Vans US Surf Open 2014


Can I just say that surf contests are amazing? I mean, at what other sporting event do you have your pick of free front row seats to watch pro athletes? And soft, sandy beach seats at that?! It's exciting and unpredictable and relaxing and meanwhile you can bring your own food, take a nap during the heats you don't care about, get a tan...

This may just be the sporting event for me.

From A Rented Room On 9th Street


It's far from quiet in our little AirBnB room on 9th Street in Huntington Beach. There's the rain, for one. The cars splash through it every few minutes. There's intermittent fireworks, fragments of drunken conversations. Our middle-aged male host is downstairs on the couch making out with a women with short blonde hair. Our Finnish housemate is laying on her bottom bunk bed in the next room, flicking through her cell phone with the lights on and the doors open. Ryan has a pillow on his face trying to block out the noise and the light. I have my MacBook screen on minimum brightness, my headphones in, lowly playing one of my favorite albums, Gregory Alan Isakov's "That Sea, The Gambler".

We're up here for the Vans US Surf Open, something I'd daydreamed about as a 16, 17-year-old surf-culture-obsessed wannabe who was trapped on the wrong coast. I worked in a mall at the time and went to Hollister on my breaks to sit and watch the Huntington Beach webcams they played on projector screens in the store.

The vibes here and the town itself isn't exactly what I thought it would be like, but then again, not much has been since I moved here. It's been different and better, unsaturated and surprising. Sometimes you need to dig up the things you worshipped in your youth to see what they really are... sometimes they put the things you aspire to now in perspective.

At the end of the day, you create your life. If you don't want to have regrets, your best bet is to leave nothing unexplored.

The Unsinkable Bri


I can't swim. Do you know how long that's been my mantra? 28 years.

I had a couple of really scary experiences with water as a kid and at some point it just became my thing: I couldn't swim. I avoided pool parties as a teenager, terrified of having to explain it or that someone would throw me in the pool trying to be playful. I wore life jackets whenever I was on a boat. I stayed in knee-deep waters when all my friends went rushing into whatever lake or ocean we were playing in.

I couldn't swim and that was OK.

Except that I had always wanted to surf. Like, desperately wanted to. Not to mention... I live in San Diego now.