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While waterproof, floatable items are always optimal in the face of tsunami or hurricane, we’re not quite certain how a “Frankenstorm” inspires an Evacuation Sale on Surfing Gear? (Google rankings anyone?)

Don’t get us wrong, we can’t really knock any sale on surfboards, ever (and the Lost “Driver” model looks kinda sick) but, unlike Bodhi, we might opt to sit this swell out.

For more disaster deals – and a list of open restaurants in NY – check here. Be safe (and surf be damned, avoid the contaminated waves for a while!).

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Amazing surfer. Awesome suit. If this stays on in the water we're all for it. (from Malia Jones' SI/Walter Iooss Jr. shoot a few years back)

There are always issues when fashion eludes function, and visa versa, and this is certainly the case with water gear for surfer girls. Personally, I feel companies who have sold themselves as girl / women surf companies, though they have some lovely clothes, have let the average Jo surfer girl down in terms of truly awesome surf suits. In Hawai’i, we surf with some of the hottest pro surfer girls in the world, all hard-bodied and perfection. Hello world, we are not all built that way! Some women’s boobs actually jiggle and laugh in the face of a stretchy sliding spaghetti strap! In this post (which we’ll likely add to) we look at some surfer girl swimsuit don’ts….

The halter: It may make the boobage look all pushed together, snuggly, and a little mo’ big, but the halter is the worst kind of bathing suit top for a surfer girl. Fashion statements are one thing. I have a nice, yellow, bust-enhancing halter from Victoria Secrets, which does magical things, but it’s for wearing on the beach (for short spurts) not on my board. Why? Surfer girls have enough problems with neck strain; why put additional pull on the neck while we surf. You may not feel it while it’s happening, but your neck and shoulder muscles are compensating. Beware; especially larger breasted women. Unless you are spider-bite sized, you should avoid the halter. The crisscrossed back and sports bra styles seem to offer the best boob and postural

A zipper on the chest - Roxy, really?

support and consistent coverage for bigger surf. Now if only form and function could evolve beyond the compressed boob-flattening that the sporty suits create. There are a few brands out there…but there needs to be more!

The Tankini: These often offer nice comfy support and are lovely for women who don’t want to show the belly. Unfortunately for the surfer girl they have a habit of riding up, or down, while surfing. And body surfing – ferget it! – the boob always pops out the top. Unless you can find one that’s secure fitting, you’re best to get a nice rash guard to cover up.

cute but not functional

Board Shorts with Elastic Waist Bands: These are often offered at a Costco and seem like a good deal, until they’re around your ankles after a wipe-out. Though even Hurley and Billabong make them now, and they’re making their way into the surf stores, I recommend only wearing this style out and about or for jogs on the beach. The exception is for the full-figured surfin’ wahine who can stretch out the elastic all the way or their bootay is bootayfull enough to keep ‘em up and… they ain’t goin’ nowhere. Simply an observation: guys who wear elastic board shorts are 99% of the time not surfers.

Board Shorts with Fake Ties and Fake Pockets: While we’re on the subject… why put a friggin’ tie in the front of a board short if it has no functional purpose? And by that I mean, why not make it functional!? Why put a pocket on girl’s board shorts if you don’t bother making it so the wax could stay in it? And by that I mean, would it really cost that much more to have the velcro go that extra inch across the whole pocket, g-d forbid you did such skimping on same brand’s men’s boardshorts – just sayin’. These are a few of the little things I’ve wondered about… for the past 20 years. No big deal, surely they’ll give me a good answer some day. Or maybe this needs to go in the NASA pile: things the geniuses at NASA will have to invent once the space program is null and void and they can invent high-IQ solutions and inventions that couldn’t be accomplished by the common man.

Suits with Embellishments: Unfortunately, some cute suits (like the deals you find at Ross) have weird embellishments in odd places. Like O-rings on the front of the hip or between the bust – ouch. Dangling beads also suck when you jump back on the board and have no time to reposition because you need to paddle back out before the next big set. I remember when Xcel had the plastic adjuster for the elastic cinch on their womens (not mens!) wet suit tops in the front, making it awfully painful when lying on the board. They should have made a public apology and refunded everyone (hey, I still have a few). After many complaints they did realize women would actually be surfing in it and repositioned it like the men’s version.

Honey Girl makes their sporty tops cute, supportive, with a light SEWN-IN padding… but maybe a little more sexy? & make the halter on the right with a crisscross back!

 

Bikini Bottoms with Tie Strap Sides: These are fine in small waves, but the thing about the surf, it has a way of undressing you. When it happens you will be happy if the side that unties is not the side with the leash, if ya know what I mean. Many a surfer girl has paddled in nekkid; don’t let this happen to you.

If you have the perfect surf swimsuit, send a pict or link! If you are a big surf company and want to see all the dream wahine water gear I’ve been designing in my mind for ten years, give me a buzz. If you’ve had a horrible surf swimsuit experience, send it in for another post!

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Big Island getting some Obama Love. Okay, it’s actually the Democratic “Grand Rally” where Barack Obama’s sister Maya Soetoro-Ng will be making an appearance on behalf of her bro. That’ll be this Friday, September 19, 2008 from 4-7pm.

Where’s it at? In Hilo at Mooheau Park, 231 Kamehameha Avenue. Supposedly there is only space for 300 (at the park?) – so, click here to RSVP ASAP! More info: Hilo Bay Oceanfront Contact Al Beeman (808.895.1813). Did someone say free hot dogs and chili?

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Straight outta Hilo, Hawai’i, with movements blossoming across the U.S., REVO is up as a big contender in the My Space Impact Awards (“honoring MySpace members for the positive impact they’ve had on our culture” – this month’s category, International Development). You can help them bring more attention to the cause (and bring them a lump sum of mula to keep them running) by simply casting your vote. What is REVO? It’s about one’s ability to start a REVOlution…

REVO thrives on the idea that one person can trigger positive change in the world. REVO provides a framework for anyone to take creative steps toward bringing relief, restoration, and lasting hope in a needful world. So many people want to make a difference but don’t know where to begin– our goal is to inspire MySpace users to use their vocation, passion or talent to START A REVO.

Learn more (get involved) – check REVO out at StartARevo or their MySpace page RevoOfLove.

One person can trigger positive change in the world – and you can start with one vote. Simply click here, log into your MySpace account, and vote once a day (’til voting ends June 20th). Mahalo!

UPDATE: Congratulations to my sista Nina and crew at REVO – winners of the My Space Impact Awards for International Development!!! (and thanks to everyone who took the time to cast their vote!

more about "MySpaceTV Videos: REVO by Chris Potts", posted with vodpod

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The spirit of marijuana is female. She is alluring, very seductive. In her presence time passes almost without one noticing. Her sweet fragrance intoxicates the senses and uplifts the mind. She is delighted by heroic men and sensual women. When a couple shares marijuana, they are allowing her participation in their relationship. Accepting their invitation, the spirit of marijuana adds spontaneity and humor, and also acts as a potent initiator. By bringing the couple into her dimension, the spirit of marijuana exalts and magnifies both love and sensitivity. – “The Pleasure of Pot and Sex“, High Times Magazine

420girls1

An insightful friend once mentioned to me why marijuana was so alluring to men. “It’s female,” he said, “the spirit of the plant is a woman. That’s why so many male pot smokers can’t maintain an intimate relationship with another women – because they already have a woman in their life who they are devoted to.”

Besides the initial youthful foray, I never desired smoking much. I wouldn’t buy it, and if I was given some it would either dry up sitting in my jewelry box, or would become a sort of emergency stash for friends. Commonplace for the Hawaii surfer, sometimes you join in when the waves are small, and a little creative inspiration to boost ones imagination helps alter reality enough to make the session more fun (or challenging). Really though, unless in a relationship with a smoker, rarely do I partake. Though it obviously heightens certain attributes, overall pakalolo doesn’t work well with my constitution and doesn’t make me perform at my best. Instead it seems to lower my metabolism and make me socially dysfunctional, hungry, and sleepy; while realistically I’d prefer to be awake, aware and able to hold elaborate conversations without losing the thread (somewhat of an anomaly in many surfing circles).

I’m certainly not trying to disregard the benefits (though many of those are found in more infrequent use – or in cases of serious illness). It is the ultimate first step mind opener… it’s just once the mind is opened, users habitually go back to the step of putting the key in the door, instead of actively utilizing what it’s already showing you. It’s obviously a better option than other more available hardcore drugs, as observed in Hawai’i, where we have the largest number of “ice” users per capita (which has evolved hand-in-hand with big dolla’ federally subsidized marijuana enforcement). Unlike meth, pot doesn’t seem to make one want to beat their kids, or spouses, or spend the rent money to get high, or rob their neighbor (despite what conservatives of the refer madness generation may want you to believe). And personally, I’ve had positive experience with the benefits of utilizing marijuana medically. In my case, to ween myself off stronger drugs; prescribed pain killers that were, post-debilitating-trauma, necessary for daily function – but certainly ate more brain-cells and created a more psychotic mentality than pakalolo ever did. That said….

As rasta as some want to be, as much as one convinces themselves there are no side-effects to smoking, it’s ignorant to believe. Sure it varies with each individual, with the amount and consistency of use, including when and why you use it. Most obviously, unfortunately, you can become less inspired. It’s similar to when one has too much sex, or masturbates too often – as if they can’t figure out how to capitalize on their energy, so they release it, so they can be in a relaxed state. There are deeper connections with sexuality and pot, which helps explain why more men regularly use, and rely upon it, then women.

* * * * *

I smoke my weed, I love my weed, I eat my weed, it’s Sickening
I smoke my weed, I love my weed, I sleep with my weed, it’s Sickening
— “It’s Sickening” by Classified

We have all heard the studies, opinions, diatribes from both sides of the legalization debate, discussing whether or not pot is addictive (marijuana being illegal simply indicative of a government’s arrogant, controlling nature). Whatever. Doesn’t really matter. Call it what you will, users may deny addiction but certainly feel the need to partake in their daily dose. I’ve never heard the (above quoted) song, but even if there are some women who relate to pot this way – odds are, 99% of the time, this is the mentality of a man and his relationship with weed, not a woman talking about hers. Of course there are better writings than a chorus to express the depth of the desire, like these excerpts from “Ganja” from Deep Spirit & Great Heart: Living in Marijuana Consciousness:

June 9, 1993

My wings take me a place where the sky is green and the earth is blue. Naked women appear before me, holding thorn apples in their left hands, marijuana buds in their right hands, speaking words of truth and passion whether I be on earth or in heaven, and radiating bliss from their musk scented thighs.

June 14, 1993

You do not know me, but I am your lover. Take this message to yourself. You, being space, are female, and I, being time, am male, and you and I are everywhere. No matter where I walk, the path leads to you, where the Light of Light resides in the shrine of your heart, emitting illumination to all of creation, and showering me with the bliss to be found in joy and happiness.

December 2, 1993

Closing my eyes, I see myself sitting beside a pond with water lilies and blue green algae floating on its surface. I ask for help to make it through life’s journey, and she takes my hand. I weep, and she comes to my side. I listen for singing, and she fills my ears with the lilting sounds of her voice. I pine for love, and she takes me within her. I wish to return to the body in which I was born, and she leads me beyond time into eternity.

Though the symbolism is up to interpretation, and from what I understand these are from a dying man who was dosing medicinally, still, in these marijuana meanderings the connecting with the female is quite prominent. This plant, which ironically reproduces sexually, seems immersed with a sexual mood and a history in sexual culture.

* * * * *

Folk medicines in 19th century Serbia relied on cannabis preparations, which they called nasha. Female virgins were given mixtures of lamb’s fat and cannabis on their wedding nights, to decrease the pain of their first intercourse. Such use echoes modern practices in India, where newlyweds drink bhang beverages and eat bhang candy. Indian prostitutes are reported to eat lots of bhang sherbet, which helps them feel sexually aroused even when their customers are fat, ugly and stupid. -Cannabis Culture

enjoy sex marijuana

Guys are oft eager to share their pot with girls, because it offers an “in”, so to speak. A girl slightly high might find herself a little less able to control her faculties, and there is a chance she might be more “amenable”. Certainly, some women want that experience, because they feel more able to let go when they are a little drunk or stoned. And sensitivities are heightened to the point greater pleasure and intimacy seems to be achieved — but there are the down sides.

In an article regarding sex and drugs on the informational web site About.com, it gives some Western facts and figures on the subject:

* In a study, 75 percent of men said that marijuana increased sexual pleasure and satisfaction, 68 percent reported that it enhanced their orgasm, and 39 percent found that it increased the duration of intercourse.

* Women are even more likely than men to report enhanced sexual desire with marijuana use. In one study, 90 percent of women reported that marijuana increased feelings of sexual pleasure and satisfaction to varying degrees, and 40 percent of women reported that marijuana increased the quality of their orgasm.

The Bottom Line: While we don’t know why marijuana has positive effects on sexual satisfaction in men and women, research and anecdotal evidence consistently show that in small doses, there are perceived positive effects.

Then we see, with increased intake, over a greater period of time, results from the studies change dramatically.

Using marijuana more regularly or habitually is related in men to increased risk of erectile dysfunction, and in men and women it may be linked to overall reduced interest in sex. Marijuana, in higher doses, has detrimental effects on fertility and even in smaller doses can have negative impacts during pregnancy for the fetus. Also, because sex is more than just a physiological process, drugs may impact your psychological and social experience of sex in unpredictable ways.

weeds mary louise parker

Sexually, marijuana interferes with sex hormones, cuts testosterone levels, and depletes the ability to produce healthy sperm. And while it may make one feel hornier at the onset, unfortunately this is actually a sign one’s sexual essence is being exhausted (though less so for those who practice tantric sex). Those who habitually use become drained, as they are tapping into -and releasing- their life force (and combined with sex, ultimately draining it even more). At the same time, the act of sex becomes, in part, an effort to tap into the source of their partner’s life force.

* * * * *

The “it’s all good” mentality of a smoker might keep them from ever pondering possible consequences. Smoking da herb – it’s all good. Even the obvious negative effects of the smoke itself is often defended. For the surfer, especially when paddling out on a good-sized day, we require all the lung-power we can muster. In those scenarios -cardio interspersed with a need to hold one’s breath underwater- the rolled joint verses the vaporizer is no longer a question: the vaporizer, which produces less smoke, is a much better choice! Still, no matter how you inhale, there are risks.

Scientists have identified more than 150 chemicals in marijuana smoke and tar. Marijuana smoke contains cancer-causing chemicals such as benzopyrene, which occur 70 percent more in marijuana smoke than in tobacco smoke. Examinations of human lung tissue exposed to continuous marijuana smoke in laboratory testing show precancerous cellular change. In laboratory tests, the tars from marijuana smoke produce tumors when applied to animal skin. These studies suggest that prolonged marijuana use causes cancer. Through studies like these, scientists have learned that exposure to marijuana smoke interferes with the work of white blood cells. White blood cells in lung tissue remove debris from the lungs. When exposed to marijuana smoke, these cells cannot remove bacteria and other debris. Smoking marijuana significantly reduces lung functions. -Narcanon

But that’s a Narcanon perspective – seems you can always find “studies”, or at least theories, to prove the opposite. So I asked my acupuncturist his opinions about pot… though he has a personal preference that differs from the traditional Chinese applications, he explains:

Pot is an oil-based toxin. The liver deals with any oil-based toxins. It seems to raise blood pressure on a lot of people – I think due to the vascular constriction caused by almost any smoke. Most people in Chinese medicine are down on smoking pot. I have my permit for my back pain, and I enjoy it, and it doesn’t seem to cause me any problems that I notice. We use the hemp seeds in Chinese medicine mainly for constipation.

Actually, I got a more classic rendition via this comment from a practitioner, found on a TCM forum online, regarding the harmful effects of any smoke entering the lungs:

When hot smoke is inhaled it instantly starts to affect the lung qi and yin. At the same time the liver becomes stagnant over time because of the overload of toxins. These are the first organs to become affected by smoking herb. As time goes on, that damage to the lung qi begins to reach the spleen qi, weakening the body’s defenses and digestive capabilities, and the heat from the smoke doesn’t only damage the lung yin, but also begins to affect the kidney yin. This is evident in some chronic (no pun intended) smokers who suddenly wake up with night sweats.

I’ve tried to explain to male users -especially those who are already on their way to considering the Kelly Slater buzz cut- that adding fire into their the body might not be the best idea. The excess heat rises -as heat is apt to do- exiting through the top of the head, frying not just the brain cells but singing the hair follicles (adding more heat via smoke is also a concern for “hot-heads”, alcoholics, fire-signs, those prone to shingles or eczema, and anyone who challenges their liver daily). While DNA plays the overwhelming role in baldness, there are certainly ways and means to speed up the process.

* * * * *

Every drug has its own nature. It has a unique set of properties that can be described by a very specific curve of benefits and drawbacks. Marijuana’s benefit curve, whether you take it by prescription or otherwise, will at first seem to give you more than it takes. Over time, though, this curve reverses, and it will begin to take more than it gives you. If you’re addicted to marijuana during its taking phase, your high will get weirder and emptier every time you take it. It will also take you longer and longer to recover from it. psychedelic marijuana leafThat’s part of the process of developing tolerance for marijuana. It’s also when long-term damage begins. Your Kidney System is responsible for your long-term health. By the time marijuana affects the level of your Kidney System, it is altering the course of your life in a serious way. – “The Physical Effects of Marijuana, from the Perspective of TCM”

Sure, a little toke now and again, could inspire a new vision or perspective. Unfortunately, the one thing that seems consistent with habitual drug users, is the ability to live in some sense of denial. Whether it be denial that they are overdoing it (that they “don’t smoke that much”…at least compared to their friends), that there are any ill-effects (to themselves or those around them), or that their drug of choice is often used as a means to smooth over the rough edges and assist in avoiding the things in life that they don’t want to deal with. They may lose quality attributes, like unconsciously covering up behaviors and actions with an innate proficiency in rewriting reality to suit their needs. If you are the sober one, speaking to the marijuana smoker (male or female) about serious concerns, it becomes difficult to relate. What once seemed a heightened awareness, superhuman powers of creative insight, and a deeper connection to the spiritual and unknown, often slowly manifests into a dulled impotence, and a loss of connection and motivation to excel to one’s potential. As with anything, there are exceptions, like the strong constitution / spiritually advanced / high IQ types who are actively pursuing knowledge. Still, constant efforts must be made to keep the body/mind in balance. Typically the end-game result is a weakening of the kidneys, mental acuity is diminished, communication becoming garbled. The user may find their a little too burnt out to deal with their loved ones fully and completely.

When marijuana’s beginning to claim your Kidney System you’ll experience a loss of memory. This often takes the form of impaired or reduced short-term memory, and impaired or reduced comprehension of what’s happening in your world. You’ll also lose your ability to listen effectively. Marijuana can so damage your learning and attention skills over time that you may wind up with no ability to get back from the place it’s taken you to.

When marijuana first begins to burn up your Kidney Yin it will make things seem hysterically funny to you. As your Kidney Yin gets more depleted, the funniness will end and paranoia will begin. Depending on your constitution, your burning Kidney Yin may leave you feeling speedy or sleepy.

When marijuana is affecting your Kidney System on a more profound level things seem like they’re happening in slow motion. Time seems to go on forever. What’s really happening is your perceptions are moving very fast. This is when marijuana is burning up your Jing Sexual Essence. When marijuana’s Toxic Heat spends your energy and deep Yin Fluids at this level it creates very substantial damage to your long-term health and wellbeing.

…The Chinese medical classics state that Jing Sexual Essence, Qi and Blood are the physical foundations of your mind and Spirit. Traditional Chinese Medicine views the body as if it’s an amazingly intricate alchemical cauldron. This cauldron distills the substances you eat and breathe into concentrated subtle essences. Your body continually refines these essences into higher qualities of matter and energy. Your physiology then uses them to support its different functions. Jing is the highest level of physical refinement in this system….a storehouse for your life potential…your reserves. Itmarijuana addition determines the quality of your life experience and possibly even the length of your life as well. You may be trading a portion of your life potential for your relationship with marijuana. – “The Physical Effects of Marijuana, from the Perspective of TCM”

* * * * *

So back to the initial concept, of the man and his love marijuana. All I’m saying girls, is that you may want to think twice when deciding to be with a guy who makes smoking a regular part of his life. At least keep in mind the reoccurring themes that may continually come into play, including that he is: already immersed in another serious “relationship”, exhausting his energy (you may get the leftovers), often exposing to the world a mellow personality but may find himself prone to “snapping”, unable to deal emotionally, unable to recall conversations, and otherwise may only be partially available for another person. If you decide to make an intimate connection with this guy, you might as well do it fully aware of the situation, that Ms. Sativa is a controlling woman, and will only let you into the manage a tois on her terms. Ultimately it seems, in order for the relationship to work, if your man is a dedicated smoker, you must also make a commitment to her. Otherwise you may find you’re having an affair with a man who is already committed to another woman.

Perhaps it’s better summed up in the article “Marijuana and Sex: A Classic Combination on the web site Cannabis.com, where an anthropologist notes the philosophy of cannabis religions on the metaphysical potential of the female cannabis plant:

Cultures with sacred cannabis use tend to be cultures which recognize the ‘goddess’. That could mean mother earth, yin, or female beauty and virtues. People who bring marijuana inside themselves are engaging in a type of sexual union with the plant. It is a very sexual act to have a molecule of THC implant itself into your brain.

Since cannabis is associated with female deities like Kali, we could say that when you use marijuana sexually, you are bringing a very special ‘woman’ into your bed. Make sure you’re ready for that relationship!

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Thought this an interesting way to advertise health insurance to those who surf; direct-marketed to me on MySpace. So I curiously clicked, and found the Platinum Kaiser Plan is just $195.00 a month (!), for an average Hawaii surfer, who might like swimming with sharks (I’m assuming the sharks in the ocean, not the sharks in the medical insurance industry).

Health Insurance for Surfers

annual death causes

Actually, it is the same story for many shark attack victims – if they’re lucky they deal with a deductible, but a large number who have no coverage are ill-prepared to experience the second stage of the feeding frenzy: bill collectors coming after them for hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses. The helicopter ride alone can cost nearly $10,000 (depending on location/remoteness and many plans do not cover medical evacuations). And typical policies don’t often cover needed prosthetics either (a cause Bethany Hamilton has championed – and a bill mandating coverage is nearing passage). It doesn’t have to be a shark attack obviously, surfers get themselves in many other predicaments: from reef to the head to close encounters with a donkey on a longboard. And we need efficient, specific surfer coverage, because it’s not like a car accident – there is no personal info exchanged at the scene, no 1-800 numbers to call. When you’re injured surfing and you’re out for a week, a month, a year -your fault or no-fault- even if you have regular medical insurance it won’t pay the rest of your bills!

So, for the living in the moment surfer, is it worth it to be cautious and protected?

At the very least you want some form of emergency or “catastrophic coverage – which doesn’t include regular doctor visits -or has a huge deductible- but does include major hospital and medical expenses. And if you’re on a surf-safari, especially to a foreign country (for that trip you’re taking this hurricane season to Indo or the Mentawais), it’s worth the peace of mind to get yourself some traveler’s insurance (yes, even on top of your medical – as many insurance companies won’t cover you abroad, and don’t include all the things that can go wrong when traveling). Even many pro-surfers neglect the obvious – and they’re regularly touring around the world, continuously introducing themselves to lovely new forms of bacteria their bodies are not used to. For example, sweet-styley goofy-foot pro Ryan Carlson had to learn the hard way via some staph courtesy of a Puerto Rican sea urchin… and the sh*t-load of bills that came with it.

You’d think pros could afford top-notch health insurance (or perhaps some surfing association would cover them), but unless you’re in the tippy-top rung, often you’re only scoring free gear and some spattering of contest money. Luckily -at least for those well-known in the sport- they seem to be able to rely on the compassion of other surfers, who help out with benefits, surf contests, and other fund-raising efforts. But us regular Joes, usually there’s no big benefit concert waiting for us when we get home from the hospital.

And though many surfers are actually functional citizens, there are a few, ehem, beach bums out there. Those who would opt to spend their last buck on a bar of surf wax before buying a box of band-aids. Many surfers, and athletes in general, rely on the fact that they are decently healthy and fit – yet that doesn’t necessarily protect you from unforeseen. Aussie surfer Richie Lovett had insurance – but with limits (read that fine print), which left him with over $200,000 in bills. Many surfers, like four-time cancer survivor and pro Dean Randazzo, have discovered this the hard way. He started the Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation to help surfers with or without medical insurance who have to deal with cancer and its side effects – it’s hard to focus on your fight for survival while the bills are mounting up.

It’s not just skin cancers, suffered by pro Rowen Barrett and pro-mom Jeannie Chesser- we see many with rare bone cancers as well. The skin cancers seem obvious and common side-effects; surfers feel impervious. It’s almost as if they have to – it’s not like they can stay out of the sun while enjoying the sport (and for some reason many wrongly believe their sunscreen lasts more than an hour without reapplying!). For those who get cancer that causes pain in the hip, leg or, like Jason Bogle, their back, often they don’t get it checked out right away, as our mind opts to associate it with some past surf injury, over-exertion, or the joys of trying to bust the moves while getting a lil’ bit older. And since early detection is essential – that’s not a good thing.

Though the medical insurance list of “injuries people are at risk for” includes drowning and shark attacks, it doesn’t include what may be much more of a hazard for surfers, and that is polluted water. Sure, us surfers like to think of our sport as cleansing -and spiritually it always is- but in reality, physically, it really depends on the spot we surf. Often surf breaks occur in run-off zones laden with fertilizers, pesticides, sewage, and all the bacteria the environmental imbalances create, which obviously puts more than 1 in 64,453 -or a yearly total of 64- surfers at risk. If a company were to offer an efficient insurance plan that was specifically designed for surfers, it would have to be a complete package which would include the wide-range of factors surfers contend with every day we go out in the water, wherever we decide to safari. Though there are some companies in Australia and Britain that seem to better understand the coverage needs of the sports enthusiast, for now America is laggin’ behind.

If the life experiences of the surfers who came before us can be a lesson, don’t leave it up to fate. If you surf enough, if you take chances (if the people surfing around you take chances), you’re eventually going to get injured. Surfers consider it part of ‘paying your dues’. Hopefully you’re not faced with a major accident or illness, but if so, the bedridden dreams of getting back into the waves may inspire you to recover in record time, better than you were before. Odds are you won’t need insurance if “the big one bites” but chances are you may find yourself in a situation where you’ll be absolutely stoked you’re covered.

* * * * *

Since plans vary depending depending upon individual needs, age, location…you need to search out what is best for you. Here are a few added links to possibly help – plus some that include alternative therapies. If you are a student there are additional options you should research.:

• If you are a regular surfer in the UK you should consider membership in the BPSA, full membership at 20 pounds a year includes Personal Accident Insurance +£5,000,000 Public Liability Insurance.

• American Specialty Medical Networks My Life Plan Alternative Care Discounts for those with Blue Shield of California

Blue Cross – types of coverage (includes options for international travel) The Blue Cross Health Care Bank a reader mentioned in the comments section.

USA Health Insurance, ehealth insurance, insure me – brokers give you multiple quotes (not available in all states).

International Health Insurance (out of U.S.)

Alternative Insurance (Health Care broker for Cali and Il.) – includes discount card for alternative medicine tratment and services from participating practitioners..

• Check out Benefits Check-up to see if you qualify for benefits in your state.

[Note: if you have a favorite alternative care practitioner, ask what insurance they accept, and then look into those.

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tsunami surge hawaii island

Every so often, when a tsunami warning or incident occurs, talk ensues about the history and potential calamities of the next tsunami to hit the Hawai’i Islands. One of the quandries debated among the surfing community is what one should do if a tsunami takes place while out in the water (only people who do not surf -and usually into superhero fantasies- imagine the “wave” as potentially “surfable”). While the impetus generating these natural disasters often occurs at a great enough distance to where there is a few hours warning time (and at least here sirens around the islands would give proper notice), some tsunami that are generated locally could hit within a matter of minutes, leaving little time to react.

While working on an article for another “publication”, I decided to slide the question in to Dr. Stuart Weinstein, Asst. Director at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center located on Oahu:

If a surfer is out in the water and the tide starts sucking out, should they paddle out to sea, or inland and hope to make it to high ground in time?

Dr. Stuart’s reply: “I don’t know if there is an expert answer to this, and the question hasn’t been put to me before. For a destructive tsunami that produces a strong draw-down, you might well exhaust yourself paddling against the draw-down to get back to “dry” land. Even if you were successful in getting out of the water, you would then have to traverse the newly expose muddy sea-floor as quickly as possible. You have maybe 20 minutes to complete this, sometimes more, sometimes less. The alternative, going out to sea, isn’t more attractive in my opinion. If you don’t get out to sea far enough, the tsunami that comes following the draw down will simply carry you with it; in this case your chances are not very good either. If you’re fairly close to the coast when the draw-down starts your best bet is to head to shore. Other than that, it seems there are no good options here.”

Well, I always imagined paddling towards deep water was the best bet (besides incited chompin’ sharks occasionally invading the imagery). At least it seemed the more romantic option — perhaps influenced by my fave tsunami story, of the school teacher from Laupahoehoe who got carried out to sea by that 1960 tsunami and was rescued via boat by her future husband… but there you go.

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tudou logo 2

our pick for best streaming tv and movies sites… with links… but you must read on…

When I was growing up, unless by accident, emergency or there were no other options, we never bought anything made in China, Taiwan, etc. My father had his rules, and besides not getting our ears pierced for fear of getting kicked out of the house, we were smart not to break them (mom, sis and I broke the ear piercing one so he couldn’t kick us all out…). But you know, the righteous, moral, core value rules…at least we tried as a family to adhere to those. He wasn’t racist, it was that fascist regimes, dictatorships, child labor, slave labor, sweat shops, and the destruction of the entire American manufacturing industry were important issues to consider before making a purchase. By buying these products, you were supporting: the government that allowed such practices, the businessmen who profited at other’s expense, the lose of people’s jobs, the suffering of many…. It was considerably different than walking into Wal*Mart and filling up a basket. We had to check every label – meaning there would have been next to nothing we could have been able to buy at most of those corporate chains.beijing olympic symbol

But right now, I have to admit, I’m totally addicted to something from China. Surely it’s less of a moral issue, than boycotting the Beijing Olympics because of Sudan or Tibet (my heart is with you). I’m simply clicking on a web site… no money is exchanging hands… is that so wrong?

Okay, maybe it’s a little more than that, I am in love. And look, I don’t throw the term around willy-nilly (well, only so much as a school-girl does). And I didn’t realize my love until two days ago when I couldn’t connect with…him. He was out, at the doctors, getting maintenance I suppose, but I was on the Season Two finale of “Life On Mars” and jonesing! I had to cheat on him with TV-Okay. But he’s back now, and he excused my dalliances. I don’t understand his foreign tongue, the strange symbols. I have to pretend I can read Chinese, so we can communicate. Daddy, you’ll like him, his name is TUDOU.

First I’ll mention, I have never had cable in my life. Okay, wait, think we had Showtime for one year when I was a kid. Back then, ehem, you purchased each cable station individually, and there were only a few. But since then, every cable show I have watched is because I was visiting someone and they had the TV on, or later when I would housesit or petsit for someone with a television. I gave up on TV, or at least having one in my home, after becoming obsessed with Twin Peaks when I was young. I realized it controlled me, having to be home to watch, a certain day, certain hour (no Tivo back then, just fuzzy VHS recordings). Sure, it didn’t stop us from doing our 90210 one-off The I Hate Brenda Newsletter and on occasion I’d borrow a TV for specific reasons (LA riots, sanity, business purposes, or to watch network shows my friends created or wrote for or appeared on…).old ad how television benefits children

But me and TV’s – they don’t seem to allow one to accomplish as much when they are perpetually playing in the background, as they seem to end up, brainwashing with low-IQ information and vibes. I prefer a player with no regular television source attached, or better yet something that could play whatever my heart desired, on demand, whether it be movie, tv show, anime…. My multi-tasking-self likes viewing it on my Mac, ’cause I can do some of the more mundane research, writing, design work, emailing while it’s playing in a box in the corner. On top of that — American commercials suck! And you always end up watching repeats. Or god-forbid a sitcom (though Christina Applegate’s new one is cute!). Waiting ’til next week cliffhangers are a bore – when you can watch the whole season in a row! I don’t wanna deal with picking up or dropping off at the post office my Netflix. Or the dregs of downloading off Limewire (unless it’s to watch later when one is no longer online – though with most streaming sites you can let the stream load, keep the window open, and watch later without using up precious hard drive space). Considering these scenarios, it’s just sooo easy to get addicted to free streaming video – the immediate satisfaction kine love I’m talking about!

It’s been hard though, as the crack down on streaming sites has been intense. Just as you get comfortable, just as the relationship seems secure, its suddenly taken away from you; love shut down in its prime. They must start these up in various parts of the world with hacky pros creating complicated maneuvers to keep the powers-that-be from discovering the source. But Tudou, it’s from China… they seem to be able to get away with… just about anything!

Never heard of Tudou? Or perhaps you’ve stumbled upon it in your searches? Well, the scoop:

Tudou, Romanized Chinese for the word “Potato” – guess as in “couch”, was started in 2005. It’s the largest video sharing website in China. Take YouTube and then x’s it by 5 and that’s how many billions of minutes of video are up there (Tudou came out just before YouTube did). There aren’t the same length restrictions either. Also, the videos are streamed quickly; if your connection is good you are watching without waiting – not DivX quality but fine.

You need to play around with it in order to find your show, the searches work for shows in English because they maintain the English title, but from there you gotta get logical about the buttons you click. I’ll help get you started. (As far as technical requirements, it plays on my MacBook without any downloads…but check the wiki if you are having problems with your PC).Project Free TV

The trick I found to finding many shows -and then playing the whole season in order- is by finding registered users who upload things I enjoy watching. So if I do a search for a certain show, instead of just clicking the link, I look at who is supplying it, check their home page, and snoop out some of their other offerings. The best will give you the whole series in order in a scrollbar format and they play one after the other. So you can watch from season one, episode one through the last show of the season (sometimes two seasons), in a continuous playback. (Two tips: If you’re in the middle of streaming a show, don’t disconnect until the whole thing has streamed to your machine; otherwise you’ll have to start from the beginning the next time, and sometimes after you’ve streamed it part way it won’t let you reload from the same source).

Best of video (movie/TV) streaming sites to check out:

Tudou YoukuTV OkayTV Links66 StageVeoh (need player, avoid “clips only” / previews)Link ReelShareTVShow LinksTUProject Free TVVideosticHuluJooxJust VidsTV LifeSurfTheChannelMegavideoWatch TV SitcomsKumfumble
UPDATE: One of my new fave sites is SIDEREEL – they include sweet selection of available links (note the link tab once you click on the show or movie’s main page in order to access) and are well organized and updated regularly; often new episodes posted the morning after they air. Check ‘em out.
Will update as they come and go, so if you have any to add, let us know! Note: some link to different source sites [often Tudou or Youku -which is also from China], stating that they don’t “host any videos” to avoid legalities; a few require players; some show 5 minute previews so check the number of play minutes and avoid! Might also want to avoid the sexy-time links. Certain sites require you to register – but I tried not to list many of those. Also note, most “just released” flicks are likely video’d in the theater!
• • • • •

To get you started on Tudou, my fave uploader’s home pages:

Lucy (Britishy/Classics)
• • • • •
Sometimes it’s easiest to go to the source – certain channels have their own players where they’ll show you the last few episodes – or for shows like “Lost” complete seasons. Only ABC’s player is any good (though it’s been crashing Firefox lately) but it seems the others have tried to make improvements. (Actually, now that I mentioned it, almost all players run better with Firefox, so you’ll want to access through that web browser.)
ABCCBSNBCMTV USA Network
• • • • •

And, just cause I luv U too, a few faves to catch up on – with easy direct links:life on mars

Life On Mars: My absolutely new favorite (okay, it’s a couple years old; 1/2006 – 4/2007) Time travel / mental breakdown / coma hallucination cop show. It’s so brilliant that I hate David Kelly for even thinking about remaking the dumbed-down American version. Just let it be!!!! Thankfully the British stars declined to participate! (Though a movie version is a possibility… I wouldn’t mind that. But what would it do to the ambiguous ending?!?). I love the actors/characters, dynamic relationships, the intensity, the spit-quick dialogue, the questioned reality. Makes you realize how brain activity is more mainstream for the populous elsewhere in the world. I like morphed analogies, but, hmm, Barney Miller plus Trainspotting plus Fight Club mixed with some ’70s English glam rock…. or not. Friggin’ hot soundtrack! (p.s. just read on wiki a Spanish TV bought the rights for it and will remake the show and base the first season five year later in 1978 post-Franco Spain….huh? • Oh, and Ashes to Ashes… you decide if the sequel should have been done. Personally, I dislike the repeated “wink wink” jokes referencing LOM – and hard to keep up the pace and freshness of the original – but there are a few moments. Main factor for it being done at all, and in this I assume we can agree, is we all want to keep on watching Glenister.

madmenMad Men: As in “ad men” (as in advertising) based in the ’60s. This show irritated me at first, hard to watch what women had to go through in this weird not-that-long-ago world…. This is the email review I wrote my friend who recommended Mad Men to me, if I can be so ridiculous as to quote myself: “Reminds me of the cavemen that live here. Shows so well male species teetering on the edge of control and the facade required to maintain it. Despite the things I love and hate about it… absolutely brilliant.” (Created in 2000 by Sopranos writer Matthew Weiner -before he worked on Sopranos, but pitching it was how he landed the gig- first aired July 2007. Season 2 coming Summer 2008). Season two streaming link here!

Nip/Tuck: I think it was my sister or my friend Pyne who said every other season of this show is good. Whatever it is, Season 5 sucked and I’d recommend avoiding itnip/tuck because it pulled what was an overall five star rating down a star. I avoided watching this show for so long, because of misconceived notions and avoidance of visual gore (for the sake of)… but got easily addicted and watched through all five seasons in two weeks (caution: you start dreaming theme music when you do this – also loved ones may be annoyed with your obsession.).

Hustle: British comedy started in 2004 – by third season AMC had a major stake in it. Exciting long-con plottings, fun characters, twisting stories, etc. (Conceived by Life On Mars writers; couple of the same actors make appearances and Glenister’s bro has a leading role).

Other shows to catch up on: Men In Trees (sorry, I’m a woman, this sappy shit [ha, sappy!] is in the genes — better than what Sex and the City devotees are expected to move on to… Lipstick Jungle [not quite Candace!] and Cashmere Mafia - don’t thInk sooo [tho Ms. Lucy Lu, u always rock!]), Freaks and Geeks (classic, good for repeats), the Tudors, Rescue Me, The Closer, Damages, Weeds, Rome…..


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wifi hotspotSo, Starbucks made their splashy announcement that they’re ditching T-Mobile for AT&T and by this Spring (a little later for Hawaii) will offer two hours of free internet with a purchase of $3.99 or more. As cutting edge as they were by taking that Seattle gourmet coffee habit and spreading the addiction to a world ready and willing to spend 2-3 times what they used to on a cuppa joe, this company had been a little slow on the draw when it came to certain aspects of running business in the modern world. Most every coffee shop, at least in major cities, knows a good coffee buzz and net surfing go together and therefor don’t make it difficult for customers to grab their coffee and check their email at the same time. Yes, quality coffee is a priority, but free internet and a nice atmosphere (with adequate electrical outlets and comfy seats) to inspire one’s next great blog post is equally important.

It’s a different sort of aminal when it comes to small towns. There are less options, less competition, and it’s filled with imprudent owners who think it wise to nickle-and-dime potentially faithful clientele for an internet connection as a means to bolster profits. So, on the Big Island for example, with limited locations, you see the places that are evolved enough to offer free WiFi (or WiFi with purchase) are typically busy all day long.starbucks paper cups

The thing that irks me about Starbucks, is that while they take a few steps forward with this internet plan, they’re taking a few steps back in the way in which they are implementing it. See, the new deal goes: You must purchase one of their plastic Starbucks store cards with a $5 minimum on it in order to qualify for access! The idea is that you will buy the card, pay for your $2-4 coffee, and then proceed to lose the card or throw it in a drawer with some money still on it – free profit for them. And though it is “recyclable” in the sense that you can certainly reload the card, the majority of people will never use it again, and instead will ask for a new one the next time they go in.

Hey, on an island, we don’t need any more unnecessary waste in our landfills; toxins seeping into our groundwater and ocean. Starbucks should give an internet code on any receipt of $3.99 or more and leave it at that (since they still automatically print receipts). Starbucks makes enough starbucksmoney – $2.8 billion first quarter fiscal 2008 seems decent – while strangely, their many-paged investor relations release never once mentions the environmental concerns of doing business.

Don’t get me wrong, Starbucks has made efforts to be eco-friendly, but activists had to work long and hard to get them to pay attention to the importance of purchasing Fair Trade, for example. And while the company now goes over-board to publicize their efforts, it’s still a limited portion of their coffee sold (ask for a cup of Fair Trade next time you go in there, they’ll likely have to French Press you up one special). As far as recycling goes, they’ve been equally slow. On the plus side, they recycle their cardboards, repack grounds for garden fertilizer, and made the eco-gesture of using 10% recycled paper in their cups. But they utilize 2.3 billion paper cups annually, and their cups are still not recyclable. As the world leaders, claiming awareness to the cause, they should set the highest standards. Sure, perhaps the expense could be a hit on their billions, but how is it these smaller coffee shops are willing and able to take on the challenge?

Fact of the matter is, whenever there is an option available, conscious customers (especially those of the green generation) will opt for the small local coffee shops. The good ones now all use compostable non-petroleum lined paper cups, fair-trade / organic local coffee, and offer internet with no plastic cards or limits. Not to be too negative, because where there are meager options, as is the case on much of the Big Island, it’s a good thing that Starbucks will now offer more than an indulgent soy mocha for my five bucks (and since I’m staying to connect, I’ll ask for it in a ceramic mug). Now I can get some work done and not worry that AWS (Hawai’i Island’s kinda pricey wireless service) is coming in sketchy. Or that I’ll ever again get suckered into paying for T-Mobile (any company, á la AOL, that makes it very difficult to figure out how to cancel your monthly subscription is not one to support! We’ll have to see how AT&T, typically incompetent with their accounting, does with the service). Because one thing about corporate Starbucks that is nice, besides getting the same tasting cup you’re expecting, no matter which store you go to, is that most have a cozy indoor space, where you can plug in and hang out as long as you like. …Especially important when the Hilo rain is all-time!

Note: T-mobile internet subscribers, Starbucks’ employees, and likely iPhone users and customers who are already paying AT&T internet access fees will get unlimited free service. • Though I heard the free two hours has already gone into effect some spots on the mainland…it’s always a little slower here. Let’s just say, staff at Borders’ Starbucks in Hilo only first heard about it this morning and they were just planning a meeting about the switch-over… in Hawai’i time…. (three weeks later the whole morning staff at the downtown Hilo Starbucks said they never heard of the internet switchover).

* * * * *

wifi logo

Hawai’i Island HotSpots

As a guide for locals who like to get outta the house to work, those who can’t afford DSL at home, and tourists who regularly post on chat rooms asking where they will be able to connect while visiting the Big Isle, here’s a list, of coffeehouses and beyond, where you can experience some free “coconut wireless” – including Starbucks locations ($ = purchase / passwords involved). If there are any spots we’ve left out or ones that no longer work – please let us know, as we will continually update as needed. Hope this helps… ’til the whole world is a free WiFi hotspot.

bot.com internet cafe

Hilo

Bot.com Café (180 Kinoole St, 808/933-9800) The new best place for chillin’ and getting some work done (or not getting some work done). Robots, zombies, Buffy, music, movies, espresso, fresh food and if you’ve got a laptop, log in for WiFi all day long if you like, for a simple $3 purchase (use their computers for $6 an hour). p.s. watch the 2hr parking limit on Kinoole – guess Hilo is trying to score on implementing their enforcement lately – Haile has an 8hr limit. (10am – 10pm, Tues.-Sat) $

***JUST ADDED*** Cafe Pesto (308 Kamehameha Ave Ste 101, 808/969-6640) Usually tasty food (tho somewhat inconsistent), good pizza, tourist pricey – and Hilo locals like it cause there are a limited number of what one may consider “nice” places to take your significant other out to eat. Saw a Wifi sign in front of their place – and also noticed on Trip Advisor you get a free birthday desert with ID and purchase of an entree. Call for hours.

CD Wizard (23C Pohaku St, 808/969-4800) Just opened their internet cafe – coffee and food coming soon. If you have your own laptop, hook into their WiFi with any purchase – yes, Trevor sez even a bottle of water! $ (Feb 21 update: $3 wifi password -good for one day- for non Wizard Club members, free for Wizard Club members).

Imiloa Astronomy Center Sky Garden Restaurant (600 Imiloa Place, 808/969-9700) Check out the new (primarily NASA-funded) 28 million dollar center, enjoy a state-of-the-art 3D Stereo Planetarium show, immerse yourself in the mesh of Hawai’ian culture and modern astronomy, grab some grub at the restaurant (new owners – espresso, omelettes, Chinese food…), get some work done (7am – 4pm). Yearly membership: $30 / students, $45 / adults (price will increase April ’08)imiloa astronomy center hawaii

KopeKope (Hilo Shopping Center, 1261 Kilauea, 808/933-1221) One of the most-utilized WiFi options for da college crowd besides campus, this place has the best coffee in town (with a mix of friendly and not-so-much service). Avoid the eggs (microwaved) and smoothies (syrup) but otherwise pretty good food too (waffles with fruit on the weekend). Entertainment provided, if you want to take a break from homework. The internet, since they switched to a passcode, gets very buggy, very often! (new owner, again – many are even less happy with him!). $

Naung Mai Thai Kitchen (86 Kilauea Ave, 934-7540 M-Sat 11-9) When you go to Tina’s Garden Snack Club for the Thai Pizza but you realize it’s Monday and they are closed…you’re so happy to see Naung Mai’s (right next door) is open. Thing is, when it comes to healthy Thai Food, Tina’s is the best, but Naung Mai is also super fresh, not too oily, (no MSG) and delicious. If you go for dinner best to go early, they often only have one over-worked waitress (what’s up with that?). Anyway, what a great spot to get some work done while eating some yum. Just ask them for the passcode (which it seems is always the same). $

Starbucks (438 Kilauea Ave., downtown; 111 E. Puanako St. [Prince Kuhio]; 301 Makaala St [@ Borders]) $ (((note: all the Starbucks listing will go into effect this Spring)))

UH Hilo (200 W. Kawili) This is for students only, but if you have a friend with a password and want to hang out at the library for a change, it’s a good no swell option.

Honoka’a

76 station (Mamane St.) Not sure about this one, but saw it mentioned.

Kailua-Kona

Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (75-5595 Palani Road) In the shopping center across from the Jamba Juice, Coffee Bean has the worst coffee. Okay, maybe it’s just that their chocolate is such garbage, it makes their mochas absolutely bite! You get one hour free internet with a purchase (and you don’t need to buy a card). $

Jamba Juice (Kona Coast Shopping Center, Palani Road, 808/327-6900) In the same shopping center as Starbucks. All access at the outdoor “food court style” eating area – surf the net all day if you want (every once in a while the connection gets buggy, and there’s limited juice in terms of electric.)kona brewing company

Kona Brewing Company (75-5629 Kukini Hwy — parking around back, 808/334-BREW) Limited outlets, but this is a fun spot to hang out. Great sandwiches, pizza, and of course beer… just don’t get too wasted and spill some on your laptop.

Lava Java (75-5799 Ali’i Dr., 808/327-2161) Food is pricey (though yummy), coffee is decent, and they are always packed (sometimes you have to wait a while for your order). Right across from the ocean, great central tourist location, ask for a passcode when ordering. $ – but I think the password is always the same.

Starbucks (75-1022 Henry St. #1 [across from WalMart]; Kona Coast Shopping Center 74-5588 Palani Rd.) $

Kohala (North)

Kohala Coffee Mill (Akoni Pule Hwy, Hawi, 808/889-5577) Pretty decent Kona coffee, good quick food (with some breakfast specials/decent prices), yummy Tropical Dreams ice cream. The Coffee Mill is the local hangout, pre-surf / pre-work buzz, and tourist stop. Cozy atmosphere makes it amenable for all. Plus, no password free wireless – sounds good to me!

Kohala (South)

Starbucks (68-1330 Mauna Lani Dr. in Mauna Lani, King’s Shops Waikaloa) $

Puna

Kalani Honua’s Aloha Café (Kalapana/Kapoho / HWY 137, 808/965-0468) Imagine all-access throughout the property to guests, cafe is open to all, 7pm to 10pm. Used to be able to sit in there even if they weren’t “open” but it’s changed a lot there over the years, so I’m checking in with them. Imagine you can also log in the outdoor dining area, while you’re splurging on a healthy meal.

Waimea / Kamuela

Starbucks (67-1185 Mamalahoa Hwy, 808/887-6409) $

Waimea Coffee Co. (65-1279 Kawaihae Rd. #114) This place is cool, coffee’s quality (select, organic, fresh roasted), yum food, regulars even bring their dog inside while they order. Kinda cozy but cramped during breakfast and lunch, but there are also seats outside.

FYI: I’ve noticed that many schools around the island supply internet access without needing a password. If you’re desperate (or somewhere like Ka’u) & have little option, I’ve connected from playing fields, while enjoying a high school soccer game, for example.

A few WiFi sites/articles for more info:

Directory of Free HotSpots around Hawai’i Island chain
Listing of Free HotSpot Directories around the world (+ become a free HotSpot with FON & others)
WiFi As a Health Hazard?, Wired Magazine
Why…WiFi Is Not Hazardous to Our Health, Microcast
The BioInitiative Report (Public Exposure Standard for ELF)
WiFi Antenna Boosters: Hawkings, Utenna
SF’s attempts for an all-access WiFi city
Public WiFi Use Raises Hacking Risk, USA Today
Essential Wireless Hacking Tools, The Ethical Hacker
Digital WiFi Detectors: DigiWifi, StarTechwifi wrist watch
Great while traveling/on the go (if your phone doesn’t already do it), when you want to see if you can connect but don’t want to have to have your computer open & on to find out. Watches, pens, & (soon) WiFi detector rings – but the kitchy ones only show the signal, not whether or not you will be able to access it.

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Q: Can someone please recommend a good sunblock I can use while I surf that is waterproof and DOESN’T cause breakouts?
A: I use AcneEyeStingSlipperyHands, SPF WashStraightOff, but I’m thinking about changing.

Mexican SunscreenAfter scanning the numerous “comments” sections of varying websites where everyone is asking everyone else what the heck is the best sunscreen out there, the above (actual quote I found) may be one of the more humorous yet right-on answers you get. Because we all know, no matter how good a sunscreen is, you still burn, still have to reapply, still ponder the ingredients, still aren’t sure if what you’re rubbing all over your skin isn’t worse than getting a little bit of sun.

There has been much debate over whether or not the studies that claim there has been an increase in skin cancers since the heavy marketing of sunscreens over the past few decades is a) because the ingredients can cause cancer, or b) because people are staying in the sun longer because they wrongly assume they are protected. And if we are going to waste our money on and time applying all these products, we’d like to think that what we are using actually works!

There are many people out there who love buying product (okay, I don’t as I’m still meandering in a financially… um… transitional phase, but many functional members of society do). And most savvy consumers are forever looking for the next best miracle cure; products to make everything smooth, smelly, shiny, supple, shapely, soft, sexy… (no idea why all these words started with an “S” but had to run with it). Anyway, when it comes to Sunscreens, you can look, shop, research ’til you’re… red in the face… and still never find the perfect skin protection that’s just right for you. Now as a surfer girl with a surfer-kine website (and every surfer needs some protection), we gotta eventually touch on the topic – especially my skewed view.

This three-part piece includes Part One: Skin Care – The Best Natural Sunscreen; Part Two: The Difficult Task of Recommending a Sunscreen; and Part Three: Why Your Sunscreen May Not Work. I believe part one is the most important of the three, so let’s get started.

ADVICE FOR ALL SEASONS

Though this might seem oddly timed as we head into winter, it’s always summer in Hawai’i… and fact is, this is when an even more pale breed of tourist, who likely lives in an area that has four distinct seasons, are enjoying their winter vacations either to the slopes or to areas, like Hawai’i, that are close to the equator (meaning they are in prime condition to burn). And since UV rays can get you anywhere, any time of the year, much of these tips can be utilized in one’s day-to-day lifestyle. We’ll start off real basic…

THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE SOAP

“The skin is the largest organ of our body, therefore it makes sense to feed it with nature’s pure ingredients and not bombard it with chemical preservatives, additives, and artificial ingredients.”

Dr. Bronners Real SoapI copy and pasted that from somewhere – sounds logical. But considering the relatively simple concept, it amazes me what people put on their skin, especially harsh/ perfumey soaps, detergents, creams…. So before we start gobbing on the goop, let’s see where we stand with care of the skin first, as I believe that has much to do with the positive and negative effects sun and sunscreens have on it.

I remember as a kid, mom always bought Dove or Neutrogena brand soap, Phisoderm for the face and Lubriderm skin lotion – all those big brands marketed as being most gentle and of course “doctor recommended” – and how I would spend every night before going to bed itching (well, throw in super-chlorinated water, Tide-kine laundry detergent and fragrant Bounce sheets and you got a nice chemical overload for anyone with dry, sensitive skin. It’s all hard to avoid as the past few generations have been brainwashed via advertising by the chemical corporates that these products are necessary and good for us.). The discovery and availability of eco/healthy alternatives changed the quality of my life to be certain. But a major moment was actually when my friend told me how he never uses soap on his body; I was at first disgusted, then tried it and rarely itched again!

It’s not that I never use soap, but often opt for dry brushing before showering and – girl-kine fun – blend up a few natural body scrubs with varying ingredients like natural oils, shea/mango/cocoa butter, papaya seeds or ground coffee, essential oils… and whatnot). Many natural soaps use pure oils including olive, hemp and coconut as its base; Dr. Bronner‘s included, though the hippies that use it, especially the ones here in Puna, give it a bad rap, leading many to assume it doesn’t work (thought that’s likely because many of these particular “hippies” bathe less often and don’t quite grasp the concept of washing their clothes after each use).

But as far as soaps go, Dr. Bronner’s doesn’t seem to bother my skin. And you can check their web site to get more info on why, especially their amusing video Soap, Drugs, and Rock and Roll, which features the misadventures of one of my fave Ben Is Dead Magazine staff writers and Germs drummer Don Bolles. Don (who never particularly shied away from drug use) was pulled over and arrested for a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s found in his car, which tested positive for the “date rape drug” GHB. (The idea of why someone wouldn’t want GHB in one’s soap was never explained — but it is kinda ironic his punk rock band was called the Germs and he was arrested for having soap) Anyway, in this video, David Bronner, president of the company and Dr. Bronner’s grandson, goes off on how the Police NarcoPouch drug test kit can be used to prove “real soaps” like Bronner’s, Tom’s of Maine, and Pangea come up testing positive, while “detergent soaps” like Dial, Soft Soap, Nature’s Gate “Organics” (all chemical, nothing organic), EO, Kiss My Face, even Jason Organics (“Pure, Natural, Organics” is not pure, natural or organic) have not a molecule of real soap but are actually synthetic petroleum-based detergents - hmmm.

natural soaps 2“Our testing shows that real soaps which are made using the ecological time-honored process of saponification of vegetable oil will always test positive for GHB, while complicated synthetic detergent-based so-called ‘liquid soaps’ test negative,” said David Bronner, with the necessary sense of humor not only regarding the faux-organic labeling being done by questionable companies, but of the police and their psuedo-science which could have easily convicted an innocent person and that despite this fact the Police Department stated they have no intention of changing their testing procedure.

There are some non-soap cleansers that I use and like and are made from all-natural ingredients; it’s just you have to read the labels carefully, because as we see, even buying them from our health food store doesn’tirish spring guarantee they’re “natural” (yes, there are conflicting ideas on the term “natural” as the lack of FDA regulations and people abusing the term, but click link above for logical understanding of terminology).

Besides the weird perfumes used (often even in supposedly “unscented” varieties – re: new Dove formulation), it may be that these chemical “soaps” are giving real “soap” a bad rap. See, detergent-based soaps strip the lipids from the skin. When Hawaiian Bath and Body -located on the North Shore of Oahu in the cute former Waialua Sugar Mill- was asked “What makes your soaps different than those you find in the grocery stores? They answered,

The majority of “soaps” that you find in your local grocery store are actually detergents. Detergents are a group of man-made chemicals that were created for industrial cleaning. Imagine using something that is used to de-grease your dishes or remove stains from your laundry on your skin! Most people use these detergents on their skin everyday without realizing how damaging and harsh this product is for their skin. … Your skin is thrown out of balance every time you use a detergent. Because your skin is out of balance, it frantically tries to replace the sebum that has been stripped away and it also struggles with dehydration because the missing sebum plays a large part in helping your skin retain moisture. The most common problems associated with using detergent-based soaps are overly dry, flaky skin, rashes, itching; or sometimes the skin becomes so imbalanced it can produce too much oil trying to re-balance itself!’

There are also other reasons why most soaps suck. In a piece entitled Chemistry 101: Big Giant Soap Myths Exposed the author give some explanation as to why companies give us bunk soaps and the effects caused by our use of them:

The big retail brands rarely contain soap, and the ones that do usually suck out the naturally occurring glycerine to sell as a by-product to other industries because they can make more money than by just leaving it in, where it draws moisture from the air into your skin. Instead, they use chemicals, foaming agents and petrochemicals, which are the leftovers from the manufacture of gasoline and motor oil…. This is also why the big brands are so cheap…. Look for natural oils because they absorb readily into the skin, unlike petrochemicals which just sit on top of the skin, and leave it either greasy-feeling or dried out. Because they just sit on top of the skin, petrochemicals are also believed to act as a barrier that prevents your skin… from doing its other job aside from protecting and keeping your innards in: eliminating toxins and wastes from the system.

Another question to ask yourself is, are you mistakingly using antibacterial soaps? Maybe you are and don’t know it, as now 76% of liquid and 30% of bar soaps contain anti-bacterials. I know the “fighting evil germs and diseases” campaigning was balls-out but it never seemed like a good idea to me so I always avoided the stuff – relying more on pure soap and lotsa scrubbing. Besides irritating skin, clogging pores, there are other more serious reasons to stay clear, like exposing oneself to harmful chemicals, and by killing our beneficial bacteria leaving us susceptible to the more harmful ones. Some of the other cons to its use can be found in articles like “Anti-Bacterial Equals Anti-Health” on the NatureClean website.

What does this have to do with sunscreen? Okay, be patient, stick with me here. Our first piece to this puzzle is what we are doing to our skin that is causing it to be more susceptible to the sun’s rays, and that is stripping it of its natural oils; leaving the organ with no protective barrier. As far as soaps go, read your labels closely. Though with faux-natural and major brands there is no reason to necessarily trust they list everything that goes in it (as with the broad umbrella terms like “fragrances” or items unlisted because they are considered “trade secrets”), or that you will understand what makes up those strangely-named ingredients. At least try to find those that are less harsh on the skin. (Skin Deep reviews products for toxicity, as does the Green Guide, and Debra’s List links you with environment and health conscious companies). One thing’s for certain, if the soap says “deodorant bar” or “cleansing bar” etc., you can likely be certain it’s not an all-natural product (and an environmental no-no to be using it at your beach shower).

skin care

THE IMPORTANCE OF FACIAL CLEANSING (& WHEN NOT TO!)

As far as facial cleansing goes, there may not only be kinder products, but better methods. Sure we have to wash our face, get the dirt off, but I also think there is a disservice one is doing by always scrubbing/lathering off all the natural oils and replacing them with expensive (often synthetic lotions). While most do it to prevent the effects of aging skin, I believe done too often and at the wrong times of the day it has the opposite results; leaving one more exposed to the elements. People need to shift their focus, from products they buy to protect their skin, to equally supporting the body’s natural efforts to protect one’s skin.

HUMAN SEBUM ROCKS!henna sunblock

So here’s my tip of the day and the impetus for this article: The best moisturizer and sunblock -first and foremost- are the skin’s natural oils! As far as I can tell, after many years in the sun, the best sunscreen I have ever used is the one secreted by my skin. And the best thing one can do to take advantage of them, is to not scrub these oils off one’s skin before going out into the sun! Yes, I am saying do not wash your face -or even your body- before you go surf. Sure, if they could bottle human sebum they would and people would buy it; but hey, it’s free! Human Sebum has an SPF of 6-8! Try it, you’ll like it!

So sitting at the coffee shop, almost done writing this piece, while still searching for the SPF of sebum, which was strangely difficult to find, it thankful led me to this report in the Canada Medical Association Journal by Dr. Ralph Douglas Wilkinson entitled, “The Xerotic Nephrologist” which not only gave me the answer, but supported my completely unscientific theory regarding proper care of the skin before sun exposure:

Homo erectus existed for over a million years using the cool-water, no-soap system. The earth’s general fauna still use this system, which removes sweat without disturbing the waxy barrier. Housing and clothing have afforded us much protection, and our lipid layer has become somewhat expendable. A duck, however, would sink without its waxed feathers. For older people, preteens and people with very dry skin, emollients in the form of oils, lotions or creams may offer some help. If necessary, lotions without potential irritants such as perfumes, dispersants and preservatives can be used. Human sebum has a tendency to oxidize to a brownish hue, much like earwax. It is the “ring around the collar.” Sebum has a sunblock action estimated to be about SPF 6–8. Its removal may lead to cleaner collars, but it leaves the skin at higher risk for sun damage. The sun can cause skin damage on bald spots, which are sebum poor. The incidence of skin cancer on the head and face is high in North America. So is the use of soap and shampoo. Are they causally related? Sun damage in the child may be more severe than in the adult. Is this due in part to the absence of sebum in the pre-adolescent? My advice: wash with cool water, minimize or eliminate the use of soap, and wear a hat!

sebum sweatHe also mentions eccrine sweat and salty/acidic residue on face which, if it occurs after washing when the skin is no longer protected by its waxy barrier, can be very irritating… Yes, you may feel you’re successfully removing the sweat by scrubbing with soap and hot water, but the imbalance is that it can return in seconds, while sebum can take hours. Even hot water alone can cause sebum breakdown – sebum melts at 30°C. And where is a surfer most likely to get burned?: face, neck, shoulders, upper arms, back… all places we soap, scrub, and which receives the most impact from the shower jet.girl in hot bath

When a surfer wakes up in the morning, they should wait to wash their face – and body – with anything more than cool water until after their surf session. At night utilize your light facial cleansers, gentle scrubs, masks. Though Dr. Wilkinson recommends avoiding hot water – especially if you’re experiencing skin problems that could be instigated by over-washing – there are essentials like hot baths, jacuzzi’s and saunas (that are great muscle relaxers for surfers); but keep ‘em natural (no bubbles! no colors!) and enjoy them at night. Also preferably in the evening, an occasional steaming – for oily or dry skin – or a super soft hot washcloth placed on the face feels as sweet as it does at the Japanese restaurant. However you like to cleanse, simply search out and invest in the best quality, most pure, least irritating variety for you (best to avoid the regular grocery store for such a purchase) and make the impetus of the cleansing occur later in the day or when you will not be exposing yourself to the elements. If you must bathe morning or afternoon, replace the natural oil with moisturizers that will best mimic sebum (read on) and avoid the sun for at least a few hours afterwards.

MOISTURIZERS

UmbrellaMy too-sensitive skin -and eyes- can’t handle most popular moisturizers, so I’ll opt for light serums and creams by Zia, John Masters, Pangea, some of the MyChelle Dermaceuticals. I most often mix my own creams or more often “butters”, which usually contain a mix of cocoa, shea, mango. As well, I keep on hand refreshing sprays for the face and body, as it seems to keep one from having to constantly wash the face – especially in humid locales like Hawai’i, which can oft leave you feeling sticky and dirty. They are also nice to cool off with and vital for hydrating the skin during plane travel! Rose Water (Heritage Products is the least expensive -$3 for a 4oz bottle), Caudalie Grape Water (yum! If you’re in Hawaii best to buy it from Sephora while on Oahu because of the bottle design Caudalie can only ship it ground), and finally MyChelle’s Fruit Enzyme Mist “a hydrating, anti-inflammatory, age defying toner with heavy water and phospholipids for all skin types” – whatever, it works. I also try to dab off oils ‘n’ dirt as much as possible; like the beautifully-skinned Asian women, keep those tissue paper blotters handy, instead of washing to curb the shine (in a pinch or on a budget, toilet seat covers work, no really).

BODY CARE AND MOISTURIZINGCaudalie

“Oil instead of soap was used to remove dirt and grime.”

That was one of historical consultant Jonathan Stamp’s factoids displayed in the text embellishments for HBO’s awesome television series Rome (episode entitled “Utica” where Titus Pullo is being bathed) – oooof, I miss that show!

I surprised my friend the other day with coconut oil’s ability to clean the skin – took motor oil off a grease monkey in just a few wipes! It’s simply an amazing cleanser, which (as mentioned previously) is why real soap is based around it, but it’s also one of my favorite “skin creams” for dry legs (no matter that it’s thick and considered “comedogenic” – that’s why you blend it). As well it makes (again blended) a lovely massage oil and, FYI, the most awesome natural lube!

jojobaBesides Argan (which can have a iffy scent) my other fave skin and hair oil is Jojoba (Hawai’i people should get those on the mainland with Trader Joe’s access to ship you a box). Jojoba isn’t actually an oil but a wax. It has great healing qualities including being antibacterial, anti-oxidant, soothing, conditioning. It contains protein, minerals, and a waxy substance that mimics collagen. Unlike most vegetable oils it is chemically similar to human sebum, so it actually penetrates because the skin accepts it as a sebum, while at the same time it will not clog pores. These qualities are great for acne-prone/rosacea type skin, as well as rehab from negative effects of the sun. It works for all skin types: as a matter of fact, if your skin has an over production of sebum it will dissolve clogged pores and restore the skin to its natural PH. There is scientific research proving that “jojoba can increase skin softness by up to 37%, reduces superficial lines and wrinkles up to 25% upon application and up to 11% after 8 hours. (And hey, it’s a lot more cheap, simple and pure than concocted products that’ll make such claims).

Lots of high-end products tout their use of Squalene – derived from olive pits – which may be considered the closest comparable ingredient to human sebum, and with its natural emollients, gives the velvety feel that soothes the skin while replacing the necessary oil. Other oils that act like those naturally produced by the human skin includes: Macadamia Nut, Sweet Almond (similar to baby’s sebum), Sesame Oil, Shea Butter…and most seem to have an SPF of at least 4.

Oh, and in case you want to check your favorite oils, Moose Creek Bath and Body has a good list of the clogging probability of oils and ingredients. Since the term “non-comedogenic” is not regulated by the FDA or any other organization, a cosmetics company can make this claim regardless of proof or substantiation of any kind.

PRODUCTS THAT HELP YOU BURN

Citrus Body ScrubOne thing I’ve noticed in many products is the use of essential oils that are photosensitizing – meaning when applied they make your skin more susceptible or sensitive to the influence of ultraviolet light. Some may wrongly assume this will help them tan faster, similar to lemon on the hair causing it to bleach, but in this case it will only cause burning: reactions ranging from mild reddening to severe sunburn, often followed by hyperpigmentation. The obvious culprits are citrus oils but the list includes: angelica, bergamot, orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, yuzu. Some recommend avoiding the sun when using carrot oil – as in Retinoid and other Vitamin A skin treatments – though because it’s acts as a preservative it is often found in face creams and some sunscreens ironically enough. If you like creams with such active ingredients, use them later in the day or at night. Some products like Proactiv® and dermatologist prescriptions for acne and rosasea can cause more skin problems if you don’t completely avoid the sun while using them. Ask your doctor!

As well, with more and more people indulging in massage/spa treatments, if there is any potential for sun exposure after, you’re best to ask if there are any photo-sensitizing oils in their products. Massage therapists are usually aware and use such oils only late afternoon and evening or tell their clients to keep covered or wash off before they go in the sun (for the most part they should evaporate within a few hours, though many recommend waiting to sun bathe for at least 12 hours after the massage).

THE CATCH-22 OF MAKE-UP:

bare minerals make-upI know a lot of people have to wash more often because they wear make-up. And people often wear make-up because make-up has played a part in ruining the quality of their skin, so they need to cover it up; a never-ending cycle. I’ve always just avoided the heavy stuff – foundation looks horrible on me and my skin hates it; it actually makes it look as if it can’t breathe. If you can, try to avoid liquid foundation, perhaps only use cover-up or clay-based whitening-pens on dark spots, and instead try a light natural mineral powder. They’re less irritating for most skin types; though it’s important to make certain you keep the tools (brushes) clean. On top of that, the mineral powders – containing minerals like zinc and titanium – are an efficient sunblock; many of these mineral facial and body powders are actually marketed specifically as sunscreens. A few things to watch out for: 1) Titanium is sketchy. Research it first. I prefer non-nano-size zinc. 2) Watch out for all the cheap fillers added to powders. For example, I can not comprehend why major cosmetic companies still use / customers still purchase talc. We’ve known for a long while now that talc’s structure is very similar to asbestos and is best to avoid when there are more safe alternatives.

Responding to this evidence in 1973, the FDA drafted a resolution that would limit the amount of asbestos-like fibers in cosmetic grade talc. However, no ruling has ever been made and today, cosmetic grade talc remains non-regulated by the federal government. This inaction ignores a 1993 National Toxicology Program report which found that cosmetic grade talc, without any asbestos-like fibers, caused tumors in animal subjects. Clearly with or without asbestos-like fibers, cosmetic grade talcum powder is a carcinogen.) … Since the early 1980s, records show that several thousand infants each year have died or become seriously ill following accidental inhalation of baby powder. Exposing children to this carcinogen is unnecessary and dangerous.

On the Cancer.gov web site it explains:

Talc is a “finely-powdered native hydrous magnesium silicate” and that “when administered into the pleural space, talc initiates an inflammatory reaction, resulting in adhesion of the visceral pleura to the parietal pleura and fibrosis, thereby effectively closing the pleural space.”

Fact is, I’d avoid breathing in the dust of any minerals. Regardless of whether a proper scientific study has been done or not, when small dust particles get into the lungs, the lungs don’t like it. So, even while applying the most “natural” of these mineral-based powders, make an effort not to inhale.

The Green Guide goes into detail about the use of minerals in cosmetics and their actual ingredients.

As there is no set definition for the term “mineral makeup,” any product that contains minerals as a primary ingredient may be touted as such, although it may also contain some unhealthy chemicals.

Some companies are conscious of people’s concerns. Check out ElyOrganics whose line utilizes zinc and claims: “No nano-particles, no dimethecone coatings and no titanium dioxide is ever used in Miessence mineral based cosmetic products.”

LUBING UP THE SKIN & INTERNAL SUNSCREENS

Coconut Oil Skin CareAnd finally, there’s something to be said regarding the foods we consume as part of our skin care regime. We’ve heard too often that we need to include natural – high omega – oils in our diet. I fiend for Greek olives, adore olive oil, and wonder if my Sicilian instincts don’t kick in some when it comes to providing extra protection for my “olive” skin. I certainly think most salad dressings are junk considering you could take advantage and get your natural oils easily in your dressing (flax seed oil, mix in some coconut vinegar and shoyu and you’ve got salad dressing in under 30 seconds). Or for the even more eternally lazy, mix some flax, hemp or extra virgin organic olive oil into your regular dressing. Including steamed fish into the mix works. I like poached salmon salad (simply steam it), adding arugula, avocado, fresh goat cheese, pine nuts or hemp seeds – surprisingly quick and easy to make. Though those close to me know I am a butter (ghee) whore, a good way to get healthy fat is dipping one’s bread in some high quality oil too. Any way you can consume some virgin coconut oil will be a plus.

Yes, healthy oils are the way to go. I wouldn’t be surprised to find some scientific correlation to people eating hydrogenated fats, and/or avoiding and cutting out healthy fats from their diet to making them more susceptible to the sun, cancer and wrinkles. It’s strange the pharmaceutical industry are producing -and people are buying- such weight loss drugs like “Alli”, which pulls the fat out of your meals, causing involuntarily explosive oily bowel movements; leaving one to try to digest an imbalanced mix of carbs and proteins (and without any fatty oils left, I imagine what remains in your colon is some serious constipation). Also, we know -don’t we?- that avoiding fat keeps one hungry and prone to eating more. And studies done on the weight lose results for those taking these pills is not positive. Though you see all the commentary and reports on the “good” and “bad” fats, diet-obsessed America seems ingrained with the notion that by eating fat they will become fat. I guess it supports the obsessive/compulsive, indulge/avoid, right/wrong mentality… not superfoodsto mention fodder for many AA meetings and psychology sessions and best selling books on the next best weight lose plan. Common sense – and a sense of how you feel when eating specific foods – should dictate.

Supplementations and consumption of foods that supply proper nutrition/vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants that support skin and bones seem intelligent choices. Foods might include so-called “superfoods” and fruits (with high phytonutrient content) like: gogi berries, blackberries, pomegranate, acai, raw chocolate, chlorella, spirulina, to boost your skin’s natural UV protection. Antioxidants like a natural Vitamin C should be utilized daily. As well supplements like: Vitamin D (especially during winter, or times when you are not getting some daily sun exposure), astaxanthin (takes about 30 days of nutrition to boost skin levels) and MSM (magical stuff makes skin more permeable and pliant; preventative and promotes faster healing from sunburn) [for info on noni healing sunburn/blisters click here]. Magnesium (preferably transdermal) and silica (colloidal) are magic. Try yogurt, acidophilous, herbs and/or foods that help regulate colon function (after a good cleanse if needed) as your skin often seems to offer a visual on the health of your colon and liver. As well, stress and sleep deprivation makes one not only unhappy, unhealthy, and unproductive, it also keeps thatdrinking kava sallow, unglowing complexion that can’t easily withstand elemental factors; try Vitamin B (sublingual) for the stress, and Kava or Valerian Root (herb blends) at night to enhance relaxation naturally. A

Obvious as it is, drinking tons of pure water just can’t be beat for hydrating and protecting the skin. And of course the opposite holds true, so best to mellow out on anything too dehydrating like sodas, caffeine, alcohol and high sugar beverages when enjoying those outdoor activities. All of these things will hopefully give you an advantage, so you aren’t relying solely on topical sunscreen products and find yourself dismayed when they continually let you down. That said, utilizing the info in this article AND finding a eco-conscious natural sunscreen (and a big beach hat) will keep your skin happier and healthier. Let’s look hot surfing into our ’90s – well, why not try!


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lemon

Though I appreciate Google, when it becomes your main reference library, no matter how efficient a “surfer” you are, you can’t deny your researching deficiencies. I remember when my good friend used to let me sneak into Reason Magazine and use their Lexis/Nexis search engine while fact-checking our book “Retro Hell” (we didn’t care so much about our information being factual, as for us it was more of a psychological reminiscence, but stuffy Little, Brown & Co. – our publishers – had a figurative stick up their you-know-what about the whole thing).

Anyway, it’s a personal goal I have, that someday I’ll be rich enough to subscribe. Of course, you never know for sure how things might go, and on the off chance I someday find myself on the other end of the spectrum, say per chance in an Hawai’i jail, I have learned (via Google) that there are some positive perks.

A company whose extensive database… is used mostly by legal offices, schools and libraries has attracted a new type of subscriber: prisons. The service from LexisNexis enables prisons to provide required access to legal information while banishing law books, which are more expensive, quickly outdated and easily damaged…. LexisNexis…has installed computer kiosks resistant to damage in four prisons and jails in Hawaii and five in California. The kiosk consists of a touch-screen computer monitor covered in shatterproof glass inside a steel box bolted to a wall.

girl juggling fruitSo, I’m not sure whether to blame it on growing up on sugar cereals, watching TV while doing homework, using drugs while trying to think, or some undiagnosed ADD-like syndrome succumbed to on a daily basis, but it has proven difficult to not let thoughts meander to all potentially relatable subheadings and tangents. This is just the beginning of the article, and gotta make our way back to the original idea: salt and lemons, and the finalé being a delicious nutritious lemonade recipe… of the sort you can not find on Lexis/Nexis!

But before we go there (or while we’re on our way), I must give in to one more interruption in continuity, the unnerving realization that perchance my parents had it right when they said I should marry a doctor. Yes, every Jewish mom and dad tells their daughter (if she’s not going to be a doctor) to marry one. But it’s not for the potentially secure lifestyle ($) that now makes me reconsider the idea. And in actuality it is more the idea of a “doctor”; the omnipotent philosopher who would know the answer to my every question. A kind of doctor / nutritionist / intellectual / researcher / scientist. Someone I could crawl into bed with, kiss on the neck, and whisper into his ear, “Hey honey, why do surfers need to supplement with salt and citrus?” And I don’t expect common-sense conclusions that I can imagine myself, about electrolytes and exercise, but specifics and studies and theories that take me a little beyond… beyond pseudo-research on a free search engine.

But that’s not the world I live in, and with not so many Mensa members in my midst, I can only pose the question to myself, and conclude with my erratic simpleton logic, rich life experience, erratic schooling in biology and nutrition, combined with hours of determined Google-ing… all to share with you, my dear readers (you’re so kind).

Unless sweat losses are replaced during exercise, an athlete will become dehydrated. Most of us know that severe levels of dehydration have a dramatic effect on exercise performance. But even small fluid losses reduce performance and increase your feeling of effort. Of course the effects at lower levels of dehydration are more subtle… however, well before the effects seem obvious, your output has dropped and your skills and concentration have deteriorated. In an ideal world an athlete would drink enough fluid to cover all sweat losses during their event. However in the real world of sport this is not usually practical or possible. At best, most athletes only replace 50 per cent of their fluid losses during the event so there is plenty of room for improvement. [Ocean to Outback]

surfer girl sofiaSurfers sweat more than they realize. Similar to swimmers, being in the water there’s little awareness as to the extent to which we sweat. Though you can use accurate scale weigh-ins pre and post session to get an idea (surfers just aren’t as fanatical about that kind of info as other athletes are; maybe when surfing becomes an Olympic sport perhaps?). But if indeed you are unsure, a simple way to tell if you are dehydrated is if your pee is dark yellow/orange; that shows your body is releasing the wastes but retaining the water because it can’t afford to lose any more. In addition, often we’re exposed to the sun – surfing occurring outdoors during daylight hours. Guaranteed even winter overcast there’s some sweating going on in those new fangled rubber wet suits.

And unlike most who exercise for extended periods, we often do not do the obvious: drink enough water! Just think, a bicyclist may be riding for a few hours, but he’s squirting water and energy drinks in his mouth all along the way; while we may be out in the water for hours with no access to fluids besides the accidental salty/gunky gulp we inhaled as we got pounded on the inside.

Those who do compensate with fluids might not be replacing their salt as well; and athletes need increased salt intake to properly hydrate the cells and reduce the risk of dehydration or hyponatremia. Most studies on this subject seem to focus on marathon runners though, not surfers.

How many of us end up with cramps while out in the water? Aches in our back? Pain in our joints? Jelly arms? Burns from the sun? Even end-of-the-session injuries because we are spent? Many of these symptoms (in combination with nutritional issues and a lack of adequate warm-up and post-session stretch) can often be attributed in part to our water and salt deficiencies and imbalances.

Salt Waiting to be picked up

Science and medicine have tried to define the precise roles of salt in the healthy and diseased human organism. Blood, sweat, and tears all contain salt, and both the skin and the eyes are protected from infectious germs by the anti-bacterial effect of salt. When salt is added to a liquid, particles with opposite charges are formed: a positively charged sodium ion and a negatively charged chloride ion. This is the basis of osmosis which regulates fluid pressure within living cells and protects the body against excessive water loss. Sodium and chloride ions, as well as potassium ions, create a measurable difference in potential across cell membranes. This ensures that the fluid inside living cells remains separate from that outside. Thus, although the human body consists mainly of water, our “inner ocean” does not flow away or evaporate. Sodium ions create a high pressure of liquid in the kidneys and thus regulate their metabolic function. [Shirley's Wellness Cafe]

Water and saltMore of salt’s endless list of therapeutic properties, as comprised in Dr. Barbara Hendel’s book “Water and Salt – The Essence of Life”, include: stabilizing irregular heartbeats; regulation of blood pressure; extraction of excess acidity from the cells in the body; generation of hydroelectric energy in cells in the body; absorption of food particles through the intestinal tract; clearance of the lungs of mucus, particularly in asthma and cystic fibrosis; clearing up congestion of the sinuses (a strong natural antihistamine); essential for the prevention of muscle cramps; making the structure of bones firm; sleep regulation; a needed element in the treatment of diabetics; vital for maintaining sexuality and libido; vital for preventing varicose veins and spider veins on the legs and thighs; vital to the communication and information processing of nerve cells the entire time that the brain cells work, from the moment of conception to death (oh, is that all…). Actually, drinking Sole (a mix of water and crystal salt) is also said to help dissolve and eliminate impurities and built up toxins which lead to kidney and gall stones.components of seawater

To truly understand the function of salt, we need to look to the sea, witness the high level of health of its creatures and compare its composition to that of human body fluids.

Dehydrated sea water contains over 80 elements, most required for the maintenance of the human body. While all salt originates from the sea, refined table salt and almost all sea salts sold in health food stores have none of these elements left. Even in the “natural” salts, refining, washing, boiling or kiln drying has stripped away almost all traces of these minerals. That’s why it is white and dry.

Any untreated, natural, whole salt will stubbornly hold on to part of its original water unless kiln or vacuum-pan dried. Even by drying naturally in the sun, salt crystals will not give up all of their moisture. True “natural” sun dried salt ranges from light gray or beige to pale pink in color. [Alternative Medical Angel]

NaCl Sodium Chloride molecule structureFact is, table salt, or sodium chloride, is a refined, adulterated version of what was once considered “salt”, similar to the way natural sugar is refined into white sugar. Even most commercial “sea salt” has little resemblance to salt that has come from the sea. In the 1940s, major salt producers in the US began to dry salt at intense temperatures degrading the salt’s structure while removing all the complimentary minerals and nutrients, leaving us with foremostly sodium chloride.pure salt

Sodium chloride is an aggressive substance, which biochemically is perpetually seeking an equalizing counterpart so that the body’s pH can always remain neutral. Sodium chloride needs its natural counterpart in order for it to produce its effect. The natural counterparts, such as potassium, calcium, magnesium and other minerals and trace elements, demonstrate, from a biophysical standpoint, specific frequency patterns. These patterns ensure the geometric structures in our body. When these structures are missing, we are without energy and are lifeless. Salt should not be used just to add flavour to our food, but for its vibration pattern, which is similar to our body! … The body recognizes table salt as an aggressive cellular poison, an unnatural substance, and wants to eliminate it as quickly as possible in order to protect itself. This causes a constant overburden on our organs of excretion. [Himalayan Crystal Salt]

Since our salt craving didn’t change with the advancements of technology, we are left with a confused body which, no matter how much sodium it consumes, is still craving real salt. As we need a precarious balance of salts in our body, this may lead a person to consume even more sodium chloride, and in turn more food, as the body tries to satisfy its needs, hoping to garner the aforementioned therapeutic benefits, but unfortunately generating the opposite results.morton salt wacky pack

For example, even on Morton’s Salt site, they recommend NOT using their salt for aquariums because the salt does not include necessary trace minerals fish need. And, though they don’t mention it, commercial salts often include additives that fish – and people – don’t need including: free flowing agents, inorganic/ potassium iodide (added to the salt to avoid iodine deficiency disease of thyroid gland (I prefer getting mine from RealSalt™ and seaweed), dextrose, bleaching agents, sugar (added to stabilize iodine and as an anti-caking chemical), and our Alzheimer compatriot aluminum silicate. That whole concept of limiting salt intake to prevent high blood pressure… has been proven to be, by and large, hooey! And one eight year study even showed stressed out New Yorkers on a low-salt diet had four times as many heart attacks than those on a normal sodium diet. Okay, we all need to watch our excesses of anything, but in a typical diet, it’s more likely processed salt, especially found in processed foods, that you need to limit.

“Lemonade” by Chokebore

Chandra fucked my loneliness away, at least for a minute or two, lemonade. I just fucked my loneliness away, it helped me for a minute or two, a lemonade. I just beat my loneliness away, it helped me for a minute or two, a lemonade….

And why lemonade? First of all, unlike casual sex for the addict, the benefits last more than a minute or two – or the time it takes to drink a glass of lemonade. Though, for myself, these sweet and sour urges modify to include other fruit, EmergenC™ packets, even li hing mui lollipops (mmmm!). Other times, depending on what’s available, and how careful I am being about eating right, these desires can adulterate to junkier compensations.

french friesOur cravings, often mutated by the brain into veiled indulgences, express the needs of the body. Even when we bolt from the beach to buy some french fries, processed meat-something, and a soda to quench the urge, there are reasons for it: the salt in the french fries; the protein in the meat; the quickly available sugar and carbohydrates in the soda. We may not be paying attention to whether the salt is natural, or the sugar whole, or the protein digestible, etc. Depending upon our personal awareness, there is a realization that proper choices keep us feeling healthier (and proffer us the ability to surf longer sessions and more often – and not having to pass out after lunch). Eventually, through years of trial and error, conscious beings eventually wake up to the fact that there are natural solutions that better comply to our body’s intrinsic desires.

So it’s conceivable, when we have a tangy thirst after surfing, our bodies could be wanting of hydrating fluids – like that found via citrus drinks – and unknowingly yearning for the benefits of lemons. These benefits more specifically include: being a great source of Vitamin C and other antioxidants; supporting the immune system, neutralizing free radicals; helping to prevent inflammation / swelling in the body; offering worthy doses of B6, iron, potassium, calcium, folic acid, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, zinc and other nutrients, phytonutrients, flavonoids (that have been proven to stop cell division in many cancer cell lines); limonins, which help fight cancers of skin and other organs and remain in the system much longer than the phenols in green tea and chocolate; and antiviral and antibiotic properties. Lemons have also been known to act as a blood purifier, improving the body’s ability to release toxins, and are an oft utilized ingredient in detox cleanses. They are also considered to tonify the kidneys.

Though there is some debate over whether lemonade should be consumed to hasten kidney stone development (they found orange juice to work better; and though I love OJ too, it’s kinda harsh on da belly and gets me into a diabetic coma quicker) it doesn’t negate lemon’s holistic support of kidney function, especially in the case of certain deficiencies. Lots of surfing can put a strain on the back: the muscles, the spine, draining the adrenals (hey, we’re goin’ for the dopa-high), and can weaken the kidneys. Kidney depletion is often found in those indulging in the water element; too much water puts out the fire. The sour/bitter flavor, like that of the lemon, is considered in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) as a remedy to correct that imbalance.

There is an interesting correlation between the lemons and the salts. As well the link between electrolytes and positively and negatively charged ions. Of course, being that I didn’t become nor marry a doctor / chemist / natropath / nutritionist, and never made batteries out of lemons or sodium chloride in science class, beyond logic and instinct I honestly have little specific knowledge about their connection. But I imagine there to be succinct science-based reasoning and potentially elaborate experimentation possibilities exposing the principles as to why sugar and salt and lemons and lots and lots of surfing mix so well together. And some smarter folk have contributed their two cents on the matter….

On page 19 of A.F. Beddoe’s book “Biological Ionization in Human Nutrition,” he states that:

“Man does not live off the food he eats but off of the energy that is produced from the food he eats. The energy you get from your food comes from the atoms and molecules of energy in your food. A reaction takes place as cationic food enters the digestive tract and encounters anionic digestive enzymes. To explain further, an ion is part of a molecule con-atom or a group of atoms that carry an electrical charge. Ions which carry negative charges are ‘anions’.

“Lemons are considered to be anionic, having more anions (negatively charged ions) of energy as compared to cations (positively charged ions) in their atomic structure. Saliva, hydrochloric acid, bile and the stomach’s other digestive juices are also anionic. Lemon is one of the only foods on the planet that has more anions than cations in its atomic structure. When considering the electromagnetic properties of food…all foods are considered cationic with the exception of fresh, raw lemon juice. Some have suggested that the reason fresh lemon juice is similar to digestive enzymes is due to the low amount of sulfur in lemons. It should be noted that pasteurized and packaged lemon juice is cationic and, therefore, ineffective as a health remedy.” [EMR Labs]

This may be why we get a buzz off fresh lemons; a buzz that is not like, for example, the sugary high we get off most sweet and sour soft beverages, fruits or candy. And when we add lemon juice to water, with the balance of sugars and electrolytes, it creates a sum greater than its parts, especially when it comes down to hydrating a dehydrated surfer.

Though hydration with H20 before and after exercise is important, plain water can actually suppress one’s thirst and cause bloating - all athletes know that feeling! (And if you drink water after you’re already dehydrated you get cramps!) It has been shown that the body absorbs fluids better and retains them longer if there are some dissolved solids (approx. 6% carbs/electrolytes) in the mix; ergo the sports drink. These are recommended especially for those who are working out for over one hour; and definitely vital for those who are not refueling while working-out!!!sports drinks

And what is a sports drink actually? Usually it’s a mixture of water, fruit juice or sugar water. Cheap brands include corn syrups, additives and artificial colorings. Expensive brands typically include the same things as the cheap but add more polymers and chemicals that many who critique the sports supplement industry consider unnecessary, as well as the blockbuster ingredient: salt (the electrolyte portion of the drink for which you are paying the big bucks). What’s so special about salt, kidneys, and your electrolyte drink? On the web site Essential Wellness Hilde Bschorr explains:

Salt has a very unique property – its atomic structure is not molecular, it’s electrical. The benefit we receive from salt is it’s electrical charge, the salt itself actually still remains in its original form…. This electrical charge is essential to the life functions in our bodies. So basic is this electrical function, that salt is one of a group of elements called “electrolytes”. These are made up of ions, which are groups of atoms that carry a positive or negative electric charge.

Sodium is positively charged and chloride is negatively charged, so they attract each other and bond tightly. Our bodies also contain other electrolytes, including potassium (+), calcium (+), magnesium (+), bicarbonate (-), phosphate (-), and sulfate (-). Electrolytes are essential because our cells use them to transfer liquids, nutrients, and wastes across their membranes and to carry electrical impulses through nerves and muscles to communicate with other cells.

The kidneys work to keep electrolyte concentrations in your blood constant when your body changes. When your body perspires (from exercise or high temperature), for example, electrolytes are lost in the sweat and must be replaced to keep the electrolyte concentrations of your body fluids constant.

But salt in lemonade? Hey, I’m not chef but there are culinary (and sensual?) concepts as to why it works:pure salt lick

…True, we do consume a wide variety of other minerals: both the so-called “bulk” minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium, as well as “trace” minerals like iron, copper and zinc. Yet the human body take[s] those in via organic middlemen like fruits, vegetables and meats. Salt is the only inorganic substance we dig out of the ground and put straight into our mouths. It is critical to our health (and in fact the health of all living things), the greatest testament to which is the fact that our tongues have receptors specifically designed to detect it.

Yet if simple utility were all there were to our relationship with salt, we’d probably just carry salt licks around with us in our pockets…. Like so many life-critical human functions (sex springs to mind), our experience of salt has been inextricably bound up with pleasure. And it’s evolution we have to thank.

How else to explain the effect that salt has on the foods we eat? Yes, the conventional line states that salt “accents foods”, that it helps them taste “more like themselves” or “excites the taste buds”. But what is it that’s really going on here? The unfortunate answer is that nobody yet knows, though some very interesting recent science has provided us with a window into just what function the salt sense serves in the overall sensation of taste.

Studies conducted at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Pennsylvania … have shown that in addition to stimulating our “salty” taste receptors themselves, salt also acts on other receptors in the mouth, notably the “bitter” receptors. Especially when administered in a triple-play with a sweet-tasting sample, it’s been found that salt actually suppresses bitter sensations — far more effectively than sweetness does by itself. … More than simply turning up the volume on flavors we do like, it also turns the volume down on flavors we don’t. [Joe Pastry]

Additional chemical magic includes the fact that both salt and fresh lemons contribute to creating a more alkaline state (lemons, like grapefruit, turn alkaline once they hit the digestive system) which might be useful when the body -especially that of a devout surfer- is pushed and there comes a need to balance the PH of the blood and tissues. Plus, we need a more alkaline state to keep microorganisms in check: that would include one well-known to Hawai’i surfers - the fun-lovin’ staph infection!

Active athletes also need to replace our glucose to keep our blood sugar levels up and reduce fatigue. Dr. Sears (AskDr.Sears.com), suggests “the best time for your sports drinks is during exercise, since the carbs in the drink do not cause high blood sugar fluctuations because insulin is not secreted during exercise. While drinking a high-sugar drink prior to exercise may trigger insulin and lead to hypoglycemia in the middle of the game.” Good thing salt and lemons also have the added benefit of regulating blood sugar!

So, if you’re going to drink something before exercise or immediately after, as us surfers need to do, my lemonade recipe should supply you with a healthy and balanced natural, homemade and certainly less expensive option (though I recommend for those who stay out in the water a long time and/or notice a dramatic drop in performance while surfing that they tie on their leash string or attach to a key pocket a fuel packet like the now 90% organic and all-natural CLIF Shot® clif shot(oooh, with Litter Leash packaging) and suck on it mid-session. Ingredients in their vanilla for example include: Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Sea Salt, Natural Flavors, Potassium Citrate, Magnesium Oxide; with 40mg Sodium, 30mg Potassium, 25mg of Carbs and 8g of Sugar.

Carbohydrate is stored as glucose in the liver and muscles and is the most efficient source of energy as it requires less oxygen to be burnt than either protein or fat. The normal body stores of carbohydrate in a typical athlete are: • 70kg male athlete: liver glycogen 90g and muscle glycogen 400g • 60kg female athlete: liver glycogen 70g and muscle glycogen 300g. During hard exercise, carbohydrate can be depleted at a rate of 3-4 grams per minute. If this is sustained for 2 hours or more, a very large fraction of the total body carbohydrate stores will be exhausted and if not checked will result in reduced performance. Recovery of the muscle and liver glycogen stores after exercise will normally require 24-48 hours for complete recovery.

During exercise, there is in an increased uptake of blood glucose by the muscles and to prevent blood glucose levels falling the liver produces glucose from the liver stores. Consuming carbohydrate before, during and after exercise will help prevent blood glucose levels falling too low and help maintain the body’s glycogen stores. Many athletes cannot consume food before or during exercise and therefore a formulated drink that will provide carbohydrate is required. [BrainMac Sports Coach]

If you’re avoiding sweets or got enough elsewhere, and basic hydration is what you’re after, try a more watered down version of the recipe, or simple Lemon Water (pure water, squeeze lemon into and add a few slices with a dash of salt). Penta, Essentia water, CellFood™, trace minerals, and coconut water are also great for hydrating.

The balance of our cells reflects the balance of our life. And as imbalanced as we may get, sometimes it’s those little things that get us back to center… like relaxing on the lanai swing chair, enjoying the trade breeze on a sweet summer day, sipping a nice tall glass of fresh squeezed electrolyte-laden lemonade.

For thousands of years salt has been known as a panacea. Alchemists called it “the fifth element”—besides water, earth, air and fire—because its qualities were comparable only to ether, the actual fifth element. Why are we so drawn to the ocean? Because our subconscious mind instinctively wants to return to the specific vibrational state of the ocean from which we once emerged. This is where we can return to recharge our batteries and regenerate. [Himalayan Crystal Salt]

Yup, something us surfers are doing all the time. So it makes sense, to try to accomplish it inside and out!

lemon tree

Coconut Girl’s Revitalizing Surfer Lemonade

Okay, sticking with my 15-min-or-less “cooking” method, this lemonade is quick and easy to prepare, and if you want to add the “boosters” it’ll only take a few more minutes. My recipe is infinitely easier when mom’s lemon tree is going off and I suggest that if you have a tree or a neighbor has one – take advantage (you can freeze excess juice for later use if you don’t want any to go to waste). And sure they’d luv it if you offered to bring them back a jar (always save your glass fruit juice containers). For this recipe we’re basically filling one 32oz jar so for larger batches adjust accordingly….

I pick 2-3 of the biggest, most yellow lemons off the tree. Roll them on the wood cutting board or counter top so they’re easier to juice. Throw in a lime if you have one too.

• In saucepan, with approximately one cup of purified water, medium heat, add approximately 1/3 to 1/2 cup of raw coconut sugar (coconut syrup also works). Essentially you are heating at the lowest temp needed so the sugar dissolves while stirring.

• Cut lemons in half. Using a citrus juicer (cheap electric ones work fine, though if you’re rich go use your fancy industrial strength citrus press), juice all 4-6 halves (if your lemons are small add one more and/or one small lime for flavor). Should take all of two minutes!

• As for the sugar mixture, add a few ice cubes, preferably made from filtered water to cool it down. Pour it into a glass measuring cup. Then mix in a healthy pinch of Real Salt™, Himalayan Crystal Salt or pure sea salt (Hawaiian Salt also works). Once it’s blended add a handful more ice cubes to cool it to approximately room temp.

• It’s important to not heat the lemon juice! So, pour the juice into an empty glass jar or pitcher. Add some cold or room temp purified water, then add the sugar water / syrup water you made. Then fill the rest of the jar with more water to taste. Chill.

lemonade and salt

• The Extras: Add a bit of ginger. Most recipes for ginger lemonade call for adding sliced ginger pieces into the cooking sugar water, but ginger’s got a more killa kick if you avoid heating it, and the body will benefit more from its healing properties. So I suggest, grating about 1/2 teaspoon of ginger (with a ginger grater, if can, small sized grater otherwise) and simply adding it to the jar. Shake/stir well! * Be your own barhand…add a little zest! (of course we’re using organic lemons so all good there…) * If you read my noni article and/or have some noni juice prepared and are in need of its benefits, add a tablespoon or two to a cup of lemonade for your morning elixir… or if drained in the middle of the day and you really want to get another surf session in… talk about energizing! * You can add a splash of coconut water (as in the Big Island favorite found in the local health food stores “Tahitian Limeade” yum!) or some aloe (which also supports digestion, kidneys, and skin). * Party option is cutting some lemon, orange and/or lime slices and adding them into the pitcher, then filling with ice and serving.

That’s it! Obvious but never forget it: coffee, soda, sun, surf, alcohol… all dehydrating. Try to respond to your body’s cravings in ways that make you stronger. Spend a little bit more time helping your body stay happy and balanced so you can surf longer: that is, longer sessions and for decades to come… xo

lemonhead

…and hey, since pure salt is good for brain function perhaps if I start using only the right salts I will get my IQ back up enough to where I won’t feel I need a brainiac scientist husband to explain this chit to me…


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Hawaiian Airlines logoWe like price wars and spontaneous specials – and thanks to the new competition in town, Go! Airlines, we get fun $9 fares if we’re lucky enough to get the scoop in time. Hawai’ian Airlines is the best, as far as being on time and having a more functional web site (Aloha doesn’t seem to be participating in this one – though maybe they’re just slow on the draw). Of course, try logging on right now and you may get caught in the traffic jam. ‘Til the day is done, Hawai’i time, you can score your inter-island vacation package way mo’ cheap; nine dolla’ cheap. It’s all based around Oahu of course, so if you’re going from Big Island to Kauai for example add on another $9 – still it’s under $30 each way! Good fun!

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surfer girl hairWith search engines leading people who are trying to get “Surfer Girl Hair” to my article essentially detailing how to avoid it (“Secret Hair Tips for the Surfer Girl”), I decided I might as well publish my own recipe for the look. Likely a “How To” appeared on some trendy web site inflicting fads on experimental youth. Surfer girls whose hair turns dry and brittle from the daily effects of salt and sun may not understand those who want to purposefully put their hair through such abuse. And similarly, like the new tanning salon that opened up in our little Hawai’i town, I would find it absurd for anyone who has sun/ocean access to try to capitalize on one piece of the puzzle, going for “the look” instead of the experience and the multitude of benefits one can enjoys from surfing, swimming, etc. But I do have sympathy for those who simply can’t get the look the natural way – because of location, finances, etc. – and I’d do anything to help you avoid harsh bleaches and chemical hair products!

SophiaNaturally, my hair is so dark brown it’s almost black, but as a surfer it lightens up with highlights that go all the way to bright blonde (as opposed to lemon juice natural sun and sea coloring seems to skip the icky orangy phase). It’s the combination of the salt and sun that creates the look. Ocean water is on average 3.5% salt – though salinity is effected by evaporation, precipitation, and ground water or river water entering into it. I know the more salty and sunny the surf spot, the quicker my hair fries. On the East sides of the Hawai’i islands, with its abundance of river mouth breaks and more rain and clouds to block the sun, the condition of my hair doesn’t get quite so affected. On the West side though, with less fresh water and more desert-style environment, I can get “Surfer Girl Hair” in just a few sessions.ocean water salinity map

Ingredients (approximate):

* Sea Salt – 2 heaping tablespoons

* Water – 2 cups

* Oil (olive or coconut or whatever you have lying around) – 1 tablespoon

Heat water on the stove; pour in the salt and stir. Turn off heat, let cool to warm. Shampoo your hair (do not use conditioner) and it dry. Pour solution over hair (if you have long hair, saturate it as much as possible by first dunking hair into a bowl of the solution). Do not rinse; towel dry. If you have curly or slightly thick or dry hair that can handle some oil, put roughly one tablespoon of the oil into your palm, rub hands together, then cover outer layer of hair (avoid bangs or you’ll get zit-faced). Oil attracts sun rays and holds in heat and helps cook it better.

blue crush hairIf you don’t have access to a xenon lamp (ehem), simply go out in the sun (do not put hair in a rubber band if you can avoid it). Even if it’s overcast, some rays that provide general light are coming through. The closer to the equator the better. but the goal is to try to get as much sun as you can. Though it may take longer than your average Hawai’i surfer girl, you should see the effects. If you are going to be lying out in the sun at all (wear natural zinc sunscreen), then splay your hair out as much as possible. The hair that dries fastest and gets the most exposure seems to be the hair that bleaches out the most. And after it dries, wet hair again with a spray bottle that contains some salt water mix. Stop once you get the streaks/highlights you want and invest in some good conditioners. Also, as this is all designed to destroy the hair ;) we recommend adding some omega/flax oils to your diet, which seems to help keep hair flaxen!

There are also a bunch of products that have come on the market recently, which can add to the look: goops and sprays designed to give you that “sexy, salty, wind-styled texture”. No dough for new product? Use a little of your conditioner or gel mixed with a touch of jojoba, argan, coconut or other oil you happen to have in the kitchen. If you simply don’t wash your locks too often and let it get a little gunky,Chelsea Charges Surf throw in a dash of sand, stick your head out the car window – be creative – you can achieve your own carefree surfer look. (Disclaimer: once it crosses the line into rastafari dreds we can’t helpya.)

So, that’s it. But hey, if you ever decide to cruise Hawai’i to charge some waves and go for the natural surfer girl style… give us a buzz!

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mocha kittyYou or your loved one enjoy a mocha in the morning? Ready to score some points while saving some of the excess cash you’re spending for your “specialty” coffee at the local coffeehouse? Instead, maybe it’s time to use that money towards creating your own quality coffeehouse right in your kitchen. Here’s a recipe to get you started; a Hawai’i-style gourmet brew without too much hassle (don’t be scared off by the amount of type; it’s simple but I’m certifiably long-winded).

Ingredients:

* Dark Organic Coffee Beans – Even if you could care less if you get some concentrated chemicals in your coffee mug every morning, buy organic because it improves the ecosystems of farms, increases biodiversity, and preserves water quality. And any surfer knows how much it sucks surfing in agricultural residues after a nice rain. Why dark? Those who like mochas usually appreciate the rich flavor found in dark “French” roasts. Despite what most people think, dark coffee is less acidic. Try to avoid the over-cooked Starbucks brand coffee beans that are roasted to bitter. If you can’t find good beans locally (Kona purchased anywhere but in Kona can be quite expensive, yes?), there are many organic coffee growers/roasters online (look for Certified Fair Trade -meaning no slave labor- and Shade Grown). Purchasing whole beans direct from a reputable roaster means you will get it fresh with the most flavor. Better yet get green beans and roast yourself. Of course never buy pre-ground coffee -organic coffee bag coffee grinders are cheap but can demolish and heat the beans. Splurge on a burr grinder if you can, or if you’re broke-ass just grind as needed at your local store. I think the old hand grinders are cute and sometimes way more efficient.

nativas cacao* Raw CacaoNavitas Naturals organic cacao is delicious and processed at low temperatures to maintain nutrients and vitamins. Cacao is high in magnesium, vitamin C, and higher in anti-oxidants than red wine and green tea. This company is committed to social and environmental business practices, working directly with farming communities and supporting native organic farmers and farming methods. (Sure, you can also get some Ghiradelli.)

* Raw Sugar – Look for sugars, like Coconut Secret, that are not heat processed.

* Coconut Milk – Available at most grocery stores. Check the Asian Foods section for unsweetened, premium, first pressing, organic. Avoid the low-fat version. If you’re in Hawai’i or have some spare coconuts lying around, you can make your own fresh coconut milk.

coconut fresh* Rice Milk – (I like vanilla; organic will keep you GMO-free). Only problem is isn’t doesn’t froth well. The new Hemp milks are yummy and nutritious, but shake well – they have a tendency to separate and bead up and don’t look as appealing in the mug. Probably the most rich option is almond milk. They spray almonds with LOTS of pesticides, so definitely look for organic!

* “Pumpkin Pie” spices. 

* Filtered water for coffee brewing is best

Make two shots of espresso or a strong coffee. Though the process of making coffee is ultimately important, that’s another recipe for another time. Many “Mr. Coffee”-kine coffee makers suck and with the advent of much better machines for a decent price it’s silly to not spend more on something you use every day. Many swear by the tried and true cowboy coffee. Others love the French Press. Still others prefer vacuum or cold brew for a no-acid coffee that’s kind to the belly. I like the stove-top percolators or espresso machines. But one thing’s for certain, if your coffee sucks, you’re going to end up back at the coffeehouse.

Mocha CreamWhichever you decide, while the coffee is brewing, fill a saucepan with approximately 1 cup rice/hemp milk, couple tablespoons whipping cream or half and half, couple tablespoons of coconut milk (per mug) – I’m firmly opposed to measuring; just eyeball it. A big mug is important. Put approximately one full teaspoon of raw sugar (sweeten to taste), and a full teaspoon of cacao in your mug. Add a small amount of hot coffee into the mug while stirring; mix well! Then add the remaining espresso or coffee to 1/2 to 3/4 full, and fill the rest of the mug with the hot milk mixture. Top it off with whipped cream. Dash with pumpkin pie spice, or better yet grate some nutmeg and cinnamon yourself. The spices have a warming quality that are great pre-surf – and compensate a little for coffee’s tendency to deplete one’s Protective Qi, which can cause one to get cold more easily (just don’t use cinnamon every day as too much can irritate the stomach). You can also top off with some shredded coconut, chocolate syrup or shaved cacao.

That’s it. So now, get on it – surprise your loved one with a mug of this yumminess in the morning. Just make sure to go surf… or whatever you do… to burn off that crazy buzz! xo

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Dog Food RestaurantThough animals of all smells tug at my heart-strings, I am officially one of those cat-people who one day turned into a dog-lover; even the title Coconut Girl being a dedication to my girl dog, who looks absolutely ridiculous running around the beach with a coconut twice the size of her head clutched in her chops. But almost like a new mother worried whether she’s taking proper care of her newborn, it seems I know very little in terms of exact specifics regarding proper dietary care of doggies, relying foremostly upon instincts and smiles. For example, I don’t believe any creature should subsist solely on processed foods (e.g. packaged dog foods) – they don’t do it in the wild – though expert thoughts on the matter seem to insist otherwise. I’m not into encouraging begging, but sharing my burger with my dog makes us both happy and sometimes we both need a little fresh meat (though hormone-free hamburger cooked rare may be best for her). On the other hand, I thought avocado -a favorite treat for dogs here in Hawai’i as it’s found in such abundance- would be nice for her fur. So it was kinda a bummer when, experimenting with Stumble! (and realizing it is a cool tool for exploring undiscovered web sites), it sent me stumbling upon a page called Moore’s Haven and their list of “Bad Foods For Dogs”. Low and behold, amongst the first few entries, there it is, avocado:

Avocado contains a toxic element called persin which can damage heart, lung and other tissue in many animals. Avocados are high in fat content and can trigger an upset stomach, vomiting or even pancreatitis. The seed pit is also toxic and if swallowed can become lodged in the intestinal tract where it may cause a severe blockage which will have to be removed surgically. Since avocado is the main ingredient in guacamole, be sure and keep your dog out of the dip.

Hope the Dog Food Isn’t ContaminatedSo with that, a little more research, and some inspiration from the recent pet food recall, we give you the top ten ways in which you might be innocently poisoning your doggy with bad food choices:

1) Avocado (as previously mentioned)

2) Baby food and Onions. I used to give baby food to my cat when it was getting older and it was hard for her to eat/digest regular cat food. On occasion, thinking she might like it, I’d give some of the organic chicken variety to my doggie. Ooops. Dogs can not eat onion powder. Did you know that? Onions can cause hemolytic anemia destroying a dog’s red blood cells and causing lethargy and breathing difficulties (check for pale gums). Fortunately, toxins will pass but in large doses could require a blood transfusion. Garlic isn’t recommended either but since it’s used in smaller amounts problems are less often noticed.

3) Dairy Products. My girl is an Atkins dog; preferring her fats and proteins. For treats, she loves a saucer of creme every once in a while. Brown Cow yogurt – yum! We eat bread only when covered in cheese or butter. Even last night while watching The Sopranos where Tony kills Christopher (man oh man… fun having a TV while house-sitting), we enjoyed some high quality Monterey Jack together. Now I know I can’t handle too much dairy, but didn’t realize she couldn’t either; assuming that hard-core tummy that comes pre-installed on these beasts can break down most any food it can swallow. It’s the lack of the lactose digesting enzyme, lactase. Seems cheese and yogurt require less of it so limit minimal dairy consumption to those.

4) Chocolate. That’s the one food most everyone knows dogs shouldn’t have, but don’t know exactly why. Ill effects are caused by theobromine, a cardiac stimulant, which can make the dog hyperactive, increase heart rate, and cause death especially when combined with exercise. It also acts as a diuretic which can lead to dehydration. How much chocolate can equate to an overdose? Depending upon the dog’s size, even an ounce or two can be fatal! And note: cocoa powder and cooking chocolate (dark as opposed to milk) contains more of said substance and is therefore more toxic. Sickness might not come on immediately, but death can follow within 24-hours.Dog Eating Avo

5) Bones. This is another one most people know about, but it is hard to prevent your pooch from sniffing out barbecue remnants at the beach or park. Many think it’s only the chicken bones because they splinter. But all cooked bones are hazardous because they become brittle and splinter and have sharp edges. One vet told me he’s had to put his hand down the throat of hundreds of dogs to get the full piece of short-rib bone that easily becomes lodged. Though raw bones (completely uncooked, which you can usually find in the refrigerated section at a feed or pet store) are typically considered safe and beneficial to the dog’s teeth (not to mention their disposition) too many might cause constipation due to high calcium content.

6) Cat Food. Every once in a while my dog just won’t eat her food. I try to switch it up, between formulas she prefers, usually the ones that have lamb as the first ingredient and rice instead of wheat. But once in a while I’ll feed her some kitty food. Doesn’t seem too bad if that’s not what the dog is subsiding on. The main issue seems to be that it does not supply an adequate formulation to satisfy a dog’s nutritional requirements, as well being too high in protein and fats and potentially contributing to added weight gain for the pet.

7) Macadamia Nuts. Another food common in Hawai’i, therefore can be a big concern. On many occasions I’ve had to warn people to not give my dog MacNut Crusted Mahi-Mahi or Ono leftovers (since my Mama Udy makes the best!). As few as six nuts can cause elevated temperature, accelerated heartbeat, tremors, even paralysis. Best to avoid nuts in general, because their high phosphorus content may lead to bladder stones.

8) Liver. Another one I wouldn’t assume, especially as many dog foods and treats contain it. It’s just a caution about eating too much, the reason being its high Vitamin A content. Fatty Meats are also usually the scraps we indulge our pet with; what’s wrong with those? Well, they may love us with all their heart for it…but it’s bad for their heart! As well, excess may cause loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, pancreatitis and gastroenteritis (specific clues include whimpering or restlessness).

9) Moldy or Spoiled Foods. Dogs are the ones who usually get the leftovers we no longer want. But when the foods sit in the fridge awhile, we usually assume it’s still fine for the animal. But don’t let it get too old! It seems mold contains toxins that can cause tremors or seizures in which case medical treatment is required. Spoiled foods can cause food poisoning which might lead to vomiting, diarrhea and shock.

10) Commercial Dog Food. Yes, the very food made especially for dogs can be killing your dog. And it’s not just the cheap dog foods found in grocery stores, the so-called “premium”, “gourmet”, “natural” or “preservative-free” (often produced by these same companies) can be just as bad. The recent recall should be warning enough about the limited controls of byproducts and industrial chemicals in pet foods (Cornell University of Veterinary Medicine which is studying the foods because of this incident says they are finding more things in the pet food that shouldn’t be there, “but identifying what they are is a long process”).

Iams PosterWhen we look at the history, commercial dog food came into existence in the 1930s with cereal companies looking for something to do with their rejected grain – wheat, rice and corn that failed USDA inspection because of mold, rancidity, and other contaminants (disregarding the fact dogs digestive systems aren’t built to break down grains of any sort and that they usually have some allergic reactions). With the meat industry facing a similar dilemma (mainly the 4D meat – diseased, disabled, dying or dead, but also including capitalization of road kill, euthanized animals [collars and all], plastic and styrofoam wrapping of spoiled grocery store meats, urine, feces, hair, feathers, beaks, etc…), the idea of mixing the rejects together and calling it “pet food” was born. Reminding one of the promotion for formula over breast milk, disregarding the consumers best health interests, marketing firms took it from there.

Dog Food SecretsFor more info check out Dog Live, which recommends feeding homemade dog foods for your loving companion. A few other sites worth checking out: The Dog Bowl, Shirley’s Wellness Cafe, Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance, The BARF Diet, RawFeed, and Better Way Health (these include raw food diets to purchase or prepare fresh for dogs). A few ways to help clean up the industry: The Petition for Pet Food Reform, another Petition to Hold the Pet Food Companies Accountable, and Peta’s Iams Cruelty site. You can also write to The Center for Veterinary Medicine and FDA about your concerns. To learn more about the pet food recall, check in with the FDA’s site which provides info on all pet food companies involved and the Timeline of the Pet Food Crisis on Wikipedia which includes corporate cover-up, varying causes of recall, and recent release for human consumption animals who were fed this tainted food.

Finally, besides a proper, high quality diet for you and your pet, to live happy and healthy make certain you get plenty of exercise, water, and most importantly, cuddles! xo

9/21/08 Update: This link for Peta, with updated info… Another Pet Food Recall – Is Yours on the List? Another example, of why, if you truly luv your dog or cat, you pay a little extra $/attention to what you are feeding them. Find a reliable, socially responsible, pet-loving company who makes food that is healthy and that your pet loves!

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