MELSAYS PODCAST – EP 33 – PAULINE ADO

Photo credit: Damien Poullenot / WSL

Hi and welcome to another edition of the MELSAYS PODCAST. Hope you’re all hanging in there.

This week, I am conducting my very first podcast en français, with one of the top female surfers in the world. Hailing from Anglet, France, Pauline Ado is currently ranked 8th on the WSL Tour. She’s had an amazing last couple of years winning titles all around the world. I spoke with her live from New Zealand, where she has been the past couple of weeks due to the pandemic. I hope you’ll enjoy my chat with her. Sans plus tardé, voici Pauline!

The podcast is just one click away or you can also listen to it below. If you enjoyed our chat, make sure you subscribe to the MELSAYS PODCAST here -> Apple Podcasts and Google Play. Also, feel free to send me some guest suggestions for future episodes!

MELSAYS PODCAST – EP. 29 – LYDIA RICARD

Photo credit: Bryanna Bradley

Hi and welcome to a brand new episode of the MELSAYS PODCAST. How’s everyone doing? Got a brand new interview for you all this week.

My guest is Tofino longboarder Lydia Ricard. She is one of the best long boarders in the country and one to watch out for in the coming years. I had the chance to sit down with her a little while back in Tofino to talk about the growth of the sport in Canada, her journey as a Canadian surfer and more! Hope you’ll enjoy our chat!

The podcast is just one click away or you can also listen to it below. If you enjoyed our chat, make sure you subscribe to the MELSAYS PODCAST here -> Apple Podcasts and Google Play. Also, feel free to send me some guest suggestions for future episodes!

MELSAYS PODCAST – EP. 28 – VALERIE DUPRAT

Hi and welcome to another edition of the MELSAYS PODCAST! Happy New Year! Hope you have wonderful holidays and that 2020 is off to a fantastic start! 2020 is shaping up to be a crazy year, as we are expecting our first child in May. So my goal is to get as many episodes out and edited as possible before the arrival of our daughter.

I’m super excited to have Valerie Duprat as my guest today on the podcast. She is a surfboard shaper, surfer and mom. She was recently featured in the new book Surf Like A Girl and today she shares how she went from growing up in Paris to shaping boards in Encinitas and become one of the first local female shapers. I hope you’ll enjoy my chat with her!

The podcast is just one click away or you can also listen to it below. If you enjoyed our chat, make sure you subscribe to the MELSAYS PODCAST here -> Apple Podcasts and Google Play. Also, feel free to send me some guest suggestions for future episodes!

MELSAYS PODCAST – EP. 24 – BRYANNA BRADLEY

Photo credit: Bryanna Bradley

Welcome to a new edition of the MELSAYS PODCAST!

I just recently got back from a week in Tofino and while I was there, I had the opportunity to chat with two incredible women that are part of the local surf community. If you haven’t been to Tofino, it’s a wonderful surf town located on the very edge of the continent in British Columbia, there’s no place quite like it. There’s a huge community of female entrepreneurs and surfers that live there so I wanted to chat with some of them for the podcast to find out more about their line of work and the community they live in.

Today’s guest is Bryanna Bradley, she is a local photographer and visual storyteller from Tofino, who has photographed not only the local surf community in Tofino but has been able to travel around the world and document a ton of incredible surfers and surfing events. I was thrilled she invited me into her cozy home in Tofino and we got to sit down for a nice chat!

The podcast is just one click away or you can also listen to it below. If you enjoyed our chat, make sure you subscribe to the MELSAYS PODCAST here -> Apple Podcasts and Google Play. Also, feel free to send me some guest suggestions for future episodes!

5 Things to do in Tofino

With Tofino being one of the summer travel hotspots in British Columbia, there’s no doubt that a lot of people will be coming to the area in the next couple of months. Having said that, there are lots of great things to do in and around Tofino, so I wanted to highlight a few of my discoveries from my first trip there last week!

1) Go surfing at Long Beach – Long Beach is definitely one of the most coveted surf spots in all of Canada. The long strip of sandy beach draws people from all around the world and with reason. It’s a great spot to learn how to surf or catch some smooth waves with your longboard. It does tend to get a little crowded this time of year, but the beach is so vast that there’s always a quieter spot somewhere in the water. It’s also an ideal spot to enjoy a post-surf picnic, BBQ and even watch the sunset.

2) Grab a beer from Tofino Brewing Co. – You can’t go to Tofino and not want to stop by their one and only brewery in the area, the Tofino Brewing Co. Their brewery is located on Industrial Way, on the way into downtown. You can get a tasting flight for just $10 and they also serve the local Tofino Kombucha, if you’re more in the mood for a non-alcoholic beverage. The spot is quaint, decorated with lots of surfing photos, and artwork. It’s a fun and casual place to go post-surf!

3) Visit Ucluelet – Ucluelet is located just a short drive away from Tofino. This small town is a lot quieter than Tofino but offers just as many things to do. I highly recommend doing the Amphitrite Point Lighthouse hike, visiting Small Beach, grabbing a homemade snack from Zoë’s Bakery and going shopping at Gypsy Drifter, the cutest bohemian-inspired shop! You can also hop on a sea plane for a tour of the area, go SUPing or visit their aquarium.

4) Tofitian Café – Looking for a place to grab your morning java or a homemade snack? You’ll want to go to Tofitian. It’s a super popular spot with both locals and visitors because they serve up delicious scones, muffins and croissants as well as tasty matcha lattés, coffees and drinks. The café is located in a cute shopping area, where you can sit on picnic tables and enjoy the proximity to the woods.

5) Rainforest Trail – There are tons of hikes to do in the area, but one that must be added to your list is the Rainforest Trail. Located in the Pacific Rim National Park, this lush green trail will make you feel like you’re in a magical wonderland. Though it tends to get crowded in the summer, there’s always room to feel alone in the vast forest. There are tons of different loops that you can choose from, which will please everyone from a newbie to a seasoned hiker!

Summer Travel Essentials

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Today I share some of my favorite summer accessories for the active traveler out there. If you’re hitting the beach or plan on going on a surf trip, you may want to add these items to your suitcase!

1) Wander Wet Bag – This is the perfect accessory for your bathing suit this summer! Wander Wet Bags is a local company based out of Encinitas, California. Each wet bag is made 100% in the United States and all the materials used from the bag are also local. The creator of Wander, Eileen, has come up with a beautiful variety of prints and colours. It’s the ideal bag to throw in your bathing suit after a day at the beach, swimming or even surfing!

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2) Colorescience Sunscreen – Want a quick and easy solution for makeup and UV protection while you travel? Try out Colorescience‘s Daily UV Protector. This lightweight, non-greasy and water-resistant cream blurs imperfections and also protects the skin from environmental stressors. It’s an easy foundation to use under makeup or even wear alone.

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3) Bikini Village Bathing SuitBikini Village is back with fun new bathing suits this summer. They have really stepped up the ante with the collections that are available in stores and online. Whether you’re looking for a bikini, a one-piece suit, a tankini, boy shorts and more, they’ve got you covered. Bikini Village offers 50 + brands to choose from for classic, trendy or more sophisticated beach and summer looks.

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4) Reef Escape Sandals – Flip flops are a must in your suitcase this summer! Reef has released a series of cute printed luxury sandals that are easy to pair with a bathing suit or a cute summer outfit. The sandals are water friendly, free of PVC (which is better for the environment!) and also provide arch support for added stability and comfort while you explore.

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5) Rip Curl Hooded Towel – This towel is an absolute must for surfers and swimmers who are looking for a great way to keep warm and dry after going in the water. The Rip Curl Wettie Gift Hooded Towel is also an easy way to change at the beach, without having to find a change room or toilet. It’s lightweight and easy to roll up in your suitcase.

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5 Cities to Visit on the Côte Basque

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1) Anglet

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This small surf town is located in the northern part of the Côte Basque region of France. One of the things that makes the city so beautiful is its pine forest that makes up 10% of the city’s territory. The coast of Anglet contains 11 beautiful beaches that stretch 4.5 kms. The beaches are a top spot for local surfers and even members of the international surfing community. This summer, the first ever #ProAnglet surf competition was held Sables d’or beach, an WSL Qualification event. On the Anglet beachfront, you will find a variety of cute little shops, cafés and restaurants.

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Downtown Anglet is also incredibly cute. You can feel the small-town relaxed vibe in this city but you’ll find everything you need. Anglet is where you’ll find the headquarters of local surf brand Oxbow, who are celebrating their 30th anniversary this year. This rad brand once sponsored surfing greats like Laird Hamilton and now work with local groms.

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If you like biking, you’ll be able to take their multipurpose path up and down the coast and the entire Basque region of France.

This little city is definitely a surfer’s paradise!

2) Bayonne

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This city located just north and east of Anglet and is a cultural and historical haven. You may have heard of this place before due to its annual Fêtes de Bayonne, a 5-day celebration that starts on the first Wednesday of August and attracts people from all over Europe. People flock to the city to watch parades, dance, music, eat food and drink.

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Bayonne is also where the famous “Bayonne Ham” originated from. The city also has a famous rugby team.

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What makes the city so special, is its 17th century fortification and historic buildings. Some of the sights you’ll find in the city date back to the 12th century, such as their castle and their church. You’ll also see traditional Basque homes, with half-timbering and shutters in either red or green.

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If you’re looking to learn about the local history, this will be your go-to spot!

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3) Biarritz

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This is probably the most famous and internationally recognized town of the Côte Basque. It’s renown for its surf and also its luxury. Many people compare this city to the Cannes of the southwest.

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There is plenty to see and do in Biarritz. They’ve got a beautiful Museum of the Sea, they have two large casinos on the waterfront by the Grande Plage, the annual Biarritz Surf Festival, great shops and also fantastic restaurants like Le Clos Basque, that offers local Basque specialties.

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There is also a real sense of community and youthfulness in Biarritz. There are many great up and coming local designer shops and businesses that can be found throughout the city.

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4) Guéthary

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This is a small fishing village that has been around since the 12th century. The arrival of the train in 1884 brought a lot of families and tourists area, looking to build secondary homes along the coast. A lot of these homes remain visible to this day. The village is now a destination for French surfers and also a great spot for longboarding. The marina still remains to this day and so does a lot of the local agriculture.

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5) Saint-Jean-de-Luz

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The village of Saint-Jean-de-Luz is located just a few minutes away from the Spanish border. The city’s wealth originated from its port but it also became well-known as a result of the wedding of Louix XIV and Maria Theresa, the Infanta of Spain in 1660 in the city’s church.

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Today, it is a great spot to visit for those looking for great cuisine, sandy beach and traditional architecture. The Spanish influence can definitely be felt in this town, it’s a great place to get eat tapas. That said, it is also a great place to grab a traditional Gâteau Basque, which can be found in all the bakeries around town.

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Beach Bum

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Well… after a lengthy day, 2 days of traveling, we finally made it to Europe. The 9 hours of jet lag definitely has me feeling a little funky but I knew that going to the ocean today would be the best thing to get me feeling energized again.

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No surfing for today, just enjoying the lovely waves, the sun and the beautiful Côte Basque scenery. Some days, it’s nice to be a beach bum, I rarely get the chance to just lay by the beach so I’m making the most of it!

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Excited to be heading to the #ProAnglet surf competition later this week. Got any recommendations for the Côte Basque? Send them my way!

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Photos by @Offner

Sanuk Women’s Shuffle Sidewalk Surfer (get them here)

Bench women’s short 

TOMS Traveler matte grey (get them here)

Nixon mint green waterproof watch 

 

5 Questions With: Lakey Peterson

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A few weeks ago, during the Nike Women’s 15k race weekend in Toronto, I had the privilege of meeting one of the top female surfers in the world – Lakey Peterson. Lakey is a 20-year-old professional surfer from California currently ranked #7 on the WSL World Tour. She started surfing at the age of 5 and began her rookie year on the ASP Women’s World Championship Tour at the age of 17! If you’ve seen Lakey compete before, you know she’s a powerhouse in the water. She’s such a great athlete to watch because she always seems so fearless against the other competitors. I’ve had the privilege of watching her compete and she’s incredibly inspiring. I’m beyond thrilled that she took a few minutes out of her busy training schedule before the US Open of Surfing to answer a few of my questions. Hope you’ll enjoy my 5 Questions with Lakey Peterson:

1) What first drew you to surfing? What is it about surfing that you love so much?

I think for me it has always just been such a freeing feeling when I surf… I forget about everything else in life and am entirely in the moment. Not many things in this world that make you do that or feel that.

2) What are your thoughts on the current level of women’s surfing in the world?

It’s really exciting to be a part of women’s surfing at the moment… The girls are absolutely ripping at the moment. We are all pushing each other to surf better and more powerful. I believe the future is really bright. 

3) How do you usually prepare for a competition? What is your day of competition routine?

During contest I am always up by 5 or 5:30. I’ll have a bite of fruit and go for a warm up surf. Then eat breakfast, lots of veggies, 1 egg and avocado. Before my heat I listen to my music, warm up, talk to my coach and off I go.

4) What are some of your favorite breaks to surf and why?

When I am back home in California, Rincon Point is by far my favorite place in the world to surf. I also Love Fiji and Honolua Bay 

5) What are your next career goals? Where would you like to be in 5 years?

In 5 year i hope I am still on tour surfing and going for the world title. I want surfing to be my life for as long as possible. So hopefully I’ll be on tour until I am 30 or so. After that I want to really help people with nutrition and fitness. I am starting a website called TheSaltyCoconut.com it’s going to be all about healthy living. Amazing style tips, recipes, workouts, photography etc. So i hope that goes well and I can turn it into a business and carrier one day. 

Catch Lakey Peterson compete at the US Open of Surfing this week and check out her new website TheSaltyCoconut.com that launches Friday July 31st at 10am PST. 

5 Questions With: Skye Walker

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Photo by: Peter Hulst

I first heard of the southern California artist Skye Walker a few years ago. I believe I found his website through a Liquid Salt mag post. I was immediately drawn to his art because of the beautiful ocean and nature themes. The mural Skye is standing in front of on the above photo was the first piece I saw of his and absolutely fell in love with it. Yes, I may have a little bias for redheads but his art really spoke to me, it made me feel peaceful. Over the years, I’ve followed his journey and am stoked on all the success he’s been getting as of late. I can’t wait to go back to Leucadia in a few weeks to see this amazing mural in person! I hope you will be as inspired as I am when you read the interview below. Here are my 5 Questions With Skye Walker:

1) When did you start making art? Do you recall the first drawing that really marked you and made you think this was what you wanted to do for a living?

I always say that I picked up a crayon and started drawing and never stopped, but that is pretty true. I was always drawing, doodling and escaping into fun worlds with my art as a kid. Hundreds of hours of drawing in my room and loving every minute of it. I remember the moment I wanted to be an artist for life and for a career. We were living in Gardnerville, Nevada at the time and I was 8 years old. I had drawn some cartoons of Garfield the cat that I thought were awesome, so I sent them to Garfield’s creator, Jim Davis. A few weeks later I got a letter from Mr. Davis (or his secretary) but he signed it, and it said he received the drawings and he liked them a lot! My jaw hit the floor and I was blown away that he liked my art enough to write a letter back. So from that moment on I decided to be an artist for life and if I could, for a career. I remember the exact moment I had that realization too, sitting at the breakfast table.

2) What inspires your art? Your art revolves a lot around ocean and nature themes, why is that?

Growing up If I wasn’t drawing, I was outside playing. We lived in quite a few places growing up like California, Nevada, Spain, Hawaii, Colorado and Oregon. My sister and I were introduced to nature and camping and being in our natural surroundings by our parents. So, naturally, I gravitated to things like surfing, snowboarding and biking. Luckily we didn’t have iPhones, computers or the internet then. We never got a Nintendo (even though I wanted one) but I’m glad I didn’t get it. 

So being in nature inspired a lot of my art, as well as figure drawing and the human form. I do mix the elements of nature with the human body a lot. Usually the female figure represents mother earth and her interaction with our surroundings whether it’s subtle or more prominent. I think if I had grown up in an urban setting my art would certainly reflect those themes. But they reflect nature, the oceans, mountains, skies and trees- but I certainly try to present them in different ways and I’m always trying to evolve my style and themes.

3) As years go by, how do you push yourself to keep growing as an artist?

This is a great question. Just as we all have to keep growing and pushing ourselves as humans as we strive to survive and adapt, artists have to do the same with their art. Case in point, I was working in the Outdoor Sports industry as an Art Director and was pretty burnt out with the same old graphic design projects. But that job security was hard to leave, until I was let go along with 35 other people when the economy hit the fan. While this was frustrating, it freed me from the confines of that job artistically and let me focus on my own art and projects… but it really opened things up for me to return to doing large scale murals. 

I had done a lot of murals in high school and in college, but I didn’t see a career in it at all. It was fun, but a lot of work. Flash forward 9 years and my artist friend Alex Krastev referred Whole Foods to me as they were building a new store in my town of Encinitas. They contacted me about doing murals and that kick started a fire for me to focus on murals. Since then I have completed about 23+ murals from San Diego to LA to Denver to Austin and back again. 

Murals allow me to push myself as an artist all the time. To figure out spacial issues with large scale art that I can’t do on a small scale or on the computer. It’s also like solving a problem each time too, what paints will be best, what colors, how do I reach those heights, how do I get the scale I need and host of other issues… but I love it because it’s always challenging and it’s always pushing me artistically to create new ideas to work with the space that’s given to me. 

So if my friend hadn’t referred me to Whole Foods, I would probably still be doing smaller scale paintings and graphic design (which I still do) and not thinking of murals. But since that happened, it opened my eyes to new horizons with art. Murals are an amazing way to bring art to the public eye and change the image of a neighborhood. But the best part about it is that it’s never easy and it forces me to push myself artistically every time. It’s easy to sit at a computer and research ideas, new ways of thinking and such… but getting out and thinking on your feet and creating with your hands does wonders for my thought process and gets me out of my comfort zone. That’s when the real creativity begins.

 4) You’ve had the chance to create murals and work on special projects with a lot of renowned clients from Whole Foods to Rip Curl and Nike, what have been some of your most memorable projects to date?

My first real job out of college was at Rip Curl as their graphic designer for apparel. This was memorable because I’d never designed a t-shirt before, so I had to fake it until I figured it out. But that job was rad, made some great friends, went to Australia twice and surfed my brains out. Also designed a couple thousand t-shirts and other graphics, really helped me cut my teeth on some fast paced graphic design work.

I’d have to say lately though, the mural jobs & projects all have such memorable situations and experiences, it’s awesome. I had an assistant in Austin, Texas who turned out to be an ex-convict with crazy stories. Did a mural in Denver in between a blizzard praying the paint would stick to the wall, it went from 60 degrees to 7 then to 40 and back again. Since the murals are so big, everything that’s involved to create them is so much bigger which makes it all very memorable.

I just finished a mural for The Hub, Hillcrest Marketplace in San Diego and a woman walked up and said: “This is so wonderful, you’ve lifted the spirit of this whole neighborhood!”. I was very touched by that, she truly meant what she said and that made me feel like what I was doing was good and important. Ten minutes later a car sped by and a guy yelled: “Looks terrible!”. The Yin & Yang of it all, which makes creating murals so memorable. I can’t get those experiences in my home office!

5) For those who don’t know, you are also a surfer. Where are some of your favorite places to go surf?

Ah yes, surfing. A real love in my life. There is nothing quite like it and I don’t know where I’d be without it. I love taking surf trips whenever I can and experiencing new places and waves. I surf my local breaks pretty often and I try to get up and down the coast a bit to get out of the neighborhood and surf some different spots. I’ve learned as I get older that my favorite place to surf is wherever I am at that moment, whether it’s 2 foot slop or 6 feet and glassy. Just being in the ocean is wonderful.