Its 2am. I can’t sleep. I’m lying on a small bed in a little room in the corner of Gmac’s compound here in Nazare. The cement walls and tile floor are cold, its humid and I can hear the surf roaring off in the distance. I say compound because its more than a house. Its several houses on a very large fenced in property on the beach. Just north of the famous lighthouse on the point and the wave that bagged Garret his Guinness book world record. It even has solar panels covering the rooftops. I’m here because Garret asked me to come. I’ve seen the pictures, been fascinated with the images but never had a huge desire to check it out. Mainly because I’m not a big tow surfer and partly because it didn’t ever look like that good of a paddle wave. It also looks extremely dangerous and without the proper safety plan you can put yourself and others in a bad situation very quickly. A few weeks ago I got an email from the “Red Chargers’ asking me all sorts of questions about myself. I glance at it and tell myself ill get back to it when I have a bit more time. I forget about it and it disappeared in my inbox. A week later I get a message from Garret telling me to come out. … Read the rest
Time to find some snow. Looking for good snow is a lot like looking for good waves. Conditions and temperatures are crucial in finding quality powder. Just like tides, wind and interval are essential in finding great waves. It looked like the whole west coast was finally getting its share, but temperatures in the Sierras were a little warm, meaning rain down low and sort of a heavy wet snow in the mountains. The Rockies tend to get drier snow because they are a bit higher and further from the coast. Colorado’s forecast looked epic. Temps, snowfall, etc. I got a buddy that lives in Crested Butte and after a phone call and a quick chat, it was on.
I’m new to the mountains and its dangers but I see a lot of parallels between the two sports. Especially the big wave thing. Getting caught by massive swells or going over the falls at Mavericks on a 20ft wave has similar dangers to being caught by an avalanche. They both can kill you. There are dangers you have to acknowledge and prepare for in both sports. I took an Avalanche course in Jackson Hole and I learned to recognize dangers that I had no idea existed. Just like a beginning surfer may not recognize the different current patterns that could either be your best friend or your worst enemy.… Read the rest