Monday, April 28, 2008

Long Division

I've posted this board before here, but I finally wrestled it out of Leslie's grimy mitts and into the bedroom where it belongs, awaiting pickup, wax, and shreditation.
The cream-tinted deck color is carried over to the bottom, where Fatty unleashed some serious resin kung-fu in what could be interpreted as a fertility symbol, a crop circle, or a libidinous stage of cell division.
Speaking of cell division, my wife was the recipient of a chain Amish Friendship Bread outbreak two weeks ago, and we couldn't be more pleased. Unlike its pesky cousin, the chain email, which promises only an illusory sexual nirvana, Amish Friendship Bread offers wonderful smells from your kitchen and the everlasting friendship that only the combined power of the Amish and baked goods can deliver.
It works like this: someone gives you Amish Friendship Bread yeast. This is the 'starter.' It looks like hot mayo in a plastic bag, but smells better. The starter is incubated for ten days in its plastic universe, then hatched into the world in the form of a lot more starter. You use some of this to make delicious bread for your husband and baby girl, and give the rest of the starter, which you have now divided into plastic bags, to a bunch more people.
They make more bread and starter, and the chain remains unbroken. We realize our human connectedness through hollow calories and sugary crusts.
The recipe for starter is protected by an ancient Pennsylvania Dutch curse, but can also be found on Wikipedia.
Speaking of babies on surfboards, here's mine. When a surfboard becomes available, she climbs on, waddles straight to the nose and poses, awaiting a photograph. Although this behavior seems to be growing in popularity in some longboard circles, it's much cuter if the perpetrator is fourteen months old.
You might be thinking 'regular-foot,' but she's actually switch-stancing here.
Hope you're getting some surf.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Living and surfing the Northcoast requires low expectations and a sense of humor. And a dependable car. And a hood. And a good Thermos. And some healthy rationalization skills.
Popular rationalizations include (but are not limited to):
Your many hours of driving the coastline are a form of reconnaissance , not a desperate mania that could be tempered with medication.
Your wetsuit is going to be totally dry in the morning.
Whitey chomping your ass is statistically less probable than _______ hitting your ______(feel free to fill in the blanks in the 'comments' section).
My favorites are board rationalizations: you need the exact same board in a pintail for when it has a bit more push. You need the exact same board with a double-to-single concave instead of a single-to-double concave because your buddy has one and it rips. You need the exact same board except in a quad setup just to see what it's like.
For some reason, our power of rationalization is sparked by our curiosity. I blame biology.
A stellar design with a trim-forward ideology, Displacement Hulls love clean conditions and peeling waves. Unfortunately, Sonoma County offers neither on most days. Enter the rationalization.
Hulls have enjoyed some press and popularity lately, even up here. Media images abound featuring perfect San Juanico peelers, endless swooping and gliding, and feet-almost-touching buried rail turns that could turn even Karl Rove into a believer.
And why not? We've all seen pictures or heard stories of when our local spot, scoring somewhere between passable and unspeakable on most days, totally lights up. We ourselves might even be guilty of passing on such mythologies to others in parking lots, text messages, or, um, online resources.
And we order boards for these days. And we look at them. And we imagine. We're that guy from work who has a postcard of St. Croix tacked to his bulletin board, or that lady who buys the supermarket glossy telling her what really drives men crazy. We rationalize and say, "we might be held hostage, and the terrorists will demand to know what really drives men crazy, and I'll be the only one who can save us," but that's not what we mean. What we mean is: I want to be there right now. I want to be in the Bahamas, or driving men crazy, or trimming with unbelievable speed, free from the confines of neoprene on a waist high wave that's so glassy that I'm not sure where it begins and where it ends.
Hulls do that for me.
This particular hull is a 6'7"x21.5 shaped from EPS foam and glassed with epoxy resin by Fatty. If you're thinking that a resin tint over EPS/epoxy is a difficult thing to do, you're right on the money.
These boards are more or less combinations of convexes, meant to drive off the rails and fin. The third picture illustrates the rolled bottom, which continues until it hits the fin and transitions to a long, wide flat spot for extra zing.
It might take a moment to rationalize owning a board this specialized, but think of the payoff that one day a year when your break is doing its best impression of Lower's, and you've got the perfect tool for the job.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Speaking of Roundtails...

This eight-oh's for local she-shredder K. Pic taken at the Fattyshack.
Not that many glass shops out there have organic gardens, a trampoline, hottub, and homemade greenhouse...
Eight feet long, cream deck with a green bottom and red pinline. Classy.

It's been said that the bottom resin design, done by Fatty herself, resembles an ancient fertility symbol, so be gentle if you knock the owner off of to give it a whirl yourself. And go easy on the Tecates after riding--you could be drinking for two!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Cult of the Roundtail

People want to talk about roundtails. In lineups, parking lots, wherever. A surly old bearded dude stink-eyed me for an hour the other day, then finally paddled over. I braced for the altercation, but all he said was, "roundtail?"
"Roundtail," I confirmed.
He threw me a shaka. "Roundtail" he proclaimed and paddled away.
Old dudes throwing shakas up here is just damn funny, no matter how you slice it.
Here's a wide-tailed eggy roundtail, 6'5", with a single wing and some double concaves.
Both my dust collection system and my cd player are now on the 'injured' list.
The roundtail couldn't care less.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Strange Bedfellows

It's been a strange week. So strange, in fact, that it warrants a list. What follows is the strangeness, in increasing order, of things that happened over the last few days. Elaborations will follow.
1. 93.7 BOB FM
2. Westuit pilferization
3. Colored J-Bay board replacement
4. Lust
The week started with the CD player in my shop succumbing to foam dust inhalation (the White Lung), refusing to cooperate with my musical selections, and getting stuck on 93.7 BOB FM, whose tag line is 'we play anything.' It seemed strange to me, in the early hours of my BOB naivete, that a radio station's advertising campaign would boast of a purposeful lack of discriminating taste, but no stranger than a 'set list' that included Falco's 'Rock Me Amadeus' nestled up against Fleetwood Mac's 'Songbird,' topped off by Sisqo's 'The Thong Song' (that last one I had to Google to find the's to hoping that the wife doesn't check my browser history). And that was just the first hour.
I tried music-free shaping sessions, but that seemed wrong. I can't believe I'm actually writing this, but more wrong than Dylan's exquisite 'Girl From the North Country,' butted up against Europe's 'The Final Countdown.' Good lord.
Strange, also, that my wife and I had our westuits stolen off the drying line right here in our front yard. If you see a medium-sized dude and a size 8 lady wearing black, hooded Excel 5/4s in your local lineup, strike first and ask questions later.
Stranger still, my buddy J called and ordered a new board (pictured above). J is a Northern California surfer through-and-through (though he lives in San Francisco and calls Ocean Beach his homebreak, which is technically Central California), in that he hasn't bought a new board, well, ever. The ethic up here seems to rotate between beg, borrow, and steal, but never purchase. The last board J bought was ten years ago on a trip to Jeffrey's Bay. He surfs it exclusively (although he has they typical NorCal garage stuffed with bizarre, yellowing beater boards from decades best left behind design-wise), no matter what the conditions, and I have a sneaking suspicion it is only so he can say 'my J-Bay board' in mixed company. Which he does often.
He asked for a board to replace 'my J-Bay board' (see? He has to get it in there), and we agreed that a performance-y, modern-y, quad fish would be the call. J's a bi guy, so the design called for a stretched-out stick with a more aggressive rocker for navigating OB's less-than-welcoming sandbars.
We were about to hang up when he said, "um, we haven't talked about color yet."
Color? For an OB guy?
"Yeah, I was thinking about, like, a blue tint or something..." J sounded sheepish. "And a pinline," he added quickly, as if he were forced to speak an unpleasant truth about himself. Normally, I would have relished the moment, extending the conversation to color tones, pinline shades, and gloss/polish options, but I was caught unawares.
Sometimes when I finish a shape, it comes into the house. Some boards just shouldn't have to sleep in the shop. On rare occasions, the board makes its way into the bedroom, where the eyes can rest upon its curvyness as the mind drifts toward peace. This practice has gone on for years, and my lovely wife has been more than tolerant, but yesterday's events--the strangest yet--have called into question even this most innocent of indulgences.
J's board was a 'bedroomer,' and rested carefully against the wall closest to my side of the bed. The foundations of trust were being poured, and then I returned this afternoon from doing errands to discover this:
In typical NorCal fashion, the dastardly fish had snuck back into the shop, grabbed a hapless 7'2" hybrid, and lured her back for his own torrid purposes. The two were unglassed, unrepentant.
What's worse is that somewhere in the distance I heard the faint trumpeting of horns, a haunting melody, voices lifted in song. I glanced to the clock radio on the night table and noted the new positioning on the dial--93.7!
Mad with seductive inclination, the New J-Bay Board had reset my radio to BOB FM, and now, to add insult to injury, I could just make out the musical stylings of 80's duo Wham! who were encouraging me to 'wake me up before you go-go.'
I don't know which was more biting--the foamdust in my sheets, or the lyrical irony at hand.
Fortunately, I was able to quickly reset the dial back to 88.3, and the soothing tones of Terry Gross' Fresh Air interview with actress/chanteuse Julie Andrews filled the room, restoring order, making me wonder how do you solve a problem like Maria...?
In non-weird news, my baby girl is walking all over the place, as if crawling was something she had heard about but never really got around to trying. The joy of uprightness, this gift of mobility, is just the thing I needed to keep things in perspective.
Next update: Less jibba, more jabba--have no fear, board porn is on the way!