Thursday, January 31, 2008

Make the Rain go Away!

The thing that sucks about rain for us here in California is that when it comes down in any amount you can count on the beaches being closed by pollution. I've been checking the surf everyday and it hasn't looked good, either the winds been on it or the water is so loaded with fecal coliform bacteria that surfing in it would be like frolicking in a septic tank. We may get a break for a couple of days this weekend, keep 'em all crossed because it's been five days without surfing and I'm going nuts.

Here's a little clip I did with some still photos. I'm learning about uploading to YouTube and I've found that the video gets choppy if you use too many short duration still photos. A while back I talked about doing a "birth of a paddleboard" piece- I think this video is pointing me in the right direction and I'm convinced it'd be an interesting project. I'll put it on my summer list (and my mind's going wild with the trips I want to do with the stand up board- somehow I'll find a way to do another Baja run!).


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Save Trestles!

Time to get up and do something California Paddle Surfers! Ever walk the trail down into Trestles, smell the coastal sage and see the lizards go skittering down into the river bottom? Now imagine all of that turned into a concrete landscape with a giant overpass blocking out the sun above you; the sound of cars whooshing by and the smell of exhaust wafting down onto you. Here's your chance to play your small part in a cause that's a good one. The proposal is to install part of a toll road right through the San Onofre State Park demolishing San Mateo Campground and forever changing the San Mateo Creek wildlife area. Shouldn't public lands that have been designated as State Parks remain sacred? Fight to keep Trestles and San Onofre State Park intact. Now's the time to act.

WiLDCOAST ALERT: LETTERS NEEDED TO STOP SAN ONOFRE TOLL-ROAD

There is a plan to build a pay-to-drive toll road through an Onofre State Park. This road would destroy 60% of the park including the San Mateo Campground, which is a public resource open to everyone. It would also threaten the water quality at Trestles, one of the best waves in California.

Please express your opposition to the planned toll road by writing to Coastal Commissioner and San Diego City Councilman Ben Hueso. The California Coastal Commission is having a meeting on the issue on February 6 and they need to hear from you!!!

In your letter please include the following:

1. Please tell Councilman Hueso that you are opposed to the toll road.

2. Choose two of the below points and include them in your letter:

 San Onofre State Park is an important recreational resource for camping, surfing, and being outdoors.
 In South San Diego we have a lack of parks and healthy recreational opportunities. Our closest beaches are some of the most polluted in the country (parts of Imperial Beach were closed for almost 200 days last year)- San Onofre State Park offers a healthy, affordable park and beach for families to visit.
 Our families need affordable access to parks not freeways!
 The toll road will run directly through San Onofre State Park. This 2028 acre park the 5th most visited park in the California State Parks system.
 The San Mateo Creek Watershed is one of the last large coastal open spaces in Southern California. The toll road will forever change the last coastal wilderness accessible to working class families in south San Diego.

3. Be sure to sign the letter. Write your name and address on the back of the letter.

4. Email goes to:
Here is a basic template:

Councilman Ben Hueso
City Administration Bldg.
202 "C" Street, 10th Floor
San Diego, CA 92101

(date)

Dear Councilman Hueso,

I am writing you this letter to express my opposition to the proposed toll road that may run directly through San Onofre State Park.

Place your two included points here.



I hope that as a member of the California State coastal commission and our elected city councilman you will oppose the above mentioned toll road and keep San Onofre State Park accessible to all Californians.

Sincerely Yours,

(signed name)
(name)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Mahi's Got a New Home: No it's not for sale.

The Mahi Version 1 is no longer with me- it's been sent up to the cold water and long, right point waves of Santa Cruz. Even though I've got a new board (M2, featuring the same "surf pickle" paint job) I have to say, I will miss the original. The wide diamond tail just gave it springs off the bottom, it was a fast board. There's now four others just like it (scaled up or down to match the height and weight of their owners- the beauty of the custom board) here in San Diego, kind of speaks to the effectiveness of the design.

Top and Middle: Mike on the Mahi 1 in Santa Cruz surfing one of the dozen right handers they've got in that town- yep, I'm jealous.
Photo: SRFNFF

Sunday, January 27, 2008

So SRFNFF was right: Windy, Rainy, Nasty

Thanks Gary (aka SRFNFF). Last night was brutal, rain coming sideways from the wind blowing so hard. Lots of rain. I checked the beach this morning and the runoff has turned the surfzone a milky brown color. The air at the beach smells like dirt. Yesterday's clean south swell lines are all torn up by a chaotic windswell, nobody is getting in the water today.

Here's a little clip from hard drive leftovers:
video

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Everybody is a Comedian: Look what was in my driveway early this morning!


I don't know if it's a trophy or a warning or just a reminder of my stylistic highpoints but this is really funny! Had a good time walking around the beach this morning accusing all the usual suspects. And everybody denied it! I suspect somebody with the initials GT or maybe even BH, hmmm am I correct?

Fun surf out there this morning. A big highlight: Matt W. getting completely barreled on an offshore righthander. Pretty text book tube ride: easy glide in, set the rail, slow the board with a Pinky-style blade drag and pull in. Matty knows how to plug the hole- best part was he had a front row witness who watched the curtain fall and the clean exit- a legit barrel on an 11'11" Ordonez Big Red.

Kiwi was out on his new Stu Kenson 10'x28" snagging all the good ones. This is the second time in a row he's paddle out from out of nowhere and pulled the Tom Curren "mysto-wave-magnet" thing. It's obvious he's getting a feel for that board, he's going fast and making some meaty sections.

Photos middle and bottom: Kiwi on the blue Stu Kenson quad surfing clean and fast. Photos: El Tigre

This is a rush job post because I've got to get back in the water. I already logged three water hours this morning, my back's tired, my arms are tired, my legs rubbery but we've hit a seam in this storm front procession and it's four foot and glassy out of the South; have to take advantage of it! Hope you're getting some too.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Come back to Baja: Baja Government attempts to repair damaged image.

Free fish tacos, no grumpy locals and all the tequila you can drink! Check out the article below, seems like the carjackings, police extortions and bad press has had a serious effect on tourism down there. While I'm not sure about the free comida and tequila (and anybody who surfs San Miguel knows the locals aren't leaving) I am starting to believe that it's gotten bad enough for the local government to take some steps in the right direction instead of just denying that anything bad is going on.

Are they there yet? In my opinion, no. Like I said before I'm not heading back until my sources confirm a heavy army presence in the area- everybody knows the local cops are on the take- I want to see those up armored Humvees cruising the toll road with the .50 cal locked and loaded.


Officials aim to create 'safe zone' for tourists

UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
January 20, 2008
TIJUANA – As reports of violence in Baja California take a heavy economic toll on key tourist destinations, officials say they are working to increase security along well-traveled roads and in shopping districts frequented by U.S. visitors.

The federal government has stepped up patrols on the toll road between Tijuana and Ensenada, while the state has posted officers at the entrances and exits, said Oscar Escobedo Carignan, Baja California's tourism secretary. The federal Angeles Verdes tourist assistance police also has an increased presence in the area.

Municipal governments are banding together to create a “safe zone” for tourists from the San Ysidro border crossing to south of the port of Ensenada, along a coastal strip where assaults have occurred. They are revamping their tourist police to focus on areas such as downtown Rosarito Beach and Tijuana's Avenida Revolución.

Though not the only factors, extortions by police officers and attacks on tourists last year helped drive down the number of visitors to the state by nearly 2 million, said Escobedo, from 20.3 million in 2006 to 18.6 million in 2007. Though violence in Tijuana this week has not targeted tourists, promoters worry that the reports could further discourage visitors to the state. Escobedo and other government officials claim that a series of government measures has drastically reduced the numbers of incidents against tourists since Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán took office Nov. 1 and five new mayors were sworn in Dec. 1. The newly elected officials have vowed an unprecedented front with President Felipe Calderón's administration against organized crime and police corruption.

Tourism is a key industry for Baja California, creating close to 9 percent of jobs in the state and accounting for 11 percent of its revenues, Escobedo said. In Rosarito Beach, Mayor Hugo Torres said 70 percent of the 130,000 residents who work in the city depend either directly or indirectly on tourism.

Rosarito Beach has especially suffered from the drop in tourism revenue over the past year, Torres said.

“Thirty percent is the official figure that is used, but in many cases it's more than 50 percent,” Torres said from his second-floor office at Rosarito Beach City Hall. Occupancy of the Rosarito Beach Hotel, which Torres owns, has fallen between 30 percent and 40 percent, he said.

The city's 149-member police force became a subject of scrutiny last month after gunmen attacked its headquarters, reportedly intending to kill Jorge Eduardo Montero Álvarez, Rosarito Beach's director of public safety. His bodyguard was killed. The entire force was subsequently disarmed as the officers and their firearms undergo background checks. In the interim, state and federal police have been leading routine patrols in the city, and Torres claims that reports of tourist extortions have ceased.

Torres is creating a 30-member tourist police force to be based in the offices of the city's Conventions and Tourism Committee and responsible for patrolling areas frequented by visitors. In addition, he said he is equipping 120 volunteers with radios so they can report suspicious activity in the tourist areas, and give the volunteers a non-police contact to call.

Baja California's tourism secretariat has hired its own watchdog to oversee the road between the San Ysidro border and the entrance to the toll road in Playas de Tijuana.

“If somebody is stopped by a police officer, he (the watchdog) walks up to the police officer, and says, 'I am here to serve as an interpreter,' ” said Escobedo, the tourism secretary. (I would love to be there when this happens!)

While many visitors have been canceling their visits to the state, Tom Mitchell said he is continuing to lead tours down the Baja California peninsula.

“We never drive in the dark. It's just thinking safe,” said Mitchell, an East County resident. “If you're an American traveling down, we recommend that you caravan with somebody else.”

Carlsbad resident Kathy Berlin was in Rosarito Beach last week with her sister and a friend, spending three nights together at a house she and her husband have owned for 11 years.

When the friends drove to Ensenada, they made sure to stay close to another vehicle, the retired insurance agent said.

“I don't like what's going on,” she said of the current wave of violence. But I'm still here. I still love it.”

I'd like to go back- the place has huge potential. We'll see....

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Check this Out:

Emerald City Surf Shop is throwing its own 20th birthday party this Friday in the Gas Lamp here in San Diego.

Check out the press release:

Emerald City to Host Official 2008 ASR Party


San Diego, CALIF -- January 22, 2008. Emerald City The Boarding Source is teaming up with industry leaders to host the most talked-about party of ASR. Billed as, “Punks Not Dead, Neither is Emerald City, so Shut Up and Drink!” the event will kick off at 8 p.m. on Friday, January 25th at Gaslamp’s 4th and B. Among the power-ten-sponsors are Reef, Surfer, Billabong, Sector 9, Solspot, Red Bull, DiscoverSD.com, Surfline, Syndrome, Nicalandnow.com and Smith Optics.

Emerald City President, Larry Kraus, considers it a true honor to be featured among these established names. “As an industry leader, Emerald City is proud to help support this anticipated event,” says Kraus. “Our sponsors have gone to great lengths to restore the true essence of punk as an influential symbol of action sports. Undoubtedly, this is going to be the highlight of ASR 2008.”

Thanks to Rob Molt of Sector 9, the lineup includes punk legends, Guttermouth and San Diego’s own The Stranger’s Six. As pioneers of the skate-punk scene, Agent Orange will also be featured in the evening’s entertainment. This 1980’s power trio first gained recognition with the acclaimed song ‘Bloodstains,’ now featured on Tony Hawks Pro Skater 4. Spinning punk favorites, DJ PRS will be throwing down hits from Social D, Angelic Upstarts, TSOL, Stiff Little Fingers and many more legendary artists.

Emerald City will also be rolling out the red carpet for the some of the industry’s top athletes and musicians. “It’s the return of Shut Up and Drink,” says Kraus. “Our tribute to punk not only embraces the freedom we represent, but it also unites those who have greatly impacted the world of action sports.”
Launched in 1988, Emerald City is famous for its industry parties, which often drew in over 2,000 fans to yearly events. Now, twenty years later, the board shop is reawakening the past by taking over 4th & B's 21,000 square foot facility.
The ten sponsors intend to fully capitalize on the venue’s recent remodeling, which includes a private mezzanine, a state of the art sound system, new projection screens and sky boxes. Guests with personal invites may enter free before 10 pm. For more information visit www.discoversd.com.

Should be a really fun, and the timing's right- you might as well drink up because you're not going to be surfing Saturday morning with all the rain that's coming. I'm stoked to see the bands and do some people watching. I'm going to be there in the most ridiculous Aloha shirt that I can find; see you there!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Pushing the Shopping Cart

As you can tell, I really like posting video clips. They're fun to make, pretty easy to do and if you post them to YouTube they're archived forever. Here's the down side- you're confronted with the reality of how you actually surf. And that can be really, really heavy.

Above: Mitchell De Jarnett swinging away in Seal Beach.
Photo: Elva De Jarnett

No matter how much you think you're connecting turns or lip smacking or soul arching or whatever- the camera never lies and the more you watch, the more little things start to really bother you. Maybe it's the way you get all knock kneed when you're really scratching for a wave (guilty) or maybe it's the visual proof that even though you think you've just smoothed it up to the nose- you're really a good two feet from the tip (ah, guilty again). It might just be the way the camera adds an extra fifteen pounds (does that wetsuit make me look fat?). The fascination is there, you want to see yourself surf- everybody does, but somehow it's always a little bit of a let down.

Which brings me to my greatest crime: Pushing the Shopping Cart. My buddy Mark dropped this one on me half way through my latest clip: "Hey Ashley, the way you hold your paddle- it looks like you're pushing a shopping cart." What a dagger, jabbed so nonchalantly into the guts of my paddlesurf ego. He was perfectly on target, I do look I'm heading for the door at WalMart. Damn. And the biggest problem with the posted video is there's no hiding it. It's out there. Forever. So go ahead, scroll back and scrutinize my style, see where I'm walking the nose, arms out like some surf zombie. Have a good laugh, I'll be doing the same.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Watchin' the weather: Point run in Peril!

Weatherman says there's wind and rain coming at us for tomorrow (Monday 1-21) which perfectly screws up our plans to paddle out to the point. Everything's weather dependent here so we'll see what happens (translation: Call the surf phone- I'll have her on by 7am). Of course, the first check is always down the street, maybe zip over to check another sandbar and by 7:30am I'll have a good idea of what's going to happen. Alternative plan is to run up the coast to the one spot in SD that can turn a stormy day into a clean offshore paddle session. We'll see.

Super Cool: Got a chance to paddle Tex's 10'0 x 29" Ron House. I have to say, that's a nice board. The board's made for a bigger guy (Tex ain't tiny) but it's no dog- that thing surf very, very nicely. I was really surprised by the fin set up: Ron House runs a thruster set up with really small fins. These looked to be right off of a 6'3" shortboard. I did my best to try to spin it out off the bottom and on an open face cutback and I couldn't do it! I know other guys have mentioned using much smaller fins, I was very skeptical of that- I'm not anymore. I immediately went back and switched my middle fin to a 7"er (although I'm keeping my regular fin in the truck... just in case) can't wait to try the Mahi 2 out with a much smaller center fin.

I'm beginning to realize that there's a lot to learn about these boards. Conventional wisdom kind of gets thrown right out the window. What works on one stand up board might not work on another- cool stuff and super fun to play around with.

Camera Grom just sent me his cut of yesterday's footage, be sure to check it out (and if you're a photo slut- like me- toss the boy a buck or two). I like his clip better- the kid's got a good eye for editing. Now here's my challenge for you guys out there- make a clip, post it on youtube, let's see some hot surfin'!!! I'm tired of only seeing my clips- I want to see what else is going on- inspire me!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Small Fun Winter Surf: Check it out!


A couple of new boards in the water. Chad's on his new 10'0 Stamps and I'm on a new board as well. Mark's out poaching on his 11'6" Ron House and Matt W.'s on the 11'11" Sean Ordonez Big Red. Kind of a perfect day for the stand up boards, super high tide and small waves. A good time to hang out with friends, catch some waves and have some fun.

I'm still messing around with fins on my new board. I've been running a 9" flex fin and you can see the board goes pretty fast but I swear those flexy fins have a "stutter" off the bottom. I don't know if I'm too into that so I'm going to try a couple of different fins tomorrow. I remain stoked on the WonderBolt. I've been able to flip the board over in the water and mess with the fin in the box, I don't know how much it'll improve my surfing (remember: Performance is primarily limited by the operator not the equipment!) but it sure is fun. Mike's going to FedEx me my Future fin 3/2 sidebites that nobody seems to like except me so they'll add another variable when the arrive.

Looks like we've got some weather coming on Monday. If there's wind and rain we'll postpone the point run- keep in touch, call the surf phone and I'll update.

Rumor has it: Stu Kenson's got something new coming this way- can't wait to see it. I'll post photos as soon as I can get 'em.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Surf Phone's-a-janglin'!


I ended up breaking down and getting a cell phone. Not because I'm a cheapskate but because in my line of business it's nice to be a little anonymous, a moving target. It wasn't until I realized that there just aren't any pay phones around anymore that I decided it was time to be pick one up. And also because I kept getting busted for forgetting things at the supermarket, these things work really good for that.

I'm a real amateur with the thing- I don't leave it turned on, I can't figure out how to add calls to my phonebook- you know, important stuff like that. I do like it though- you're suddenly in contact with... everybody. Everybody's got one of these things. I pass my number out to my surf contacts and call this thing my surf phone. My employer will never get my number- wouldn't that be a nightmare?

It's Thursday night now and the phone's been warming up. Plans are being laid for weekend surf/cruises. I've got Sunday and Monday already planned out- and things are pretty exciting (I'll post 'em up, don't worry). I think I've got my place in surfing figured out I'm calling it "Filling the Holes" and I'll tell you about it later. Hope you're out there getting into something fun.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sharpen the Saw

One of the best thing's about paddle surfing is that you don't need to paddle more then an hour to get a serious workout. Today, I hopped in and paddled down the beach and back, surfed a few waves each way and was dry and washed up in two hours. Now as I sit here I can feel that paddle in every muscle of my body. Kind of makes insomnia not an option.

The weekend's swell has definitely dropped off- there's still a few overhead waves rolling through but it's nothing like this past weekend. The forecast calls for diminishing surf by the weekend- hopefully we'll have something at least knee high to keep us going. I try to make it a point to paddle at least twice during the week even if the conditions are messed up. Partially to convince myself that I'm not a weekend warrior but also to stay ready for when it gets good. Chad and I jokingly call it "sharpening the saw". We never really understood what Covey meant by that in his "7 Habits" books (our big bosses are really into this stuff) but now that we're paddling we're convinced he was a surfer. We're keeping it sharp all right, one wave at a time.

If there's no surf, then this will be the weekend to paddle out to Cabrillo Point. Tex and Olivier have paddled this twice and they are stoked on it. They even paddled it last Sunday and scored some waves out there. The boys have been launching out of Point Loma and paddling an hour out to the point- a little bit of a haul but the scenery is pretty nice and your protected by the point from the prevailing wind. I'm also toying with a nice six mile downwind run from Coronado to the Imperial Beach Pier or a run from Torrey Pines to Scripps Pier. If the high pressure sticks around and the surf is nil then this will definitely be the weekend for an alternative adventure.

Speaking of alternative adventures. I really think that this is what stand up paddling is all about. Finding those hidden surfing adventures that are out there, right in front of us. It's my assertion that a small isolated wave, found by a long paddle and surfed with just a couple of friends is better then a really good crowded day at a name break. So I'm going to find some paddle surf adventure this weekend. I'm going to cruise and surf. I'll seek out the unwanted wave and the overlooked peak- who's in?

Photo Above: Scott Bass, a guy who's kept the saw pretty sharp. Photo: Mozo

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Got It: Satisfaction Found!


Had a great day surfing the stand up board today. Started off looking down the street but once again the size and potential for shore break dismemberment were pretty high- so the call was made to head out of town and find a spot that would wrap it and clean it up. We settled on a point to the north that can hold almost anything. It was a good choice, the point was handling the diminishing swell and serving up fun, head high (maybe a couple of feet overhead) waves that were sectiony and a bit fat but fun nonetheless. Even better was the peak inside the point that would reform into fun, long lefts.

Highlight of the trip: The friendly "locals" camped out in their hovel shouting encouragement to the six or so SUPers out at the point- I think they were trying to alert us to a navigation hazard, something about "getting out of here"? Those guys were cool, even though they can't surf they did offer us some free surf wax by smearing it on our window (but there is an "e" at the end of the word "home"). They even offered to show us their rock collection by tossing it out at us. It seemed like we'd get a chance to have a nice heart-to-heart with one fellow but he must have been in a hurry to get to the Pabst Blue Ribbon because he wouldn't stop and have a proper face-to-face chat. He did mutter comments over his shoulder as he scurried away which I thought was very thoughtful considering how important it is to hang out in a trash heap on a sub-par point with a bunch of tweaker, retread losers. I mean, tradition is important right?

Really though: It was a fun day with some good friends and I did get to meet two solid La Jolla paddle surfers (nice to surf with you Dan and Mike) who were taking off deeper then anybody out there and just handling the place. The SUP thing is definitely spreading- today I saw more paddlers in the water then anywhere I've been. As our numbers grow and tension builds it's going to be more important then ever to surf considerately- have fun out there and play nice.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Tomorrow's Another Day

I had such high hopes for today. The forecast was for North-Easterly winds, a building swell and a big fat tide in the morning. The timing was perfect, it was all going to happen on a weekend and, as you know, I've got this hot new board that's dying to be ridden. I was imagining a bright blue, offshore, winter's day with fun, fat high tide waves all going off right down the street.

I should have known things were getting weird. Chad and I hopped in for a quick paddle on Friday and just as we made it outside, the northwest winds ramped up and pushed a chilling blanket of fog right over us. It wasn't a gentle fog either, the stuff was running with a pretty stiff little breeze, strong enough to push whitecaps right through to the beach. That night I read that predicted Santa Ana condition was being downgraded. Not a good sign.

For me, it ended up being one of those frustrating days when it almost all comes together. There were some big waves out there, breaking on the far cobble reefs- they looked fun, maybe a little fat on the high tide but almost impossible to paddle out to unless you didn't mind having your head pushed through your board by the eight foot shorepound. The shorebreak was also being gashed by a sideshore inside current that was racing along the gutter carved into the beach by the night's wave action. Standing and paddling would have been impossible. The only guys on it were a jetski tow-in team who powered down from the Bay.

And then, as if to finalize the surf-decision, there was once again, the fog. Just like Friday, as if on cue, the gray swept in and chilled us to the bone. It blotted out the surf and threw a northwind chop on top of everything. For me, that was it, I was done. But tomorrow is another day and maybe if I don't expect so much I'll appreciate whatever I get; maybe that was today's lesson.

By the way: There were many people who scored unreal sessions today. A good friend up near Ventura reported sunny, seventy degree weather, light offshore winds and head high peeling right handers at "the spot" (don't try, I'm sworn to secrecy). Indeed the surf phone (my new fangled cell phone) was assaulted with reports of, "Dude, it's going off at XXXXXX- you should've seen the barrels at XXXXX!" You know how it went for me. How'd you do?

Friday, January 11, 2008

New Board Feedback: 10'0 Stamps Mahi II


Sorry for the hold up on the report, had a little computer/internet mix up that put an end to all this blogging madness for a couple of days.

First off, the crime went as planned. Only hold up was my missing wallet, and an empty tank in the truck. I soon remembered that I had given it to my wife to hold onto for me the night before. The wallet was safe in her purse, with her, at work. Ever the resourceful criminal (in grom days did you ever tilt the lawnmower for a gallon to feed the Squareback?), I started digging through the Folgers can and quickly gathered up nine bucks in quarters. Thirty six loose quarters makes a big handful and when I dumped them on the counter at the local fuel shop I don't know if the guy was too stoked. I am shameless though when it comes to a surf mission and the line that formed behind me while the quarters where counted didn't even bother me. I had my two and three quarters gallons and I knew it'd get me there and back. I was on it.

The surf ended up being super fun. Pulling up I made a quick decision to leave the main event wave to the six guys who were already on it and paddled over to the little wave to the north that nobody ever bothers to surf. The tide was dropping and a nice, though mushy and sometimes sectiony little left was peeling off of it and closing out onto the eel grass on the inside shelf- a better right would sometimes pop up but it was a rare bird so I focused on the lefts. A funny observation: Nobody wanted the little non-spot wave that I was on before I paddled out to it, but as soon as I started catching waves four other guys paddle across the channel to me. Since they were on boards way to small and slow paddling to catch the wave at the only entry point (this wave has a little blip in it that wedges up outside enough for you to catch but then immediately backs off, so if you can't glide across the flats with speed into the wall section, you're going to end up taking off into a closeout- thus a perfect wave for the stand up board and not so perfect for a 6'3" chip on a marginal day) I didn't leave. A couple of the guys were into it too and wanted to someday try out stand up paddling- when will they ever learn?

The board pretty much blew my mind. The often discussed trade off in performance and paddle -ability was evident, pulling the tail and nose, decreasing the width an inch and reducing the volume did take a toll on the boards stability. The result wasn't drastic and I'm looking forward to improving my skills to match the board.

Surf-ability is where this board really shines. I feel like I'm riding a nine foot longboard. While I'm still dialing in the board and recalibrating myself to surf it, the thing is very obviously made to draw clean lines and carve sweet turns. I wrapped three cutbacks easily back into the foam and rebounded off it like a ping pong ball- amazing the difference a little refinement can make in a board- the thing was a totally different animal then the Mahi I.

The biggest surprise was surfing it right. Since I'm screwfoot, I tend to like lefts on these big boards. On other boards, I really had my hands full with all that rail in the water and had to be happy with a little kick turn into a backside glide, really very linear surfing. I was very surprised then to snag a little right, slip down to the bottom and then crank a backside bottom turn back up into the curving wall ahead. Wow! The thing wants to go top-to-bottom- so I let it. On that one wave I ripped three carves going right. Stoked! On one top turn I got my back foot into it and felt the tail come around as I snapped like Mick Fanning.... well maybe not like Mick Fanning... but I did get that little push off the top you get with a backside top turn on a shorter board and I have to say it felt GOOD. I can't stress enough the importance of hooking up with a shaper who SUPs and who has an open mind, Tim Stamps has made me a board that is really something special- give him a call he's worth talking to.

Now all I can think about it tomorrow. If you're on the California coast and you got a look at it yesterday you know what I'm talking about. All the dominoes are in line, I'm just waiting for that first little push....

Coming Soon: His name is Butch, he's from Maui and he's a front row witness to some of the hottest boards being put together- more coming!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Update: Surf Crime Successfull!


Check back for a full report: Until then, perve over this new 9'0 x 28 3/4" x 4 1/4" stand up that Stamps put together for local Huntington ripper and one-time Bud Tour pro Ted Robinson. This is a legit nine footer for somebody in the 190 - 200lb range. I'm pretty blown away by my board- this one steps it up even more!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Breaking the Law

I'm resolved. I've hatched a plan and I'm going to follow it through. I'm busting up the grind. Tomorrow- I'm going to steal some time. It's been too long. I've got a hot new board, so I'm taking matters into my own hands. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Here's the plan: I only "technically" (and this is a really paper-thin "technically" but I'm taking it) have to be at "work" until lunch. At noon I'll ride my bike home, let the dog out, grab my new board (Piranha- what???), toss it into the truck and grab a cup of trucker's-blend. I'm out the door, on the road, coffee in hand by 12:30pm.

The spot's perfect, half an hour away from doorstep to check out. It's one of the few spots that can a. handle the minus tide, b. handle afternoon wind (has a natural wind buffer on the outside) and c. probably won't be polluted. The big plus is a mid-week noon time go-out; it just feels like cheating doesn't it?

In the water by 1:15pm. Although the spot offers a variety of waves, I'm going to limit myself to two breaks- I've only got two hours of water time so I want to maximize time-on-wave. Of course not at the expense of others in the water. This is, after all, a gentleman's sport.

There's a simple explanation for my need-to-feed: I've got a hot rod of a board that is just dying to be let loose- I've surfed her on exactly two waves and to be honest... this board is something to be excited about. She needs to run, I'm going to make that happen.

3:15pm last wave, do or die, surf in or paddle in- one way or another the water must be cleared and the wetsuit off in the next 15 minutes.

3:30pm heater on and warming my feet. Hit the 5 south, cheat traffic by heading over the bridge. Board stashed, wetsuit drying, showered and in dry clothes by 4pm. Wife walks in at 4:15pm... no harm no foul. The perfect crime.

And: You know my timeline, and you've probably figured out where I'm going- so why don't you bend the rules a little bit and meet me there? Email me at www.paddlesurfbaja@gmail.com if you think you know where I'm going.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

No break in the Rain, Wind Cranking


Not a chance at surfing today. Wind was blowing the rain sideways! I don't know what's worse, wondering when your new board will be done or having it but not being able to use it (there's only so much staring at it you can do). Tomorrow?

Check out the WonderBolt: I've always wanted to make fin adjustments in the water, this thing makes it easy. How about my custom fin indexing? I'm set at 6" off the tail. Amazing what a case of Cabin Fever can get you to do.

Last: He's part pitbull, part Yoda, part GreyHound: It's Cowboy holding down the fort.
Photo: El Tigre

Friday, January 4, 2008

In the Water: The Mahi Returns

This one's a whole new ball game.
Less volume, different outline, rocker changes, bottom effects and a pulled tail. I was on a time line so I didn't get to test her out properly but I did get in a little paddle before dark today and the performance changes were definitely notable. In short, I'm really excited about the feel of this board. If the weather holds and we luck out with some surf in the morning, things could get interesting.

Width has been reduced on this one all around- and with the pulled nose and tail you can definitely feel the change in stability. I'm glad I took Tim's advice and went with a 29" wide point. At my size a board much narrower would have been a real handful. The board's volume ended up being right on the mark, the pad comes about a half inch above the water line. More importantly the volume was foiled into the shape perfectly; the board pulls through the water nicely and provides a large, forgiving sweet spot just behind the front pad marker. I've been on board's where the blending of rocker and volume is off and you end up paddling from strange positions, this is where it becomes important to work with a shaper who actually paddles stand up boards. A correctly foiled board slides through the water like the hull on an America's Cup boat, incorrectly foiled boards barge through the water and make catching waves difficult.

Same paint job. I just dig it so I asked for a repeat spray, Tim calls it the Mahi but I think it looks kind of like a Louisiana back water, duck hunting, pole boat. My wife calls it "grass". Adam W. calls it the Pickle, whatever it is, it's hot. Fit and finish of the board was spot on- Tim's glassers have got the gloss and polish of these epoxy boards really squared away. The G&P finishes Stamps gets are the best I've seen. Mahi I, which I've "loaned" (like I'll ever get it back) to my brother up in Santa Cruz is still in perfect condition, a scuff here and there but no orange-peeling, or delamination of the gloss coat. These finishes are heavier but I like them, I think they seal up the board and provide an additional layer of durability.

I'm pretty sure I'll end up running the same size center fin on the 2 + 1 setup. I like a larger fin then most people, I'll run a 9" center fin with regular Future Fin thruster sized side fins. I'm going to repossess my Future 3/2 side biters from Mahi I once I get a chance to run up to Santa Cruz- I'm not sure what they do but those 3/2 side fins just feel fast.

I'm very, very happy with this board so far. It is a totally different creature then Mahi I and will require some getting used to but I think this board is taking me in the direction I want to go. I'll keep you posted, keep your fingers crossed for some clean surf!

Last Photo:
If I could make something like that with my own two hands I'd be smiling too! Thanks for the board Tim- can't wait to let it run!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Extended Christmas: New boards!

Santa's glasser elves came through! Check out these freshies!

Top two photos:
My new Mahi... The Piranha...a purpose built carve-beast. Can't wait to get it in the water. 10' x 29" x (too radical to talk about)! I'll say it again- if you go custom and you go with the right guy, you can get a board made for what you want to do- and for me, that's carve turns like a Ginsu through a ham hock. Are you ready? Give Stamps a call!

Bottom two photos: Joe P.'s new stand up board. Joe's been paddling for about a week now and I can tell he's a terminal case. I pulled a stalker move and watched him paddling at his own private spot (you know that I know, Joe), the guy's a natural. Paddled straight out and slid into a little reform- third time paddling. Guys like this are going to make us all look stupid.

Finally: Camera Grom is at it again. The kid is motivated, loves making videos and knows how to put them together. Check out his latest clip, taken just this morning- in what was almost nothing surf. If you see him, hook him up!