Monday, September 29, 2008

Another New One: 9'4" x 30 squashtail Stamps

"No loss in paddle-ability", that's the report I got from Steve who just picked up this new 9'4" Stamps. Steve's board is a bit different from the new one I'm waiting for- the nose of his board is fuller and there's a little bit more width on it through the middle. In addition, the board has a wider, stability inducing squash tail- I'll be on a round tail. Check out that template... sexy!
I have a feeling that this is going to be an excellent all around shape. It's not so extreme that you'll be fighting just to stay upright and not so chippy that you couldn't bust out a few miles paddling onto an empty peak. Time will tell. For now, after his first paddle on it, Steve's stoked.

Coming down from his 10'0 (pictured next to the 9'4") turned out to be no big deal- it only took him a couple of seconds to hook into the new board's sweet spot and from there it's like riding a bike. Except surfing this board was like graduating from an old Schwinn to Lance's Tour bike- according to Steve the difference is pretty drastic. The board just plain surfs unreal. Can't wait to give this one a shot myself!
The Tale of the tails- squash tail for drive and release. Cool.

Paddle Surf Lessons in Sunny San Diego come learn while the sun's still out and the water still warm. If you've been wanting to cruise a stand up board now is the time to learn! We've got boards and paddles and all the instruction you'll ever need to get your start in stand up paddling. Give us a call 619.213.6622 or email: and we'll get you paddling!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

New Board: 9'4" Stamps CAD Wireframe

Here it comes! Rumor has it it'll be done next weekend. Check it out:

A bigger guy's shralp-stick. Keep it relatively fat, 29.5", kind of thick and really curvy. The width is key here- the board's got to be paddle-able. Full report to follow!

"Are you for stand up?" Stand up paddle surf lessons available to the young at heart, the young and the just plain fun! If you want to learn to stand up paddle surf in San Diego, we're your best option. We've put scores of people on stand up boards- you could be NEXT! 619.213.6622 or

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Odds and Ends: Wood Board Project/Abreojo's Trip/WildCoast Dempsey

Hey guys just checking in with a few quick items. First of all check out this cool new wood stand up board kit that's being offered by the Gray Whale Trading Co. Just in case you needed something to do through the long, cold, paddle-less winter ahead!

That thing looks super fun- I'm envisioning some brass rod holders off the back.

If I didn't already have a 16' stitch and glue wineglass wherry (a classic rowing dory) sitting about thirty percent finished in our extra bedroom (think my wife has enjoyed that unfinished project for the last four years?) I might consider building this board.

Don't forget about the Imperial Beach Lifeguards and their trip down to Abreojos in Southern Baja. The guys are still looking for donations to keep them in gasoline and donuts for their annual trip down to help train the volunteer lifeguards down in deep Baja. Here's a note from Mike Pilgrim about the trip:

Hey Guys, Mike Here!

First off, I just want to thank John for putting this up!

The Abre trip is one of are most succesful missions put on. Aaron Quintanar is the man behind this mission! Without Aaron, none of this would exist.

Below is a link to a story in the UT about a hand full of us heading down to Mexico to help a fellow person in public safety find his son.

Your donations help volunteers make these missions possible!

Also, you donation is tax deductible, The Imperial Beach Lifeguard Assocation is a Non Profit Corporation created to promote ocean safety, not only in IB, but in Mexico as well. Please make checks or money orders out to the IBLA.

If you have any questions feel free to email me at

And finally, sign up for the stand up division of the Dempsey Holder Surf Contest that's being sponsored by WildCoast, October 18th and 19th. It's a great contest that benefits an excellent band of eco-warriors, surf-soldiers as I call them. Remember you've got to sign up before October 5th or we may not have a stand up division. I've already registered and paid- why don't you?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

New Paddle Offering from Johnson Big Stick: Check 'em out!

Don't forget to sign up for the DEMPSEY stand up paddle surf contest!

Check out these cool new wood paddles offered by Johnson Big Sticks. Even cooler is the price: EJ is listing them at $175! That's an unreal price- especially for those out there looking to enter stand up paddling with a little less damage to the wallet.

Here's EJ (on the left) with Chris Koerner, first and second place, respectively, in the California Stand Up Paddle race circuit. If you're going to have a guy build your paddle, EJ is a good choice- he's both a craftsman and a paddler- he knows what you need even before you do.

EJ knows a thing or two about pushing a paddle around so I'm going to bet these things are made with a lot more strength than other wooden paddles. I've been promised a demo unit (and I'll put a bend into that thing) so you can expect a full report.

Wood's got soul!

If you're interested contact EJ at or give him a call at 949-412-6980. Tell him I sent you!

Never ending paddle surf lessons! Call us 619.213.6622. We've got space, time, patience, jokes and a shoulder to cry on- now you've got no excuse not to come paddle with us. Stand up paddle surf lessons are for everybody- all shapes sizes, ages, colors, attitudes are welcome. We even put a smile on the grinch- now he's ordering a new 10'0! Come learn stand up paddle surfing with us! Contact

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cold and Empty: 'cept for me and some salmon.

It's not all about flat water in Oregon- there's surf there and most of the time it's just you and the fish. And a bunch of boats. And a slow trolled array of razor sharp, spring steel, Gamakatsu 12/0s. Don't ever get between a fisherman and a salmon run- these guys are like Ahab on crack.

Even if what you're paddling to turns out to be a head high, empty left- all you'll think about is the propeller dodging you'll be doing on the return trip. I'd rather run barefoot and blindfolded across the 405 sporting an "Obama-nation" sticker on my ass then paddle through that death zone again.

I don't know, maybe it was worth it!

I won't name the spot but I will tell you that there was a weird little cat-house town built and maintained by the local people for all the stray cats that'd been dumped at the spot. I stuck a couple of dollars in the box- I'm a dog guy- but cat's are cool.

This guys probably been fishing this spot for thirty years and he's either never noticed the cool little wedge jammed down into his fishing hole or he's seen it eight foot and perfect. I like to think that down there next to his gaff is an old-school Lis fish and a set of Duckfeet fins. And that may be just a trace of stinkeye I'm picking up.

Stand up paddle surfing lessons are still available! Don't be shy- paddlesurfing is for everyone! We'll get you out and up on a stand up board your first time on the water- before you know it you'll be standup paddling like a pro! If you'd like to take a stand up paddle surf lesson give us a call at 619.213.6622 or email I will provide board, paddle and instruction. Lessons are 1.5 hours and cover all the paddle surf basics. Lesson's begin at $100/person, tours and surf paddling/coaching are available.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

WildCoast Surf Contest: Stand Up Division Sign Up Before Oct. 3rd!

Okay California stand up surfers- if you've been waiting all year to enter a surf contest now's the time to act. Fire up and sign up for WildCoast's 5th Annual Dempsey Holder Ocean Festival and Surf Contest. This is Imperial Beach's premier surf contest with heats for everyone from Grom to Geezer. This year we need stand up paddlers to register before October 5th or our heat will be cut! Act now before it's too late!

Support WildCoast, surf in the Dempsey. If you haven't heard of WildCoast go check out their website- these are people you want to know about. I call them Baja's surf-soldiers. They man the beachhead frontlines of the war for clean water and pristine surf spots. They're doing the dirty work, battling evil forces to preserve clean tubes for you, me and the future.

So what's in it for you? A lot! This is one value filled surf contest. At other contests an entry fee gets you all the cold sand and mushy waves you can stomach. The Dempsey's a bit different. Thirty five bucks gets you into both the contest and the Awards BBQ. It also scores you an event tee-shirt and every contestant gets a goody bag (I'm still digging those brown Volcom socks from last year!). Best of all, you get to surf firing, top to bottom, Imperial Beach sand bar wedges.

Let's talk about that Awards BBQ food: Last year it was three taco-guys slinging carne and pollo asada tacos with enough rice, beans, chips and salsa to keep you carbo-loaded well into the final rounds. We're talking about legitimate taqueros; tacos move surfers like a cattle prod to the gnards- so what are you waiting for!

Serge, Ben and all the WildCoast boys love stand up paddle surfers but they've got a lot heats to run so if we don't show strong interest early, they'll chop us off at the deck pad. So get off your keester and get those fingers tapping- go to the WildCoast Dempsey registration page and sign yourself up. Do it NOW!

Stand up paddle surf lessons available now in sunny, happy, San Diego. All lessons are private lessons- we specialized in differentiated, scaffolded, schema-building, self-esteem nourishing, challenging yet supportive stand up paddle surf instruction. Our instructors are versed in both Eastern and Western philosophies of paddle grip and foot work techniques.

But really... give us a ring 619.213.6622 or email if you're interested in learning to do one of the best water sports under the sun! Stand up paddle surfing is for everyone- call us now!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Blueline Paddle Surf: Santa Barbara's Premier Stand Up Source Goes Online!

I almost met Jim Brewer once. It was at the Hennessey's Colorado River Run. I knew he was going to be there- we'd communicated by email. Unfortunately, I had no idea what he looked like and we didn't bother to exchange phone numbers. He told me that he'd be paddling with Ron House and crew so I figured I'd just bump into him when those guys showed up at the race. Problem was I'd also never met Ron House before and likewise didn't know who I was looking for. So after embarrassing myself a couple of times ("Hey are you Jim Brewer?") I figured I'd had enough humiliation for the day and blew it off.

But the internet never rests and blogs must always be fed so we stayed in contact online. And it was through Jim's blog ( that I first heard that he and a group of friends were opening up Santa Barbara's first legitimate stand up paddle surf shop, Blue Line Paddle Surf. And after finally talking to Jim on the phone and getting a feel for what he's all about, I am certain that this is the right shop opened by the right people for all the right reasons. To put it bluntly, these guys are the original Santa Barbara stand up paddle fanatics- they've got serious paddle surfing problems and they're working them out on a daily basis!

I also have to say that I'm a little bit jealous- a whole shop dedicated to only stand up paddle surfing! If I didn't live almost three hundred miles away from it, I'd be earning my spot right up against that front counter- reliving my shop rat days, hoping to nab a free sticker or at least some deck pad scraps. If you're anywhere within a hundred miles of Santa Barbara, definitely stop in and check the place out. I'll pop my head in as soon as the big winter swells start pushing down the Santa Barbara channel. I'm hoping I'll get a chance to kick back in the Blueline Lounge-Zone (Brewer says there'll be a dedicated shop sofa), mack a post-surf burrito and waste some serious time debating important issues like deck pad texture (lines or diamonds?).

Shoot, I might even get a chance to meet this Brewer character.

Check out the Blueline Paddle Surf website at

Monday, September 15, 2008

A new flatwater racer: And some hidden surf photos!

Check out Tim Stamps' new 12'6" racer, just in time for the Gerry Lopez Battle of the Paddle coming in early October. It looks to me like Tim's made a couple of design changes as he moves into his fifth generation of race boards. How about those no-flood footwells? My suspicion is that they lower your center of gravity while still allowing seawater to self-bail out of the footwells. No sense in carrying a couple of extra pounds of water around the course.

Check out the new nose design. I call it a "Deadliest Catch" (D.C.) bow because it reminds me of the bows of the Alaskan crab boats featured on the Discovery Channel. I'm going to completely speculate on the thinking behind this feature (which means I could be ridiculously off the mark so bear with me).

It looks to me like this bow shape attempts to solve the problem of speed and stability. The problem is that speed and stability don't work well together. The two requirements are at odds in board design; it's hard to make a fast board that's very stable. While speed can come from a number of design factors, one thing is for certain: low rockered boards that cut through water with sharp bows are faster than water pushing, banana rockered boards.

There is, however, a downside to flat boards. In moderate chop or swell they don't fit into the curves of the waves around them. Flat boards tend to plow into open ocean swells and can broach, throwing the paddler right off the board. That's why the Hawaiian designed boards are so curvy- those guys are paddling different water than we are here in California, they need all that rocker to fit the open water swells they paddle in. Our conditions are typically more tranquil, we paddle much flatter water sometimes dealing with choppy, open ocean swells spaced closer together. We face a different type of problem set.

And thus the our present quandary: how to be flat and fast as well as stable in moderate chop and swell. Which brings us full circle to the bow at hand. The D.C. nose looks to be a fairly high volume design. Higher volume means more buoyancy. Perhaps the idea is that if conditions get messy the boards high volume nose will allow it to resist pearling into the troughs of the waves ahead of it. Notice that the volume of the nose is above the bottom line of the boards "keel", thus the board is still relatively flat (read: fast) but still capable of dealing with moderate chop. Hey, if it works in the Bering Sea it may just work here. I'll guess we'll just have to wait until October to find out!

Remember these days? Mid-June, seventy degree water, steep south swells and perfect sandbars.... FEED ME! Enjoy these photos I found hidden on the hard drive.

Stand up paddle lessons- sign up now! We've got a board and paddle for you, all you need to do is show up and get ready to have fun. Come learn to stand up paddle surf with us here in warm, friendly, sunny San Diego. Call 619.213.6622 or email

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sucks/Doesn't Suck

Sucks: Some insect bit my hand and put a big old knot in the top of it. That boil is now so itchy I'm thinking about taking some 60 grit to it- but I'm afraid I'll expose the botfly larvae that is undoubtedly festering in there. This sucks.

Looking for lessons? Click Here!

Doesn't Suck: Burritos from this place. If you're driving past Isla Vista, pull off the highway, go straight to Freebirds. Order a chicken monster burrito, say yes to the rice, say yes to the beans (select the whole pintos), say yes to onion and cilantro, say yes to the cheese, say yes to the sour cream. And while the purists will cringe, do like I do and have them load it with extra bbq sauce. My all time favorite burrito.

Sucks: Day's are getting shorter, water's getting colder, tan is fading. Sucks.

Doesn't Suck: Loving the pre-preg. Quick Blade that I'm pushing- the thing feels pretty solid and I dig the size and shape of that Kanaha blade.

Sucks: The disc player just went out on my '07 Tundra and the refrigerator in my RV got recalled. They surely do not make things like they used to; who ever heard of a Japanese radio not working?

Doesn't Suck: I've got two Baja paddle surf trips on my horizon. One will be a November return to Punta Mysterioso with Senor Borracho and the Mystery Men. The other will be a run down to Palapas Ventana for Southern Baja's first ever stand up paddle race. And cold Pacificos? They never suck.

Sucks: Pesky south wind. Pesky north wind. Pesky west wind. Pesky giant sand bar that no amount of tide can breach. Pesky closeout thumpers.

Doesn't Suck: 9'4 x 29.5" x 4.3" Light, curvy and made to carve like a Ronco Ginsu. Stay tuned for this new stick!

Stand Up Paddle Surf lessons in San Diego. Come paddle for fun and fitness. We specialize in private lessons. We'll provide you with the correct equipment to get you up and paddling your first time on the water. We've put all makes and models of human beings on stand up boards and the verdict is unanimous: Stand up paddling is the best! Give us a call at 619.213.6622 or email

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Punta Abreojos Volunteer Lifeguard Training: Donate to a Great Cause!

Here's your chance to do something really cool. The life guard associations of Imperial Beach and the Silver Strand get together every year to donate their time to building a Volunteer Lifeguard Program down in Southern Baja at Punta Abreojos.

Abre's in one of the sweetest point breaks around and it's a great place to do stand up paddling. My brother and I stopped in two summers ago and had a great time surf paddling and exploring the giant estuaries to the north and south. The point breaks and beach breaks can be hazardous for the people of Punta Abreojos, particularly during the south swell season when long lines wrap in creating big rips and deep inshore holes.

You can help by the program by donating money to the Imperial Beach Lifeguard Association. Mike Pilgrim, the Treasurer of the Association, told me that the money will be used to cover travel expenses for the lifeguards who are driving down to Abre.

Build your Baja Karma rating and help these guards have a successfull training mission down to Punta Abreojos! Please send funds before Sept. 30th. Mail checks to: Mike Pilgrim, Treasurer, Imperial Beach Lifeguard Association, 950 Ocean Lane, Imperial Beach, CA 91932. Questions? (619) 316-0835

Additional Info from Imperial Beach Life Guard Association:

"We are currently planning our 3rd annual lifeguard training session with the community of Punta Abreojos. During the program's first two years, volunteer lifeguards from Imperial Beach, San Diego, and Silver Strand have succesfully organized and trained a core group of senior volunteer lifeguards for the community of Punta Abreojos, and have "drown-proofed" 113 school age children. Next year we plan to "go pro," initial contact has been made with a number of philanthropic foundations interested in funding the Punta Abreojos Lifeguard Service during summer 2009."

Want to learn how to stand up paddle? Give us a call at 619.213.6622 or email and will get you out and ON IT!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Surf Stuff/Pre-preg/Big Chad/New Boards

Surf Stuff: Better be ready to eat sand. The big sand bar is still out there and with the relatively flat tides we've been experiencing, there isn't a session that doesn't involve a gnarly drop followed by a "do I really want to be here" moment of reflection. It's shallow, fast and top to bottom out there. Everybody's talking about the first big winter storm that will undoubtedly cut some holes in the bank and open up a couple of rideable waves for us. At least that's the plan.

This Photo: Hey, that's me! Now if I can just slow down enough to actually get into the barrel. Photo credit: Momma-K

Photo: I don't know why I always do that with the paddle- going to have to work on my paddle positioning. It looks like I'm getting ready to turn a pizza with that thing. Credit: Momma-K

New Boards: The shaping never stops. For the love of all that's good- get off your ass and order yourself a new board now. Like I told you before, Fall is just a week away and you know that those big northwest ground swells are coming. I just put my order in- so should you!

Simple mathematics. I see, I want. Totally linear relationship. More boards = more happy.

Pre-preg? Sorry guys- a little explanation is in order here. The shaft that was stuck onto my blade by the Quick Blade guys is super strong and much stiffer than the stock shaft. It's made of pre-preg. cloth. Now what does that mean? Pre-preg means pre-impregnated. In this process the carbon fiber cloth is mechanically saturated with the perfect amount of resin to provide the optimum amount of strength.

The cloth is mechanically manipulated to ensure that the resin penetrates the cloth to the perfect extent- not too little and not too much. And the process ensures that there are no voids in the cloth. This type of cloth has to be stored cold, in large refrigerators and is then set off in big ovens. You can see that using this type of cloth requires way more steps than "ordinary" carbon fiber workups- so it's a little more expensive and way more rigid.

Who's Big Chad? Received a couple of questions about Big Chad and what the Big Chad Report is all about. So here's the answers you lurkers have been looking for: Big Chad is our new star correspondent. He's a contributing editor, hard core stand up surfer, warrior-poet and one hell of a croquet player.

I recruited Big Chad to watch over the site while I was on the road. I needed a guy I could trust to continue posting for me when I was out of internet range. Big Chad is that guy. Not only can he throw together a cool surf report but he is a package deal- he comes with his very own surf photographer, secretary/supermom. Two for the price of one? How could I refuse?

You'll find Big Chad posting up his report every now and then- I'm stoked on them, they bring variety to the site and the photos are sweet. Big Chad's also helped me out with all the stand up paddle surf lessons we've been handling this summer (give us a call 619.213.6622 or and now he's even getting requests! Keep checking back for the Big Chad Surf Report- I know I will be!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Quick Blade: Doing it the right way.

The Franken-paddle episode in mainland Mexico was a real bummer. Not only was my whole trip in jeopardy but that Quick Blade Kanaha was my favorite paddle. Light, fast and comfortable that blade just fit me perfectly. I was able to cobble together a solution but I knew that when I got back home I'd still be down one really nice paddle.

Photo: My favorite sweep with a blade that's just about perfect for surfing and cruising.

Imagine how surprised I was to get a phone call and email from Jim Terrell, the owner of Quickblade! Jim called to get the scoop on what had happened down in Mexico and wanted to make sure that I got another one of his paddles into my hands. I was stoked! I told him that the way that the paddle failed (in a soft crease over versus an explosive crack) led me to believe that it must have been damaged on the flight down. In an exchange of emails he suggested that I upgrade the shaft I was using to a stiffer, pre-preg. version that's offered as an option for those of us who really put a bend on these things. He even offered to build the paddle to my measurements and added on Quick Blade's ultra-comfy padded grip. Can you say, "semi-custom"?

Photo: Look what came in the mail!

Since the failure of the shaft was no fault of the paddle or its design, I offered to pay for the pre-preg. replacement shaft- Jim however replaced the whole paddle for me for basically the cost of the materials. I thought this was a beyond-fair deal and am sure that if the paddle had actually been defective, replacing it completely wouldn't have been a problem at all.

Photo: Pre-preg. shaft, I don't thing this one's going to snap- but I'll put it to the test.

Quick Blade is a company that stands behind its product and values user feed back. In my dealings with Jim Terrell I didn't feel like I was pleading my case for a replacement paddle so much as I was collaborating with a paddle builder who was looking to make the best stand up paddle on the market. And, in the end, those actions speak much louder than words or warranties.

Come learn stand up paddling with us in sunny San Diego! Lessons and tours: 619.213.6622 or

Saturday, September 6, 2008

South Shows: A little Grindy

Here's what we've been dealing with down here the last couple of days. I've been hearing a lot of, "You can't ride one of those out there..." comments. The general idea being that a stand up board just doesn't fit low tide suck-out conditions. Comments like that just fire me up to paddle out and show what can be done. Funny how 90% of the guys riding short boards are just taking off, pumping down the line, pulling out or maybe throwing a cutback- just like we're doing on our stand up boards. Equally funny is the fact that we could swap boards and catch waves on their equipment while most of them couldn't even stand up for more than thirty seconds, let alone catch a wave, on our GIANT gear.

And, yeah, I'm throwing that down as a challenge. Paddle on up and let's see what you can, or most likely can't, do.

I think we're busting down our own set of boundaries here on the beach breaks. Each time we step up to the plate and paddle out the surf playing field gets a little bigger and wider for us stand up guys.

We're even surprising ourselves with what can be done. And we haven't even started riding the new shapes that'll be coming around in the next month or so. Bring on those meaty winter days- we're ready.

Hope your getting some too.

Sign up today for paddle surf lessons here in San Diego! If you've been waiting for just the right time and place to learn to stand up paddle surf now is the time to belly up to the bar and hop on a SUP board. We've put close to a hundred people on stand up boards, we're ready and waiting for you to stand up paddle with us! All lessons are private lessons. Call us at 619.213.6622 or email Also check out our e-brochure on the Lessons Page for additional information.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Hans Fernan launches paddle to save California's state parks.

Imperial Beach local Hans Fernan has kicked off his paddle to save California's State Parks. He'll be paddling the length of San Diego County heading uphill from Imperial Beach to San Onofre State Beach. If you're not aware, this is the wrong direction to paddle the coast since the prevailing winds and current run from the north to south. Which means that if you're not ridiculously gnarly, don't even think about it.

Hans' first leg went well as he launched September 2nd, from the United States/Mexico border and paddled up to the coastal city of Coronado. Hans plans to knock out the seventy plus mile paddle in a week logging ten to twelve miles a day. Scroll down to Hans' press release for more information or go to WildCoast's web page and get the whole scoop. Also check out Hans on the morning news at KUSI . Can't get much further south-west than this on the continental United States. That's the fence between the United States and Mexico in the background- check out the bull fighting ring too. Go get 'em Hans!


I love snapshots. They have the ability to only show what you want them to show. You can choose to not show that moment that you were rolling up the windows about to fall on a steep drop. Instead you could show when you snapped that cutback or hit the lip or in my case got inside the a nice little barrel. Here is the rest of that sequence showing me paying the tax on that one good shot.

Here is where I knew it was going to happen.

The duck and pray.

Sweet, I am doing it!


I'm too big, not going to fit!

OUCH! That was my knee popping as the wave knocked and twisted my feet from the board.

That paddle in the air is soon to be smacking the top of my head and the front corner of my board. This is also about the time when I was bouncing off the rail.

When it is all said and done I am stoked. Sure I bounced off of my board twice, the paddle banged me in the head and it put a nice little mark on my board as well. But, I do have a snapshot of that moment that I will not soon forget. There is nothing like being surrounded by the ocean in a nice green room, even if it is only for a few seconds, and even if a little punishment is dished out.