Monday, September 28, 2009

Mainland Mexico Paddle Surf Trip: My Gear...EXPOSED!!!

These next few posts are dedicated to the gearheads out there... those who love to anyalyze, re-analyze and over analyze equipment and its performance. I'm flying out of here tomorrow for ten days of surfing the left points and reefs of mainland Mexico. Here's a breakdown of my travel kit.

If you're a gear nut you're going to dig this- I give a play-by-play description of what I bring and why. If you're the kind of guy who jams it all into a duffel and sleeps in your board bag you'll be bored to tears. The best part of this whole deal? By the time you see this I'll be 30,000' in the air sinking in to my second beer... enjoy!

1. FCS Leashes: I'm not sponsored by these guys- in fact I pay full retail (well close to full retail- SurfHut, the local surf shop helps me out on equipment) so I've got no bias when I say that these are the BEST stand up leashes that I've used. Check out the yellowing one with the black core, it's survived two trips down to mainland- that's almost a month of continuous (three session a day) use.

That particular leash is battle tested. I've trusted it in double overhead surf where it's been stretched to twice it's length. I've treated it bad, it lives in the open bed of my truck- I just chuck it in the back after each surf. And still, like Old Yeller (pre-rabies) it's never let me down. I've used the others and have reached a verdict: FCS leashes win hands down.

Here's a tip: Buy a new leash before each trip, be sure to switch out your old leash string with new one that comes with your fresh leash- when it gets gnarly, you'll be happy- and so will your board.

2. Patagonia Paddler Trunks: These are basically the only trunks that I own- I've got five pairs of them. If you're like me, meaning you possess a basically square, Torso-Man physique, these are your trunks. They are the most comfortable, durable, best-fitting trunks I've ever had. The inseams are cut a little bit shorter than normal so you don't look like some gangster-vato with your trunks hanging down to mid-shin. The best part is that the trunks have a hanging inner polyester liner (no, it's not a mesh brief-type liner like the shorts you wore in fifth grade) that allows the shorts to slide over your upper leg when your moving around.

Hot tip: Buy the solid black or the dark blue patterned trunks- the dark colors hides guacamole stains, beer dribbles and fish blood. The light green ones look good (I've got a pair) but they get dirty fast and don't stand up to the trunks-as-a-napkin for all meals test. On my two week trip I brought just two pairs of these (and one pair of "go home" shorts but we'll deal with that later)... and wore them the whole time- they're that good.

3. Short sleeve button up shirts: In the tropics, tee-shirts turn into sweat soaked, clingy layers of cotton insulation. If you want to stay cool you need to take advantage of evaporative cooling- and for that function, shirtsleeves are the way to go. Standard wear for me is my white Guayabera- this one's a total crack up. Think more Ernie McCracken (Bill Murray's excellent King Pin character) than Don Johnson; it's got embroidered roses, white on white, running down the front of the thing. Cheesy? Completely. But totally comfortable and there's no better way to fade into the back ground than to sport one while chugging a Ballena at the taco stand.

Hot tip: Throw in a long sleeve version to keep the sun off your arms and the mozzies off your back.

Check back for more (I'm hoping to update from the road).

Fin Review: Future Fins Gerry Lopez Thruster SUP Fin Set

I just got hooked up with a set of hot looking fins. Check 'em out: Future Fins Gerry Lopez Thruster set. These ones look really good. So good, in fact, that I jammed right home, pulled out my G-10 3-2-1s (my bread and butter side fins) and screwed the entire thruster set right in. I'm on it tomorrow- hopefully it won't be blown out by the time the 2:35 bell rings. I'm telling you, it doesn't take much to get me excited.

These are beautiful fins. A set runs in the hundred dollar range so you'd expect that these would possess top-of-the-line craftsmanship. Futures definitely delivers in that regard- the look and feel of the fins is top notch. In fact, the things are so precisely foiled and feel so light that you'd swear that just locking them down ratchets up your board's top end. The fins just ooze speed.

The things come in at almost five and half inches- which is about a half inch taller than the side fins I've been riding and half an inch shorter than the six incher I've been running in the box. Changing fins on a board is always a compromise between concern and hope: The concern with running a shorter fin in the middle box is that you'll lose drive, that is, the board won't have that "squirt out of the hole feeling" that a larger fin provides. The hope is that a smaller set of fins will loosen the board up, give it some release and snap off the top.

What I've decided to do is this: I'm going to start by running it fairly far back in the center box. The idea is that I'll make up with fin position the drive I've lost with fin height. My hope is that I'll produce that magic combination of drive and looseness that we're all searching for; that's the idea anyway. We'll see what happens.

Lilly was wondering
what these things were made of. The Futures website says they are "resin transfer molded". To me they feel like fiberglass. Interestingly, these fins have some definite flex in the tips. The G10, 3-2-1s that I was riding were rock solid little chunks of fiberglass. They were fast but had very little flex. The GLs (Gerry Lopez fins) look to be a very different ride than what I'd been on. Especially since the 3-2-1s are basically triple foiled- a fin designed to provide super lift and drive, kind of like adding a turbo to your vehicle. The GLs, on the other hand, have a very slight inside foil. In fact, this fin set looks very conventional, almost like a super-sized version of a short board fin set. Perhaps the idea with these fins is to provide a more neutral, predictable, organic ride (did I just say "organic"???). Regardless, I can't wait to get them into some good surf.

A final comparison photo:
Check back for a ride report!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Hola amigos - Tim Hatler here, owner of Palapas Ventana in La Ventana, and organizer of the 5th annual La Ventana Classic that will this year feature the PADDLE ROYALE..

Well the water temp here in La Ventana is 85 degrees, weve got a yellowfin tuna bite that just went richter, great Pargo spearfishing, light NW winds starting to blow and tease the kites, and fun 4-6 foot surf on the pacific and East Cape...But something else is happening too..theres a buzz in the air about our PADDLE ROYALE SUP race in January....even the crustiest "Ive been surfing since before you were born" types have strapped shiny new SUP boards onto their rigs and are arriving in southern Baja and staring at Cerralvo Island offshore and thinking - I want to win that race!!
They are paddling the morning flat waters of the sea of cortez and training - getting ready for that late January day when the pangas will take them to the island and they will race 11 miles back to the La Ventana shores in the name of raising $$ for our local schools.. weve already got Isle Surfboards, PADDLESURF.NET, NAISH, and StandUp Paddle Sports as confirmed sponsors and are getting more every week. There will be great prizes including boards, cash and an expo where you can try the latest gear for free.

Watch out for IB's own KIWI, last years winner, hes a ringer and rumor has it hes been sighted at Lobster Shack on a training run to the Coronados

Come check out our Baja Paradise and paddle with me and John for a good cause this winter - Jan 21-24, 2010 ---see for more details and signups coming soon!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Baja Mexico: La Ventana Paddle Royal- 11 mile Island Crossing Race!

Coming soon! Make plans, build boards, load up yer rigs and head south... this is the one you DON'T want to miss. The scenery's right (pristine southern Baja islands, desert and sand), the water's right (mid 70's, super blue, early morning glass), the course is right (11 mile island crossing as well as sprint races with crowd pleasing beach run, dive-for-the-popsicle-stick finishes) and the cause is right (raise money for the schools of La Ventana).

Click here for a full report from last years event (check out how much money was raised for the local schools and see how it was spent)- be sure to check out the "special events" section!

But wait there's more! Cold Pacificos? Si! Margaritas frias? Si! Fish tacos? Si! The international airport in La Paz is only thirty minutes from the race course, book it, fly in and get to paddling. I'll be there for all five days of the festival- come have a beer with me. See you down south!

"Sneak Peek" The Pelagic 8'6" Fish

Here it is fresh out of the vacuum bag not hotcoated or finned yet and I am soo excited... Oh BOY!

Photo: 8'6" 21"-30"-16.5"x4.875" thick, single wing swallow (8" point to point) lots of vee in the tail.

9.3lbs with a 3 layer 6oz deck and 2 layer 6oz bottom, it'll probably finish out at 10-10.5lbs. I rode a 8'8" Lopez quadfin this week for a 3 hour magic session in some decent chest to head high surf. Now, I'm totally blown away by the possibility of one day riding a 7 foot or smaller standup. This one is a next step down for me. John and Chad, this one is built for guys our size. Look fun or what? Going with a quadfin +1 set up.

Photo: Foil

Peace and good waves to all,
Capt Ron

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Another New One: Stamps 8'10" Ninja Bump

Stamps Ninja Bump. Check it out:

Photo: 8'10" x 28.5" x 3.75" Stamps paddles this one and he comes in at around 160 or so. Flaco.

Photo: Little bump right in the hind quarters... see it?

Photo: Pulled out thin like a nasty ol' piece of salt water taffy.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Capt. Ron's New Boards

Well, here are a few- more to come later. When I have some time, I'll post up the whole building process.

Photo: 11' nose rider, 10'6 cruiser, 10' all arounder

I built these from a huge block of foam. These designs are all me- from the rocker, foils and bottom contours to the glass jobs, sanding and polishing.

The center board is a custom 10'6" for our local surfshop owner. The board features a madera negra (central american black wood) tail block, bent balsa wood nose block and a laminated, high-density, balsa, parabolic rail inlay.

The parabolic rail inlay does two things: First, it acts as a stringer on the rail. Second, it keeps paddles from going through the glass. I vacuum bagged the 10'6" with 3 layers of 6oz cloth on the deck and 2 layers on the bottom. The blank is 2.4lb density xbead EPS foam. All finished out with a glosscoat the board weighs in at 14.6 lbs.

Here are some additional photos taken while the board was being shaped and wood components added.

Photo below: Nose Block

Photo below: Tail Block

Photo below: Balsa inlay

Any Questions? Send them here in the "Comments Section" and I'll post a reply.

By the way: Which is your favorite deck pad?

Peace and good waves to all,

Capt Ron

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Portable Shower: Ultimate SUP Vehicle Accessory

Want to trick out your SUP ride? The boys at Isle Surf turned me on to the Big Kahuna Portable Shower- believe me, you're going to want one. Check it out:

Here's local grom, Mikey, messin' with my shower. Check out the super cool coiled hose and sweet nozzle- nice arc on that thing! Really though, I'm hooked on having an easy-to-use freshwater rinse that I can take with me anywhere I go. Not only are you going to keep the sand out of your truck but you're going to make a bunch of new friends when they see what you've got going on.

The whole unit comes as a clean little package:
the big gray thing ("hey, that's what you store dog food in") is an eleven gallon water tank (I opted for the big one- the small version holds around five gallons). I keep mine filled and locked to the back corner of my truck bed. At first I thought I'd just use it for an after surf rinse. Lately, though I've found all kinds of uses for it; my stand up paddle students use it to rinse off after lessons, my dog gets rinsed off after beach romping- no more sand in the back of my truck!

Inside the tank is a 12 volt bilge pump that's submerged under your shower water. The pump is cleanly wired to a cigarette lighter.

The cigarette lighter comes with more than enough wire to stretch the length of an eight foot truck bed on up to the cigarette lighter in the cab. I thought about hard wiring it into my truck so that I could just flip a switch and fire it up but the thing is put together so nicely, and it works so well that I've decided to just use it "as is".

I suppos
e you could try to throw one of these together for yourself but, really, why bother? Big Kahuna offers them at a reasonable price and for a couple clicks you could have one sent right to your door. Order one up, and the first time a random hotty asks if she can borrow your shower, remember who to send your thanks (or photos) to.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

G-Mac: 9'9" Anhilator

First of all, check out the pic below... the guy in the barrel is the guy who paddles the G-mac 9'9" Annhilator stand up board- can't wait to see this same view but with a stand up paddler pulling in. Check it out:

Photo: Marc M., last week, throated down south.

Photo: Here's what Marc's been paddling around lately- the smallest of the G-mac line. This one is 9'9" x 27 3/4" x 4.5" with s-rails and the standard G-mac sliver tail.

Photo: This one is definitely more speed needle, less barge.

Photo: Another view. According to Marc the thing is crazy loose and surfs really well. Looking this one over though, it seems that it was made for some down the line juice. I'll keep you posted on what we learn about the G-mac, 'til then click on over here to learn more about the G-mac line of stand up boards.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Capt Ron's Central Florida Report: Tropical Storm Danny

Editor's note: Are you kidding me on the surf these guys are getting over there in Florida! Capt Ron reports on then next storm to bring waves to the right coast.

Got a little bit last Saturday. It dropped off quick. First pic is me in the afternoon. Toes on the nose getting small. My wife is in the background.
Capt Ron playing with some glassy little beach break mid morning...

The early morning
was good as you can see from the pic... I wish the photog would have gotten more pics of this wave. I pulled up in the barrel on this one for about 5 seconds and got spit out the end. Just a sick little wave. Not one close out all day- it was a blast. Did not get crushed or beat up, good day lots of fun waves to be had.

Capt Ron

Oh Yeah, these were the first rides on the new boards that I built. Yep they work....