Friday, October 29, 2010

Crossfit day 5 - WOD

After finding out my maximal lifts the day before I thought I would be a bit more stiff the following morning. I guess the addition of protein shakes directly post workout are allowing my muscles to recover quicker. Gotta love smart nutrition!

Today was a workout that consisted of double under skips which is a new movement to me and one I have been fearing to enter a workout! The workout went like this

30 Double Unders
30 Pull Ups
30 Double Unders
45 Push Ups
30 Double Unders
60 Sit Ups
30 Double Unders
75 Squats (body weight)

It didn't look like a crazy one but if there is something I have learnt it is that WOD's are deceiving.

Going into this workout my double under record in a row was 15. Not very promising considering I had to get through 120 reps and I usually completed 2 or 3 in a row before I duffed.

We got going and I aspired for 6 sets of 5 double under reps to get through the 30. I made it through easier than I thought and then aspired to get 6 sets of 5 kipping pull ups. I got two sets of 5 before my form broke down and had to shift to sets of 3, then 2, then 1. Once again my muscles haven't allowed me to get enough reps in a row to gas out but I certainly got shaky!

The double unders got a little easier the more I fatigued as my form stiffened and I was forced to be more efficient. Push ups started with sets of 10 but turned into sets of 4, 2 and then my last 3 were singles. Heaving is a word that comes to mind at this point but and I was halfway throught; good times!

Another 30 double unders and I passed to sit ups. I am good at them but my speed isn't there. I completed 30, 20, 10 with breaks of 5 seconds in between and it felt more like a rest than an exercise. I was taxed but I had somehow recovered some air during the sit ups. I came into this last set of double unders wanting to shred and shred I did. Out of nowhere I hit 30 in a row!!!! Amazing! I hit 20 and couldn't believe it but went with it! I found my rhythm and performed the 30 double unders flawlessly! Off to my strength; squats.

I pumped out 25, 15, then committed to finishing the last 35 straight. I finished with a time of 12:53.

It was a great workout and my entire body was pretty evenly spent. I loved the athleticism and endurance required to do the body weight exercises and I look forward to getting fitter, stronger, faster and more aggressive in my Crossfit performance.

Crossfit Day 4 - Strength

Yesterday's workout destroyed me at the time but I recovered enough to play ball that night and not be all that sore the next morning! 

Today's lineup involved some heavy lifting as I was scheduled to find out my maximal weights in the front squat, bench press and power cleans. I was really excited about this because I haven't done much in the way of front squatting or power cleaning and I was really keen to discover my 5 rep maximums.

I did the warmup on the board and then dove into the front squat. My wrists aren't very flexible so the movement ins't comfortable but the lighter weights weren't bad in my 5 rep sets. Once I got above 185lbs I had to put on wrist braces to support this vulnerable position but my legs didn't fail me. I lifted comfortably until 225lbs and then my wrists gave out after the second rep so I had to settle for a maximum of 215. 

The bench press by no means my strength but it is a movement I am comfortable with. I hadn't done any bench pressing for the past 6 months so I was interested to know what my count would be. The warm up sets went quickly and before I knew it I was lifting 195lbs firmly for 5. I got up to 215lbs and decided that was my 5 rep max as the last rep was a struggle. I was pleased with that because my chest feels small and weak but I guess I had a little more in the tank than I thought! 

Power cleans were going to be a surprise because I have never pushed myself in that specific lift. I have had some training but all in all it has not been a staple in my training program until this last pre-season but even then we weren't pushed much. My warm ups were clean lifts and Mark our trainer was pleased with my form. I moved up in 10lbs increments and before I knew it was above what I thought I could do with no form for a 3 rep maximum. The 10lbs kept on pilling on and the heavier I got the better the lifts felt! I finally hit 225 and completed the 3 reps perfectly; AMAZING! I was cleaning more than I could front squat! I didn't see that one coming but I guess having deadlift as my strongest movement really helps with my clean. 

I was one happy camper. Power cleans are something I want to get REALLY good at and in one session my confidence and skill soared. I can't wait to push this lift and get into the 300's! I did 30 roll outs in 5 quick sets of 6 and then guzzled my protein shake. It was a great workout at Titanium Crossfit in Courtenay and I thank Mark for being such a caring and attentive trainer.

I am going to sleep well tonight so I can attack the WOD tomorrow! 

Crossfit Day 3

After a weekend of rest and epsom salt baths and stretching I recovered and blasted into my Monday Crossfit commitment. I returned to a workout named "Fight Gone Bad" and boy did it feel just like that. 

Fight Gone Bad consists of 5 exercises you perform in a row for a minute with no rest between. Once one full circuit is completed then you are given 1 minute rest and then you perform the 5 exercises in a row for a second and then a third set. Here are the exercises in no particular order-

Wall Ball 
Sumo Deadlift High Pull (75lbs)
Box Jumps
Push Press (75lbs)
Rowing (calorie count after a minute)

Well being new to Crossfit helped me because I didn't really think of how bad this workout was going to be! It was heavy, very heavy and I set a goal to complete 20 reps in each exercise for all rounds. I started on wall ball which is my strength and before I knew it I hammered out 35 in the first minute. That one hit me hard but I pulled through 20 in each of the other 4 exercises to complete the first circuit. After 5 minutes I was keeled over and breathing crazy heavy; two more to go.

I paced myself a little bit better but still went harder on wall ball because squats are my strength. Hurt, deep breaths and coughing on my saliva are fond memories I have of this workout and after pushing myself over 20 reps a couple times in a few exercises I collapsed at a total of 333.

This is a score I am quite proud of considering I have nothing to compare it to. Mark our trainer had to come over and tell me to pace myself a bit cause I destroyed myself so badly last week so I do believe I could have hammered out a few more reps in each exercise. A positive workout indeed and I then went and played 2 hours of volleyball with a local high school team! I was surprised I didn't cramp or collapse in the volley session; I guess I am adapting a bit to Crossfit!!!

Tomorrow is strength. Bring on the heavies

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Day 2 of Crossfit

I am pooched.

My muscles hasn't been this sore since I was training full time in Brazil about a year and a half ago but that isn't stopping me. I woke up and had to use a few different objects to get to my feet. My quads were completely spent and I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to perform my strength workout. I wasn't about to bow out after my first session and I knew it was important for me to push through, so I did.

Mark and I planned on doing strength in the morning and taking the afternoon off. I got to the strength workout at 10:30 and I did a thorough 5 minutes on the rowing erg to break a healthy sweat. I was warm and my legs felt a more viscous jello than the night before. Heavy lifting time!

We worked through 5 rep progressions in squats, overhead presses and deadlifts. Each one started with the bar only and then we packed on plates until I found a challenging weight were 5 reps didn't come easily. From there we determined how my strength progression will go as each time I do strength I will have to lift that weight with 3 sets of 5 reps successfully to add 5 pounds onto the bar in the next one. It sounds like a fantastic way to increase weight slowly and I know this challenge is going to push me further than I have ever gone before in both strength and power.

With strength over and done with I went home and ate as much carbs and protein as possible. Cooking up 2 massive chicken breasts and a bucket of quinoa I feasted then went to my mother's school to teach the grade 6 and 7's in a volleyball clinic. They are progressing to the point where they are consistently getting 3 hits a side and I am very pleased with how much they have improved. Such an amazing gift seeing them rejoice after a good hit or serve!!!

The afternoon workout at 5 was a spontaneous one. I thought I would go and check it out but that plan crumbled the second I walked in the door as upon seeing the weights, bars and Medballs I knew I wanted everything to do with today's WOD. I applied heaps of KINeSYS sport stick to my quads as they weren't feeling spectacular then hit up the warm up of double under skips, burpees, quats and a shoulder mobility exercise. Once lubricated and mentally prepared to get after Crossfit again, I commenced the workout with the other two people in the gym.

The WOD consisted of two exercises performed in a diminishing sequence of reps. We started with 55 pound Kettlebell swings and then turned to a wall where we did 10 foot wall throws with a deep squat. The sequence of reps went 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 which doesn't look all that bad but it definitely hit me hard!!!

I powered through the first 21 reps in both exercises and it felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest. I ripped off 9 Kettlebell swings before I had to take a rest due to my right shoulder getting super sore and my cardio just not being strong enough to recuperate. I wound up having to take breaks in all the double digit sets because of my shoulder and inability to work through the fatigue but I went hard on 9-6-3 to finish at 9 minutes and 6 seconds. A burly firefighter guy by the name of John crushed it off in 6 minutes with no rest; I am jealous and humbled by the die hard Crossfit community!

I hung around after the workout to do some volley reps while I was super fatigued and boy was it difficult to get 20 rapid bumps in a row against a wall! I did 100 bumps and 100 sets and called it a day; tomorrow will be hell but my body will adapt.

Whatever I am doing, somewhere else in the world someone is working harder than me. I will strive forward; I am as strong as my drive.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Crossfit = Pain in the best way imaginable

Well my life has finally allowed me to enter a world of pain I have been itching to dive into for a while. I am back home in the Comox Valley and everything is finally in order for me to explore Crossfit at local Titanium Crossfit! I had a beauty meeting with the owner named Mark Mazzocchi and he layed out all the basics. It is a perfect fit at this point in time in my career/season and it will definitely take me to the next level and beyond in terms of fitness and mental strength. GAME ON!!!

So I showed up today expecting to get my butt handed to me; it happened. We did the warm up and were introduced to the WOD (work out of the day). It was a 4 exercise Tabata workout which is a series performed under the following protocol. You exercise for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds and repeat that sequence 8 times. 10 seconds of rest before you move onto the next exercise. One word, BRUTAL!!!!

The four exercises to be performed in sequence went from Pull ups to Push Ups to Sit ups to Squats (body weight). All reps performed in the 8 sets were added up to make a total for each exercise and then your exercise total was added to give you your final workout rep count.

Well the first 3 exercises weren't too bad because I don't possess the muscle mass to really work beyond my cardio system. My muscles gave out before my respiratory system was hyper taxed so I just had to deal with giving out and fully trembling muscles. After the second rep in Pull Ups and Push Ups I aspired to get 2 and eventually 1 successful rep in a row. It got to the point where 1 rep was a struggle; the burn was intense and I risked falling on my face while pushing up. It was fun.

The sit ups weren't all that bad because once again I wasn't able to really explode through them to get enough reps. I definitely fatigued but because my upper body weights more than my legs I struggled to get through a lot of reps in each 20 second split. I was tired and huffing but the pain was manageable.

Last came the squats; these were the kicker. Since I am a large human being the medicine ball placed under my bum to check proper depth had to be elevated! We placed a thick plate under it and I was then ready to get heavy. I knew this was the exercise I could really push my total on and I committed to going harder than I ever have gone before.

My goal was to perform 20 squat reps per 20 second split. I hit that on my first few attempts but then my pace declined as the INSANE burn beat me down. I resisted and persisted and those 8 sets of squats were worse than the other three exercises combined. I managed to push to 123 reps and for the next 10 minutes I was queezy and my legs shook like a 10.0 on the richter scale. Driving home wasn't safe at this point.

I tried doing some roll outs but my body wouldn't allow me to perform anything other than breathing and stumbling to my car! That was it for the day and I wasn't about to rebel against my body!

All in all my first Crossfit work out went like so

If you can spot my name, I scored 314 repetitions in a 16 minute maximal workout. Lets just say I am going to be sore tomorrow but guess what? I am doing a strength workout at 10:30 to get a baseline understanding of my 5 rep maxes in the Squat, Deadlift and Bench Press. I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!

I was warned Crossfit is addictive and I must say that after a single beating, I am in. I will become the best athlete I have ever been should I continue, although, I will monitor my body as Crossfit is hyper taxing. I will write a blog on each of my workouts so keep checking back for more stories of me getting destroyed by one of the most effective workout regimes available. It is a cult and I plan on getting my hands very dirty.

Keep pushing. Martin

Friday, October 15, 2010

Skinnies in Sweden

After our match we hung out a bit longer in Finland. There were a few good evening dinners and one rockin dance party in the Casino that was FANTASTIC! The DJ's were called "Two Big DJ's"and they played some amazing music that really got our crew jumping, I think I danced for 3 hours straight!

We then returned to the mainland with a few Canadians and the Kiwi team. The Kiwi team consists of Kirk and Jason who are the players and this year they brought a younger guy on tour who was a riot. His name is Mike but he was given the nickname "Slash" because he was a coach slash trainer slash physio slash party boy! A funny character who complimented Jason and Kirk perfectly.

Kacie napping in the cruise station
We all took the ferry back and planned to stay two nights in Sweden. The voyage was full of fun card games, candy and silliness. We were a super fun group and our madness didn't end when we got off the boat. We got to the our hotel, had a quick nap and then prepared for an evening of mayhem downtown Stockholm.

Chaim rolling up his J-orts!
Our pre-beverage party happened in the Kiwi's room and we played loads of their games. They has some hilariously interactive ways to drink socially and we struggled to move downtown because we were having so much fun! With the arrival of the taxi we were forced to move the festivities to an official establishment and one of the Swedish players lined up a nice dance place to start the evening. We got there and it was dead but the DJ was HAPPENING! We all were alone on the dance floor but it didn't matter cause we were jamming. Good tunes, hilarious dancing and the lighting was a trip. After some athletic shaking we decided to move the gang along to another location where we wound up waiting in line for 30 minutes. I tried bargaining with the head bouncer saying we were pro athletes and what not but the place was so packed they couldn't do anything for us.

With no luck there and dwindling patience we cruised along the streets looking for another party. We wound up not being allowed into one of the other recommended locations so we hopped next door cause we heard some good music. Slash wound up chatting the bouncer and said "The other place wouldn't let us in cause they are gay." and much to our surprise the place we were trying to get into was a gay club! HAHAHAH!!! He swallowed his words and wound up stuttering for a bit but we moved on before any harm came of it!

By 2 we hadn't entered any place and we were tuckered from starting around 8. We decided to head back and get a good nights rest. Fun times roaming the streets with the Kiwis!
The following day a few of us went downtown to shop. The style and store selection in Stockholm is unreal and we feasted on the incredible fashion. Chaim wound up buying some skinnies (I chickened out) but I purchased a few beauty v-necks to bring back some euro style to Canada. We caught a movie, chilled for another day and returned to Canada on Tuesday for the National Championships.

Rolled up Skinnies
Perfect fit
Chaim's new flexibility in his stretchy skinnies

A fun time in Scandinavia for sure and regardless of the insane cost of living in Stockholm, I will return.

Aland FIVB Open

We had a few days to rest then prepare for our qualification in Mariehamn, Finland. The weather was off and on but considering how far north we were it wasn't bad! We were the first teams to train on a few of the courts and the sand was light and fluffy to the point where it felt like we could only jump 6 inches! We managed to get a few good sessions in and we felt prepared for the qualification tournament.

One of the things I look forward to in Finland is the food. There are a few restaurants that serve exquisite meals for only 8 euros! I feasted to say the least and I hadn't been this healthy on the road for quite sometime. It can be difficult to get good inexpensive food while traveling but in Aland it isn't the case.

After the qualification meeting we pondered our draw. We first drew a Suisse team (not the one we traveled with) and the winner of that match was scheduled to play the second ranked team in the qualification from China. We were VERY pleased with this pathway to the main draw and even though our ranking didn't point to us winning, we knew this was our tournament. We went to sleep that night with a hope and excitement for the next following day as it was our last chance to qualify for a main draw in 2010.

We awoke to the worst weather of the week. There was a pretty solid wind coming off the water and the rain was falling at a slant in large droplets. We ate our breakfast with that keen gleam in our eyes, focused on the two essential wins for the day. We warmed up in the basement of the Casino and marched to our court to play the Suisse when our names were called.

The balls were heavy and were being blown in a way that favoured the right side. Since I was on the left I was being targeted and I handled my sideout throughout the match. I was able to make a few points on both my spin and float serves and our transition game made enough points for us to lead comfortably throughout the match. We executed and converted points; we won with authority.

We warmed, showered and rested a bit after our match as the rain and wind forced a more thorough recovery. We downed some lunch and prepared mentally for the Chinese team and our eminent qualification. After speaking with a few teams about strategies, we decided to go after the big right side. We match up well against hitters and with the ball being heavier, his skills and power were surely to decrease.

We went strong at the taller of the two and experienced some success like we had planned. I was serving tough with the wind and it appeared the Chinese had no interest playing in poor weather. There were some great rallies and both teams battled hard for points but we came out golden in the end. 2 sets to 0 later and an excitement we hadn't felt as a team. The finals points were a bit nerve racking but we held our composure and earned our qualification!

BOOM!!! With rain pouring down and a cold wind in our faces we celebrated on our court and then headed over to cheer on Ben and Steve as they were finishing their qualification match. Sadly we weren't able to change their fate as they lost in 3 sets but we had our own personal victory to celebrate. On to our first team main draw meeting!!!

Travelling to Aland, Finland

To reach Aland, Finland we had to fly to Stockholm, Sweden and then take a ferry across the Swedish border to the the small town of Mariehamn, Finland. This venture didn't seem all that complicated on paper, however, the rush of summer travellers put an interesting twist in our plans.

We flew out of Kristiansand early Saturday morning and wound up taking the voyage with Gabethuler/Schneider who are friends from Switzerland. We flew to Copenhagen and had a long layover there. We then took off to Stockholm and hopped on the cheap and convenient train to downtown. We hadn't made any reservations for the evening because we didn't know wether we would take an evening boat or one the following morning.

Once downtown we decided to stay the night in Stockholm but after contacting 16 hotels we realized there wasn't a room available anywhere in the city! Left with pretty much no options, I scrambled to locate some form of boat ride to Finland. I wound up finding a bedding solution but it involved an extra 12 hours on a boat in a cozy little room.

We made the ferry in perfect timing and then rolled immediately to our tiny bunk. There were 4 beds in a puny room on the bottom floor at the head of the ship. We took a little rest, feet hanging off the ends of the beds and then headed up for a dinner of Swedish meat balls and mashed potatoes. We then chilled on the deck and caught a lovely sunset as we pondered the landscape and likeness of the Swedish/Finnish islands to that of Vancouver Island and the Georgia Straight. Once darkness had fallen we roamed the boat looking for amusement and then watched some HILARIOUS traditional Finnish women sing kareoke in vintage costumes.

Our passage to Mariehamn should have been a direct 6 hour voyage from Stockholm. We wound up taking a long overnight trip from Stockholm to Turku and then from Turku to Mariehamn the following morning. It was actually a fantastic deal because for 70 euros we got 12 hours of amazing sleep and traveled passively at the same time! It was perfect.

It was a potentially troublesome trip due to the lack of available lodging in Stockholm, however, we were able to find an alternate option that worked out even better and gave us some time to get to further acquaint ourselves with some other guys on tour.

We then headed to our hostel and began mentally preparing for our last FIVB competition of the year. us!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


To start, here is a photo of Chaim's afro. Just take a second to appreciate this amazing hair do!
From the COG I went to Toronto for a week in preparation for our trip to Kristiansand, Norway for and FIVB Open. We left Toronto on Saturday and arrived with plenty of time on Sunday for a nap and a good heart sleep that night!

Scandinavia is expensive. I am sure you already new that but in all honesty it is the most expensive place on earth. Chaim and I stayed in the Qualification hotel which was supposed to be a deal and we wound up spending just over $100 each PER NIGHT!!! Unfortunately there is no way around it (the cheapest place was $120 a night and it was no better than a dumpster) so we maximized our food intake at breakfast! We made sure we went to breakfast as early as possible, ate as much as we could and then returned to bed for a quick digestion. We then would train and return to the hotel for the last few minutes of breakfast where we would eat again and then pack a few big sandwiches for lunch! All in all it was a fabulous program and it must have saved us close to $40 a day!

The tiny little city of Kristiansand is a delight and is situated right on the southern most tip of Norway. It is a gorgeous place with a tiny city centre that makes more noise at night than you could imagine for a town its size. We wound up getting caught in a beer garden one night and it was epic! The adults were having a BLAST dancing on tables and doing summersaults while a below average cover band rocked out their unfortunate renditions of famous international tunes. It was an enjoyable evening and truly exposed the Norwegians as fun outgoing people, after they have had a few!

It is a surprise the tournament is held there but with exponential oil money and a small population of people who love beach volley anything can happen. I swear every citizen volunteers for the event and security is air tight in a place with no hooligans or crime. The tournament site is lovely and takes place right on a harbour with plenty of swimming entries looking south to Denmark.

We were in the qualification tournament and ranked high enough that our match up was bound to be a top seed in the qualifier. Sure enough we drew Benjamin/Bruno of Brazil as our entry round but had to get through Greece to even think about Brazil. No matter the challenge we knew we had to play great ball to make it to the main draw so we sucked it up and thought one match at a time.

We faced Greece on centre court at 10 AM under a surprisingly powerful scandinavian sun. We connected on all fronts and with an effective serving and defensive plan and the ability to hold our sideout, we took the match in 2. There was a little scare in the second set when we lost 3 points in a row when we were leading 19-15 but we pulled it out when we push came to shove. Off to meed the Brazilians.

Benjamin and Bruno had just come off a few solid finishes at Grand Slams but were the 4th ranked Brazilian team in the world. Event though their point ranking was top 16, since there were already 3 brazilians in the main draw, they had to play country quota on Tuesday vs 2 lower ranked Brazilian team to earn the right to play in the qualifier and then possible the main draw! This is the way it goes for Brazil and we knew deep down after watching them the day before that this was our time to beat them.

The game happened on a side court but some dedicated Canadian fan's working in the oil industry in Norway were there with their flags and clappers! We started the match off quick and took a 12-9 lead. We kept that lead until 19-17 where we proceeded to let the other team back in the game and win 22-20. I don't know how to describe it other than when you are beating a team that is better than you on paper, you over think it. You think you have to change something when continuing what you were doing to get you there would suffice! Either way we lost too many points in a row and let the game slip out of reach. We played unreal until 19-17 and then didn't close, largely due to the fact that Bruno played amazing defence. The second set was strong until mid way through when they pulled ahead. We stopped earning points and they pulled ahead for a strong finish.

A frustrating match where we had control and momentum but we just weren't able to seal the deal. A learning experience for sure and it was hard not being really disappointed in losing to a higher ranked team. Sometimes you just know in your heart that it was possible to win (even against great odds) and this was one of those times.

We then chilled in the nice weather and hung out with the abundance of Canadian athletes who were there competing. We cheered on Marie and Annie as they pushed to a 9th place result! So much fun and I really enjoyed being a tiny part of their success!

Now off to Finland for the Otera FIVB Open in Aland.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Center of Gravity Games part 2

Part 2

The draw for the Center of Gravity Games was a little smaller than the Corona as there were only 24 teams competing in the big dance. The qualification tournament was held on Friday and those guys were only competing for 4 spots. There some good games and a few teams who were going to cause some issues for teams directly in the main draw! It was great to see there was so much competition to get into the even as 2010 marked the deepest year I have ever seen in Vancouver.

We got our draw at the player’s meeting Friday at Flashback’s club. Usually the meeting turns into a party after but I wanted to focus on going 3-0 the following day so I left immediately.

Here is how our draw turned out.

Bye first round and then we faced Holt/Laidlaw. It was a fun game against them but when two full time beach athletes cross against a brewery manager and a pilsner rep it has a fairly predictable outcome! They played hard but we were able to win fairly handily,

Next up were our road trip partners Schachter/Wheelan. Two younger guys from Toronto who came out west for a piece of the cash and this match was going to be solid. We wound up losing in 2 in a pretty close game but we just weren’t on. We struggle to make points, rip serves and most importantly connect on sideout. We lost early and had to deal with going the long way in the contenders bracket.

Next up was the team of Saxton/Marshall who had just lost a heavy match to Josh and Matt in 3 sets. This was a pretty difficult match up considering how early it was in the tournament and these guys could have pushed for a top 3 finish for sure. They were tired from their 3 setter and Chaim and I clicked the way we hadn’t in the previous match. We served tough and made excellent points while holding our sideout. We had a convincing win and were able to really push the pace of the match to tire them out. It was a great match by us and we battle any attempt they had to take the W.

To end the day we played King/Muse. Both supremely talented athletes who were boss indoors players. King is a big boy and Muse has the ball control of a season beach player. We were losing in the first set and wound up coming back to win and the second set we took the lead early and maintained. This was our 4th match of the day and we were tired enough to no execute if we didn’t pay full attention. Motivated to get into the quarter finals the next day we did what we had to do and closed it out in 2.

The following morning we faced Whiskar/Lebourdais in a pretty classic matchup. We had met them the weekend prior in the finals of the Vancouver Cliver and came out on top. I have had success blocking vs this team and the final morning of the COG was no different. Chaim and I took care of business and won in 2 with one of our top sideout games. We were able to diffuse any pressure they put on us and also make frequent points. This win was convincing and we knew we would be able to draw confidence and strength from it during out semi final game.

The semis were a rematch from earlier in the tournament. We faced Schachter/Wheelan again but this time we weren’t going to let them make points so easily. I can’t remember if it was the first or second set but I know it went to 30-28. In front of a packed beach crowd and with the sound system and announcing blaring we took it in 2. The overtime set was highly entertaining and both teams pushed hard and battled to the death. We had something to prove and took care of business like we hadn’t the morning before. With that win we moved onto the finals.

This was a repeat of our two qualifying games on the FIVB overseas and from the semi-final in the Vancouver open two weeks prior. As I am sure you guessed we matched up against Binstock/Zbyzweski!

Minutes before the finals a massive wind storm came off lake Okanagan and blew the beach HARD! It was pretty dramatic but the show went on regardless. The wind truly changed things considering both our teams are offense driven and like to hit the ball. Wind forces a more finesse oriented game so both sides did their best to adapt to the unique circumstance. It turns out my serving was on and I was making large aces from the bad side! Teams were making 5-2 runs on the good side facing the wind and the swing wound up in their favor both times deep in the match. There were plenty of opportunities to make points but they wound up winning 22-20, 21-19 in a solid match.

We earned a little bit of cash and were able to party it up a bit in the VIP section of Steve Aoki as he threw down a MASSIVE set in front of what felt like 4000 people! We had a blast and I really enjoyed the diversity of the event as it attracted a variety of sporting and lifestyle interests.

All in all it was a great time! Definitely check out the COG next summer cause it was a blast.

Center of Gravity Games part 1

Center of Gravity Games

With August just around the corner and two more months of playing around the world, I needed to head back to the island to pack a few things. I went back with my pops and spent one last night in my bed before committing to the last part of the season.

With one full suitcase and an outrageous excitement to play in the Centre of Gravity Games in Kelowna, I picked up Chaim, Sam and Cam and we started our five hour roady to the Okanagan.

Cam and Sam are from Toronto and had never experienced the drive through BC. I desired to take them from Hope to Princeton on a more scenic route but with a press lunch planned, we didn’t have time to spare drifting off the #1 Trans Canada Highway. We all fit comfortably into the Tacoma and it was a beauty sharing time with the young gents.

We arrived in Kelowna and went right for the sand. Our event venue happens to be in the middle of town right at the main city park on lake Okanagan. It is an absolutely gorgeous place and the venue itself couldn’t be rivaled in Canada. The sun was out, it was 30 plus degrees and the site looked to be lining up perfectly.

The Centre of Gravity games started as Volley Fest three years ago and then expanded into a sort of mini Gravity Games with a large recreation grass volleyball event. It boasted a massive motorbike jump contest, a huge freestyle mountain bike big air comp, a wakeboard rail airing from the water into a man made pool on the beach, a jetski world tour boat race, 4 on 4 street basketball and a serious lineup of concerts to compliment the best beach volley in the west. The beer garden was huge and the VIP Cabana tents were all placed nicely around the feature courts. It appeared the event was going to be MASSIVE and us guys were super amped to be featured and show our athleticism and showmanship for the impressionable summer crowd.

I have a few good friends in Kelowna, one of whom had just opened a new bar in one of the slick hotels downtown. I had originally hired Dave Simpson to flare bartend my event and we kept in contact ever since. He is a solid guy and I was really excited to hang out with him and enjoy his new enterprise in the city! Also, he offered me a bed at his current abode and the location, view and quality was off the charts!

The entire event was coming together seamlessly and for Chaim and I personally, we were feeling healthy and yearning to step onto the court and compete for our first Gold of the summer! 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

West Coast Surfing

Check out this amazing surfing video by friend Restless Josie! Such a cool documentation of west coast beauty and the cool people who have found their reasons to stay!