Checking out the best surfers in the world at the 2010 Mavericks Surf Contest in Half Moon Bay

There are some really amazing things that can only be found out here in Northern California and one of them has to be the Mavericks Surf Contest. It’s one of the world’s most respected big wave competitions and is held every year that weather permits about 20 miles south of San Fransisco in Half Moon Bay. More specifically, the contest is held in an area that’s known as Mavericks that’s practically built to create massive size waves due to it’s unique ocean floor. Jeff Clark, a local born and raised in Half Moon Bay, was the first surfer to ever take on the once thought to-be-too-dangerous-to-surf waves that can sometimes top out at over 50 feet high.

Jeff Clark, having grown up near Half Moon Bay, learned about Maverick’s at an early age. At that time the location was deemed too dangerous to surf. He spent time watching the break, and conceived the possibility of riding Hawaii-sized waves in Northern California. One day in 1975, with the waves topping out at 10 to 12 feet (3.7 m), Clark paddled out alone to face Maverick’s. He was successful, catching a number of left-breaking waves, thereby becoming the first person to tackle Maverick’s head-on.

Well, today was the day that Mavericks came back to Half Moon Bay (due to lack of optimal weather conditions it was canceled last year) and Stephanie, our roomie Nic, Frank and myself (along with some other friends) all went to see what it was really all about. Although we weren’t able to get super-close views of the actual surfing the day was unbelievably beautiful and just being there to experience it was more than enough to guarantee that we’ll all be back there again the next time it comes around.

Here are a few pics and a video that I snapped at the event. They should give you a good idea of the popularity of Mavericks and just how beautiful Half Moon Bay is during this time of year.

A video and a pic of people who got caught in the aftermath of the 30+ foot waves that were swelling up at Mavericks this morning. Some of the people were actually swept out into the water and had to be rescued by medical staff. Some suffered broken bones and minor cuts, but most only had to suffer through being soaked for the rest of the day. We were literally just about to head into this area when the waves hit.

Can’t say that the people weren’t warned. These signs were posted everywhere on the beach.

What was left on the beach after the waves hit and cleared out a stage and several tents.

A view from a top the cliffs at the Mavericks in Half Moon Bay.

This was view from the opposite side of the beach where we were when the waves got the people wet. There were a ton of people watching the competition from over here. It was amazing to see how many people came out for the event considering that it was only announced a couple days before it happened. Also, most people weren’t at all scared of climbing all over the cliffs as long as it gave them a better view. I guess that they’re all used to hiking and aren’t too worried about falling hundreds of feet to their death, but for some reason it still worries me and Stephanie. Maybe we need to suck it up.

The sun was out in full force, which made for a beautiful day in Half Moon Bay. That weird looking tower with a ball on it in the upper right corner of this pic is part of the Pillar Point Air Force Base (which no one except press was allowed to enter today).

Frank loved hanging out at the beach, but we probably walked over 5 miles altogether, which is like running a marathon for a Pug. Here you can see him getting some much needed rest while we were checking out the surfers. He had no trouble getting up and down the cliffs and got to meet several other dogs that were also hanging out at Mavericks (including a few Pugs). People really love their dogs in the bay area, which makes is completely normal to bring them with you to outdoor events like this.

Here’s another view from the other side of the cliffs. The surfers were grabbing their waves right around the area to the right of cliff in this pic. Unless you had some binoculars or a serious camera lens (which several people had), you pretty much had to rely on people’s reactions to know whether or not someone had actually caught a wave.

This is a shot of the rest of the coastline, which I thought almost looked too beautiful to be real. If you look in the bottom right corner of this pic I snuck in a guy who was chilling on the side of the cliff. He was pretty high up there, but didn’t seem to be too worried about it. Like I said, it’s something that they’re used to.

After walking a couple of miles back to the car (part of which I carried Frank after he started panting like he was going to die) it didn’t take Frank too long to crash. He was so tired that he fell asleep on Stephanie’s 7-up bottle which was in our cup holder. I thought that this was way too funny (and cute) to pass up taking a picture of it. Frank’s just like us — he’ll go and go until he practically passes out, which he obviously did today.

Frank’s first Pug Sunday at Alta Plaza Park in San Francisco

One day when I was walking Frank home from work I ran into a fellow Pug owner who filled me in on a monthly event called Pug Sunday. Pug Sunday is a meet up where all kinds of Pug owners bring out their pups so that they can hang out with each other on the first Sunday of each month in Alta Plaza park here in San Francisco. Well, Stephanie and I looked up the details and ended up heading out to our first Pug Sunday yesterday and let me tell you — it exceeded all expectations.

It was actually really funny because Stephanie and I were way more excited than Frank was, but once we got there I think that he realized just how awesome hanging with some more of his own kind really is.

There was a lot of snorting, pooping, running and sniffing going on there, but of course that’s wall Pug Sunday is all about. It’s a time to let your Pug off the leash so that he can go meet some new friends and of course Stephanie and I have made friends with a few Pug owners too (no sniffing involved, I promise).

Luckily we got some video of the sweet Pugtastic afternoon, so feel free to watch it below.

A preview of our soon-to-be amazing wedding photos from Gauper Photo

If you haven’t noticed already, our wedding is coming up pretty soon. Like 2 months soon. This means that in about 60 days or so Stephanie will be looking more beautiful than she ever has in her life (I’ll look pretty slick, too) and will be meeting me at the altar so that we can profess our undying love for one another. Of course, I let Stephanie know about my undying love for her every single day, but I guess that this is the more official way to do it.

One of the funny things about the big day is that even though we’re ridiculously excited to get hitched, we’re really, really excited to get our wedding pictures taken by the super-dynamic-duo known as GauperPhoto (not ‘Gooper’ or ‘Gopper’ photo). Ryan and Holly Gauper are great friends of ours and Holly was Stephanie’s roommate back in the day at Cedarville University. Stephanie was in Holly’s wedding about a year ago (check out the video below) and believe it or not she caught Holly’s bouquet and I caught her garter belt, which was a sure sign that we were going to be married soon after.

Yep, this was definitely a sign of things to come…

Well, a couple of days ago Ryan and Holly made their way down to Indianapolis from their home of Kalamazoo, MI so that we could talk some wedding details and take some sweet pre-wedding shots so that we weren’t so shocked at their photography awesomess on August 29th. Ryan and Holly had also just bought some serious lighting equipment that they wanted to play around with a bit, so we got a little wacky with some flashy fun, too.

Check out some of the shots below that we took  and be sure to become a friend of them on Facebook (friend Ryan || friend Holly) so that you see out other photos come through sometime the next few days and after our wedding. Oh, and if you didn’t notice, they have some serious skills so if you are ever looking for a great photog be sure to give ‘em a shout.

A close-up of Stephanie’s hardware

We have looooong legs

Give me the orb of light!! What a sweet shot…

My fav — in a random Indianapolis parking garage with Steph’s mom’s ride

A great shot that I took of Holly and Ryan at dinner — RIBS!

Operation Aisle Style Re-Cap

I guess that I can say now that as of last week I am “officially” a model, haha. Even if it were only for one time, I might try to hang onto that title for a bit. It sounds so cool.

The Operation Aisle Style event at the W in San Francisco was such an incredible fashion show and experience. I felt like I was experiencing every girl’s dream for a day. I had my hair and make-up done, got to rock out an amazing anti-bride dress, and I got to strut my stuff on a runway in front of hundreds of people, flashing cameras, and a ton of press. It seriously felt like I was a part of The Hills or now, The City on MTV, haha… that’s my best way to relate it to anyone… it really is like how they depict it on those shows :)

I arrived at the W around 3:00pm for hair and make-up. It was fun seeing how an event like this is really pulled together. Everyone is running around in their black outfits complete with clipboard, blackberry and red-bull in hand. It’s a crazy and exciting environment. There was so much excitement leading up to the show that I barely even felt nervous. The room for the show was decorated beautifully and there was even a stage in the back for The Hooks amazing set after the runway show. After our hair and make-up was complete we met with the runway coordinator to run through a quick walk-through of the details of the runway walk. We had to quickly learn our order, steps and turns for our part, and then try to remember it all amidst all of the commotion.

The time finally came, and we could see from back-stage that the room was filling quickly with some of San Francisco’s finest! The nerves were starting to set in a little at this point, I’ll be honest. After my dressing assistant helped me put on my sleek and rocking lime green dress, we all lined up and waited for the show to begin. The dj set the music and we were off! I was number 7 to walk, and it was a totally surreal moment. It’s almost impossible to see anyone in the crowd due to the shower of camera flashes from the moment you walk out onto the runway. This is the part where I might have allowed a bit of my excitement and nervousness overtake me… you see, I went just a bit too fast. All of those years of running didn’t exactly make me out to be a “slow” and graceful walker :) Some people teased me for being the “runner” of the show, but that’s alright… I’ll get the hang of it. Good thing I still have my runway coach to help me out with my walk for future shows 😉

After the show was over, they announced the winning designer and we all had a great time listening to the band rock out and socializing with random fashion lovers of the city. I feel so truly blessed to have this experience. I met so many amazing people, and hopefully I will have the chance to do something similar again someday. For now though, I will just keep practicing that walk…

Here’s some links to some of the amazing photos taken that night by local photographers… enjoy!
Henry Sun
Gene Kosoy

Stephanie’s modeling debut featured in San Francisco’s DailyCandy

My super-fantastic friend Kathy just forwarded me today’s San Francisco DailyCandy because the event that Stephanie is rocking out tonight for her first-ever modeling debut, Operation Aisle Style, is featured in it! This is pretty awesome, seeing as DailyCandy is one of the most popular and trusted websites when it comes to figuring out what to do with your free time. This gets me even more excited for tonight and I wasn’t sure if that was even possible…I mean, you would think that I’ll be hitting the runway by how giddy I’m getting over here. I guess I’m just proud of Stephanie and can’t wait to see her all dressed-up, made-up and done-up tonight. She’s going to make one super-hot punk rock bride. :)

For all of you planning on heading to the W tonight to catch the action, get ready to get after it and I’ll see you soon!

So, I guess I’m going to be a Model…

Sometimes (actually a lot of the time for us) crazy and random things happen that turn out to be quite a fun adventure. I truly believe that it is through these occurrences that the most amazing and beneficial things come about. This happens to be one of those times.

About a week ago, Ryan told me he was going to contact our friend Redgie about trying to get me involved in the upcoming Operation Aisle-Style event at the W Hotel in San Francisco. I knew it was a long-shot, but stranger things have happened and I figured it was worth a try. Then, BAM a few e-mails here and there and next thing you know I’m headed to a runway casting for the event. Our wonderful new friends Carolyn Gerin (the founder of and Mikalah Burton (her fantasticly spunky sidekick) were so generous and helpful in working me into the show. I cannot thank them enough!

The pre-fashion show environment is pretty crazy and hectic but I loved every minute of it. I walked in and met my designer and tried on my first dress. Unfortunately it ehem…didn’t quite zip up all the way…but no need to panic, someone else fit the bill. I tried on the second dress and it fit like a glove, and I was happy as well because I really loved the dress!

Let the photos begin — I love this dress!

I’m going to be the most awesome rocker bride, ever…

Then on to the panel of hair and make-up, design description, accessories, and music. Here, the designer basically tells each person what they want their models to look like, what intro they want given to them, what music they want playing, and what accessories they need. It’s so cool how they pull a show like this together and it takes a lot more than what I have ever imagined it to be.

So much jewelry, so little time.

So there’s the random details of how I’m now going to be in this uber awesome fashion show next week. My only problem is I have no idea how to walk like a runway model. I’m not good at it, period. I’ve been practicing like crazy though, so hopefully I’ll be able to pull it off and fool a few people into thinking that this is not my first rodeo. Unfortunately all of those years of being the “sporty spice” type have rendered a somewhat ungraceful Stephanie… but who knows… practice makes perfect right?!

Here’s the deets just in case you’re in the area and you want to come to this amazingly fun and fashion forward event:
It’s Thursday, March 12th at the W Hotel in downtown San Francisco, 6:00-10:00 pm. There will be two fashion shows: one featuring Project Runway Star Austin Scarlett’s Kenneth Pool bridal gown designs and the other featuring The Art Institute of San Francisco’s newest “rising star” designers renditions of the alterna-wedding dress. These dresses are truly amazing and I get to rock a sweet lime green punk rock dress complete with fishnet stockings and a peacock feather bouquet…. WHOOP!

Until Thursday I’ll be practicing my walk back and forth in our little cottage while my fabulous runway coach… Ms. Hup critiques my every step and turn 😉 He’s good though…. I don’t mind learning from the best! Check out the video below or over here on YouTube to see what I mean.

p.s. This might actually help us out with one of our 50 Goals For 2009:

3. Figure out Stephanie’s next move
– find a new career path or back to school for nursing? just some options

Stephanie gets a chance to rock the catwalk at the upcoming Operation Aisle Style Fashion Event

Yep, I’m now officially engaged to a model

A long time ago, way back when we still lived in Indiana, Stephanie and I decided to see if there was a chance to get involved in the world of modeling. In my mind this was more for Stephanie’s sake, seeing as she’s much more model material than I am (and my Blue Steel still needs some major work). Anyways, nothing ever came of our quick foray into the modeling world since we moved out to California a month or so later, but I’ve always had the idea in the back of my mind that Stephanie could definitely be a model.

Well, now that we’ve been out here on the West Coast for nearly a year and we’ve been meeting a lot of amazing people, it looks like Stephanie is going to have another amazing chance to become the model that I always knew that she could be. I’m excited to announce that she is going to be part of an upcoming full-fledged high fashion wedding event called Operation Aisle Style that’s being put on though a partnership of and Destination I Do magazine. It’s being held at the ultra-chic W Hotel in downtown San Francisco and Stephanie is going to be one of the models that gets to strut their stuff on the runway.

I’ll give you all more details on all of this, but I’m about to get kicked off the train, so I’ll update soon. :)

Mark one off the 50 Goals For 2009 list — we’re running an 8k!

Hot on the heels of posting our 50 Goals For 2009 yesterday it looks like we can already strike one off. As I was looking though the Palo Alto Weekly yesterday on the drive home from eating lunch, I noticed an ad for an 8k road race called Juana Run? that was taking place in a couple weeks. I showed Stephanie the ad and told her that we should run it as I tore it out of the paper.

Well, I get home today after work and Stephanie tells me that she just registered us both for it, which is probably why I found this in my Inbox:

So…I guess that pretty much takes care of #35, or it at least gives us a good start. :)

p.s. According to last year’s race results, Stephanie needs to run, on average, right around a 7 minute mile pace to get in the top 25 for her age group. I would have to run sub 6 minute miles…yeah, not gonna happen.

Hangin’ with MC Hammer at the Crunchies

Yeah, that’s me, Stephanie and MC Hammer last night at the Crunchies, which are basically tech’s version of the Oscars. It’s put on by the biggest tech-related blog in the world TechCrunch (which I’ve written for in the past) and was held up in San Francisco. The awards ceremony was held in the Herbst Theater and the MySpace after party was held across the street in City Hall – yeah, right in the freakin’ City Hall.

The actual awards event was packed full of the who’s who of tech, including Mark Zuckerberg (CEO and founder of Facebook), Marissa Mayer (manages all of Google’s products), Evan Williams, Biz Stone, and Jack Dorsey (founders of Twitter) and of course, MC Hammer.

I want to give a huge thanks to Michael Arrington (founder of TechCrunch) for hooking me up with the tickets, as always we had an awesome time hanging out. Also, even though it was a pretty hard core tech crowd, even Stephanie loved the shindig. Now that’s a sign of a great tech event right there.

Also, there were a couple things that really stuck out to me as I was running around the Crunchies last night with Stephanie – things that I’m noticing more and more and that I’m pretty excited about. Things such as:

You can find out more about the Crunchies over here on TechCrunch.

p.s. Since we now are homies with MC Hammer (at least we think so), I sent him over a link to this video of Stephanie gettin’ her groove on to one of his chart toppers, 2 Legit 2 Quit. I’m sure he enjoyed it. :)

The story of Hup and Steph Part 1: They First Meet

As most of you probably know by now, Stephanie and I are now officially engaged. Yep, I asked and she actually said yes – pretty sweet, eh?

Since we’ve been back here in California most of our friends saw our official relationship status change on Facebook, so they’re well aware on our intentions to get hitched. But, even the people who know that we are engaged still ask how I proposed and how all of it went down on Christmas night when I popped the question.

I thought that it was about time to finally let all of you know exactly how I proposed to Stephanie and what my overall plan was to surprise her. It all started before we left for Indianapolis when I told Stephanie that I wanted to put a video together that would fill our family in on some of the details of the awesome relationship that we’ve had over the past year and a half. She thought that it was a cool idea so we both sat down one night and we interviewed each other about the major stages of our relationship together. Stages such as how we first met, what it was like when we first started dating, why we ended up moving to California, what it’s been like since we’ve been out here on the west coast and what we thought our future was going to be like together going forward.

I then turned the interviews into a bigger video that included videos, images and other random digital snippets that I could find that had to do with what we talked about while interviewing each other. Even though I told Stephanie that my intentions were to show our family the video once we got home, my real idea was to sit down with her to watch this video together and then to end it by proposing to her. I’ll get into more details later, but that is basically how it went down and I’ve got some video of me proposing to her as well as both of us talking just minutes after she said yes. You’ll see more of that soon enough.

But, to kick all of this off I first wanted to split up the video into smaller sections so that all of you can enjoy it as much as we have. After seeing these videos you’ll know way more about us than you ever wanted to find out about, but it’s really cool to see it all packaged up into one fluid story. After creating this I started thinking how other couples would probably love to have something like this, so who knows – maybe I’ll start doing this for other people, too? You know, with all of this spare time that I have these days.

Check out the first video below, which I have cleverly called ‘They First Meet’ or check out it out over here on YouTube.

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