Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Of Mini Simmons, Small dogs, and the San Francisco Giants

Tony's a big, cinderblock-handed dude who could benchpress me trying to benchpress a SmartCar. Like anyone who's not Donald Trump or a Real Housewife, he's multidimensional. He can tuck a cord of wood under his arm like it's a baguette, but peppers his sentences with exclamations like, "Hey, neato!" and, "That's really terrific!"
He spends plenty of time seeking cold, dark bombs of ocean energy in our local waters, but likes small boards. And small dogs!
Here's Tony's small dog with a few small loaners in the background.
"I like the green one," he texted.
Still Life with Dog, Clover, and Mini Simmons
So I made him one.
First, it looked like this:

 Then it looked like this:
 And this:
Tony's a fan, so he opted for a SF orange tint (reverse wrap) with complementary black quad boxes. Go Giants!
Maurice approved.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Blue Tuesday

Spring's a season of vexation.  On one hand, things warm up outside and we can all stop wearing socks. On the other hand, there's the itching. Oh, the itching!
Surf-wise, we're also on the opposite end of the shred stick from Fall. The wave period drops lower than a limbo bar at a gymnasts bat mitzvah party, and the onshore wind speed climbs higher than my grandpa's WWII khakis.
In his poem The Enkindled, subtleperv D.H. Lawrence writes of spring,

                                   THIS spring as it comes bursts up in bonfires green,
                                   Wild puffing of emerald tress, and flame-filled bushes.

I get the 'bursting' part. The 'bonfires green' makes sense, perhaps, to those living outside drought-plagued California (more like, 'bonfires banned because of severe fire hazard'). The only wild puffing I've seen is from my eyes, which I desperately want to scratch with the force of a thousand fingertips. Oh, the itching!
We'll chalk up that last part, "flame-filled bushes" to some typical D.H. Lawrence stuff, which could be boring or gross, depending.
The best remedy, as far as I can tell, for spring's one-two sucker punch to the histamines is a new surfboard.
This one's Cat's:

9'5", 2+1 Bronson, which is crazy fun all around shred sled with a pleasing combination of curves and flats that can handle a vast swath of Northern California conditions. Which is what we see in Spring. For example, this week's forecast calls for everything from 2-3 foot swell to 2-3 times overhead. Spring!
The engine room features some serious edges complemented by patriotic-hued fiberglass fins. The center fin's a flexie, so it wants to snaaaaaap! out of turns.
This is the part of the board where some shit happens
Spring's blows are lessened a bit by a new, blue shred sled. Couple that with some Port Charlotte "Islay Barley" release, and you should be set until Fall, of which D.H. Lawrence writes,

                                                        I go slowly,
                                                As under the hairy belly of a great black bear.
What's with that guy?




Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Mini Beard

The Flying Beard is my beachbreak-tuned longboard model.
This Mini Beard its smaller, skinnier, scrappier little brother.
Can I use the word 'skinny' to describe a 6'0 that's 21" wide? You're damn right I can--I made it, so I can use whatever words I want. Here are some more: shred, rip, stab, punch, Claritin, zinfandel, Adventure Time, sriracha.
In a few more words, this is not at all a mushbusting mini-longboard cruiser for fat, high-tide dribblers--it's light and thin and designed for steeper waves with some push.
The Engine Room: the 2+1 with flexie fin provides a center pivot point for a really locked-in, flow-y style, while the quad setup is fast, free, and full of bucking-bronco punch.
I like both.
Black-and-white photos because art.
Also, Easter+two little girls=the inside of my house looking like the inside of a rainbow's bathroom after two-dollar burrito night, so my eyes could use the rest.
If you have to buy stuff, go local.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Of Zeus, NPR, and New-Model Shredding

Zeus was a tricky, horny trickster. One time he appeared to Leda in the form of a swan, snuck into her bed, and did some stuff so that later she laid some eggs.
Interestingly, her husband was also in bed doing stuff that particular evening, so when the twin boys hatched from their eggs, they were considered part divine, part mortal.
Leda called them Castor and Pollux, which probably sounded better with a Greek accent. They were transformed into the constellation Gemini so they could always be together.
What does this have to do with surfing? Technically, nothing.
But late last night in my shop as the dust swirled and lines were drawn, I was thinking about the twin fundamentals of our sport--the Trim and the Glide. The Castor and Pollux of our sport. Inseparable, immortal, they shine down on us from a surfy heavens.
Hopefully, their bastard stepsister (Helen of Troy) will shine down as well: the Shred.
Damn!
It's not often we get an action image with my logo on it. Not because my clientele aren't continuously schralping hot curls--they are!--but because they tend to seek out the foggy, the remote, the mysto spookzones that tend to discourage photography. This ain't SoCal.
However, sometimes the skies clear and the swell lines up and local stokemeisters like Chris (pictured above and below) get an itch to sample a not-quite-Northcoast spot that sees the occasional telephoto on the beach.
Chris is shredding this week's featured board: the NPR.
The NPR is an offshoot of the Clover, which is a great head-highish and under shred machine. Last winter I shaped myself a more streamlined version for larger waves that featured a slightly different rocker profile, adjusted thickness flow, and a modified bottom contour. It was dubbed the Clover PR, for Pocket Rocket.
Not the best model name, for sure, but I didn't have time to come up with a better one. The surf was crackin!
It looked like this:
6'9
I dug it. A few folks tried it out, then ordered their own. A few tweaks later, and a few more folks ordered them until a bunch were ordering them and it deserved its own name. The NPR, or Northcoast Pocket Rocket, is a full-volumed aquatic fun machine designed for waves that are on the head high to well overhead range. They've been ridden with everything from one to five fins. I like mine as a quad, but that's just me.
When local shredder Chris ordered his, he went full Glasser's Choice on it, and we handed it off to Patrick at Northern Light, who did a bang-up job making it look right.
6'10
Brown opaque bottom wrap and a lovely robin's-egg-blue deck tint. Classic!
After the maiden session. Not heel dents on the deck, just a stoked-out wax job by someone who couldn't wait to get in the water and do this:
 Damn!



Thursday, February 5, 2015

Urban Legend

PitBoss for local shredder, climber, surf instructor, paramedic, public intellectual, and twelve-pack ab muscle enthusiast, Urban.
Urban's glassing order card said, "Earth tones. Glasser's choice," and this is what the fine folks at Almar Surf Works came up with.
Urban picked up a new board and declared his love to a long-time lady friend around the same time. It was a big week for the guy.
The PitBoss is not meant for small waves.
Or medium waves, really.
Any surfboard with more than one leash plug should give one pause.
This one's seven feet long, and features all the goods that one needs for Waves of Increased Consequence on the Northcoast: a little extra foam under the chest for our ridiculous paddle-outs when there's a jump in the buoys. Foam forward also gives the board a nice momentum when driving down the line--almost a 'pulling' feeling with the right bottom contour. Finally, it's nice to be able, while paddling out, to raise your chest up a little higher so that you can scan the foggy horizon for dark lines marching toward your suddenly tiny, suddenly cold, suddenly lonely body, floating at sea, hoping for a gift from the surf gods that could suddenly change everything.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Axe Handling

In his poem Axe Handles, California poet Gary Snyder (whose intimate 70th birthday party I crashed and got loaded on sake because he was in love with my at-the-time girlfriend) helps his son make a new handle for an axe head that was lying around.
The tool to do this? An axe.
The complete axe shapes the new handle, and also serves as a model for the tool he's making.
He recalls Ezra Pound, who wrote, "when making an axe handle/the pattern is not far off."
True that.

Because he's Gary Snyder, he muses on the moment, concluding: "Pound was an axe...I am an axe, And my son a handle, soon to be shaping again, model and tool, craft of culture, how we go on."
Ezra Pound shaped him, he is shaping his son, his son will--in turn--shape his own children. This is how we craft culture--modeling ourselves to future generations. In doing so, we get a cool axe to make more shit with.
Perhaps the zen-like purity of making an axe handle with your child is a bit clouded by the mini-me narcissism of the poem's central message, but it's nice to think about during the more challenging moments of parenthood.
For instance: on Friday, my five-year-old drew a (remarkably accurate...I think mirrors were involved) likeness of special ladyparts on the living-room wall. In Sharpie.
After the initial shock, then a brief period of inquiry, then an accompanying period of overthink followed by a web search, we removed the offending image together with toothpaste (thanks, Google!).
At one point I looked down at my youngest child, her sweet, sausagey, cherubic fingers busily scrubbing genital graffiti off our wall with Crest Whitening, and thought, "what the fuck?"
It was later I recalled Snyder and Pound and found some comfort.

Also finding comfort in the craft of culture this week is Rick.
Rick ordered up an 11ft, Skip-Frye inspired Glider. Although I didn't have the original item in front of me, I did have a handsome interpretation by Larry Mabile, which I used as a model. Frye to Mabile to my own hands. I am still very much an axe handle, but these masters before me are most certainly axes.
Also an axe is Rick, evidenced here passing on some new-board stoke and first-waxing tips to the next generation of surf shredders, led by his grandson.
This is how we go on.