Here’s a cool video (see url at end) of wipeouts at a hot surfin’ locale in Southern California known as the Wedge. Situated at the east end of the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach, south swells during summer and fall can produce huge waves up to 30 feet high. Maverick’s up the coast in Northern California go higher, but the Wedge is as lethal due to a shallow beach. When the wave comes crashing down, it’s in water no deeper than one or two feet. According to a Wikipedia entry, “this condition causes uninformed and inexperienced swimmers to be at extreme risk of a spinal cord injury. If a person is to ‘go over the falls,’ (fall with the water in the crest of the wave), he will commonly strike his head on the sand below the shallow water. Lower Newport sees many spinal cord injury victims every summer who often end up as quadriplegics.” And fatalities. According to a 2009 L.A. TImes report on a body surfer who died after being rescued from high surf at the Wedge, this “mecca for body surfing also known for its potential dangers.Wedge veterans have left the beach with concussions, fractured vertebrae and broken bones. The Wedge can chew up novices, flinging them onto the hard berm of sand or sucking them back into the churning surf.” Watch video here: http://www.surfline.com/surflinetv/primetime/freeze-frame-at-the-wedge_56341Share on Facebook
Friend and fan of RailRiders apparel, Dr. Phil Maffetone, who lives north of Tuscon, Arizona, took a short afternoon break from his writing, and went outside to take this photo. As it were, he was wearing an Adventure Top and Weatherpants. Check out his website here for great healthy hiking tips, including nutrition, footwear (he usually goes barefoot or in flat-sole shoes), fat-burning, Vitamin D and the sun, and much more.Share on Facebook
Ryley B writes: “I just wanted to send you guys a note about the Eco-Mesh shirt. The one in the picture made it 3000 miles of hiking – all of the Pacific Crest Trail and the first 400 miles of the Continental Divide Trail. Eventually the ridiculous amount of bushwhacking I’ve done in it tore it to shreds, but it took a hell of a beating before giving up. Really, in the pic it just looks a bit dirty (no surprise since I had just worn it for 5 days straight). In the deserts of Southern California, it performed like a champ, keeping me as cool as I imagine is possible in 100+ degree heat. Since then, I’ve stuck with it through all kinds of weather and it has never let me down. I especially love that it keeps the bugs off me even while keeping me cool. No other shirt I’ve owned can manage that feat.”Share on Facebook
Ross Wittgren , of Chicago, sent in this useful tip when it comes time to clean your RailRiders pants and shirts. My wife discovered this several months ago and it really is a great product. Safe for the planet as well as clothes. And, no dryer sheets are needed. No static electricity in the dryer. Start to finish the process takes 5 minutes
2 cups of 20 Mule Team Borax (must be the original)
2 cups of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (no substitutes)
1 bar of Ivory soap cut in small pieces
Mix all of these ingredients in a food processor until they become a fine powder. Use 1/4 cup per load of laundry. This is probably an old product used by our grandparents before the consumer products companies enhanced our lives with endless chemicals. Your great clothes deserve great soap…..Share on Facebook
It was the dawn of the automobile age, when a Paris newspaper issued this challenge in 1907: “What needs to be proved today is that as long as a man has a car, he can do anything and go anywhere. Is there anyone who will undertake to travel this summer from Peking to Paris by automobile?” Five teams accepted the challenge, and so began the storied history of the Peking to Paris motor race, a wild, globe-hopping contest that covered 9,000 miles of uncharted terrain and at a time when there were few roads. The winning car was an Italian-made car called the Itala with a seven-liter engine and oversized separate oil tank for the total-loss engine lubrication system.
A rebuilt version of the winning Itala participated in the 2010 race, along with just over 100 other classic cars — including a 1918 Stutz Bearcat, 1925 Ford Model A, 1929 Rolls Royce Phantom, 1935 Bentley, 1939 Packard, 1949 Cadillac, 1965 Aston Martin (James Bond’s car), and 1969 Volkswagen Beetle. Gernold G. Nisius, 51, a Mercedes-Benz restorer in Arundel, Maine, was the refurbished Beetle’s mechanic and navigator (though he also shared driving chores with the car’s owner Garrick D. Staples, who lives in southern California).
Held intermittently over the years with course routes determined by regional conflict and political tension rather than terrain, the 2010 Peking to Paris rally started in Beijing, crossed Mongolia and the Gobi desert, then followed a route that loosely followed the ancient Silk Road, including Kazakhstan, Uzbekhistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Italy, and finishing in Paris. France. There were mandatory rest stops each night. Mechanical break- downs were common, though about 90 percent of those cars that started P2P finished, including the durable Beetle that had modified Baja-like suspension. “This was a grueling event with no time to spare and can only be compared to doing the Paris Dakar without support vehicles,” says Gernold. Given obvious space limitations, he brought few personal belongings. “After 50 days on the road, all with two pairs of RailRiders VersaTac Light Pants, one Expedition Shirt and my beloved Equator-HT Shirt. The VersaTacs performed flawlessly.”
See interview with Gernold here in our Adventure Seekers section.Share on Facebook
Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of Gear Junkie— the popular, go-to product-review site for outdoor enthusiasts. He’s a tough, fair, astute critic when it comes to all types of gear; and he likes putting products to the supreme test–how they actually perform in the field. It also helps that he’s an experienced multisport and endurance athlete, along with being a seasoned adventure racer.
My quest to find the ultimate summertime T-shirt for outdoor activity has led down many avenues. This month, the route took a turn and accelerated when it hit upon a shirt made by RailRiders, a Belmont, Mass., company with roots in the world of sailing. Today, RailRiders is more known in outdoor-adventure circles, and its clothing — which I have worn for years — is touted as the “toughest on the planet.” The company’s Eco-Speed-T is advertised to be quick-wicking, sun protective, and durable in the outdoors.
I tested the shirt, which costs $36 and comes in men’s and women’s builds, in a recent six-hour adventure race. Temps peaked past 90 degrees and the sun blazed. I was soaked with sweat much of the day.The Eco-Speed-T at first might seem slightly too thick for hot days. It’s made of a nylon-polyester blend with a “waffle-weave” that gives it a tiny bit of bulk. But that’s where the wicking mojo comes from: Moisture and sweat are slurped off the body by this shirt and exposed to the air.
At one point in the adventure race, I jumped in a lake to cool off. An hour later, after two miles of running and then 20 minutes in the wind on a bike leg, the shirt was almost bone dry.
As an alternative to a cotton T-shirt, the RailRiders short-sleeve is an immense upgrade. There are mesh panels under the arms and up each side of the Eco-Speed-T for maximum airflow — a nice touch. The fabric is cited as offering UPF 20+ sun protection. The Eco-Speed-T also holds its own against some of my favorite hot-weather tops, including thinner synthetic and merino wool pieces that can cost twice as much. The thinner shirts at first feel airier than the RailRiders top, but in use they do not dry out as fast.
In my quest for the perfect T, the RailRiders “waffle-weave” shirt is now near the top of my list. It’s a good value, and in my hot-weather test it proved its propensity to perform.Share on Facebook
The new, powerful eco-documentary, “The Last Mountain,” focuses on the widespread harmful effects of the mining technique called mountaintop removal on West Virginia’s Coal River Valley. Simply put, the mining company dynamites the entire top of a mountain to extract the coal hidden beneath. Except there’s a very big problem. The local inhabited area is also ruined– poisoned water, air pollution, massive sludge dumps, floods, cancer clusters. Who’s to blame for all this devastation? The villain is Massey Energy, which is the state’s largest coal company. According to the documentary which played at the Sundance Film Festival, 500 Appalachian mountains have been destroyed by this same process. But Coal River Valley residents have said, “Enough is enough!” They are fighting back. They are the heroes of this must-see film.Share on Facebook
This surreal, untouched, un-photoshopped image of camel thorn trees in Namib-Naukluft Park was taken by National Geographic‘s photographer Frans Lanting. According to Gizmodo.com: “That orange backdrop? That’s a dune reflecting Namibia’s rising sun. And while the trees themselves look like etchings of a dream, they’re a very real part of one of the country’s largest national parks.”
Here’s another photo of Namibia’s sandy-duned, bleak, desolated desert beauty that was taken by Carol Polich, whose photographs regularly appear in RailRiders Adventure Clothing catalog. Go here to read an interview with Carol, who calls Bozeman, Montana her home. She regularly makes extended photo pilgrimages to Death Valley and game parks in southern Africa where her day is often spent at the local watering hole. Her celebrated work appears on greeting cards, in calendars and coffee-table photo books. One of her scenic images– also of the Namib sand dunes–won the grand prize in the 1996 National Geographic Traveler’s photo contest.
Share on Facebook
Look at this photo. Beautiful alpine lake. Gorgeous mountain backdrop. Nature’s very own picture-perfect postcard. But think again. Looks can be awfully deceiving. The small lake in this photo is Wilma, near the Pacific Crest Trail and inside Yosemite National Park. It’s also home to zillions of mosquitoes who breed in nearby marshes and swampy areas. Spring and summer months are wretched for hikers and campers. In a recent article for the San Francisco Chronicle, outdoors writer Tom Stienstra offered this assessment:
From 2 miles out on the Pacific Crest Trail, heading north, the mosquitoes start to buzz in your eyes and ears. With each step, more arrive around your head. When you reach the lake and the hordes from the bog on the far side pick up your scent, you might feel like the French looking across the Rhine and seeing the Wehrmacht attacking. Absolute nightmare. It’s a pretty lake and many Pacific Coast Trail hikers see it on a map and overnight here. Never again. The lake’s marsh and a few slime holes to the south turn the area into the Yosemite Mosquito Sanctuary. On an 80-degree day, we saw guys wearing full rain gear as armor to try to defend against the attacks. They failed. So did we. If you break camp after dawn, the mosquitoes will wake up first to ambush you.
As for the next worst place to hang your hat and hiking poles in Yosemite, according to Stienstra, it is Camp 4, which is located right in the Valley. Many great climbers call this small campground near the base of El Capitan their not-so temporary home away from home. And so do a lot of wannabe’s.
The original theory was to create a campground for the world-class rock climbers near the foot of El Capitan. But you can stake out a campsite and find a dozen strangers putting their bags down all around you. The sites are close together, and on many nights, it can feel like a continuous, amorphous blob of sleeping bags that span more than an acre. A lot of young campers will drink, talk and stay up late, killing the chance to sleep. This year the park will try to post a ranger at the camp to keep some semblance of order. The guy has no chance.Share on Facebook
Rita writes: “Here is a picture of myself at the helm of a Dufour Gibsea 46 in Tortola, BVI this January 2011. It was my first sailing trip there and I wore my Oasis Shirt all the time. I got lots of really dirty dirt on the sleeve when I had to help feed the anchor chain into the holding area but it cleaned up like a dream! I will wear it often this year and my new shirt and Capris!”
Share on Facebook
Share on Facebook
A young woman by the name of Mel is a gifted mimic when it comes to replicating animal sounds. Our favorites in this popular YouTube clip are the crow, peacock, monkey, parrot, and the kookaburra, which is a terrestrial kingfisher native to Australia and New Guinea.
Here’s another photo of Dr. Steve Gangemi, a complementary sports medicine specialist in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, but this time he’s “working out” with his two-year-old son Paxton. Gangemi, who is an avid runner and triathlete, is also known by his patients as the Sock Doc because he doesn’t wear shoes in his office. Now, he sometimes doesn’t even wear socks while running– and found that by running barefoot, his cadence was faster and more efficient! Normally he runs in Nike Frees or Vibram’s FiveFingers. The proud papa, who is wearing a RailRiders Eco-Speed T, says, “That’s quite a stride for a two-year old.” RailRiders completely agrees.Share on Facebook
This graphic depicts the the first 1,235 planets and stars that NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler telescope has found. Fifty-four are deemed habitable like Earth. NASA scientists estimate that those planets are at the right distance from their respective stars to contain liquid water, which is a requirement for biological life. Intelligent life is another matter.
The top row shows huge stars, with our own sun just below at scale. You can barely make out Jupiter moving across the sun; the Earth is merely a speck. So while RailRiders owns toughest-clothes bragging rights on this planet, the jury is out on other planets many light years away. No biggie. We can wait.
San Francisco Bay Area photographer Paul Kirchner mainly shoots still life in his studio, but he often spends a lot of time outside on assignment in vineyards. He explains: “I have worked for the oldest wineries in California to the newest, mainly in the Napa, Sonoma, Russian River Valleys and the Central Coast region. From wineries that put out a few thousand cases per year to ones that produce millions of cases per year. Two to three times a week found me before dawn waiting for the light somewhere and again later on waiting for the sweet light of the sunset. Some of the Napa vineyards are way back in the hills surrounded by the densest of brush and stickers and thorns, some are on the valley floor in more controlled situations.
This sort of shooting can be rough on equipment and clothes. I wanted to wear things I didn’t have to baby, would not shred when forcing my way through a few hundred yards of the stickers, would be cool in the afternoon heat, had plenty of pockets for stuff and be presentable for the fancy restaurants of Napa and still look good. I tried to destroy the Rock Jeans but failed. With the Expedition Shirt, no rips, no tears, no stains from six months of work.” Go here to read RailRiders interview with Paul Kirchner.Share on Facebook