Reviews

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Casa Mirador review

A lot of pro surfers have been dropping edits from Salina Cruz in 2019, and I think most of them stayed with Cesar at Casa Mirador surf camp.

Stab even tackled The Dock 2.0 there (check the credits at the end for the Casa Mirador shoutout)


It’s really no surprise everyone chooses to stay with Cesar… he kinda seems like the mayor of the town.

Casa Mirador is perched atop the highest hill, overlooking all of Salina Cruz.
Beachbreaks to the left, pointbreak (can’t remember which one) to the right

Casa Mirador rooftop view


He has the nicest trucks for the surf guides, and you truly feel like a VIP when staying there.

Now, I haven’t stayed at any of the other surf camps, so I guess I’m kind of biased, but I think I’m being fair πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ

Here’s the video version of my Casa Mirador review, check it out and then I’ll get into more details below.

Why Casa Mirador?

The beauty of staying at Casa Mirador is that everything is taken care of for you.

Airport transfer, meals, transportation to the surf spots, anything you need.

So all you have to think about is surfing.

Casa Mirador surf guide

Getting to Casa Mirador

We live in San Diego, so we flew out of Tijuana to save money on flights. Our flights were $330 round trip with Interjet.

There is something called CBX (Cross Border Xpress), where you get dropped off just outside the border, and walk across to the airport. It costs $30 round trip.

And the thing every surfer fears… surfboard baggage fees…

We didn’t pay a penny to bring our surfboards with Interjet! Thought it was going to be $30 each way, but it was completely free.

After landing in Huatulco, we had a van taxi waiting to take us 2.5 hours to Casa Mirador. This cost $160, so $32 per person (5 of us). We also paid this when we left the camp, for our departure back to San Diego.

The Casa

Casa Mirador surf camp
Casa Mirador entryway


The five of us shared one room. I think there are 4 or 5 total rooms. There were one or two other surf groups there at the same time as us.

We didn’t use the TV at all, but the air conditioner was nice at night (the rest of the casa is not air conditioned).

Casa Mirador bedroom
Casa Mirador bedroom


Bathroom was basic: sink, shower, and toilet.

In Mexico and other central American countries, the trend is to *not* flush your toilet paper, and it can clog the septic system.

You need to put toilet paper in the wastebasket next to the toilet… this was super weird to me at first 😝

Casa Mirador bathroom
Casa Mirador bathroom


The downtsairs living room area is where you can store your boards and hang out.

We found a guitar and Josh serenaded us while sitting in the window 🎡

The window has the same view as upstairs, beachbreaks to the left and pointbreak to the right.

Casa Mirador living room
Casa Mirador living room
Casa Mirador views


Upstairs has ping pong and pool tables, and is where we ate our dinners.

The fridge has beers, drinks, and snacks. Just take what you want, and write it in the log, and you pay for it at the end of your trip.

Pool and ping-pong tables
Casa Mirador rooftop


There is WiFi at the Casa, but it was pretty spotty during our stay. The modem broke at one point, and they were working on getting it fixed… not a huge deal for most people, but when I’m trying to run my business remotely, it’s a big thing for me.

Meals

3 meals a day are included with your Casa Mirador package.

The breakfast is pretty weak (cereal and fruit), and usually lunch is just PB&J sandwhiches and/or tuna sandwhiches

Breakfast at Casa Mirador


We could choose to come back to the casa for lunch, but since the spots are an hour drive away, usually we just stay and surf all day.

A couple times we actually bought some fresh fish from the locals and made ceviche for lunch at the beach.

Dinner is where it’s at


I’m a plain eater, so basically all I want is meat and rice haha, but the kitchen staff always whips up some bomb dinners.

Tacos, fish, mole, rice, fresh squeezed/blended fruit juice, etc.

Salina Cruz Surf Spots

Casa Mirador is different from other surf camps you might visit, because no surf spots are walkable here.

The beachbreaks are about a 30 minute drive, and the pointbreaks are about an hour away.

Each evening, you coordinate with your surf guide what time you want to leave in the morning. You meet in the morning and he tells you which spot(s) should be working, and you go from there.

Load up the truck with boards, canopy for shade, chairs, and food (usually just PB & J, bread, and tuna).

Usually we leave around sunrise, and stay out until 3-5pm.

There are palapas at certain surf spots, otherwise the surf guide will set up a canopy for sun protection. It gets HOT here folks.

Palapa at the beach in Salina Cruz

What I Packed for Salina Cruz

  • Surfboard (Firewire Moonbeam, but I ended up not surfing it because the waves were too small), fins, extra leash in case one broke, towel
  • Laptop
  • Clothes – boardshorts, couple tank tops, couple shirts, one pair of shorts, shoes (I forgot my sandals 😝), hat
  • Lumix G7 camera, bendy tripod, batteries, GoPro, Mavic Pro drone
  • Toiletries – toothpaste, floss, contacts, glasses
  • Metal water bottle (filtered water provided at Casa Mirador)
  • Sunscreen
  • Passport, wallet, US cash and some pesos

Total Costs

  • Flight: $330
  • Airport transfers: $64
  • Casa Mirador: $900 ($150/night)
  • Tip: $50. Tipped our guide Juan, and the kitchen staff
  • Misc spending on snacks: ~$25. Usually on our way to the surf spots in the morning, we would stop at a market or gas station to get some junk food snacks and drinks.

Total Cost: $1,319 for 6 nights.

Worth It?

So was it worth spending $1,319 for this Salina Cruz surf trip?

Well, we surfed uncrowded loooong pointbreaks with 85 degree water temps. β˜€οΈπŸŒŠ

Unfortunately the waves weren’t as big as we had hoped… we wanted some head high barrels, but we mostly got 3 foot mushy slow waves.

It was still super fun with the boys, but I think we’ll wait and check the 2-week forecast before booking our next trip, if possible.

If you decide to go with Casa Mirador, tell Cesar Ho Stevie! sent you πŸ€™

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7TILL8 Wetsuit Falling Apart

“What wetsuit should I try next?”

It’s always hard to decide.

Luckily I won this Hurley Advantage Plus 3/2mm fullsuit from a video contest, so the decision was made for me πŸ˜‰

(If you’re curious, my winning video was Pokemon Go, remember that one?)

It was perfect timing to get this wetsuit, because the water temps were dropping in San Diego, and I was getting chilly! My Xcel 3/2 is a couple years old and letting in some water, and even my 1-year-old 7TILL8 4/3 wetsuit is pretty ragged.

7till8-wetsuit-damage

So I put the Hurley Advantage Plus to the test, to see if this 3/2mm was warmer than my year-old 4/3 from 7TILL8.

FIT: 10/10

How The Wetsuit Fits
LOVE the fit on this wetsuit!

I’m 6’1″, 155lbs, and the Medium Tall size fits me perfectly.

Good length on the ankles and wrists, and it hugs the jewels nicely πŸ€— (Unlike the baggy-ness on my 7TILL8).

Really easy to get on and off. PS… do yourself a favor and cop a changing poncho.

WARMTH: πŸ”₯

I’ve gotta say, I think this 3/2 Hurley Advantage Plus is just as warm as last year’s 4/3 from 7TILL8.

I was surprised!

It’s really easy to move in, and of course it has a key loop pocket in the leg (some wetsuits don’t, for whatever reason)
Ho Stevie! leashes have a key pocket in the ankle cuff, but I prefer to keep my key in my wetsuit.

Key Loop Pocket in Hurley Advantage Plus

BUT WAIT βœ‹

It was all going so well…

But after surfing in this wetsuit for about a month, I noticed that the stitching on one of the knees is starting to unravel.

Hurley Advantage Plus unraveling knee

I’ve contacted Hurley about this, but they haven’t gotten back to me yet.

πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ

Besides that problem, I really like the Advantage Plus.

Oh, and the white stripes on the leg are subtle, yet help your friend on the beach pick you out from the crowd.

I’ll update this post if I hear back from Hurley about the knee stitching.

Who’s on the Hurley bandwagon?

*** UPDATE 2/22/19 ***
So Back in December, I DM’d Hurley on Instagram and Facebook, and they gave me an email address to contact (hurley_store@hurley.com if you need it yourself).

I emailed them December 7th explaining this situation, with a link to my video.

And waited…

Finally, 5 weeks laterΒ (January 15th) I received a response.

After a little back and forth (they needed more pictures, model number, etc) they agreed to replace the wetsuit.

I sent the damaged Advantage Plus back to them (they paid for the return shipping label after I asked them to) and my brand new wetsuit arrived about a week later, with no loose threads this time 😊

Now, did they only give me this treatment because of my Youtube channel and blog? Quite possibly. I always wonder in situations like this.

Either way, I have a fresh wetsuit for spring, so I’m stoked! πŸ€™

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7till8 Wetsuit Review

Surfing wetsuits can be expensive.

Earlier this year I reviewed my O’Neill Psychofreak, Xcel Drylock, and Need Essentials fullsuit:

The first two suits cost around $500. The Need Essentials is around $200, but I didn’t like the fact that it doesn’t have a key loop. What am I just supposed to hide my key somewhere while I surf?!

So this fall/winter I got a wetsuit from a new company 7till8, and I put it to the test:

I’ve been wearing this suit almost every day for a few weeks now, and I like it!

It’s warm (I got the 4/3 version), easy to get in and out of (even with the front-zip), AND it has the key loop!
(I could just use the key pocket in my leash, but I prefer to keep it in my wetsuit)

Key Loop in the neck

No rips or seams/threads coming undone in the short time I’ve had it, and hopefully it stays that way.

My only complaint is about the sizing.
I got size MT (I’m 6’1″, 165lbs) and my other MT wetsuits fit me great. This one was maybe a tiny bit short around the ankles, and pretty baggy in my “junk area”.
Not a huge deal though, as I mainly noticed it when walking up and down my stairs, not when I was actually surfing.

A little loose...

Overall I’m super stoked on the suit, and would recommend to anyone! (Actually my neighbor bought one just a few days after he saw me with mine)

7till8 Wetsuit Box

For $225 you get a nice warm wetsuit delivered to your door. Click here to check out the wetsuit that I got.

Oh, and 7till8 are great people with excellent customer support, so that’s always nice πŸ™‚

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Point Break 2015 Review

There has been a lot of hype building up to this movie, but a lot of people predicted disappointment.

That didn’t stop me from seeing it though. If you’re a surfer, you probably feel obligated to see the new Point Break, even if you know it’s going to be painful to watch. And if you thought Keanu’s acting was painful to watch in the original, you better set your expectations very, very low for this one.

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Laird Superfood Creamer review

Surfers love coffee. It’s a well known fact.

I’m actually sipping on some right now, as I write this.

But it’s really about that early morning coffee, heating you up and stimulating your mind and body while you check the waves in the chilly morning air.

I’ve been cutting sugar, dairy and artificial crap out of my diet, so Laird’s Superfood Creamer was a pretty interesting find for me.

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Kelly Slater has been a part of many projects/companies, and Purps is one of those companies.

He started the company about a year ago, with two other partners, PM Tenore and Dr. Chris Schaumburg.

There are three different products in the Purps lineup – Fuel, Hydro, and Vita.
I will be reviewing Fuel, which is basically a healthier version of Monster or Redbull.

It’s not really a surfing product, but since it comes from the mind (or wallet) of Kelly Slater, I thought I’d try it out.

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Surfing with Lifeproof case

There’s really no point in taking your phone surfing when GoPros exist, right?

That’s what I thought… until Periscope.

If you haven’t heard of Periscope yet, it’s a fairly new mobile app for live streaming.

It hasn’t quite blown up yet, but there’s a lot of buzz around it, so I wanted to get in early.
(Follow me @hostevie if you have Periscope)

I upgraded my phone from a Samsung Galaxy S4, to an S6. So I can have the highest quality stream possible.

After doing some research, the Lifeproof case is pretty much the only high-quality option for a waterproof case for my Galaxy S6.

(After upgrading my phone and seeing the poor results with my Lifeproof case, someone recommended a Watershot case. Unfortunately they don’t have a Galaxy S6 version, only iPhone 6. Hopefully they will make one for the S6 soon)

Back to the story…
So I threw down $80 for the Lifeproof case. Other options were water resistant, but not waterproof. It’s a somewhat clunky case, and apparently the audio is greatly affected, but I am only using it when I surf.

Galaxy S6 Lifeproof case
I bite on the floaty when paddling out.

I attached a GoPro backdoor floaty to the back of the Lifeproof case, so I could hold it in my mouth while paddling out.

I took it out on a small day, when the waves were probably only 2 feet.

I started the Periscope broadcast on the sand, and paddled out with the phone in my mouth. As soon as water started to splash on it, things got funky.

The phone thought the water was my fingers, so random things would get “tapped” by the water splashes. Very annoying, and honestly I don’t think I even submerged the phone all the way.

At the end of my first wave, some water splashes made the Periscope app close, and my broadcast was ended. Sad times.

So I didn’t try using the regular photo or video functions on the phone, but I can’t imagine it works any better with those.

Of course I emailed Lifeproof and told them this story, and asked if they had any recommendations.
They replied with the following canned message:
“Thank you for contacting LifeProof. We are excited for the opportunity to assist with your request, and we look forward to exceeding your expectations.

All we need in order to process your replacement is a photo of your LifeProof product. Please follow all directions to prevent any processing delays.”

I did not request a replacement, nor did I say anything was damaged (nothing was). I just asked if they had any suggestions.

So if anyone from Lifeproof is reading this, please leave a comment or email me if you can help! I would love to do some live Periscope broadcasts while surfing every week.

Galaxy S6 waterproof case

I’ll keep trying to do broadcasts (usually weekends with small waves are when I will try this) and maybe Watershot will make a case for the S6 soon.

Please share any advice you might have!

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Proctor Pipsqueak surfboard review

The Pipsqueak has quite a bit of single concave underneath, given the fact that there’s not much rocker. Usually if there’s a lot of concave, it’s because the board has a lot of rocker.

So with minimal rocker and lots of single concave, you get a board with lots of grip and drive. That helps you do really critical turns.

The step-rail, wing in the tail, and channels on the bottom of the tail, all allow you really slide the tail around easily.

The Pipsqueak will work really well in mushy 3 foot waves, allowing you to bring shortboard style ripping to small gutless waves.

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Seaglass Albacore surfboard review

This isn’t your average soft top.

This is an alaia. Alaias are fin-less boards that the ancient Hawaiians used to surf, and they’re notoriously fun for their speed, slide, and glide. But they’re also famously difficult to paddle. You’re pretty much just swimming with a barely-floating piece of wood beneath you.

The aim of the Seaglass Albacore is to bring that slide and glide into a package that’s much more buoyant, so more surfers can appreciate it.

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Proctor Da Monsta surfboard review

Another great board from Proctor.

The tail on Da Monsta is wider than a normal shortboard, but it’s not so wide that it would push you too fast and make you miss sections. Instead, it’s designed to keep you at pace with the pocket of the wave.

Check out Nick Rozsa tearing it up on Da Monsta:

The rocker of Da Monsta is continuous, with no extreme flips up in the nose or tail.

Single concave across the bottom of the entire board tells us that this board is probably good for surfing waves with some punch to them.

If you’re an intermediate to advanced surfer, you’ll probably really like Da Monsta in 4-6ft fair to good waves.

Surfboard Socks