Sally Fitzgibbons | A Retrospective

How Your Body Language Affects Your Surfing Performance

I am a big fan of TED talks because they are inspiring, educational and downright interesting. From health and science to social issues; these talks cover a wide variety of important topics and feature some of the most progressive industry experts. One TED talk that stood out to me in particular was Amy Cuddy who talked about how one's body language shapes who they are. While this talk offers practical for those going on a 1st date, a big job interview or asking for a raise at their current job, I can't help but it apply it to surfing.

This past week I went surfing and the waves were much bigger than I had expected. Due to a extreme high tide and this pulsing swell, there was a lot of water moving and a strong current pulling everyone out of position. It wasn't the heaviest conditions, just different from what I was expecting. Keep in mind that this is usually a peaky beach break with a modest punch that is perfect for a relaxing session. However, on this morning it was spitting out some heavy right handers that had board breaking power.

As I am sitting out the back trying to get my bearings and align myself with the peak, I began to notice my body language. My arms were folded due to the cold water and my feet were on top of my submerged shortboard, a bad habit that I recently picked up. A posture that isn't ideal after listening to Amy Cuddy.

The fact is that no matter how talented you are and whether you are pushing yourself over the ledge at your local beach break or at maxing pipeline, you want to give yourself the best chance at making the wave. So next time you are surfing during a big swell or a wave that you aren't use to, utilize Amy's "Power Pose" to affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain in a positive manner. You might be surprised by how much it affects you mentally! I sure was.

Buy Yourself a New Wetsuit

If you are getting extremely cold while surfing, feel like your endurance and fitness when paddling is decreasing or haven't bought a new wetsuit in the past 4 years, then go to a surf shop and buy a new wetsuit today. I know what I am talking about, because the above criteria perfectly described me at the beginning of the year. I bought my last 4/3 Rip Curl Wetsuit in 2010 and have used it until the shoulders were beginning to wear through. I was getting pretty cold whenever I surfed, wasn't having as much fun and was spending way to much energy trying to paddle in a wetsuit that was seemingly increasing it's drag every session.

Luckily, I headed over to the Rip Curl Surf Outlet off the 55 Freeway in Costa Mesa and picked up a new wetsuit for $119! Sure, it's last year's model, but who cares! A Rip Curl 4/3 Chest Zip Wetsuit for $119 is virtually unheard of. While you can easily get away with a 3/2 here in Southern California, having a 4/3 is nice for early morning surf sessions when you plan on surfing for a couple hours.

What's the moral of the story? Go buy yourself a new wetsuit today. You are worth it!



2 Weeks in Hawaii

Free Diving | Woods Cove, Laguna Beach

When the waves go flat, you have two options: sit at home or get in the water and have some fun. Earlier this week I opted for the second option and went free diving with some friends in Laguna Beach. While Laguna Beach is a very popular beach town for tourists, there is still plenty to explore once you get in the water including underwater tunnels, plenty of reefs, natural pools and natural blowholes. 

We ended up swimming about to 2 miles round trip as we ventured south from Woods Cove, which is the perfect place to start your day. It's a super mellow beach with easy parking and relatively light crowds. With sunny conditions, a rising high tide and no swell in the water; conditions were pretty close to perfect when considering visibility was 15-20 feet. Whether it's free diving, stand up paddling or long distance swimming; there is always something to do when the waves go flat



Photos by Greg Farnes

Clark Little | I Am Different

Stubble & 'Stache Men's Skincare Collection

Stubble & ‘Stache is a beard and skincare collection that was founded by Nicholas Karnaze in honor of a fellow elite special operations Marine who was killed in Afghanistan. Nicholas noticed a lack of quality skincare products designed specifically for men and launched Stubble & ‘Stache to fill this gap in the market. Stubble & ‘Stache’s entire collection is made in the USA and a portion of their profits are donated to charities supporting our wounded heroes each year. 

The Stubble & ‘Stache skincare collection currently includes two high-quality hair care products; the Face & Beard Wash and the Face Moisturizer & Beard Conditioner. The two products can be purchased separately or together, in a kit; all of which are very affordable. The products are made in the U.S.A. and they are formulated with natural ingredients such as aloe, argan oil, ginseng, jojoba, eucalyptus, chamomile, rosemary, green tea, sage, black pepper oil, menthol, vitamins A and E and pro-vitamin B5, which are perfect for hydrating skin, reducing itch and irritation and softening the beard. Even if you don’t have a beard (like me), these products will keep your skin clean and hydrated. Like I mentioned above, 15% of profits is donated to support wounded soldiers throughout their recovery, giving men one extra incentive to try the Stubble & ‘Stache collection.




Above & Below | Pipeline, Oahu

Buying Surfboards on Craigslist

If you like to have a wide variety of surfboards in your quiver, but are on a limited budget, then you should consider shopping on Criagslist. While there are plenty of boards that are nearly worthless, there are always a couple gems hidden in between. And let me tell you, I've gotten some really good deals like a Cole Aviso Shortboard for $200 (normally retails for $1,600+). Mainly because it's an art of asking the right questions and getting your timing right; something I have mastered. It all comes down to knowing what to look for and being patient! 

But how do you distinguish a good surfboard from a bad surfboard on Craigslist? It's best to look for boards which were rarely ridden, haven't had any repairs, are owned by the original owner and were stored indoors. All of this information can be gathered by carefully crafted questions, which I will be sharing with you in the next couple of weeks. Below are a couple big signs that you should avoid a certain surfboard.

Red Flags Include:
Strange Discoloration
Major Dings or Stress Cracks
Spray Paint Artwork
Replaced Fin Boxes

Most importantly is that the seller seems normal and that their story as to why they are selling the board makes sense. When buying surfboards on Craigslist, always use extreme caution. It's best to meet in a public location and never go alone.

One last note, always pay attention to the current supply and demand. Here in Orange County, CA, demand is highest during the summer months which means that you are less likely to get a deal when negotiating the price. However boards take much longer to sell during the winter and some buyers become very anxious to sell, which might lead to the acceptance of a low-ball offer. By understanding what to look for and evaluating your local market's trends, you will have much more success when shopping on Craigslist for a new surfboard. It might take some time, but the results are well worth it. Trust me!


HAALA Denim

A good pair of jeans is like that magic surfboard; they fit perfectly, last for a really long time due to quality materials and makes you look your absolute best. That's why I am such a big fan of HAALA Denim. Founded by 2 brothers from the Midwest and produced locally in Los Angeles, HAALA Denim focuses on producing premium denim jeans that consistently exceed one's expectations when it comes to fit, feel and appearance. Despite being in a very competitive industry, many high end retailers and boutiques have started carrying their jeans, which is very exciting!

The biggest difference between HAALA Denim and their competitors is how their sizing works. Darrin Haala explains it best - "Our sizing is tailored for a true fit on the waist and inseam. Our grading system takes each jean and proportionally sizes the entire jean based on what the waist size is. This means a smaller guy and bigger guy both get the same type of fit, yet tailored to their size. " Pretty cool, right? It's details like these that make for a great pair of jeans!

The exciting thing is that HAALA Denim is going to be launching a Kickstarter campaign in the next couple of months which will allow all of you to purchase their jeans at wholesale pricing! Make sure you follow them in Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date with all the latest news and the official announced of the campaign. I will also be doing a follow up article when the Kickstarter campaign goes live to show you how I styled my HAALA Denim jeans!





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