Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Local Slab

I've spoken of the Local Slab quite often in this blog. It's a fun wave. Can get super hectic. Especially when doing its thing. The take off spot is a 10 foot square, and 20+ guys that know the wave well, are all battling for the perfect spot to sit. Two feet off and you're toast. Even if you are in the right spot, you're constantly butting shoulders or arms with others, while angling and air dropping into and hopefully under the lip. There are about 5 guys that surf it regularly that have it truly wired. They grew up surfing it and now it's pretty much second nature for them. I'm blown away at what those guys make. Also, how easy they make it look. Here is a sequence of who I would consider the King. Yea, there are guys who have surfed it better, or more agressively. Day in, Day out, Todd Thornton is always the guy in the spot.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A New Tradition Begins

No tree. Well, not yet. Sounds kinds odd, I know. This year we have yet to put up the Christmas Tree. Yea, we've heard about it. The grems are snapping. No presents wrapped. Yup, none. No wrapped presents to fondle and shake. Sounds kinda Grinch-like. We've got cards and knick-knacks up, but that is about it. This year we've decided to start a new tradition. We start on Christmas Eve. Christmas will be a two day event, starting in about 30 minutes. The tree goes up, all the decorations come out. Still, all the presents will stay out of site until Santa comes tonight. I'm looking forward to all the work that will go into this tradition in the next 36 hours. I can't wait to see the looks on the kids faces tomarrow morning. Hope everyone has a Very Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

This is what it's all about

Call me a dork, but I still feel this song. 25 years later. Yea, I was 16 at the time, so it was my generation. When I hear this song it makes me forget about all the BS that surrounds Christmas. All the Bakugan's, Nintendo DS's, and even the new shiny surfboards sitting under the tree, that us spoiled brats spend so much time pondering. It reminds me how fortunate every one of us is. That fact that we even have a computer, so we can read someone else's mindless blog babble. So, give a dollar to that guy selling oranges on the offramp (just this one time), drop a toy off at the toy drive, or volunteer at the local homeless kitchen. Have a Merry Christmas and thanks for visiting over the last year.

Monday, December 14, 2009

High Performance Hand Alaia's

Well, not really. Thats just what "The Justin" calls em. He thinks it would get the Alaia Community all riled up if we call em that. These are all ready for shipping and I rarely have this many at the same time, so I figured I'd take the opportunity for some photo's. On another note, but not really, remember to take your fins out of your truck and put them in the family cruiser whenever you've got to drop the gremlins off at school, prior to sliding. Today, I forgot. Surf was pretty fun, but so fucking perfect for High Performance Hand Alaia'ing. Left Wanting once again.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

One Turn

I like a lot of things about surfing. I love to Shortboard, longboard, Handplane, fish (thats surfing, not the boring rod and pole thing), and I occasionally find a day when I watch the SUK's and think that it is the best board for the conditions. I also enjoy watching Pro Contests.  It helps me keep irrational dreams alive.  To be that good at one thing, one of the best, all of us have dreamed at some point in our lives that we could experience that.  It keeps us alive.  Of course it's better to be good at many things, but that dream is still powerful.   Most people seem to lose interest in the pro contest scene in thier 30's, but for me, it's always been inspiring to see what those guys can do, especially under the pressure that they are. It's one thing for someone to boost a sick air when out freesurfing, but quite another when their are so many things riding on them sticking it. Pro surfing has been bumped up a few notches in the last few years. You play by the Damian Hardman rulebook, and in these days you'll make it no where near the top 100. You do well, you keep going, you keep your sponsors, you keep traveling the world on someone else's dime. You flail, and you gots to start thinking about what you are really gonna do with your life. It's been well publiziced lately how many of the younger guys are having a problem with finding/keeping sponsors in this economy. It's hard to feel sorry for em when so many people are out of jobs and so many are being sent back to a new war. With that, everyone has their own set of circumstances to grow by. One may learn about life from living six months in a fox hole, while another may become a good person by having to carry a six board coffin through the airport after surfing one heat in crumbly onshore surf. (oh wait, onshore is the new offshore.) OK he lost in perfect surf. I don't know, maybe that is worse. Regardless, it's all learning. So, where am I going with all this babble. I was watching the Sunset contest last week. It was big and pretty unruly. Not clean at all.
No visions of the perfect MR style wounded gull sweeping turns, connecting the peak to the inside. Just, big, ugly, mad ocean. It's the last qualifying contest of the year. It was in the round of 64 I believe. Jordy Smith was in a heat with 3 other guys. Jordy is already on tour and pretty much in position to stay. One of the other three is on the bubble to qualify. He's gotta keep going or he's gonna have to grind away for another year. Jordy is in second with a minute to go, the other guy that needs the score is in third. He needs a measly 3 point ride to pass Jordy. Basically stand up and make one turn. Seems easy enough. Unless you are talking about huge, unruly Sunset. Seconds tick away and it seems to be pretty much wrapped up. With 10 to go, the guy starts to paddle for a wave, lifts his hands off the rails with less than 2 seconds, stands up, drops in, one average sweep under the lip, wave closes out, and he straightens for the beach. Now we go to commercial. After we watch some spoiled kid pull into a perfect tube in Indo, wearing his 10 way stretch trunks, which happened to make it so he could tweak ever so slightly and pull under the lip, we go back to the scores. 3.7. He moves on. Jordy is out. The qualifier needed to get at least get third in his next heat to qualify for the tour. I didn't stay to watch and see if he did. To me the point was made. It could have went the other way.  I sat and pondered this for a while. What it would be like to have your whole world turned upside down within a matter of seconds. I guess it's all happened to us to some extent. Some more than others. The one that comes to mind is the guy who recently lost his wife and two young daughters when the military plane took out his house.

Such a catastrophe. Everyone has their horrors, this guy enough to fill a stadium. I hope that someday he will find something in this that helps him. For me, much like the fledgling qualifier above, it all happened in "One Turn". It wasn't surfing, it was skiing. 20+ years ago. But, thats another story all together.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sacrificial Lambs

Yes, that would be us. Like when you paddle in after waiting an extended peroid, for that one last set wave. Only to watch it peel all the way through the inside, once you've gotten out. We have been making Thanksgiving dinner for 12+ people for the last 10 years. This year, we decided that we wanted to do something different. In order to get out of the family obligations, we planned a camping trip out to the desert. Wanted to show the gremlins something a little different than sand and salt water. Maybe some snakes and lizards. Cactus, flowers, and most importantly some SMORES. They love the SMORES. So, tomarrow we head east for a few days and nights. The hardest part about this trip isn't the camping part, the preparation, the wondering and worrying if we will be able to entertain the kids, or even better, if they will entertain themselves. The hardest part is the fact that the surf just may be epic. Doubtful that it will be truly epic, but, probably pretty damn good. Swell is supposed to be building almost the same time we will be pulling out. It's supposed to lose most of it's steam, right as we will be returning. It's not just the swell though. The weather is supposed to be pretty much as good as it gets around this time of year. Warm, offshore, without a cloud in the sky. We could stay home. 4 days off work. No big dinner to make. Surf all day. A nice mini staycation. With the commitments we've made, it probably wouldn't be prudent. So, we are the designated Sacrificial Lambs for all of you. Please don't leave town. Don't go on Mountain Bike trips, or early snowboard trips, those can be done when the surf sucks. Stay, have a surf, catch all the ones that we might have been on. Enjoy yourselves and take advantage of the reason you live near the Ocean.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


So many things I love about this photo

Sunday, November 15, 2009

3 in a Row

Last weekend I had some of the best surf I've had in quite some time. I missed Saturday due to soccer obligation (last games of the season, woohoo). Sunday, drove across the bridge to clean overhead lines stacking up on the horizon. Pulled up, fed the kids some grub, and watched wave after wave peel from the peak, regroup in the middle, then rocket down the line in the shorebreak. Plenty of great rides. Lots of smiles. Rebecca soon got out of the water, and I gotta say, there is nothing better than seeing your wife have shit eating grin walking up the beach. Paddled out on the GH twinny that Rebecca bought me for my birthday, and preceded to catch wave after clean wave. Well overhead. It was pretty crowded, but luckily most of the guys that were catching the good ones on bigger boards, would call me into waves after they passed by, usually leaving me plenty of pocket room. Plus, they would always kick out before the better inside section. Monday rolled around and my expectations weren't that high. Two days in a row of good surf? Couldn't happen. Plus the buoy numbers seemed to be a little smaller. Well I was wrong. It was a touch smaller, still overhead, but even cleaner than the day before. Shifted over to the ledgier part of the reef, and pretty much got a few of the best barrels I've gotten in a few years. Crowd was much more mellow, and the rotation was working well. Tuesday. Nah, couldn't happen. Not 3 in a row. Tuesday we (Rebecca and I, no kids) pulled up to the reef to another perfect weather day. For the first time in a while, we could surf together. We were heading out of town later in the day, but had the morning off, and the kids in school. We've had bad luck over the last year on our rare surf days. Usually the surf is real small, or blown out. Can't actually remember the last time we surfed together when it was good. Just might have been pre-kids. Our session started out pretty slow. It was an incredibly beautiful day, but the surf had dropped and changed directions a bit. Surf PE was in full force. The crowd was thick. We paddled out together, and stayed on the south side. From the lot, there seemed to be some fun looking waves breaking on the middle and reeling through the inside. When I got out, I couldn't seem to find them. I ended up sitting outside with the rest of the pack. 30 minutes went by, still no wave ridden. Then something wierd happened. People started to drift. Some got out for work or school. Some paddled over to the other side of the reef. Before we knew it, we were the only two sitting at the peak on that side of the reef. Waves started coming. Head high, fun, a little softer on the outside, but would reform into some great inside sections. We traded off wave for wave for about an hour. Sharing many during that time as well. One of the best sessions of the year, not because it was epic, or even as good as the prior two days, but because it was pretty much just us.

Here a few picks Tom English shot of me on Sunday:

I remember this last little section. Remember watching it set-up, remember waiting for it, stalling, stalling, stalling. I remember the view and how many I've blown recently. Remember thinking to myself, "No way I ain't coming out of this one." Luckily, I did.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Confrontation with a Legend

I've definately had some confrontations over the years.  It all started when I was 16 and some Windansea local took a swing at me for no reason (actually, thats another story all together).  I tend to have a bit of a temper in the water sometimes. Rarely on land. If there was another step under rarely, I'd probably go with that one. In the water, it's different. Usually doesn't have much to do with what really happened in the water. Some days someone could burn me multiple times and I could give a shit. Some days not so much. It usually has to do with what's going on in my life, if I slept well, or if the gremlins were driving me crazy. I watch my best friend of many years surf all the time. So even keeled. Always in control. In 25 years, I've never seen him lose his temper in the water. Never even heard him yell. I respect that a lot. It's not me, but sometimes I wish it were. Whether right or wrong, confrontations never really turn out too good. Even if you feel you came out on top, you still feel like shit, and it pretty much screws up the rest of your session. One caveot is that I have ended up meeting some great people that I got into confrontations with.  Carter, Dan, Uncle Rick.  Somehow our lives just collided at the wrong times.  Luckily, we got through it, and became friends.

Recently there was an occurance with a legend. It actually didn't even involve me. Well, indirectly. I was on the beach watching. It was a small crumbly day. Windswell. Close intervals. Hardly worth surfing. Nevertheless, it was crowded. Something about those days seem to bring out the crowds. The kinda crowds that can be dangerous. My wife, Rebecca, took off on a wave at the peak, someone took off on the shoulder, almost directly on top of her, as she was coming down the line. She fell and lost her board. She swam over to her board, grabbed the tail, just in time for the next wave to be breaking. The Legend was on it. And yes, he is truly a legend. Her board pivoted up as she held onto the tail, and hit him in the side of the upper body and head. Not hard enough to hurt, but definately enough to be felt. The sad thing is, he had plenty of time to read the wave and turn out of the way, instead he decided to hold his line. He could have easily avoided the whole mess. I'm a huge stressor of etiquitte, and how it is the person in the waters responsibility to get out of the way of the person coming down the line.  Sometimes, it just isn't possible.  This was one of those times.  This legend tends to be a hot head. At 62, he's probably yelled at more people in North San Diego than any other person I've seen. We tend to avoid him in the water as much as possible. He is still a great surfer. I would say, probably the best 62 year old surfer alive. One of the best surfers to ever live. Always a stand-out at any age. So, he paddles back out and yells at Rebecca. I'm watching this whole thing from the beach, and I could just tell what was going on. She caught a few more waves and came in. When she got in, she confirmed what I'd thought. I was truly proud of her for getting back into his face and yelling back at him. Another sad thing is that many of the people that we see and talk to at the beach, everyday, were out in the water, so-called friends. They all saw what had happened, and not one of them had the balls to say something during the verbal assault. Oh, they thought they were do-gooders by later telling her how sorry they were that this happened, but still, absolutely no sack. Is your place on the beach that important? Really?     Fuckers.

Back to the legend, He's had some problems in the last few years and just started getting back in the water a few months ago. It was good to see him back in the water, but, thoughts of the old times always sat in the back of my mind. He's had 3 confrontations with people that surf their everyday, just in the last two weeks. These are the same people he hangs out with, well, at least when he is their. All nice, good natured guys. When I think back, I don't think I've ever seen one of em in a confrontation in the last 8 years. He comes in soon after Rebecca, and heads up the beach for the typical coffee talk. This whole time, i'm thinking, "Should I just let this go?" Is it OK for someone to yell at your wife for a misfortunate accident. One that could be avoided at that. After contemplating for a while, I decided that the right thing to do was to have a talk with him. The real test for me, was to do it as calmly as possible. I walked down the beach, asked him if I could have a word with him. He came over, and I calmly explained the situation. He said that it wasn't his fault, what if it would have hit him in the head?   What if he needed to get stitches, or got knocked out? I explained to him that it was an accident. Accidents due happen. She got burned, was trying to recover her board, windswell, close intervals, pretty much everything. Tried to draw it out as clearly as possible, as calmly as possible, so that he could truly understand the situation.  That yelling at her, probably wasn't the best reaction. His response, still not his fault, he shouldn't have to deal with it. He didn't get it, the whole time his face was getting redder, his voice louder, his eyes more strained. I asked him if he'd ever made a mistake, his response, "NO. Never." So you're perfect? Well this whole confrontation lasted a good ten minutes. My buddy (mentioned above, who knows me real well) showed up to the beach and actually came down and stood about 15 feet away. I didn't see him or know he was their, but apparently he said I started using my arms a little more, he was their to cover me. Thats a true friend. I never raised my voice, which for me, was a true accomplishment. The whole thing ended with him walking away telling me to "Fuck Off" pretty much at the top of his lungs. I told him I love him too. And it was over. I held my ground and didn't feel bad for doing it. It didn't ruin my day. About 15 minutes later we were sitting at our table talking, up walks the legend. He apologizes to my wife. He didn't realize that she had gotten burned on the wave before which caused her to lose her board. Says that he doesn't want this type of energy between us. We all shake hands and he walks away. Another 10 minutes go by and he comes back. He apologizes to me for talking to me the way he did. Well, guess you could say that his apologies made me feel pretty good. Definatly not wasted energy. From what I hear, nobody has ever heard him apologize for something he did, or someone he yelled at in the water. I know it took a lot for him to come over and apologize.  He gained a lot of respect from me that day. Respect that was lost years ago.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Kewarra Jet Bottom Challenge

My best friend and I got to talking yesterday. I really don't think he appreciates me doing this handplane thing lately. We've surfed together for a good 20+ years. Now, half the time I'm bobbing around the inside looking for some goodness. As I've stated before, we used to watch all the Bystrom Movies when growing up. I forget which movie it was, but it showed the Kewarra Jet bottom boards. We were always intrigued by them. So, the challenge was set to truly test my mediocre wood working skills. I am making a Kewarra Jet Bottom Handplane to try and get him interested in my latest obsession.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Better Off Dead

Better Off Dead! Thats about the way I felt a year ago. At least weight wise. I was as out of shape as ever. Just look back at the pictures of me riding the Clownfish. I was up to 183. Now, you bigger guys might think that is not bad. At, 5'7, it is. I never want to be that old fat guy. All our lives we are constantly telling ourselves that it's time to start, so that we don't end up a fat longboard has-been that mainly sits on the beach talking story. My kids are still young, I want to be able to play soccer with them, or surf with them (at heavier breaks) when they are older. The thought of one boat trip to the Mentawaii's with the whole family filling the boat. Jumping off and Paddling out at some remote spot, with just my wife and 3 kids, sharing a perfect spinning head high right. I want to have that option. So, about a 10 months ago, I started. Started trying to get in the water as much as possible. Keeping active. Running as much as my schedule will allow. Mainly, eating better. Not necessarily dieting. Eating better. Less portions. Nothing late at night. Decrease the junk. So, after the first installment in the plan, I am down to 148. 35 pounds off, and down to a reasonable weight for my body. Now the key is maintaining it for the rest of my life. Getting back to the song. I have a soundtrack that I play while running. Mostly made up of songs that remind me of surfing. I know if I get to "Better Off Dead," then I've had a good long run. It always inspires me to make it up that last hill, not only make it up, but with a little zest.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

CNN and Surfing

How to link em. Well for me, it just became a little easier. CNN/Money Magazine just announced their best job list for 2009. I was driving to work the other day and almost spit up my coffee, when it was announced that my profession was named 2nd on that list. For years we have been know as the bastard children of Medicine. I mean, hell, the name itself implies that we are nothing more than the help. In truth, that is the case. Generally though, unless you've experience the work of a PA in the past, the name pretty much implies that you went to a couple month course and learned how to draw blood, or take a blood pressure. Plus, with the close relation to the name "Medical Assistant," (which is pretty much what you get when you take that 2 month course), the haziness becomes even more prevalent. Now days when people ask what I do, I usually try and move on as quickly as possible. No longer do I want to have to explain. Since this is my blog, and I can pretty much say what I want. I'll give you a quick glimpse. I work in Orthopedics at a very large group. I see and examine patients (just as a physician would do), evaluate studies, diagnose, and treat patients. This all under the supervision of a Doctor. Rarely do they ever see the patient, unless it is an extremely complicated case. When on-call, I am the one taking the calls. I am usually responsible for 20-40 post-operative patients on the floor. I see all the complicated Ortho cases in the ER, reduce most fractures, and admit the patient for surgery. I also first assist in surgery (which to me is pretty boring).

How did we get to where we are, and why should you trust us to take care of you? One reason is that we usually know how to treat the common problems in Medicine better than the doctors. We see em everyday and know the protocols. We also usually know when it's over our head, and time to pass it along to the Doc. The Docs in our clinic rarely ever see the basic stuff anymore. More often than not, when they do, they are asking us what that protocol is. As for education, Most PA Programs these years are 2-3 year Masters Programs. They are run or are affiliated with a Medical School. We pretty much give up 3 years of our lives (after getting a BS degree) to do what we do. Unlike Medical school where the students go to class from 8-12 the first two years, we go from 8-5. Then study until midnight, and repeat the next day. Usually do an all nighter studying 1-2 nights a week. The general idea is to try and get the same information in 2 years instead of 4. For me, and for most, it was probably the hardest years of my life. In the end, well worth it.

So, that is it in a nutshell. I have now done the job that our profession is constantly trying to get us to do. Explain to the public what we are, and what we do. I'm pretty stoked, after 12 years of being a bastard, to now be recognized for a job that I truly enjoy and am glad to have.

So, how does this tie into surfing, Well, I get a lot of time off. Those hard years of work have now paved the way for the job of my dreams. I work three twelve hour shifts a week. This entails some nights and some weekends. Generally, I have 5 days a week, that I am off during the day. I also get one week off every 5 weeks. It's just the way the schedule rotates. I'm thinking most of you know what I'm doing with all that time.


And the winners are...
Great pay and superior growth prospects. Work that's meaningful. Those are some of the qualities we looked for when selecting America's best jobs. More
1. Systems Engineer
2. Physician Assistant
3. College Professor
4. Nurse Practitioner
5. IT Project Manager
6. CPA
7. Physical Therapist
8. Network Security Consultant
9. Intelligence Analyst
10. Sales Director

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Pinliner Model

I made this one for Peter St. Pierre. He has been an inspiration in my handplane quest. He was actually the first person to show me a handplane. Danny Hess sent him one of his models. It was pretty neat, and I filed it in the back of my head. A while later, he was at the beach one day and we again got to talking about bodysurfing and items used as assistance. He was talking about things they used to use back in the day. One of the big things he always went back to was a ping pong paddle. But, always kept saying that anything would work. So, prior to using that makeshift board I found on the beach, I tried one of the kids plastic shovels. It didn't do much. We got to talking again the other day, again he brought up that his favorite thing was the ping pong paddle. That he likes his Hess, but sometimes feels it's a little on the big side. He wanted something that was smaller and a little more functional, especially for waves that were top to bottom and super easy to catch. Waves you didn't need a big plane to get into (Think Wedge, Marine street, or just use your imagination.) Something like the ping pong paddle. He gave me some general dimensions and this is what I came up with. I like it alot, and will definately be making myself one, and I'm sure many others in the future.


The winter that is. Yesterday was the most relaxing day I've had on the beach in a long time. Don't really know what happened. It was a Sunday, the sun came out, the wind was calm, the surf was reasonable. Not epic by any proportions, but definately do-able. Especially when the tide filled in. So, where were the people? Don't really know. Maybe the masses succumbed to Mr. Bass's constant hanging of postcards on our cars, and decided to check out his coveted, "Sacred Craft." Or the outdoorsperson was trying to get one last summer camping/hiking/biking trip in the Sierra's before Mother closed her doors. Maybe Football has finally taken a stronghold of all those warm water buoys, that seem to float around in our way during the summer. So, there I was, sitting on an empty beach, kids playing in the shorey, sitting in a chair, sewing neoprene handstrap covers for handplanes. Yea, you read it right. I was sewing on the beach. Got a few comments from friends, about needing me to sew em a new Beanie before winter kicked in, or a new pair of nice fuzzy socks. It's OK, I can take it. So, back to sitting on the beach. Had to be one of the most relaxing times I've had in a while. Lots of things on my mind lately, thanks to all of you who decided to do other things, you gave me some time to clear the haze a bit. These are the kind of days that make all the effort, or "Passion," if you will, worthwhile. Carry on.

Friday, October 9, 2009

One for Mr. Surfy

Just finished this one up for JP. If you see him this weekend, he just might have it laying around.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Watch the Melon

A couple things I've learned while using the Handplane:

First, as stated in a previous post, people WILL burn you. Be it your best friend (who woulda probably burned you anyway), or just the random Donkey visiting from Kansas. It will happen. And happen ALOT. I try and keep my composure and remind myself that I'm not on a board. If I were, knowing myself, and my sometimes lack of self control, I'd probably be constantly yelling if I got burned so much. So, with my accepting attitude about being burned, all I ask is that you watch out for my Melon. I'm gonna be behind you, even though you think not, just don't cut back on my head. I kinda wanta keep it intact, at least for a few more years.

Second, boy, it's sometimes pretty blinding when planing. Many times, especially while trying to get into the wave, your head is completely underwater. Your kicking as hard as you can, trying to make yourself streamline like a fish. You can feel your arm planing, but, you're not quite in the wave yet. A few more kicks, and you're going. Raise your body and your head, and finally you can see. Hopefully you set your line correctly and are actually now trimming down the face. Uh Oh, you've gotta push through a crumbling lip ahead, there goes the vision. Whitewater in the face, still planing, hoping to push through. Yes, there it is, back on the face and a nice section ahead. Stall, pull in, twist your body so now your back arm is above you, and actually stalling in the back part of the barrel, and wow, you've just experienced one of the best sensations in wave riding. As close to what the dolphins feel as any human can get. So, getting back to the blinding parts. Many times I'm doing this in a crowd. Unlike surfing, where my head is constantly above water and I can see who is in front of me, I can't see people paddling out through the waves. Someday, and probably soon, I'm gonna hit someone. To that person, I apologize. And also say, next time, get the fuck outta the way, cause you're the asshole that just burned me.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


We'll see how she goes tomarrow, if Eddie leaves us alone.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Bastard Children of the Ocean

I've definately had my words in the past about SUP's. Most are related to the mass public interest. The people who never really stepped foot in the ocean, or did it on an occasional basis. The SUP gave them the freedom to all of a sudden have a huge advantage over the paddle-less others. They didn't need to serve their time, work their way into the line-up, take the left overs, etc. If they were smart, All they needed to do is spend a week paddling on calm water, then take that act out into the line-up and learn to catch waves. Soon, they could be sitting out further then the rest, and stroking into waves, with hardly a competitor. I think I could teach a non-surfer how to paddle an SUP and having em ligitamately catch waves in 2 weeks. How long does it take the average surfer to learn to catch waves, stand up, and go down the line? Most of these newbies have absolutely no etiquitte whatsoever. They never learned. They never had some guy at WindanSea throw a punch at them, because he grew up their, not because he was right. They never had an older buddy constantly grind their mind with the rights and wrongs, the places they shouldn't go, or the places they shouldn't go with anyone else. They just don't get it. They don't understand why they hear comments as they paddle by. They are just out getting some exercise, just as they would on the basketball court or the softball field. Then, throw in the fact, that most of the ones that don't fit this bill, that actually surfed, then started to SUP, usually don't do it at the break that they used to surf at, well that is just plain fucked. My question to them is this, "You seem to surf well, why is it that you are all of a sudden coming here to SUP?" Why don't you SUP at the break that you used to surf at?

As many of you know, lately I've been really into this handplane thing. Today I got some of the best waves I've had with a handplane yet. Probably one of the funner sessions in the ocean this year. One thing that I've noticed while learning to handplane, is that when you are out bodysurfing, you also get absolutely no respect. On a surfboard, at most breaks, I usually get a fair share of waves. At the break I frequent most, usually more than my fair share. I think I know the wave pretty well, but, I also know the people as well. I've put in a decent amount of time, and think that I'm pretty well respected. That all seems to go out the window when you put on a pair of flippers. You could be talking to the guy next to you, hand over your plane for him to check it out, set comes, you are in position, and he'll burn you everytime. Doesn't matter if you can plane down the face and ride it as long as him. Doesn't matter if he saw you get perfectly slotted the wave before. For some reason, he thinks that because he's standing, it's his. The clincher is that these are the very same people that are making the comments that I made above about the SUP's.

So, now that I've got that all straightened out, the reason for my rant. There are about 5 guys that I know that SUP that I really respect. They started doing it way before the craze. All surfed well prior to starting to SUP. Know etiquitte well. Most importantly, grew up surfing the break that they now SUP at. Tom English is one of them. I enjoy surfing with Tom and talking with him in the lot. He's a smart guy and is always willing to share or give away a wave. Here are a few picks of Tom and myself last weekend, riding a wave together. The part that was missed in the photos, was when we were actually right next to each other, gave a nice High-5, then he sling-shotted me into the next section. One of the most memorable waves of the year. Memorable, while still being the Bastard Children of the Ocean.

Handplane Goodness

Well, I've been pretty much addicted to this handplane thing for the last month. Have gotten in the water almost daily, foregoing surfing, in hopes of getting a few good ones with the plane. I pretty much tweaked my original prototype on a daily basis. I then made, tested, and tweaked a few others. Screwed with channels, holes, and multiple straps set-ups. This is the version that I came up with that seems to fit my needs the best. Wood is Poplar, which is a nice hard wood and will hopefully be real durable. Strap is adjustable for tightness. Board is sealed with 4 coats of Helmsman Gloss. The belly flows to about the strap placement, and I stayed with the deep single concave, because overall, I seemed to get far better waves and was able to stay in the pocket far more often then when I was using the board with channels. For the guys that contacted me about making one for em, should be starting later today as I've now finished most of my experimentation and and ready to make some.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My Jason Buttonshaw Story

I was lucky to be approached by my best friend during his senior year in High School. We had been watching the Chris Bystrom movies and were in complete ahh of Australia, Kirra in general. He said that when he graduated, he was going. He invited me to tag along and I took him up on it. In 1988, we ventured to Cooly and had a nice flat waiting for us, two blocks from Kirra. It was January and summer was in full swing. We stayed for six weeks. Our flat was on the third floor of a six floor building. Our balcony overlooked Coolangatta. On the far side of town, around the corner from Snapper, was the legendary, "Patch," nightclub. It was the big hangout for every surfer within 20 miles. Legends, pros, local hero's, traveling donkeys (us), and anyone else you could ever envision, would be thier on most nights. I was a little timid in unfamiliar settings in those days, and looked like I was about 10. Though I was 19, going to a nightclub basically scared the shit out of me. I spent many a night holding up the walls watching. On the nights that we didn't go, we would stay up late and watch the entourage walk by after it closed. Of those that would have to walk by, Jason Buttonshaw was one of them. For those of you that don't know who Jason is/was, well he was supposed to be the next "Tom Curren" of the surfing world. He was groomed in the legendary hollow pointbreaks on the Goldcoast and thick barrels of D-Bah. He was amazing to watch. This was his heyday, and he was on-fire, both in the water, and at "The Patch." Though, I think he was only 17 at the time, I think they really didn't care that he was underage. So, most nights Jason would come walking by the dark path that went around our building. Many nights alone, and, well, intoxicated. My buddy and I would watch him pass, and after a few nights, decided, it was time to fuck with Jason. The next night he walked by, we were ready. Ice chips were our form of attack. We would throw a grip of chips high in the air, and then duck out of site and watch. That boy had no idea what was going on. He would just look up in frustration, without a clue of what or where these things were coming from. This went on during our whole stay, and remains one of the biggest memories to come out of that trip. There were others, and I did learn alot, mainly how to dodge a perfectly good barrel, but the Buttonshaw thing just brings a smile to my face. Jason, if you are out thier, and I ever meet you, you get one free shot, anywhere you wanta take it, I deserve it. A few other things come to mind when thinking about that first real trip away from home. Sitting on the balcony, watching lightning storms, while listening to U2's Joshua Tree, on my walkman cassette. One of my favorite songs to this day comes from that album. "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," the gospel version. When that song randomly comes on, I can close my eyes and envision sitting on that balcony, watching the sky light up in the most amazing patterns. Then, when that chior starts whaling, it makes my heart beat a little faster, and my body a little warmer. I love gospel, and mixed with a good song, it just can't be beat.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I Love to Plane

Handplane that is. As a follow up to the post from a while ago. I got around to making a handplane. I am totally enthralled with it. It's pretty much all I have been doing over the last month. 3/4 of the times I have gone to the beach, I've not surfed, only to handplane instead. Somedays, I'll surf for a while, then switch and get in some time on the plane. It's amazing that in 25 years of surfing, I never got into this. It is so much fun. Nothing like the feeling of your body sliding down the face of a wave, stalling for the upcoming section, then contorting your body to fit into the barrel. Prior to this, my idea of bodysurfing was catching a wave straight to the beach to retrieve my board. Rarely was I ever able to get on the face of a wave and go down the line. If so, then it was a very short ride. Now, with a plane, I'm catching waves as easily as if I had a board, and riding em just as long. I can't explain the feeling, and I know, eventually, I'll probably get bored, just like in surfing, but, for now, it is all I can think about. So, I've made a few planes now, but I still mainly use the initial prototype that I built. Initially, I built it without a strap or hole. I just palmed it. I really liked it in that phase. Just me and some wood. Plus, it was nice to swim with. I was urged to either put a hole in it, so the fingers went through the board, or attach a strap. I'm not a big fan of the hole, everyone says that is doesn't affect function, but, I just like the thought of water flowing freely along the contours of the bottom. Holes in Handplanes do keep it basic and aesthetically pleasing, and allow some for control. I also don't like the looks of most straps. They just look like they don't belong. The curiosity got the best of me. So, one morning I went in the garage and found an old bodyboarding strap, cut off the leash, and screwed it to the deck. Wow, the newfound control was pretty amazing, but honestly I still like the pure and plain aesthetics of just a peice of wood. I learned alot about what a strap had to do to be functional, which definately needed to be taken into consideration when designing a strap system. The next phase in the process, was to come up with a strap system. I tossed around some ideas with others, my main concern being function, but also something that looks good. I mean, you gotta a beautifully carved piece of wood, with a nice finish if desired, you can't put a piece of dogshit across the top. So, the strap system below is what I came up with. It is adjustable for looseness, and also pivots that way a good strap should. Plus, I think it looks pretty good too. The last thing that I've done recently to my handplane was add two channels (actually did it this morning). They aren't pictured, but run about an inch from the rail, parallel to the center, about halfway up the board. So, I think I've run the course with this first board and plan on making many more just like it in the future.