Friday, February 26, 2010

Shut Down

I grew up camping.  Well, I guess thats not necessarily true.  My parents took us kids camping at the Colorado river once when we were kids.  Got us set-up real nice like, next to a mosquito swarm.  We lasted one night, got bitten to hell, and were out of thier.  That was the last and only camping trip I went on with my parents. 

When I started surfing, my friends and I used to go camp at the state beach campgrounds.  As long as you brought a note from your parents, you were good.  Not sure if that is still the case, but, we had some fun times.  Rob Miller drunk under the staircase at South Carlsbad, is probably the highlight of those trips.  Surf was always good, or, I just didn't surf well enough to realize what was good, and what wasn't. 

Those trips progressed into lots and lots of camping trips to Mexico in my 20's and early 30's.  Seems every other or third weekend I was heading down.  Even got to the point where I was partners on a trailer about 4 hours in.  Man, those were some incredible times.  I can honestly say, that, on those trips, the surf was fun.  In the end though, surfing is just a bonus.  It's more about the adventure.  Getting away.  If you get some surf on top of that, well, that just makes it that much better.

It's finally getting to the point where taking the kids camping is enjoyable.  They are old enough now where they can somewhat, take care of themselves.  Prior to now, camping was more of a chore than fun.  Constantly on the run, constantly watching, constantly worrying.  We'd get home from a camping trip and feel completely exhausted.

We've got a good percentage of the next 4 months set up with camping trips.  One about every 3-4 weeks.  Going to the desert during the flower bloom in early April.  Ventura in April.  Yosemite in early May.  Plus a few other one nighters dispersed between.

Our season was supposed to start off at San Elijo in two weeks.  An easy, close trip to get the season rolling.  I had planned this trip about 6 months ago.  You kind of have to.  In order to get a good spot at San Elijo, you have to be on the internets at a certain time, six months in advance.  I had the perfect spot picked out.  I've eyed that spot my whole life.  Always wanted to be sitting at the end of the cul-de-sac, facing the left.  Basically a chain link fence separating you and the water.  Spot 62.  It's always taken.  The most in-demand spot in the park.  I have never got to camp in it, or even around it.  Those cul-de-sac spots are hard to come by.  Last year or the year before, they closed down spot 63 due to it somewhat falling into the ocean.  A safety hazard.  They made it much smaller, and turned it in to a bike/hike spot.  So, six months ago, I sat at the computer, all logged in and ready.  The time came and I furiously started hitting buttons.  I FUCKING GOT IT.  Two nights, starting Friday, March 19.  Perfect way to start our camping season.  I was stoked.

I've watched all winter long.  The storms.  The waves.  The rocks.  The wall that protects the campground.  All slowly deteriorating.  I just got the call. Reserve America.   Spot 62 has now been closed forever, due to safety concerns.  Not only that, they can't even get us into the park that weekend, or any other for the next six months.  Sure we can show up and hope somebody cancels, but, thats alot of work with three little ones.  Yea, they are gonna give us a full refund, but, once again, I am left wanting...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

In The News

I have had a lot of support over the last few years. My wife being first of course. Good friends, both that I grew up with, and have met over time. Even some good internet friends. Yea, sounds kinda wierd, but, I have to admit, I've met some pretty quality people that I woulda never come in contact with, had it not been for the internets. The guys at Matuse have also done a shitload for me. I met them through a mutual friend and since then our relationship has been great. Recently they have done a few new things to add to their wetsuit line. They have so graciously become my first retail account for Handplanes. I am building an exclusive model just for them. They also have Jon Wegener, of the Wegener Family fame, building Alaia's for em.  If you haven't checked out their site, they've got all kinds of new stuff going on. New downloads, news, press, and a pretty incredible selection of Video's that could keep you pretty busy for an afternoon. Check it all out at:


Monday, February 22, 2010

Shit that Don't belong at the Beach

Recently there has been a problem in the lot.  It kinda makes things a little bit uncomfortable.  Well, not too much, but, enough.  It seems that one of the guys down at the beach, invested a lump of money with another.  Both lost.  Now one is sending out e-mails and hanging up posters on his truck in the lot.  Attacking the other.  I think this is just plain wrong.  Yea, it's sad that you lost, but investing money is like going to Vegas.  You don't invest unless you can afford to lose it.  Doesn't matter how stable it seams.   If you aren't willing to lose anything, then put it in the bank, in increments less than 100K, and shut the fuck up.  End of story.  It's kind of sad, because both of these people, I consider my friends.  Both good people that I truly believe wouldn't maliciously wrong another person.  It's time to grow up.  Leave us out of it.  Take care of your business at home and come to the beach with a smile.  Surf, drink your coffee, then leave the same way that you came.

Friday, February 12, 2010

I am a Freak

When it comes to the Winter Olympics.  I'm not so much a sports fan.  Yea, I'll turn the Chargers game on if I happen to be home and not doin much.  Usually during the second half.  I also take the kids to the occasional Padres game.  I was pretty into sports growing up, well, at least until 15 when I started surfing.  I grew up in a hotbed of baseball talent.  I had some great times and sometimes regret not keeping my skills up.  Though with the dynamics of surfing, you don't really have the time to make regular practices and/or games.  My regrets are short lived when I consider what surfing has really brought me.  At 41, I'm still as stoked as I ever was.  Surfing wasn't an easy sport for me to get into.  It wasn't handed to me by any means.  We lived quite a ways from the beach.  Speaking of the beach, my parents, who I love dearly and have been nothing but supportive my whole life, thought that going to the beach was a day on the bay, in the middle of summer.  The only waves generated by boat wakes from the gearheads speeding by.  I remember coming home from those annual trips from the bay, exhausted and roasted.  Those were the days of No Sunscreen.  And those of you who have met me will confirm, I ain't no bronzed, chiselled speciman.  I'm a true white boy.  Actually with a little red tint most of the time.  Recovering from those burns took some days, and some pain.  Back to surfing.  I was lucky to meet some great guys that were in the same boat as me.  We had to drive to go surfing.  Usually we'd plan while at school.  A buck a piece for gas was enough to get our VW bugs over the hill.  We surfed almost daily.  Sometimes making two treks over the hill in the same day.  We surfed anywhere from Cottons to IB, but, spent a good percentage of our days at OBJ or Cardiff.  We were lucky to be able to surf so many different types of waves.  While we grew to truly hate where our parents chose to bring us up, I am truly grateful today.  If I were spoonfed surfing and grew up living on the beach, much like my kids are, I would've turned out, well, lets just say, not so good.  Too much influence.  Too much of everything.  We dreamed of being that sponsored kid, our age, that we'd see on the beach everyday.  Killing it out in the line-up, then getting all the girls on the beach.  That wasn't our lot in life.  I occasionally run into those guys that I wished I was when I was a teenager.  They, well, let's just say, aren't as lucky as me.  Most don't surf much anymore and aren't really doing too much with thier lives.  Many have been in and out of Rehab and such.  I'm pretty sure I would have been one of em, had my lot been like theirs.  So, I am grateful.  Grateful for the friends that I still surf with on an almost daily basis.  Grateful for the times we had and endured, to be able to participate in this lifestlye/sport/thing, or whatever you want to call it.  Grateful for the many things I still have to look forward to in and around the ocean.  When I was 15, one of the most Ironic statements that anyone has ever said to me came.  It was my baseball coach.  He was a great man.  A great coach.  I had been missing practices to go surfing.  I was his shortstop.  Someone he had groomed to be his star.  He said to me, "You will never get out of surfing, what you have the potential to get out of baseball."  I look around these days.  A good percentage of the guys I played ball with were drafted.  Actually, 7 of the 9 starters on our High School team.  Which is pretty unbelievable.  Of those 7 that were drafted, not one is playing ball anymore.  I on the other hand, am still surfing on an almost daily basis.  Have seen the world through surfing, and look forward to spending as much time in the water as possible until the day I die. 

So, in short, or not so short, I don't really watch sports too much, but, I frickin LOVE the Olympics, especially the Winter Olympics.  Something about the sports not being so mainstream really gets me going.  These people put so much time into their craft, to be the best in the world, with very little payoff in the end.  No six or seven figure lifetime contract, well a few, but generally, just that drive to accomplish something meaningful in life.  I watch them walk into that stadium and just dream about being that good at something.  To have endured so much to get to this point.  I respect them, and look forward to the next two weeks.  Long nights staying up past midnight, then getting up early to surf or work, all to repeat again.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

He Forgot to Mention ...

Bodysurfers, Handplaners, bodyboarders, matt riders, etc.  in his pecking order.  Personally, I think they fit right after surfers, may even at the same level if they really know what they are doing, know the line-up well, and know positioning.  By this picture that I posted over at Handplane Goodness, probably not the case though.  NO FUCKING RESPECT.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Pecking Order

This was written in a post on Stand Up Zone BB by Tom English. He is one of my friends that has gone the way of the SUP. He's is a a really good surfer, but, now pretty much only rides an SUP. Out of all the SUP guys I have ever met, he is by far the nicest and most courteous. Still a stoked grom. Plus, he was doing it for 2-3 years before the craze started. He's taken a lot of the photo's that I post on this blog.  Always takes photo's of everyone when he's not surfing, then posts em on his website for everyone to download. He's a good guy, and he's got it right when it comes to the whole SUP thing. Here is his list of the pecking order:

The pecking order is (in order of who get's the waves they want:

1 - Duke K

2 - Phil Edwards

3 - Micky Dora

4 - Gerry Lopez (and Ron House)

5 - Your shaper

6 - Oldest local

7 - Oldest Local who still pulls into barrels

8 - Any shortboarder

9 - Any Longboarder

10- Tourist

11 - SUP

13- Costco SUP

The Link to Stand Up Zone, where he posted it:

The Stand-up Zone - Pecking Order

And a link to check out his site and some of the photos:

Aloha Wealth Management Photos

Here is a previously posted pic of him and I ready for a fiver:

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

so you wanna be a surfer

so you wanna be a surfer
by troy dockins

So you wanna be a surfer...

Lessons are's what you do...

It's it's warming up soon, that's good...

As soon as it does, sell everything...leave your wife, abandon the kids...they'll be fine, kids are adaptable and your wife will hook up with someone...

Go find an isolated cove...ideally somewhere near a good sized river'll need to go to the Washington Coast or even better BC or Alaska...Oregon is too developed... bring a jacket...

Either find a nice little cave or build a driftwood structure...or a split level type deal, whatever works...I advise set up to be well above the high tide line know what!

Anyway, once you’re settled in...start looking for a suitable driftwood log from which to hand fashion your logger board...a huge plank is acceptable, but an actual huge ass log is harder and, therefore, better...

You may have to weather a few spring storms before you find the right piece of patient...pray for heavy rains and high winds...also kill any sea lions or other wildlife you come not admire their majestic beauty...kill them and dry their will also want to fashion a sea lion wetsuit...this is risky as it will attract sharks, but that's better than freezing your gonads off...

Once you have selected your timber you will need to transport it beyond high tide...this will be hard as it probably will weigh alot...a system of levers and pulleys fashioned from seal gut may help...if you aren't handy, you are screwed...if you get stuck, think "What would McGyver do?"...that usually works...

You will need to fashion tools for shaping your board...if you have never made stone tools before you may be surprised at how difficult it is...however, if a caveman could do it, so can you...anyway it will require much chipping and probably a smashed digit or two...but once you have that cutting edge you are practically home free...

Sidebar: If you happen to produce an axe could lash it to a stout piece of wood and make a hatchet...cut that log down a bit and it may be easier to move...if you weren't reading ahead and have already moved the log I apologize for not mentioning it earlier ...again, animal parts are good for rope and stuff...if some flotsam floats in, like nylon rope or something? I suppose you could use it but it kinda affects the purity and achievement of becoming a surfer...y'know?

Anyway, once you have the log in place start chipping away...don't worry about the shape too much right have weeks, probably months, of shaping ahead of you... remember, kill all animals...curious chipmunks, annoying seagull, unsuspecting dogs and their owners...don't eat the owners, that's cannibalism...but human skulls do make nice mugs...

Depending on how quickly you work, you could potentially have a roughed out shape sometime in the'll want to fashion a hand plane at this point, and in true surfer fashion, I can't in good conscience tell you how to do'll need to figure it out on your own...remember to kill can eat seabirds and other sea life that washes up'll get used to the smell...

Sidebar: You can use fire to speed your wood removal...char the log and remove the burnt material as you careful not to burn too much away...this will also serve to temper, dry and harden your "stick"...get it? Stick, as in log? Anyway, hopefully you read ahead and got this tip before you stupidly chipped all the wood away by hand...

Once you have your planer you are ready for final shaping...go for volume and function over don't need a swallow tail or channels or a kick just want a straight plank...a hull...that will float and you can paddle...although symmetry and style do count for want people to know you're a surfer, right?

Sidebar: Rough stones work pretty good as grinder/sandpaper because you'll want the wood to be as smooth as possible...don't get me wrong you'll probably get some hellacious slivers...but, that's part of the price you knew the risks...

Once your board is finished it'll still probably be so frickin' heavy you can't even move it...although you'll probably be pretty burly by now from all of the hard work...although, if you haven't been taking regular swims and running underwater with heavy stones for a few months now, you might want to start...practice holding your breath as you walk around until you pass out...that's good practice...

Seal your board by rubbing it with fat from all the animals you'll probably need to rub it alot...probably to the point where you skin is raw and you have open wounds...surfing is not for the weak of'll get calluses eventually...

Well, if you can get your board into the water that is a big plus...however, it is winter now and the surf is likely to be pretty need to practice probably won't make it out until spring or if you have an unusually small day...but this is an excellent opportunity for careful, getting hit with a board that weighs several hundred pounds in the surf is no picnic...but don't be a kook, hang on to your board at all times...ditching your plank is unacceptable...take your lumps, be a man...a surfer man...

Sidebar: You should have been working on your sealskin wetsuit this whole time...if you haven't, you have really blown it...I almost would recommend bagging it and heading back to've certainly lost my respect...if you have been working on it, kudos to you!

Once you are able to get your board outside the surf line I suggest several long distance conditioning paddles...if there are any offshore islands I recommend paddling out to them...any animals living there are unfamiliar with surfers and you can kill them lunch there...pile as much as you can onto the board and return to the beach...if, by the offhand chance, you catch a not stand are not ready...

By summer the waves will have gotten a bit smaller and you are ready to work on 'surfing' your board...paddle out...turn your board and see if you can catch a wave...I would belly ride, knee ride and then attempt to that order...Pretty much just ride the whitewater straight in...I know it's the mark of a rank beginner...but you're not a surfer yet, anyway...

Once you can catch waves and have figured out how stand up and avoid losing your board...because, remember...under no circumstances is it acceptable for you to lose your board except in the heaviest of circumstances...and no kook cord either...there's a reason I haven't mentioned making one...a) your leg would be dislocated or ripped from your body b) they're gay...

So anyway, your almost there...I forgot...there's also knee paddling, if you didn't figure this out and have been paddling on your belly this whole time...I am laughing at you!...sorry, but I am...

There are many subtleties that you will develop as you progress over the next few years in your can drag a foot and turn your stay in the 'curl' can 'walk the nose'...or perform the 'drop knee turn' may even score a 'tube ride'...and since you are learning in complete may develop tricks unknown to even ancient
Polynesia...pretty cool, huh?

In closing, a few is alright to be stoked, just don't overdo it...don't hoot on every wave, only the ones that warrant it...don't surf with your legs all spread out, or with your butt sticking out...don't wave your arms for balance, that just looks've mastered the basic, now it's time to work on your should be smooth, soulful and

Finally, the plank works best on a select type of wave...the slow'll probably want to work on a variety of boards...a short board, a gun, maybe even a swallowtail or a twin keeled fish!'ve got alot of work ahead of you...start shaping and you're a surfer now...welcome

Just stay far away from my home break...


It has been a long time coming. The first prototypes are now on the streets being tested for a release next fall. The first offering will be 4/3/2 with plans on a 3/2/2 later in the season or the following winter. A new zipper, made specially for these suits in Germany, is prophesized to become the standard for wetsuits in the future. Only time will tell. I'm hoping to get my hands on one of these in the near future, if god loves me, with a full report to follow. Here are some pics of Bret Howard putting it throught it's very first testing.
Photos courtesy of Doug Moranville.

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