Monday, November 24, 2008

The Gold Member

Fatty was spotted outside her natural habitat (glassing room, sanding room, couch) the other day—a cause for celebration.
Reasons she seldom leaves the Fattyshack are numerous. They include nurturing chickens, eggs, carnivorous plants, crickets, lizards, snakes, plants, cats, dogs, and Bob.
Then there’s the business of her business—returning calls from pain-in-the-ass shapers, installing fin boxes, laminating, hotcoating, pinlining, sanding, glossing, more sanding, and polishing, organizing pickup and delivery, cracking beers…
Somewhere in there she sneaks in water, a little pot pie, maybe some season two of Dexter.
Understandable she rarely leaves, so understandable the cause for celebration when she did last week.
On this particular Big Trip to Town, Fatty picked up an ailing lizard from the vet, then came over with some delicious Fattyshack-grown organic eggs. She also dropped off a freshly glassed mini-Simmons with accompanying Chanukkah-inspired treats. My zadie would approve!

Free bag of Chanukkah gelt with each Gold Member!

Wine was opened. Peppers were stuffed. Conversation arose. Boards were discussed. Shapers heralded. The economy cursed. Delicious Costello cheese was munched, appreciated, reduced to delicious crumbs (which were then chomped by a sneaky hound mutt).
Had our President-elect solved our woes? Not quite yet, but we felt it was close. Just a little bit more spit and shoeshine, maybe a quick shot of WD-40.
All was well.
When Fatty split the next morning, she brought with her some freshly-shaped blanks, a highly medicated bearded iguana, and two old-as-hell longboards she had unearthed from beneath my deck. Her purpose?
“Fix em up. Give em away.”
I love this lady.
Did I mention she dropped off the mini-Simmons just in time for our annual Thanksgiving pilgrimage to San Onofre?

If this board looks stringerless, it is because it has no stringer

Profile shot highlights S deck, rocker, and shiny wood floors

If you see a posse of Tecated stokers sporting lovely Fatty Fiberglass-ed boards, stop by and say hey. Have some beach-cooked turkey, a slice of pie, a beverage, and an earful of inappropriate language from the Brothers Baird.
And take this baby for a spin.

ps: check out Sonoma Coast Surf Shop's newly launched website here. Cool folks who are stoked to be a part of the Northcoast surf scene!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Old School Hi-Pro

Sally is a woman who knows what she wants. She lives with four huge dogs, makes her own sausage, and has little patience for smalltalk. I suspect she has roots in a Rocky Mountain state. Maybe even Alaska.
A few weeks ago she called to order a board.
"I want a log," she barked into the phone. "Ten feet long and wide as hell."
When asked about her most frequented surf spots, she ticked off a list that would make our most hardened, heavily-bearded northcoast hellmen pucker in fear. Real ugly stuff--top to bottom suckout dredgers, sharky rock pits, thick horror shows with freakish appendages.
"A log?" I asked.
"Yeah," she replied. "And make it old school. Rolled bottom, single fin, heavy as a mofo."
"You might have some problems carrying a really wide board," I offered.
"What do you care?"

The information-gathering process was no less thorny. When I inquired as to her weight, she replied, "Somewhere between zero and a freaking million." When I asked her what she wanted the board to do, she replied, "Everything I can't, I'm forty two years old for God's sake."
I was smitten.
Complex women have always held me in thrall. Their powers of vexation seem unlimited, their motivations hazy. Psychologists might speculate that these women are embodiments of my self critical nature. That I seek them out to deflate an ever-swelling ego. That I attempt to recreate a dynamic with my mother, a complex woman with a penchant for making delicious kugels.
I took on the project--what else could I do?

As is my custom, I emailed her a few snaps of the freshly-shaped board. She replied a week later (message sent at 3:23am) with the following message, perfect in its litigious ambiguity:
You bastard.
The postscript read: get a haircut.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

War Pony Chronicles

I have a policy when it comes to taking orders from guys who've been drinking: give them forty-eight hours, then call them back.
This particular decree was ratified a few years ago while dropping off boards at the Fattyshack. Local ripper Donnie was picking up a ding repair and, as can happen at the Fattyshack, beers were opened.
When local rippers see fresh foam on the glassing racks, their worldview narrows. They find themselves suddenly able to focus on three things only:
1. Touching the surfboard.
2. Ordering a surfboard just like it, only, 'with a few small changes.'
3. Drinking beer.
I blame not these men, attributing their response to the complex biology of manhood--desire, acquisition, celebration.
Donnie ordered a new board and, to celebrate, cracked a fresh Tecate, feeling like a new man. The problem was that that new man also wanted to order a board, then crack a fresh Tecate to celebrate.
Each new beer produced a new man, and each new man needed his own board.
When the evening was done, Fatty had to direct me to her guest bedroom. I had tried to match Donnie's beer-per-board revelry, failing somewhere between the balsa pipeliner and buckshot-weighted tow-in board.
My pockets were stuffed with new new order cards featuring everything from the old standards (twin and quad fin fish), to the experimental (finless wooden kelp-destroyer), to the downright perverse (an outer-bar gun whose length exceeded that of my shaping room).
Fats was in her shop the next morning when I woke, but she left a strong pot of coffee on for me. She's an amazing woman. When I found her later she pushed Donnie's phone number at me.
"Call him tomorrow," she said, smiling. "When he's feeling better."
Sure enough, when I called Donnie the next day it was clear that the forty-eight hours of sobriety had given him some time to reflect. His board order, at one moment numbering more than Ted Stevens' felony convictions, had been reduced to a mere two.
"I probably don't need the sixteen foot paddleboard just yet," he said sheepishly.

So, true to policy, I had to call Anton back forty-eight hours after he ordered his new War Pony (he had a few in him when he rang me up for the order).
Turns out he was still riding shotgun on the stoke wagon, using the intervening hours to decide on a glass schedule and color scheme.

The War Pony is a high performance fish design. It borrows liberally from the contemporary thruster in rocker and foil, but retains a lot of fish volume. The result is speed, maneuverability, and glide.

This one's a quad, for maximum ripability.

I like those edges crisp!
Anyway, do yourself and those around you a favor this election season: have a glass of your local brew of choice (currently, mine is a 2005 McKenzie Pinot Noir), call your local shaper, and participate in a time-honored tradition that may not be with us for too much longer. Order up a custom board, support your local economy, and really stick it to the terrorists.
Just don't be surprised if the guy calls you back in forty-eight hours.