Khao Lak Surfing

In Khao Lak, surfing is getting really popular these days. Khao Lak is hands down one of the best places to experience sun, sand and surf in the country. If you are planning on coming here to surf, here is a rundown of some of the well-known surf spots.

The first place is the Nang Thong Lighthouse. The waves on left side of the lighthouse are small but fun right-handers. There were a few large boulders jutting out of the lineup so it is best to go there mid to low tide. Coconuts Nang Thong Beach is the place to go for drinks, snacks and lounge chairs but they aren’t always open during the monsoon. I’ve never seen more than a few surfers in the water. There is plenty of parking behind the restaurant. Suwan Palm Resort is a good place to stay and it is steps away from the lighthouse.

Our next stop was just a few kilometers north to Bang Niang Beach. There is a river mouth that was flowing heavily from the recent rains and the beach had some of the best waves in Khao Lak. Bang Niang Beach has a nice sandy bottom, lefts and rights are always on offer and you can have the lineup to yourself most days. You can park on the dirt road just past The Haven Resort or at the end of Bang Niang Beach Road Soi 1. Nong Prew Bar and Restaurant is about 200 meters from the good breaks.
You can’t mention Khao Lak surfing without talking about Pakarang Cape. Down a long dirt road is Pakarang Surf Shop and Memories Beach Bar. This is by far the busiest and most popular surf spot in Khao Lak. They have surfboard and bungalow rentals and surf lessons are available year round. Ripcurl sponsored surf contests are held here every year too. With everyone from novices to experts in the water at the same time the lineup can get pretty hectic. There is also a pretty strong riptide so stay on the inside until you get more experience to hang outside with the big boys and girls.

You can also stop in Salt Surf Club and Hostel. Located a few meters from Apsara Resort, Salt is the new kid on the block although it’s owner, Matt has been surfing Khao Lak beaches longer than anyone in the area. They also sponsor charity surf events for underprivileged children and board giveaways. Salt Surf Club offers surfboard rentals, surf lessons, good food and clean rooms for rent.

There are other spots on Pakarang Cape that are worth mentioning. Taxi Dave’s is probably the first surf spot in Khao Lak. Dave is long gone (RIP) but his surf spot lives on. There is another good spot on the cape but you’ll have to ask a local about it. Maybe they will tell you…maybe they won’t.

In my opinion there is nothing better after a session than an ice cold beverage and some quality Mexican food. The World Famous Rusty Pelican is the place to be. Good vibes, great food and the best margaritas in Thailand wait for you. We also have second hand surfboards for sale from time to time. We hope you all come visit Khao Lak. Surfing isn’t the only thing to do here. There are waterfalls, world class diving and snorkeling, beautiful beaches and an abundance of natural beauty.

Surfing Khao Lak is where the spirit of aloha meets sabai. Come and see for yourself.

Check out The Surf Forecast and Tide Times Click Here!

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Muay Thai Origin – Champions & Techniques

Muay Thai, also known as the “Art of Eight Limbs,” has deep roots in Thai history and culture, making it a distinctive martial art with a rich heritage. Originating in Thailand, Muay Thai’s history dates back centuries, evolving from ancient battlefield techniques into a refined sport. Historical records suggest that its roots can be traced to the 16th century during the Ayutthaya Kingdom, where Thai soldiers developed the art to enhance their hand-to-hand combat skills. Over time, Muay Thai became ingrained in Thai society, with regional variations and unique styles emerging across the country.

Muay Thai Origin - Champions and Techniques

The sport’s cultural significance is evident in its connection to traditional Thai festivals and ceremonies. Muay Thai matches were once a form of entertainment for both royals and commoners, showcasing bravery and skill. The rituals performed before matches, such as the Wai Kru Ram Muay, reflect the respect for teachers, ancestors, and the art itself. As Thailand modernized, Muay Thai evolved into a global phenomenon, gaining international recognition for its effectiveness and striking techniques.

The essence of Muay Thai lies not just in physical prowess but also in its spiritual and mental aspects. Practitioners learn the art’s cultural values, discipline, and respect for opponents. Today, Muay Thai stands as a symbol of Thai identity and is practiced worldwide, with enthusiasts drawn to its dynamic techniques, strategic elements, and the sense of tradition it carries from its historical origins in the heart of Thailand.

Is Muay Thai Dangerous?

Muay Thai, the traditional martial art of Thailand, often raises questions about its safety. Is Muay Thai dangerous? While any contact sport involves inherent risks, Muay Thai prioritizes discipline and technique, aiming to minimize potential harm. Participants undergo rigorous training to develop proper form, conditioning, and defensive skills. Instructors emphasize the importance of respecting opponents and adhering to established rules during bouts. Protective gear, such as gloves, shin guards, and mouthguards, further enhances safety. However, like any sport, injuries can occur, ranging from minor bruises to more severe conditions. It’s crucial for practitioners to train under experienced coaches, follow safety guidelines, and engage in controlled environments to mitigate risks. Ultimately, Muay Thai offers not only a physical challenge but also a cultural and personal journey, blending athleticism with tradition.

Muay Thai Protective Gear

When was the first Thai Muay Thai Championship and who won it?

Pinpointing the exact moment of the first Thai Muay Thai championship is challenging due to the sport’s historical evolution and the lack of centralized records. However, Muay Thai has a longstanding history of organized competitions dating back to the early 20th century. One notable milestone was the establishment of the “Ratchadamnoen Stadium” in Bangkok in 1945, marking the formalization of Muay Thai as a regulated sport. The inaugural champion at Ratchadamnoen Stadium remains a topic of historical debate, but some sources point to legendary fighters like Samart Payakaroon or Namsaknoi Yudthagarngamtorn as early champions who left an indelible mark on Muay Thai history. These pioneers set the stage for the sport’s growth, both domestically and internationally, contributing to its widespread popularity and acclaim. While the specifics of the first championship winner may be challenging to definitively determine, the impact of these early fighters on Muay Thai’s legacy is undeniable, shaping it into the globally recognized and respected martial art it is today.

Rajadamnern Muay Thai Stadium

Who is the greatest Thai Muay Thai Champion of all time?

Determining the greatest Thai Muay Thai champion of all time is a subjective task, as different eras and weight classes have seen extraordinary fighters showcasing exceptional skills. However, one name that consistently emerges in discussions about the greatest is Samart Payakaroon. Born in 1962, Samart is renowned for his exceptional versatility and mastery of the art. A multiple-time Lumpinee Stadium champion in multiple weight classes, Samart seamlessly blended traditional Muay Thai techniques with a unique finesse. What set him apart was not only his devastating kicks and powerful strikes but also his ability to adapt his style to outsmart opponents. Samart’s influence extended beyond the ring; he successfully transitioned into professional boxing and became a world champion, showcasing his exceptional athleticism and adaptability. His fighting career, spanning from the late 1970s to the mid-1980s, left an indelible mark, solidifying his legacy as one of the greatest Muay Thai champions of all time. While opinions may vary, Samart Payakaroon’s impact on the sport, coupled with his achievements, cements his place in the pantheon of Muay Thai legends.

Samart Payakaroon Muay Thai Champion

Why is Muay Thai so effective in attacks, but in defense not so much?

Muay Thai’s effectiveness in attacks and perceived limitations in defense stem from its historical roots as a battlefield art and its evolution into a sport. Muay Thai’s offensive techniques, often referred to as the “Art of Eight Limbs,” involve the use of fists, elbows, knees, and shins, providing a diverse and powerful arsenal for striking. The focus on aggressive techniques makes Muay Thai a formidable offensive martial art, emphasizing powerful strikes and clinch work.

However, the perceived limitation in defense is largely a result of the sport’s traditional approach, where the emphasis is placed on conditioning, blocking, and countering rather than elaborate defensive maneuvers. Traditional Muay Thai defensive strategies involve checking kicks, deflecting strikes, and using clinch techniques to nullify opponents. While these defensive techniques are effective, they may appear less sophisticated compared to the intricate defensive movements seen in some other martial arts.

In modern Muay Thai, there’s a growing recognition of the importance of defensive skills. Contemporary fighters are incorporating elements of Western boxing, footwork, and head movement to enhance their defensive capabilities. The evolving landscape of the sport reflects a willingness to adapt and integrate techniques from various disciplines to create a more well-rounded martial art.

Ultimately, the effectiveness of Muay Thai in defense or offense depends on the practitioner’s training approach and the incorporation of diverse skills. While its offensive capabilities have historically taken the spotlight, the evolving nature of the sport suggests a continual refinement of defensive techniques to complement its renowned attacking prowess.

Day Trip from Khao Lak to Koh Surin Islands

The Surin Islands are located in the Andaman Sea, in an archipelago of 5 islands in Phang Nga Province, South West Thailand. Located about 60 kilometers from Nam Khem or Thap Lamu Piers in the Khao Lak area, the speed boat ride is about 90 minutes.

I was fortunate to be part of an “inspection” tour of the Similan and Surin Islands for a local outfit called Seastar Plus. For now I will focus on The Surin Islands.
I love the Surin Islands. It is, in my opinion much better than the Similan Islands. From the quality of the reefs to the abundance and wider variety of sea life, the Surin Islands are far superior.

We met at Nam Khem Pier early in the morning and were treated to a nice continental breakfast, welcome drink and refillable water bottle.
We boarded a 15 meter two level catamaran named Tao Talay 9. The cabin was air conditioned and there was plenty of room for the passengers. There was an upper deck for sunning once the boat was at anchor. The Tao Talay 9 had one toilet near the captain’s chair. The vessel was designed to seat 70 people but there were about 15 of us onboard. Once seated we all were provided with a mesh bag containing a towel, mask, snorkel and fins. Captain Mac and three boat boys got us underway for the hour and 30 minute cruise to the Similan Islands. Our guide, Khun Latte, Gave us a briefing about the day’s activities and A little of the islands history.

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After a smooth ride lasting about an hour and a half, We arrives at our first stop. The Surin Islands are the ancestral home to the Moken People. The Moken originate from Burma or so the story goes. They are sea gypsies and their villages dot the entire Andaman coast. The Surin Islands has one such village. Due to local restrictions, we were now allowed to go ashore but I have been there before. There are around 80 people in the village living in thatched houses on stilts. Every hut has its own solar panel for electricity. There is also a school and small government office and not much else. The children are some of the happiest I’ve seen and everyone is extremely friendly. Our first snorkel spot of our Surin Island tour was within view of the Moken Village and was quite impressive. The coral was magnificent and teeming with fish of all colors. We stayed for about an hour then headed to Surin Nua, North Surin, to have lunch. Other than the marine park rangers, we were the only people there. The day we went, there were no other tour boats in sight. Everywhere we visited we were the only ones around. It was heavenly.

There are accommodations at the Surin Islands. At Chong Kaard Bay, you can choose from tents pitched on a pristine beach, small bungalows for two people and larger bungalows that sleep up to six people. There are ample shower and toilet facilities, including wheelchair access, a restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating and tour desk. SeaStar Plus provided us with a wonderful lunch buffet with fantastic Thai cuisine. Vegetarian and vegan options are also available but you should inform the receptionist when you check in that morning. Soft drinks, a variety of Thai sweet teas iced coffees and fresh fruit are also there to enjoy. After lunch and a chill out we got back on the Tao Takay 9 and headed to Bon Bay for snorkel spot #2. Again the reef systems were thriving and there were larger fish swimming about. We stayed at Bon Bay for about 40 minutes before heading to our last stop of the day. Mare Yai or, Mother-in–Law Bay isn’t always open to the public but today it was. I had visited this site many years ago and it is one of the better spots for marine life and coral formations. It didn’t disappoint. We spent an hour there again, by ourselves. Come to think of it, we didn’t see or hear another boat all day! I dozed off on the way back to Nam Khem Pier. Since I was on another “inspection” tour to the Similan Islands the day before, I know that we were offered fresh fruit and chocolate brownies. We arrived safely and adjourned to the reception area for a nice snack buffet and refreshing ice cream. I’ve said it earlier and I will say it again now. SeaStar Plus did a fantastic job and really took care of us on our trip to the Surin Islands. Weather your destination is the Similan Islands, Surin Islands or one of their other tours, SeaStar plus is the way to go!

Similan Islands December 2021

The Similan Islands are a string of 11 lslands off the coast of southern Thailand in Thai Muang District. The Similan Islands are located about 48km from Thap Lamu or Nam Kaen Piers in the Khao Lak area. Similan Islands translates from Malaysian to “Nine Islands”. When the islands came under the control of Thailand two more Islands were added to the marine park. The Similan Islands are home to a wide variety of marine life from the tiniest sea creatures to the largest behemoths in the sea.

I was fortunate to be part of an “inspection” tour of the Similan and Surin Islands for a local outfit called Seastar Plus. For now I will focus on The Similans. We met at Nam Kaen Pier early in the morning and were treated to a nice continental breakfast, welcome drink and refillable water bottle.

We boarded a 15 meter two level catamaran named Tao Talay 6. The cabin was air conditioned and there was plenty of room for the passengers. There was an upper deck for sunning once the boat was at anchor. The Tao Talay had one toilet near the captain’s chair. The vessel was designed to seat 70 people but there were about 30 of us onboard. Once seated we all were provided with a mesh bag containing a towel, mask, snorkel and fins. Captain Mac and three boat boys got us underway for the hour and 30 minute cruise to the Similan Islands. Our guide, Khun Way, Gave us a briefing about the day’s activities and A little of the islands history.

Our first stop once we reached the Similan Islands was the famous Donald Duck Bay on Island #8. Due to our early departure, we had the bay all to ourselves. We anchored and disembarked on the white sandy beach. A short hike followed up the rocks to the viewpoint. The trail and steps were easy to navigate and the view itself was tremendous. After about 40 minutes we got back on the Tao Talay 6 and headed to our first snorkel spot. Again we were the only ones there and spent an hour exploring the reefs and the sea life that made it their home.

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Next stop on our Similan Island tour was Island number 4 or Koh Miang. There we were greeted by the Marine Park Rangers. The tide was coming in so there wasn’t much beach to walk around but we were there for lunch. There are no cooking facilities on this Island so everything had to be brought in. We each received a Box Lunch with Seafood, Fried Chicken Rice, Thai Omlete, Pasta and Fresh Fruit. Soft drinks were provided from the Tao Talay’s coolers, which we were free to help ourselves to all day. There was also ice cold water to fill our bottles.

After lunch we got back on the Tao Talay 6 and headed to another snorkel spot in between Islands 5 and 6. Some chose to explore the reefs, others took advantage of the dive platforms on the upper deck. I took the time to relax on the over-sized bean bags scattered around the deck. Our last stop of the day was back to Island #8, Honeymoon Bay. There were a few speedboats already there but very few people in the water. Everyone jumped in and a few of us swam/snorkeled the 200 meters to the white sand beach. The Tao Talay picked us off the beach after a 20 minute break and we prepared for the ride back to Thap Lamu Pier.

There was fresh cut fruit and chocolate brownies offered to everyone. After a full day at the Similan Islands, most of us dozed off until we reached our home base at Nam Kaen. At the reception area there was a small buffet set up and ice cream to refresh ourselves after a long day. I highly enjoyed my day out to the Similan Islands and was very satisfied with the service and experience provided by Seastar Plus.

With people just starting to return to Thailand in 2021, now is the best time to visit the Similan Islands.

Interview with Surfing Innovator Gary Mountford

We are happy to have Gary Mountford here with us today. Most of you have never heard of him but if you surf you are more than likely to be using one of his products.

Lets start with a little background. When did you start surfing?

Well I started surfing when I was twelve in a place North Curl Curl in Australia. After I finished school I worked in the plumbing trade. After just over a decade working as a full time plumber and surfing everyday, the Simon Anderson thruster was created and became available to the public. With the thruster it would take you a few waves to get your back foot positioned right. For those of you who don’t surf, your back foot position is pretty critical. Being a plumber and owning my own business I was good at working things out to make them more efficient. I realized that having a rear foot positioning device would be a good idea for a thruster.

So an idea is born?

That’s right. I came up with an idea to make an adjustable block to attach to the back of a surf board. I got together with my brother in law, Graeme Bennett and an old school friend, Bill McCausland and in 1984 we developed a product called a Rocketblock. It was a simple, adjustable foam block that adhered to the back of the surf board with Velcro. It was an after market product that sold really well. After about a year we started sending them over seas. A Japanese distributor contacted me and asked if we could develop and manufacture some type of anti slip stuff for surf boards. So the three of us put our heads together and came up with a product called Gorilla Grip.

Good idea number two!

It is funny because I was still a plumber and my two partners were pursuing their careers in photography and engineering so we were all working really hard. What was a side project was turning into something larger than we expected. Gorilla Grip was doing so well that we rented a little factory and hired couple of staff. Pretty soon we were traveling to America to work the trade shows in California. We met an American distributor there named Larry Block. He really got our product out there and into the hands of some well known surfers at the time. At the end of the 80′s most pro surfers weren’t into having the full deck of the board covered in Gorilla Grip so it was shortened to just the tail pad area. That pretty much cut our market in half.

I guess it was time for good idea number three?

It was at that time that we started looking for a new product to launch. We were introduced to a guy named Brian Whitty and he had this idea for a detachable fin system. He was working as a surf board sander at the time and it was really difficult to sand between and around the fins. We bought the idea off him and my partners and I developed it from scratch. It was the most difficult project we had come up against because we had to convince the market that it was necessary and it had to be a good product at an affordable price. It was an uphill battle. At first the market didn’t want to know about it. The manufacturers wouldn’t produce it until the market ordered it. So we went directly to the shops. Everyone liked the idea but they wanted people to ask for it.

Sounds like a dog chasing it’s tail. What was the break through?

That’s exactly what it was. We went to the professional surfers and they were pretty finicky about things. We found a machine to make the fins in the sizes we wanted and started to manufacture them ourselves. At that time Japan was the most influential surfing market in the world. They loved them but wanted items that were popular in America. We went back to America and they were worried about supply. Finally we went to Hawaii and gave the fins to some big wave riders there. The response was good but the breakthrough came when we opened up an office in Orange County, California. We hired a guy named Tyler who was in advertising at the time and he took us to the next level and beyond. Now almost all new surf boards come with FCS or Fin Control System boxes and fins.

2015 is upon us. What’s the next idea!?

Some sort of self propelling device. There is a company in California developing a small jet propulsion system that sounds good. Something light and easy with no motor or battery that’s easy to attach to the board and gives you the extra help with paddling. Other than that…who knows?

It looks like the challenge has been cast to all of you inventors out there. Thank you Gary for spending your holiday time to come talk with us.

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