Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Eggs are fun to shape.

They're fun to ride, too--maximum glide and ripability!

This above seven footer is for a top secret client.
The below six-and-a-halfer is from my Private Reserve. I call the lovely resin tint by Fatty 'blood,' which sounds a lot more badass than, 'merlot.'

What's that, you ask? Are those new 101 Fin Co. bamboo quad fins?

Hell yes!
ps--Happy New Year

Sunday, December 21, 2008

What Would Velzy Do?

A few weeks ago BroDerek called about his new board, the twin-finned Pit Boss.
"When's that board going to be ready?" he asked.
"Picked it up last week," I said. "I'm looking at it right now."
"Well, there's no rush on it," he said. "You can tell Leslie to take her time."
"It's ready."
"Slide that baby right down to the bottom rack," he said. "Have her glass up some more urgent orders."
"I'm holding it," I said. "It's glassed, cured, and ready to ride."
"I'm a patient man," he continued. "In fact, my Christmas gift to you is my patience and selflessness. Glass up a whole batch without worrying about mine!"
I knew something was up. Turns out BroDerek was heading to Brazil for a few weeks. He also mentioned Fiji. Then something about British Columbia. And Bali.
"Mind holding onto the Boss for a little while?" he asked. "Definitely until June. Early fall at the latest."
Board storage isn't a problem at my house.
Curiosity is, however, and there's only so long a man can look at a surfboard without giving into temptation.

The Pit Boss resided upstairs, out of sight, for over a month. Then last week the buoys showed a crisp shoulder high swell with light offshores in the morning. A little sandbar peak has been throwing out fun ones lately, which got me thinking about how a hi-pro twin fin might behave...
In my own defense, I engaged in a heated internal debate. It's just not right to take the first wave on another surfer's new stick. My credibility as a shaper would be in question, my business ethic. Plus, BroDerek's not small, and could definitely kick my ass.
But the swell. And the offshores. And the fun sandbar peak. It was the first day of Chanukkah and I've been pretty good this year...

(note incriminating wax humps on 'unridden' surfboard)
Rode like a champ. The glide is tremendous--feels finless, then the twins engage on the bottom turn, and it's off to the races. Stoked, I went straight to my shop, tweaked the template a bit, then carved one out for myself.

This one has a little more meat than I'm used to at 6'10 and 2.75 thick (I've had a, um, few glasses of Sonoma County's finest Zinfandel this holiday season--drink local!)Red cedar stringer for snap and style.

A Campbell Bros. style five-fin design with quadruple concaves that's built to handle some NorCal winter juice!
As for the twinnie, my curiosity is sated and it's back in storage, to reappear this spring when the weather is just perfect for scraping wax off a board, running a buffer over it, and presenting it to its rightful owner. Brand spankin' new!
Happy Holidays.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I was in a San Jose, Costa Rica bookstore one May afternoon in 1994 when the rainy season began. The light turned a dull brass color and people began to whisper in muffled, panicky tones. An elderly woman latched onto my arm, gasped, and pointed outside to where a small crowd had gathered under the store's awning. They squinted up at the sky.
A moment later thunder cracked. Rain pounded the corrugated tin roof. A child cried out.
The lady attached to me squeezed her eyes shut and began chanting the Lord's Prayer. A father at the register wrapped his arms around his two children and drew them close, eyes darting in protective fear. Two young girls in school uniforms screamed in delight and ran into the street, dodging cars that swerved around them in drunken confusion.
This ritual, in infinite variation, repeated itself almost every day for the next six months. Every day the nation's capital witnessed the gathering clouds, the falling temperatures, the water. And every day people seemed amazed that this happened. They were caught without umbrellas or appropriate footwear. They held newspapers over their heads, shrieked as they jumped over puddles, looked at each other with expressions that said, "Can you believe this?"
I could. I checked the weather report, read the guidebook chapter titled The Rainy Season which highlighted the daily monsoonal pattern.
I questioned the sanity of an entire nation.
Then, on about the third straight week of rain, I understood.

To willfully choose surprise over mathematical certainty is a liberating act. To deny the powers of calculation, the smug forecasts of coiffed weathermen and women, feels damn good. It removes our faith from computer-based infrastructure, and places it back in the hands of what California poet Robinson Jeffers calls The wild God of the world.

I think of this day at the Costa Rican bookstore every fall when the first swell of consequence hits our coast. The sandbars light up, whitewater stretches to the horizon, and although every guy in the parking lot with a knit cap and a Thermos of coffee has been up tracking the swell on the buoys for half the night, then half the pre-dawn morning, there's still a sense of surprise in the air. Guys looking at each other and shaking their heads. "Who would have thought?" seems to be the excited question on everyone's mind. The wild God of the world had raised a hand overnight, and we could only marvel at his power.
And like the excited Ticos outside the bookstore, many of us are unprepared for the conditions. We question our equipment, damn ourselves for not ordering something with a little more foam back in September...

But there's always someone more prepared than the rest of us.
My buddy Jason predicted this day months ago, ordered a board in August, waxed it last night.
It's a 6'10 for when things heat up. I tried to convince him to go bigger--Jason's shoulders are so broad that he has to walk up most staircases sideways.
"Nope," he said. "6'10s my magic number. Every good wave I've ever had has been on a 6'10."
I recommended a 7'0, and we settled on a 6'10.125. That's as far as he wanted to push this thing.
And here it is--this guy's going to be paddling out on clean, overhead days at the middle of The Beach this winter as I stand around in the parking lot, newspaper on my head, wondering where all this rain is coming from...