Tag Archives | california

To Know a Place: 7 Years of Climbing Point Dume

When I would casually tell  new climbers (unfamiliar with Malibu) that we would soon be climbing “Point Dume,” their eyes would widen with mild terror.  I forget that this spot, pronounced “DOOM” might have another, more menacing meaning to it.

Jay sport climbing sunset - adjusted

In my mind, it has a meaning all its own.  Point Dume is a special place to me.  Of all the places throughout the world that I’ve climbed, it’s my very favorite route.  Why?  For starters, it’s incredibly beautiful.   The arete, a relatively easy route, hangs over the ocean.  Above you, seagulls and hawks swoop.  Below you, the waves break on the rocks and, if you’re lucky, you’ll spot dolphins, seals, or even whales.  Yet, above it’s beauty, I know the place intimately well.  I’ve taught hundreds of new climbers here and I suspect the number of times I’ve climbed it may be edging close to triple digits.

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Unbillable Hours: A True Story of Taking an Impossible Case

You’ve seen movies about the convicted murderer who swears his innocence for a decade to finally set free on the final miraculous appeal?  That stuff really happens.

Unbillable Hours Book

Two years ago we screened a film at Pepperdine called Mario’s Story.  Mario was a kid from the streets in LA who ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time.  He was at a party when an altercation broke out between two rival gangs.  Two kids ended up getting shot.  Despite ballistics evidence showing that there were only TWO bullets fired, three men were convicted of murder, including Mario.  Mario’s lawyer did a sloppy job, only spent a few hours of preparation on the cases, and did not effectively argue his defense.  The jury convicted all three alleged criminals together.

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Windsurfing in the California Waves

If you haven’t tried Stand Up Paddling (SUP), you should.  One of the best things about is that there’s always something to do no matter the conditions.  If there are waves, you can surf (watch my GoPro footage).  If it’s flat, you can cruise up the coast.  If there’s wind, go windsurfing.  Today was no exception.  When we left for church this A.M., it was glassy calm.  By 2 p.m., the wind was blowing full-on.  Here are a few photos playing in the (small) waves at Zuma Beach in Malibu.


Catching little 2-3 foot waves.


Cruising on the standup paddle board–no footstraps.


To see a few more photos from today’s session, click a photo below and scroll through:


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This Weekend’s Triathlon – And Why I Almost Didn’t Do It

In 2005, I bought out all my formula windsurfing gear to California.  I had a huge board and a 10-foot long sail.  Not to mention a boom, harness, and others parts.  I stuffed everything into my dorm room.  Why?  Because I wanted to race.  Or, at least I did in theory.

There were a number of windsurfing races in San Diego.  The year before, I made plans to race at every possible opportunity.  It sounded great in the abstract.  I remember the night before a race, I sat up debating whether I wanted to go.  I had many excuses: It was a long drive, I'd have to get up early, and it might make me too tired for studying later.  I didn't go.  And, after I didn't go that first time, it was easy not to go again.  In sum, I never went and my gear sat in the dorm room.

I had a flashback to that moment on Friday night.  I sat and debated whether I wanted do a triathlon on Saturday morning.  In the abstract, I wanted to do it.  But, it was easy to make the same excuses and talk myself down.

A friend and I talked awhile back about what it takes to climb mountains.  He had done Denali (McKinley) and told me how when things got tough, most other climbers would suddenly become overwhelmingly self-righteous.  They'd say, "You know, I've got a family," or "I've got responsibilities," and then talk themselves into turning around on moralistic grounds.

It's easy to find moralistic excuses in the face of adversity.

Trek Speed Concept 9.5

I was going to go, then I wasn't going to go, then I was going to go.  Finally, at 11 p.m., I decided I'd throw in the towel.  Out of curiosity, I Google-mapped the destination: Castaic Lake.  I thought it would be an hour-and-a-half drive from me.  To my surprise, only 40 minutes–practically in my backyard.  Now I had to go–it was settled.

And now, I'm so glad I did go.  It was a beautiful morning with a swim in warm, clear water.  The bike ride was fast through the mountains and the run tip-toed around the resevoir.  I had my personal best on the swim, my personal best for average speed on the bike, and a solid run.  To top it all off, I came in fourth in my age group, which secured a medal for me!

It made me with I would have gone to those windsurfing races a few years ago.  No doubt, I would have be so glad that I did.


Ventura Triathlon Today: One Spot Shy of the Podium


This morning was an early morning for the Breadth of Life Triathlon in Ventura.  For me, it was a major success–maybe even turning point–in part of my abilities.

Since I've been traveling so much, I was underprepared this triathlon.  No matter, I wanted to run it as a training event–my fitness is not peaking, nor did I taper for it.  My swim was exellent (we'll get to that momentarily), my bike improved, and my run lacked significantly.  The run came as no surprse as that's the event I lose most quickly if I'm not running enough.  My cardio strength wasn't up there.  Yet, I was surprised when I saw the results.  In my age (25-29)–a very competitive age group–I came in 4th!  Unfortunately, this meant I was just shy of the podium.  However, getting to the podium was never my goal for this race and, as to those goals, it was a success.

The turning point today was the swim.  I may have told you that I'm not a swimmer, so it's the part that makes me most concerned.  My goal is to simply do a confident swim.  In my first tri, I hit the water and my body went into shock.  I hyperventilated and swam almost the entire race as a breast stroke with my head above water.  It felt something like what I imagine drowning would be like.  Those kind of memories are hard to dismiss.  It still haunts me that paralysis could strike again.

But today, I hit the water–a longer race of 750 meters–with not even a glimmer of inconfidence.  My swim was strong from the beginning, through the rush at the start, and all the way to the finish.  I was actually catching people.  And I didn't have to stop my freestyle stroke at all.  It felt good.  My time also showed it–I kept a pace of 1:40 per 100 meters, which is considerably faster than I do in the pool.  This was my breakthrough.  I think I can still gain a lot of easy time through increased confidence, and when I finally give in and buy a real triathlon wetsuit (still using my surfing wetsuit!).

Overally, my highest recommendations for the Breadth of Life Triathlon in Ventura.  The ocean swim is in a protected harbor and the bike ride winds through Oxnard's picturesque fields.  I'm looking forward to the event next year–and maybe another chance at that podium.


Bursts of Creativity: Video of Standup Paddle Surfing from my GoPro HD

On rare occasions, I find an item that causes me to explode with creative ideas.  Last night, that happened.  I purchased the GoPro HD video camera.  You’ve probably seen their incessant online advertisements.  I did, and I couldn’t take it seriously.  Cheap?  Probably.  Cheesy?  Most likely.

Then, a few weeks ago, I walked by a Pepperdine undergraduate student who was looking at some of his surfing footage… and it looked amazing.  Intrigued, I thought about it awhile.  Then, finally bought one.

I look forward to telling you more about later, but there are mounts for everything and slow motion capabilities.  Suddenly, I was brimming with ideas about what I could shoot.  I woke up early this morning to head to beach to try some initial creative ideas with my standup paddleboard.  There is MUCH more to come!


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