Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Year Ago Today... BOOM!

I'm still shaking my head at the fact that I'm becoming recognized around the world, bodyboarding world that is, for something that... just happened. Not literally just happened but happened without intentions. BOOM! is my signature sign off to all the IBA World Tour highlight reels. Someone actually made a smash up for Youtube. Crazy stuff!

Let me reverse a little here. It's been a year since the first day of my gig as the face of professional bodyboarding competition. It happened here on the Canary Islands for the Wild Wave Fronton Showdown. Aside from broadcasting live, I also had to intro and outro the highlight clips. Seamus (video guy), Ben (Red Bull dude) and I headed out to do our first highlight clip. We all agreed that we needed to end with a signature. We did a few things with my hands but it was a punch at the camera that we all agreed on. We went with it and that's how it all started.

Below is the first one that we did. I totally forgot about it until Caja (Canary Island cameraman) showed me the night I arrived. I must say, I'm a little embarred and grateful at the same time. Embarrassed because I looked like a total jackass. Low, if any, energy and this one thing that has solidified me in the bodyboarding world were very weak! Very weak! I'm grateful to know that I've come a long way. I appreciate all those that have supported me and the IBA World Tour. Now, compare and contrast:

Now compare to the one I did yesterday and let me know what you really think.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Beast!

There are some perks to this gig with the IBA World Tour. One of which was video taped and showcased during the Encanto Pro in Puerto Rico. It was awesome. Sylvia at Toro Verde offered the production staff and any of the riders for a ride on the infamous zip line, The Beast! If you ever go to Puerto Rico, this is an absolute must! It's not the only thing to do in the lush canyons but it's surely a must. is where you can get all the info. I'm sitting on a bunch of video clips of my own. As soon as I get some free time, I'll piece them together and put the movie on my YouTube Channel:

Thanks again to the Snakes and Ladders production crew for the video clip. Here we go:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Preparing For History

On Friday, I take off to the Canary Islands for the last stop on the IBA bodyboarding world tour. It all comes down to this event to determine this year's world champ. Four guys are in the run; Pierre Louis-Costes (France), Jeff Hubbard (USA-Hawaii), Ryan Hardy (Australia) and Guilherme Tamega (Brazil). "Hubby" is leading in points and is favored to win the event and the title. But with the gnarly wave called El Fronton determining who will be champ, anything could happen! Watch LIVE on, and Yes, that YouTube. This is a first for the tour. We're expecting to have a historical amount of viewers and if the waves co-operate... this will be the best show to watch. For the latest updates and when we are going live, be sure to get on the IBA Twitter:!/ibaworldtour

This will be the perfect show to have your friends who don't ride waves to watch. If the waves show up, I guarantee you that the show will be insane!

Friday, November 18, 2011

I Can Tell...

I can tell by the photo contest image on the right that I haven't updated my blog since October 31. So here we go. I'm going to do a two part blog on my new toy... a dolly for my Canon 7D. After watching a few videos from the creator, I went for it and dropped $100 to have it delivered within days. He did mention via email that he wasn't slammed at the moment and I would get my dolly quickly. His humor also helped me to go with this guy. Love his videos. In fact, I'm going to see the one where he's sweating bullets just so I can get another laugh. He's awesome! You can find the videos and other cool stuff on his site. Here's the link to his site:

Here's one of my first attempts on using this after designing a track to sit on top of my tripod. My track design and the dolly itself coming tomorrow. I'm going to keep modifying to keep the track and camera still as possible. Can't wait to get all creative and sh!t. Check it... (turn audio off)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Puerto Rico Is About To Deliver

I'm organizing to take off tomorrow to Puerto Rico for the seventh stop on the IBA World Tour. The wave gods have been blessing the entire tour thus far. And by the looks of the swell forecasts, the Encanto Pro is in for another massive gift from the wave gods.

I'm going to try something new on this tour stop. I will be doing LIVE 'post game shows' via after each live showing of the comp. It'll be a simple casual sit down and talking with some of the riders, Steve 'Action' Jackson and more. You don't want to miss it.

For daily updates, be sure to follow these Twitter peeps: @MannyVMedia and @ibaworldtour. Get ready bodyboarding brethrens...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Breakin' And Entering

By now you may or may not know, I love to take photos. Capturing those surreal split seconds in time has been my passion for the past several years. Obviously, I love being in the water but after shooting a wedding a month or so ago, I thought to myself... I can do this. I dug the challenge of getting into position and making sure I didn't miss that moment. My wife and I were not the main/paid photographers. We were the 'we'll-let-you-take-photos-of-our-wedding-but-the-paid-photography-has-all-the-say' photographers. We were cool with it and we came up with some stunning images.

But I have to say, there were a few times when I saw the opportunity to capture great images but the paid photography snuck into position right where I was headed. I couldn't say or do anything. No group shots or bride and groom portraits either. So bummed. We're going to do it again this weekend and I know I'm going to walk away a little bummed because I won't be able to get into the situations to nab the photo that I see. Kinda sucks actually.

So to break into the wedding photography business, we would like to offer the first three couples who contact me, and who are getting married between today to March 2012, a free two hour engagement photo session AND six hours for your ceremony and reception. I will upload your photos on our site in a private gallery. There, you can download any image you want. If you want prints or even a photo, you can purchase from my site as well. But the photos are yours absolutely free.

If this is you, please call, email or comment to the post and let's set up a meeting and go over everything to see if I'm the right person for the job.

I'd love to shoot water action in the morning and weddings in the afternoon. That would be ideal. Throw in my gig with the IBA World Tour... heck, I may be able to afford the $7,000 Canon 1Dx camera body! That'd be nice. is in the works. My creativity and your big day... let's make it happen. You in?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tapping In

My wife and I like to SUP Glorietta Bay in Coronado and in San Diego Bay. We sometimes cruise through the channels of the Cays as well. Each time we sweep by insanely large yatchs, massive mansions on the water or sweet condos in downtown, I can't help to wonder, how in the hell are there so many people that have that kind of money? I wonder the same thing as I cruise through the OC (Dana Point, Laguna, etc.).

I know people work hard and put in some serious time in school but there are so many of them that have figured it out. What train did I miss? Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. My wife and I are living a good life but we're not living in a three thousand square foot eight bedroom house designed by Donald Gardner nor do we have a pimping yacht parked out front either.

Where the heck does all the cash money come from? Are most of them living the American dream, i.e. living in debt? Is it old money or new money? If it's new money, how do I tap into that? Does everyone think this or is it just me?

So what's it take to own the penthouse in that building just behind the Holiday Inn?

Friday, September 30, 2011

A Beautiful Reunion

Stop number six on the IBA World Tour is going down here in Reunion Island. The Nissan Reunion Bodyboard Pro is currently on hold today. The trials went down yesterday and the top nine riders advance on to the Leader Board rounds which is to go down next on the live webcast. So for now, here's some images and quick summary of my first five days of my adventure.

In transit. The flight to get here was long but doable. The stop over in London's Heathrow airport was a wake up call on what to expect as far as airport prices are concerned. Just so you know, that'll be the last time I spend eight US dollars on a bottle of Stella beer.

Landing in paradise. Fabian picked me and Diego Cabrera up from the airport. We had an hour drive to the contest site. But with unreal beaches zooming by, we had to stop and enjoy some of the beauty that Reunion has to offer. So we pulled over and spent a couple hours on a hot black sand beach. The water was super clear and warm. I get the same feeling and vibe here as I do from the Big Island. I love it.

Here's a few photos for now. I'll get another update with details on what's in store for the next couple weeks. Enjoy.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Big Balls. Fast Talker.

I've had the pleasure to meet, travel the world and understand Eddie Solomon. Eddie was one of those people that could've made a career as an auctioneer... easily. When he talked, you had to pay close attention or you'd miss his point. He talked fast and it was awesome be able to try to decipher his sentences when he was stoked. But his love for the ocean and bodyboarding in particular was the the reason how he touched so many.

I met Eddie, holy crap I don't remember when exactly we met but the point is, we met. My first trip to Indonesia included the likes of Ed Searfoss, Jeff Flindt, Brian Stokes, Ross McBride and Eddie Solomon. There was one day that'll stick in mind at Lakey Peak. 1996 was the year, I think. But it was maxing out at the Peak and only the left was makeable. As usaual, the crowds from the 2-3 foot days dissappeared. And it was Eddie that was the first one out there and the first one to charge the giant 10 foot reef low tide monsters. He made it look easy. The one thing he's known for is his big balls. Eddie was a charger. A bodyboard charger.

Last Friday, our bodyboarding compadre lost his battle to cancer. Chris 'Wonton' Taloa threw out the first call to give prayers to Eddie and on Saturday morning a handful of friends gathered at his homebreak, Salt Creek. Cameron Steele led with a prayer and wished his family the best. Everyone that gathered said a few words as well. It was very emotional with a few of us sheding some tears.

We all then continued to catch waves. Not for us but for Eddie. He will be missed by many.

The ES Memorial Paddle will be this Saturday September 24 at Creek at noon. I will see you there to give thanks for some cool times that Eddie has touched us with. I hate to be blunt here but I suggest bringing money in an envelope for his family. I'm sure they're up to their necks in bills. So anything that you can donate to the Solomon family I'm sure will be greatly appreciated. If you've already donated, dig a little deeper. Anything will help.

An emotional morning.

Cameron leading our prayers.

Wonton floats one for Eddie.

Robbie Crawford sets up the shot of Cameron.

RIP brotha.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Game On!

Now this is getting kinda crazy. Not only do I have one of the coolest jobs in the world... following the IBA World Tour as the web host commentator but now this!?

I was approached by the crew and they asked me if I wanted to be in the new and improved YouRiding Bodyboarding IV online video game. Hell yeah! But I wasn't going to be the character that you can choose. Instead, I'll be the dude teaching you how to play the new game. Just the fact that not only I get to see myself online in animation form but millions of other will be seeing my mug as well. Scary but cool. Scary cool.

I really don't' want this to sound like a selling pitch but damn... this game is pretty sick. The new version of YouRiding Bodyboarding is online now in beta form. I've been playing it for the past few days to get my skills up. Michael and the whole YouRiding posse have been good to me and are delivering what many bodyboarders have been asking for for years; a legit bodyboarding game. I'm stoked and I think you will be too once you get it dialed in. If you want to start playing now, you'll have to drop 34 euros. But you can wait to play for free in a couple months when the final version is released to the public. I suggest getting it now and be ahead of the game. But be sure to limit your time. You may end up with empty bags of potato chips on the table next to you until you realize that you've been playing for hours! You can still play the previous version HERE. But you'll want to play YouRiding Bodyboarding IV once you see the sick new graphics.

Side note: For those of you that have beat me in the Facebook version of YouRiding Battle, suck this! :)

Check out YouRiding Bodyboarding IV!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Not For Sale.

About a year and a half ago, I met Jun for the first time. It was in the Ehukai Beach Park parking lot on the North Shore. He was wearing these shades the time I met him. I was wearing my board bag, with board and fins packed inside.

I saw him walking towards me as and I thought to myself, "I want those sunglasses." I reverted to my bartering skills that I've mastered in the hoods of IB. "Hello, my name is Manny. Can I buy those sunglasses off you?" "Hello. I'm Jun. No. Sorry. Not for sale," Jun said. So I offered everything off my back; board bag, board, and fins. "No. Not for sale," he repeated. We stood there as I kept upping the ante and nothing. "Not for sale." He went on his way and I thought about those shades for about another couple days then that was it. Until....

I saw Jun on the first day of the IBA Sintra Portugal Pro. "Manny, I have a gift for you." I was stoked. I always love gifts. My mom always said, "accept gifts from people that offer. If you don't, you are being disrespectful. But always remember the person that gave you the gift and how it felt." I love it. Okay, so Jun comes back and does this (see photo). Are you freakin' kidding me? After a year and a half, Jun remembered! I was expecting a I Love Japan sticker or something. But the shades?! In honor of my mother, I happily excepted. Now, as Sir Isaac Newton once said, "for every action, there's an opposite and equal reaction." I want to make sure I hook up Jun with a gift that will mean something to him. I think I know what it is. Stay tuned for his reaction as I meet him in Reunion Island in a couple weeks.

Respect. Thank you Jun.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Barrel Blend

Earlier this year, I headed home to shoot a solid swell. I knew the boys would be pulling into some kegs so it was game on. Needless to say, I got a bunch of solid shots of all the crew getting shacked out of their minds.
But there was one shot that will go down in wine history. Yes... wine. Kyle Knox is a local ripper that married into a wine family and is currently working as a wine distributor. Kyle knows his wine. The cool part all of this, is Kyle gets to have his mug on a label of a wine bottle.

Okay, back to the photo session. Not only do we get the shot, but the fact that he's on a surfboard that was dipped in red wine just makes it that much more epic. Now check this out! The 2008 wine red blend to come out of the Hill Family Estate Winery from Napa Valley has my shot of Kyle on the label! F#cking awesome! Not only that, I actually got a photo credit on the back label!

I asked Kyle where people can pick up "The Barrel Blend" and he said Costco and some local markets should still have some in stock. But he said, as of today, that the Costco in Carlsbad should be stocked. If you pick one up, take a photo and send it over to: And yes, it's delicious. Can I say delicious to describe a wine flavor?

Kyle slotted on his wine board.

My case of wine is not going to last long in this house.

Score. Photographer: Manny Vargas.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Eye to Eye

Where the heck to I start?! It's been awhile since my last post, I know. This week, I'm going to post one story a day from my adventures. I hope you enjoy 'em. First... croc island in Mexico!

About 27 minutes south of Puerto Escondido there's an island in the mangroves right on the beach. It's a tourist destination for one reason... crocodiles. The Snakes and Ladders crew guys got wind of this while we were there shooting the live broadcast of the Zicatela Pro. After the event, we packed up the Suburban and headed south.

The goal of the trip, capture footage of the crocodiles and have me talk about the crocs, the island and try to get a close as possible to one of these beasts. Yeah, I was cool with everything. No problem. On the way down, I prepared my right arm with protection (duct taped water bottle to forearm). I understood if the croc wanted to chomp on my body parts and have a feast, there was nothing I could do. But for me, the arm protector was for my state of mind.

After a paddle through the waters of the mangroves, we landed on the island. A short walk to the other side and boom, we were at our destination. Alberto, our private guide, called out to the water and within seconds two beady eyes ascended from the murky shallows. That's as far as the croc would come. Alberto and I took off and returned with a bag full of chicken parts.

That's when the croc scurried up out of the water to snack on some fresh poultry that Alberto was tossing out to him. I was allowed to be by his side. We were about three feet from the croc! That's when I was shitting bricks! I felt a deep hollowness come over me. That's when reality hit me. If this croc wanted to attack and eat me... my arm protector would not stop his massive jaw from taking anything she wanted. Alberto handed me some chicken and I got as close as possible and was hoping I would drag her out of the water a little more. Oh man! Keep in mind, I'm on the other side of a four foot barrier!

I had the Manny Cam on my helmet rolling. The Snakes and Ladders crew are documenting the entire IBA World Tour so I'm not sure if I'm allowed to release this raw clip to the world. I have a handful of clips but I'm only going to release one. FYI, we all escaped on touched. The S&L crew will have a full length feature at the end of year. Make sure you get your hands on this one way or another because I assure you, it's going to be absolutely insane!

Okay, onto the one clip that that may or may not end up in the documentary. Check it:

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sweating Bullets

I've been in Puerto Escondido for the past week and it seriously feels like I'm walking into a industrial-strength oven every time I leave my hotel room. Other than sweating bullets, I've been catching up with old friends, shooting photos, getting barreled and commentating the most anticipated IBA Grand Slam Series event this year.

I stand by the reason why I like to do contests... to be part of the camaraderie that bodyboarding only has. Sure, I'm on the other side of the tape now but it's still a great view. I mean, a year ago I never thought I'd see GT almost kill himself at the Arica Chilean Challenge. And I didn't expect to have a heart to heart with David Hubbard. Actually, I take that back. I did expect those talks with Dubb. But the thing is that stokes me out with this new gig, aside from losing weight in Puerto's heat, is the fact that the riders and production crew really make my job easy.

All I have to do is talk about the best bodyboarders riding the best waves. Easy. Done. Boom.

Be sure to watch the last final days LIVE from Puerto Escondido. The waves are getting bigger and the riders are going to go higher!

Photos of day two of the trials are unleashed. I've been holding onto these in hopes getting some in the magazines. But I guess, that's not happening. So here you go...

You can download any photo you'd like just head over to

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Zicatela Pro is a GO!

If there was an event on the IBA World Tour that I was really excited about it'd be this one... the Zicatela Pro presented by AGIT/Turbo/Found/ID/Colorada Surf. Don't get me wrong, every tour stop has been unreal. But there's something about coming back to a place that brought a lot of joy to me way back when. Puerto Escondido is the perfect wave riding town. Everything is near so walking around is done by all. Great food is just steps away. And the waves... oh man, this place has some of the heaviest, if not THE, heaviest beach break waves. Amazing is an understatement of what's about to go down in the main event rounds. So keep your eyes peeled and be sure to spread the word to watch the last day of the trials and main event go live on and

Here's some photos from the press conference where officials welcomed the riders and of the awesome hula show that was done for the riders as well.

Download the images at:

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cabo Blur

It's been almost week since the Cabo Freak Festers showed up in Cabo. And it's all been a blur. With the amount of sensory overload going on down, it's tough to get a post up. So before I got into the cool, fun and 'what-the-f*ck' stories of Cabo Freak Fest, I'm just going give you some eye candy for now. Expect a Cabo Freak Fest wrap up soon.

Before shot. Jungle Cruise.

My wife and I in paradise.

Getting primed.

Backdoor section.

El Fuego. Still has it.

Miguel timing the backwash.

Chato in the water park known as Cabo Freak Fest.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

You What?

YouRiding is your only bodyboarding video game on the market so make sure you support in all it's facets. should be bookmarked and used whenever you feel the need to ride waves when waves are crap or if you need that feeling of getting air or barreled!

YouRiding is on the cusp of completing their new version, version 4, which is to include new 3D graphics. New sick perspectives, new riders and more! Stay tuned for that. Yes, I've got the link to the beta version of the new version. If you want the link, be sure to follow my blog then hit me up here with a comment.

For now, get your game on at or find me on Facebook's version and battle me online!

Enough talk... get some!

Like, Share, Play...

Jeff Hubbard Nails It

I've been saying for years... Support those that support you. American bodyboarders take note. There are only a few clothing companies here in the U.S. that actually put money back into our bodyboarding community. Ocean Current, clothing sponsor of World Champ Jeff Hubbard, has been behind bodyboarding from the get go. I support Ocean Current 100%. I suggest you do the same. Jeff Marshall, marketing dude for Ocean Current, lined me up with some gear and I have to say, the Hubb trunks are the best wave riding shorts I've used in a very long time. The material they use for the trunks are super stretchy and is perfect for bodyboarding. Big props to Ocean Current and Hubby Guys for making sh!t happen.

The mark of excellence.

My trunks drying after a session in Indonesia.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Final Wrap Up :: the Indo Experience

The morning of our ferry ride, we saw waves in the one foot range. Pretty discouraging. After our corn on cob breakfast, we were off to one of my favorite islands, Nusa Lembongan. After an hour of a semi-smooth ride, we putted into the bay. We cut between the really good reef waves of Lacerations and Playgrounds but both were not showing waves. But off in the distance I could see Shipwrecks. My second favorite wave for drop knee. Shipwrecks was cracking! With a dropping tide, the wave was only going to get better. So we settled into our Villa at Mainski and bolted out there!

The next day was going to be a full one. We had snorkeling with Manta Rays lined up. An around-the-island tour on mopeds. And we wanted to get back in time for some waves. Plus, there was a barong dance in the late evening that we didn't want to miss.

Snorkeling with the manta rays at Manta Point was a first for Mailei and I. We kicked ourselves for not doing it before. Two words... freakin' insane! So that is definitely on the to do list for future Indo trips. Awesome! At one point, I had six massive manta rays surrounding me. Little timid but pretty spectacular.

I never let my group rent motor bikes unless we're on Nusa Lembongan. So on our around-the-island tour, we rent motor bikes and cruised around the island. Along the way, we stopped to see a kid named Kadek. He rents us a boat so the crew can get a first hand experience on how to push a seaweed farmer's boat. It's tougher than it looks but the boys nailed it. Next, it was off to Devil's Tear. We got some massive waves but not as big as the group before. Still cool.

The Barong Deance was another first. We had to be dressed in the proper attire. The boys had to wear dresses. Okay... sarongs. Only a few males go into the meditation state to be able to do the dance. This evening, one of the dancers in the costume was stuck in the spiritual state and the dance had to be canceled halfway through. The next morning we were off back to Bali for the last couple days of adventures.

Back on Bali, we chilled for another awesome sunset at Kuta Beach. But it was the rafting and the monkey forest that was going to raise the fun factor. Oh yeah, before I continue I have to give props to Mairo for slamming down the massive calzone within minutes! Back to the rafting... it was fun. In fact, we had Jully (a Korean girl that was on our tour van to the rain forest) jump from her raft to ours. She's crazy! Cool chick!

Every time I take groups to the Monkey Forest I'm a little nervous. You never know what the hell the little bastards are gonna do. But this time around, no one got bit but one monkey didn't really like Lawrence and rushed him a couple times. Everyone got a cool photo of a monkey on the shoulder except for Mario. All good though, no one got bit!

Mailei and I want to give each one of our crew a big fat thanks for being a part of the Indo Experience 2011. We hope you had a great time. Complete photo wrap up in September on

Next up, Cabo Freak Fest! You ready?

With only a few cars on Lembongan it's the perfect place to get on the hogs.

Devin on the seaweed farming boat. Skills.

Lawrence finally got it but was shaky in the beginning.

Mario had it down.

Devil's Tear.

The Mainski transport mobile.

Lawrence and Mario getting close at Manta Point.

Mario with a snap at Shipwrecks.

Lawrence rail grab carve at Shipwrecks.

In full trance.

Sarongs all around.

Sunset at Kuta Beach.

Mario isn't scared!

Low bamboo bridges almost took out Devin.

Group shot at the half way point on the rafting tour.

Devin and his new buddy.

Mario trying but no dice for the shoulder monkey.

Lawrence had this guy on his shoulder for about five minutes.

Chow time.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

the Indo Experience G2 Wrap Up Part 1

The last time I posted, I was just on the cusp of entering the brutal world of Bali Belly-ism. Yes, it was our second night in Sumbawa and my digestive system was attacked by who knows what. Just as I was going into hell, Mario and Lawrence coming out of it. I was out for the last couple days at Lakey's but was able to handle the two hour drive back to the airport and the hour flight back to Bali.

Other than getting our money's worth of the Aman Gati Hotel's toilet paper, Lakey's was good to us. The boys had Lakey Pipe all to themselves at low tide a few days in a row. The food, when it stayed down, was delicious. I got to see some friends. Lunch at Rocky's house was always a treat; especially when Devin was handed a naked baby. Hahaha. Dan and his lady were doing their thang at Lakey; chillin' and waiting for the big waves. Richard was there but I didn't get a chance to say hi. I only wish the waves were a little bigger. And yes, we didn't really need Bali Belly. Off to Sanur on Bali for a night then ferry to Nusa Lembongan.

About 99% of people Mailei and I bring to Indo miss home about this time in our trip. So we blind side them with some food from of the west. After checking into our hotel in Sanur (port town for our ferry), we headed up the road and had some KFC and Dunkin Donuts. It was enough distraction to get us to Lembongan the next morning. I think it was enough grease and sugar to kill the bug I had in my belly!

Nusa Lembongan delivered the goods; waves, food, culture and some social interaction... yes, girls. Check back tomorrow as we wrap up with awesome Lembongan and Bali photos of waves, monkeys, manta rays, calzone the size of Mario's right leg and more!

Death Penalty!! Uh, no thanks!

Sunsets at Lakey's are always amazing.

Devin trying his luck on Lakey Peak left.

Rocky's wife always delivering yummy food.

Rocky has a good life.

Mario slotted deep on Lakey Pipe.

Lawrence finds some shade.

Mario on the knee with only about a foot of water under him.

Devin in the midst of a Lakey Pipe spit.

Dunkin' Donuts take away the homesickness.
Devin with the photo of the trip!