Monday, December 27, 2010

From My Point Of View

Has it really been over two weeks since my last post!? Apologies my friends. Let's get back on track.

As some of you may or may not know, I spent the last couple weeks in the Canary Islands; specifically Gran Canaria. I was hired to commentate the first ever international bodyboarding event at the infamous El Fronton. This wave is by far the most perfect bodyboarding wave on the planet. The reef makes the wave come together and create perfect barrels and perfect wedging ramps. So deep barrels and high flying acrobatics are the norm at this place.

The Wild Wild Wave El Fronton Invitational was streamed live via RedBull.com's satellite. It was the first time in history that Red Bull has broadcasted any type of bodyboarding. The event was spectacular. But the one thing that I came to realize as the event started was that I was not going to see the event live myself! Yes, I was on the beach but my job as the webcast commentator was to give the play-by-play one or two seconds after it had actually happened! I had to keep my eyes on a monitor that you and all the viewers were watching. So essentially what you were seeing live, I was seeing live as well. The cool part about it was that I was the only one to watch all the replays. But on the other hand, I couldn't give you the up to the minute scoring. The scoring machine was not hooked up to our area or monitor. That will be remedied for the Pipeline Pro event come February 15th. Make sure you watch.

2011 is going to be pretty hectic. I'll be following the entire IBA Grand Slam Series Bodyboarding World Tour as the webcast commentator. Please tune in and watch all the events live. I'll be coming at you from Hawaii, Chile, Australia, Mainland Mexico, Reunion Island and the Canary Islands. Oh yes... very hectic.

From Cabo, my R&R retreat,
MannyV

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Snake vs Respect

Good friend and world class surf photographer, Jeff Flindt, came to visit with his wife Caroline last month before heading to Hawaii for the North Shore surf season. Jeff has put in some serious time in the water photographing the best of the best surfers in the world. For good reason... he's good at it.

I got to picking his brain about all the new young photographers that are now able to pick up a sick camera and water housing set up with the help of the bank, mama's check book and/or hard work. I asked what's it like in heavy line ups like Pipeline, Backdoor and other well-known spots. I was wondering if there was any 'localism and respect' things going on with the veteran water photographers and the new schoolers.

Before we get into his answer, I'd like to touch base on the whole respect thing and riding waves. It's really simple. Respect those that have put in the time at the spot or call that wave their home. Don't drop in, don't back paddle and don't call them off waves. Well, there's a point where you obey all the unwritten rules of the water and the locals still give you a hard time and you've had enough. That's a whole different topic. We'll come back to that in another blog post. Back on track... okay, so respect and know your role. In other words, if you're a beginner, stay in the beginner's zone. Don't go to the peak. Wait in line. We've all witnessed the newbies going straight to the peak and drop in on locals, fall on the take off and shoot their boards. Uh, not good. Respect.

Now, on that note. Flindty (what his old bodyboarding friends call him) told me a few stories about young newby water guys that would not respect the likes of Hank, Bielman and many other famous and respected water photographers and go for the best position in the water. Needless to say, a hail storm of bad words and angry looks hit the newby like a ten ton truck. Not knowing exactly what the he was doing, the newby paddled away. So there is a respect factor in water photography that is unseen by the majority of people on the planet. In hopes of finding a photo to demonstrate my point of view, I found at photo on www.tommyschultz.com that shows two photographers shooting a jackass surfer doing exactly what he's not supposed to be doing. (Side Note: Apparently, the surfer is a 'full-on local' and can drop in on anyone. I stand corrected. Read comments below.) Okay, back to the topic at hand... But you'll notice that angle of the photographers' line in relation to the wave and surfer. They're not directly in front of each other. This angle is the angle that all professional water surf photographers abide by to ensure the chances that the photographer in front will be out of the way and in the wave's face by the time the surfer reaches him/her. Yes, the photographer in the front will and should be the 'local' or 'respected' photographer. Jeff went on telling me a few more stories but they are reverted to the newby getting schooled in respect.

One last thing... surf photographers are sitting on thousands of images that most of the public will never see. The reason? Protecting local spots. The background in the photo below has be altered to help disguise the location of this spot. But it's such a great photo, I had to share. Shit, maybe I should take my name off it, eh?

Kook surfer drops in showing ignorance. Apparently, the surfer is a 'full-on local'. Oops. Sorry dude. Water photographers showing respect.

Wave perfect. Location... planet Earth.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

CONFIRMED! Get the passport ready.

All that's left is to sign the papers. I've just been hired to be the commentator of the IBA Bodyboarding World Tour. Excited? Hell yeah! Canary Islands, Australia, Mexico, Chile, Hawaii... oh man, it's like the good old pro bodyboarding days. But now, I have to figure out how the heck to get my wife on a few or all of these trips. We'll see.

As for the IBA World Tour... first stop, Canary Islands for the RedBull.com/tv El Fronton event. If you don't know about the wave, El Fronton, you are in for a treat. We will have a 10 day window to run a special four hour invite only battle in one of the craziest waves on the planet.

If you haven't added me on Twitter, please do so now. I'll be sending out Tweets from the Canary Islands: www.twitter.com/mannyvmedia

So join me around the world for some good times, great competitions and cool features.

MannyV

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Big Wednesday. Big Respects.

Today was the day that southern California was going to get pounded by a massive northwest swell. I think I stressed out more on 'where to go' rather than 'will I survive'?!

At the very last minute, I texted SUP ripper Sean Poynter and asked if he was down to charge Baja Mexico. He answered without hesitation... yeah, let's do it.

I knew of a couple friends that may be down there; Fowler and his crew and my other friends Nelz and Ross on the jet ski. More people to shoot, the merrier.

After a short 40 minute drive from downtown San Diego area, we arrived on the beach just south of the Mexican border. Sean and I tripped out how drastic the scenery can get with such a short drive. We paid our 27 pesos at the toll booth and then took one of the next exits. We rolled Volvo wagon through these cool white arches and bam... got front row parking. I could see jet skis out in the line up so I asked Sean to head down and get a better look on the conditions. While I was chillin' talking to the parking lot slash security guard, I was able to pawn off the stuff I was supposed to take to the thrift store. So the guy scored on cat hair-covered pillows and old National Geographic magazines.

Sean runs back up and says it's a go. We both suit up and I told him to meet me in the water. Don't want him to wait while I get my camera gear ready. Within five minutes, my Canon 7D with the Tokina 10-17mm was sitting snug in my SPL waterhousing and the HD GoPro was clipped in and ready! Yes, Cha Cha is ready to rock.

It wasn't until I got onto the sand that I realized how big it was and how much the current was pulling south. I ran up the beach a little more to end up where I needed to. I must've timed it perfect 'cuz it didn't take me that long to get out and no sets came to smash me. Wooow.

Ross and Nelz were out on the ski but no sign of Folwer. Sean and I hooked up on a few tube shots after battling the current. Luckily for us, Ross picked us up on the ski and hauled us back down to the starting point. Unreal! I should call him all the tim! : ) Sean and I drifted once again down the beach but this time, we saw Nelz doing step offs on massive set waves. There was this one wave that he pulled in to that... oh man... this thing was a cavern! It was insanely big. I didn't know that Nelz was charging this kind of stuff. He held on as long as he could in the barrel until the shock wave sent him into a forward somersault. His body was fully extended and he wasn't touching water! It was insane!

So huge respects to Sean for charging his 6'6" SUP Starboard and Nelz for going big. Big respects. Oh yeah... and respects to Cha Cha for holding tough!

Good times.

Here's a few photos and video clips of the morning. Check all the photos (except Sean Poynter's solid ones... those are going to the mags) go to:
MannyVPhoto.com

The view from the beach.

Solo Mexican.

Nelz opts out. Ross hits the gas.

Keep the goods off the net for now. Poynty setting up.


video

Thursday, October 21, 2010

One of Many Hats

Back in the 90's, I organized an annual bodyboard contest called the Summer Slam. My friends and I ran that for 13 years! I couldn't believe it either!

This summer while shooting down in my hometown of IB, Katy (Katy's Cafe head honcho) mentioned that she wanted to put something together for the local groms. I immediately said, let's do it. This was right before I took off on my summer trips. So when I returned, Katy and I got the ball rolling.

The Warm Up, went down this past Saturday and it was awesome. It was purposely arranged to go down one day before the infamous Dempsey contest. It was to get the groms mentally and physically ready for that particular comp. Great turn out and great people made the Warm Up cool. The morning of the event brought back a ton of memories from the Summer Slam days. Here's a quick list why the event is one to attend in 2011:
-It's free to enter.
-It's for groms only (16 and under).
-Surf, Bodyboard, Girls divisions.
-BBQ after the event at Katy's Cafe.
-Every finalist walks away with prizes and cool trophy.
-Did I say FREE to enter? Oh yeah, I did.

Katy texted me yesterday and insisted that I check out Patch.com and read the cool articles that Khari wrote on the event. Cool video too. Check it out:

Khari Story:http://imperialbeach.patch.com/articles/groms-get-ready-for-dempsey-in-warm-up-contest#c


"What did he just say about 10 wave maximum?"

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

HD Pro Films Gathering

As you may or may not know, I have a Canon 7D. This bad boy has full HD video capabilities and I feel like I've been ignoring this feature like a red-headed step child. I've done a few video gigs in the past month but I really haven't spent any time on the video side of the 7D. After attending last night's cool HD video gathering, I may have to dive into the video side of things a little more.

Last night, Robert from HD Pro Films organized a gathering for anyone to attend. It was free and it was cool to see what the five or so vendors had to offer. And I have to give credit to Robert... he knew how to attract the flies to the sweets... FREE PIZZA!

Below is a quick and dirty video that I pieced together from the gathering. I used my Canon point and shoot to capture the footage. No tripod, no script... just your good old fashion blog style video.

Before you check the video, I want to say thanks again to Robert. Without his enthusiasm for video, the gathering wouldn't have happened. Also, Todd isn't the man behind the video compartment of SGA. In fact, Todd Lynch is the Producer/Director of Wind An Sea Studios and will be heading the video department at ASG (Action Sports Group). You'll know why I had to mention that after you see the video. Remember, no script.

Couple more shout outs:
-Frank Castillo from http://www.kwikfilms.com/ was cool to talk to and let me in on some industry secrets.

-Bernie Keach from Marshall Electrontics (http://www.marshall-usa.com/) for selling me on the cool ass 5" LCD monitor for the DSRL video peeps. This will definitely be my next purchase.

-Bill McClelland from Steadicam for jumping for me. That was cool.

-Eric Lingle from http://www.webvideosolutions.com/ for talking surfing with me. I was stoked not to be the strictly-industry dude.

Thanks again Robert and hope to see you at the next one!

Check it:

video

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The New Rig :: Cha Cha

You know that feeling you get once you have that new board in your hands? That's the feeling I got when I bought the GoPro HD video camera off of the infamous Bill Andrews. He had no use for it so he sold it to me at a price I couldn't refuse.

I had a GoPro set up on my old SPL housing. It was a first generation GoPro with standard definition. Now, holy crap, I've got the unreal colors and speed of the Canon 7D AND the wide angle HD video of the GoPro... all in my right hand! I would like to introduce you to... Cha Cha.

She's beautiful. Great curves, has two eyes staring you down, she likes to get close to you and is always down to put out... great photos and videos, that is. After a day of bringing her to life, today was the first day I had Cha Cha take a dip with me in the ocean. We headed out at to the reefs together and hung out with a few cool surfers. Cha Cha was comfortable and was easy to manuever through the water and waves. I just have to remember to press her buttons before each wave. The GoPro was set on Standard Def today but will have it on HD in the next sessions.

Got home and... unreal! Cha Cha performed perfectly! I can't wait for a sunny day and have her set to HD. I'll stick to HD 720 at 60 fps once the sun is out. That is unless it's going off, then I'll switch to full HD 1080p.

My only concern is not a major one. Now that I've added another 3 inches to the top of the housing, I have to be aware that I don't ruin the barrel photos by holding the housing to high in the tube. I noticed a few splash drops on a couple empty barrel shots today. Other than that... be ready to have Cha Cha dish out HD video along with the high rez photos on www.mannyvphoto.com.Oo La La...

To see the first round of the new rig, check out my photo session from this morning:
http://www.mannyvphoto.com/Surf-Photography/October-2010/October-13-2010/14178925_XzFLt#1046698637_ZGttR

Now who's ready! Look at that thing of beauty. Cha Cha is alive!

I hope my Mexican ingenuity doesn't go south on me (gulp)!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Secret Ceviche Sanctuary

Most, if not all, ocean lovers will always enjoy a delicious serving of ceviche. According to Wikipedia.org, ceviche is described the dish, "typically made from fresh raw fish marinated in citrus juices such as lemon or lime and spiced with chilli peppers." Wow, Wiki is wicked! They got it right on the dot. But not every ceviche is spiced before serving. You usually add your own hotness to it on your own. Either way, it is something that everyone should try at least once. And the chances of you getting hooked, pretty frickin' good.

Well, for those of you that live in the south bay of San Diego, I've got a treat for you... Fruitlandia! Located on University just west of the 15 highway in City Heights, is a secret little Juice Bar that serves up some of the best ceviche I've had this side of the border. My wife and I have been shelling out for Fruitlandia's ceviche for the past few months and we are never disappointed. I'll let you in on a little secret. Order your ceviche tostada to go. We think you get more ceviche than you would if you ordered to eat in. You can still unpack it and eat in the shop, no problem. And for under 3 bucks, you get a ton!

If you're in the area or if you want to make the drive for some tasty ceviche, head over to Cherokee and University and visit Fruitlandia! Oh yeah... don't forget the fresh juices, smoothies and fruit salads! Oh man, this place will rock your boat.

You can't miss the Mexi influence of the neighborhood. 


Order up!

My wife and I split an order of three and that's plenty!
Check them out on Yelp:

Friday, October 1, 2010

September Photo Contest Winner

September's Photo Contest winner is Willie Barrio. Willie is a fellow photographer from the east coast. He sent in a cool bodyboarding photo of JB Hillon from a recent comp at Jenkinsons Beach in New Jersey. Congrats to you both. Willie walks with two exclusive Cabo Freak Fest 2010 tshirts and a book on Cabo. Score!

Be sure to give Willie a call if you're up in his area for photo shoot:
http://www.williebarrio.com/

JB Hillon doing his thang.

October's Photo Contest Winner will walk with the goods on the left. Spy sunglasses and a bottle opener that I got down in Cabo. Follow my blog, send in your photo and you'll be in the running to win the goods!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It's Called... Passion.

I was out shooting the other morning and a guy told me, "I've been surfing for 13 years and I've never got a water photo before." I found it hard to believe. Maybe it's the fact that I've been fortunate enough to have a water photographer to travel the globe with since 1991! Or maybe it's the fact that it's so easy nowadays for someone to drop four G's and get an unreal water camera set up. Then again, if anyone could drop four G's why would it be on that?

So I came to the conclusion that this is my niche; my calling; my... passion. My wife has been training for a triathlon that's going down in March 2011. And she sometimes gets down on herself for missing an exercise session. And then there's the feeling she gets after a good bike ride, good run or good swim. She loves it. That's passion.

Water photography is my passion. If you can't see that through the photos I've me uploading like a madman since early this year, then you are missing the fact that I love this sh!t. I get stoked when I get a great shot of someone that is killing it. I get stoked when I get a shot of someone that has never gotten a water photo before.

So I leave you with this... be sure to see my passion shine through some of today's unreal photo sessions. I'll have them uploaded by Thursday September 30.

One last thing. Answer me this... what's your passion? Leave me a comment. I'd love to see your responses.

Without my passion of taking photos, I would have never of know about this cool ass kid named Patrick and this insane surfing dog named Ricochet. Patrick is a quadriplegic that has a passion for riding waves. Ricochet is the infamous surfing dog that, well... rips! Both were very inspiring to watch in the water. Great meeting you two!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

First Time For Everything

Finally! I've been shooting for the past four years or so and I'm loving every minute. With some of the top surfers in the area as my friends, it was just a matter of time before I get a photo in a surfing mag. I've gotten published in a bunch of bodyboarding magazines all around the world but I really wanted to get a shot in a surf mag. Not only will I get paid but it's also to prove that I can do this at a professional level.

I've been fortunate to travel and watch one of the surfing world's top photographers, Jeff Flindt. Seeing how regime the entire process can be, including the post processing part, I have to say... learning from the best helps. Flindty wasn't the only one that I've seen in action. As a professional bodyboarder from 1990-1998, I've had to the pleasure to shoot with some of the legends: Aaron Chang, Chris Van Lennop, Hank, Aaron Lloyd, Bielmann... the list goes on.

I give all these photographers 110% props. All these guys, not only paddled out in heavy surf, but after every 36 photos, they had to paddle back in and reload the camera with a fresh roll of film. Then they paddled back out for more. Unreal. I hope the new up and comers understand that having the numbers 999 show up in the photos remaining display is a pleasure that we all should appreciate. I know I sure the hell do.

So, I did it. I made it into a surf mag. Sure it's a small ad pic but it's all good. Check it, here's a mock up of the ad that Sean Fowler's sponsor SRH used in a recent Transworld Magazine advertisement. I have yet to get my hands on a real copy but I'm sure it's the same ad. Good times.

PS: I just got word that SUP Journal will be running a photo of Sean Poynter that I took. Amped! I'll get that posted as soon as I get my hands on that issue that's due out in October, I believe. Plus, that'll help me out with my new FFATtrips.com trip... SUP Mex.

SRH. Sean Fowler. I shot the photo that's highlighted. Hellz yeah!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Submit Your Photo

What up people? Okay, so we've got a few entries for the Photo Of The Month. Keep 'em coming! All you have to do is:

1. Follow my blog and;

2. Send your photo (jpegs no more than 300kb) to mannyvphoto@gmail.com. Easy.

This month I have a large and 2XL exclusive Cabo Freak Fest t-shirts, a Cabo travel handbook and a Jiggy_Jig trucker hat. Solid package!

I choose a winner at the end of each month. Get on it and send away!

Manny

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My Wish List

Yeah, my Canon 7D is insane and I love it. But sometimes I don't want to lug that thing around when I'm going to cruise with the boys at a BBQ or chillin' at the beach. Well, here's what I'd like to take with me in it's only little pouch, the Canon Powershot SD4500 IS (image stabilization). This point and shoot camera is pretty legit with some amazing features. Unfortunately, they don't have a water casing for it yet. No worries, that's what my 7D is for, eh? Oright, check the list of features:

-10x Optical Zoom with lens-shift type image stabilizer
-New HS System with reduces image noise
-10 Megapixel High Sensitivity CMOS image sensor
-DIGIC 4 Digital Image Processor
-8 Frames a second burst mode!
-Full HD Video Shooting
The list goes on!

CLICK HERE and see the full specs of this new must have point and shoot camera. Unreal! And if you have a Canon point and shoot camera, CHECK HERE to see if they make a water casing for it and join me in the water!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Itch

Yesterday was the day I got the itch. I've been back from Cabo San Lucas for the past week and a half. It was paradise, I might add. Warm blue water, south swell pounding and riders charging hard in front of my camera. So when I get back home here in San Diego, I've been waking up to the marine layer chomping away at the coast all the way to my house in North Park. That's about eight miles inland! So you can see, the motivation factor is tough to get going.

After checking Surfline's Scripps cam and looking out to the grey skies, the itch to just go out and take photos wiped all that away. I grabbed my camera bag, organized everything I needed to shoot water and rolled out around 9am or so.

I roll up to La Jolla shores with the parking lot nearly full (Labor Day) and head straight to the front row in hopes of getting a parking spot. At the end of the first row, boom... a parking spot! Stoked.

Surfline was right, windy and small. But what I saw in the water was reminiscent to Waikiki. There were tons of people out there catching waves. Some just learning and some ripping. I just wanted to shoot photos of people and here it is. I get the housing and camera ready and low and behold, I see Edwin. Things keep getting better! Edwin is a local San Diego ripper who's mellow but will destroy any wave!

After an hour and a half of swimming around and avoiding new surfers and their boards, I walked away with some solid photos. All I wanted to do is swim and get a few photos but what I got were tons of cool photos and met a few cool people at the same time. Love itch that doesn't affect my sex life. Bring it on.


Ed... full force.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Just Added ::: SUP Mex Weekenders

As some of you may know, my wife and I have been putting together trips to Cabo San Lucas, Costa Rica and Indonesia for the past seven years. Starting today, we've added SUP Mex Weekender trips. That's right... Manny is going to offer up his 22  years of Baja experience to those that want to join him for a weekend of empty line-ups, great food and great times! Who's in?

Head on over to www.SUPmex.com for more info. Ariba!!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August Photo of the Month

If you haven't met the always happy and smiling Brian Wong of San Diego, aka B Wong, you're missing out. This guy is full of life and energy and loves the ocean and his bodyboard like no other.

Once he got his hands on one of those Go Pro cameras, it was all over. He's been fine tuning positioning and has been getting some unreal shots along the way. In fact, if you see him in the water and you talk to him about the Go Pro, don't be surprised if he hands you his board so that you could get a few shots of yourself! He's cool like that.

So here's to the winner of August's Photo of the Month... B Wong pulling in DK in Cabo San Lucas during this year's Cabo Freak Fest. He walks away with the sick rasta Bali trucker hat.

If you want to see more of B Wong's awesome photos check out his site: www.SoCalShots.com.

Monday, August 30, 2010

On Canvas ::: Mission Cafe

video


Great news! Jody over at Mission Cafe, let me showcase some of my favorite photos on canvas at the Mission Beach location. I would love for you to cruise by and check 'em out. Let me and the workers at Mission know what you think. Here's one of the photos that's on display (without the watermark, of course):


Mission Cafe In Mission Beach Location

Cabo Freak Fest Update

Okay, so I may have had to hire a blogger for the Cabo Freak Fest daily updates. I forgot how crazy it is for me during that particular trip. I'm running around like a chicken without a head! The good news is, SurgeBodyboarding.com is going to run a full story on the trip so you'll have to wait 'til October for the details. For now, take a look at one of my favorite photos from the trip. Ray Collins was in shorebreak heaven...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

En route to Cabo Freak Fest

Flying on the cheap is what all surfers and bodyboarders always look for. For southern Californians, we have it made. Tijuana airport is just a short drive across the border. And if you're looking to save a few bucks on your flight to anywhere in Mexico, I suggest one of my favorite short route airlines... Volaris. Volaris offers up flights to most costal cities including Cabo San Lucas. I got my ticket to Cabo last minute for $308. The aircraft is clean and the staff are very nice. Add on the $28 round trip bus shuttle to and from downtown San Diego, and you're still paying less than $400 to get to Cabo.

The bonus you get from Volaris... bodyboarders do not have to pay luggage fees for your boards! Please do your best to avoid Mexicana. Not only did they file for bankruptcy but they charge $60 freakin' bux per bodyboard! NO MEXICANA! YES VOLARIS!

Here's the site for Volaris and yes, they have an English option for their site: www.volaris.com.mx.

Okay, I'm off to Cabo San Lucas.

From the Tijuana airport, I'm out.

video

Monday, August 16, 2010

Update...

Good Monday morning friends. Sorry for the lag time on my blog but it really feels like I've been going 1000 miles per hour for the last month. First, it was two weeks in Indonesia with my theIndoExperience.com group. We had waves pretty much the entire time. I'll have some of my favorite photos up on my www.mannyvphoto.com site soon. Then it was off to Puerto Escondido, Mexico for a 10 day adventure. I haven't been back to PE since 1996! All my friends are still there, just 14 years older. But the mystique and vibe of Puerto Escondido that I have grown to love back in the 90's are all still there. I miss it all. So expect a Puerto Escondido Freak Fest 2011. Details on www.FFATtrips.com soon.

Now, I'm in the last stretch before I head to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for the annual Cabo Freak Fest. I will have internet access every day so I'll be doing daily updates from Cabo. Plus, we have a swell forecast that is looking pretty solid. Keep following the blog my friends.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Lightning Devirginization

I'm currently in Puerto Escondido, Mexico for a bodyboarding contest/video trip. I ended up 5th overall in the DK division and have had a great time catching up with friends.

If you've ever visited PE, you'll know that this place offers up some of the best sunsets on the planet. The tropical conditions delivers the ingredients for some spectacular eye candy.

As the sun began to go down the other day, a rain and thunder storm followed. A bunch of us cruised up to the insane open air terrace of the Aqua Luna hotel and prepared for the action. This was the first time that I was going to attempt to shoot lightning. What I walked away with was insane!

I knew I wanted to keep the shutter open long enough for me to capture bolts of lightning dancing across the skies. So I made a few adjustments on my Canon 7D and ended up using Av (aperture priority) with the following settings: f/29, ISO 1000. When I pressed the trigger button, the shutter would remain open for about 15 seconds or so. I would do this when I thought the lightning would strike. I used my Tokina f/4.6 10-17mm at 17mm. I looked through my viewfinder during a lighting strike to help me frame the scene. Whether this is the right or wrong way to shoot lightning, doesn't matter... I still got a few nuggets.

Oh yeah... I switched to video on a few too! For video, I set it up at 640x480 at 60 frames per second. I wanted to slow this sucker down for slow mo action. Check it:

Lightning strikes in Puerto Escondido, Mexico.

Just below the awning.

video

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Puerto Escondido, Mexico

Oh man... it's been a rough few days. Immediately after landing at LAX on the 27th and spending time with my wife, I was on another plane. This time I was off to mainland Mexico. No.6 Bodyboards, my board sponsor, shipped me to Puerto Escondido, Mexico to attend, show face and compete in the Zicatela Pro. This international bodyboarding event has 20 G's up for grabs. I'm still in the DK comp so wish me luck in the next round!

I'm finally back on track as far as jet lag is concerned. So expect me to get back on track with my blogging. Here's a few morsels to chew on.

Morning photo session. Beautiful.

Beto, contest organizer, on the mic welcoming everyone to the event. Mayla from Brazil on the left and Chuy Silva, local ripper, on the right.

Free surfer getting a few nuggets down the beach.

SUPing in Puerto Escondido. Skills.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

On Earth

Do you have a place that you can call your favorite place on earth? I do. Well actually, if I'm with my wife, anywhere is all good. But this place, this small stretch of coast, is my favorite place on earth. It's part of Hu'u village on the southern coast of Sumbawa island. I'll leave it at that as far as the location is concerned.

Below are just a few photos why I love this place so much. I will be adding more photos as soon as I get a better internet connection. The photos that I'll upload later will include the people that make it that much more enriching. But these photos are just a glimpse of the waves and surroundings that make it almost surreal.

I mean, how many of us have seen kelp eating horses cruising on the reefs at low tide? Or able to stay on a tower just yards away from one of the best waves on the planet? Or have options on what type and direction of barrels you want?!

Welcome to my favorite place On Earth.

Periscopes right hander. Perfer inside section.

My favorite view from Lakey Peak right.

WTF? Kelp eating horses.

Up front and center. The Lakey Tower.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Gene Tour

Coming back to Indonesia every year for the past five years has been, not only endless epic surf sessions, but a great opportunity to meet cool ass people. Case in point, Gene Kreyd. I met Gene a few year's back and been in contact with him since. This Russian born ripper has been living on Bali for over ten years and has become a cool added addition to the entire vibe on the island.

Not only does Gene have Uluwatu, Padang Padang and many other waves wired, he is also a very successful and very creative artist.

We had the opportunity to visit Gene at his humble abode. He rents out a small area in a westerner's massive home just steps from Bingin, another awesome break near Uluwatu. We showed up with Bintangs (local beer) and after he gave us a tour of the house, he displayed many of his art pieces. Gene would show us pieces that are on his wall and talk about the inspiration or thoughts that went into his work.

He went on and talked about how a big time Russian club owner flew him over back to Russia to showcase his artwork in the club for the grand opening. Needless to say, Gene was stoked. He hasn't been back home in years!

We gathered in the living room and he showed off his newest collection of freshly printed work. Believe me, I was tempted to pick up a piece but my budget wasn't allowing it. Great news for Gene though, two of our guys were so pumped on Gene and his work that they funded Gene's partying for the nights to come. Yes, Gene likes to get out and enjoy himself whenever he can. Wouldn't you?

Seeing the stoke and hearing the cool ass stories, I think we may just add 'The Gene Tour' onto our future Indo Experience trips! To see more of Gene's work peep, www.genekreyd.com

Gene at home at Ulu's.

Gene and Brett hold up one of Gene's new prints.

Mark (second from left) took the sunset print on canvas. Definitely a keeper.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Push



Funny thing happened the other day. All of my guys on the trip have been on the Cabo Freak Fest trip and one of them on the Costa Freak Fest. And they all know that I don’t push them past their limits. In fact, I don’t push them at all. But what I saw them do in scary low tide four to six foot Padang Padang, reminded me of what I went through when I first came to Indo back in 1996.

The guys were stoked to have waves for the first couple days of their Indo trip. But they really didn’t know what they were getting into that morning as the sounds of waves crashing crept through the darkness of our super dawn patrol. As we all waiting on Padang beach for some sort of light to come out, they stretched and I prepped my camera in the flashlight beam.

I could tell that they were a little worried and excited at the same time. We all knew that the tide was going to be too low to ride but we were going to be out there when it turned on. As we reached the line up in the wee hours of the morning, the waves surged onto an almost dry reef. I was able to stand on the reef as a wave came in and sucked the water down to my shins.

The boys played it safe for the first few waves and as the confidence grew, they kept pushing each other deeper and deeper. Eventually, as the tide filled in, they were in the right spot to handle the perfect inside corner.

Everyone got at least one solid ride and everyone hit the reef in one way or another. They are all okay and now they have a lasting memory of an epic session. 

The Push. The boys doing their thang.

2010 crew. Early sunlight. Padang Padang.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Wake Up Call

Another jet-lag morning. Got up at 3:30am again but was able to go back to sleep for another hour and a half. I thought I was going to pull through the night after taking an Ambient pill that Jay hooked up. I did sleep sound 'til 3:30am and I wasn't groggy. Which is kinda scary. No wonder people get hooked on this little white pill.

I got all my stuff ready and went over to room number nine to wake up Jay and Mark... two of my four customers. Actually, they are more friends than just customers. As I walked up to their door I noticed that they were up cuz the light was on. But then I saw the patio area of their neighbor and it was covered with empty beer bottles and cigarette butts.

Mark, who didn't take an Ambient, told me that his neighbors was hammered and were partying 'til 3am! Not good when your walls are paper thin. He said another person came by around 3:00am and broke their mini speakers that were spitting out Jack Johnson tunes all night. After more drama story telling, we were off to the beach. Note to all would be travelers... bring ear plugs that work!

It was pitch black at 5:45-ish as we walked down the road to Padang. We got the the beach after bobbin' and weaving through the walls of the Padang stairs. The boys chilled at the water's edge as I prepped my camera. As the light started to come out, we started our paddle to the break.

Picking up Brett and Chris today and if I know these two guys, they will be super pumped to be here on the IndoExperience.com trip! Okay, now check out the photos from this morning's wake up call:

Jay and Mark. Happy Friends. Padang.

Jay... deeeeeeeeeeep.

Good morning. From behind the inside bowl.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Day One ::: Padang

Arriving to my hotel room around 4pm and tired, I knew I had to stay awake as long as possible to get on the time schedule here quicker. So I stayed up until 8pm and I was out! But after a seemingly long night's sleep, I take a look at my watch and it's 3:03am. : (  I was able to get another hour in but I've been up since.

I made my way down to the beach around 6am. There was light out already but I know the sun has to get over the mountain first. So I took my time to get out there. It was about three feet or so and there was only a couple guys out!

I was so pumped to jump into the warm waters of Padang but not before saying hello to all my lifeguard and Warung friends. By the time I got out into the lineup at Padang, there was a lone South African bodyboarder that had it all to himself! So after about 30 minutes, a few more heads paddled out and the four foot sets kept coming in.

Going to pick up Mark and Mario from the airport today. Below are a few gems from this morning.

Hold up! My wife and I agreed... in 2011, we are going to organize a 'Couples Only' Indonesia trip. So if you've been wishing to come but didn't want to leave your loved one at home... this is it. The ladies, if they don't want to come surf with the boys, can relax poolside with drinks, get $10 hour-long massages or shop to their hearts' content! Surfers and bodyboarders... we're going to surf all day and drink Bintangs to relax the night away! Who's in?

Alex, the lone South African, prepares to sneak under the morning curtain.

Perfection. Good morning.

Home away from home. Padang Beach.

Pink shorts dude, slides under the lip on the inside bowl.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Traveling Abroad ::: Rookie Mistakes

Man, you'd think that I'd have a few things already nailed down when traveling abroad. Well, here a quick list of things to remember when you're traveling abroad and not to do.

1. Don't wear a belt. I've gone through a few security check points already and shit... I held up the line and wasted time taking off my belt then putting it back on. Rookie...

2. Pre-check in. I actually did this one but would like to share it with you. Whenever possible be sure to check in onlnie prior to arriving to the airport. I was stoked to be able to sit next to the window. Now, I can get a few photos/video clips when landing in Bali. And know that I'll be landing with Uluwatu on the right side of the plane I was sure to get that side of the plane's window seat.

3. Sandals. Now, that you have to take off your shoes at every check point as well, isn't easier to simply slide your feet out of your sandals and move on. Yup, I wore my Adiddas and now I have to untie and retie after every freakin' check point. Rookie...

4. Point and shoot camera. I have a 7D with a few lenses but when I want to take a quick snap shot of something, like me typing on this computer in the Taipei airport, it'd be easier to pull out a small point and shoot than pulling out my bag out of the over compartment and deciding what lens to use.. blah blah blah. Bring a point and shoot camera and have it charged and ready. Rookie...

For now, that's all I have for you. I'm excited to be that much closer to Bali but that much sad to be that further away from my wife.

Update from Bali soon... Wayan, Ketut, Made, Gede, Putu, Nyoman here I come!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Prepping for a surf trip

After having breaky with my moms, dad and brotha, I'll have a quick how to prepare for a trip. So tune in later!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Photo Of The Month Winner

Ken-Dawg walks with a massive discount for my photo services. He sent in his action shot of him ripping the WaveHouse B-Max in San Diego.

July's Photo Winner will walk with 50% Off from my Collections Gallery on www.mannyvphoto.com. If you've every wandered into that gallery... you'll know I'm hooking it up phat!

How to enter:
  1. Follow my blog
  2. Send in a jpeg image of you ripping (mannyvphoto@gmail.com)

And that's it! I'll choose the winner at the end of each month. Enter as much as you want! Just keep the images under 300kb.

Ken ripping...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

SUP Mex is here!

Dates are being finalized but SUP Mex is otherwise READY TO GO! Prepare for a 4-day excursion to the empty line-ups of Northern Baja. We know the first question that comes to peoples' minds... is it safe? My answer, YES. We will take every precaution to ensure that we are safe and only have to worry about riding waves and relaxing. Plus, we'll have two guides with you the entire time!

The next question we usually get... how crowded are the line-ups? There are so many breaks that go unridden everyday. Sure, there are waves that can have a few people surfing. If that happens, we simply get in the car and drive to another spot where there's no one to be seen for miles!

On our recon mission, we rode waves the entire time with no one out!

And then there's the food! Oh man... when was the last time you visited Puerto Nuevo (Baja's Lobster Town)? Our final dinner at Vista Del Mar #2 is insane! Essentially, you eat until you can't eat any more! Deliciouso!

Watch the video then head over to the FFATtrips.com website for all the details. Remember, dates are being finalized so keep your eyes peeled!


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Double Take

Taking water photos of SUP wave riders is tough. Do-able but tough. I have to put full trust in the rider. I read and predict the line they are going to draw across the wave and pray they don't freak out that they will hit me. That's when trouble may arise. But if they hold their line... cha-ching! Sean 'Poynty' Poynter is one of the few guys I can trust. He rides a Star Board 6'6" SUP board and he kills it on this thing. I can't wait to shoot him when the sun's out.

Yesterday, we linked up in south San Diego but with a strong current and not one consistent peak, our work was cut out for us. Plus, I think he had a late night in OB the night before! Hahaha.

Here's a photo that I got of Poynty. And to my surprise John Ashley got the same wave but with another angle. CLICK HERE to see his perspective.

Full trust. Full throttle. Sean slides past.

Catchin' Up Part II

So the last two weeks have been hectic. We had waves, grand opennings and just good times. Here's a glimpse of what else has been going down.

Waves
A south swell rolled in a few days ago and I was the happiest guy on earth. That was the feeling I got when I was driving up to a beach with the sun out and the swell pounding. Early this day, I was in my hometown shooting water but it was cloudy. The waves were going off and the current wasn't too bad. But the second session was calling for this secret spot that really only breaks on a southy. So I'm rolling up around 9ish and the sun was blaring! I could see the sets crackin'! I was amping. Took my time with the housing rituals and headed out. I was out for no more than 20 minutes when all of a sudden the clouds came back in and the winds before to switch. Hey, the waves are up... no complaints!

There was hope for the perfect session.
Balancing Act.


Night Owl
I felt like a rockstar photographer this past Friday. Octavio was invited to a grand opening of a new gym down the road from my house. So he, Nelz and I showed up and jumped right in. The host and owner of Evolve, Heather, was totally cool. I asked if they had a photographer for the night and she said yes but the person was shooting photos and the camera was a point and shoot. So I offered to take photos and rolled back home to grab my gear. I took a grip of photos there and then we were on our way home. Little did I know that we were going to have a few more pit stops before coming it a night. After Evolve, we ended up at Wine Steals for a bottle of wine; the Ruby Room for show; Lalo's for Mexi food then finally; the AC Lounge to watch our friend Aaron Veenstra and friend DJ. What a night of good times. Check out the rest of the photos at MannyVPhoto.com.

Evolve Grand Opening.

Aaron Veenstra every Thursday Night. AC Lounge.