Got Barrelled While Handboarding

handboarding

I LOVE anything ocean-related so when I first heard of handboarding a few years ago I had to give it a shot. I was lucky enough to get in the water with the rad crew at Slyde Handboards (I even wrote about it here!) and was immediately hooked by the sport.

If the name sounds familiar, it may be because you’ve watched the episode of Shark Tank (watch it here), where guest shark Ashton Kutcher and Mark Cuban invest into the company. How rad!

I had been itching to get back in the water with the crew for quite some time, so I was stoked to have been able to stop by their headquarters this week to check out some of their new board models (can’t wait for you all to see them!) and also get into the water with Slyde Handboards’ founder Steve Watts. Here’s a little recap of the fun we had out in Dana Point.

For more info on Slyde Handboards, go here.

Shot by: TheOffners

Passion for Wakesurfing

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I’ve come to the realization that I have a thing for boardsports. Combine a boardsport with being in the ocean, and it’s pretty much guaranteed to be my favorite thing! First it was surfing, then it was handboarding and now it’s wakesurfing. Because I unfortunately don’t get to surf everywhere I travel to, I’ve on the lookout for other boardsports that I can do while traveling. Though it will never replace surfing, they can also be quite exciting to partake it!

My latest discovery: Wakesurfing!

I first tried wakesurfing in Las Vegas last summer (check it out here) and was immediately hooked. Though I enjoyed wakeboarding there was something a lot more relaxing and freeing about wakesurfing. Maybe it’s because your feet aren’t attached to the board, or because it’s a lot closer to actual surfing or maybe because it allows you to place yourself in so many ways behind the boat… Who knows! One thing’s for sure, wakesurfing seemed a lot easier to learn if you’ve wakeboarded or surfed before. I got up on my first try and was able to ride for quite some time before bailing.

Like in any boardsport, there’s always a small period of adaptation when using a different board. When I first wakesurfed in Lake Mead in the summer, the board was long and wide whereas two weeks ago in Miami, the board was a lot smaller and narrower, which made my feet and weight placement on the board a little different. That said, after a few runs it was easy to get the hang of again.

Bailing while wakesurfing is a lot less painful because you can just jump off the board and fall into the water, whereas bailing with a board attached to your feet much like while snowboarding or wakeboarding can be a lot more painful.

Wakesurfing schools are pretty easy to find whether it be in lakes, bays or the ocean. My boyfriend and I were lucky to have two amazing guys guide us through our first wakesurfing experiences this year: Vegas Water Sports crew and also the Miami Watersports Paradise crew. Both Las Vegas and Miami are perfect destinations for wakesurfing. The water is always warm, the area never gets too crowded with boats and the scenery is just breathtaking (see below!). A 2-hour session with either one of these crews will cost you approximately $400 US, which can sound a bit pricey but you can go as a small group, so it ends up being a lot cheaper if you go with 4 to 6 people.

After returning from Miami last week, I found out that there are also some wakesurfing crews in Ontario, so I’m excited to try wakesurfing a little closer to home this summer. I undeniably have a newfound passion for this rad sport!

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California Highlights

Just before leaving for Montreal on assignment for work, I spent almost two weeks in California for a little r and r. Here are some of the highlights of my trip:

1- Venice

It was my first time officially staying in Venice on this past trip. @Offneraurelien had stayed there before and definitely is very fond of this beach town. Though I’d hung out in Venice and had meetings there, I had never really explored the town more: the infamous boardwalk, the enormous guys work out at Muscle Beach or those dressed up asking for money to pose for pictures, etc. What I liked about Venice is the fact that not too far from that madness, you have all the beautiful canals and homes in quiet streets. I envy those who live in that area. How about a nice kayak ride after breakfast or a coffee on your porch overlooking the canals and being just two blocks from the ocean?! Sounds dreamy! What I also fell in love with in Venice is Abbot Kinney street. The street totally screams MEL! I love all the quaint coffee shops, the abundant choice of restaurants (you must go to Gjelina – the Caramel & seasalt pot de crème is RIDIC! & 3 Square Café + Bakery) the cool clothing and vintage shops and its overall vibe!

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2- Deus ex machina

Located in Venice, this coffee shop/bike shop is a cool laid-back spot for a croissant and coffee in the morning. If you like the old motorcycle culture, surfing and coffee, then Deus is the place for you! I loved how friendly the staff was there. They don’t offer a very extensive menu but the stuff they do offer is yummy. Plus, they’ve got a cool shop design. Deus is always putting on some rad events in the Venice area, so make sure you check them out!

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3- The CheeseStore of Silverlake

Those who know me, know how much I LOVE cheese! I don’t think I could live without it. We stopped by the Silverlake cheese shop for a little “goûter” one afternoon. Their selection was fantastic! They had so much variety, cheeses that are hard to find even in Toronto, fresh baked goods and a wonderful selection on wines. Plus, their prices were really affordable! I loved sitting down on their bench out front in the sun and enjoying my goûter!

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4- Reel Inn

@Offneraurelien had been telling me about this place for quite some time now. He claims that Reel Inn was the coolest little taco restaurant in all of LA. Located on the PCH right at the beginning of Malibu, Reel Inn looks like some crappy wood shed. You would have no idea that they serve a huge variety of fresh fish they caught that day as well as some good old tacos. You could see it in Aurelien’s face just how stoked he was to be at his favorite “taco fish” spot. I loved their terrasse and super cosy atmosphere.

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5- Dr. Woo

While on vacation, I had the chance of getting tattooed by the ultra talented Dr. Woo, who works at Shamrock Social Club in Hollywood. I’ve been following his instagram feed for the last couple of months and am a big fan of his work. He’s tattooed some bloggers I follow, celebrities, musicians and regular folk like myself. I’d been thinking of getting the word “Wanderlust” tattooed on me for quite some time now and thought he was the perfect guy to do it! Love the script that he did. For those who don’t know what wanderlust means, it’s “A strong desire to travel”. Seemed fitting!

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There were tons of other fantastic things on this trip – daily Urth Caffé stops, Café Gratitude, bike rides, my entire birthday extravaganza, Micheal Jackson slot machines in Vegas, Universal Studios, surfing, Encinitas, etc. Can’t wait for the second part of our adventure in July!!

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30 days and counting…

In exactly a month from today, I’ll be back in LA.  Since I first visited LA in 2005, the California coast has quickly become my second home. There are many reasons why I love California but I think the main ones are: the people, the surf, the lifestyle, the nature (their big trees, colorful flowers, gardens, mountains, the ocean, the dessert) and the culture.

I usually try to go to California at least a few times a year to surf on my board (My lovely friend Maggie has been keeping it for me these past couple of months, I miss it tremendously!), to hang out with my friends (I can’t wait to see you ladies!!!), to eat great food (Bulan Thai, Flore, Cafe Gratitude, Urth Caffe), to drive on the Pacific Coast Highway (freedom!!), to hang in my favorite little towns (Encinitas, Venice, San Clemente, La Jolla, Santa Monica, etc) and to go shopping (Melrose Blvd, 3rd Street promenade, Main Ave.).

Contrary to what some people may believe, Californians are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Some of my favorite people on this planet are from LA and its’ surrounding areas. Everyone is so friendly, welcoming and laid back there.

All this to say, I couldn’t be more happy to be going back next month… And if you’ve never been to California before, it’s definitely worth the trip. It’s impossible not to fall in love with this place!

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Surfer Girls

Happy Tuesday from Encinitas!

My wonderful vacation is slowly winding down but I kept the best for last! I’ve been hanging out in one of my favorite places on earth since last Friday – the place is called Encinitas.  It’s a small surf town between LA and San Diego, which has great surfing and wonderful people.

I had the opportunity to check out a great event this past weekend in Oceanside called the Super Girl Pro, it’s actually the only all-girl large-scale surf competition in all of North America.  This year is the event’s 6th year and is bigger than ever.  More than 80 girls from around the world came to Oceanside to compete for the grand prize of $8000 and points that can help them qualify for the 2013 ASP WCT.  Not only was the surfing spectacular but the whole vibe of the event was fantastic. Little girls on the beach running to a competitor after their heat to get an autograph, booths set up for local organizations, Paul Mitchell doing free hairstyles on the beach, etc. I’ve been to a handful of competitions and thought that this one in particular was quite special.  If ever you’re in Oceanside next year, I highly recommend checking it out.  You can see a few pics of the event below.

Speaking of girls who surf, I had the chance to surf with one of my favorite ladies yesterday who runs a really rad organization called The Wahine Project.  I met Dionne last winter while I was surfing in Mexico.  She was there at the time to give clinics to young girls in the area.  Basically, the organization has as a goal to reach young girls who would otherwise not have access to the resources that allow them to surf.  They not only teach the girls to surf but also help promote self-esteem and help the girls develop a sense of social responsibility and environmental stewardship.  Dionne is currently on a trip across California and will be going all the way down to Mexico, giving surf clinics to girls in a bunch of cities on the way down.  This woman has such an amazing spirit and kind heart, it was truly a treat to surf with her again yesterday.

Spending time in California and getting to surf is always so magical! I feel incredibly lucky to be here right now.

I’m off to San O today, the first place I actually ever surfed at. It’s another blue bird day in California, life is pretty good!

Wishing you a lovely Tuesday!

Mel xo