Successful Guide to Havasupai

1. Gear

The hot Arizona desert can be challenging to hike in as the heat beats down on your body and your body fatigues from a heavy pack. The general rule of thumb is to hike with no more than 20% of your body weight so hikers can maintain a good rhythm in every step. This allows for efficiency for the hikes, as heavy packs can be gruesome in the hot desert and incline in terrain. Now that you know your pack weight, try to be a minimalist and carry only things that are a must. The hike out, you’ll feel every ounce of extra weight, as the last 2 miles climb is 2000 feet elevation incline to Hualapai Hilltop.

Here’s what we brought and split between four people:

• Food & Water – We bought freeze-dried food for every meal. For snack, bars, jerky and nuts did the trick. Hiking in to the campground is easier than hiking out as it is mostly downhill. 3 liters of water for each person was just the right amount. Hikers will utilize more water hiking out of the canyon so be prepared to carry extra water bottle. During the hikes we used a lot of electrolyte Gatorade GU packets. These packets help reenergize body during the hike with all the caffeine and amino acids packed into them.
   

• Tent – After much research, a typical 2-3-person lightweight tent was roughly over 5 lbs. We use an REI half dome tent and it worked well. The tent was big enough for 2 people and their backpacks. The tent stakes were a mistake to bring along and only added more weight. The backpacks were heavy enough to serve as this purpose. There are lots of people sleeping in hammocks instead of tents, which, is a lighter option. We would recommend a mosquito net above. If you sleep in a hammock, you can save 5 lbs.

• Backpack – Greggory and REI make some nice hiking packs with a hydration slot. Don’t skimp out on this gear. This is one of the most important pieces of your gear and you’ll spend majority of the hikes with a pack on.
 

• Daypack – Once you setup camp you’ll need a daypack to hike down to Mooney Falls and to Beaver Falls. Mooney is at the end of the campground and Beaver is another 3 miles pass Mooney. A good daypack with a hydration slot seems to work better than a string type of backpack. Hikers should always have a lot of water ready and keep hydrating before it’s too late. This will keep you in good spirits for the remainder of the hikes. Some of the hiking backpack comes with a built in daypack so these are nice features for the better hiking packs and is recommended.
 

• Clothing – Aside from your typical shorts, shirts and swim trunks, it was key to have comfortable pair of hiking shoes, fresh hiking socks and underwear for the long trek. This will help keep your feet from blistering and reduce any chafing from occurring. The nights are pretty warm in May so the need of a jacket wasn’t necessary.
  

• Water shoes – If you’re hiking to Beaver Falls, you’ll need a good pair of water shoes to forge rivers. Last thing you want to do is to damage your feet for the hike out.
 

• Blister and chafing equipment – At any point of time blister(s) are starting to develop, take care of them with some moleskin, band aids, ointment and/or ankle tape. Since you’re putting a lot of miles on your feet, take good care of them before it’s too late. Baby powder is great for reducing the friction between your thighs known as chafing. These items shouldn’t be overlooked because this will help keep you comfortable during hikes.
   

• Money – There are vendor carts at the beginning of the campground so bring lots of cash. Even though it’s over price food, it’s nice to eat a hot meal other than freeze-dried food. Meals range from $8 to $14 depending on the meal and drinks are $3 to $5 (soda and Gatorade).

• Sleeping gear – The Thermarest Z-Pad at only 11 ounces is light. You can fold the foam on top of each other for a thicker pad more comfortable sleep. In the summer, a sleeping bag might be over kill cause of the heat so you can get away with a thin lightweight blanket.

• Water packs – Osprey and Geigerrig hydration packs were selected choice for this trip. We ran out of water coming back out at 3 and 2 Liters. However, we pack an extra bladder for hiking out. We bought a 2-gallon collapsible water container for cooking. It was light weight and work wonders. The fresh spring in camp is free but is towards the front of the 1-mile campsite.
 

• Cooking supplies – MSR makes a really good lightweight burner and the small propane tanks are easy to pack. When it came to a camping pot, we used GSI camp stove. It is lightweight and comes with 2 bowls, which fit right inside of the pot making it easily packable without a hassle. As far as utensils, we packed some plastic forks and spoons and washed them with a very small sponge and biodegradable soap.
   
• Lighting – Get a good headlamp and make sure it works before the trip. I used a Black Diamond Storm. It was a good thing I brought an extra pair of batteries because the Goal Zero rechargeable batteries doesn’t work with this headlamp. This was a fail. We also had a Petzel Actik Core, which comes with a rechargeable lithium battery pack that worked well but, not as comfortable as the Black Diamond. Since there are no fire or fire pits allowed in the campground, a good lantern is a necessity. All the lanterns we had were bulky or heavy so we ended up using a battery powered string lights. The one we used was only about 1.6 ounces and emits just enough light in main part of the campground with 50 LED lights.

• Hiking poles – These can help as your body starts to fatigue on the longer hikes. It’ll keep you stable and less likely to tip over as you have more support points.

• Facemask – Mules run up and down the trail all day long kicking up dust. You end up drinking or breathing the dirt in the air. Find a lightweight cool facemask you can use as a mask or cooling towel.
 

• Rodent Proof Bag – Protect your food. Squirrels and other varmints can be aggressive chewing through tents or other plastic bags. The last thing you want is to hike 2 miles to the village to buy expensive food.


2. Training

Yes, there are people who have completed the hike without any type of conditioning or training but, it makes for an easier adventure if you train your legs and core before heading to the Hilltop to start your descend into the canyon. We trained for about a month and never had an issue with legs getting too tired. Here’s how we trained:

• Monday (cardio) – 5 to 10 minute stretch. 25 minutes on the treadmill with half the time jogging and the other half walking uphill. 20 minutes on the bike at a good pace.

• Tuesday (cardio) – 5 to 10 minute stretch. 25 minutes on the elliptical and 20 minutes on the bike at a good pace.

• Wednesday – Go for a light hike with pack on.

• Thursday – Yoga exercise to stretch shoulder, back and legs.

• Friday – 5 to 10 minute stretch. Squats, lunges, calf raises and a couple of core exercises with 4 intervals and 20 reps

• Sunday – Go for a hike and increase weight in your pack

 


3. Mental State of Mind

It’s easy to lose sight of your goal when the going gets tough but, focusing on what the goal is and refocusing yourself on matter at hand will keep your mind positive moving you forward.

Take Breaks – The hike is long so take breaks when needed to help keep you focus on getting to your next destination. Also, breaks are a good time to take some energy booster electrolyte packets to keep your energy up and therefore, keeping you positive.

Group/Team – We found having a good group of people who you can talk to and rely on makes for completing the hike and time go by faster.

Water – Keep your body hydrated even when you’re not thirsty. Often times it’s a little too late by the time your body is dehydrated and your body starts to cramp up or experience heat exhaustion. Make a conscious effort to continuously drink water. This will help keep you from your breaking point.

 


4. Hiking Techniques

 

• Backpack adjustment – I really had no idea there was a technique to sitting your pack on your back until this trip. Adjust the waist buckle tight so there is less weight on your shoulders. This will allow for more weight on your legs then shoulders. Trust me, you would rather have more weight on your legs then shoulders for 4 to 6 hours.

• Hiking uphill – The last 2 miles on the way back is uphill. Take smaller steps so you don’t fatigue as easy. Remember you’re in it for the long haul so find a good uphill pace so you can complete the hike.

• Keep your pack balanced – As you take more and more breaks it’s better to keep your pack well balanced so you’re not tipping over when resting or taking breaks. It’ll be more comfortable in the long run.


5. Recommendations

 

Don’t use the mules. They look malnourish and dehydrated. The helicopter is a better option.
Pack accordingly and bring only what you really need. You don’t need soda or candy bars for a short period of time.
• Get a roto cooler like a Pelican, Yeti or Rtic so ice will last in your car and you’ll have cold drinks when you reach your vehicles to hydrate.
• Hike out all the trash you bring in or learn how to be a minimalist for a few days so you don’t have to hike out much trash.
• Don’t bring floaties. There is a ton of floaties lying around and people don’t hike them out. Don’t be those people.

 

Top 7 Paddle Techniques for Surfing

Top 7 Paddle Techniques for Surfing

1. Keep your body and board parallel to reduce drag.

Often times when surfers start out they’re too far back or forward on the board leaving too much of the back of your body in the water or too much front of the body into the water slowing the surfer down. Keep the body straight and flat like a freestyle swimmer would. This makes the surfer more arrow dynamic in the water.
In Figure 1: The surfer is leaned too much towards the back of the surfboard causing drag.
In Figure 2: The surfer is leaned too far forward which not only causes drag but, will slow the paddle because it now takes extra effort to lift the arms out of the warm. Also, this often results in a nose dive on take off or dropping into the wave.
In Figure 3: The body of the surfer is perfectly positioned being level and keeping the body flat to propel through the water more efficiently.


2. Keep your body in a straight line

Often times when new surfers paddle, their body isn’t in a straight line causing energy wasted. If the body isn’t straight the surfer often rocks back and forth or yawing. The best way to demonstrate this is to watch the video below of Kelly Slater vs Taylor Clark paddle differences. Taylor yawing actually slows him down compare to Kelly’s perfect paddle making him fast and efficient. This can be attributed to Kelly’s body position being straight and arrow dynamic letting him glide through the quickly.

3. Kick and Paddle into Waves

The paddle and kick combo takes a little to get use to but done correctly will help surfers get into the wave faster. Imagine swimming with just paddling with your arms. When you look at swimmers they always use their arms and feet regardless of the type of swim style. This also applies in surfing but, we don’t recommend kicking to position. The surfers body is usually flat and not in the wave until actually paddling for the wave.

4. Build Your Paddle Strength

When new surfers start out, often times there is a struggle because the body is not familiar with shoulder and core muscles. It does take a time to obtain and build these areas of the body so surf and surf often. There are a ton of surfing types of exercises you can find on youtube but, getting in the water as frequent as possible will in the end be better.

5. Dig and Extend Paddle Strokes

How bad do you want to get into the wave? Dig deep into the paddle and extend the stroke to push your whole body through. Once the surfer has found this rhythm and use this technique, the surfer will retain this feeling through muscle memory and try to apply this form to get into more breaks. When surfers dig deep and fully extend their arms, they’re utilizing more surface area of the arm and will help push through the water faster.


6. Match Volume to Weight to Reduce Drag

This one is to the surfers discretion because experience surfers some time use less volume to be more agile and maneuverable on the wave. View the board article written HERE to match weight to surfboard volume.

7. Keep Elbows Up When Paddling

This point goes back to point one reducing drag where keeping your elbow high will also reduce drag in your paddle. In addition, it can provide for a deeper stroke if done correctly. In this form, the body will be aligned with the elbow therefore, keeping the body from the rocking or yawing effect and a more efficient paddle through the water. Refer to the Kelly Slater vs Taylor Clark video above.

Futures Fins – John John Florence Medium Techflex Thruster (2016 Colorway)
Futures Fins – Rob Machado Thruster

Fin Basics

OVERVIEW OF FINS

Larger fins will have more hold and control and more ideal for larger waves. Smaller fins are skatier and looser for more maneuverability. Also, there are weight requirements per fin size.

120lbs. and under
120lbs. – 155lbs.
145lbs. – 175lbs.
175lbs. – 200lbs.
190lbs. and up

 

FIN BASE

The bottom part of the fin which attach to the board with allen screws. With FCS the allen screws usually attaches from the side (there are newer FCS technology which you can simply pop the fins in without screws) and with Futures there attached on the bottom of the base. The longer and wider the base, the more smooth in the turn transition and the ability to follow through the turn smoothly. With a smaller slimmer and shorter base, there is more ability for sharper turns. Below you’ll see the differences between FCS and Future fins.

FIN RAKE

The Fin Rake is refered to as the angle/arc of the fin. Fins with more angle and less sharp stance are generally used to for those large waves and smooth transitions in riding the longer waves. Fins with more of sharp angle and more fin in the water will provide quicker turns and movements in smaller sections.

FIN FOIL

The movement of the water through the fin. I found a couple of different shapes listed below.
• Flat Foil – generally allows riders to pivot quickly through turns while giving them really good overall control. This is the most common foil pattern.
• Inside Foil – a more advance design built to reduce fin drag riders can manage and increase their speed in heavy sections.
• 80/20 Foil – This center fin is built for increase speed and smooth transitions in various conditions.
• 50/50 Foil – The most common center fin and provides built evenly to allow water to pass through evenly. Good hold and control.

Surfboard Basics

There is no right or wrong board size. The best board is the one you ride the best and enjoy. This could mean that it has more or less volume then the next guy. Everyone has a different body type so select the board that works with your ride style. Below you’ll find the basic of boards as it relates to shapes, sizes and tail patterns.

 

SHAPES

Stand Up Paddle Board

Generally 10’6 or 11 feet but, there are smaller ones for SUP surfing. This board has a ton of volume so you can stand up and cruise around with a paddle.

longboard

Can be as long as a SUP but, has less volume so surfers are paddling into waves with their arms rather than a plastic or carbon paddle.

Funboard

Are often in the 7’10” and 8 feet range. Rides more like a longboard but easier to carve as riders don’t have to dig or lean into their turns as much.

Gun

Ideal for big wave surfing such as Jaws or Mavericks. This board has more volume compared to a SHORTBOARD to easily paddle into big waves.

SHORTBOARD

Range from 5 feet to 6 feet plus. When selecting the right SHORTBOARD, board volume and height should match surfers weight and height to maximize paddling efficiency.

Fish

Has more volume compared to a SHORTBOARD but, these boards are shorter and wider.

SIZE

Board sizes are based on average skills and paddle strength. This chart doesn’t reflect or factor board volume.

SHORTBOARD

Rider Weight Board Size
100 – 145 5’2″ – 5’8″
145 – 165 5’8″ – 6’0″
165 – 185 6’0″ – 6’5″
185 – 205 6’0″ – 6’6″
205 + 6’7″ +

Fish

Rider Weight Board Size
100 – 145 5’1″ – 5’5″
145 – 165 5’5″ – 5’9″
165 – 185 5’8″ – 5’11”
185 – 205 5’9″ – 6’2″
205 + 6’2″ +

Funboard

Rider Weight Board Size
100 – 145 7’0″ – 7’2″
145 – 165 7’2″ – 7’4″
165 – 185 7’6″ – 7’8″
185 – 205 7’8″ – 7’10”
205 + 7’10” – 8′

longboard

Rider Weight Board Size
100 – 145 8’0″ – 8’6″
145 – 165 8’6″ – 9’0″
165 – 185 9’0″ – 9’6″
185 – 205 9’0″ – 9’6″
205 + 9’6″

SUP

Rider Weight Board Size
100 – 145 8’0″ – 8’6″
145 – 165 8’6″ – 9’0″
165 – 185 9’0″ – 10’6″
185 – 205 10’6″ – 11’0″
205 + 11’0″ +

FOAM

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) also known as styrofoam

Pros Con
Resin mends with EPS Foam because the foam isn’t as dense and can seep into the foam for better contact. Absorbs water.
Light weight. EPS Foam is expensive.
Easy to shape and manipulate. The chemicals are bad for the environment.
Small repairs are easy to do with Suncure or Solarez. Not to be left out in the sun (need to let the cell breath) because the foam can heat up.
Floats well and flexible. Blank foam templates are machined and not handcrafted.

Extruded Polystyrene (XPS)

Pros Con
The foam is dense making it hard for water to absorb. XPS Foam is expensive.
Light weight. Doesn’t bond to resin as well.
XPS foam is durable. Can easily delaminate.
Easier to shape and sand down to the perfect shape. The foam needs to breath because of gas build up so companies are introducing vents (Thermovents) in these boards.

SHORTBOARD VOLUME BY WEIGHT

If you’re able to take anything away from this page it should be volume by surfers weight. When starting out, it is best to have the correct volume to the surfers weight. The more volume the easier it is to paddle and stand up on the board. Maximize your time in the water by finding the correct volume in the chart above. Please understand, the chart above is for an average surfer with intermediate skill level. If you are a beginner you may add a few more liter and subtract a few liter if you’re an expert.

Traditional Surfboard Tail Patterns and What They Do

 

Overview

These days there are so many different types of surfboard tail patterns but the ones mentioned below are what we’ve tested and the most common. Every tail pattern does different things from stability to maneuverability. Match the one that fits your style of riding.

The Squash Tail

The Squash Tail is one of the most common among all surfboards. The tail itself will provide the surfer good hold because there is a little more drag on the tail. Generally, speaking people do start with this tail pattern and shift or test other pattern that defines their ride style. If not sure about what tail pattern to go with, then we would recommend the squash tail because it handles well in all kinds of conditions and progress from there.

The Swallow Tail

From our experience the Swallow Tail does provide the surfer good hold but, the shortboards we generally rode were fast when it was a swallow tail. Trying this tail for the first time can take a bit to get use to as cause of the skatie feeling we go from the boards we tested. These tail patterns are usually on high performance boards. A good example is Mick Fanning riding a DHD swallow tail.

The Pin Tail

A lot of surfers usually select the Pin Tail because less drag on the tail so these tails are usually used for bigger waves to generate enough speed to get in and out of the waves without getting clobbered. It’s not unusual to surf these in smaller waves but, most big wave surfers will use a pin tail.

The Fish Tail

Fish surfboards usually have a lot of volume for smaller waves. These boards are great for bigger wider turns like how you would ride a longboard. The fish surfboards are really fun and one of the popular fish these days would be a Mini Simmons.

The Round Tail

The Round Tail is a little looser as the tail is smooth and there are no hard points. It can feel a little skatie and some times does take time to get use to. With that said, surfers like these because of the maneuverability of this tail and performance is great for more advance surfers.

The Bat Tail

The Bat Tail does have a wider tail and rounded with points so we’ve seen good transition with hold. We’ve seen most of these boards as a quad fin setup and can be surfed in various conditions.

Overall

There are many more shapes and sizes but these are the most common. We’ve test multiple shortboards with these shapes and the outcome are listed above.

Build a Portable Shower for under $35

Below are the items to build a portable shower.

1. $14.99 Greenwood 2 Gallon Garden Sprayer. Harbor Freight Item Number 95690

This was purchased at a local Harbor Freight. They had different capacity tanks from 1.25 gallon, 2 gallon and a 5 gallon backpack. The 2 gallon seems like a good size to haul around while giving you enough water to last you about a dozen surf sessions.

Buy on Amazon here: 2 gal. Home and Garden Sprayer from TNM


2. $4.39 3/8 inch x 1/4 inch Push Connect – Push Fit Coupling. Lowes Item Number 748571

Take off the Harbor Freight spray nozzle and connect the barb push connect to the sprayer line.

Buy on Amazon here: Tru-Flate 21-143 1/4″ NPT Male Fitting x 3/8″ ID Hose Barb Type Fitting

3. $0.45 one foot of 1/2 inch PVC Tubing. Lowes Item Number 748277

Lowes sells this tubing by the foot so cut off about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 of the tube with a cutter.

Buy on Amazon here: Duda Energy LPpvc050-010ft 10′ x 1/2″ ID Low Pressure Clear Flexible PVC Tubing Heavy Duty UV Chemical Resistant Vinyl Hose Water Oil

4. $1.48 two count #4 clamps 1/4 inch to 5/8 inch. Lowes Item Number 417876

You’ll need three clamps so buy two bags. Attach and tighten on both sides of the 3/8 inch x 1/4 inch.

Buy on Amazon here: Size 4 (1/4″ ~ 5/8″) All Stainless Hose Clamp, 1/2″ Bandwidth, Pack of 10

5. $6.79 1/2 inch barb to 3/4 inch hose connector. Lowe Item Number 748333

Clamp on the 1/2 inch barb.

Buy on Amazon here: Anderson Metals Brass Garden Hose Fitting, Connector, 1/2″ Barb x 3/4″ Male Hose


6. $4.98 Orbit Metal Compact Dial. Lowes Item Number 417876

Wrap a little teflon tape to the 3/4 inch hose connector to prevent water leaking. Make sure all connectors are tight.

Buy on Amazon here: Best Garden Hose Nozzle (HIGH PRESSURE TECHNOLOGY) – 8 Way Spray Pattern – Jet, Mist, Shower, Flat, Full, Center, Cone, and Angel Water Sprayer Settings – Rear Trigger Design – Steel Chrome Design

7. $1.48 Blue Hawk 0.6-in x 43-ft Plumber’s Tape

Buy on Amazon here: Teflon Thread Seal Tape PTFE Thread Seal Tape 1/2″ x 260″

Watch the video below to put it all together