Sunday, May 31, 2009

Are you ready to pay for it?

Poached these off of the 'net. Every fun ticket comes with a price tag and eventually it gets punched. This is Teahupoo, don't kid yourself, you wouldn't even get out of the boat. Me? I'd be scared shitless just sitting in the channel. That's not a wave, it's a predator- and you're the hunted. Whole other league over there. Huge respect to those guys.

Photo: Nuts. Actually, a friend who was just over there told me that local guys are regularly paddle surfing, pulling in and making it at Chopes. He also told me that it's so ridiculously shallow that it's an actual, "life and death" scenario out there which puts a huge damper on the, "let's just paddle out and snag some fun ones" idea.

Sometimes you hit the reef. Check this photo, have a look at the expressions. That's NOT the look you want to see on your buddy's face when you ask him if he thinks it might need a couple of stitches. Meanwhile, Poto's as worked up about it as a librarian hopped up on Nyquil...

Photo: ... which is all the more insane once you realize that his back's been laid open like a platter of sashimi (is it me, or did a piece of spam mosubi sneak in there?). Gnarly.

Photo: Pick your jaw up off the keyboard...

Photo: That wave is just wrong.

Photo: This one's for the Seal Beach boys... can you find Tucker?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Trent's new Stu Kenson EB5: Elevated Bonzer 5-fin

Trent rang me up this evening to tell me his new 9'0" x 29" Bonzer 5-fin was done and sitting in his garage. All he said was, "I've got something you're going to want to see..." I was there in five minutes. Check this one out:

Photo: Hot colors, hot looking board. Can't wait to see this one out in the water.

Photo: Elevated wing, Bonzer-bottom five fin. Cool stuff.

Photo: Trent's stoked...

For more pictures of the new Stu Kenson Bonzer 5-fin click on over to the SK Blog.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Photos and Words

Just some photos and words... didn't I just say that?

This is where you eat breakfast after a morning spent surfing the rivermouth/point just out front. The place is reverse Lowers. A real goofy footers revenge- just like reverse Trestles without the Interstate in the back ground or San Clemente breathing down your neck.

Here's the program: Surf 'til your crazy hungry then plop down at the one place on the beach where you can grab a bite. Pops watches over the beer cooler while his girls stoke up the grill with wood collected off the beach (check out the smoke coming off the fire in the upper right corner). Fish out some pesos from your trunks, it's a buck a beer and about three more for some warm tortillas, eggs, beans and all the ambiance you can handle.

Did I say that it was a fun wave?

Photo: Cool water shot- Alf's head was probably ten inches from the rail of my board when he shot this one- water photogs are nuts.

Photo: The infamous Go Pro. Loved by those who own them, hated by those who don't. I dig how glassy the water is in this shot- that and I like checking out how the outline of that board fits into the wave and how the tail sits down into the water. Love 'em or hate 'em those little cameras do provide a unique angle on the act.

Learn how to stand up paddle surf here in sunny San Diego! Click here for more information about our award winning stand up paddle lessons. SUP lessons are for everyone so get on out here and give it a shot! Call John at 619.213.6622 or email

Monday, May 25, 2009

Let the Big Boys run!

I just got out of the water and I am so stoked! Tonight, instead of paddling out on my 9'4", I decided to switch it up a bit and go with something different. The decision was based on the conditions. I'd surfed really fun waves this morning on my 9'4" Stamps but I'd been watching it as the tide came up, I could tell that things would be on the mellow side for the evening surf. Not wanting to bog in the mush balls that were on the evening surf menu, I decided to give my big board a shot. I pulled out Big Red.

Photo: Not the Big Red but running none-the-less... Kraig Kranking it around.

The Sean Ordonez Big Red is a cool board. It's a single fin, sports quite a bit of rocker and has a nice flowing template. It's width is right in my range at 29.5", the board is fairly light and it's close to 12' long. It's a lot of board but it's super stable and with the single fin it likes to run a really clean line high in the hook of a wave. It's a fun board but not one that I'd been using much since I'd moved on to custom, hand-shaped boards. In truth, I haven't surfed it in over a year.

After a quick surf check on the bike, I jammed home, threw the Big Red in the truck, slipped into a pair of trunks and jammed down to the beach. Dropping the board into knee deep water I easily threaded the breaking surf and cruised out the back with dry hair. It was amazing how much more how stable the board was compared to my 9'4". If you want to feel like a paddle hero, jump back onto a big board the difference in stability is tremendous; I almost never fell into the water.

Once outside I pointed it north. In a blink, I'd paddled three blocks up to the pier and passed underneath to the northside. It's cool how much range these things have- which is another facet of the bigger board that I'd forgotten about. I realized that, in my pursuit of high performance (generally shorter) stand up boards, I'd sacrificed a lot of the aspects of stand up paddling that had appealed to me in the first place. Heck, this big board thing was really fun! Hopping onto Big Red brought it all back. I felt like I was coming home.

The surf was pretty mushy. The main event was a slow wedge rising on outer sand bar which backed off in a deep hole. The wave muddled through a big flat section and then reorganized across an inner bar. Most guys didn't have enough board to power through the flat spot with enough speed to hit the inner bar correctly. If you came into the reform slowly, it'd just wall up and run right by you. Doing it right meant powering through the flats and swinging into the beach break wall in a swooping bottom turn that whipped you down the line. If you did it right, you could put together a fun ride from the pier all the way to the sand.

A smaller, lighter stand up board would probably not have made the wave. Tonight, the Big Red was the ticket. All that waterline and mass just carried me right off the peak and into a big, inertia-assisted turn that slingshotted me into the forming inner section. Letting the single fin run down the line, holding a high line just under the curling lip was so sweet. Boards like this are all about the "clean line"; find that line and the magic begins- you're flying.

It's a different type of game, requiring a readjustment of technique but it's refreshing and it's definitely fun. Part of the fun was in figuring out how the board liked to be treated, what you could and could not ask it to do. For example, cutbacks required a different approach. You couldn't just muscle it throught the arc, the turn required patience as you waited for the fin to pendulum under you, bite and finally power up through the turn.

What a session! I spent an hour and a half surfing a wave that was, for the most part, totally un-surfable to anybody on a prone board. I was stoked and spent the session smiling to myself, happy that I'd decided to give the Big Red another shot.

Everyone knows quivers are sweet, but they're worthless if you don't open 'em up now and then and ride what you've got. This session, on that big 'ol board has rekindled some of the sense of freedom I first felt when I started paddling. It's a good feeling- you ought to give it a shot yourself. Pull out your big boys... and let 'em run!

Learn how to stand up paddle surf here in sunny San Diego! Click here for more information about our award winning stand up paddle lessons. SUP lessons are for everyone so get on out here and give it a shot! Call John at 619.213.6622 or email

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bringing it back around...

I think I've been paddling three years now. I'm not sure but three Springs have gone by since I brought home my first Big Red pop out and that puts me somewhere in the ballpark. I remember that first paddle too; offshore winds sending me toward the Coronado Islands, small waves and Kiwi watching, and laughing, from the beach. I sucked horribly. I remember barely being able to stand up on the thing.

I'm sure the decision to start learning in the ocean
retarded my development by about three months. If I would've sucked it up and started in the calm, flatwaters of the Bay (which, ironically, is what I tell all of my SUP students to do) I'm sure I'd be way better at this by now. Well, at least by three months.

That first year was the miracle year.
I remember going to sleep amping for the dawn so I could get back down to the beach and paddle around. Comically, we built a little crew of stand up paddlers down here- I say comically because it was three of us, grown men, fighting over one board. One of us would paddle out while the other two would wait waist deep in the surf laughing while we'd try to stay upright for more than a couple of minutes.

A few things have changed in those three years. Definitely the equipment. Boards have come down in size and volume, outlines got surfier. Paddling my old equipment makes me realize how much more advanced the boards have become. Our skills have improved, we've learned how to handle bigger, meaner waves and we've earned our sea legs, handling nasty conditions without too much worry.

Some things remain the same. I still fall asleep excited for tomorrow's waves and I'm still fired up each time I drop my board in the water and hop up onto the deck. It's been easy to get distracted by the details (fins, paddles, deck pad configurations) but when it all comes back around it's the pure joy of paddling out into some fun waves that keeps me coming back. I've found my Fountain of Youth- it's right here on this board.

Stand up paddle surf lessons
in sunny San Diego- get 'em while they're hot! The water's warming up, the surf is rolling in... get yourself on a stand up board now and learn the skills you'll need to be part of the hottest water sport around. Click here for more information. To book a lesson call John at 619.213.6622 or email

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Just a couple of photos...

Here's a couple of shots from the archives; stand up paddle stuff, boards, people- cool shots. Enjoy:

If this guy's on the beach
, start ripping. He's probably rattling off five frames a second and chances are you might end up in one of 'em!

Small boards, big smiles- part of the local crew up at La Jolla Shores.

Lot's of air, big board. Chris Koerner and the Uli make buildings look small.

What's behind the bag?
Summer's coming, build your skills now because this one's feeling like it's going to be a good one.

Stand up paddle surf lessons
in sunny San Diego- get 'em while they're hot! The water's warming up, the surf is rolling in... get yourself on a stand up board now and learn the skills you'll need to be part of the hottest water sport around. Click here for more information. To book a lesson call John at 619.213.6622 or email

Friday, May 15, 2009

The way it SHOULD be...

Kraig's digging his new board. His surfing even looks different. He's flowing, carrying speed- carving. It's obvious that this board's opening up some new doors for him; which is the way it should be. Here's what he's got to say in his own words:

Hi Tim,

Thanks for shaping up board number two.

You're like the side show guy at the Fair who sizes you up and predicts everything about you. Stuff like weight, height, age, dog's name, amount of cash in your pocket and, in this case, how you surf.

Must be a little magic in that shop because you hit it right on the head with the new 9'6". I asked for a smaller board that a bigger guy like me could still ride, you sized me up, wrote down some numbers and schwack- nailed it: 9'6" 29" x 4.5".

The board looks and feels great. Every wave it's suprised me a little more, I'm still figuring out where all the buttons are... The thing went unreal on Tuesday but it's obvious there's still so much more under the hood. WOW.

This is the real deal, big-guy SUP shortboard. The thing is ON FIRE!

Thanks again and see you in the water,


Do yourself a favor, mix it up this summer. Order up a new stick- something different than your daily driver. Push it a little- something to wrap your mind around this summer. Keep growing, keep shredding.

Learn how to stand up paddle surf here in sunny San Diego! Click here for more information about our award winning stand up paddle lessons. SUP lessons are for everyone so get on out here and give it a shot! Call John at 619.213.6622 or email

Stu Kenson Race Board: Kiwi's sled

Here's a new Stu Kenson race board. This one's cut for the stock (12'6") class. Kiwi just paddled this one in the Dana Point/Surf Aid Race and took 4th place overall in the Stock SUP Class. Good job, mate. Check it out:

Photo: The dagger.

Photo: And this is just a Stock Class board- the unlimited boards go about 7' longer!

Photo: "America's Cup" pretty much describes the pointy end.

Photo: Feather light- carbon fiber and some other insider secrets help out.

Photo: Sleek and fast- already a proven winner.

Stand up paddle lessons in sunny San Diego! If you're dying to get out and learn to paddlesurf now's your chance. Give me a call 619.213.6622 or email to set up your private stand up paddle lesson. Summer's just around the corner make paddle surfing your thing- come on out and learn to stand up paddle surf today!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Little Changes: Wind swell dies/South swell fills.

If you're down on the Southern California coast you know that the last two weeks of surf have been dominated by a strong westerly wind swell. That wind swell has been messing things up here at our beach. We've seen surf in the water- but it's been ugly.

If you aren't familiar with wind swells, let me fill you in: Wind swells are fairly disorganized trains of waves. They are usually produced close to the coast by strong, local wind events. Since they're so close to the beaches, the swells don't have the time and distance needed to gather themselves together into nice clean lines. Instead, the swells are broken up into bits and pieces.

These swell fragments, under the right conditions of wind, tide and bathymetry (that's bottom contours like reefs and sandbars) can produce fun wedges up and down a beach- or they can generate ugly, washing machine conditions with one wave canceling another and big lumpy pop-up close outs. We've been looking at the later for about fourteen days- and it's been gray and windy in the morning too. Nasty stuff.

Wind swells are also tough to stand up paddle. Since the peaks are disorganized, they can pop up seemingly out of nowhere. It's hard to be in the right spot, you miss a lot of waves and you've got to be able to whip your board around in an instant to catch a wave. If you want to become a better surfer, you force yourself to go out in those conditions. Big Chad and I suck it up and push ourselves out when it's like that. We call it "sharpening the saw" after some cheesy self-help slogan we learned in a seminar we were forced to attend (something about anger management).

Five days ago, that obnoxious wind swell expired revealing the underlying clean south swell. That south swell finally got a chance to assert itself center stage. It's been super fun. The beach has been firing the last five evenings in a row with southerly peaks gathering themselves up and reeling down the beach. There's smiles all around, the water's jumped to the mid-60s (trunks and jackets) and even the May gray has lifted; life is grand down here at our little corner of the coast.

Funny, how a little change in the weather, a little shift in direction or a change in swell type can help a spot metamorphose from trashy beach break to wide-open fun zone. Also interesting how these little changes can refresh an otherwise grumpy, frustrated stand up paddler into a surf-stoked grom, scrambling into his trunks and surfing 'til it's dark. What a fickle sub-species we are!

Enough talk- go surf!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Kraig Surplus' New 9'6 Stamps Viking: Let the ripping begin!

Summer's coming and so are the new custom orders. Here's Kraig's board: 9'6 x 30" x 4.25" squashtail Stamps Viking. Can't wait to see this one on the beach:

The foot prints
of the soon-to-be, K-surplus grom patrol.

The Viking's
the one to go to if you're looking for a "do-able" high-perf. stand up in the sub 10' range. You'd be surprised at how stable these things are and yet there's no performance loss- your rip quotient will definitely increase.

Once again, I see- I want.
Good thing this one's going to be locally owned- I may get a chance to give her a spin.

Is it me or does the squash tail change the outline a little bit- is there a bit of a straighter line from the hip region down to the corners of the tail? Or am I just seeing things? Any way you look at it, this is a hot board. Made like a surfboard, feels like a surfboard... Kraig's going to be blown away!

Want to learn how to stand up paddle surf?
Give me a call at 619.213.6622 or email and I'll get you started today! Learn to paddle surf right here in sunny San Diego. We've put scores of people on stand up boards- let's get out and paddle today. For more information about our lessons click here be sure to check out the testimonial's from stoked clients.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

New Blade: Powerex Stand Up Paddle

This is the paddle that you won't break. I'm certain of it- and so is ex-professional windsurfer turned stand up paddle fanatic Cort Larned. Cort's the driving force behind the production of Powerex's blade and he's straight up stoked on how it came together.

Photo: Cort with the new Powerex paddle. Take a second to check out that blade, there's a lot going on there. Powerex recruited veteran stand up paddler and consumate free-thinker Sean Ordonez to build a better blade. In short, the thing paddles itself- no wander, no fishtailing... I was very impressed with it's functionality, there's really nothing like it out there.

Of course, there's nothing like putting your money where your paddle is- which is why Cort assured me that Powerex will be fully supporting their product with a "you break it and we buy it" iron-clad guarantee. I don't think they'll be paying out on too many of these. Cort basically challenged me to snap the thing. Happy to oblige him (and curious to see how much I could actually abuse a paddle) I grabbed the Powerex and went at it. I was unmerciful to the thing laying all of my 235 lbs into it, bearing down as hard as I could in mixed surf. Basically, the thing just laughed at me.

Powerex is no stranger to strong carbon fiber. As a premier manufacturer of high end wave sailing masts, these guys are masters of the ways and wiles of hardcore, carbon layups; that expertise definitely comes through in this paddle. If you get a chance to demo one, jump at it- it's a sweet paddle worth checking out.

Check back for more photos and a surf review of the Powerex stand up paddle.

Learn how to stand up paddle surf
here in sunny San Diego! Click here for more information about our award winning stand up paddle lessons. SUP lessons are for everyone so get on out here and give it a shot! Call John at 619.213.6622 or email