Thursday, August 30, 2018

I know somewhere in this blogs archive I’ve mentioned how in the old days we didn’t have surf forecasts. The way you found out if there was surf or not was to go to the beach. If there was surf you saw it.. and surfed it. If there was no surf? Well you just hang at the beach or went home.
As time went on there were radio surf reports that you could catch sometimes if you knew what radio station had them and when they were broadcast. But they weren’t forecasts they were reports on what the local conditions were like and surf size was at any given spot. They were dependent on the person actually going to the beach and seeing what the conditions and surf was like.
Fast forward to now…. We have forecasters that post on the internet when a swell is headed our way, giving us plenty of time to plan our days and schedules for when the swells show up.
There were 2 south swells forecast this August. Both hit on Fridays one week apart. I always look forward to these summer swells. I also like surfing early morning during summer so will head down even when the forecast is for smaller surf. Normally there is a crew of surfers on any given morning that get in the water almost everyday…. unless it’s completely junk or flat. But when there is an announced and forecast swell suddenly every body and all their friends, brothers and sisters come down to get the good stuff.
It’s amazing how people come out of the woodwork for these announced swells. The odd thing to me is the number of people that get in the water that really have no business being in the water when there is a swell. Their surfboards are attached to their foot and are soft so the consequences of floundering and falling are nil…. Except if they get in the way of someone actually surfing.
My question to the surf forecasters that not only forecast when swells will arrive at our beaches but that also say in their forecasts when the best times of the day are to take advantage of optimum conditions…. Do you guys think you should be responsible for the hyped up novice surfer getting hurt during a swell event?
Here’s how it happens… I take off on a set wave and am flying down the line because the waves are pretty good long walls. As I come down into the inside section all of a sudden someone is going straight down the wave face in front of me. I move up the wave face to skirt by them but, they can’t get to their feet without falling. I try my best in a split second to not run them over… but no, they get hit by my fin. Fortunately on the arm… if it was their head who knows how that would’ve turned out like. This happened the last swell we had a couple weeks ago.
Last year it happened twice in the same day.  You forecaster guys need to encourage the novice surfer to stay out of the water when there is some sizable surf, warn them of the dangers of surfing in crowded line ups and let them know that days when the surf is smaller are the days to learn and practice advancing their surfing skills.

Monday, July 30, 2018

A couple posts ago I mentioned how a particular surf spot will begin to populate when the right conditions begin to work.  Like a break that works best on a higher tide will be vacant when the tide is low and as the tide fills in people with surf boards begin to show up… especially if there is a swell in the water.
Depending on what your routine is for knowing and going for a surf you may or may not venture to the beach. It’s pretty easy these days to know when there is a swell arriving and hence plan your days accordingly… My son always has his phone in his pocket. He’ll be at the house pull his phone out tap it a couple times and say “ you know there’s surf, and the conditions look pretty clean right now, wanna go?” …I wonder how may people do that at any given time on any given day?....
Anyway, this past week we received a nice southern hemisphere swell. Actually 3 back to back that ran for about 6 days from start to finish, building to a peak 3 days in. I wanted that swell bad. But, as is typical this time of year, the channel winds picked up a day or so before the swell began to peak. The ingredients for junk. And junk it was.
I knew it was junk without even seeing the ocean. There are things that monitor ocean conditions thanks to technology. One can check those things to know before you go. I do it almost daily as part of my routine for surfing.
As it happened the conditions didn’t improve until the third day of the week. I went and got a bit of the swell but, conditions still weren’t that good. By Thursday conditions improved more but the swell was fading, and fading more Friday with condition good by then.
Fingers crossed for the next decent summer swell and good conditions to go with it.

Meg and her Gadget

Saturday, June 30, 2018

This past week I surfed early morning Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Monday the conditions were really clean with 2 small south swells in the water. One swell had a longer period than the other and a bit more size but both had pretty inconsistent sets.
Tuesday those same swells were there with a bit more size and consistency. To bad for me… right when I started paddling out a south wind picked up and the clean conditions started to deteriorate. Though the wind didn’t pick up strong enough to completely mess up and blow out the surf. It was still possible to pick off a couple set waves, over all it wasn’t that good.
Wednesday the surf had picked even more size and consistency but winds had also picked up later in the day Tuesday and continued through the night in the channel. I think gusts on the west Santa Barbara buoy were running around 27 kts. So even though there was a nice south swell in the water there was also channel bump and a junky small wind swell too. The bump is one thing but, typically the wind swell crosses the south swell and breaks it up to the point that it’s really not very surf able… which was happening.
Hoping for better size and when it finally reaches us it’s all bust up. I went out anyway, grumbling all the way. Once in the water I found that the junk wind swell had lulls and if a lull came when there was a south set you could pick off a decent ride… or decent enough. You’d bounce around and move around for several minutes then maybe find a decent line and go after it. It was a mental game battling frustration and manipulating for position every second.
I read this line recently… In restless forces the surfer holds their balance and flow smoothly through it all… that’s a good line. The interesting thing, from the beach it looks effortless.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Leading a simple life is something to strive for…. at least from my point of view. I may be biased but, I think getting a surfboard from me is a pretty simple process. We discuss what you’d like, go over the particulars and I put our plan on my work list and estimate the completion date. I don’t do deposits…. So when your board is complete you pay for it when you pick it up… or if the board is being shipped you send a check before the board is boxed. It’s a simple process.

Just for fun here are a few guys that went through the simple process recently.


 Dale with his 10' Tip Tool
 Brendt with his 7'10 Gadget
 Steve with his 11'1 T&G
Frank with his 9'6 Imperial 

Monday, April 30, 2018

When the surfing population makes it’s way to the beach.

It’s interesting how the day begins at any given surf spot that is a regular destination for the surfer.

Sometimes there are plenty people first thing in the morning and sometimes not. Other times people start showing up at different times of the day all depending on what they know about the surf spot they are going to.

When surfers start migrating to the beach it’s usually planned the day or days before. Knowing when the surf may be good because of the forecasts. Or... having a routine that has you follow certain indicators for conditions, tides etc.

So one day while camping, I walk down to the beach early in the morning at the camp ground to check the surf and first find that there is not one car in the day lot. Which means there is no surf or the surf is junk or the conditions aren’t right?

Well, the tide was super low and the spot is a high tide spot. Anyone that surfs there even a little bit would know that. So what will happen? As the day progresses and the tide fills in the surfers that surf this spot will begin to show up. They know not to come until the conditions are right.

For some reason I find this aspect of the surfing life style interesting... it’s the idea that the surfer learns not only how to surf, about waves and conditions, and also know the particular favorable conditions for the various surf spots they may frequent. And almost like clock work if there is any surf they begin to appear at a given spot when there is surf and the conditions and tides are right.

Knowing when the conditions may be good and the right tides at your particular surf spot. Seeing the people that are in the know begin to appear at the time of day when conditions begin to move in favor of surf improvement…
It’s all part of the life of a surfer.


Saturday, March 31, 2018

Gotta be 10 years ago already when the idea of making a resin tail block out of layers of resin left over from color lams was put on one of my boards.

I had a small tray and simply poured resin into the tray until over a week or two the tray was full. Random layers of colored resin from the tray that was about 8 inches long and a couple inches both in width and depth. Because the tray was a soft plastic that the resin didn’t stick so you could pop the 2 inch by 8 inch block out of the tray… which I did. Then cut it in half long ways and was able to get two tail blocks from the one block.

Getting the block on the tail of a surfboard and shaping the resin block was tricky but doable. The first one went on my Tip Tool prototype. They go on Tip Tools and other custom boards on request.

I say it’s the jewel on the tail.


 You work hard to get the tail detail just right then saw it off?
 Get the block rough cut and glue it on
 With 36 grit on the grinder... reshape and feather in your detail
After clear lam and polish, you've got the jewel on the tail!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

When you make surfboards the opportunity to make yourself a surfboard is ever present.  So it’s possible to find yourself with a decent size quiver of boards over time.

Years ago when surfboards were evolving I never really had more than one surfboard at a time. Reason being designs were going through changes, so I would make a surfboard, surf it, determine what I’d like to change, make another board with the changes, surf it until determining what needed to be changed. The idea being at some point one could refine a design until you were ultimately happy and didn’t make any more changes. That’s how a surfboard model was born.

On my web sites surfboards page I have 16 different models listed. And me being me, I’ve got to surf the boards I make. So at one time or another I’ve had each one of those models…. except one. I’ve surfed the "except one” but haven’t had one of my own. And I want one really bad.

Currently I’ve got a ’67, Tip Tool, PSQ, Dream Cycle, H2, Stubbie Quad, a Seventies Single… I don’t have that one listed and Blinky’s Mega Fish, which isn’t a model I make. Every one of these boards I like a lot. Each board has its own characteristics and I could be happy if I only had one. Any one would be fine. But hey, I make surfboards so why would I settle for just one? Maybe I’d have just one or maybe two if they weren’t so hard to part with. The last board I let go of was my Gadget. I loved that board but this guy kept asking me to sell it to him. Finally I gave in and sold it to him. He was barely out of the drive way when I started regretting my decision to sell. Lesson learned all be it the hard way.

Ok, the one board model I haven’t had for myself is the T&G. The T is for trim and the G is for Glide. Trim and Glide is the new fun in long board surfing. You want them long. A minimum of 4” longer than the long board you usually ride or even 10’6 to 11’.  Though I’ve made mini versions, I want the long version.

Not only do you have great glide on the wave the board paddles so well you glide into waves too. Fast in trim, casual turning and turn backs, down the line speed, stable under your feet. I’ve got to make myself one of these.

The problem with having a quiver of boards to surf is sometimes when you’re at the beach the board you have with you is not the one you wish you had with you. I’ve got a van and sometimes I’ll have 4 boards in my van when I get to the beach. I look at the surf and think dang I should have brought the Tip Tool. Yeah, that’s just surf crazy.


Steve with his 11’1 T&G