Thursday, April 28, 2011

Just a cool one from down south...

I want to go back... 

The local guys didn't even surf in April because March was so outstanding they were satiated... I can only imagine how that much feel. Please send me back.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A new board in town: The Easter Egg...

Kevin told me that's what they've been calling this one- I think it's going to stick. Check out Pat's new, Brett Bender shape, the Easter egg:

This one came in at 9' x 29". Cool paint job.
Really cool tucked under edge on the rail of the board- almost like a chine. I'm going to find a way to finagle this off of Pat for a little test drive.
The board is really light, it was made to be a zippy little noserider- I think the mission was accomplished. Can't wait to see it surfed on a clean day.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Adventure! But first...

So this is how I spent most of my Easter:

Repacking hubs with fresh grease... sound fun? Not so much.
By the time you read this I'll be hundreds of miles up the coast, pulling this little beauty, dreaming about peace and tranquility. Or not- the twenty kids I'm taking up past Santa Barbara may put an end to the peace and tranquility part of the scenario- but hey, it's for a good cause and we're creating memories here.

How cool is that little trailer? I'm packing five trashcans of firewood, four coolers, ten pounds of pollo asada, ten pounds of carne asada, forty eight top sirloin hamburger patties, fifteen pounds of lunch meet, eight loaves of bread.... man it just goes on and on. Oh yeah, six stand up boards, oars and leashes... because you just never know if the little right point in front of the campground might decide to flip the "go" switch. You never know.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mainland Mexico Surf Trip: A couple more photos

Just zeroing out the SD card on my camera- found a few more photos from our trip (planning my next one already...!).

I snapped this photo sitting at the restaurant, this was on the last day and you can see that a pretty good set is coming through the point. The waves here are really long, they're not the most powerful waves but they throw up all kinds of sections with little curves and kinks that you have to work through if you want to get the most out of it. I really like surfing here- it's a fun wave.
Here's the drying rack of our second story deck. The surf spot is literally steps away. When you're done with a session you hit the shower that's right in the front yard, climb the steps to the deck and ditch your wet trunks for some dry ones. If you're smart, you hang 'em up to dry- if you're really smart you tie 'em off like this so that the wind, or a curious iguana, doesn't take off with 'em.
This guy would show up in the morning on his horse carrying his surfboard. He'd tie off his ride and go for a surf, take off and then come back in the evening for another session. The people in the little town behind the surfspot are, in general, really friendly. The local surfers are stoked- the kids who surf here all the time really have it wired. I waited 'til the last day and caught this guy coming out of the water, walked right up to him and gave him a little regalo; six bars of tropical surfwax that Chad had left over- it's gold to those guys, expensive and tough to come by- he was stoked!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Welcome home: Was I really just surfing 200 yard long roping left-handers?

Jetting around globe is a trip. You can be surfing crystal blue, head high, Mexican peelers with girls in bikinis in the morning and by six that evening you're fighting the urge to push a lowered Tercel off the edge of the 405. Blink once, surfing bliss. Blink twice, it's a gray April, Southern California afternoon.

Best memory of this trip: "Hey, thanks for yesterday". Me: "What?". Girl: "You probably don't even remember do you?" Me: "No..." Girl: "You shouted me into that wave- the first and only one I caught that afternoon. It was great!" Me: "Oh yeah! You were on the Harbour longboard, right?" Girl: "Yeah! Thanks!" Me: Smile.

In surfing, share.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mexican shopping list on the stairway of death

Last day down here- making sure the pantry is well stocked:

This is way gnarlier than you think- shoulders blown out by surfing everyday, five rum bubbas clouding your frontal lobe and then you're supposed to get the left over booze from the guy upstairs? Are you kidding me?

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Wondering about the Absolute Trip 12'6" Race board?

Happy to say it seems to work. Ned Johnson of Paddle board Orlando took a 2nd place trophy in the Water Monkey race in Tampa, Fl. today. They say he dominated the whole race out front then fell on a buoy turn got passed by 5 guys then hunted them down and went on to get 2nd place. I do not have the times yet but I am stoked. The board did everything I wanted it to but a side by side comparison of the Bark 12'6" its faster but did not have the glide of the Bark. So back to the shop last week. I tested the drag and the glide determined it was a weight issue "to light". I added a 3lb hot coat, re sanded the bottom and am hearing its blistering fast now. Apparently it works. 1st race, 1st trophy. Not Bad....

I tested it in the surf last week and it actually surfs pretty good I was catching swell outside and bringing them through no problem. Even went down the line. Pretty crazy I like it. Took it in the flat water with the PBO guys and I was on the Bark pulling hard on my paddle trying to catch my board and snapped my favorite paddle. Anyone have a fairly clean "Power ex" paddle they want to sell? I need a clean blade.

Capt Ron Neff

Friday, April 15, 2011

How to eat a mango: Surfer food... mainland edition.

Esmerelda, the owner of the house that we're renting dropped off a bunch of ripe mangos and papaya. I'm not a fan of papaya, it tastes kind of like puke in my opinion. Mango, especially the little yellow variety that they have down here is something else- I love those mangos! Here's how you peel and eat a mango:

You need a sharp knife and you need a ripe mango- I prefer these little ones. The big green and red ones are okay but these are the best. In the states I've seen them called champagne mangos- grab a couple ripe ones.

Next, make a rum and coke to get in the mood- four count rum, handful of ice cubes and some coca cola (in the States I'll go with 7Up and spiced rum down here- clear rum).

The first slice is just to the side of the middle of the mango- you're trying to avoid the pit in the middle while producing a nice thick slice off the side. In the photo above, we'll be eating off the bottom piece of mango.

Take your knife and cut a grid pattern into the mango- easy now, don't cut your damn hand open- we know you've been drinking!

Now, flip the mango inside out and you'll have all these little mango nuggets fully exposed and ready for you to mash your face into- I like to sprinkle a little salt and chile on the mango... try it, you'll love it.

You get two slice off each mango, so after you're done macking the first side, pick up the mango and shave off the other side and repeat the first steps.

You also get the mango on either side of the pit. To get that part, you just peel the skin off the thin middle slice and jam your face into it.

If you're doing it right, then you should have mango chunks all over your face... and the rum should make you happy. In my case, check yes in both boxes.

Final note: If you have any papaya left over, throw it away.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

When you least expect it....

Well the surf didn't quite build into what we thought it would. Isn't that always the case: When you expect great waves- you get mediocre surf... and when you don't expect it, when everything is a bonus, than you score. That's what's happening right now. We had two SUPER fun days at "Up the Road" and a couple fun sessions at "out in fronts"- if we had to leave right now we'd consider it a success. But, I'm still crossing my fingers for a couple more stellar mornings!

If you want to go low-budge, you can live in one of these right on the point... but be ready, the mozzies know where the easy meals are.

Every time I come down here there's some new animal hanging out at the cantina. Last time, it was a baby deer named Chico (don't know what happened to Chico) this time it's a little pack of Lab puppies.

Heres the view off the front porch. If you like it hot, humid and tropical, this place is it. Check out the little surf shower steps off the beach.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Surfing... a lot.

Been surfing everyday. Surf's been good and it's building... wow:

Post surf breakfast spot with a million dollar view and a nice cold beer. Pinch me, pinche.

It's tough... but someone's got to do it. I guess there's been some weirdness on the road with the local trafficantes... even rumors give you the yips around here- that might explain the lack of crowds.

Huevos rancheros, a pile of fresh corn tortillas... and service with a smile. Yes.

Here's a shot of the spot right out in front. The daily routine involves a surf up the road and an afternoon go-out in front of the casita. I could get used to this.

Here's our cool little breakfast spot- hand painted by Diana the local girl who puts together the best chile relleno you've ever tasted.

And inside that building are a couple of coolers packed with ice and, you guessed it, cold freshies.... the perfect workout recovery drink.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

1.5 Days of fun surf... Hello from Mainland Mex!

Got here last night, jammed out of the airport and pulled up to our house-on-the-point. Immediately pulled the boards, fins and paddles out and hit the water. The point looked fun, it was probably only two or three feet out but the stando makes it all fun. We all nabbed a bunch of waves and started cranking out cutback after cutback. The session only lasted a couple of hours before the sun set- a short one but a great way to wash off the residue of a day of traveling.

This is the first thing you look for when you get to an airport. Big Chad pointing the way.

Obligatory Bloody-Mary-from-LAX travel photo. Two of those, preflight, make the trip go a lot more smoothly.

In the air and at work- kind of. I would have posted from 30,000 feet up but Alaskan wanted to charge me close to ten bucks to do it.

Yes, there will be dents in that roof- five surf boards, two standos, four paddles and whatever else we could jam in the boardbags- that's a lot of weight for that little Renault... but it must be done, right?

This guy is right outside the doors of the airport- when you get out of the A/C, I suggest that you head right to him because when that humidity hits you like a hot wet blanket, you're gonna need to hydrate.

Surf shots coming!

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Are you kidding me!!!

Well peeps... we did it: 1000 posts... can you believe it?

There are only a few things I've purposefully done a thousand times in my life just for fun (easy, just take it easy- I know what you're thinking- don't say it). It's been a great ride and I'm just as fired up as when I started tapping this thing out. I have to give huge thanks to my brother Michael Ashley who set this thing up and said, "Dude, just start writing about paddle surfing so mom will know what we were doing on our trip (we had just driven down to Cabo San Lucas)." My answer, of course, was, "That's stupid, no one will care about what we do." Guess I was wrong- thanks readers- you rule.

And we're just getting started!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Big Chad goes to mainland Mex... with the FrankenZipper

So you're packing for your surf trip- it's late at night... and your board bag's zipper blows out. What do you do? Frankenzipper!

Big Chad is one resourceful guy... who's got a lot of zip ties.
If you're a real surfer you know that on a surf trip you have to have your own equipment... Big Chad's got a stando and a long board in there- both custom made for him... and they're both going to make it down there.
Zip ties, duct tape and saran wrap... the world is held together with this kind of stuff.
Nice work Big Chad... see you at 5am!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Back to the wave garden.... Mainland Mexico

Racing is great... but surfing RULES! Packing it all up for a week of warm water, waves and cold freshies. Yes. Here's a shot of the surf gear:

That's a Stu Kenson Pleasure Pig (6'6 x FAT), stringerless eps blank, epoxy and a whole lot of foam... gonna see how she runs on those long lefts. Of course the 8'6 Stamps Grim Ripper is coming along, two paddles, a few leashes and a bunch of tropical wax.

Check out the fin selection... all from Futures Fins. Coming along for the ride are three different set ups for the stando and a quad set up for the Pleasure Pig. More fin info to come once I get down and running.

Off for LAX at 5am and should be into a Bloody Mary by no later than 8am. Check back for the obligatory Bloody Mary surf trip shot!

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Saturday, April 9, 2011

2nd Annual Hovie Newport Race: A few photos... a few words.

Just got back from Hovie's 2nd annual SUP festival in Newport beach. As advertised, a few photos, a few words... Check 'em out:

Sign up time... early morning in Newport Beach. That's Roland Baker from, John Goodman in the background and Robert Howson passing on secret course information- always good people at the stand up races.
Chris Koerner, Magic the surf dog and Andi Johnson.
Roland Baker ( offered me the use of Coreban's 14' Alpha racer, a sweet looking board that paddles nicely too. This one's going to be a rocket on the downwinder races. Roland was super cool to bring it out to Newport for me (getting there early too so I could give it a test drive before the race... what a guy) and he helped me finagle a way to attach my GPS onto the board. I think the Alpha is a great choice for folks looking to get out and cover some ground- it's a fast paddler  is super stable and has really nice glide. I paddled it through the six mile Elite course in 1:05 and had a great time on it. Thanks again Roland! 
It's always cool to meet the guys who kicked off stand up paddling from the early years. This is Dave who drove all the way out from Henderson Nevada (check the license plate) with his crew of Mojave BoardRiders... these guys rock and are the epitome of commitment. If there's ever a race in Henderson- I'm driving out there for it and hanging out with Dave's crew.
I was also stoked to meet Kevin from Futures Fins- and then I got all messed up on his fin tree. If you've ever wondered about what your options are in fins, you need to talk to the guys at Futures... I have no doubt in my mind that they'll get you dialed in. Thanks for the hat Kevin!
I had a good race. I didn't quite finish with the time that I was hoping for but I wasn't bringing up the back half of the pack either. The weather, the people and the positive vibes made this an overall success. I would like to particularly commend Byron Kurt and his crew for compiling the results and posting them so quickly- the guys had results up in a matter of minutes. Unreal. Click here for official race results.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Restless nights and paddle plans...

I don't know if it's this upcoming race that's got me all spun up but I just can't sleep right now. Bummer because I'm going to need to be rested for this one. The Hovie race in Newport is six miles of flat water sprinting. Kiwi and I will be rolling out at 5:30 am. I'll be into my standard bowl of oatmeal at 4:30 and, hopefully, on the water, racing, by 9:30. Excited and restless, see you there.

My Race Schedule:

I've checked out the WPA (World Paddle Association) race schedule (yep, got my WPA number- I'm part of the club) and am stoked to be able to commit to most of the races. I'm definitely in for the Waterman's Applied Science race in Dana Point on April 30th as well as the Malibu Downwinder (May 7th) and the Santa Monica race June 11th. In addition to the WPA races, I'll be competing in the Moonlight beach race May 14th and the Coronado Loop Race (in my backyard!) on May 22nd. Unfortunately, I won't be able to make the Eaton Race April 23rd- made a promise that I have to keep on that day.

Mainland Mex: Yes, I still surf these things...

I've got two mainland mex surf trips planned for the next couple of months. Fired up to get out of here this Monday, that's the first one. The second trip is still being planned- I'll keep you posted.

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Oh Yeah! 12'6" Absolute Trip Race 22lbs...

Did a Freak show day glow airbrush on it. I am pretty proud of this thing. I had my rocket scientist buddies from NASA over a few nights doing formulas, slip ratios and some heavy math and measuring and of course beer. I designed and built the blank shaped it from my 20+ years experience and they helped refine some things. I actually have a few things going into this thing that is not on any other race board. By the math and comparing to the Bark 12'6" which I have here as a repair and have been using as a control. The eggheads tell me from their math, I am 20% more efficient and 18% less drag in calm flat water than the Bark Surftech. Pretty cool huh? We shall see this weekend got some racers coming to test and compare to the other boards they all own like the Bark, 404, Infinity ect. Will have some finished pics tomorrow afternoon. It is 2.2lb foam chambered, glassed in all 5.5 S-2 and 1.75oz S-2. Finished laminating it this morning and got the bottom hot coat on it tonight so no fresh pics but I did throw it on the scale. 22.45lbs I am looking at a finished weight with fins and a pad less than 25lbs. I am hoping for 24 or a little less. According to my NASA egghead friends I could do this same board in vacuum bagged full carbon/1.75S-2 glass and finished weight at 17lbs. I figured it at 16lbs but their scientific calculators said 17.

I am pretty excited I have not had a project stimulate my brain in a long time. Last time I did was when I built a 4 seat all carbon fiber, pressurized full acrobatic airplane with these same NASA guys in charge of the calculator. We put a 700hp Walther Turbine in one of them. It cruised 270nts at 50% power. Pretty cool plane. Now we just get Big John up on this thing with his 1/50th hp arms pulling on a paddle we will be in there....

Capt Ron

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pau Hana Surf Supply: River surfing the Big EZ!

If you think this is easy, consider this: that standing wave and all those little, playful bumps are the products of rocks; usually the granitic variety. Hard, round, put-a-dent-in-your shin and cave-in-your-kneecap rocks, just something to think about. Check out this river surfing clip from Pau Hana:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

New Kialoa Stand Up Paddles at Emerald City, Coronado.

Got a chance to jam up to Emerald City Surfshop in Coronado to check out the new hybrid Kialoa paddles that Kelly just got in.

Just got this note from Kelly: Some clarity- the paddle shown is the PUPU which sells for $149. It is the best paddle at that price that we have found yet. My notes on the catalog could be confusing, the PUPU blade comes in 8" only but the shaft length can be cut to order. All of the shafts in the Ikaika series can be cut. Zoom in on the catalog photo for various specs.

Check 'em out:

These Kialoas were pretty darn sweet. I think they're meant to be an entry level paddle. The paddles were reasonably light, the shafts stout and the blades were pretty nifty too. 
Here's a shot from the catalog- I think the paddle I saw was the Hapa and I seem to remember it retailed for somewhere in the neighborhood of $175. Give the guys at Emerald City a call if you're interested: (619) 435-6677.
Of course, the Hapa comes with the iron-clad Kialoa warranty.