Monday, December 29, 2008

And it's done: Go Pro Camera Mod Part IV

Here's the finished product. The camera slides right into the mount just as it does with the stick-on mount that is supplied with the kit.

A bonus is the leash plug's proximity to the mount- it makes a great place to attach a little lanyard. I modified a little loop lanyard that had a quick release clip. It's now a simple matter of sliding the camera into the mount and clipping the tether to the camera. Bada Bing!

The camera really is a cool looking little unit. I'm going to pick up some batteries tomorrow and try some test photos to check out the angle and see how much coverage I get with the wide angle lens.

Here's another shot of it on the board. I'm stoked. The mod came out really clean and now I'm set to shoot pictures and video from both the tail and the nose. Check back to see the results!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Go Pro Mods Part III

Once I had the pad cut, scraped, buffed out and ready to go, I scratched up the bottom of the bonus mount with a sand paper pad and tested it to see how it fit.

I'd cut the pad just a little too big but the fit looked pretty clean. I noticed that there was some white showing through so I took a Sharpy pen and blackened the deck around the edges of the cut pad, just to keep it looking clean.

Luckily, I've got a very tolerant wife who puts up with all my messy hobbies- she even let me bring the board into the living room to epoxy it up. Letting your husband finish the job in the warm living room so that the epoxy will go off correctly, that's love.

A couple of friends were checking out my placement of the mount and they wondered if I would step on it when I was surfing. Honestly, I've never been able to get my foot that far back onto the tail and still be able to drive the board down the line. I haven't tried it yet but I'll report to you once I see how it goes.

Stand up paddle surfing lessons in San Diego: Come and get 'em! Give us a call and paddle with the mind behind the blog! 619.213.6622 or

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Post: Merry Christmas Everybody!

Best wishes to all! Hope your Christmas day is filled with family, fun and.... new stand up paddle surf goodies! Wonder how hard it is to fit a new 76" Kialoa into a stocking....

And now, Stand Up Paddle Gift Lessons!!!

Here's a special Christmas wish to Michelle from Kyle:

"Merry X-Mas Crazy!"

Cristina has a Christmas Wish for somebody special:
Merry Christmas Paulie! Love, your wife!

We'll be seeing
Michelle (and hopefully Kyle) as well as Cristina's husband on the water this spring for their first stand up paddle surfing lessons! You're going to LOVE it!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Go Pro Mods Part II

A whole set of options ran through my mind, including running back to the surf shop and buying the last camera kit they had in stock. When I tried to think of ways to justify that purchase to my wife, the idea quickly went out the window. Hmmm, how about the good ol' duct tape option? But the thought of a gob of duct tape gumming up my new camera and slowly unraveling throughout my session wasn't so appealing.

Then I saw it, there is a "bonus mount" in all that flashy packaging! It's the mount used to display the camera in the fancy transparent jewel box and it's exactly the same mount as the one that comes with the kit. Suddenly it all started to click.

Photo: The bonus mount is right under the camera and can be pried off the black plastic square.

First I'd peel it off the black piece of plastic that it came glued to. Next, I'd cut out a piece of my deckpad. Then, I'd scuff up both the mount and the deck with some sand paper and epoxy it to the surface of my board. Voila!

So here's how I did it, step by step:

You've got to get the mount off of the plastic- notice how it's a perfect match with the white one?

If you heat it with a hair dryer it softens up and comes right off.

The toughest part was cutting and peeling up the deck pad. Whatever holds those deckpads down is tough stuff! I used a razor blade and just scraped, peeled and scratched it until I got all the goo off the board. Then I scuffed it up with some sand paper.

Check back for more of the Bonus Mount Mod!

Stand up paddle surf lessons in sunny San Diego, let's get out and have some fun! If you've been wondering what all the excitement is about and have been wanting to get out on the water and learn stand up paddling, you've come to the right place.

I am certain that I can get you out onto the water and paddling like a natural in an hour and a half of thoughtful, deliberate instruction. We've put scores of people on stand up boards.

Give us a call and schedule a lesson: 619.213.6622 or email If you'd like more information about our lessons click
here and be sure to scroll down and read some testimonials from satisfied paddle surfing students.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Got a Go Pro for Mexico... Check out the Mods!

I walked into my local surf shop just wanting some wax... next thing I know I'm face to face with one of the those nifty Go Pro Wide Surf Cams we've been seeing so much of lately.

Believe me, the marketing hit squad has the surfer mind all figured out. The packaging for the camera is beautiful and with all that flash, color and action, simple minds like ours are in real trouble. We're like predatory fish, we just react; like a largemouth to a spinner bait, I practically inhaled that thing right up and into my greedy little paws!

Photo: Flashy packaging, cool camera!

Ever since I've seen some of the footage from these wide angle cameras, I've wanted to try some different angles. The pointing-back-at-the-surfer angle never did much for me, you get a look at what the guy's doing. What you don't see is how the waves unraveling in front of him. It's not really a surfer's eye view. Not to say that I'm not going to give that angle a shot, it's just that what I really want is a point of view shot that lets you see down the line. Here's the angle I'm interested in:

So my idea was to mount the camera
as far back onto my board as possible, hoping that the 170 degree wide angle would be able to catch me and the wave in front of me. To do that I'd need two mounts.

The problem is that the Go Pro Camera Kit only comes with one glue on mount and an FCS plug mount (whoa, I just had a flash of inspiration, how cool would it be to mount the camera upside down, underwater, while you're riding a wave?). Since I'm leaving for southern Baja in two days I would only be able to use the adhesive mount and that leaves me one mount short.

Check back for more about this mod!

Paddle surf lessons in sunny San Diego. Come on out and learn how to stand up paddle surf with us here in San Diego. We've been putting people on the water for almost two years now and we've got this thing dialed! Click here for more information about our lessons and for testimonials from satisfied customers! Anybody can learn how to stand up paddle! Give us a call: 619.213.6622 or email

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cruising in Seal

Here's a couple more sweet shots of the gang up in Seal. Wish we had a few more of those glassy days around here. It's been cold, rainy... and I've got a head cold that makes me want to pound Nyquil like a fiend. Anyways, enjoy the boys gettin' some:

Mitchell, smooth as always. (Photo: Elva De Jarnett)

Is it me, or do the waves look really fun? Greg Escalante undoubtedly getting his kicks. (Photo: Elva de Jarnett)

I was told that this was a "nothing" day... that's a pretty fun little nada if you ask me! (Photo: Elva de Jarnett)

My favorite photo of the bunch: On edge and MOVING. Notice how Mitchell is powering through the backside bottom turn with his hips? If you look you can see that his shoulders are square over his set rail and his hips lead him through the turn- that's the way to carry speed through a backside bottom turn. Atta Boy Mitchell... Killing it! (Photo: Elva de Jarnett)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Turning Nothin' into Somethin'

The Seal Beach crew has got it so wired. They've got their Harbour stand up boards and their sand bars dialed. Here's a quick report from Mitchell De Jarnett:

Photo: Just out for a little stroll.... Mitchell heading north. Photo: Elva De Jarnett

"Here are a few shots from one of those days when SUP turns a nuthin’ day into a blast. Here I'm surfing with friends John Gunnin and Greg Escalante... we just migrated from northside Seal Beach down to the river over a couple hours."

Photo: John Gunnin, picking up what he can.

"We picked up what we could and got surfed out on a day when most surfers were lamenting lack of swell and dirty water."

Photo: Greg Escalante, driving off the bottom. I love that little extra squirt you get when you push off the back foot at just the right moment!

Thanks Mitchell and Elva for the words and photos. Check back for more hot photos of Mitchell and friends!

Ho, Ho, Ho- Stand up paddle surf lessons in San Diego. We're not afraid of some cold weather paddling! Sign up now for stand up paddle surf lessons in the New Year- we've got our list and we're checking it twice.... let's make sure you're on it! Come learn to stand up paddle surf with us! 619.213.6622 or Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Glassing with Stamps

Here's that video I promised of my brother Mike's stand up board getting glassed by Tim Stamps. Tim shaped out the board and likes to glass 'em up right. By the way, how good does that 9'2" look? And, did you get a peek at the 10'6" that's in the racks? How'd you like to take that one out for a spin?

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Here comes a new one: 9'2" x 29" x 4"....SUCH A HOT STICK!

I got a chance to spend an afternoon with Tim Stamps over at his board shop- what a mistake.

Whenever I go over there
I see something that gets me all worked up. This time it was my brother's new 9'2" Viking model stand up; good thing I hid my wallet.

The thing looked so hot it was a battle of will to resist blurting something out like, "Why don't we do another one of those in green?".

Here's some photos of Tim glassing the deck of Mike's board.

I learned a bunch today. It turns out that Tim likes to handle the glassing on the stand ups because he can do something a little extra for the custom boards that come out of his shop.

Tim glasses his stand up boards with an extra long overlap of double 6 ounce glass from the top of the board over the bottom.

What that means is that instead of just getting two layers of glass on the rail, Tim's hand glassed boards get three.

I always wondered why I didn't get open dings on the rails of my boards, I'm sure the triple six on the rail explains it.

This one's going up to Santa Cruz to some lucky guy (you're STOKED Mike!). While I was in the shop I saw three other stand up boards in different stages of completion. A couple of the boards were headed to San Francisco, seems like the word is spreading about these hot shapes!

I shot some video of the process and am going to edit it up before I head south, check back for a peek at how it's done.

Paddle surf lessons in stormy San Diego: Brrrrr, it's getting cold, and there's rumors of rain.... but if you're into, so am I. Let's get out there and learn to paddle surf.... when it warms up a little! Seriously folks: Have a happy holiday season- I'll be back from Cabo San Lucas after New Years Day. Let's make some plans to get out and learn something fun and new in '09. Stand up paddle surf lessons for the young, the young at heart and the just plain crazy! Give me a call 619.213.6622 or email Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Logistics of Fun

Yesterday it was forty eight degrees on the beach. That's cold. It's not as harsh as the conditions my paddle surfing brothers to the north and (god bless them for their commitment to the sport) the north east are dealing with but for us down here in our nation's most southwesterly corner it's pretty ridiculous. Shoot, my hands even got numb.

I don't know about you, but for me, when winter rolls around the vestigial bear in me starts coming out. I start to move slower, I want to hibernate. Winter is tough for me, even if it is only a San Diego winter.

So, like geese, we're making plans to head south. The truck's been checked out, tires inspected, Mexican insurance policy arranged, tourist cards stamped and travel trailer stocked. I've bagged up four stand up boards and one regular surfboard. I'm packing along five paddles, a 6.5m Hot Sails Maui windsurfing rig, a 12m Globe Kite and a 6' Sling shot directional. We'll throw in the Yamaha 3000 genset, ten extra gallons of gas and a couple of lawn chairs. In a week we'll fire up the Tundra and pull it all across the border and down to Cabo San Lucas.

We'll be driving for about two and half days, covering close to 1200 miles and burning through five audio books and both of the hundred song Ipod playlists (Baja South A and Baja South B) I've spent hours constructing. We'll probably get somewhere close to 12 miles per gallon pulling my twenty-two foot trailer. I'm figuring that we'll eat about a hundred gallons of gas. At a cost of about two bucks a gallon we'll drop around two hundred dollars in fuel each way.

Photo: And let's not forget how killer the sunsets are down south!

Driving both ways that's forty hours behind the wheel. I'll put two thousand four hundred miles of wear and tear on the V8, spend sixty bucks on M-80s, thirty bucks on surfing monkeys, twenty bucks on serapes and drop four c-notes on fuel and who knows how much dinero on margaritas, Pacificos, papas rellenas and tacos.

Is it worth it? For ten days of clean, blue, southern Baja surf? For campfire cocktail hours or afternoon, beach sand siestas comfortably taken in the shade of a dropped tailgate? For a million laughs, a thousand smiles and countless warm water waves shared with just family and friends? Do we even need to answer that question?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Part II: Northern Baja Stand Up Trip to Camalu Anything funny or interesting about the places that you stayed or where you surfed? Anything spooky, creepy or weird?

Photo: Some of us where born to lead, some to follow...

E.Hoff: No one at the hotel speaks English, even though they cater to Americans. This year, one of the new guys at the hotel spoke perfect English - he had just moved down there from Sacramento, which we assumed meant that he was in trouble for something back home.

Photo: ...and some to communicate with sign language. Was it safe?

E.Hoff: We've never had a problem, but I think that being semi-paranoid is a good idea. I'd much rather pay $5 to camp in a fenced, guarded spot than be one of those stories you read about in the U-T (that's Union Tribune newspaper for those not from San Diego- ed.). I think that most of the driving risk is in the Tijuana to Rosarito stretch, but there was a rumor floating around that the cops aren't allowed to pull anyone over on that little strip of road along the border any more. I flat out refuse to drive at night - it's probably fine, but why risk it?

Photo: A trip to the tire store, Baja-style. Was the trip good enough to do it again?

E.Hoff: Yeah, we'll definitely do it again. How was driving down there- any auto malfunctions? Any sketchy road stories?

E.Hoff: We never had a problem before when we took my Jeep down there, even on some pretty bad roads. This year we popped a tire on our rental minivan on the dirt road into Camalu, which is a pretty easy track. Llanteras are fast and cheap for fixing flats - they charged us $3 and we were back on the road in 20 minutes. Chris was having a hard time figuring out how to put the spare on, so I think that he knows how lucky he was to have me there to read him the owner's manual! Even though Camalu's a bit further south than some of the more popular spots, most of it's paved, so I don't think it takes much longer to get there.

Photo: And the only question here is... is that a diet Pepsi you're drinking- would you like a slice of quiche with that? How was the food? Any recommendations?

E.Hoff: There's a place called Manzanillo in Ensenada that's fantastic. We had some yellowtail sashimi there a couple of trips ago that's still memorable. We had a cab driver this time who pretended not to speak English and he took us to some other place - probably his cousin's or something like that. There are lots of LOUD bars downtown - just watching the locals cruising the strip on a Saturday night is fun. Also, for the pyros in your group, there are tons of fireworks shops - we did an experiment a few years back with a watermelon and an M-1000 that had all of us laughing so hard we could barely see! Did you eat the worm?

E.Hoff: Probably, but not intentionally. I hope the alcohol disinfected it!

Thanks a lot to Eric Hoffman for sending in this report- I was stoked to check out the pictures and read all about how it went down. Can't wait for a long weekend and a big north west swell to get down to Camalu, post up at La Cueva del Pirata and bag me a cougar... er, mountain lion.

Stand up paddle surf lessons in San Diego. Why risk your time paddling with some shop rat who just stood on a board a week ago? Come learn from a professional educator with over fourteen years of teaching experience- pedagogy, yup we got that. Give us a call: 619.213.6622 or email If you'd like more information click here and be sure to read the testimonials from some of our satisfied paddle surfing clients.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Camalu Dreaming: "How about that pool?"

Baja travel isn't always about cold margaritas served poolside with chips and guacamole. There's still a little bit of an outlaw nature to the place. Drive in a couple hundred miles and turn off on any westward running dirt road and you're bound to find something a little out of the ordinary- or just downright weird depending on what your frame of reference is. The point is this: if you're not about following the camp host's rules, if you don't like "quiet hours", if you want to detonate watermelons with quarter sticks of dynamite (oh yeah, read on), if you want, in short, to get into the shit, head south.

Eric Hoffman paddles stand up boards when it's glassy and wave sails when it's blowing. Here's his report of a little run he did into Northern Baja. I'm going to name the spot because I'll tell you right now it's never going to get crowded. Ever. Even though there's a perfect little stand up wave that will hold any size swell with a funky Bate's Motel right in front of the break, you're just not going to get Astrovans full of NSSA brats pulling up for a go. Nope... this place, you gotta want this place.

Tempting? There's surf right out front and it can and does go off- usually unridden. Why did you guys decide to head down to Northern Baja? How far down did you go?

E.Hoff: We've been down there quite a few times in the past. My buddies, Chris and Pete, live in the Bay Area, so it's easy for them to jump on a flight. I pick 'em up at the airport here in San Diego and we can be surfing that afternoon. We went to Punta Camalu, which is about 2-1/2 hours south of Ensenada or 1/2 an hour north of San Quintin. Sometimes we surf Raul's on the way down, then stay in Ensenada the first night.

Small, but fun and glassy. Pull out the stand up and knock yourself out; the crowd looks about right. How did you know where to go, how did you know what spots you were going to surf? What experience level would you rate the breaks?

E.Hoff: Like I said, we've done this one in the past. Camalu's good because you have the choice of an inside point, outside reefs or drive 15 minutes or so to Shipwrecks. What's amazing to me is that none of them ever seem crowded - if there are 3 other guys in the water, it's a busy day. None of the breaks are difficult - easy paddle outs, relatively mushy waves. Easy longboard waves, but they'd probably be boring on shortboards.

Your hotel. And so much to do for the kids... Um, no. What kind of gear did you bring down- types of boards, windsurf equipment etc.

E.Hoff: My buddies were on eggs & I was riding a 10" Oxbow standup. I also had a 9' Blair standup / windsurfer with me, but there wasn't enough wind to bother with it. I attempted sailing Camalu on a shortboard windsurfer a couple of years ago without success. I think the wind shadow from the cliffs was just too much. I've heard of people sailing Shipwrecks, but I've never seen it. There's usually decent wind there, but not this time around.

How about that pool? What's the break like? Had you ever surfed it really good before? What's the potential for good surf there? How did you guys get it? Any memorable sessions?

E.Hoff: The breaks are mellow. Inside at Camalu can get a little rocky and you'll need booties at both spots. Primarily rights, but I've seen it going left on the beach just north of the Shipwreck. I've never been there when it was epic, but I've definitely been there for some really good days, which are even better because no one else is around. The most memorable session I've been there for I ended up watching from the beach, burnt out from my long swim / walk with windsurfing gear, as my buddies got some shockingly long rides. This trip, there was barely any swell, but we had a great, long session at Shipwrecks on Saturday - chest high & super clean, with just the three of us in the water.

And how about those... mountain lions! Where did you stay? Would you recommend it? How expensive was it? Is it the kind of place you'd bring a girlfriend or wife?

E.Hoff: We stayed at a little half-built hotel at Camalu called La Cueva del Pirata. It's fine and has hot water. I think it was $40 or $50 for a room with four bunk beds. They also have a restaurant, which is pretty much American prices. There are a bunch more restaurants in town, most of which are pretty cheap. There's also camping at Shipwrecks, which is fenced in and guarded. We figured $15 per person per night is an acceptable premium to pay for not having to pitch a tent plus you get a hot shower! I'd only bring a girlfriend or wife down if she was a "camping" kind of gal or if I was trying to scare her off! Everything down there is coated in dirt & not all of the dirt comes out when you get home...

Check back for Part II of Camalu Dreaming!

Stand up paddle surf lessons in beautiful, sunny San Diego. Don't hesitate- do it now! Need more info? Click here for lesson details and testimonials from satisfied customers. We're friendly, we're happy and gosh darn it, we want to see you on the water? Capiche? Email: or call 619.213.6622

Thursday, December 4, 2008

PSH For Sale- Snap it up!

Every so often a great deal comes across my desk. Sheldon is a friend from down here in San Diego and he's a super nice guy, surfs well and is STOKED on stand up paddling. Check out the board he's selling- the thing is in EXCELLENT condition. If you want to get on a PSH board at a discount, this is your chance!

Paddle Surf Hawaii (PSH) All Arounder
10'4" x 28 3/8" wide x 4 5/8" thick, small swallow tail, 2+1 setup

Bought new in June 08 from PSH San Diego, excellent condition. EPS & epoxy construction. The board surfs well in ankle to overhead (possibly bigger, but never tried), stable on the nose (if you're into noseriding) but really rips when you surf it off the tail. Surprising as it is, this board is great in bigger surf, since the size and volume of the board allow you to get into the bigger waves earlier and this board can generate some serious down the line speed. The board comes with 3.5" Future side bites and a 8.5" Paddle Surf Hawaii fin. I usually set the center fin all the way to the front of the fin box to loosen up the board. I've also added on a Dakine traction pad and a Surfco nose guard.

I'm selling this board
since I picked up a 9'6" Paddle Surf Hawaii All Arounder. I weigh 160lbs-165lbs and I don't feel like I have enough weight to really surf the 10'4" to it's potential. I like to throw the board around in the wave, floaters, straight ups, hard cutbacks, etc. If you're heavier than me, you'll love the way this board surfs. If you're my weight or lighter, this may be a good beginner/starter board since it'll be super stable, paddle and surf wise (especially if you don't have a "progressive" surf style).

I'm selling this board for $1000.
These boards brand new are $1200+tax, or $1500 with a paddle, from the PSH San Diego shop. I also have a 10' PSH board bag (yes, 10'... the 10'4" fits perfectly in the bag) for an extra $100, it's brand new but a little dirty from the first time I used it... great investment to keep your board out of the sun while you're taking it around and also to protect it from dings.

Interested? Contact Sheldon at

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

More Johnson Big Stick Info: Read it straight from the Man!

Got to post up a quicky- just got out of the water from my morning, pre-work surf. In a sentence: if you're looking for a cheap ($175) back up paddle that paddles sweetly- look no further. EJ's got 'em. Click here to read more about what EJ's doing up in Dana Point. More paddle details coming!

Some cool stuff from the back of EJ's Paddle Wagon.

Stand up paddle surf lessons in sunny San Diego! Come and get 'em! Give us a call: 619.213.1622 or email Here's a simple equation: Paddle More + Television Less = Happy Life.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Johnson Big Stick Paddles: EJ talks us through a couple new blades from JBS

Just finished editing up this little interview I grabbed with EJ, owner/operator of Johnson Big Stick Paddles. I'm pretty blown away by the quality of the paddles EJ is building. The craftsmanship is, frankly, mind-blowing; the guy really knows how to work with wood.

I'm even more excited to get out and paddle the new blade that EJ sent home with me. Check back for a full review of the entry level JBS blade. Until then, check out this little clip I threw together and please forgive me for all the cliche, surfer talk- when I'm at the beach I revert back to my feral state of intrinsic stoke!

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Stand up paddle surf lessons in sunny, San Diego. Come paddle with us, we'll get you out and paddling with perfect form, a huge smile and happiness in your paddling heart. Really. Call or email: 619.213.6622 or Want more info? Click here for lesson details and some testimonials from satisfied paddle surf students.