Friday, December 17, 2010

The Circus moves on...

I think the North shore winter is a bit like a circus. Or maybe a zoo. It's a flurry of contests, pro surfers, photographers, parties and waves. Then just as quickly as it started it's done. The final of the Pipe Masters ran yesterday in clean average size waves. Frenchman Jeremy Flores won, then the crowd dispersed and the contest structures were dismantled. I'm on a flight back to Kauai tonight and I'm really looking forward to doing some laundry, sleeping for a long time and surfing some uncrowded waves. Thank you Oahu once again for blessing me with great opportunities and a really awesome time! Aloha XoXoXo

p.s. How many people can you fit in a hot tub?

Friday, December 10, 2010

A hard day at the office...

Some pictures from the first day of the pipe contest. Hard work.... :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Surf waves, not peoples faces!

I'll start this post with a nice and easy picture to look at. Try and make up for whats coming next! I'm going to share a story about what happened to me almost 5 weeks ago. I was in San Diego hanging around my old stomping grounds visiting some friends. I went to surf around Encinitas at a break I have been at many times. It was crowded and maybe a bit over head. I waited half an hour for my first wave. I took off, so did the guy next to me but I was deeper. He saw me and went to kick out. But instead he busted a fat top turn, lost his board and the last thing I saw was it flying towards me. I felt a thunk and when I surfaced there was a giant lump protruding from my face. My inner angry Australian was unleashed and I started yelling at the guy. He paddled off without ever seeing if I needed help. Unfortunately this happened JUST after halloween. I have a pretty epic shiner and it still looks like someone punched me in the face. It was hurting and after the swelling went down there was a lump and an indented line left. I finally went to the doctor a few days ago and it turns out I broke my zygomatic arch. I know it can be a circus out there and we all want out waves but lets all try and be considerate of each others safety. If someone looks like they might need it, paddle over and offer them some help :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Work and Play

Another year has passed since my last winter visit to the North Shore of Oahu. Every time I drive along the bend looking over Waimea Bay I get a little knot in my stomach. I can't help but feel I have finally arrived at the holy grail of surfing, the home of the big waves and professional surfing world. As always I am unprepared with only a mere 5'10 epoxy board as my quiver and nowhere to stay.

But the travel gods are smiling. I have been here a bit over a week now and things are going well. I am sleeping on the floor in the house of some very lovely Norwegian friends. My photographer/friend Dave has been keeping me busy with lots of work and I have landed my first real journalism job with Womens Surf Style Magazine. I'm surviving (barely) on the 5'10 board too, paddling like a crazy lady against the wind into some decent sized waves. Here are some pics from my past week...

Friday, September 10, 2010


I am a chronic procrastinator. Everyday for the past 6 months I've intended to update my blog and yet I never seem to get around to it. There has definitely been ample experiences to write about. There was my trip to Oahu and Japan for all of April, a new job on Kauai and my first magazine article being published. But I guess compared to my usual jet setting, surfing, border hopping ways my past year has been pretty tame. Still, I'm going to start dusting out the cobwebs in my head and write a bit about Japan, one of the most quirky cultures I've ever experienced.

It had been a few years since I had seen my sister and my mum. I was living on the remote North shore of Kauai in Hawaii for a while without a car and was feeling pretty frustrated, so when the opportunity came to visit Japan with them I was stoked. My sister lives in a rural village and teaches English to all the neighboring schools. Mum was flying from West Oz to Japan as a birthday present to herself. I left Kauai and stopped through Oahu for a little bit to catch up with my photographer Dave Gregerson, which is always lots of fun, but bad weather and crappy surf meant no chance to get some more surf shots. So after that it was on to Tokyo.

I remember my mum and sister telling
me to pack my thermals because it was snowing.
I had a good laugh and reminded them I live on a tropical island! The flight was around 8 hours and I had a small Japanese kid throwing up on the floor in front of me. It was a long flight. As soon as I arrived we went straight to the cherry blossom park in the heart of Tokyo. The trees were in full bloom, a big mass of pink canopy. Thousands of people strolled, sat, drank and socialized beneath the trees. I hadn't been in crowds or cold in a year, I was freezing and grabbing onto my sister in the crowd of people like my life depended on it. As we walked in blur of people, darkness, glowing lights, scents and pinkness a huge gust of wind began blowing. It started RAINING cherry blossoms, like a blanket of delicate pink snow. I felt like I had stepped into another universe.

There is so much I could write about Japan. The food is awesome. My chopstick skills not so much, I was constant comical entertainment for the locals. Japan is the most polite, organised country I have ever been to. It's kinda a little scary. You almost feel like yelling out on the trains or dancing in the streets just to shake up the perfectly robotic machine of society. In downtown Tokyo there is even a method to walking and if you step out of line the w
hole balance is thrown. The people are incredibly polite and etiquette is very important. As a tourist it's important to learn the little things like no eating or blowing your nose in public. Teaching at school with my sister was great. I had celebrity status. I was mobbed in the hallways by masses of tiny Japanese kids. Everywhere I went I felt like a big, strange blonde giant! Even the hand rails were too small for me.

I have a lot more to tell about Japan, including solo snowboarding missions, bullet train navigations and weird toilets but it's time for a surf break. Trains and Cherry Blossoms Part 2 is coming soon!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Eddie, Pipeline and Flying: an introduction to Hawaii!

Ok I'm still in bed with the flu and figure I may as well put my time to good use. I've weaned myself away from the tv to devote a bit more love to my blog, which has been lacking a little lately. I remember when I first decided to travel, Hawaii was the place I wanted to go. My mum thought it was too far away for her liking though, and told me if I bought a ticket to New Zealand instead she would financially support me. So I caved, bought the ticket to NZ, then mum told me with a devilish grin that she had zero recollection of promising financial aid. So I paid my own way. But looking back over my past few years on the road, I wouldn't change a thing. It's nice to finally, two and a half years and around 10 countries later, land in the warm blue waters of Hawaii.

I really didn't know what to expect about Kauai. Dad always told me Hawaii was like LA on a small island and there was no way I would enjoy myself there, but I was sure there was more to it than that. And there really is. Kauai is a beautiful island. The mountains are amazing, the surf and beaches are great, and the Aloha spirit the people have shown me has been overwhelming. This island attracts such a diverse mix of people, ranging from the rich land owners to the feral hippies living out in the mountains on the Kalalau Trail. There are amazing musicians everywhere, and my creative side is definitely flourishing and growing here. I even feel safe enough to hitchhike almost everyday, as I don't own a car (only a beach cruiser bike). I was lucky enough in my first month here to be taken out hang gliding by a good friend of mine, Gerry, who owns the company Birds In Paradise For anyone looking for a fun way to see the island, this is the ultimate! In return for a few hours of babysitting a terrible 2yr old for a client, Gerry took me on a flight to test out one of his new planes. We got up to 11,000 feet where he then turned off the engine, and we glided all around the island and then landed. It's an amazing feeling floating around up there, flying in the wind and enjoying the view.

I had been in Kauai for a little while when I woke up one morning bored. I had an unexplainable itch to go to Oahu. So I hopped online and booked a ticket for that afternoon! I left my boards behind, got a ride to the airport, and around an hour later landed in the Honolulu airport. I phoned a friend who said I could stay on her floor for the week, and set about finding the bus to the North Shore. I went up to some baggage handlers and inquired politely.
"Where does the bus to the North Shore leave from?".
They laughed at me. One guy replies,
"Sweetheart, there is no 1 bus to the North Shore, it's going to take you about 4 buses!".
Great I thought, but hey, if I can navigate the whole of Samoa and the Dominican Republic on the public bus system, then hawaii should be a breeze. About 5 hours later I made it, right before dark. I'll always remember when the bus drove past Waimea Bay. The bay was firing, there were people and photographers everywhere. I could see the huge wedging rights rolling through, with all surfers dropping in on their big gun boards. I think I had the worlds biggest grin on my face, I felt like I had finally made it. The holy grail of surfing. I was in the North Shore.

As lady luck would have it, the next morning the Eddie contest ran at Waimea bay. It was my first day in Oahu and the Eddie was running. People couldn't believe it. Some told me they had been waiting four years for the contest to run. It was so much fun. I managed to sneak my way into a private house right on the point, with a front row view that was to die for! The atmosphere was electric, the surf was huge, the day was beautiful, and I was on cloud nine! That evening a few friends and I went to celebrate the finish of the contest at a party at the Billabong house. It really is a very interesting pro surfing world over there, full of egos and girls chasing pros. My lucky streak continued, and a few days later the Pipe Master ran too. I was sitting with some friends watching some heats at Pipeline when I got talking to a photographing sitting next to me. As it would turn out he was a photographer for Women's Surf Style Magazine, and we had a great time talking travel stories. I spent the next couple of days doing surf shoots at Pupakeas, but you might have to wait until the magazine comes out to see the best ones :) To see more of Dave's photography visit I had a wonderful couple of weeks over in Oahu experiencing the buzzing surf scene, but it was nice to come back to beautiful Kauai.

I've been over here for around 3 and a half months now. I have two jobs, a nice place to live and a few surfboards. I have a trip planned for most of April to Japan to visit my mum and sister which is very exciting. I am also probably going to head over to Oahu maybe at the end of this month for another photo shoot and to work on some stories. The question on my mind is as always, to stay or to go? I still feel like Kauai has a lot more to offer me, and I have more to see, but the permanently itchy feet of a traveller are in constant need of scratching! Tell me what you think!

Aloha and sunshine,
Tia xox

Saturday, February 27, 2010


It's been so long since I've written a post that I'm not quite sure where to begin! So I figure I'll start with today, seeing as it has been pretty eventful. I have been living on the Hawaiian island of Kauai now since mid November and am currently living on the North Shore in Haena, near the start of the Napali Coastline. This morning at around 6am I woke up to one very, very loud tsunami siren going off! It was still dark! I don't think that I've ever jumped out of bed that quickly! I was vaguely aware last night of a possible tsunami warning due to an earthquake in Chile but didn't take it all too seriously until my unexpected awakening. I quickly packed up my essentials, consisting of my guitar, favourite surfboard, computer and passports, borrowed my housemates spare car and headed to higher ground. It was pretty crazy, everyone living in coastal areas were evacuated and all the roads were closed off. On the bright side I got the day off work :) and the tsunami never amounted to much, just a few very minor tidal surges.

So starting on that note I better fill in some of the blanks of my past few months in Hawaii. I knew it was time to leave San Diego when I was wriggling back into my 4'3 wetsuit, and decided Kauai sounded like a pretty nice and warm place to continue on with my endless summer (yes I know it's winter here but it really doesn't feel like it). As usual I booked a one way ticket with no idea where I was going to stay! However the travel gods were smiling upon me, and a few days before flying out I discovered my cousins happen to own the only movie theatre on the island. One phone call and I was set with a place to stay, a truck to drive, and a loving family to look after me until I found a place of my own. I have a lot of stories to tell about the past few months here, including Oahu surfing shoots, watching the Eddie and hang gliding at 11,000 ft just to mention a few! But I'm down with a pretty ugly flu right now, and after todays excitement going to sleep is sounding pretty darn amazing so watch this space and I'll fill you all in on everything else and post some more photos. Aloha and goodnight! xox