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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Oh Shitake! Check this new board out.

Stamps just shaped out this new 9'1", it's getting glassed even as we speak- I can only imagine the places that board's going to go. Why Shitake? Because now I'm going to be wanting one- and that means I'm going to have some explaining to do... shitake!

Check BeachSurf to see how good it was today!




Wednesday, July 30, 2008

South here again!

BeachSurf Photos for freaks. Click here.

A Three Session Day:

Session 1: Started at 6:30am at the good ol' Patch. There was a bit of south wind on it but there were waist high mush burgers to be ridden. It was a little bit slow but definitely fun- a worthwhile run up the coast and always fun to catch up with some of my Dana Point friends.

Session 2: It was sunny and glassy as I pulled of the Strand and into my driveway- I was amping from the two cups of coffee I drank with breakfast so I dropped off my wife and rolled down to the beach. The south was really filling in nicely. It's definitely coming from a long way away. Long period stuff with solid lines roping down the beach. The low water was taking it off some of the better sand bars so 8 or 10 were closing out, but every now and then you'd snag a corner and go racing up the beach heading north at Mach speed.

Session 3: Took a nap after Session 2 (yep Gary, just like a Ladder Truck guy!) and woke up to high tide walls bending along the beach into makeable race-track left handers. Lots of current and fast running waves made it a tricky session, definitely a technical surfing situation requiring high speed driving abilities.

I'm toast now and ready to wake up early and hit it again. Stoked!

And... rumors of a little northern Baja day trip surgical strike are in the works... can you hear the sound of my hands rubbing together in anticipation????
A big C4 Demo brought out the rippers today.
Nose rides and big smacks off little closeout sections were being thrown all around the joint.
A clean cross step to the nose. Never goes out of style. Nice work!

Stand Up Paddle Surf Lessons:
619.213.6622 or paddlesurfbaja@gmail.com for info. There's still time! Private lessons with one-on-one instruction- learn to paddle safely and confidently. Paddle for fitness or develop the skills you'll need to take it to the surf- we can do it all! Give us a call 619.213.66222 or click here for more information.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Waiting on a new South: Tomorrow... Patch!

Heading up to the Dog Patch tomorrow. Rumors of a new swell- I'm probably a little premature on this one but I need to get out and see what's up. I'll keep you posted.

Here's a couple more photos from my little trip up the coast. I wish I had some hot young rippers to post up but, unfortunately- I was the only one out. Darn.
Like I said, it was really glassy. Calm conditions make the act of paddling fairly simple, see a wave, kick a pivot turn and drop in, right? By the way, does that paddle look absolutely level to you. Yeah, yeah, yeah- I know all about the shopping cart.
But little sandbar beachies can be deceiving. You think you're going to slide into a little pocket just to have it suck up and try to slap you down. Naughty little wave!
When all else fails, drop your ass and get low. The bulldozer technique sometimes saves the day.
And, I did say the beach looked like Cabo right? There were other distractions.
Warm, glassy waters and sunny skies- all the right things in the world. Jump in, play.

BeachSurf gets weird- Click here!

Stand Up Paddle Surf Lessons in San Diego are still available! Contact us to arrange private lessons with experienced stand up paddle surfers. Call us at 619 213-6622 Don't just sit around and watch it happen- get out and do it NOW! Click here for more information.

Up the Coast Photos: Pre-Rib Smash Fun

Here's Mike surfing Mahi 1 (same spray as my current board) the day before my session. Pre-Rib smash- happy, smiling. With no idea that he'd be spending the next three and half hours in the Emergency Room. Get better soon! Especially since you've got the Big Sur/ipaddlesurf.com campout coming up in September.




Monday, July 28, 2008

Expectations: Zero

Two broken ribs. I rolled into our surf camp and found out that my brother Mike had snapped two of 'em across the rail of his 10'0 Stamps. And he was peeing blood. Just a little but- my god- isn't "a little" more than enough for any of us? The emergency room doctor thought he may have bruised one of his kidneys. Nasty stuff, and painful too. You should have seen the guy, hobbling around trying not to laugh, sneeze or fart. But it was also a sign that there was something surfable down at the beach. Mike said it was super fun, clean and thumpy; thus the broken bones and bloody piss.

Since I arrived too late in the day to run across the train tracks and down the trail to the little beach, I spent the early evening putting camp together and getting excited for the morning surf. I had heard that there was a little southern hemisphere south swell running and that high pressure was moving into the area. The combination of conditions meant there might be surf if I could find a beach that could pull in a hard angle south. And there was a possibility that the creeping high pressure might stifle the normal afternoon blow. The cosmic gears might just be aligning for me! Deep down though, I knew it was all possible- but not probable. This particular part of California isn't known for sucking in south swells so I wasn't holding my breath for anything spectacular (although I bet Jalama was firing).

For some reason I woke up the next morning and instead of checking the local beach, I jetted up the highway to a spot that I knew could pull some waves in. I wasn't wrong. I surfed the little sandbar peaks with another stand up paddler and a couple of prone surfers on boards too short to allow them to surf effectively. I had a good time, the session wasn't mindblowing but it was fun. I had a feeling the north wind might come up and blow everything out so I figured it might be my only chance to get wet that day.

After a killer, Hemingway style, lumberjack breakfast, I kicked back in camp chatting with my Mike, sipping coffee and watching the wind blow around the tops of the trees. I was right, I thought, here it is blown out and it's not even 'noon. Luckily for me, I eased off the mid-morning Pacificos and stayed clearheaded. The afternoon plan was to take the whole crew down to the camp's little local beach and I was elected to drive my injured brother down to the trail.

As we pulled up to the trail, I got a peak at the sea through a little cut in the brush. Glassy. Hmmm, that's odd, I thought. My curiosity was spiked enough to get me out of the cab. Mike and I sauntered down to the beach. The scene was a jaw dropper. The beach looked like Cabo San Lucas. Blue water, girls in bikinis laying out, kids in trunks jumping around in warm, sheet glass water. And not one of them concerned at all with the clean little A-frame peelers running down the little offshore sandbars. I was shocked- there were four foot barrels zipping left and right, coughing up mini-clouds of barrel spit. Alarm bells rang in my head, "Launch all fighters, Tora, Tora, Tora!" And like that I took of running back up the trail.

After ditching Mike, I jammed back to camp, chucked my gear into the truck and leaped into my trunks. Mike, too injured to surf, sat on the beach and shot video and stills while I surfed my brains out. The prone surfer is my friend CJ who paddled up out of nowhere. I haven't seen the guy in a few years and here he is showing up at just the right time at just the right spot. His comment, "It never gets good here."

In the end, Mike summed it all up with his philosophy on the stand up paddling experience: "Expectations: Zero. Stoke: Eleven." Well said.


Find more videos like this on Stand Up Paddle Surfing



Looking for stand up paddle surf lessons in San Diego? Contact us at paddlesurfbaja@gmail.com or (619) 213-6622. We can also set up stand up paddle board rentals with drop off and delivery. Click here for more information.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Wi-Fi No, Surf YES

Just got back into town- I'm beat. I'll put up more later but for now here's what you need to know:

1. Obviously, no mobile blogging. I'm going to have to work that one out because I've got at least two more major trips coming up and I like to stay current.

2. Scored a couple of REALLY fun surf sessions. Check out the pics:




Super glassy, warm and empty. Score.



What a fun little wave!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hitting the Road... mobile blogging coming up!


Even though it's just me and the dog hitting the road for a few days, here I am running around at the last minute trying to get things done. It's almost midnight now and I've still got a couple of things to take care of before I can grab a couple of hours of shut eye. This is a quick little paddle tour up in the Ventura area. Stoked for this trip! I'll report back tomorrow- stay tuned!

Personalized Stand Up Paddle Surf Lessons in San Diego. Don't just watch it happen- join us in the water! Contact us at paddlesurfbaja@gmail.com or (619) 213-6622. We can also set up stand up paddle board rentals with drop off and pick up. We deliver! Click here for more information.

The photographer for BeachSurf should use a tripod... Click Here!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Seal Beach Attacks!

I love these little email surprises- submitted photos are the best! Check out the latest Seal Beach excursion to the Patch.

BeachSurf Sucks... Click Here!

All Photos: Elva De Jarnett

Greg Escalante, freeing himself of the paddle's grip and cranking one around unassisted.
MDJ exercising his right to be a goofy foot- which must feel good for a guy who probably spends a lot of time riding warm water right handers.
Charlie Miller cruising. Damn, that looks fun!

Looking for stand up paddle surf lessons in San Diego? Contact us at paddlesurfbaja@gmail.com or (619) 213-6622. We can also set up stand up paddle board rentals with drop off and delivery. Click here for more information.



Feed my family, click here and buy some tee-shirts!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Board Sale: Stamps Ninja Model $600!

Tim's selling his personal 9'0 Ninja model stand up board. If you come in around 180lbs this board will work for you.

Off the top of my head I think it's 9.0' x 28.0" x 4.0", it comes with five fin boxes so you can get your fin weirdness on and run it quad, 2+1, 4+1 or 3+2 or 5-1... it's all good.

Tim's letting this one go for six bills- it's seen some use but it's water tight with no open dings. I've surfed it and it turns like a high performance longboard. If you're ready to step up your stand up surfing from that big ol' 12'er you started on, this is your vehicle. The board is light and loose. Swoop it up!

Contact Tim at www.surfboardsbystamps.com

Back to flip/flop: Coiled versus non-coiled leashes. I bought one of those coiled things- for a couple of weeks I thought it was great. I wasn't dragging ten feet of leash and I was able to paddle through kelp beds without looping a bunch of it and dragging it around. It was great until the thing knotted up on itself and went from being twelve feet of coiled leash to two feet of knotted polyurethane. I was happy when the thing finally snapped- coiled leashes suck.

Looking for stand up paddle surf lessons in San Diego? Contact us at paddlesurfbaja@gmail.com or (619) 213-6622. We can also set up stand up paddle board rentals with drop off and delivery. Click here for more information.

BeachSurf Photos Click Here!

Some new links: I'll be running these banner ads for advertisers who are supporting the site. Check 'em out- especially The Ryde, they're running some pretty funny tee-shirts.



Monday, July 21, 2008

How To: Pole-plant snap pivot... what?

Got a request from Anonymous: "hey ho: could you offer up a little how-to tutorial on your pole-plant snap pivot? when i try it, i always end up flat on my ass in the water, but when i've seen it done correctly, it looks great. but ... i just can't figure it out. care to weigh in?"

Alright Anonymous, I'll do my best. To do this turn you should be able to wrap a standard, non-paddle assisted cutback. I'll explain why this is important later but for now, if you can't get your board into a cutback on legs, torso and shoulder power alone, you should take a time-out and work that out.

Photo: The end of a snap-pivot turn. Notice that the paddle is to the inside of the turn? This comes from planting the blade and arcing away from it. Once the blade's reached the inside of the curve, the weight transfer can happen which frees the fins up for a big slash.

The snap pivot relies initially on an arcing turn (that's why you've got to be able to turn your board!) and ends with the use of the paddle. In the final part of the turn, the blade becomes both a pivot point (as it pulls your inside rail around) and as weight supporting, planing surface as you unweight and blow out the tail. If you push hard enough, the turn looks like a snap and the board ends up pointing back towards the breaking wave. It's a fun, cool turn that throws a nice little fan and feels good when you hit it just right.

I like to use this turn on the shoulder of a wave so that I can build up speed and throw it all into a lateral redirection. A more difficult variation (and I'm still working this one out) is a snap-pivot that's thrown up into the lip as your jamming down the line. To be honest- the guys that are throwing this variation of the turn are the true rippers. Throwing that much board up into the lip, blowing out the tail while leaning on the paddle takes a ridiculous amount of timing and skill- something to work towards. However, I digress, let's talk about the steps involved in this maneuver.

You'll be planting your paddle into the face of the wave so be sure that as you go down the line you've got the blade oriented to the inside, wave face side, of your body. As you approach the shoulder of the wave, reach forward as if you were going to take a stroke and plant the blade into the water. At this level of the game, don't pull on the paddle as you execute the turn- as your skill level increases, you can begin to crank on the paddle into the turn and generate a tighter arc and a deeper gouge. For right now, however, just plant the blade, transfer your weight to your heels, look over your shoulder to where you want your turn to go and begin your standard cutback.

As you turn, you're actually turning away from and around your paddle. The trick to this move is to leave the paddle in the water. As you arc around, the paddle will transfer from the outside of the semi-circle you're scribing in the face of the wave to the inside of your turn. As the paddle reaches the inside of the turn you can lay back onto it. You will feel your weight transfer back onto your paddle allowing you to push laterally against the fins overpowering them and sliding/snapping the tail around. The feeling is exactly like power sliding a skateboard- you've got to commit to the weight transfer to free up the fins in the slide.

Here's a tip: Wait on the snap. The snap portion of the turn comes at the very end- as you come around you'll feel like you've completed the cutback- and you may begin to think you've missed out on your opportunity to throw a hack. Be patient, remember the paddle must transfer from outside (wave face side), to the inside, keep laying back and waiting for the weight transfer. The weight shift comes much later than you'd think but when it does- HAMMER DOWN ON IT! Throw a huge fan, redirect and glide away.

One last thing- before you can incorporate your paddle into the action you've got to be able to pull off a fairly decent non-paddle assisted cutback. If you can't get your board turning, you won't be able to wrap your board around enough to bring the paddle to the inside of your turn- and you'll end up bogged down with your paddle hung up in the face of the wave. Practice, practice, practice!

Looking for stand up paddle surf lessons in San Diego? Contact us at paddlesurfbaja@gmail.com or (619) 213-6622. We can also set up stand up paddle board rentals with drop off and delivery. Click here for more information.

BeachSurf Photos Click Here!

It's simple- help me keep blogging- buy stuff from these guys:

Check this place out for the 5/16th inch 10' DaKine leashes. These are the best I've used for stand up paddling. Recommended! I also like the long sleeve Gooru jackets by O'neill much better than the zip up type jacket- these are warm and extremely flexible.



Ridiculously cool tee shirts- check out the "Beer Pong" shirt, simple, lyrical... beautiful. Also the "Mexico" with donkey tee shirt... need I say more?


Sunday, July 20, 2008

South come-a-pourin'-through!

BeachSurf Photos Click Here

I spent the majority of day paddle surfing.
There was plenty to surf too- that south smacked us good! Early morning low tide brought chunky wedges up and down the beach. There were some long periods between sets so I was able to stand up paddle straight out without even getting my hair wet.

Avoiding the pack, I paddled up the beach to open water and quickly snagged two fun head high waves. Souths are great here because if the direction is just right, the wave will sweep up the beach with just a touch of angle on them.

The result is that a wave that looks like a close out will open up a bit. You can travel much further than you thought possible as long as you've got your quick feet on and you've got a board that can go rail-to-rail. Beach break stand up in anything over head high isn't for the weak and an old school "point-and-shoot" mentality just doesn't get it done. You've got to be able to drive down the line.

The morning's last wave sent me home stoked- even though I blew most of it. The wave was a meaty one, definitely one of the long period set waves. I could tell as I paddled into it that it was going to run really quickly up the beach and it was going to barrel. As I paddled in I thought I was too deep but as I said before even the close out waves can open up a bit. On the drop I could see the shoulder hold back for just a second, slope down and then gather itself up into a big fat wall- if I timed this just right this could be a big, throating tube ride.

I've been working on bringing my first bottom turns farther down into the flats before laying the board over and powering down the line. The reason being that I'm generating too much speed by turning mid-face and sometimes outrunning good, steep sections. I've missed a few barrels by going too fast. So the alternative is to drop down straight, hold back a millisecond and then lay it over into the pocket just as the curtain falls. The problem here is that you've got to have perfect timing, a strong check-snap in the pocket to keep you from becoming embedded in the lip and pretty much balls of steel. I was missing out on at least two of the three.

What I wanted to do was run for it but I managed to hold back from turning mid-face, torquing up the flex fin and burning down the line. I even managed to hold it a beat while the wave gathered up and prepared to pitch. It kind of fell apart from there. As I came down onto the flats the critical moment to hit the bottom turn and drift up into the pocket came much sooner than I thought- in fact, I think I was a microsecond late on it.

I jammed my turn as hard as I could and as I came around I could see the lip start to fold over me. Bam- I came back onto my heals and check-turned right in the pocket- if you miss this second turn, you'll follow the course of your bottom turn right over the falls. As I felt my heels dig into the turn I could see the lip make it's loop over me and pitch across the front of the board. I was looking out at daylight, watching the lip spin around me and the bottom of the wave drop out. Barreled.

Unfortunately for me, holding it all together when it's sucking out that hard is a little outside of my skill set. Somewhere on the 'net is a picture of Laird barrel riding a 12' nose rider at Teahupoo. He's riding the barrel on his backhand, his feet all the way across the stringer. The guy unbelievably holds all of that rail to the face of a wave that draws water off the sea so hard that it basically turns itself inside out. I'm definitely no Laird, and remember the "balls of steel" requirement? I came up short on that one too because as soon as I felt it start to come apart, rather than try to make a correction and ride it out, I bailed out as quick as OJ in the clinky.

But I did wash in with a smile on my face and that was good enough for me. Hope you scored too.

GDVHMDH13284724

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Malibu Paddle-Thru

BeachSurf Photos Click Here

I was able to paddle into a couple of difficult to access spots up along the Ventura/LA County Line. There's open water right in the middle of crowded Los Angeles- you've just got to know how to get to it.

One of the spots is a nice, soft right hand point that's become a stand up hot spot along this particular run of coastline. It's a nice wave if you catch it when it's on.

Unfortunately for us, it wasn't quite working. But the water was glassy and warm and that paddle runs you along some beautifully guarded real estate.

In the end, I only surfed one wave the entire session. But busting into that forbidden coast felt really good. Get out, snoop around and paddle into spots with difficult access. The true strength of the stand up board is it's mobility, paddle in and surf alone.

Top Photo: Off in the distance you can just make out the potential of the guarded point. This is the big guy's playground- yep, rumor has it he spends some time here when he's off island. I would recommend thinking twice before you snake anybody big and blond.

Bottom Photo: I'm an idiot with the cell phone- I lose it all the time. Yesterday, I found my phone just as I was passing the 5/805 merge heading back home- there were three messages from three different people. All had the same general theme, "Dude, where are you? You're missing it- it's sunny, glassy and GOING OFF!" I guess the two little swells in the water decided to work some magic yesterday while I was off chasing phantoms in forbidden zones. Oh well, there always tomorrow (which was today, which also WENT OFF!).

Looking for stand up paddle surf lessons in San Diego? Contact us at paddlesurfbaja@gmail.com or (619) 213-6622. We can also set up stand up paddle board rentals with drop off and delivery. Click here for more information.

Just Looking For BeachSurf Photos? Click HERE!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hit the road- saw a few things

I had some business to take care of up in Los Angeles/Ventura County so I made a little road trip out of it. Here's some of what I saw along the way:

Top Two Photos: The Dog Patch never fails to please. I got a bit later of a start than I like and didn't pull off at Basilone until around 10am. I didn't think I had a shot of getting in without waiting at least forty minutes in the yawn patrol line.

Summer days can get crazy up there and if you're not an early bird you're stuck in the queue wondering what kind of fun you're missing down at Patch. On this occasion, I lucked out. I rolled right in and even found a parking spot on the first pass.

The surf had been so small that I figured if I could just get in a paddle I'd be set for the day- but like I said before, the Patch always seems to deliver. There were knee to waist high southerly lines rolling in and the wave was actually putting up some fun little speed sections and fat, little shoulders just begging for pole-plant snap pivots.

You never know what you're going to get down there. Sometimes you've just got to roll the dice. Here's a couple of locals stoked on their good fortune.

Second Photo: Tim Stamps has been shaping boards since he was a teenager. First sweeping the floor of Rich Harbour's shape room and eventually inheriting the keys to the kingdom. It's not a stretch to say that there are thousands of Stamps shaped boards floating around out there.

Tim's also doing his own thing under the label that carries his name. Here he is in his throne room, writing orders, bringing ideas to life and ruling over his minions (or at least his little buddy Cowboy). And stoking out those who know the path to his door.

Last Photo: Sometimes Patch offers other points of interest.

Next time: Paddling in the Land of Laird

Looking for stand up paddle surf lessons in San Diego? Contact us at paddlesurfbaja@gmail.com or (619) 213-6622. We can also set up stand up paddle board rentals with drop off and delivery. Click here for more information.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Flip Flop #3: T-grip versus molded grip

Are you a BeachSurf Picture Junky? Click Here!

Top Photo:
The bail-out, an integral part of the paddle surfing experience.

A multi-flip/flop story: Loved the molded, bulb grip that came on my first paddle (Pohaku 2 piece). I swore that I'd never use any other type of handle- the thing just fit. Unfortunately, I snapped that paddle in six months. As a replacement, I bought another C4 paddle (Thanks Emerald City!)- this time with a one piece shaft and the same style of grip. The one piece was stronger and the paddle worked well- I thought I was satisfied.

Until I started paddling with a Kialoa Shaka Pu'u. This paddle features a very aggressive T-style grip. I'd never used a T grip before I bought this paddle and I was a little leery of how it'd work out. That paddle blew my mind! The thing fit my hand and the arms off the T-grip nestled across the palm of my hand gave me lots of leverage over the blade. I was loving it- until it snapped after three months of use.

Back to the C4- after paddling for three months with a T, the bulb felt big and overly rounded in my hands. Eventually, I got over it and it worked fine. But I needed a back up paddle- so I went with a paddle I'd heard good things about. I bought a Quickblade- the only brand that I haven't seen snap. The paddle came with the padded T-Grip, which predictably, felt strange all over again- but I've since gotten use to it. The padded grip is worth the extra money- believe me, you'll like it. This paddle is my latest fixation.

Moral of the story: You can get used to anything- best bet is to find a paddle that will last. I haven't snapped my one piece C4 yet and it's been almost a year. However, I've come to prefer the fly weight lightness and T-grip of the QuickBlade. The plush T-grip is something you've got to try too- it may become a requirement for me. At least until I flip/flop back to something else.

Looking for stand up paddle surf lessons in San Diego? Contact us at paddlesurfbaja@gmail.com or (619) 213-6622. We can also set up stand up paddle board rentals with drop off and delivery. Click here for more information.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Super Secret News: EXPOSED!

Okay, check this one out- this photo was sent by an undercover SUP operative. The caption just said something to the effect of, "... shouldn't leave things like this on his dashboard". Remember the Gerry Lopez Battle of the Paddle? I guess it's on!

I'm digging the Drew Brophy artwork- I think this would be an event poster worth keeping!

Also- look really closely at the reflection in the window- maybe you can identify where the photo was taken!

Click Here for the latest BeachSurf Photos!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Flip/Flop #2: Flexy fins

Flip/Flop #2: I'm a big fan of the 2 +1 fin setup. In the center box I tend to ride a bigger fin then most people. I like the positive feel coming off the bottom and I like the bite when you wrap a cutback at full speed.

I've always been really finicky about what type of center fin I like to ride- I can't stand cutaways (I still haven't flip/flopped on this one but give me time) they don't feel like they've got any real, peddle to the metal drive to them. Cutting away the base of the fin just seemed to emasculate that design- those fins have got no balls. Cutaways were bad but I never really opened fire on them here on the 'net. I sniped at the flex fin.

I had this major hang up with really flexy fins. I always felt they had this "hitch" in them- kind of a little stutter in the smooth arc of a bottom turn. And, of course, I was pretty vocal about it- basically character bashing those innocent bendies. Well, I'm over that- they're the only fins I ride now.

I've come to love the little snap they deliver on the exit side of a powered bottom turn. In fact, just to see if this was all part of my imagination, I switched out my 9" flexy for a stiff conventional fin. It's been a let down, I keep waiting for the extra-juice in the last degrees of my turning arc and it just ain't there. There's no money shot.

In my case, I didn't get used to the flex fin until I committed myself to it. I needed to ride it, fixed in place in the box, with the same side fins, for two months. It took that long for me to adjust to the twang that the fin delivers. I also had to change my riding style. Stiffer fins and cutaways give you more of a short board feel because you can pivot turn the board quickly with ankle power alone.

Flex fins require you to use much more leg and hip in the build up to the turn- it's a fin for power surfing. Instead of pivoting the board at the top of the wave, I had to learn to drop straight down, gather up speed and torque the board through the bottom turn. Torquing the board loads up the fin which releases all that energy as the turn nears completion. That's the snap- and I'm a huge fan and a huge flip/flopper.

Click here for BeachSurf Updates

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Flip/Flop: I'm conflicted...

I've got to come clean- I've flip flopped on a few paddle surfing related items over the last year. Here's the first in my series of personal flip/flops:

Top Photo: Kiwi out this morning- I call this photo, "Noise" seems like there's a lot going on birds, bottom turns, barneys... it's noisy.

1. Electrician's mastic on the edge of the paddle: I used to come out with these really strong opinions about how you can't feel the difference between taped and non-taped paddles. I think I may have been seriously wrong on that one. A few days ago I picked up a new Quick Blade paddle and, because the surf was firing, I got right out into the water before I had a chance to tape it up.

Bottom Photo: Now is the season to learn to stand up paddle surf! Sign up for a stand up paddle surf lesson and be happy! Or, if you've got the skills- rent paddle surf equipment right here in San Diego- I'll deliver it to you!

Guess what? You can feel the difference! Not so much in the release but in the catch. The blade just feels like it's got more bite to it- catch is the wrong word for it- it's more like a grab. I don't know, it could just be the paddle, but it just feels fast. I don't think I'm going to wrap this one- I really like how clean it feels.

But... I think the electrician's mastic wrap definitely does have its place. First of all, if you're a beginner you'll save your rails, prevent dings, and if your board is a molded product, you'll reduce the notorious paint chipping disease that comes from paddle knocks. Once you've got some paddle handling experience, you won't hit the rails of your board as often- and you won't need to wrap your blade. Unless you're Mondfrans, but that's a different story.

And... I think the electrician's wrap may just be a smart idea from a safety point of view. Last week, as I was pulling into the tube, the whole wave shut down on me and basically blew me off my board. Stuff went everywhere. The blade ended up wacking me across my shins- edge first. The hit was hard enough to make me really nervous about feeling around down there. Fortunately, the paddle I was using had a wrapped blade and I got away with a nasty bruise.

I can't say that the mastic was the factor that saved me from being filleted but I don't doubt that it helped in some way. I've seen some nasty fin cuts in my years in the water. Some of them happen for obvious reasons, one surfer running over another, for example. Others, though, occur under weird circumstances. I've seen surfers come out with bloody gashes under their wetsuits- without even cutting the wetsuit.

Weird things also happen when you're swinging around a six foot, carbon fiber blade, in firing, overhead barrels (or, actually, two foot mushball waves, which are where most injuries occur believe it or not). You may think the paddle just nicked you but on closer examination you might find something that turns your stomach. Fins may be slightly sharper than paddle edges, but not by a huge margin. And if a fin can gut you so can the edge of your blade.

The moral of the story may be this: If I'm at home I'll used a mastic-less blade. I'm at the point where I'm not banging my rails and I like how clean the bare blade feels. But if I travel to a third world wave, or an out in the boondocks bombora, I'm going to use a wrapped paddle. I don't savor the idea of having to drive hours for emergency care or biting down on a wood stick while my friend sews me up with dental floss (I guess that's why I pack gel-Krazy Glue in my First Aid kit- but still).

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I want to be on Maui Bob's team...

Maui Bob is always up to something cool. Tomorrow, July 13th is the 9.75 mile, 3rd Annual Naish International Paddleboard Championship and I guess the whole prone and standing community is all in- there may be as many as 200 paddlers involved.

Bob's promising more photos so we're going to hold him to it. No Spam Fried Rice until you send more photos.

Top Photo: This is what Maui Bob's going to paddle- it's a two man craft...

Second Photo: This is Qball- paddling with Maui Bob from Maliko Gulch to Town.

Third Photo: Why is it that everything is just cooler in Hawaii?

Last Photo: Like I said, I want to be on Maui Bob's team. Got room for one pudgy, kinda slow guy?

Click Here for the latest.... SCHWAACK off the top with chimpanzees watching!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Hour by hour, minute by minute...

We live and die by the sand bars down here. And you've got to be on it if you're going to do anything but take off and ride straight to shore twirling your paddle like the baton girl in a marching band.

Here's how it went for me today: Surf check 7 am, tide too low. Jam home eat breakfast- water the tomato plants. Check it again at 9 am- might be a little left at the pier. Gave it a shot, red tides getting ready to go off- water's smelling soupy. Surf not so great, get out after 40 minutes- go home and take a nap.

Wake up. Check it again- tide's coming up, looks pretty dismal, really small. Go home. Fix the disposal in the sink; who dropped two nails in there? Take out the trash. Eat lunch and drink a couple beers with the boys while looking at some photos.

Realize I need to get in the water but I've only got a one hour window to make it happen- resign myself to the fact that I'll probably be flatwater paddling to the rivermouth and back. Pull up to the beach and see this....

Top Photo: A fun left fizzling out into the hole while another reloads right behind it- heck there's even a right on it!

Second and Third Photo: Go get 'em Gary!

Moral of the story: ABC... Always Be Checking!