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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Video Clip: June Gloom in San Diego

Here's a little clip from this last nice south swell (maybe a couple waves from last month too). Surfing with Nelz and Big Chad... fun times:

Monday, June 28, 2010

And what about this SOUTH SWELL!!!!

Hope you all have been getting out and getting wet. I have. Check out what's come rolling through town the last few days:

Photo: Sean Poynter getting all gumby to get into the barrel... you're going to want to check out Manny Vargas' website tomorrow night to see his take on this little cover up (that's his water housing sticking out of the lip).

Photo: Enough barrels to go around... how's this one?

Photo: Kelly Kraus, pre-surf stretch... getting ready to handle a somewhat nasty, thumpy, beachbreak on the way out to the wave field.

Photo: The south swell was actually a combo situation with a southern hemisphere pulse mixed up with the steep angle surf of a hurricane off of Baja. The result was a somewhat crossed up situation- tough to unscramble and demanding an ability to quickly pivot turn your board to catch the pop up peaks bouncing around out there.

Photo: Kelly, off the top. Rumor has it there's another shorter Rusty stand up in the works right now... I'll keep you posted.

Photo: Jeff Wallis always seems to pop up when the sun is out and the surf is up. Heck, he even shoots me once in a while... Thanks Wally!

Photo: Floating it on down. I remember this wave, I came off the bottom (right around my friend Coconut) and went up into the lip but I screwed up and the board kind of stuck in the lip as it came over. So there I was drifting down sideways thinking I was going to catch my rail and go down- but I lucked out and pulled it- thanks to the moderate amount of nose flip in my 9'1... loving this board.

Photo: Same wave... this was a good one, I got two little lippers and a cutback on it... digging summertime!

Wineglass Wherry Update Part V

And the build continues... 

Here's my list of activities... what do you think the operative word of the day is? And, no it's not number 6.

Time to replace the sand paper... I do this a lot. You can see just over my shoulder that I've feathered down the reinforcing glass at the butt seams. There's a lot of glass there. To begin with you but the pieces together with four inch fiber glass tape on both sides. Then, on the bottom of the hull, there's three more layers of six ounce glass over that seam. On the inside you lay down a three inch strip of fiberglass tape, glass, sand and feather it and then lay an additional four inch piece of fiberglass tape over that. And then... you glass the whole inside of the boat with six ounce cloth which is double layered on the bottom. You can see, that butt seam is reinforced!

A couple more boat experts come by to visit: Jenny and Pilgy. Here, I've resaturated the sanded out cloth. And now, I've got to make a decision- the inside of the hull has lots of ridges and gaps and unevenness that will make laying down a smooth layer of laminated fiberglass really difficult. Do I: A. Sand everything down flush, possibly sanding through some of the layers of plywood. Or do I: B. Fill the gaps with fairing compound and then sand that all down- the upside being I don't get into the wood, the downside is it's another couple of days of drying epoxy, sanding and then resaturating any sanded wood. I chose B. World of sanding, here I come.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

So a surfer builds a boat... Update Part IV

Sounds like the beginning of a joke right? If it is, I haven't reached the punchline yet- and from where I'm standing (did I say, sanding?) that ending looks a long ways away. Did I tell you what I think about when I'm building this thing? I have big dreams of rowing it over to the tip of Point Loma  and going for a surf at one of the boat-in-only breaks over there. I'd bring a little cooler with a sandwich, a couple of beers and a bottle of water. Time it right and paddle out during dead water and in with the tide. Take a nap under an umbrella laying in the bottom of the boat. For now, however, I just keep making passes with the sander.

Anyways, here's where I'm at so far:

Last we talked, I had just finished putting the bottom reinforcement layer of fiberglass onto the outside of the hull. Since then, I've trimmed it to the chine (that way the seam of the glass is hidden in the chine of the boat). Here I've laminated glass onto the transom and I'm waiting to cut away the excess glass and feather the edge in.

Next, I (well, we... Pat McCloskey, a.k.a The Ding Devil, our local ding repair guy who pedaled over at just the right time) flipped the boat over and got ready to take out the temporary frames that helped give the boat its shape. Pat's here showing me how to sand down the seams perfectly. In his words, "You've got to give it some love...". Thanks Pat.

Here, I've taken out the temporary frames and I'm sanding down the butt seam. This is where the longitudinal planks were joined together to make fourteen foot long planks from 7' long planks. I guess this is the boat's week spot. But, never fear, the plans call for some heavy fiberglass and epoxy reinforcement here. How exciting.

I got a little excited seeing the boat all opened up so I decided to test fit the seats (where you sit in the bow and stern) and the thwarts (the benches that you sit on, there are two... you got me, nautical nomenclature is crazy, part descriptive, part historical, part mystery...). The only pieces I couldn't set in place were the knees (two pieces of triangular wood that join the corners of the transom to the sides of the boat and the gunwales which are the rails that run along the top edges of the boat. Not looking too bad, eh?

After wasting time dreaming about what she'll look like with all her innards in place, I got back to work. After sanding down most of the high and rough spots, I busted out the epoxy and laid down an encapsulating coat on the inside. This is where you say, "Wow, that wood is beautiful- are you going to leave it that way?" Well, it looks great from here but if you were to get right up close to it, you'd see that I'm not exactly the world's greatest woodworker. There's lots of dings and goofs and messed up seams.

Plus, this is a working boat, not a coffee table (I learned that from reading the Wooden Boat Forum where people are always clowning each other about not using the beautiful, work of art, wooden boats they've lovingly built and painstakingly varnished... thanks guys) so I'm going to paint her insides a light tan. This makes life easier for me since now I know that the paint will hide all of my flaws (wish that were true for life- is it?). Kathy, my wife, did convince me to leave the outsides unpainted or, as they say in the nautical world, bright. Her reasoning is that we can always paint her later and that my dings and goofs just make her more authentic and less Thurston C. Howell. The wood does look nice so I'll run with it for now.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Oakley Paddling Gear: Water Jacket Sunglasses and Control Board Shorts

Here's two new pieces of stand up paddling equipment that I'm totally endorsing: Oakley's Water Jacket Sunglasses and their unnaturally comfortable, four way stretch, Control boardshorts

Oakley Sales Rep. Andrew Pate spent a good deal of time listening to me describe the needs of stand up paddlers- especially paddlers who are surfing and traveling in the tropics. I like talking to Andrew, he's been on the road chasing surf all over the world so he understands what it's like to spend four to six hours in the water every day. We talked for awhile and he came up with a couple of suggestions and then put me into some gear. I've been abusing this stuff for the past two months and I'm stoked to put my stamp of approval on them.

Photo: Oakley surf gear... Water Jacket amphibious sunglasses and Control Board Shorts. Sweet stuff

Water Jacket sunglasses: If you've ever been down in the tropics, you know that the afternoon sun is brutal- especially if you're on a stand up board and particularly if it's glassy. The sun beats down on you from above and it also reflects back up at you from below. It's easy to sunburn your eyes when you're pulling three sessions a day. Additionally, I've begun to worry about the toll that all that sunlight is taking on my eyes- pterygiums are a real threat. So, I've been experimenting with different types of amphibious sunglass options.

I've tried a few different brands- most have fogged up so much that they've become more of a hindrance than anything. I've also blown the lenses right out of the frames and lost the glasses completely. In the end, the best option was to bungee a set of regular glasses to my head, wear them in between waves and then yank them off right before catching one. Functional but not ideal.

Photo: Oakley Water Jackets... the back strap is integrated into the frame. Check out the venting on both the lenses and the frames... fogging is minimal to non-existent.

Ideally, the perfect set of glasses would remain fog free, produce enough contrast so that you could wear them while surfing and hopefully be so comfortable that you'd forget you've got them on. In all these criteria, the Water Jackets have excelled. Oakley provides a hydrophobic coating solution that basically keeps water from filming over the surface of the lens- I've taken a lip in the face and still been able to see enough past the beaded water to keep surfing. A quick shake of the glasses and they're water free. 

The glasses are feather light, super comfortable and they come fitted with ear and nose pieces that seem to suction cup onto your face. In addition, the glasses come with a back strap that can be tightened around your head and a tether to secure them to your wetsuit. Best of all, the glasses come with venting on the lenses and frame that prevent fogging- though fogging can occur if you over-tighten the strap and wear them too close to your face. I wear these glasses for all of my flatwater paddling lessons- they're tough, functional and comfortable. So far, they have surpassed all the other amphibious type glasses I've tried. Pick these up at SurfRide in Solana Beach ($250).

Photo: My new, favorite trunks. These pass the, "I-could-live-in-these" test.

Control Board shorts: I have a problem with trunks, I destroy them. I haven't met a pair that I haven't somehow ripped, popped a seam, unraveled a thread or worn through. I did like the Patagonia Paddler Shorts but after two trips to mainland Mexico three sets of their trunks have fallen apart on me (in a weird move, they decided to replace their zippers with sewn on buttons... bad decision, those things pop off like a seventh grader in Sex Ed.).

Photo: Control board shorts in action... moving with you, not against you. Sweet. Photo credit: Jeff Wallis

Andrew passed along a pair of Oakley's Control board shorts for me to try. Now these are something much different than I've experienced before... they're gooey. The trunks are made to stretch in four directions- so as you go from sitting to standing, the fabric doesn't grab at your thigh, it just stretches with you. It took a little getting used to but now that I've been living in them for a few weeks, I'm sold.  They are ultra-comfortable and you will not find a standing, abrasive seam in sight- the things  just slip over your skin.

Thankfully, there's not a sewn on button is site- in fact, there's really nothing to break on the trunks at all. A cool feature that really suits stand up paddlers is the wax pocket which has been move to the back of the waist band.  It's higher up, out of the way and is a perfect size for stashing a water proof ipod (for the racers and cruisers out there). These are great trunks and again I wholeheartedly recommend them. The trunks ($75) are available at the following San Diego surf shops: Emerald City (Coronado, 619.435.6677), Rail 2 Rail (Mission Beach, 858.717.6077), South Coast (Ocean Beach, 223.7017) and Surf Hut (Imperial Beach, 575.7873).

Conclusion: I hadn't had much experience with Oakley's surf products but am now going to be paying a little closer attention to what they've got going on. Somebody in their surf-research department is pretty clued in. I'd like to thank Andrew Pate for taking time to listen to me and for providing the demo products for this review- let's do it again soon!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Used Stamps 8'10 Ninja Bump $800: A little more info...

 Board is SOLD!!

Here is a little video clip, the dimensions and a little more info about the 8'10 Stamps for sale:

"A couple things that I didn't mention. The board had two extra boxes add (per Tim's instructions) at Roper's here in S.D, so it is a four plus one now! I can't include the Gerry Lopez side fins with it, but I have a lot of other quality Future side fins the buyer can choose from! This board rips. Noserides, trims insane, but low volume tail allows you to go hard off the bottom!"

The dimensions are 8'10 x 28" x 3 3/4".

small beachbreak sup from chris geremia on Vimeo.

Buy it, contact:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Used Stamps 8'10 Ninja Bump $800: Love the spray job!

Here's a killer looking board for sale- barely used. This one's from a friend who's moving to something a little smaller:

I am getting ready to sell my Stamps 8'10 SUP. It is a custom for me at 140 lbs. I only need to get $800 for it. Zero dings, never have been, super light, 9 months old.  I could go narrower (hence the sale), so I expect that this board could float a paddler up to 170 lbs. 
Contact info:

Photo: Hey, aren't those my colors?

Photo: Ninja bump with the rounded pin... killer board for the right sized person- Chris is going to send me the dimensions on this one. Love the white deck.

Photo: I think I'd run the regular Gerry Lopez fin in the box and move it to about a quarter of an inch of the back of the box... that's where it works best for me... just sayin'.

Building the Wine Glass Wherry Part III: Oars are just different paddles

I've received a couple of questions about my new "high and tight" hairdoo. Well, here's the deal with that. In short, if you play in the sun your whole life eventually you'll pay the price. I'm paying the price with trips to the dermatologist for mole checks and a type of medieval torture that they like to call suspicious skin area removal. Turns out I have a mole on the top of my head that's highly suspect and that suckers coming off... along with a big patch of my hair. So I figured I'd preempt the hospital shave with a cut of my own. Thus the 'doo. Lesson: Wear sunscreen. But that's not the whole story.

Check out what happens when you're not paying attention, go to trim up your buzz cut and find out that the attachment fell off of the shaver. Nothing left to do at that point except go to the nearest barber and have them cut it to code. Thus my high and tight hairdoo, satisfied?

Back to the boat. Time for the reinforcement of the bottom of the boat. I'm taping off the chine that I'm going to cut my fiberglass back to. I decided that the edge of the glass will hide nicely in the natural line of the chine- so here I'm making sure that I'll have a nice clean finished edge.

Cutting the glass back so that it just hangs over the blue tape. I'll let the resin harden a bit (but not completely) and then come in with a razor blade and carefully cut it off at the tape. If I do it right, I shouldn't have to do too much sanding to feather in the edge of the cloth.

Here's a batch of mixed up epoxy being poured onto the fiberglass. I'll pour it all out and then get to work with my squeegee pulling it from the center to the edges of the glass. I'm always amazed at how the glass goes nice and clear once the resin get's soaked in.

The resin has a working time of about twenty minutes (at the temperature I was working at- I always started glassing after the hottest part of the day) before it starts to get really thick and gooey. What's happening is that the hardener is going to work cross connecting all the polymers in the epoxy- in general terms, it's starting to "go off". So you can't waste time, you've got to keep that stuff moving and cover ground. If not, you'll be wasting a lot of expensive epoxy.

And here's the finished reinforcement patch. The patch gives the dory three full layers on the bottom (flat surface) and five layers over the bow. I'll wait for the epoxy in the glass that's touching the blue tape to get to the "green" stage where it's still flexible and then come along and cut the glass with a sharp new razor blade. Next, I'll pull the tape off the hull and the glass will be cut at a nice sharp line. This saves you tons of sanding. Be sure to use a brand new razor blade and if you see that a couple of fibers haven't been cut through.... STOP and cut them before you continue pulling the tape off. If you don't you're going to have a mess on your hands.

Here's the hull with the reinforcement patch and an additional coat of epoxy painted over the hull to fill the weave of the laminated fiberglass. This is called the fill coat. Also, I've laminated the transom and am waiting to cut the edges of the fiberglass with a razor blade. It looks like I may need to paint another fill coat on- one coat just wasn't enough to fill the weave of the 'glass.

And this is where I'm at presently. Next step is to flip the hull, pull the temporary braces and saturate the inside of the hull. I'll keep you posted. Here's some extra pics to check out: 

Here's the stuff I use. And yes the box of empty Pacifico Ballenas that I'll use on my next trip down to Cabo San Lucas. Bring your own box and skip the deposito.... genius. 

And every now and then, I'd stop for a stand-o session. Do a little work, surf a little, sip a coldy. Pretty ideal. Here's Kelly Kraus coming off the bottom

More boat stuff to come! 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Das Boat: Update Part II

Interesting things happen when you start projects in my neighborhood, you find out everybody's an expert. I never knew there were so many boat builders living so near to me. Oh well, never a dull moment.

Neighbor Dan checking to see if I'm building it to spec. Actually Dan, who was a professional painter was interested in the wood encapsulating properties of the saturation coat of epoxy that I just applied. The designer's directions call for a coating of epoxy to seal the wood and prepare it for a lamination of fiberglass. The wood grain really popped out once I painted on that coat.

Here's another look at the hull with the saturation coat of epoxy. I'm using West System's epoxy, mixing it in small batches and painting it on with a foam roller. Pretty easy to do but somewhat messy and it's always a good idea to wear gloves with that stuff because I've heard you can develop an allergic reaction to it. How sweet is that transom.... notice the wineglass shape (it's upside down)?

I have to admit, I was really nervous to start the lamination part of the epoxy process. I'd never worked with such a large area of fiberglass cloth, I thought I might totally blow it and ruin the hull. Here's the cloth draped over the hull. The kit that I bought comes with enough fiberglass to cover the outside and inside of the hull. I decided to beef up the bow and bottom of the hull with a couple extra layers of glass. I'm going to be launching and landing this thing right off our local beach so I figured it'd be a good idea.

You know, the lamination process wasn't too bad. The first half of the boat was a learning experience- it took me close to two hours to mix the epoxy, wet out the cloth, run the squeegee over it and fix any bubbles or wrinkles in the cloth. I learned a ton on that first half. For example, if you don't squeegee the cloth of excess resin, you can get a pool of resin that will float the cloth off the surface of the wood and create little undulations and folds. I didn't catch all of the pooling with the squeegee- so there are a few uneven spots. For the most part, however, I was happy with how the glassing went.

Lilly was monitoring the situation from the kitchen door. Notice the ears down, she knows she better not set a foot out of the house. Good dog!

Is this so wrong? As per my custom, one beer at the end of a hard epoxy session.

More wooden boat building with the Wine Glass Wherry coming up!

Monday, June 21, 2010

My wooden boat update part I: Paddle related because it's got oars!

So, remember I've been working on building this 14' wooden dory called a Wineglass Wherry? Well, in between mowing the lawn, painting the house and going for stand-o sessions, I've been slowly but surely knocking this thing out. Here's a little update of what's been happening:

Here she is, just pulled out of her resting place in the garage. I've just blown her dust free (she's been sitting there for more than five years- partially completed) and we're getting ready to caulk her seams with epoxy.

Kevin came by one afternoon and helped pull the wire ties from the hull. Kevin turned me on to some killer new (well, new to me) music. Langhorn Slim... digging it.

Of course, what's an afternoon of boat building if you can't kick back an enjoy a couple of Fat Tire ales?

The epoxy in the seams oozes through to the other side and it needs to be sanded down smoothly to the hull. In addition, you've got to caulk the hull from the outside too and those beads need to be sanded smooth. Finally, all of the chines (the parts of the hull where the individual pieces of wood meet) need to be smoothly rounded so that the fiberglass lays flat and smooth over them. What does this all mean? It means you'll get to love your sander. Here's a spooky shot of the hull with blue tape reminding me of spots that need to be sanded smooth.

And so, I sand. Wow, I'm really going at it- my arm's a blur! Or am I just messing around with my camera and my new tripod? Maybe a little of both.

Check back for Update Part II!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

New Board: Kiwi's 8'6 x 28 3/4" Stu Kenson

Summer means new boards... time to freshen up the quiver. Nothing get's you fired up to ride onshore, junky, foggy waves like a new board in your hands. Kiwi's been working with San Diego shaper Stu Kenson for quite awhile, tuning up his carbon fiber raceboards and hopping on a new surf stand-o now and again. This is their latest collaboration- the thing is super light, feels just like a surfboard and according to eyewitness accounts from this morning, surfs insane.

Check it out:

Photo: Nice paint job. The hot stand up boards are looking more and more like regular surfboards- with tweaks here and there to hide volume and provide a modicum of stability.

Photo: Yeah Kiwi! Can't wait to get some video of that thing in action. At 28 3/4" wide and 4.25" thick the board isn't in the "ridiculously-narrow-ultrachippy-impossible-to-stand-on" category which makes it accessible for everyday stand up surfers. If you've got access, talk to a shaper who paddles, surfs and has made a few boards... those are the ones you want to work with.

Photo: Sweet lines on that...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sean Poynter: Northern Baja Ripping on a 6'6" SUP

Keep your ears peeled, your going to be hearing a lot more about this kid. Sean Poynter rides a 6'6" Starboard stand up called "The Impossible" and it's not a gimmick- the guy rips the shite out of it.

On our recent Northern Baja run Sean showed up with his little tadpole of board, paddled out and on his first backhanded wave, went straight upside down, punching the lip twice right in front of me. Legit turns, like nothing I'd seen done before on a stand up board.

Photo: Just in case you forgot the dimensions on Poynter's board, just click on the photo.

Manny Vargas ( was there to shoot our sessions- he'll be doing the same for stand up paddlers coming down on our Northern Baja stand up trips a little added service for those of you willing to charge uncrowded surf. Check out some of the water shots he grabbed of Sean doing his thing:

Photo: So Manny's shooting with a wide angle lens. This means that he was in serious jeopardy of taking that rail to the grill.... but he got the shot.

Photo: A little forehand snap on a little stand up board. The young guys, like Poynty here- bring a whole new set of skills to the stand up table. Tail whips, busting fins loose and above the lip antics are nothing new to them- and they're eager to translate it all to the world of paddle surfing.

Photo: Twenty year old ankles, twenty year old knees... shock absorbers ready to cushion the coming drop.

Photo: Above all, Sean Poynter's a nice guy- let's do it again Poynty!

All photos courtesy of Manny Vargas ( Manny's booked on all Northern Baja SUP trips and will shoot your stand up paddle sessions.