It took a surfing injury to keep me out of the water for what has to be almost three months now. I tried surfing last week, which didn’t work out too well. I feel like I could still be a month out of the water. Hard to stay out of the surf for that long, but it has been good in that it has allowed me to progress tons on my various “joe walsh projects”. I am a better man for having torn my MCL. My swiss ball and mountain bike have become my new best friends, trying to replace my surfboards. They know its only temporary, and that soon we must have an open relationship, one that includes daily surfing. I cannot fucking wait to pull into some pits in the Tamarindo Rivermouth.
Farmer Joe’s Chickens: the chicken farming has gone better than expected. On our farm, we have slaughtered 200 of the 400 initial chicks I purchased from the veterinarian in Santa Cruz these past few months. All of this chicken was served in our Tamarindo restaurant Eat @ Joe’s (located within Witch’s Rock Surf Camp). We sold a few to friends and neighbors. The chicken has been better than any chicken we have purchased from the grocery stores. It was thick and tasty, easy to remove from the bone. It was the perfect chicken, really it was. We have now personally gone through the process of raising chickens and bringing them from our local farm to the restaurant table, without using any hormones or antibiotics. If anyone has any questions about raising chickens let me know, its pretty awesome to have some chicken farming skills, I’d love to help you out. Power to the chicken farmers!
Making Surfboards with Robert August: talk about WOW. I mean, honestly, to be able to hang with a guy like Robert who has shaped over 32,000 surfboards and watch him shape a surfboard, and learn the little things that would have taken me years to figure out on my own… its epic. And its right here in my back yard. I’m super lucky to have this opportunity to learn more of this craft, and from a true legend like Robert August. From a guy who at the age of 18 jumped on an airplane and traveled around the world surfing places like the central coast of Africa. Robert August, in his follow-up Endless Summer II, inspired me to drive a school bus to Costa Rica to start Witch’s Rock Surf Camp, and now here I am starting to make surfboards with the guy. How did this happen?
A movie screening of the Endless Summer, narrated by Robert August, at Witch’s Rock Surf Camp, Tamarindo, Costa Rica – 6/9/11
Helping A Friend So A Friend Can Help Me: my buddy JP has been running the Hotel Tilawa for the past 20 years, a 23 room resort overlooking Lake Arenal, a place that could use a little love and hospitality efforts. He wants to get out of the hotel running game so he can focus on “his projects”. And let me tell you, his projects are pretty damn awesome. He builds eco-homes, holds patents on various fixtures and building processes, brews amazing beer, and is also involved in some cool farming projects, just to name a few. He and I share a similar vision for how a business can promote social responsibility and are in the process of trying to figure out how we can structure a partnership. I want to make beer and raise chicken with JP, but in order to do this I must help him organize and manage his hotel. Its a pretty funny scenario, but its crazy enough it just might work! WRSC past-intern Bruce and his girlfriend Marjorie are back in town. They visited the hotel with Holly and I and our boys this past weekend and have volunteered to oversee running operations there. The place is perfect for Zephyr headquarters, which would mean that Zephyr would be opening an eco adventure resort and learning center in the near future.
Even the consideration of doing something like this has forced me to review what I am doing at Witch’s Rock Surf Camp. No matter what, I cannot do anything that would take anything away from WRSC. But this would add to it. I have no interest in opening another surf camp, but I have a lot of interest in helping to open a resort that gives people a completely different yet amazing experience, one that arms people with learning and experiences that they can take home and apply back where they live. An opportunity like this would allow us to start workshops teaching classes in sustainability, something I have always wanted to be able to do. And talk about an awesome location on the lake in Arenal, the energy center of Costa Rica: wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, biomass, its all here. We get to take over a brewery, which is currently brewing a great wheat and pale ale beer. I mean seriously, for how many years have I been talking about wanting to brew beer??? (search my last 5 years of blogs and you’ll see) And we get to bring this beer back to Eat @ Joe’s and El Vaquero (which, as of 8pm tonight, was finally granted it’s own liquor license by the muni and will be opening tomorrow or Thursday latest). Hoo Rah! Lets not forget about the chickens, and the fact that if I move them to this farm there is a built-in commercial kitchen, which will make things like selling chicken to other restaurants and grocery stores a reality. And JP is all part of the show, giving tours and leading the way. The guy is brilliant, he’s a mad scientist, he’s the kind of guy guys like me get along quite well with.
Growing the Team: Only by finding the right people can anything happen. Lately I have reached out to my friends and their friends, and online in blogs, and on facebook, trying to find people to help me out. And you know what? It works! People really do want to help! I have since hired an awesome programmer named Matt Criticos, who is from the UK but lives in France. I’ve never met Matt in person but I work with him than most anyone else the last few weeks. I’ve started working with blogger and surfer Shaun Johnson, who just went under the knife to repair his ACL this morning (we have lots in common). Shaun is a friend of a couple of friends of mine, and once we started talking, it was obvious that he was just as if not more interested in social media and connecting with people than I am. He is working freelance from Utah as of now, with the idea that he moves down here to Tamarindo in the near future. I’ve started working with blogger and surf traveler Srini Rao, author of the blog the Skool Of Life. He’s helping me get off of my ass and do some things I’ve been meaning to do but needed motivation and clarity and other peers to accomplish. All of these guys have been a great help. I’m also getting help from Joe Miller, a PhD MBA genius from Atlanta who is doing some business scenario studies regarding the chicken and beer endeavors, and Stew Meyer, an expert in sustainability who worked for California governor Jerry Brown and has volunteered his help on the Zephyr project. And its because Stew is a friend of a friend, a return guest, an awesome guy named Gary Schneiderman. And then of course I’ve got my boy Bruce, who seems to show up in my life wherever I go and is always helping me out so much its not even funny.
The crazy thing about all of this is that I couldn’t do anything if I didn’t surround myself with experts. Literally each of these people is much better than me at different things. Its about recognizing these skills, as well as your own skills, and building a power team around you that kicks major ass. Ooops, I almost forgot that I reconnected with insane artist Jon Arvizu of Trapdoor Studio (responsible for earlier WRSC t-shirt designs, Witch’s Rock surfboard logos, more) who is now designing some awesome shit that you’ll see soon enough. And there are a couple more, but I don’t want to ramble. All I can say is that its awesome and imperative to have a good team, no matter what size, that you can rely on to help carry out your crazy missions.
Witch’s Rock Surf Camp has a fan page: make sure to visit the new WRSC facebook fan page and LIKE it, so you’re plugged in to WRSC’s ongoing feed of fresh updates: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Witchs-Rock-Surf-Camp/77957741443
1) We will be shutting down our profile page, which has maxed out of friends
2) We put everything on facebook first, then the newsletter twice/month because we don’t want to spam you, then a wrsc blog later on
3) because you’re on facebook all day long anyways, and at least this way you can check in on what the waves are doing, and who knows, you might realize that we’re posting some cool shit to help you break up your day and avoid those TPS reports
So, thats the general update on a few major things going on down here. As you can see, my knee injury and inability to surf has given me free time to grow an army and do some cool shit. I’d love to hear any suggestions or ideas you might have. We are a tribe of people interested in the same things, obviously we must be if you’re reading this blog, so throw it out there. pura vida. Joe Walsh- Tamarindo, Costa Rica