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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Surf trips, Motorcycles, shark infested waters and a gruesome injury!

Wow! Lot of things going on with me lately- sorry to have neglected posting for such a long time. I'm gonna have to warn you- don't scroll down to the last pic if you've got a problem with looking at finger joints bending in an unnatural fashion. 

Other than that, things have been kind of hectic around here. To start off I made a killer road trip up to Northern California and hooked up with Team Boga for a photo shoot at a spot that sketches me out- Davenport landing. Davenport is the site of at least two confirmed white shark attacks, the water's cold and it just feels... out there (yes, San Diego surfers are wussys when it comes to this type of stuff- we've definitely got it easier down here). Check it out: 

The Team Boga fun machine...

I really didn't want to be in the water that much (and the surf looked really small) so I grabbed the biggest board the boys had on the rack- that's me with Boga's 12' plus El Rey heading out to the feeding grounds...
I was impressed with that Boga- it paddled great and it was actually really fun to surf.
While I was up north, I got a chance to visit my brother Mike who lives in Santa Cruz- and the Ramble Machine was curious about Stanford so we stopped by to see if we could see Chelsea Clinton- guess we missed her by a few years. Trees were rad though.
I think I'm gonna start another blog called "Mid-life moto Idiot"... as you can see, I'm know kind of hooked on motorcycles. Correct me if I'm wrong but don't most people get dirt bikes out of their systems by the time they're thirteen? Guess I missed out- I am messed up on these things... in a positive way. Anyway, here I am at my dirt bike class at the Honda Rider Education Center in Colton, Ca. so much fun! You know- I think I'm really going to start that other blog... I've got a lot to tell you about what I'm learning with motos!
I had such a fun Thanksgiving break- two weeks of road tripping up and down the coast and then a couple days of dirt bike riding. I did have one mishap that happened the last day of my vacation- on my third dirtbike trip. Kind of nasty- but I messed up while riding and dislocated my finger. If you've never done it, you're not missing anything. It's nasty. Especially when you look down and see your finger bending the wrong way. Like this: 
No, that's not my finger- but I did look down and see my digit bent like that. It freaked me out. And it hurt like hell.
So now I'm sitting here typing in an awkward fashion (fingers taped together) wondering when I'll be able to grip my paddle enough to go for a surf (the Becky Stuart Memorial Race this weekend is out). The weekend surf report is looking promising so I know I'll figure something out... and I just HAVE to fire up my bike and go for another ride- finger be damned!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday surf session...

Decided to bypass half off toasters at WallMart for a low tide stando session at Patch. Got cans of chili, turkey dogs and the Kraken (google it)... Glassy and looking fun think I'm not the only one with Patch plans:

Saturday, November 19, 2011

San Diego Outrigger Club Race: Kiwi takes 2nd place in tough conditions

Just heard that my good buddy charged to a second place finish in open stock class stand up paddle board! Stoked for him. Kiwi told me that conditions at the race were the toughest of any race he's been in with lots of nasty cross chop and big, six foot open ocean swells. Kiwi borrowed my 30" wide Stamps Poison Arrow, paddling it for the very first time ever. According to Kiwi the board's stability was a huge plus in the mixed and stormy seas. Kiwi also went with one of Future Fins new race fins from the soon to be released 2012 line- these things are radical blending speed with weed free performance. Oh yeah, the two new Laird boards that were there got smoked!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

New Boards/New Ideas: Kainoa McGee Stand Up Boards and Plus One... a new Racer?

Just got these shots from my friend Manny Vargas (check out his awesome surf water photography at Some really cool stuff happening here in Southern San Diego. First of all Mike Pilgrim of SurfCraft International (click here to see more of what Mike's got going on) is teaming up with Hawaiian hellman and pipeline charger Kainoa McGee to get Kainoa's new stand ups out here in So. Cal. - from the buzz around town the boards are sweet and there's five or six local guys waiting in line to get there chance on the demo boards Mikey's got stashed somewhere (pics below). Also, it turns out that the mad scientists at Plus-One are putting together race boards and jumping into the game with stock class boards as well as fourteen footers. All of this dutifully recorded by Manny V., check out his shots below.

Here's a peek at one of Kainoa's boards- love the diamond tail. I'll hop on one and give you a rundown of how it goes as soon my colon decides to stop hating me. That's Mikey in the foreground, gray sweater with big Kainoa in the background (short sleeve teeshirt, right side). Various Plus-One board wizards checking rails and fin placements. 
Wide angle/high angle: love the perspective Manny V.!
Top-side Kainoa board... like how foiled the tail is... low volume.
Eh brah, five boxes!
Okay, on to the new Plus-One raceboard: Stock class, rounded tail. As you know I'm a big fan of the high volume wide-assed race board (but what do I really know- I'm a middle of the pack racer, remember?). I just get the feeling that for most of the conditions we're in here in California a really pulled pintail isn't the way to go- the tail sinks with each power stroke and you can here the gurgle of vortex turbulence off the back. I like what the boys have gone with here- I'd like it better if I got a chance to actually paddle the beast.
If anything, from what I know about Plus-One, the fit and finish (read glass job with tricky carbon fiber) is probably A+ on this thing. And, if my little spy resources are correct, the glass job is probably some exotic, multi-material layup that's ultra-light and damn strong. Check those boxy rails... hmmmm.

Been Experimenting a bit. My New Board and paddles

Here he is... My new board. 8'2" x 29" x 4.5" with some crazy stuff going on. The board it is sitting on is one I love dearly a 8'4" x 29.5 fish shape wing diamond with spherical rocker (basically the bottom curve is a piece of a giant circle or sphere and equal nose and tail). It rides junky, mushy waves unreal. But when it gets decent with the low rocker it will stuff coming down off a vertical lip and care is needed.
So I built a new updated one to ride decent surf. This one has rocker lots of it. I did not want a water plow so I put a very deep single concave through the whole thing stopping just before the fins and veed the hell out of it nose to tail. Also the tail rocker last 6" is flipped considerably. The fins, Yeah buddy we got em 7 FCS fusion boxes in there. I set it up as a Twinzer, Quad, Tri, Twinzer+1 and a 6 or 7 fin if you want. I have not built myself a twinzer in many many years and after the last 3 days of surfing it I must say, I NAILED IT... This thing is MENTAL.... Very fast very loose, did I mention its fast, It comes down the line like a rocket is tied to its ass then redirects as good as any prone board I have ever ridden. Pretty cool I am STOKED... Its funny this board was intended to be a 7'11" but when I drew the outline it looked so good where the outside curves met I just left it and it came together at 8'2" as it was intended to be a more rounded nose. Crazy how things come together sometimes.



Profile bottom

Deck with a arch bar, always...

This Is my prototype paddle
. I have finalized the blade design and finished the production molds. The production paddles are a bit different top blade shape than the one off in the pic below. Also the new paddles have the type of carbon fiber that is in the next picture. Now to be clear this is my favorite paddle size and shape. Its huge 130 square inches. With my paddle design the paddles outline shape is customizable. Yep we can make any shape blade anyone desires, and any size. I have 3 prototypes I have been testing the last month and I must say I have the blade contours down it is unlike any paddle out there and every concave and dihedral has a purpose and comes together with no flutter, no slip or vibration just pure solid pull no weirdness. The top face contour is intended to be steerable it has quite a bit of a bonzer style vee and when you do a paddle slash turn it tracks like it has a fin. No Slipping like flatter faced paddles. I have been working out different shapes of blades they will be up soon.

Oh yeah I took the paddle in the pictures and put it in my dads 10 ton press with a scale attached and I unknowingly bottomed the scale out at 550lbs trying to break this paddle. It did not even creak and I am currently using this paddle. Pretty sick....

Big John Sorry to hear about the explosions and sickness. I feel for you I almost died in Central America years ago from parasites that are in the water its a nightmare. Get well soon and we will have to hook up one day for a surf or trip.
Capt. Ron Neff

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Here I sit...

Listening to my gut grumble from some piece of virally infested, bacterially swarming piece of comida I jammed into my face this weekend down in Baja. Man, I got wacked. Worse than ever. We're talking the full 3am pellmell dash for the toilet with exploding sphincter. And now it's carried on for three days. I've taken some good advice (thanks Pilgy) and have been chugging Pedialyte (stuff tastes horrible) and eating soup (when I can get it down the gullet). But anyways, here I sit thinking of plans- dreaming about firing up the ramble machine and heading somewhere warm- scoring some surf, having some fun; winter's cool but the short days and early sundowns sure do get you thinking.

The ramble machine's garage... exploding with fun. How's that Jamie Mitchell quad set? Rad set of fins- look for the full review coming soon.
Ah, some small clean ones....

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Race boards: Laird's latest and greatest... hey, wait a minute!

Typically, where Laird goes others follow. I'm sure by now you've seen his new 10k dollar race board- modeled after racing yachts and heading in exactly the opposite design direction of all the other race boards I've seen out on the water here in California. Check it out:

No gurgling, sucking pintail, no ultra narrow outline- fat ass, square box rails.... kind of like...

Mine! The Poison Arrow- wide, thick, boxy, beautiful- and for me (210lbs, 5'10) it's fast and importantly stable. Interesting to see how two designs develop- totally independent of each other and the outcome is the same. It will be interesting to see how the board goes with a fit, serious racer on it. For me, this design (along with a year of racing and a 30 lb weight loss) helped me drop twenty minutes off my time in my last race (compared to a year ago- same race, same course). Thanks Tim Stamps for building me a true custom race board, a board that only Laird (and I) could love (well maybe not- there's a lot of buzz about the "new" wide tailed race boards).

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Next Baja trip in the works: Motos, paddlesurf and dory... !!!

Went out and picked up a toy for riding trails down in Baja. Check it out:

My first moto! It's a Yamaha TW200 it only weighs about 250lbs, electric start with kickstart back up- big ol' fat tires and 100% badass! Now I've just got to learn how to ride it- ooops, got that covered too- going to Honda Dirt Bike School in two weeks and now I'm getting crazy about my next Baja trip: Boats (my hand made wooden dory), Bikes (my TW200), boards (8'4 Stamps Stando, 9'0 Stamps noserider) and bros (my brother Mike who I'm convincing to get a bike too). Yes!!! Preliminary plan is to charge it down to Cabo- paddling when there's waves, riding trails when it's blown out and generally just using as many toys as we can. Yeehaw- I love plans!!!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cranking off shore winds today

I love the fall in California- the winds start blowing offshore and the surf starts showing up. Like today- check it out:

My buddy Kelly snapped this (and the other photos) with his camera phone- that's me racing down the line.
There were some nice peaks out there but the tide was dead low and these things were breaking hard- and it was TOUGH to paddle against the offshore winds and push my stando over the ledge. I definitely got swatted on a couple of those things.