Tag Archives: randy redmon

E-Bikes: Friend or Foe?

By Randy Redmon

I grew up in the 1970s. As I reflect on my younger years, I often think of my 1974 Schwinn Sting Ray, neon green (actually called “flamboyant lime”) with gearshift in the middle, yeah a little dangerous for boys. I loved that thing – banana seat, sissy bar, you know the one! It was the worst riding and pedaling bicycle in the world, but I loved it.

After that I moved onto my BMX bike, and I was on top of the world! We’d get up every day, and if it was a weekday, we’d ride our bikes to school and ride back from school. If it was a weekend we’d ride our bikes as far as we could, which was probably only about three miles away to some friend’s house and dump our bikes in the front lawn and hang out. It was a different time then, we didn’t have video games or any other indoor game (besides spin the bottle, lol). We went out jumping trash cans and crashing our bikes – we found our limits.

Flash forward forty years, visiting my hometown, Newport Beach, CA. Seeing every surf kid riding a $3000 E-bike down the boardwalk at 30 miles an hour, I began to wonder – does anybody pedal anymore? Are we doomed for the most unhealthy people in the future? I was dead set against the E-bike.

Then I started noticing that these kids were also with their families as a family unit! They were biking farther than anyone could actually pedal a bike casually, and they were laughing and they were having a blast! That made me rethink my opinion of E-bikes. Anything that can get a kid out of the house away from violent video games is OK with me.

Looking around Huatulco, I noticed this is the only resort town in all of Mexico that really had no E-bike presence! It’s as if they hadn’t been invented yet, lol. But it’s starting – there are one or two companies in Tangolunda that provide E-bike rentals. And I do believe the “sleeping monster” is about to wake here in Huatulco, and soon we will be barraged with these beautiful silent E-bikes. They make it so easy to enjoy the scenery and wildlife, and as more and more families move here, the E-bike will happily carry families out together as warm beach breezes fill the streets of our beautiful beach town!

You might ask, how are we going to charge these bikes? Actually, charging an E-bike is no more expensive, on average, than leaving one light on all night. I have noticed lately quite a few posts on Facebook from folks saying that they wanted to fly their E-bikes here, but airlines refuse to fly the batteries because they might explode and cause a fire on the plane. So … what to do? I guess you’re just going to have to buy or rent your E-bike right here in Huatulco. (Shameless plug for Huatulco E-Bikes, the newest venture of the Huatulco Surf Co., conveniently located in the shops of Punta 1 in Tangolunda.) Some E-bike facts: average speed is 47 km/h (you don’t have to go that fast!), average battery time is 70 km before you need to recharge. These latest E-bikes are more comfortable and easier to ride than ever.

Remember this little article, remember the days when there wasn’t a single E-bike to be found in Huatulco, when you soon find the streets of Huatulco filled with smiling happy people rolling quietly along – way better than the motorcycles with broken tail pipes roaring through town!

Ride on, people!!!

Surf Etiquette – Is It Still a Thing?

By Randy Redmon

To the casual observer, watching surfers out in the water looks a bit disorganized, but for surfers, it is anything but. There are actually unwritten rules out in the water. These rules are called “Surf Etiquette” and if they are respected, you will see that everybody will get their fair share of waves.
Every surf spot throughout the world has its own special vibe (rules/etiquette). There are, however, some rules of surf etiquette that all must respect and the quicker you learn them, the less drama you will encounter during your surfing experience.

So, what are some of the common universal etiquette rules? Well let’s frame them as “things that you shouldn’t do”:

  1. Probably one of the most important things to remember: never show up to a new surf break with a group of surfers and paddle out all as one group. This is considered rude. If you must travel in a group, break up into small groups of 1-3 and paddle out in intervals.
  2. Read the room! It’s easy to see who the dominant surfers are (a.k.a. local surfers). These folks deserve respect and get the right of way. Remember, this is their turf and you are a visitor. Take the scrap waves and don’t insist on the set waves. This will go a long way in gaining the respect of the locals. Yes, this may take some time, but once you have gained that respect, they might possibly invite you to the sweet spot of the takeoff.
  3. Don’t snake! Snaking is where a surfer will paddle out and maneuver in and around the group of surfers that have already been waiting, to try to get into position before the rest. Some try to do this nonchalantly, but pretty much everybody knows what they are doing. So be patient. Take your spot in the back of the pack and wait your turn.
  4. Do not paddle out into the drop zone. Watch the waves and the surfers getting into position and take a wide berth to stay out of their way. Always keep an eye out for incoming surfers.
  5. Do not drop in on other surfers. The surfer who’s closest to the peak has the right of way. What’s the peak? That’s where the wave is starting to break, so watch for this and your surrounding surfers. If you are dropping in, always look to the way you’re going to ensure this is actually your wave and that you are not dropping in on someone else. Yes, accidents do happen and you may drop in on someone, but a simple apology goes a long way. Learn from your mistake, but don’t do it twice in one session.
  6. Do not be obnoxious. Be friendly in the lineup! That does not mean being overly friendly, but a genuine smile goes a long way! A word of caution: eyeballing or scanning your fellow surfers can give off the wrong signal, even if you don’t mean it to. Surfing is a selfish sport and everybody is out for their own wave and pleasure. On the flip side, however, it’s important to be conscious of other surfer’s situations around you. Everyone needs to watch out for the others because when things go wrong, it can go wrong real fast. This is especially the case in bigger surf.

The bottom line: if we all remember basic surf etiquette and observe the local “vibe,” you will have done your part to add to a surf environment that’s friendly and not hostile. And this is true even before you hit the beach. Respect the surrounding community.

If we all do our part, we are supporting a beautiful and healthy sport that can be life-changing. All it takes is getting that one good wave that you’ll remember for the rest of the night and beyond. So make sure that happens with the support of your fellow surfers and without any hard feelings.

Soft-Top, Hard-Top – Which One and Why?

By Randy Redmon

How did soft-top surfboards enter the world scene of surfing?

Let’s flash back to 2006. Soft-top surfboards first became available at Costco and were manufactured out of Taiwan by a company called AGIT Global. Even at the approximate retail price of $120 USD, Costco’s soft-top brand, called Wavestorm, was not exactly flying off the shelves. Why? Back then, soft-top surfboards were considered only for “newbie” beginners and kooks! In ten years, however, Costco had sold over half a million Wavestorms, was set to sell over 100,000 in 2015, and anticipated ever-increasing sales.

What Changed?

Jamie O’Brien is responsible for that! Jamie O’Brien is a popular professional free surfer from the North Shore of Hawaii. Side point … the North Shore is very respected in the “surf world” for its incredible and dangerous wave, the Banzai Pipeline. So what did this very experienced, well known and respected Pro Surfer do? Well, on one episode of his 19-season YouTuber video series, Who is JOB, O’Brien actually goes to a Costco and buys a Wavestorm soft-top surfboard as a joke. He asked the cashier, who didn’t recognize him as a professional surfer, that if he broke the board would he able to bring it back for a refund. Being Costco, she replied, “Yes, as long as you have the receipt.” Off went O’Brien with this cheap beginner board to the world-famous Banzai pipeline to surf!

What happened??

It was unreal! O’Brien’s performance was awesome and he fell in love with that soft top surfboard. Those who watched him at the pipeline, as well as the viewers of his video series, were convinced. and the soft-top surfboard’s popularity was born! Wavestorms did indeed fly off the shelves at every Costco in America – and the price jumped from $120 USD to $250 USD.

To meet the demand and to capitalize on the massive popularity of soft-top surfboards, new manufacturers started springing up. One such manufacturer, Catch Surf, is now a Jamie O’Brien sponsor and even has a special “Jamie O’Brien Collection.”

So now you know the history of the soft-top surfboard – what does that mean to you?

The soft-top surfboard is an excellent, and recommended, choice for all beginner surfers. I personally believe it has sharply reduced the number of injuries for both beginner surfers, as well as other surfers who may be hit by a wayward board while a beginner is learning. As a very experienced surfer, with over 50 years of experience, I feel that anyone who wants to learn to surf should start on a soft-top surfboard. This will help them to comfortably and safely learn the basics of surfing, as well as the etiquette of surfing.

There is, however, a word of caution. You will find it hard to gain respect in the world of surfing, and be accepted as a common surfer, if you stay on a soft top surfboard. Why? It is too easy to get comfortable and stay comfortable on a soft-top. The soft-top makes it much easier to get waves.

Does that mean Pro Surfers don’t use soft-top surfboards? The answer is that they do, but often it’s a novelty for them, almost tongue-in-cheek, as well being entertaining for them. It is never their go-to choice for surfboard.

On to the Hard-Top Surfboard, or Hardboard

After you have learned the basics of surfing and have caught your share of bluewater waves, it is time to move to a hardboard surfboard. What’s the difference? Soft-top surfboards are made with an EPS foam core wrapped in either fiberglass or a synthetic wrap with a soft, dentable ethylene-vinyl acetate sheet on top. In contrast, hardboards are generally constructed of a Styrofoam blank with a wood stringer and fiberglass overlay.

So what’s the advantage of a hardboard surfboard? First, there is no better feeling than catching a wave on a hardboard surfboard … this is basically how it should be, as that is the original way to surf. Second, this type of surfing will take you to another level and challenge your abilities as a surfer!

The Long and the Short of It

The next decision you need to make is whether you want to surf on a longboard or a short board. There’s no right or wrong decision. Whether you choose a classic longboard style of surfing, or the more radical, high-performance world of short boarding, either will be an expression of your own personal surfing style and what you enjoy. No one style is better than another, it’s a matter of preference.

At the end of the day, soft-top surfboards will always have place in the world of surfing. They have opened up this incredible sport and made it accessible to a much wider audience than ever before. So thank you, Jamie O’Brien, for having the guts to pull off one of the greatest jokes in surfing history – it has 100% changed the surfing landscape.

Are you interested in surfing or do you still consider yourself a beginner? I encourage you to come down to the Huatulco Surf Company shop in Tangolunda, Huatulco. Our very knowledgable and experienced team would love to support you in your surfing journey!

The Lure of Hawaiian Shirts

By Randy Redmon

Although the actual origin of this colorful shirt is kind of hard to find, the aloha shirt first appeared in Hawaii sometime between 1920 and 1930. Japanese women started making shirts from the same fabric that they used to make kimonos. The shirts started to get very popular with tourists in Hawaii at the time, but they really started taking off when they hit the mainland in about 1931.

In the 1930s, America was going through some pretty harsh times, a lot of folks were out of work, others struggled just to make ends meet. With hardship and anxiety riddling the country, people craved something happy – enter the Hawaiian shirt! The shirt became super en vogue, which seems a bit odd, because this was also when the superhero emerged. The Hawaiian shirt seemed to be in sharp contrast to the superhero mentality, but that didn’t seem to affect the explosive popularity of the flowery garment.

You have to be careful, though, these shirts can be addicting – some people have five or six of them in their closets. The shirt just seems to bring you back to a happier time, a warmer time. Hawaii can be everywhere, anywhere, even here in Huatulco! It is so fun to see peoples’ faces when they climb our spiral staircase to the second floor where our array of vintage Hawaiian shirts is displayed. You can’t help but have a smile on your face when you see these colorful gems.

Randy Redmon runs the Huatulco Surf Co., located in Tangolunda, Huatulco.