Our surroundings so rarely change. The buildings, the cars, the people – they all remain largely the same as they were yesterday, the week or month prior. I think that's why when I've been shooting photographs lately so little of the frame actually focuses on buildings, highways, people, mountains or any other type of stationary object. When I'm shooting wide-angle, most of my photos are focused on what's above us. It's not necessarily something I do deliberately, but when I'm looking through the viewfinder, and tilt my camera ever so slightly upward, I end up liking what I see more than whatever may have been the intended subject. It's something about the colors, the changing cloud patterns, or even cloudless skies, and the idea that there's so much out there above and beyond our daily existence. There's a daily interaction between the land and the sky, turning similar images into entirely different ones depending on the lighting, the clouds, or with the presence of an awe-inspiring sunset.

It all makes me want to take flight, or at least snap another photo.

Los Angeles, from The Getty. November 2011.
The Jesus, from Taco Surf, Baja California. November 2011.
Oil Platforms off Newport Beach. July 2011.
East Village, Manhattan from Williamsburg. November 2011.
Dana Point Harbor. November 2010.
Huntington Beach Pier. January 2010.
Catalina and the Pacific, from Strands Vista. October 2011.
Sunset over Salt Creek Beach. March 2011.