On Catching Waves

What follows is an epiphany on catching waves. Something clicked for me today and I hope that this information could be helpful to some other person learning to surf.

On Catching Waves

The key to powerful wave catching is a combination of momentum, timing, and positioning.

Three Keys to Effective Wave Aquisition

Positioning | Timing | Momentum


Waves have a Shape of Ideal Takeoff (SIT).’ A surfer’s capacity to identify the SIT is an important point in their understanding of waves. Once the SIT is identifiable to the surfer, she should be looking for it at all times.

What is the SIT position? The SIT position is the point where the wave reaches a steepness in which the gravitational pull of the surfer’s weight drives them forward on the face of the wave.

Thoughts on Catching Waves

Great surfers can maximize momentum and catch waves that are in their ‘too early’ phase. Great surfers can catch waves in their ‘too late’ phase as well. No matter who is surfing, it’s easiest and sets her up the best, if she finds herself in that perfect SIT position.

It’s common to watch beginners paddling for waves and not catching them. It’s also common to watch beginners paddling for waves that are moments away from breaking. This often leads to them having to ride the wave out on their belly to keep from losing control. The most common reason for these failures is that they don’t know how to identify the SIT position.


The wave is coming at you at a higher level of speed than you are capable of generating. If you can achieve an amount of speed closer to that of the oncoming wave, the change in speed from your paddle speed to the wave speed will be less dramatic. A less dramatic change in speed allows for less exact timing on the part of the surfer.

In very steep, fast waves, the best surfers do not need as much momentum. I’ve seen surfers on the North Shore of Oahu catch waves without paddling at all. This is because those waves are incredibly fast and tall.

On Catching Waves

When surfing chunky, slow waves (like the ones that are all over California), it’s important to gather a lot of speed before the wave comes upon you. That’s because the waves are often slow and they break when they are fat.

When surfing slow waves, it’s more important to approach waves with high-level momentum.

When surfing faster waves, there is less importance on momentum and more on having excellent timing.

Momentum and wave speed diagram for learning to surf


Timing differs from positioning even though the two are intimately entwined. The key to timing a wave correctly is a mixture of knowing where the SIT position is and having a good deal of momentum built up so you meet that SIT position with a good deal of time.

Final Thoughts On Surfing

If the surfer can identify the SIT position in an oncoming wave, time her paddling as to carry momentum at the right time, she will have an easy time catching the wave.

When initially surfing larger waves with scarier SIT positions, it will be scary to do this. Overcoming that fear is critical. The moment I realized this was the moment I forgot to be afraid of the size of the wave.

Fearlessness can be cultivated with repetition. When learning to surf, if our surfer sets aside a month or two to live walking distance from the beach, she will have a much greater potential to learn to surf.

Paquera to Puntarenas Ferry, Costa Rica

A video about the Paquera to Puntarenas Ferry in Costa Rica. The goal of this video is to provide the viewer a preparation course so they can make a smooth crossing from Paquera to Costa Rica.

Tips for Paquera to Puntarenas Ferry

Here are a few things that surprised us:

  • When driving a vehicle onto the ferry, you can only have one passenger in the car. For example, if you and driving with three friends, all your friends have to get out of the car and walk onto the ferry.
  • Crossing as an individual is cheap, crossing with a car costs a bit more.
  • It can be a party. The music plays loud. Lots of people are drinking beer and dancing.
  • It’s exceedingly safe. This ferry is a well-oiled machine.


Please let me know if you have any questions related to the ferry in the comments below.

2018 State of the Union – Thoughts on President Trump’s Ideas

Notes on the 2018 State of the Union

I wanted to watch the 2018 State of the Union address in its entirety before I started watching Vox, Vice, Colbert, The Daily Show, and talking with my friends.

My Thoughts on the 2018 State of the Union

There is no doubt that I live in a bubble. Everyone I know believes that Trump is either a terrible president or he is dangerously aloof. Therefore I try to develop my own opinion from source material before I’m influenced by other’s take on the situation.

“One American Family.” – Donald Trump

Some Things that Directly Affect Us as Small Business Owners

I really like the idea of all the tax cuts and eliminating the mandated health care. During the time of the Affordable Care Act, we decided not to do the program because the monthly cost was $2,000 with a $5,000 deductible. It was super expensive catastrophy insurance so it was clearly not a wise decision for us. It makes me happy that we no longer have to pay fees for not having that bad insurance.

If the tax cuts are real, we will probably get back a good chunk of the income quarterly taxes we paid during the past year. That will be really good for us.

Eliminating Regulations?

Eliminating regulations sounds good, but it doesn’t really help if they are destroying the capacity for the EPA to regulate companies that destroy the environment for other people. That’s the main job of the government from my perspective, to regulate against market externalities.

Thoughts on Economy

It’s great to hear that he prioritizes bringing car manufacturing backlower prescription costs, build out safe/reliable US infrastructure.

He wants to support paid family leave. That seems like Trump is trying to reach out to what I would consider a more Democratic position.

A focus on helping former inmates to get a second chance at life is critical. I think the worst problem in the United States is the tremendous prison population. How can a country be called Land of the Free when we imprison the highest number of our citizens on a per capita basis? President Trump addressed this and I appreciate that sentiment.

Getting Tough on Immigration

The focus on fighting street gangs seems like a good thing. I don’t know anything about gang violence in the USA so if Trump, who has a lot of access to that info, believes fighting those gangs is so important, it’s probably good that the feds are getting the resources they need. When you watch things about the gang violence in El Salvador, it becomes clear that these are organizations that need to be cut down.

That said, I still think the wall is a stupid idea. Maybe it’s a persuasive talking point, but it’s not a cool direction in my opinion. We should just be trying to be a more open and free society. Walls are for communists.

I had never heard of chain migration… V and I know personally how stupid our immigration system. It seems like Trump is trying to modernize that system. I hope congress helps him change the process. If they make it harder for immigrants, it will be a disservice to the country.


Opioid Addiction

64,000 Americans lost to drug overdoses in America? That’s not cool. Not cool at all…

How do they get tougher on drug dealers? Aren’t the drug dealers primarily pharmaceutical companies and doctors?

I’m unaware of this problem aside from some Vice documentaries. This is a really important issue to address and it’s commendable that the White House thought it was important enough to address directly in the speech. I just hope it’s not an excuse to lock up a huge portion of the population.

Nuclear Weapons

Yikes. It’s good that Trump claims to want to eliminate all nuclear weapons. It’s not cool that he says, “[it would be great to eliminate nuclear weapons]… but we’re not there yet.”

Terrorism and Foreign Affairs

I’m generally against the dissolution of human rights under the guise of fighting terrorism.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is a name I had not even heard of until this speech. I would think it’s probably a good idea that this character is locked up and his friends find it very challenging to organize.

This is why the president’s job is terrifyingly challenging. How does one protect against evil, yet protect freedom? It’s a balancing act of tremendous consequence.

Foreign Affairs

Venezuela and Cuba sanctions seem harsh… but I don’t actually know much about the cost/benefit of making the countries suffer due to the philosophies of their leaders.

I feel good knowing that the president is hard on North Korea. It’s good that he is addressing specific stories in the hope of informing the public of the horrible situation that exists in countries where freedom is limited dramatically by overpowerful despotic dictators.

Focus on Freedom

The end of the speech is all about freedom, US history, defending the American way and that sort of elegant stuff. His final words are quite pleasant. The words encourage unity, freedom and American pride. I gotta say, I’ve never heard Trump speak in a way that made me think, “wow, I like this guy.”

“There is nothing we can not achieve as long as we have confidence in our values, faith in our citizens and trust in our god. We will never fail. Our families will thrive, our people will prosper and our nation will forever be safe and strong and proud and mighty and free. Thank you, and God bless America.”

Final Thoughts

President Trump is starting to sound like a real President. I hope this trend continues.

His past lies make everything he says a bit dubious. The New York Times put together a piece that leads me to believe that President Trump was generally telling the truth.

With luck, things will continue to be great in the USA and President Trump will keep acting like he did on the podium in the House of Representatives chamber of the United States Capitol. He inherited a country in great shape after former President Obama and with luck, everything will continue to be excellent in America.

The Importance of Source Material

It’s important to watch source material because it allows the watcher to develop their own opinions first.

Now, after watching the source material, when I watch Stephen Colbert (2) and Trevor Noah (both of whom I REALLY like) their shows seem dishonest. They perform a divisive comedy act that demeans The President for selected clips of him saying stupid things.

Theirs are funny, but they are reinforcing people hating Trump when his speech was essentially very good.

When I watch Vice, they do a race-based piece about responding to the State of the Union. It does a great job of complimenting the minority groups that are doing interesting stuff in the government, but it doesn’t address the good things that Trump said and his surprisingly presidential demeanor.

So source material is critical because these shows missed that very interesting development.


What are your thoughts? Did you like the speech? What do you think about the importance of watching source materials?

Feel free to comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

Piko Negro Cabinas y Pizzas – Los Pargos, Costa Rica

Our first night’s stay in Costa Rica in January 2018 was at Piko Negro Cabinas y Pizzas.

The thin crust pizza here breathed delicious new life into us after a 19 hour trip from Reno to Chicago to Miami to Liberia and finally to the front soccer field in Los Pagos in Guanacaste Province (Frente de la Plaza de futbol de Los Pargos, Provincia de Guanacaste, Los Pargos).

The man behind this project seems to be Joel and he is a creative and beautiful wood worker.

These hardwood surfboards with recessed LED lights are really cool.

Everything is custom made from hardwood at this place. There is interesting detailed work everywhere you look.

Even the bunk beds are hand crafted.

This is a VERY good spot for surfing and living. They have fairly good wifi available all night.

Another good example of the handcrafted details you find in every piece.

Another example of handcrafted details. Concrete and gravel custom sink.

This would be a cool place to work and live from. The room is not expensive, the internet seems to be consistent, the surf is quite close and the food is delicious.

Thanks for the stay Joel. Please feel free to use any of these photos for your Airbnb listing if you want. I hope to return after the wedding.

Catalina Island SCUBA Trip + Helicopter Rides and a Margarita

Here is a quick video about our Catalina Island SCUBA trip. Below I’ll just make a few notes about the day, the experience and lessons learned.

Deciding To Go

When we embarked on this journey, it wasn’t because I actually desired to go.

I actually didn’t want to go at all.

I assumed that it would be cold and dark off the coast of Catalina Island. There was a big part of me that was afraid of seeing Great White Sharks too. There is no part of me that wants to dive with Great Whites. Coral Sharks and big Leopard Sharks are fine, but I have no desire to swim with the man-eating sharks.

Also, I was badly out of practice. This was to be my first time diving since we dove in the Similian Islands.

What I love about having adventurous friends is that they push me to do things that are uncomfortable. David put it best: “We dive because we would rather look back at life, saying ‘I can’t believe I did that’ instead of ‘if only I had’.”

catalina island scuba


The visibility was great. I feel like I could see 20 – 40 feet. The water was clear and the video doesn’t come close to describing how beautiful the sea is. SCUBA diving allows the diver to see things no one else can describe. No picture actually does this justice.


Diving in kelp is a blast. We swim through it, get stuck in it and help your partners out of a tangled kelp situation. I love it.

Cold Water Diving

Because I was wearing a 7mm suit with gloves, booties and a hood, I never felt cold in the slightest. The most uncomfortable part was putting the gear on and the initial plunge. After that, it was great.

At first, I thought the additional neoprene made it hard for me to get my buoyancy right. I later came to the conclusion that my buoyancy problems were due to my inexperience. I hadn’t dived in a long time. I forgot to add air to my BCD so I was heavy the whole time. This was a very rookie mistake and I adjusted for it the second dive.

The first dive we went to 27 meters which is very deep. Even down there, the visibility was great. The second dive we didn’t go so deep. Both dives were beautiful.

Catalina Island Helicopter Company

Catalina Island

That’s it. Thank you for reading. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comment section below.