Thursday, November 13, 2014

Of Broadswords, Treehouses, Rum, and Poor Photography

Before.
After.

7'10 Broadsword for Brian, a local acolyte of shred, treehouses, and mindblowing single-malt rum.
Super rich coke-bottle green tint by the new guy at Almar. Fins courtesy of Rainbow Fin Co. Cedar stringer produced by the earth.
As a note of personal defense, even JP at Surfy Surfy, the guy who takes more pictures of surfboards than any other human being who has ever lived, admits it's hard to take pictures of surfboards.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Smoke This

I like it when they go from this:

To this:
To this!

Deep blue 7'6 Bonzer for local shred-and-jazz enthusiast Guitar Jim.
This is the Cigar Volant model--a hi-pro, beachbreak shreddy egg that rocks anywhere from one to five fins with joy in its sweet, foamy heart.
Resin cigar bands really tie the board/concept together.
Lotta junk in the trunk on this one.
The feels that laminators, sanders, and polishers get in their guts when they see a bonzer with e-wings and glassons come through the production line is completely canceled by the feeling the surfer gets when laying into their first fingertip-dragging, rail-burying, fully-involved bottom turn on a head-high wave. Value added!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Nice Pair

Question:
What's red and green and shiny all over?
Answer:
This sweet, shiny set of Bronsons headed for the newly-minted SEALS Watersports right here in downtown Santa Rosa.
SEALS, formerly Pinnacle Dive Center, is a one-stop shop for the Northern California waterman/waterwoman. Dive, fish, spear, surf, the whole deal.
Here's how I describe the Bronson on the website: the Bronson is a rounded-bottom trim machine good for all conditions and waves up to a bit overhead. Like it's namesake, the Bronson is classy and versatile and looks good with its shirt off.
The deep, deep red opaque is a rounded-pin 2+1 measuring in at 8'9".
Because 8'9 has been scientifically proven to be fuggin rad!
It should cook from knee to overhead.
The coke-bottle green Bronson is a 9'2" single fin. Gets the job done with flair in just about any condition you can imagine that doesn't require an inflatable vest or serious breath-holding skills.
Technically a double stringer: one basswood, one redwood. Ebony and ivory. Chocolate and peanut butter. George and Wheezy. Together forever.
Handshaped in Sonoma County. Color lamination, sand, and polish work by the good, dusty folks at Almar Surf Works in Santa Cruz.
Zeke's got a good command of the surfier selections at SEALS. Stop by and chat him up. If he looks tired, it's because he has more small children than you, and one of them's going through a hitting stage. Maybe bring him a chai latte to help out?
SEALS. Physically here: 2112 Armory Drive in Rosa
Electronically here: http://www.sealswatersports.com/
Facebookally here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/SEALS/594226577357457

Monday, September 29, 2014

Of MiniSims, William Butler Yeats, and Fruta

Early fall is the best of times, and it is the worst of times. The best of times because it’s amazing. The worst because the pool is going to close soon--where the hell am I supposed to get $2 MGD drafts and $1 microwaved hottogs between now and May 1st?
Also, a house on my street burned down. Not good. 
Also, we got hammered with an early season winter swell. Good. 
Also, it rained. Weird, as it hasn’t done this for a few years, as far as I can remember.
In his oft-quoted poem The Second Coming, William Butler Yeats wrote, 'the center cannot hold,' in reference to some kind of global event (his interpretation of a global event is not a rosy one). Over the years, I've repositioned my thinking on this one. Not to challenge Yeats, but I think the center is the thing that holds us in difficult times. The center is, well, the center. The core. The strongest part of our selves. The outside may crumble off like decaying bark, but inside, at the core, there’s still bright, fresh wood.
This morning I woke up my five-year-old, who was in the throes of a dream. “You were in my dream,” she said, sleepily. “Only it was just half you.”
“What was my other half?” I asked.
“You were half man, half strawberry,” she stated.
"Which half was strawberry?" I asked solemnly.
"Whatever," she said, then rolled over and fell back asleep.
I liked her response. It was correct: it didn’t matter if I was a strawberry with arms and legs and a human head, or if I was a human torso with a strawberry head, or whatever. The point was that it was me but not me, but underneath it it was me.
There’s an essence to things, an inside we can feel but not see. The center, and it is strong. It can hold. The details aren’t important—arms, legs, seeds, a stem, whatever.
What’s this got to do with Woodworker Dan’s new 5’4 MiniSims? Not a goddamn thing, that’s what. But not everything has to connect. Sometimes the great world spins and it lands us on a pair of snake eyes and we get the prize. Sometimes the great world spins and our neighbor’s house burns down and a long-period groundswell graces our shores and your boss gets a new car.
Sometimes it spins and spins and we tuck into a clean section of wave on a freshly-minted slab of foam  with two fins and suddenly we’re spinning, too, and when we stop we’re half strawberry and could use a strong cup of coffee.
What I’m saying is: we lost our third hockey game of the season 7-0 last night, and I’m sad this morning.

Know who’s not sad?
Woodworker Dan! He’s got some fresh foam and a new punch on his sandwich card. He's got a great wife and a great kid and is the source of many of the tailblock woods you've been admiring for years. He's got two earrings in his left ear (!), so you know he shreds.
Speaking of sandwich cards, I would like to take this moment to remind you that I care about you. Because of this, I’m offering yet ANOTHER choice on your punch card. In addition to Ike’s incredible lunch sandwiches, and Devil’s Teeth incredible breakfast sandwiches, you now have the choice of redeeming your punch card at Fruta, Sonoma County's own Michoacan-style ice cream shop (Michoacana palateria y neveria), after a mere five punches. 
!Dios mio!
Because of the incontestable goodness of Fruta, I can no longer say the following words in my house, lest my girls go apeshit: Fruta, fruta, Fruit, Froot, Ice cream, Michoacan, neveria, Phineas and Ferb, Taylor Swift, dessert.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Orange Boss

Orange Boss: not John Boehner, but another punch for Chad's sandwich card.
Dude's getting close to an Ike's. You know me, I'm no betting man, but if I were I'd say he'd be all over a Jaymee Sirewich--fried chicken, yellow BBQ sauce, ranch, pepper jack, non-mouth-ruining Dutch crunch. What?!?
Chad knows a few things. How to manufacture an iron grate for subterranean pork roasting. How to convert energy from the sun to power your home. How to climb steep granite. How to shred steep waves, bounce back quickly from nose-into-the-board smashes, rescue a good dog, marry a nice lady.

This is Chad's brand-spanking new 6'6 Pitboss, all cured and ready for fall-into-winter ground-swell shredding.
The PitBoss is no Jaymee Sirewich, but it is a step-up design meant for steeper, punchier waves. It's got some volume under the chest, because steeper, punchier waves worth surfing tend to not break on the shore up here. So you need to paddle to them. Sometimes pretty far. Sometimes you need to be able to lift your head up as high as you can when you're paddling to see over the 'bump' in front of you to the 'wave' behind it.
Sometimes you wish you hadn't seen the wave behind it, and were instead on your couch with a dram of Kilchoman bingewatching Quickdraw on Hulu.
This one's a quad. And a thruster.
The deep orange palette is Chad's nice-lady approved.
 Round pintail is standard on these mofos. I've done a few baby swallows, but they look weird to me. And sharp.
Just the hint of a beak nose--not enough beak to affect the ride, just an aesthetic nod to the larger-wave shredders and shapers who came before us. Bigger-wave riding has a history of folks with large balls and large ladyballs, and does not include me.
Top notch resin colowork from Almar in Santa Cruz, fins from Rainbow in Watsonville, foam from US Blanks in Gardenia. California is awesome.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Executive Order

Good Lord, the shit's been busy lately. Trips in all compass directions and altitudes. Earthquakes. Two-wheeler-and-ice-cream adventures. Storm tracks and hurricanes and back-to-school sweats and shorter days and the first hints of the miraculous golden light of fall.
And through this, of course, the waves keep coming. Cold ones and warm ones and sharp pointy ones and slow thick ones that spread themselves over the reefs and sandbars like peanut butter.
And people want to ride on these waves on surfboards, and those boards have to be shaped. And the great, watery world keeps on spinning.
Speaking of shaped boards, here's Brent's new Executive (9'10), with insane artwork by local shredder/artist Blair Tom. If you've been to Bolinas, or if you're cool, you're familiar with Blair's work. You can dig deeper into Blair's creations, inspired by the first nations of the Pacific Northwest, HERE.

If you've surfed Bodega Bay, you're familiar with Brent, who catches lots of waves. If you're really familiar with Brent, you've learned to seek a second opinion when he texts, IT'S TOTALLY EPIC! GET TO S____N RIGHT NOW AND BLAST IT!!!!!!

His new stick, The Executive, is my interpretation of the Hobie Phile Edwards model (seen HERE), in a contemporary Northern California beachbreak setting.
Its standard features--triple stringer, glass-on fin, rounded pintail, pulled nose, slightly rolled entry to a panel vee off the tail--inspire Edwards-stile trim, glide, and mojo. The updated rocker, foil, and rails, however, give it the goods in juicier surf.
One might ask, Does it noseride?
To which the Executive would reply, Who gives a F*&c? Leave the obsessive, terrier-like running-to-the-nose to the young whippersnappers, and instead focus on the sweet, sweet pleasures of the rear 1/3rd of the board. The high-line finding, pocket protecting, curl seeking, steezy style-making aquatic engine zone of the whole goddamn thing.
Clearly, the Executive is a gentleman's surfboard, and should be enjoyed with a gentleman's beverage.
Recommended Pairing: I recommend enjoying the Executive with a dram of Aberlour A'Bunadh. Smooth, classic, stylish--a lush, golden complement for a board that should take you into your golden years of surfing with power, grace, and a pretty solid buzz.
Salud!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Stripes and Stripes Forever

9'2 Bronson for my old buddy, Mark.

Mark and I met in 1985 and, like most kids, we explored the poles of the teenage experience to define our own identities--we were skaters, slackers, authority challengers, artists. We were writers, scholars, philosophers, dudes who flirted with each others' sisters. We were off-the-gridders, dirt bags, pretty boys, climbers, surfers, journalists, lady-crazed Jewbags, monks, walkers, bikers, boaters, shut-ins, fly fishermen, mountain towners, club kids, river guides, musicians.
Interestingly, the middle ground we've reached thirty years later, each on our separate corners of the continent, looks a lot like the suburbs.
Go figure.
True friends teach us about ourselves. Mark showed me, in seventh grade, the difference between creating and being creative. Anybody can make something, but it takes something truly special to live in the world between stuff that exists and stuff that could exist.
I've learned to visit this space, but Mark has always inhabited it.
You can check out his design/build studio HERE.
If you shred Maine waters, be on the lookout for Mark and his new sled, with not-quite-black and white, not-quite horizontal (by design!) lamination striping by Tony Mikus, a creative force of his own in Santa Cruz.

Recommended Pairing: this Bronson pairs best with a lukewarm Heineken in a can, poached from your folk's fridge on a warm summer night. Best when split between two underage drinkers in a tree fort.