Photo Of The Day: Checkmate

Today’s Photo of the Day is from a chess game in Amsterdam at Max Euwe Plein (square). Named for a Dutch chess champion, there’s also a museum on site dedicated to the game and player where you can play against a computer, but the outdoor board looks more interesting. Photographer Kumukulanui notes that the man was primarily studying his opponent rather than the game, to better anticipate the next move and his serious expression gives an interesting depth to the portrait. What should be his next move?

Share your best portraits in the Gadling Flickr pool for a future Photo of the Day.

Teahupo’o: the world’s ‘heaviest’ surfing wave

, site of a legendary surfer break on the French Polynesian island of Tahiti, has developed quite the reputation among big-wave surfers. Due to a shallow coral reef just off shore, waves here tend break as massive, chunky walls of water, a phenomenon that has earned Teahupo’o the distinction as the “heaviest” wave in the world.

The video above, filmed at Teahupo’o, offers a first-hand view from the ocean of what it’s like to ride the massive swells of this epic surf spot. Set to an ethereal soundtrack, the video follows surfers as they brave one of the biggest surfing days at Teahupo’o in recent memory, riding crushing “fists” of ocean that grow and collapse, threatening to swallow them whole at any minute. Sit back, click the play button, and let yourself be mesmerized by these awesome feats of athleticism.

Photo of the Day – Surfing in Barbados

The movements and rhythm of surfing have their own unique poetry. The energetic ebb and flow of the waves merges with the acrobatic twists and cuts of the rider as he makes his way across the water’s surface. Today’s photo, by Flickr user Enjoy Patrick Responsibly on the Caribbean island of Barbados, is full of that energy. I love how the photo catches the surfer frozen at the crest of the wave, a spray of foam erupting in his wake.

Taken any great photos during your travels? Why not share them with us by adding them to the Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.

Virgin America considers new boarding: baggage-free passengers first

It happened to me the other day. I had my plane ticket in hand and stepped aboard the soon-to-depart airplane, but couldn’t sit down. Why? Because of the 15 people in front of me who needed to find spots in overhead bins for their carry-on suitcases.

We all know that the boarding process has slowed down because of baggage fees. More people are opting to stow their suitcases as carry-ons rather than check them.

Virgin America is testing a way that might speed up the entire process.

It would mean that anybody without carry-ons would board first. Then, everybody with carry-ons would board second.

I think it’s brilliant. Fewer people would be in the aisles, meaning that the folks with bags might be able to find overhead space more easily. And hey, fewer people would be annoyed. It has the potential to work, and I’m glad to see that an airline has the foresight to consider it as an alternative to the norm.

That said, I might personally choose to stall, if given the choice. I usually prefer to be one of the last people on the plane (I’d rather spend my time standing in the airport than sitting on the plane). If others rationalized the delayed boarding in the same way, would that just negate all of the positive aspects of this new system?



Guaranteed on Board program gives pet owners peace of mind

Passengers flying with their pets have always had a rough time navigating the tricky rules surrounding pet carriers. And many have been frustrated to find that carriers that they thought were approved for travel in the plane’s cabin were deemed unsuitable by gate agents. When that happens, many pet owners find themselves out of luck – unable to board the plane, but not eligible for a refund on the flight.

To help, the Sherpa pet carrier company has teamed up with eight pet-friendly airlines to offer the “Guaranteed on Board” program, a sort of insurance policy for those traveling with their pets. The GOB website details the sizes and types of carriers allowed on each airline. Passengers who purchase an approved carrier can go online to register it (after making arrangements to bring the pet on board directly with the airline they are flying) print out the Guaranteed on Board certificate and bring it with them to the airport. If they are then refused boarding by an airline official due to the carrier, the program will reimburse them for the cost of the missed flight.

Airlines participating in the program include American, Midwest AirTran, Continental, Northwest, Delta, Southwest, and Alaska. American and Delta have even designed their own bags, which they sell on the Sherpa website. If your pet can’t fly on its own airline, at least you can have some assurance that your carrier will be up to spec, or you’ll get your money back for being bumped off a flight.