Behind the Scenes…

Jumbo Rock, Joshua Tree Nat'l Park

At the start of every new year, me, Maria and Dylan sit down in the living room and reflect upon the year that just passed.  We write down our highlights and then we plan out what we each want to accomplish in the new year.

Below are my highlights of 2011:

THE START OF 2011 – we were nervous & worried about the future and the economy.  But we decided to make The Paint Shop TV show a focus for the year.  We received the good news early in the year that our show was going to air on local So. California tv, and so we gave it our all.

TURNED 40:  I turned 40 in March.  Sold a lot of my old surfboards and took my family to Hawaii.  Surfed Pipeline on my birthday –  the waves were great!

TV SHOOTS:  Took a road trip to Santa Cruz in spring – filmed The Paint Shop there.  It was awesome.  Made good on my promise to Escape Campervans and put them on one of my episodes.  It’s funny – I promised them a spot on my tv show in 2009, two years before we got the show on the air!

Paddled 225 MILES OF COLORADO RIVER:  Over 16 days in May, I lived in the wild and stand-up paddled the rapids of the Colorado River with whitewater expert Seth Warren.  It was the trip of lifetime!  (The Orange County Register wrote about it and put a picture of me on the cover of the front page!)  The trip was also written about in Stand Up Journal’s March 2012 issue and the current issue of Stand Up Paddle Magazine.  Haven’t seen the copies yet…..

MT. WHITNEY:  Maria hiked mountains all over Southern California and I was so proud of her when she hiked Mt. Whitney in August, the highest mountain in the lower 48 states.

DYLAN TURNED 10:  And we transformed our house into a Star Wars scene for his party!

MYRTLE BEACH & HURRICANE IRENE:  Threes weeks this summer was spent with family in Myrtle Beach.  Maria and Dylan had a blast playing in the ocean and the swash at the Dunes Club.  I caught great waves courtesy of Hurricane Irene!

PUERTO ESCONDIDO SURF TRIP:  Right after Myrtle Beach I flew to Puerto Escondido, Mexico, where I surfed in a Stand Up Paddle contest at the Mexican Pipeline.  Maria helped make the trip possible by lining up sponsors Hinano Tahiti and MegaFood.  The waves were so powerful I broke two paddleboards and got many tubes.

MARIA WROTE A BOOK:  It’s called HOW TO UNDERSTAND ART LICENSING CONTRACTS – she co-wrote it  with art expert Tara Reed.  I am stoked for her – she worked hard on it.

Maria & Dylan Arches Nat'l Park, UT

COLORADO ROAD TRIP:  In early November we drove to Boulder, CO for a film festival.  Dylan and I were in Seth Warren’s film called Playgrounds Re-imagined.

Dylan narrated the film, as you can hear on the movie’s trailer here.

On the drive out, we camped at Virgin River, we drove Southern Utah to Moab, went to Arches National Park and followed the Colorado River into Colorado.

While at the film festival, Dylan was given the first ever award given to a child at the Boulder Film Festival.

He was named “Most Likely to Save the World.”  He gave a hilarious acceptance speech – you can watch it HERE!

NEW GREETING CARD LICENSE:  While in Boulder, we met with Leanin Tree greeting card company and toured their sculpture gardens and their printing facility.   A few weeks later, we signed a licensing deal for my art in their greeting card line!  (My greeting cards will hit the market in summer 2012.)

OPEN HOUSE ART SALES:  We tried something new this year to sell more art at Christmas time – we had 4 open houses in the studio in Nov/Dec and we sold dozens of original paintings and sketches and met a lot of new fans that came in to meet me.  It was very rewarding in many ways.

CHRISTMAS:  In December we had our niece Mia come visit for Christmas and New Years.  We had to get bunk beds for her to sleep in Dylan’s room.  We set up the Christmas tree, and I surfed great waves on Christmas eve.  Having Mia with us during the holidays was a definite plus – it was fun watching two happy kids tear open presents on Christmas morning!

She's Got Hollywood in her Hands

Mia wanted to see Hollywood, so we took a 3 mile hike up to the Hollywood sign – packed a lunch and ate out there on the trail.  Oh, and we saw Lenny Kravitz while driving up the Hollywood Hills – he flashed us the peace sign as he passed our Dream Machine on his motorcycle.

JOSHUA TREE:  We spent the last few days of 2011 camping at Jumbo Rocks in Joshua Tree.  The kids said it was like being on the moon.  We went rock climbing and found some cool caves.

Driving  home from Joshua Tree on New Years Eve, we had no plans for that night, until we got a text from our good friends the Whelans to stop by at their house.   We spent the last hours of 2011 with good friends, wine and food!

Dylan and the Dream Machine along Colorado River

I hope you’ll look back on 2011 and remember all your highlights, too.

Write them down, make a list, you’ll be surprised at all that you did in a year!

Life is Good – Drew

SURFED OUT is sized 20″ x 30″ mixed media on Canvas, mostly using Uni Posca Paint Pens and Createx paint for the background.

SURFED OUT is what it’s like on a surf day when the waves are so good, you surf all day.  Finally, you get so hungry you have to come in and eat.  Then, you pass out on the beach next to a fire.  It’s the best feeling in the world, being Surfed Out.

This painting was a commission for Spencer, a nine year old surfing dynamo!

His mother commissioned this painting as a gift for him.  Spencer’s been a longtime fan of mine, and I’ve painted a lot of surfboards for him and his brother and sister, all from a surfing family.

This artwork is available as a giclee print so you can put SURFED OUT on your wall, too. You can find it in my store here.

You can watch me paint SURFED OUT on The Paint Shop Episode 3 “Crusin’ to Santa Cruz” Full Episode in HD from The Paint Shop on Vimeo.

Everyone should have a Surfed Out day.  Life is good – Drew

“Some people do not understand the allure of Stand up Paddling; it’s much harder than regular surfing, and at the Mexican Pipeline, it’s borderline insane….”

I have been surfing in Puerto Escondido for over 20 years.  I first made the journey from South Carolina so that I could learn to surf big waves at the Mexican Pipeline.  Instantly, I felt right at home in the waves, in the town and with the people I met there.

My longtime friend, Puerto local Angel Salinas, does a lot of good for the community there.  Angel owns Central Surf, the first surf shop in town and he started hosting surf events many years ago.  Now he puts on invitation only contests for stand-out surfers.  I was stoked when he started his SUP contest three years ago, and I was on the invite list.  Angel may be the first guy who was doing stand up paddling in Mexico.

Even with the difficulty of traveling with big, ten foot surfboards, I always cannot wait to get there to see my friends and the giant waves.  It’s not about winning a contest; it’s a meeting of the tribe!

Some people do not understand the allure of Stand up Paddling; it’s much harder than regular surfing, and at the Mexican Pipeline, it’s borderline insane….

Boards just break here!

Chasing 12 to 15 foot waves on a ten foot paddleboard feels like hunting mountains of moving water.  You see the waves coming from way out at sea, then you race to meet them just as they are standing up, looking their meanest.   You dig in with your paddle against the hard off-shore wind as you teeter on the top of the beast, then free-fall into the tube.

Stuffing yourself, a paddle and a ten foot board into the tube is no easy feat.  The bigger the wave, the better.  You either get a 10 point ride, or, chunks of broken board and paddles as the wave detonates over you.

All of the contestants of last week’s Central Surf Pro caught epic waves and got their turn at hideous wipeouts.  The joy of surfing the event with old friends and new is what it is all about.  Showing the spectators and surfers what we can do in the waves on our stand up paddleboards felt really good.

Stand up surfing and paddling is sweeping the world.  It is a fantastic way to experience any water, lakes, rivers and ocean.  Water is water and SUP gives you access like nothing else.  We don’t go anywhere without our paddleboards.

Even though I just turned forty, this year I’ve been more active than ever.  I celebrated my big birthday by surfing Pipeline in Hawaii, then in May I paddled 225 miles of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.  This summer I paddled uninhabited islands in South Carolina.  I am in the best shape of my life.A lot of people start to physically decline when they hit their forties and fifties.  I plan to be active well into my 100’s.  Besides paddleboarding and surfing, to stay in shape I eat healthy, organic foods and have a full, daily regimen of premium MegaFood whole food vitamin supplements.  I want to continue to live the life of my dreams, charging big waves and having adventures.

Painting with the locals of Playa Zicatela

With age, I feel wiser and I can see the impact of actions from my distant past.  For over 20 years, I’ve been going down to Puerto and have painted surfboards for the local kids.

It’s not easy for locals to earn money down there, and so the kids’ surfboards are always old and damaged.  The only new boards you see on the beach are those of travelers from out of town.

A little Uni Posca paint pen painting on an old board makes it look new again, and that does magic for the morale of kids in a small Mexican town.

I’ve watched people grow up here, and some of the guys, now grown up, tell me that when they were a kid and I painted their boards, it left them feeling pure joy.  Now, they give me waves and they run the place.  They are my friends.  It’s more than just art; it’s giving each other your time.

This year I sat in the grass with my Uni Posca paint pens and painted surfboards while a crowd surrounded me.  We all spent time together, kids, parents, contestants, lifeguards and tourists.  We made something out of nothing.  It was the place to be, there in the grass.  The energy of joy everywhere.

Those young kids got to see how simple life can be.  Plus I just earned another ten years in the Puerto line up!

We are all a part of each other’s stories now.

Life is Good – Drew

For details on the contest (I got third place!):  go to CentralSurf.tv and Surfline.

Special Thanks to:

MegaFood – I’ve never felt healthier.  I am strong and fit, giving me the confidence to do anything!  And, their sponsorship enabled me to be there for the contest.

Hinano Tahiti – For my great clothes, the legend board shorts are awesome.  And, their contribution to my travel to Puerto also allowed me to be there.

Ron House and Riviera Paddle Surf – Mike Muir of Riviera Paddlesurf made sure I had new boards to compete with.  They rode amazing.

Kialoa Paddles – Only the best will do in these waves.

Keen – My Keen Waimea toe guard flip flops rule – no more stubbed toes!

Ocean & Earth – My leash never broke, thanks to the world’s strongest leash. 

Hoven Vision – Boy I needed good shades the sun is always bright in Mexico!

Drew in Puerto - Photo by Saul Vasquez

Surfboards just break here….”

Today was the first day of the Central Surf Pro Stand Up Paddle Surf Contest in Puerto Escondido, Zicatela Beach.

The contest is scheduled to run from 7 a.m. to noon every day.

The waves were about 6 feet and glassy – the swell is expected to pick up tomorrow and Sunday, so we should be getting some giant tubes, which is what I live for.

Scott Chandler, California big wave charger and shaper, got a perfect 10 in today’s heat, and one of the best barrels I’ve ever seen!

Puerto Beauty Photo by Angel Salinas

 

Boards just break here...

Puerto Escondido is living up to it’s reputation with big tubes and snapping boards and paddles in half.

Surfboards just break here….

It’s so hot  and humid, it’s unbelievable.  By 11:30 a.m. you’re melting, and unless you’re out surfing, you have to go indoors to escape the oven.

After the contest I had a great breakfast with Carlos from Acapulco, popped a MegaFood supplement, then went back out for another surf.

There’ll be another update tomorrow.  I got some great photos and will post them all later.

Contest begins again at 7 a.m. – praying for big surf.

To see photos and live action of the contest, go to http://centralsurf.tv/ in the morning Sat & Sun.

Life is Good!  Drew

One of two things happen when you see monstrous, huge waves that you’re about to surf  for the first time; you either look at it like “there’s no way in hell I’m going out there” or you look at it with joy, because you’ve been waiting for this moment all your life.

The first time I surfed Puerto Escondido I was just a kid out of high school.  I saved up as much money as I needed just to get there.  I left the states with just one surfboard, a pair of board shorts and $50 in my pocket.  Being from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, all I wanted to do was charge BIG waves.

Local Myrtle Beach shaper Gary Wilson had shaped me the only big-wave surfboard probably ever made in Myrtle Beach at the time.  It was an 8’6″ gun and it ended up being one of my favorite boards of all time.

When I arrived Puerto, I remember flying right over the beach and seeing the biggest waves I’d ever seen in my life.

One of two things happen when you see monstrous, huge waves that you’re about to surf for the first time; you either look at it like “there’s no way in hell I’m going out there” or you look at it with joy, because you’ve been waiting for this moment all your life.

Needless to say, twenty years later I’m still surfing Puerto and loving it!

Fountain of Youth!

The downside:  it’s always a pain dragging surfboards all over the world.  So I pack as light as possible, taking only the bare essentials.

For this Puerto Trip, I’m taking:

  • MegaFood vitamins that keep me fit and energetic (at 40, I don’t want to miss a day of my vitamins)
  • Hinano Tahiti clothing, which I designed trunks and t-shirts for
  • 2 Ron House Paddle Surfboards by Riviera Paddle Surf:  a 9’1″ and a 10’6″
  • 2 Kialoa Paddles
  • 2 surfboards:  My 8’0″ Gerry Lopez pipe-gun (I’ve had a blast on this board) and my 5’10” Ron House Twin Fin (also a blast anywhere I take it)
  • Ocean & Earth Leashes
  • And my Keen flip flops (2 pairs)
  • Laptop:  Left behind

My new Tree of Life boardies

I’m very fortunate that I have sponsors that support what I’m doing.  This trip is made possible by the cool people at MegaFood and my good friends Teva and Aja at Hinano Tahiti.

It’s been a huge task just gathering all the equipment and supplies needed for this trip.  Dragging it all the way down to Mexico is nothing compared to surfing the giant tubes that await me!

The waves are supposed to be 8′ when I arrive.  Stay tuned for my next update.

Life is Good,  Drew