Samoa Devastated…Salani Surf Resort Gone

September 30, 2009

Salani Surf ResortAs many of you have heard, Samoa was hit by a devastating 8.0 earthquake that was followed by an even more destructive tsunami. Our hearts go out the people of Samoa and we recognize that they will eventually bounce back from this horrible tragedy. Samoans are among the kindest people you will come across in your travels and it breaks our heart to think that this tragedy could strike such a gentle nation.

The Rider’s Network has been under heavy development lately, which has resulted in a lack of activity on our blog. This tragedy was more than enough to result in an update.

Salani Surf Resort, which has been a featured resort on the Rider’s Network and is a personal favorite of our staff was wiped out during the tsunami that struck the south coast of Upolu Tuesday morning. While all guests and staff were able to escape without major harm, the resort was leveled by the surge.

It is our hope through fundraising for the Samoan people, they will again bounce back from the devastation.

If you are interested in helping, here is a way to have your funds directly benefit those in need: http://www.rawshakti.com/tsunamirelief.php

We’re Obsessed With Panama….We Know..

September 14, 2009

This just in…Red Frog Bungalows is offering an early season special for surf trips in taken before the end of the year!

Red_Frog_BungalowsRed Frog Bungalows rests in a lush tropical garden just a few short steps from Red Frog Beach, voted one of the world’s best secret beaches by The Travel Channel. It’s comprised of two beautiful 3 story bungalows, three private beach palapas, restaurant/cantina area, Jacuzzi, and pool table. From Red Frog Bungalows, guests strike out with expert surf guide and resort owner Scott Balogh in search of the best surf in the area. There are over 8 spots within 30 minutes by panga and a few more lying a little farther away. The Red Frog experience is all about personalized service as they only host one or two groups at a time.

Located in Bocas del Toros, Panama the cluster of islands on the Caribbean side of Panama, are home to an abundance of reefs, beachbreaks, and points which pump during their prime swell windows of November thru March and July thru August. While most of the Caribbean receives swell from hurricanes which pop-up and eventually die out, the swells that hit Bocas are developed by trade winds off the coast of Venezuela. These strong trade winds create amazingly consistent surf which runs right into the islands of Bocas. Red Frog Bungalows is located on the island of Bastimentos, the perfect launching pad for any type of surfer looking to score this incredible region.Bocas_Del_Torro

Book your November trip to Red Frog Bungalows by October 1st and receive huge discounts. Groups of 2 or more receive 10% off and groups of 3 or more receive 15% off their stay at Red Frog. This last November saw the biggest swell of the season. Come down and experience the variety of reefs, beachbreaks, and points only minutes away from Red Frog Bungalows.

Check it out!

WOULD YOU SPEND 15 MINUTES, IF IT MEANT SURFING THE REST OF YOUR LIFE?

September 10, 2009

surf-first logoWe assume you love surfing your home break? That there’s nothing better than paddling out to the one spot you know everything there is to know about….and have it absolutely firing.

All across the country, surfers are facing access and environmental fights that fail to consider their needs and enormous impact. While fishermen and other recreational ocean users flex big muscle in courthouses and town halls, surfers get pushed aside a ‘segment group.’ A minor hobby for punk kids – instead of healthy lifestyle for whole families. That’s because we let them.

Despite being a 1000-year-old sport with a $7 billion industry, surfing has failed to produce the demographic and economic studies to show who we are, where we live, and what we spend. So while other interest groups bolster their arguments with impressive numbers to prove their positions, all-too often, surfers get blindsided and bowled over, unable to offer a single hard number to support their cases or save their breaks.

Not anymore. With your help, Surf-First.org can start to paint a true picture of who surfers are and how we behave. And every surfer who answers provides another stroke of necessary detail. All you need to do is take 15 minutes to fill out the survey.

Product Review: From A Female Rider’s Perspective

September 4, 2009

In all fairness, there are big differences between the needs of female riders and their male counterparts. I don’t know what those needs are….but Julie Blakley does. Here is a recent product review from her on the Da Kine Heli-Pro Women’s Pack. Check back for a review from me to compare the notes…

dakine_heli_pro_womensDa Kine Heli-Pro Women’s Pack—a great, streamlines women specific pack for those hard riding and powder loving ladies

As a female rider, I am always all about ski and snowboard gear that is designed for women who like to hit the slopes just as hard as their male counterparts. While we are certainly able to use most of the male designed gear and products out there, gear designed specifically for women, by women is always better for us gals. Plus, just because I like to ride just as hard as the guys, doesn’t mean I want to look like one out on the slopes.

Enter the DaKine Heli-Pro women’s pack. With many of the same features as the men’s heli-pro pack, this ski and snowboard backpack is the perfect pack for day-trips into the backcountry and quick trips out of the gates from some out-of-the-resort riding. This bag is built to be small enough to ride on the chairlifts with and big enough to carry all of your backcountry riding essentials.
The DaKine Heli pack forgoes some of the extras to reduce weight, but it’s still built for comfort. The pack also features vertical snowboard and diagonal ski carry options for those times there is just no choice but to hoof it back to the lift after an amazing backside run or when a little hike will give you access to an amazing line.

The pack also features an insulated hydration sleeve that keeps you water from freezing on even the coldest days. There is also a zippered tool pocket for quick access to your avy shovel and other important gear.

The Quick & Dirty:
Where you can get one:
Buy Dakine Heli Pack – Women’s $59.95

Why it Rocks:

    • Snug-fitting design keeps the weight close to your body for balance on uneven terrain and ease on chairlifts
    • Simple, 3-strap system firmly carries your snowboard on the back; stowable diagonal straps hold alpine or backcountry skis
    • Load-compression straps are integrated into board-carrying system
    • External snow-tool pocket, side holster for shovel handle or ice axe, and external straps hold backcountry necessities
    • Fleece-lined goggles pocket protects your lenses from getting scratched when not in use
    • Deployable side pocket with drawstring and cordlock carries your water bottle and other items
    • Internal slab pocket with exit port carries a water reservoir (sold separately) for easy hydration on the go
    • Curved, foam-padded shoulder straps with sternum strap and padded hipbelt
    • Thermoplastic elastomer coated, 600-denier polyester is lightweight, durable and water resistant

Seat-of-the-pants rating: 9 out of 10

As I said before, I will almost always be a fan of ski and snowboard gear designed for big mountain riding, powder loving women, and the Dakine Heli Pro for Women certainly falls into that category. This bag is the perfect size—big enough to carry your essential avy tools, but small enough to ride comfortable up the chair lift with.
The snowboard and ski carry systems make it perfect for those times you have to hoof it back to the lift and the padded shoulder straps make it comfortable to wear all-day long. The bag was also designed with a woman’s body in mind, meaning its snug fitting design keeps the weight close to your body for great balance on uneven and difficult terrain. Overall, this is a great looking, well functioning pack perfect for the lady riders out there.

Not to leave anyone out…Car Rentals for the Skiers and Snowboarders

August 28, 2009

Now, when thinking of making the trek through snow on the way to fresh powder, Honda will never be the first automaker to be considered when buying a winter driving machine. Yet, they have four current Ski_Snowboard_Rental_Carand one upcoming model that sport all-wheel or four-wheel drive drivetrains. They’re perfect for driving in the snow on your next ski  or snowboard trip. When I think of Honda, the first thing that comes to mind is price friendly and reliability. Their popular CR-V and Pilot models have been highly ranked since they first came to market. With many great deals being offered, now may be a good time to get an upgrade from two-wheel drive at the same price as an all-wheel drive car. Check out these models below at your local Honda dealership.

All-Wheel-Drive cars (AWD)
2009 Honda CR-V SUV AWD is priced from $22,445 to $28,945 and comes equipped with a 2.4L 4-cylinder engine and a fuel economy rating of 22 mpg.

2009 Honda Element SUV AWD is priced from $21,475 to $25,285 with a 2.4L 4-cylinder engine and a fuel economy rating of 20-21 mpg.

2010 Honda Accord Crosstour AWD is a new offering coming out this fall with a projected MSRP of $31,500 and will likely be equipped with a 3.5L V6 engine.

4-Wheel-Drive cars (4WD)
2010 Honda Pilot SUV 4WD is priced from $29,495 to 40,245. It’s equipped with a 3.5L V6 engine and has a fuel economy rating of 18mpg.

2009 Honda Ridgeline Crew Cab Pickup Truck 4WD priced from $28,200 to $36,530. It’s equipped with a 3.5L V6 engine and a fuel economy rating of 17 mpg.

The No-No’s of Car Rental During Your Next Surf/Ski Trip

August 27, 2009

Surf_Snow_Rental_CarsLet’s be honest, there’s nothing more annoying than renting a car at the beginning of a surf trip, when you’ve just hopped off the plane you’ve been on for who knows how long and all you’re looking to do is wash off the stench with some salt water. Renting a car can seem like a daunting task, particularly because there are so many companies from which to choose, and we always have that fear that we’ll get a lemon ultimately making our experience a nightmare. However, here are some mistakes that you can avoid, to make your next trip as successful as possible:

1. Not utilizing the Internet to find the best price

The Internet has revolutionized our lives! Let’s be honest, it’s why you’re able to obtain the information you’re reading right now. Searching online for cars to rent allows you to sift through millions of cars, to find the one that’s right for you. Apart from price, convenient online search engines also let you narrow down features such as the make, model, and rental charges for different cars. And because your search will be faster, it can be wider in scope. That will help you to find the best deal on the Net!

2. Neglect to check the condition of the car

When you pick up the car, make sure to examine it thoroughly. In fact, check the car while the deliveryman is there. To further protect yourself, use a camcorder or digital camera to film the condition of the car before you drive off. That will verify the state of the car when you borrowed it.

3. Forget to clean up a car that’s somewhat dirty

If you spill a soda in the car or drop some food, take a few minutes to clean it up. Otherwise the car rental company may tack on an additional cleaning charge to your bill. That can be counterproductive when you’re traveling on a shoestring budget, or found a great car rental deal. It also sends a positive message to any children that you may have.

4. Carelessly examine the terms for a car rental deal

If you are planning to drive far, then be sure that your deal includes unlimited mileage. When you’re on vacation, that’s usually the situation you’re in. With some deals, after you reach your mileage allowance, the car rental company will charge you an extraordinarily high rate per mile/kilometer. And the last thing you want to be thinking about while you search for “the next peak around the corner” is whether you’ve exceeded your mileage allowance.

Also, check if you need to return the car with a full tank of fuel. Sometimes you do, and sometimes you don’t. You could save yourself a ton of money by not filling up the tank before returning the car.

5. Never check for rental cars offline

Though you can usually find the best deal online these days, the main benefit of renting a car offline is that you’ll have more of an opportunity to negotiate the rental fee. Sometimes you can find some excellent offline packages that are linked to hotels.

Before renting a car, knowing what NOT to do can be as effective as learning what to do. By avoiding these common car rental mistakes, you can ensure that your next surf or snow trip will be as successful as possible.

Green Skiers and Snowboarders Ride the Train…

August 21, 2009

eurostar_logoFor the most part, I’d say a majority of skiers and snowboarders are at least environmentally conscious…Not too much of a stretch right?

This ski season, if you’re looking for an even greener option when getting to the slopes, try the train instead.

It’s pretty easy to see how air travel is less environmentally friendly than train travel. And more recently, the European train operator Eurostar, has decided to compete with major airlines to transport travelers to The Alps.

Eurostar is the first operator in the world to offer ‘carbon neutral’ journeys for all its travellers – at no extra cost. Newly opened Ebbsfleet offers seven trains per day to Paris and five per day to Brussels. Trains travel as fast as 186 mph, making your trip as short as possible.

Eurostar plans to further reduce carbon dioxide emissions by twenty-five per cent per passenger by 2012 with their ‘Tread Lightly’ plan. A train trip with Eurostar generates ten times less carbon dioxide than an airplane trip. In addition to generating fewer emissions, Eurostar plans to offset the emissions they cannot eliminate.ski_snowboard_travel_train

An increasing number of skiers are using high speed rail to ski in the French Alps. Since July 2006, more than 33,000 skiers, an increase of 43 per cent from the previous ski season, have used Eurostar to travel to the Alps.

Not only is it more environmentally friendly, it cuts back on transfer problems and lost baggage associated with flying. Eurostar’s stations, located high in the Alps, require only a short bus ride to resorts.

For skiers convenience, Eurostar has travel packages that include round trips to The Alps. One of their most popular travel incentive packages include overnight travel on Friday night to arrive Saturday morning.

Regardless, the point is to make it on the slopes, why not repay mother nature and get their a “greenly” as possible…

British Airways – Ski and Snowboard surcharge…

August 20, 2009

british_airways_logoRiders traveling to ski and snowboard resorts with British Airways next season, will face charges to carry their skis and snowboards under a shakeup of baggage charges.

For passengers booking from July 31 onwards and travelling after October 7, “sporting equipment” will cost £40 per bag on long haul or £35 on short haul flights if it is in addition to their free checked luggage allowance.

**However, there is a discount if you book online.

A British Airways spokeswoman states, “Sporting equipment will now be included as part of the customer’s free checked baggage allowance on all bookings for travel on or after October 7, 2009. Any bag that exceeds the free checked baggage allowance will incur an excess baggage fee. Most other airlines already charge for sporting goods. These are unprecedented economic times and we believe this can generate revenue for British Airways and help return us to profitability.”

Under the new luggage plans, travelers in British Airway’s economy class flying to or from the Americas – excluding Brazil – will only be permitted to take a single bag weighing 23kgs.

The price of checking in a first excess bag will drop from £90 to £40.

The cost of extra bags on UK domestic routes will be aligned with other short haul European services at £35 per bag.

And passengers will have to pay £5 more – from £25 to £30 – to check in bags between 23kgs and 32kgs.

Listen, we understand that everyone is going through hard times and it’s harder than ever to plan the next ski, snowboard, or surf trip, but killing us on baggage fees seems pretty petty.

Not only that, but when time return to good again, will these new baggage fees be dropped? Not a chance!

Additional Flights In & Out Of Mammoth!

August 19, 2009

Mammoth_Mountain_Ski_SnowboardMany of you probably heard about the new flight route from Los Angeles to Mammoth Moutain last year, finally taking the boredom out of the 7-8 hour drive for SoCal skiers and snowboarders alike.

Thankfully and to the surprise of many, flights to Mammoth will expand this winter. Not only will Horizon Air add a second daily flight to the Los Angeles route, but they will also add new daily nonstop service to San Jose and Reno, as well as direct service from Seattle and Portland.

The new services are expected to introduce thousands of new visitors to the Mammoth Lakes area. Not only that, but locals wanting to travel out of Mammoth will have many more options for getting around.

The service is scheduled to begin on Dec. 17, 2009 and run through April 11, 2010. Tickets are already on sale at www.horizonair.com or by calling 800-547-9308. Special low fares are available on select days between Mammoth and each city. You can also find the flight schedules at the Horizon website.

3 Raffle Drawings Worth Entering…Hey, it could happen!

August 18, 2009

There is only one thing better than the satisfaction of saving up your hard earned money, going on a well planned surf or snow trip and scoring the best waves or snow conditions of your life — Having a trip given to you. In honor of our endless pursuit of bring you the best deals on surf trips and snow travel, we’re bringing you 3 deals you just won’t be able to pass up…that is if you’re chosen!

> Win round-trip tickets to Hawaii

Rocky Point, Hawaii

Rocky Point, Hawaii

Hawaiian Airlines is running a “Travel Through Time” promotion in celebration of the airline’s 80th anniversary. To enter the giveaway, you must first complete an eight-question, multiple-choice quiz, which asks you to guess from what year certain Hawaiian Airlines uniforms hail (by the way, for those who pay attention to such things, the airline is coming out with new uniforms in October, get psyched!). After quiz completion, you’re eligible to enter the giveaway if you’re a Hawaiian Miles member — if you’re not, you must enroll in the program first.

Eight winners will be selected to win round-trip tickets for two to Hawaii from any U.S. West Coast city served by the airline.

When: The online entry deadline is Sept. 23.

San_Diego_Surf

San Diego

> Win a trip to San Diego
If you’re the name selected in the random drawing for the “Chill Out in San Diego Sweepstakes,” put on by the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau, you’ll be rewarded with a San Diego vacation for yourself and your family (up to four people total), or you can choose to bring along one friend instead.

Both options include round-trip flights to San Diego (from the major airport nearest your home in the continental U.S.); a three-night stay at the Hilton San Diego Resort and Spa, on Mission Bay; a meal at Anthony’s Fish Grotto; a kayaking tour off the La Jolla coast; and surf lessons.

When: The entry deadline is Sept. 4.

The Catch: You must be at least 25 years old to enter this sweepstakes.

> Win American Airlines miles

Where will you go with your American Airlines Miles??

Where will you go with your American Airlines Miles??

American Airlines has launched a new “fare-finding” feature on its Travel Bag application on Facebook, and this feature, as of now, has no name. But a sweepstakes is being held to change that: Submit a name for the feature, and you’ll be entered into a random drawing to win 25,000 AAdvantage miles.

Note that there’s no guarantee here that the name you submit will end up on the app if you are the miles winner — nor that the name you submit if you’re not the miles winner won’t end up on the app.

When: The entry deadline is Sept. 14.


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