2015 US Open of Surfing | Huntington Beach, California

Later this month, one of the biggest surfing events of the year will engulf Huntington Beach, California as the 2015 US Open of Surfing gets underway. All of the world's best surfers will be competing along with a host of other action sports athletes who will take on the skatepark and other venues.

While the event is always a hit around the world and generally see's 100,000+ spectators each year, I have to admit that the excitement (and advertising/promotional efforts) here in Orange County, CA has been very lackluster. It could be a sign that I'm getting older and the event really appeals to those in High School and younger, or it could be that after the 2013 Riots fewer people have taken interest in returning to the event. Not to mention the waves last year were marginal at best.

So what does the 2015 US Open need for an epic contest? First and foremost, they need a good swell to attract the hardcore surf fans. Second, they need to do something completely unexpected that get's people excited for the event and changes things up from their often forumalic experience. Third, they need to launch a last minute promotional campaign across local Orange County radio stations to increase excitement and anticipation among local residents here in Southern California!

Are you ready to Surf The Wavegarden in Austin, Texas

In case you missed it, the Wavegarden has started building the first artificial wave surf park in Austin, Texas that has real potential in terms of changing the surf industry as we know it. It's opening date has been projected to be sometime in 2016 and I couldn't be more excited!

We are talking about being less than 1 year away from pulling up to a surf park, jumping out of your car and walking straight to the takeoff zone of reeling waves 24/7. No sharp reefs, hungry sharks or paddle battles against arrogant surfers. Barrel after barrel, wave after wave; it won't ever stop. And you won't even have to paddle back out or fear getting caught inside. It's going to be epic.

It's also great news for surfboard shapers around the world and I am interested to see if any board builders are working on any boards specifically for the WaveGarden in Austin, Texas. From board design to fin choices, every part of your quiver can be carefully fine-tuned to fit the wave's characteristics. It wouldn't be surprising to see surfboard shapers pop up around these surf lagoon locations as they become more frequent around the USA, although it still might be kinda strange seeing a surf shop in the middle of Texas.

Stay tuned for an in-depth article about the economic effect of WaveGarden locations for the surf industry as well as other industries such as airlines, real estate, resorts and eating establishments. I think the effects will be widespread and very beneficial for the US economy.

WaveGarden 2016

Read more about The WaveGarden:

Surf Panorama

Alpine Modern | Summer 2015

When was the last time you heard about a group of people building a brand centered around a magazine, goods, and caf├ęs? I sure haven't and that's what caught my attention when first discovering Alpine Modern. Today I want to focus on their bags and accessories as it's something I am really into right now. And let me tell you, their products are amazing.

For starters, is their 5 Panel Waxed Canvas Hats that combine style and quality. They are each handmade in New Jersey and only use american materials, which I particularly like when considering so much of our fashion and apparel these days comes from overseas. Best of all, you can choose from 5 different color models depending on what you are in the mood for.

My other favorite Alpine Modern product is their Dopp Kit. For those of you who aren't familiar with a Dopp Kit, its a "small toilet bag, made of leather, vinyl, or cloth, that is used for storing men's grooming tools for travel." Basically a great way to stay organized and impress all your friends on your next surf trip. Ziplock bags are decent, but a Dopp Kit is really what you need! Alpine Modern's Dopp Kit features waxed canvas and vegetable tanned leather meaning it will last for many years to come and holdup against your most diverse traveling scenarios. 

Aside from the two items that I'm featuring today, Alpine Modern has a entire collection worth checking out that ranges from backpacks to travel bags. And don't forget about their magazine as their 03 issue just dropped! Cheers!

Alpine Modern | Summer 2015
Alpine Modern | Summer 2015

Alpine Modern | Summer 2015Alpine Modern | Summer 2015
Alpine Modern | Summer 2015

Alex Gray | GoPro of the World

Is Taj Burrow Going to be a Dad?

Just a little under a year ago, I speculated that Taj Burrow was dating Rebecca Jobson and it was quickly evident that the post was indeed accurate. Fast forward to now and it appears as though the two are expecting their first kid. That's right, Rebecca Jobson is pregnant! Congrats to Rebecaa Jobson and Taj Burrow! I have a feeling their kid is going to be good looking & a talented surfer! 

Rebecca is most well known for being Australia's Next Top Model and is 10 years younger than Taj who is 35 years of age. The two have been seemingly inseparable since being linked in July of 2014 and both seen genuinely happy. 

"Swallowed a watermelon seed 15 weeks ago and were pretty excited about it @tajamos"

Summer Wetsuits | The Ultimate Guide

Choosing the right wetsuit to wear here in Southern California (and around the world) while we transition to summer can be a tricky decision. While the water is still rather chilly right now, it will soon be heating up to the mid 70s as summer comes into full swing. But upwelling, wind and sudden temperature drops can make a evening surf session in boardshorts rather cold, so it’s always good to have a summer wetsuit to wear.

The most common summer wetsuit is the spring suit. It provides ample coverage to keep your core wore, without to much rubber to overheat. It’s easy to put on, less expensive than a full suit and provides great mobility. If this is what you’re looking for than the 2.5/2mm Men'sPatagonia R1 Front Zip Shorty Springsuit might be exactly what you need!

On days that are windy though, you might opt for a L/S spring suit. The have the same benefits mentioned above, but a little more coverage to keep your arms warm. This definitely plays a factor in your ability to surf for multiple hours at a time as your arms become less fatigued when they are kept warm. My pick is the 2mm Men's XCEL INFINITI COMP L/S Springsuit, which retails for $194.95.

My last recommendation for a summer wetsuit is a neoprene jacket. They are easy to put on, still allow you to wear boardshorts and are perfect for most conditions. Particularly early morning surf sessions when the water is comfortable, but the air is still damp and slightly brisk. Wetsuit tops are generally 2mm and a really great addition to your surf gear collection. Not sure where to start? How about the 2mm Men's Billabong PUMP'D Jacket

If you need a new wetsuit for this summer, then make sure to checkout Wetsuit Wearhouse. They have a great collection of wetsuits for surfing and have some of the best prices around. Did I mention they offer free shipping and no taxes if you live outside of Maryland? Get started today because summer is just around the corner!

Summer Wetsuits

Sally Fitzgibbons New Sponsor | Piping Hot Australia

After leaving Roxy without another sponsorship deal lined up, Sally Fitzgibbons has officially joined Piping Hot Australia as their newest team member. Fitzgibbons will take the lead as a global spokesperson for the brand, as well as appearing in their upcoming marketing and publicity campaigns. Piping Hot Australia has been around for 40 years and is well established within the Australian surf community. Even Target released a statement congratulating and supporting this new sponsorship deal as Target has an exclusive retail agreement with Piping Hot as well as sponsoring Sally Fitzgibbons. Sally must be on top of the world considering this new deal, as well has her most recent WSL victory at the Fiji Pro! 

Read More Articles About Sally Fitzgibbons:
Sally Fitzgibbons Drops Roxy Sponsorship | An In-Depth Story
Sally Fitzgibbons | A Retrospective
Sally Fitzgibbons Drops Main Sponsor
Sally Fitzgibbons | 2014 Women's World Title Race
Interview with Sally Fitzgibbons | 2013
Surfing Around the Globe With Sally Fitzgibbons
Interview with Sally Fitzgibbons | 2011

WaveGarden 2016 | Austin, Texas

It's official! The Wavegarden is coming to the United States! The collaboration between Wavegarden and Doug Coors will be based in Austin, Texas as the first public Wavegarden in North America. This is huge! The Wavegarden lagoon is scheduled to open in 2016 and is expected to change the surf industry in a major way. 

No longer will middle america be required to fly to the coast to learn to surf, as they can go straight to Austin, Texas. Did I mention this artificial wave will be able to generate perfect peeling waves up to 6 feet in height? Yikes! I'm so stoked right now! I almost forgot to mention that it spits out a perfect wave every 30 seconds. No waiting around or long lulls like we are subject to when surfing in the ocean. 

I think that Austin, Texas is a really unique choice for the first Wavegarden lagoon as Austin is rapidly growing in popularity among 20 somethings and has a lot of great businesses in the surrounding areas. Whether there are enough surfers in Austin, Texas to support the Wavegarden when it first opens will be a different question, but I have a feeling people will be flying in from all over the world to give it a try. 

I'll be writing a second post that is much more in-depth about how the WaveGarden can and quite possibly will change the surf industry in the coming years. But for now, I think the WSL needs to secure the rights to hold the very first professional surfing contest at the WaveGarden Lagoon in 2016. No waiting periods, no swell forecasts and non-stop action. Talk about changing the surf industry forever! I'll keep you updated as progress is made with the Austin, Texas Wavegarden Lagoon. Rumor has it they've already broken ground on the construction site!

WaveGarden 2016

WaveGarden 2016
WaveGarden 2016

WaveGarden 2016

Read more about The WaveGarden:

Otis Eyewear | 2015 Collection

If I had to describe Otis Eyewear, I would describe the brand as that cool new kid in school from Australia. They are way cooler than all your friends, everyone wants to hang out with them and they bring a fresh approach to life, which everyone is excited about.

Otis Eyewear | 2015 Collection

With summer quickly approaching and many on the west coast spending their afternoons at the beach, it is essential to have a good pair of sunglasses. Especially when relaxing on the beach with your friends. Not only are they a fashion statement, but they can protect your eyes from the intense sunlight.

Otis Eyewear | 2015 Collection

If shopping for a new pair of sunglasses can be a little tough, so I'll lend a helping hand. Head straight to Otis Eyewear's website! Their entire collection is so unique and blends high fashion with beach fashion; something which really resonates with me. It means you can wear your pair to the beach or during a day trip to your favorite LA hotspot without worry. 

Otis Eyewear | 2015 Collection
It would also probably be a good idea for me to talk about how Otis Eyewear uses mineral glass lenses, which are built to outperform all other lens materials. While I could try to explain it, I'll let you read about it for yourself here!

Otis Eyewear | 2015 Collection

Their 2015 collection includes sunglasses for men and women, and my top 2 favorites from the collection are the Heatwave (for women) and the Test of Time (for men). Although I should point out that most of their sunglasses are unisex. With a group of ambassadors which includes surf stars like Luke David and Mitch Crews while also incorporating a handful of beautiful models as well, Otis Eyewear is quickly gaining momentum in the surf retail industry here in the USA. Can we talk about their visual branding too? From their website to their social media presence, everything is on point and aesthetically pleasing!
Otis Eyewear | 2015 Collection
I guess what I am trying to say is that Otis Eyewear is the real deal. A surf brand at heart and originally from Australia; make Otis Eyewear your newest friend. You won't regret it with summer right around the corner. Grab a pair today!

Otis Eyewear | 2015 Collection

Jay Davies | Java

Rocky Barnes x Anastasia Ashley | Revolve Clothing

Spring and summer is the perfect time to take a California road trip, which is exactly what Rocky Barnes and Anastasia Ashley did this past weekend as part of Revolve Clothing's #RevolveOnTheRoad campaign. Arguably two of the most popular Instagram surf/lifestyle models here in California, the two set out from Los Angeles with their final destination being Santa Cruz. Driving a Ford Mustang and stopping for mini photoshoots along the way, this must have been quite the road trip. Didn't get an invite? Maybe next time!

Follow Rocky Barnes & Anastasia Ashley on Instagram!

Lily | The Camera That Follows You

Class of 2015 | California State University, Fullerton

On this past Saturday, I celebrated a major milestone by graduating from California State University, Fullerton with a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising. I ended up graduating a year early and even got a medallion for graduating Magna Cum Laude. I absolutely loved CSUF and met a lot of great friends along the way. The education I received has really prepared me to enter into the advertising industry and I'm excited to see how my career develops in the next couple of years. Cheers to this next part of my life!

(Left to Right: Jordan, Emily, Brittany, Me, Sam)

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