Saturday, May 31, 2008

A touch of south, a touch of wind swell

Check the new video Camera Grom shot this morning (his cut will be out tomorrow- he's shooting again on Sunday). The south that we've been waiting for was starting to serve up some peaks. Kiwi (blue Stu Kenson 10'x28" quad) snagged a couple of good ones. I surfed down the beach (green and yellow Stamps 10'x 29.5", 2+1) where it was considerably more bumpy but less crowded.

Paddle Surf Lessons here in San Diego are firing up. It's been really fun watching the excitement spread. If you're interested in learning be sure to click our lessons page.

I'd love to see your videos. If you've got a homegrown SUP video clip on Youtube or Vimeo (or hosted anywhere else - I suggest it's got the easiest upload protocol and best resolution I've come across) and would like for me to post it, send me the embed code and I'll put it up.

Find more videos like this on Stand Up Paddle Surfing

Friday, May 30, 2008

Rumor has it...

I can neither confirm nor deny the following!

1. Waves are coming! The call is for south swell corners tomorrow morning (Sat. 5/31) with high pressure sunshine and smiles all around (check this photo- that's what we're looking for).

2. The Stock Division at the Hobie/Hennessey's Race in Dana Point tomorrow will feature 3 Stamps race boards with one of them piloted by a true manimal. Check back.

3. Honolua, lifestyle architects for the un-Volcom-ed among us, is going all in with support for SUP racing- supposedly sponsoring a SUP-only race with a $10,000 purse. If you 're a racer, block out October 4, it may be your payday.

4. The Pacific Beach Surf Club and Bob's Mission Bay Surf Shop is sponsoring two SUP heats and a final at their 10th annual club contest June 14th. Rumor has it I entered (it's a benefit for WildCoast- guardians of much of what I hold sacred- so if I'm just going to throw away some cash acting as a first round clown- why not here?)

5. Imperial Beach local and master shaper, Jay Novak, is spearheading a grassroots movement to clean some of the nastiness out of the Tijuana River Valley. The group responsible is called the Tijuana River Citizen's Council and the event is set for June 7th. WildCoast is a major sponsor. If you want to build some good karma (or maybe get called into an outside bomb by one of the local boys) get yourself down here and do some good for a few hours.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Loop Race Photos by Andie Johnson

Here are a few more Loop Race photos. These were taken by EJ's wife, the gracious and talented Andie Johnson. Thanks for the excellent photos Andie!

Top Photo: Chris Koerner (SUP 2nd Place) powering home on an 18' Tony Mueller race board.

2nd Photo: EJ on the new Ron House Stand-A-Maran winning the SUP division in two hours flat.

3rd Photo: Kiwi, first of the stock length SUP paddlers to finish on an 11'6" Stu Kenson paddle surf board.

Last Photo: I don't know, does he look a little tired to you? Where's the cold beers?

Here's my bet: the biggest growth areas for stand up will be racing and flatwater paddling. I had people on the sand, at the start of the Loop Race, asking about paddle surfing lessons and rental equipment. The interest is there!

I'm off on a little business trip for three days- I'll try to update from the road. See you Friday night!

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Loop Race: Perfect Paddling Conditions in Coronado

The weather cooperated for Coronado's Loop Race. Instead of the 15 to 20 mph south winds and rainy conditions that had been hammering San Diego all week, the paddlers were blessed with calm, glassy conditions and a bit of sunshine at the race's end.

The race was a fast one. The overall winner, Sean Richardson- a prone, Unlimited Class paddler completed the 11 mile course in 1:50:31. In the stand up division, Ernest Johnson (EJ) finished first (2:00:00), Chris Koerner (2:07:48) finished second and Jared Vargas (2:10:27).

Imperial Beach surfer, Mark Field (Kiwi), finished in fifth. Kiwi paddled an 11'6" Stu Kenson paddle surf board, finishing just behind a fourteen foot C4 Vortice. Kiwi finished first among riders on Stock (12'6" and under) boards (and also beat out a couple of fourteen footers). Rumor has it that Stu Kenson is building a couple of carbon fiber race boards. I'm hoping to see Kiwi keep competing in the 40+ Stock division and wondering what his true potential will be when he gets on a Stu K. sled.

Best part of the race was watching Dan Mann's dad paddle the 11 mile Loop on a lifeguard sprint board, no water with a banana stuck in his pocket. Did I mention he's closing in on 70? Mann Sr. came out of the water smiling and laughing- leaving all of us beach-huggers no excuse to avoid competing next year.

A huge "Thank You" to the Mann family who put on a really cool race. The chicken satay and peanut sauce was definitely good eats, the tee-shirt unusually cool and the free flip flops a bonus. There were also some killer raffle prizes including a brand new Marin Beach Cruiser and a 9'0 FireWire longboard! Great job!

See More Loop Race photos HERE.

Friday, May 23, 2008

A Video Experiment: Better Quality on

Find more videos like this on Stand Up Paddle Surfing

So check this out: I was messing around with and I noticed that you could upload video clips. I had this sitting around on the hard drive and I figured why not? Here's the good part: I think the resolution on the clip is at least %30 better than what YouTube provides. Let me know what you think. You can scroll back to my other vids, they're all posted on YouTube, tell me if you think this clip is better quality.

Stand Up Paddle Race Boards: California Style

Tim Stamps just sent me these photos of yet another board he's been commissioned to build for the Stock SUP Class (12'6" and under, no rudder). I don't know what fast is (I'm one of the slowest guys out there) but I know Tim's got some ideas and they seem to equate to clean and quick. Evidently somebody out there agrees. Check out the latest creation to come out of the Stamps Board Works.

There's a pretty obvious design difference between the Californian and Hawaiian race boards. If you check out the shapes of boards like the C4 Vortice, the SIC F-16 and others you'll see how much more rocker they've incorporated into the front sections of their boards.

I'm sure it has to do with the type of water the Hawaiians are paddling in- their downwinders include pretty steep chop and open ocean swells. I don't think we're encountering the same conditions here in California. The boards I've seen (Eaton, Richmond, Bark, Mueller, Stamps) have all had really low rocker, low rocker is faster but only if there's limited chop and swell- I think.

Anybody care to chime in regarding design differences?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Eye Candy: Bring Back the Surf!

What a teaser of a weekend! We're back to our regular May Gray/June Gloom pattern. Here's a couple of photos to remind you of what it was like:

Top Photo: Low tide zipper. You go right, I'll go left...

Bottom Photo: Let's hope for more of this in the summer!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Surf Amnesia

I've heard people talk about getting in car accidents- they almost always say they heard some tires screeching or a horn blowing but most of them don't remember what really happened. A lot of it gets blanked out. Your brain gets so overloaded with intensity that it just shuts down the conscious part to focus on the cyclone of catastrophe swirling around it.

I was there today. The gnarl swirled around me and I don't remember all that much about it. A wave came to me that was so nasty- and perfect- that I really wanted nothing to do with it. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on where in time you look at it, I was in the perfect spot to catch it. The wave was setting up to break so far outside of the pack that I had the only real chance at it. I was the prime option and the pack was howling for me to paddle in.

I'm sure three quarters of those jackals just wanted to see me get pitched. They'd love to see me launched by the lip and gutted by my paddle. It's not that they don't like stand up paddlers (in fact, by paddling away from the most popular peaks and by informing newcomers about where to paddle without killing someone, we've kept it pretty cool down here) it's just that watching a fellow surfer get stuffed is part of the fun. In this case getting skewered would have been a safe bet; the take off here is no joke.

On hard south swells the wave crabs through the pilings moving sideways and forward simultaneously. The peak sucks and pitches right across the shallow sand bar that tapers northward. The hot surfers hang out the laundry as they drop down and across the wedge, desperately stalling for the tube. The good guys then blow out of the barrel, pump hard off the bottom and rip to shreds the steep wall that follows. Like I said, the hot guys do all kinds of cool stuff, I just wanted to make the drop.

There are a few things I can recall: I remember the surfer sitting on the inside calling me into the wave. I remember dropping my stance and inching forward, trying to get as much of my weight forward and into the wave as possible. I remember seeing it start to wedge up and push away from the pier. I recall thinking that if I didn't just concentrate and put the pedal to the metal I'd blow the wave. There was a very late drop, impossibly late I thought. I remember thinking about how my tail was grabbing at the steep wall of the wave and I recall thinking, with satisfaction, that the pulled round tail is such the way to go on these boards. And then... nothing.

All I had, after I finally pulled off the wave a hundred yards down the line, was the feeling that something really heavy had just went down. I pulled out on rubbery legs, jittery enough to make me sit down on my board. Everything else was just a blank. Surf Amnesia. Give me some more.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Surf Ropin' up the Beach: South Swell Lights it Up Down Here!

I'm absolutely toast right now. Just did a three hour wave riding session right down here at the end of the street. Check the photos, these pictures are from last night- now tack on another three feet and stretch those lines another fifty feet and you've got a good representation of what we surfed today.

The predicted south swell just lit up our little beach town. All day long the reports poured in both on the Surf Phone and by email- every bank, every hole and every rip was creating a wedging, left hand, freight train. There were spots throwing barrels and peaks peeling all over town. Best part of it was the water was pushing 68 degrees - another session of bareback trunking it.

Four of us got out on stand up boards: Gabe, Big Chad, Kraig Surplus and me - safe to say we all scored some of our best waves this year. I've got to give Big Chad the Wave of the Day award for paddling his 10'0 Stamps into a macking six foot pier sucking wave. BC dropped in late, came off the bottom and disappeared.

I don't know if he got tubed or just traveled in the pocket but I can say that we're way past riding soft, reforms on glorified longboards. Here was a legitimate, grinding, head high macker being handled by a guy on a 10' board - it was cool to see and from my limited vantage point the line taken was clean. Clean is good.

Here's another sweet deal on a used board. This one is a BK Pro model C4 Waterman 10'0. I've seen this board, it is for all intensive purposes a brand new board. The retail price on this board is in excess of $1500 - this one is for sale for $1000. If I was a few pounds lighter I'd pounce on this one- it's a sweet deal on a hot board. If you're interested, contact Kelly Kraus at Emerald City Surf Shop in Coronado (619-435-6677). Also - if you decide to buy a new board (not the used C4) and you mention this website, Kelly will drop a hundred bucks from your next stand up board purchase. Dude, are you kidding me?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Hot Fun in the Summer time, er... Spring time

Don't know about your part of the world but down here in San Diego it's feeling pretty darn tropical. We're talking early morning heat, bare back trunking it, three hour paddle sessions in clear blue water.

I may be nuts but it looks like there's some south in it down here- there's definitely some angle to the surf that's coming in.

Check out this shot of Seal Beach local Mitchell de Jarnett streaking at the warm water jetty, that's a Harbour stand up board he's on and it looks like it's going pretty good. I haven't seen too many Harbour SUBs around so I may have to poke my nose around up there and see what's up. (photo: Elva de Jarnett).

I'd be back on it if I didn't have some real life commitments to tend to- hope you're out there getting my share!

Wait a minute: It's 6:30pm, still light, still warm and glassy - and - it looks like the surf is building... I think I'm out there!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

All in a day's work

I checked the surf five different times before I finally scored some fun waves. The morning check was a bust; south wind bringing on the dreaded "morning sickness". And the much anticipated north-westerly swell was an early morning no show. What a bummer.

I finally did get into the water around noon. The wind had finally backed off and there was bit of glass but the tide was too low. On the upside, some lines from were beginning to show and I could tell that if I waited a few more hours it might pay off.

But, the water here in San Diego has jumped up to about 66 degrees (Matt W.'s estimate) which makes it legitimately trunk-able. And there were a few zippers to be grabbed- all in all making it kind of irresistible. I did an hour and a half beach cruise making something from basically nothing, fun but not really satisfying.

The best session of the day was the result of a surprise visit. A friend dropped by to tell me she'd been hired by the beach guards (congratulations Janet!) and, by the way, "have you checked the surf?". It wasn't firing but it was dead glassy, and the tide was rising. We ended up scoring a super fun, wedging little left that ran along a bar before bottoming out in a hole right next to the beach. A sweet little rip had formed in the hole which completed the circuit; ride the left to the beach until the hole killed it and then ride the rip back out to do it all over again. A sweet way to end a hot day at the beach.

Can't wait to see what tomorrow morning will bring- hope you're feeling the same way!

Top Photo: The local crew, every beach and every street end's got their cast of characters.

Middle Photo: The Lopez surf check.

Bottom Photo: Early morning grom attack.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Board Preview: Stamps Arrow II - Coming to a Race near you!

I asked Stamps to tell me how this board is different from the original Arrow. I was assuming the response would be something like describing a new hairdo: "Took a little bit off the top, pulled it in here, thinned it out there- voila, a new you!"

Wrong. The legitimate "design" guys will take you deep. I won't go into it here- some of it might be better kept under wraps (and you don't ever want to piss off the guy who makes your boards). Truthfully, I didn't understand most of the discussion.

How sweet does this thing look though? If you want to get a look at this one I'm certain it'll be at the Hobie/Hennessey's Waterman Challenge at Doheny May 31st. Go check it out.

And... If you got the urge to burn some fuel get your a## up to Jim Brewer's shindig in SB this weekend. He'll be featuring Gerry Lopez's new stand ups. Best part: Leds may even have something surfable. This North may just have enough angle to sneak in there. Go get it!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Race Season in Full Swing: Malibu Downwinder Photos

EJ sent me these photos from the Malibu Downwinder a couple of weeks ago. The race started near Point Mugu and ended nine miles downwind at Leo Carrillo (Secos) State Beach.

Top: Eric Diamond finishing clean on a little Secos closeout.

Middle: T. Stamps and the Arrow- look for the Arrow II at the Hobie/Hennessey's Race at the end of the May. If it's an Arrow, it's fast.

Bottom: Chris Koerner bringing home the C4 Vortice- which looks like it's made for surfing open water swells... I'll have to get a report from Chris. Nice style on that turn.

As soon as I can get official results for the race I'll post 'em up.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Farmer Dave's New Board: Stamps 9'0 - Are you kidding me?

Stamps is killing me with this board. Farmer Dave, you're a lucky man. Better keep that under wraps or I'll HAVE it!

Look at this thing. This one comes in at 9'0 x 29" x 4.25". You've paddle surfed for awhile now, can't you look at this board and mindsurf it? Check the clean outline- see how the hips pull so sweetly down into the round tail. If you want to flow, link turns and carry speed, in my opinion, the round tail is it. It's such a neutral design, you can fit it into almost any part of the wave. It'll drive through steep sections or turn out of flat spots.

The tail is pulled but not to a ridiculous extent. It's designed for what we're surfing here in Southern California. There's planing area to produce drive but enough taper to hold when you come hard off the bottom.

This really is a thoughtful design. Consider the width, even though the board is only 9'0 the gut is right at 29". Those are cool numbers, they get away from the sub 28" wide mindset that most of smaller molded boards are carrying. The result is a much more stable, short stand up board- not a wobble stick that you'll soon send down the road.

If you can, buy local and insist on custom made- same price, made to fit.

Go check 'em all at

Monday, May 12, 2008

Our SUP Community: EJ - let this man make your next paddle.

This is EJ. EJ paddles fast; check him out in the River Run video- he's the guy in the yellow C4 jersey going by me as if I was long lining carp. EJ races in the ridiculous Unlimited Class in all of the local stand up paddle races- head to your local beach on race day and chances are you'll run into him.

EJ also makes paddles. Custom wooden paddles, a few at a time. They're beautiful. His paddles are functional, hand-made, wooden works of art. I've seen them, if your a SUP geek (like me) they make you nervous. You realize that you need one. Your debit card gets all hot and bothered. They're that good.

EJ knows paddles. The guy logs more weekly SUP miles than your Prius can suck from a gallon of premium. EJ lives on the water- literally. Remember Kevin Costner in water world? With the gills and jacked up toes and everything? Next to EJ... child's play.

EJ's a good guy. He lives clean, makes friends easy, is quick to smile and seems to always be on hand with an extra cold one when you need it. And isn't it always true that good people own good dogs? Just wait 'til you meet Taco- you'll dig him. EJ's an ambassador for our sport. Can't figure out why you're stroke is all jacked up? Ask EJ. Got a question about paddles? Chat him up- he loves this stuff. And, if you get a chance, check out his handy work- just be ready to get nervous...

EJ's label is JohnsonBigStick- click on over.

What are you waiting for? Get your bumper candy NOW!

Also: Go check out my nifty San Diego Paddle Surf lessons brochure I just uploaded onto the Lessons page!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Beach break breakfast

Super low tide this morning, really glassy and good fun. Check the photos: shallow and fast.

Surfing a grinding beachbreak on a stand up board is not easy. Getting in early with speed is a given, being able to project off the bottom and down the line is a requirement- miss a step and you'd swear the place was not SUPable. But, if you put in your time, take your lumps and get lucky you'll find there's some sweetness on the sand bars.

Top Photo: Kiwi- driving down the line on his 10' Stu Kenson.

Middle Photo: Clean- not easy.

Bottom: Get one.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Yard Sale: Hoe he'e nalu bumper sticker and a Big Red

Get 'em while they're hot: Hoe he'e nalu bumper sticker in the official green and gold. These are only available online- check 'em out here.

Here's a hot deal on a great board: It's no secret- I started on a Sean Ordonez Big Red. I still have it as a matter of fact. The board does all kinds of things really well- big and wide enough to learn on yet racy enough to surf waves big and small. And it's not a bad cruising board either- I just paddled mine twenty eight miles down the Colorado River.

A friend has got one for sale in the LA area- if you're looking for a solid deal on a great board shoot him an email: The price is $950 for the board and a $250 DaKine board bag that fits it. Not a bad deal.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

River Race: A Couple from EJ

Top Photo: EJ and Tony Mueller with a couple of Mueller designed sleds.

Middle Photo: Charging down the river- Unlimited Class Manimals.

Bottom Photo: Meanwhile back in the Stock class...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

New Stuff: Paddlesurf Networking Site Up and Running

We're starting up a new networking site for paddlesurfers all over the world. Go to and register- that'll put you in touch with paddle surfers both in your neighborhood and around the world. This is a great time for paddle surfing- the brotherhood and good vibes in our growing community are alive and well- let's foster those feelings of good will. Also this will be where I'll be posting meeting dates and times for local gatherings and contests- feel free to post your events as well.

Wow- didn't know there were so many paddle race fans out there.
Yesterday's post spiked the "hit meter" on my site. If you haven't done one yet, races are a fun time. Try one if you get the chance.

Also, make room in your quiver because you're going to want a point-to-point race board. Team Stamps was well represented at the Hennessey's River Run. Stamps rider Farmer Dave took home 3rd place in the Stock, 39 and under division and Tim Stamps took first place in the Stock, 40 and over category on a HOT board he made for himself. The heavily contested, talent-filled, Best-of-Imperial Beach division was won by Kiwi with Big Chad right behind him. Incredibly, Kiwi paddled a 10' quad fin Stu Kenson surf stand up. Kiwi's stoked, and is looking for a race board; a fledgling manimal? Rumor has it that Stu K. will be putting together a couple of race boards for some upcoming contests. Can't wait to see them.

Camera Groms Cut: Check out the Grom's interpretation of Sunday's surf. Also, the little homey finally saved enough dough for his new digital camera. He's snapped some good ones so far- just ask the Ding Devil!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Sunday Surf Video and some more Hennessey's Photos

Here's a couple more Hennessey's race photos and a little clip of Sunday's pier nuggets. Somehow my breakfast of three cups of coffee and a piece of cheese danish didn't quite keep me powered for the twenty eight mile length of the race.

All of us from Imperial Beach would like to give a special thanks who set us up with their awesome Kore-Dry paddle shirts. These things kept us cool, protected and stoked for all twenty eight miles. Thanks guys!

Be sure to scroll down to check out the race video I posted yesterday. And, for a hilarious race account (including a fine mullet reference), go check out Brewer's BlueLine site. Funny stuff.

Top Photo: Hobie paddler Chuck Patterson. First place overall, which means all he saw was open river for three hours. I don't know, think he works out? He was one of what I call the "Manimals" (man/animal... get it?). These guys are all Unlimited Class paddlers. They just tear through this stuff on boards reaching up to eighteen feet. Funny, but I don't see any water on board - I wonder what he did for hydration?

Bottom Photo: Prone Unlimited Class Manimals. These guys have my total respect, prone paddling the entire race course- most of them in just over three hours. Ridiculous.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Hennessey's River Run Video

Just got back from Needles California and the Hennessey's River Run. Check out this video I threw together:

Photos: A few of you've been asking about the board Tim Stamps won the Stock Class on; here are some extra photos for you.