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Everyone wants to add surfing to their repertoire.

There is a method to do so without looking as kooky as possible and eventually securing a spot among the local surfers. Whatever coast you abide, these are the “don’ts” as you make your junket through mastering the art of surfing.

Do not “Go big or go home”
Try to ride anything over 5 feet and you will learn what it feels like to be thrown in a washing machine. “Big boards and small waves.” This must be your novice mantra whilst mastering surfing. It is impossible to start off with a 6’ 1” performance board. It doesn’t matter if you are Shawn White and chalk up decades of experience snowboarding or skating. Starting on a short board is the equivalent of riding a toothpick. Remember you are not on solid ground and liquid is exponentially more difficult to canter. Do yourself a favor by housing copious amounts of foam under your feet to make this experience a little easier on suitably small waves.

Stop over adorning with flashy overpriced gear
If you want to scream “kook” in your appearance in the lineup, wear some booties, a thousand dollar neon wetsuit, and smear some pink Zinka on your face. Everyone will catch your stink bug stance and glimmering presence out of their peripherals. No one appreciates a wannabe, so don’t look the part without gaining the experience first. We all know you spend countless of hours on YouTube watching the cultured greats in their sponsored gear. It’s good to study up, observe and imitate. But do the observation and imitation of perfect roundhouses and gliding floaters before you think you can start looking like Donavon Frankenreiter.

The lineup is not for you
Isolate yourself to the far reaches of the earth until you are truly worthy of the lineup. These locals are not your buddys, they will not give you a thumbs up when you stand, or speak kind words to you. That’s what the pleasant people at surf school are for, perhaps a better fit for the weak of heart and mind. “Dickweed” and a “Barney” will be your new nicknames if your place yourself in their midst. It is dangerous to yourself and the experienced surfers constantly swerving out of the way of your clumsy endeavors. Remember, you are a naïve intruder in what some believe to be sacred waters. Find an isolated small wave beach before entering the hectic reality of the main spots.

Resist regurgitating surfer lingo
Do not converse like Spicoli. This is not the 80’s, and the average surfer nowadays works a 9 to 5 job. They fit in a morning or afternoon session whenever possible and their language is quaint and cordial in the water; so don’t refer to surfers as brah and broski all the time until you gain that right. Talk to them like normal people do and you may make some friends. Words like gnarlyexcellentprimo and rad should be kept to a bare minimum. It’s best to keep your mouth shut until your poor surfing style is remedied and refined through the furnace.

Don’t expect any respect
Respect is earned, never given. In many surf spots the respect of the locals has taken decades to accrue. The amount of respect you gain all comes down to two things. Your surfing prowess, and how well you can coexist with the surfers around you. Don’t start a war and accept you’re a beta. If you idiotically cut anyone off in the lineup make sure an apology is the first thing out of your mouth, then learn from your mistake. Wait patiently, when your turn comes shine brighter than a strobe light. Learn now you are not worthy, but in time and with constant upskilling all things are possible. One day you may yet become an alpha.

Baby steps
Obviously you won’t be launching massive rodeo flips in your first week. Don’t expect to look pretty or gain any type of distinguishing style at first. All humans rolled, crawled, walked before they could sprint. Every session keep one intent or objection on your mind. Master the cutback today, and the off the lip tomorrow. Religiously prime that one move until it comes naturally at the right sections. Go ahead and read step-by-step tips of various pros in your surfing magazine, or bring up some vids online. Soon you will have the intuition and experience to generate perfect combinations.

Don’t talk a big game
The worst thing you can do is over embellish and stretch the reality of your surfing repertoire. So what? You’ve been surfing for a month. If you lay it on thick to every other person about the barrel you were in for two seconds, you’re bound to piss off some real surfers. Just go out there and freak out on some good waves. Until you have a couple of paying sponsor stickers on your stick, be humble and dote on the betterment of your surfing craft.


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But despair not, dear reader. Outdoor Tech comes bearing glad tidings, for the essence of extremeness has at last been divined! It cannot be reduced to a mere definition, but must be revealed in action. It is for this reason we present to you these 6 sports, each of which perfectly captures what it means to be extreme.

Chessboxinghttp://www.cameracrewgermany.com/uploads/2012/11/chess-Boxing-6.jpgThat’s right: chessboxing. Created by a Dutch performance artist in the early 2000’s, chessboxing is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a hybrid sport which combines the mental finesse of chess with the physical demands of boxing to create what may very well be the most extreme sport ever. Each chessboxing match consists of 11 3-minute rounds, which alternate between chess and boxing. Competitors win by either knockout or checkmate. Bet you wish you hadn’t given the high school chess club so much grief now, huh?

Space Divinghttp://media-channel.nationalgeographic.com/media/uploads/photos/content/video/2012/10/05/1778243929_1778243929_Space_Dive.jpgYou probably first heard of space diving when Felix Baumgartner set a skydiving world record by jumping out of a balloon at 127,000 feet as part of the Red Bull Stratos project. As it turns out however, space diving has been around since 1960, when Air Force captain and all around badass Joseph Kittinger jumped from a weather balloon at 102,000 feet and reached speeds over 600 mph on his descent to earth. His record stood for 52 years until it was broken by Baumgartner in 2012. Best part about this? Kittinger served as the Stratos capsule communicator and was there to meet Baumgartner when he landed.

Tar Barrelshttp://www.quirkyguide.com/qg2/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Allendale-Buachallbo.jpgCalling ‘Tar Barrels’ a sport might be a bit of a stretch, but it is pretty extreme. What happens is every November 5, a bunch of Englishmen get together in Ottery St. Mary to run up and down the streets while carrying flaming barrels of tar on their backs. It’s less about competition than being able to prove that you’re willing to do something that no sane person would agree to.  Yeah, that’s pretty much it. Nobody knows why this tradition came about really (some claim ties to the famous gunpowder plot of 1605), but the folks of Ottery will defend to their death the right to do it.

Volcano Surfinghttp://ziventures.com/sitebuilder/images/volcano_boarding2-800x687.jpgAgain, here’s a sport which doesn’t need much explaining. The basic idea is this: find a volcano, hike to the top, strap a modified snowboard to your feet and proceed to shred some obsidian. The sport was dreamt up by National Geographic journalist and transhumanist presidential candidate Zoltan Istvan when he was 21 years old on a solo sailing journey around the world.  According to him, there’s two ways to go about it. You can take the easy way out and carve up an inactive volcano. Or you can really earn some respect by surfing an active volcano… just watch out for the molten lava. And ash that cuts like glass. And the cliffs. And the poisonous gasses. Don’t worry—I’m sure you’ll be fine.

Extreme Ironinghttp://ak-hdl.buzzfed.com/static/2014-09/24/16/enhanced/webdr09/enhanced-21177-1411590039-2.jpgThis is a sport that requires very little investment to get into. All you need is an iron, some wrinkled laundry, a sense of humor, and poor judgment. All good to go? Okay, now go find the most dangerous locale you can think of and start getting rid of those creases. Created by an Englishman in the late 90s, Extreme Ironing is half joke and half serious. It’s gained something of a cult following in the last decade, with enthusiasts taking their board everywhere from war zones to the top of moving cars to the bottom of the ocean.

Bull Surfinghttp://adventure-journal.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/indian-bull-surfing-660.jpgWhat better way to celebrate a successful harvest than by strapping yourself behind a bull and surfing through some paddy fields? According to the opinion of the residents of Kerala, India, there is no better way. Each year, the villagers come out at the end of August to watch dozens of their closest friends stand on a board that is yoked to two bulls and proceed to surf (okay, that’s a euphemism, ‘dragged’ is probably more accurate) through ankle deep water in their fields. While you can’t really ‘lose’ at this sport, it’s safe to say that everyone who participates in something as awesome as Bull Surfing can be called a winner.

We love you, just remember that.

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