Thursday, December 8, 2011

Qlear Quadsword

Thursdays are the best. First, my employer provides lunch on the condition I sit through an hour-long meeting without any lewd or unseemly outbursts. Done!
Second, it’s not Wednesday, which is the worst.
Finally, I take a moment for myself on Thursdays to post a recent board and fling wide the doors to the HHG inbox to see what’s on the minds of my comrades in the surf-bathing community. Here’s Paul's Quadsword 8'7 and a letter:

Dear HHG, When did you know you were getting old?
Sleepy in Sebastopol
Good question, SiS. I first realized I was old one morning while suiting up in the parking lot with the stereo cranked. First, I was cranking it because I could barely hear it. Second, I realized that my get-stoked-for-a-session selection was Morning Edition on NPR. It was pretty hard to continue with my denial after that point.
We’ve been dialing in Paul's quiver for a while now, and this midlength really fills a critical niche in our unforgiving waters. Nice to have a little foam under your chest to paddle, nice to have a bit shorter board under your feet to throw around like it’s play money and your Boardwalk property is swathed in tiny plastic hotels.

Dear HHG, is my board ready yet?
Your Friend, Mr _______________ (note to readers: this is not the same Mr. ______________that appears in Alice Walker’s excellent novel The Color Purple. That guy was a total dick)

Dear Mr. ____________,
Just kidding, it’s not.
Clear glass job by the stoked folks out at Northern Light Surf Shop in Bodega. Glass fins by Rainbow Fin Co. in La Selva.

Dear HHG, I’ve noticed that when my three-year-old puts on her pants, she leads with the right foot. Does this mean she’ll be a goofy? I love my three-year-old, but the rest of us in the family are regular foots, and I don’t want to have to consider a trip to Raglan when the rest of us are stoked about Scorps.
All Right in Guerneville

Dear ARiG, as parents, our job is to support our children no matter their stance predilections. That said, goofyfoots are an abomination of nature. Has there ever been a goofyfoot in the Whitehouse? I rest my case (I know what you’re thinking: Martin Van Buren, eighth President of the United States, was a goofyfoot, which is incorrect—he was actually the first switchtance surfer to reach the presidency). What’s of greater concern, though, is the probability of two regularfoots giving birth to a goofyfoot: one in sixteen hundred. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but you might want to ask yourself this: was your significant other ‘just friends’ with any Kiwi surfers/yoga instructors/massage therapists about four years ago? Remember, the accent might not always be a reliable indicator. Dreadlocks, unkempt beards, and juggling with devil sticks are dead giveaways. Good luck.
And with that, I once again close up the inbox and retire to my afternoon meeting. I hope there are cookies.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Of Thanksgiving, Turkeys, and Fresh Foam

For some, the mere name conjures food porn of the highest order: turkey, duck, chicken (sometimes in the same overall package), ham, mashed potatoes, yams, and more pie than you can shake a big, pie-shaking stick at.
For others it's about family, offering thanks for the many blessings we've received during the year, and maybe having a few too many dry reislings before telling your uncle that he could probably better understand the Occupy Movement if he rolled down the windows of his Lexus and took his first deep, un-airconditioned breath of inequality. Oops!
Most of the world doesn't give a shit about Thanksgiving, though, and that's fine with me. Babies continue to be birthed, waves continue to roll toward shorelines, and my 1998 Toyota Siena minivan continues to guzzle coolant like someone I know guzzled dry reisling before having a few fateful words with their newly-estranged uncle. Oops!
And surfboards! Surfboards are dreamed-up, fantasized about, laden with impossible hopes and dreams, belabored, ordered, anticipated, then finally received in a ritual as complex as the holiday itself. The following is a journey of two fresh boards--one for Mike and one for Kelsey--delivered, surfed, and toasted during our recent Thanksgiving pilgrimage to SanO.
1. The reveal: 7'6" quad egg and 9'4" log.
2. The First Wax. Child labor makes the process faster, though much more likely to get wax in places where wax doesn't go, Like on the bottom. Or on fins. Or in finboxes. Tough call.
3. The Kicking-of-the-Tires: gonna be a good noserider! My 2yr old channeling George Greenough's hair.
4. The Hero Shot.
5. The Locating-of-the-Sweet-Spot.
6. The Staying-Out-Until-Near-Dark-and-Trading-Boards-and-Experiencing-General-Euphoria.
The seasonal spirit more than made up for the I5 traffic, though I have to admit the first spirit I hit after twelve hours of driving was a wee bit of the Talisker 10yr--another reason to give thanks.
As Artie from the Larry Sanders said of Talisker 10, "one day you will die and go to heaven. When you enter the pearly gates and meet God for the first time you will say 'hello' and he will say 'hello' back. When he does, this is what you will smell on his breath."
In my dreams God also has a post-sess saltwater nasal drip going, some serious surf hair, and a smile that says my secret spot is snapping, and I'm in a giving mood. That's an idea of heaven I could really get behind.
Thanks for reading, and hope you had a great holiday.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Blues for Tues: of Mini-Simmons, Thanksgiving, and Snickers

Nothing says, "America's fuggin rad" quite like the calendar stretch that encompasses both Halloween and Thanksgiving. The two holidays capture America at its best: creative, free of secular nonsense, and steeped in sharing.
They also capture the best as aspects of consumption, which, when it comes to Russian River pinot noir and Snickers Bars, isn't a bad thing at all.
These four weeks also hold the promise of epic surf conditions for California--active storm systems to both our north and south, warmer water temperatures, and an end to the devil winds of summer.
Not so much this year, though.
The good news is that despite this season's meager surf offerings, creativity and consumption have flourished. Especially if you're Fred, who has already consumed several waves on this baby blue 5'7, and expressed his freaky side on their wide-open faces.
And a solid community put this thing together: foam by the good people of US Blanks, glass by the talented hands at Almar Surf Works in Santa Cruz, and fins by Marlin Bacon of 101 Fin Co.
Have a great Thanksgiving. Don't forget to call someone and tell them you love them, even if you're exaggerating a little bit--they'll never know, and you'll feel that much better as you dig into some beaujolais nouveau.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

War Pony Chronicles: Urho the Milk Drinker

In a department store in Minnesota in 1956, Richard Mattson invented the patron saint of Finland. He called him St. Urho. Why? Because Finland needed a patron saint, damnit, and their current one, Henry, Bishop of Finland, kind of sucked. For example: Henry could not guzzle sour whole milk in obscene quantities. Urho could.
Henry could not expel plagues of grape-munching grasshoppers from the countryside. Urho could.
And Henry’s name was Henry, for God’s sake, not Urho. Would you rather pray for strength to a saint whose name translates to Hero, or to one whose name translates to, ahh, Henry?

My point is that I’m calling this board a Jet Pony. I’ve tried other names and they don’t stick. I care not what anonymous blog commenters (“sounds like a Power Puff girl character” and ”isn't that the Care Bear with the rainbow on her overalls?”) or that one grumpy guy in France (“Not at all masculine. Also, a fish must be under six feet in length”) thinks. It’s a War Pony with a jet tail and it just makes sense.

This particular Jet Pony (or Jet Poni for my Croatian readership) is for North Bay surf-bathing enthusiast Keefe, who likes to shred Ocean Beach when he’s not consulting international startups, Occupying London, or blazing our local single-track offerings.
It's 6'4, very shiny, and sports a quad setup (patyo sa loob for those in the Philippines). Just the thing for OB, which has no shortage of steep walls and likes to reward those with superior rail-to-rail quickness.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fall Haiku

Fred's Mini-Simmons.Curves all over the goddamn place.
Just in time for fall.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sneak Peek

People ask me all the time. They write or email or call and say, hey HeadHigh, you’re a handshaper (sometimes they say ‘boutique shaper,’ or, ‘small-batch shaper,’ or, ‘dude who needs to work on his calf muscles’) how can you possibly put your boards through the same paces as one of the Big Guys like Al Preisendorfer, or Matt Carper? How much of your budget is allocated for research and development? How do you achieve perfection without a stable of fourteen-year-old boys offering fourteen-year-old feedback about the radness of your boards?

Sometimes I’ll address these missives by extolling the virtues of the one-off shape, the uniqueness of a board that’s been created for exactly this place in space in time, for a surfer’s homebreak, their wetsuit thickness, their shoe size, and what a combo swell does to their sandbars. Sometimes, if I’ve had a Bud Light Lime or two (don’t ask), I’ll pontificate upon the energy that is passed from the hands to the shape—to the rails, the rocker, the foil. The electricity of skin on foam, the life of the thing.

Sometimes, however, the inquisitor is left unsatisfied. They want more—proof, equations, science. Code on a clipboard. In these rare instances I lift the curtain a bit and allow a peek—a brief sniff, if you will—into the inner workings, the hidden workings, the underground workings of the entire HHG operation. The kinds of workings that require a hard hat and a one piece zip-front jumpsuit. The kinds of workings that demand humorlessness and a square jawline set at a certain angle. The kinds of workings that can only be fulfilled by one man: Juaquin de Largo.

Every board that comes out of my shop has been subjected to Juaquin’s Rigorous 3-Point Inspection Process of Inspection. In the name of full disclosure, I now part the curtain and allow you a glimpse into the process as Juaquin takes our new model, The Heater, through the painstaking Process of Inspection. This is a special day.

1.Does it Float? You don’t hear too much about this factor from the Big Guys, but it’s pretty important. As you can see, Juaquin devotes an indescribable intensity (and impressive flexibility!) to this Inspection Point.

2. How Does it Look From This Angle? Most of the Big Guys neglect this Inspection Point entirely, but it’s crucial. Juaquin studies the fresh board from AT LEAST two different angles, both formally AND casually (pictured).

3. Is it Facebook Profile Worthy? The most recent addition to the Rigorous 3-Point Inspection Process of Inspection (remember, HHG was carving out boards long before Al Gore even considered inventing the Interwebs). Self-shots involving the board are taken from two angles: the head-on (pictured), and the overhead. The head-on is specifically designed to remove the Creeper Factor from the profile imaging process, and is favored by men of a certain age. The overhead shot is tested for maximum lip poutiness and studied nonchalance, usually employed by teenage girls and those who want to look like teenage girls.
I hope you have enjoyed this behind-the-scenes peek into our commitment to serving. We are also committed to safety, as evidenced by Juaquin de Largo’s shiny hat. We are also pretty committed to local zinfandel, so that’s three things.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Redwood Tramps

Things were simpler back then, when hobos ruled the earth. There weren’t as many pressures to appear ‘clean’ or ‘hygienic’ or ‘nonthreatening to children’; Whiskers were encouraged, explored for crumbs, made pointy. Food fell into two categories: stew and whiskey. Often the stews featured whiskey.

And people looked you in the eye. Unless, of course, they were missing an eye and the other tended to wander. There was a lot of that. Perhaps because of the whiskey stew, which was really room-temperature turpentine in a metal bucket.

Anyway, surf transportation was better then, too. No namby-pamby googaws like 'wheels,' or 'a roof,' and the combination of a plein air handcar, turpentine poisoning, and scabies made for a refreshing trip to the coast.
And the waves!
The waves were at least 100 times better then!
Or maybe they were 100 times worse.
It's tough to say, really, as the hobos wrote their histories in charcoal on the insides of their lambswool vests, then either traded their vests for berserker tonics or ate them outright. Oh well.

Although these days the redwood hobos are almost extinct, a few still survive. The most notorious are the Northcoast’s AppleJack Gang. Neither handsome nor in possession of a remarkable mental acumen, the AppleJack Gang is known more for shredding single fin logs with oldschool style, flagrantly experimenting with midlengths, and mercilessly schralping teeny fishes and eggs, mostly while under the influence of their self-distilled namesake thirst quencher (pictured bolted to car).

A rare sighting indeed: the entirety of the AppleJack Gang (From left to right). Boxcar Brent Bafflegab, the Soup Slurper. Dogballs Dan Dogballs, the Man With the Cat-Like Testicles. Linty Jay McStinky, the Cotton Sock Enthusiast. Acrimonious Andy O'Feely, the Absquatulator (aka: Sir Francis Drank).

Thursday, September 22, 2011

You Are Here

You are in Mexico, and the water is warm.
Your eyebrows are crusty and you've surfed a lot today.
The waves are small and clean and a deep-afternoon gold.

Should you paddle out for a few more?

There is beer on the beach, but yes, you should paddle out for a few more.

You grab your 7’6” egg, not bothering to leash or wax. You stroke out to the lineup. The waves are small, clean, and a deep-afternoon gold. The water is warm and your eyebrows are crusty and you are in Mexico.

You spin and catch one. Early. You glide and swoop. You lean back. You step forward. You throw your arms over your head because you’re in Mexico and the water is warm and you’ve surfed a lot today.

There is beer on the beach, but you should paddle out for a few more. You stroke back out to the lineup on your 7’6 egg. You spin and catch and glide and swoop. You throw your arms over your head. You should paddle out for a few more. You are in Mexico, the water is warm, there is beer on the beach and the waves are small and clean and soon it will be dark.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Blues for Yous

I don’t really know what do to with this word: community (I also don’t know what to do with the word moist, though that’s for another time). It’s not a tricky one to define—from the Latin cum for together, and munus for a gift, literally translating to ‘a gift to be shared’—it’s just that the word’s spread a little thin.

We’ve heard the term Surf Community as many times as we’ve heard our other surf clichés of the moment (Kelly Slater is a ‘Freak of Nature,' as well as everything that comes out of Dave Rastavich’s mouth, such as the endlessly repeating commercial where he states, ‘I’ve been gifted the opportunity to not have a 9-5 job…’Gifted? Good Lord. He also abuses blessing, for which there is no excusing). So are we experiencingcommunity when we surf? It’s a ‘coming together’ for ‘gifts,’ but, as we know, most waves are actively and purposefully un-shared. And what if you have not only nothing in common, but different values entirely than those in the water with you? What if they're dicks, or disparage others, or applaud when Rick Perry boasts of 234 executions while he was governor of Texas? Does it negate the community experience, or is there a sub-community of surfers who have little regard for human life?

What about when we’re out of the water? If we’re not sharing waves, or coming together, are surfers still in any way a community? If not, why are we constantly being told that we are?

Sorry for so many questions on a Friday, people. My eldest started pre-school on Tuesday, and I've been vexed with thoughts of her fragility.

What if her peers look askance at her bowtie noodle lunch? What if she puts her hands into the class orange juice again? What if she's the kid with a booger sheet stashed in her desk? Today is Show and Tell, which I think should go well. Christ, I’m a mess.

What am I talking about again?

Oh yeah, ChrisTofurkeys new 7somethin Cigar Volant. The young buck’s chasing down a sandwich with the same intensity he applies to beard growing and shredding barefoot on leashless logs in Northen California beachbreak. Dude’s committed is what I’m saying.

How much more blueberry can it get?
None more blueberry.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


I love watching long period swells go from this:
To this:
Couldn't bring a board to the coast today, but hit it with the Lil' Ladies and managed to capture an air and a drop-knee on the same wave. Makes a dad proud.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Hats are a fast and dirty way to make a statement.
A properly selected headpiece can announce, "I support an elitist class system that's outlived whatever claims to relevancy it once purported! " (see this summer's Royal Wedding), or, "I'm not smart!" (see all seasons of Jersey Shore).
This sturdy gem, however, is different. It claims, "I haven't washed my parking lot changing towel in a long time and I don't give a damn."
It warns, "if you're riding a popout, you best be on purple-nurple high alert."
It quietly shouts, "I'm gonna have another Tecate, them I'm gonna think about having another Tecate."
As the latest of my ill-advised forays into merchandise, I present to you the corduroy hat.
It's not impregnated with stretchy shit. It will not wick moisture or make your biceps look huge, and it's not silky-smooth-like-butter right out of the box. Do you have other people chew your food for you, for chrissake?
Hell no, because you're a do-er, and you're not afraid to break in a new pair of Carhartt's, or Levi's 501s, or a friggin' bronco.
And this baby blue bronc requires some breaking in, a little manhandling, and a lot of days on the range before it accepts you as its superior. It wasn't washed with cobblestones, massaged by authentic villagers, or 'distressed' by whatever it is that distresses things.
It was sewn up by snow-and-surf shredder/limited-run lidmaker Tommie at Dedicate in Jackson, Wyoming. We're only doing a few.
What your hat will say is, "I'm not trifled by wide-wale corduroy and, yes, I do know that corduroy is translated from the French cord-de-roi, or clothes of the king. Did you know that badass is French for what's perched on my head?" That'll show 'em.
Because you know that a good thing requires some real work, but once it's broken in, it's all yours.
Unless, of course, someone steals it. Then it's theirs. That's what you get for letting someone steal your hat, dummy.
Email me if you're interested in one.
$25 should do it.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tastes of Summer

How much fun was last week (surf-wise)?
How great are Dark 'N Stormys?
How posed does this shaper-scoping-freshly-glassed-stick pic look?
Answer: it's only semi-posed. Posed in that I held a surfboard against an industrial backdrop while a picture was taken. Semi-posed in that the bulk of my attentions (which aren't that great to start with) were genuinely committed to not dropping this thing.
How great is Bud Light Lime?
Before you judge, amigos, let me recount a conversation that happened last week with one of my oldest and best friends who currently lives in Cleveland. It was 96 degrees in his house and it was nine o'clock. At night! And there was absolutely no hope of the temperature even reaching the low nineties during sleeping hours.
"How are you coping?" I asked.
"Well, there are some, um, things with lime that help take the edge off..."
"Like what?"
And he whispered the following three syllables which changed the shape of my summer (or really just the taste of the last week).
Bud Light Lime.
This man relayed this information is an artist. He has an advanced degree in Industrial Design. He hiked the entire expanse of the Appalachian Trail--some of it in Tevas. He's a Jew for god's sake!
So I did the only thing I could do: buy a twelver of BLL and have at it. Know what?
And by that I mean Bud Light Lime magically transforms Bud Light into a greater version of itself--the version of itself that was nice to everyone in middle school, despite whatever was going on with their pores. The version that likes spending time with old people and other peoples' kids.
What, you ask, could be so different about the addition of a single word, a swart nub of a single syllable like lime? I ask you this: can you note the difference between awesome band Rush, and not awesome band Rush Limbaugh?
The addition of a single word.
Do you sense the relief of tension between Salmonella and Salmonella negative?
One word.
Billy Baldwin and Alec Baldwin?
A word substituted, but still.
Enough. Here's more surfboard.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

Blue Monday: of eggs and llamas

Much has happened in the last week, amigos. Team HHG has flown across the country and back with two kids under five and survived, Harry Potter has engaged in the usual epicness with You-Know-Who, and some stuff has gone down with Rupert Murdoch and his news agencies across The Pond that would be exciting if it weren't so damn boring.
And it's Blue Monday!
For those of you who are just joining, Blue Monday is when I fling wide the doors to my private email account, and also share the blue board of the week.
Like this 5'10 wetsanded egg.
On to the questions!
Dear HHG, yesterday a lady paddled out into the lineup, and a weird thing happened: everyone started to be nice to each other, when minutes before we were kinda being dicks. What's the deal?
E. Masculated in Marin

Mr. Masculated, yesterday you experienced 'civilization.' Although rare on the Northcoast, civilization can lead to increased sharing of waves, more smiles in the lineup, and a decrease in references to manparts. In much of the world we refer to this as 'value added.' You do have a few responsibilities, though. First, no staring. Second, you're going to have to start using a towel to change out of the wetsuit. That's the deal.
Back to the boardporn!
2+1, cedar stringer, and a pulled-in tail to keep things real in the pocket. Good for all-around beachbreak shredding.
Dear HHG,
In the last month I've noticed an increase in hobos in my local lineup--beards, flannel shirts, a general unwashed vibe. What's the deal?

NoHobo, unless there was a recent bum conference nearby, I think you're experiencing either of the following. 1. Hipsters or 2. Teachers on summer break. Both are harmless, and both can be placated with cheap canned beer.
Poplar rail fins--I love foiling these because they smell like vanilla. Seriously. Michel and crew glassed them on.
This week's final question comes from my two-year-old daughter, who wants to know what that llama is doing in the photo. I told her I have no idea, but that board is waaaaay too small for it. She agreed and then went outside to play with the hose.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Ahhh, summer. Pinot grigio consumption is measured in gallons, nobody can remember the last time my four and two year old daughters wore an actual article of clothing, and Team HHG jets across country for our annual pilgrimage to coastal New England.
This year necessity, that old mother of invention, dictated our baggage-fee-friendly East Coast quiver (quivah):
Fish, pintail, winged pin.
Know what feels good? Stroking into your first wave in the Atlantic for a year, stretching the body out full, and washing away fourteen hours of travel and midair diaper anxieties.
Also, littleneck clams.
Know what feels bad? When you get back from the beach, and you struggle to close your door, but it won't go all the way because it's swollen in the New England humidity, then your sister yells, 'close the damn door, I can see your manparts!" even though the door is only cracked the tiniest of slivers.
Also, bugs.
Back to Califonia on Tuesday!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Found Footage

Reports that this board exists cannot be confirmed or denied, or that it is a 5'8 MiniSimmons twin fin for new homeowner (and roof repairer), married man, dog rescuer, solar enthusiast, and all-around stoked bro Chad.

If such a board were, in fact, to exist, it may or may have not been glassed by Junod and crew at Almar in Santa Cruz.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Done With Resin

It’s official: Leslie Anderson (Founder, President, CEO, CFO, Laminator, Sander, Glosser, Finner, Hotcoater, Pinliner, Ding Repairer, Head Chef, Delivery Lady, Love-Life Consultant, Hottub Custodian, Trampoline Enthusiast, Reptile Breeder, Cat Fanatic, and Zealous Lover of Specialty Cheeses) of Fatty Fiberglass is moving to Alaska.
She’s in love.
Leslie’s early reputation on the Northcoast was limited to the low-voiced murmurings of Those in the Know. I procured her email in 2004 (third-party client. Sworn to secrecy) and received a terse missive in response to my query: Full glass shop ready in a month. Call later.
Attached was a list of references: Wayne Rich, Clyde Beatty, Steve Walden, Gene Coope. Yater for god’s sake.
A month later, shaped blanks snug in their bubblewrap cocoons, I wound through vineyards, redwoods, and finally the Mendocino Coast. Her property was a zen garden-like gathering of outbuildings, each beautiful in its own artistic right—redwood construction, perfectly balanced yards, chickens, cats, dogs, a strawberry patch, and a deep sense of peace. A far cry from the industrial parks down south and their parking lots littered with bags of foamdust, layers of tough guy action-sports stickers plastering the walls.
Then, Leslie. She appeared behind a couple dogs. Walking slowly. Beer in hand. Shy smile.
As I wrestled with unloading the blanks, she produced two glasses of syrah—one for me, and one for my lovely lady.
She then pointed out her hottub.
“It’s over there,” she said. “I’ll unpack those boards.”
And she did.
We ended our first visit, as many who visit Leslie do, staying for wine, pool, conversation, and Leslie’s notable culinary talents. We left well into the night, promising to stay longer next time.
And we did. We took tours of her chicken coops and gardens and greenhouses. We sat in hottubs and talked about cacti. We played with dogs and ogled boards and listened to stories of the Heavies down south—Rich taking a chainsaw to a shaped blank because the customer requested an adjustment, Brom’s legendary grumpiness, Cooper’s white lab coats
And her glassjobs were insane. We’d always end up in her shop, hands fondling perfect glossy finishes, savoring the smells of local red wine and new surfboards..
Leslie loves surfboards as much as anyone in the industry, but what really spins her wheels are colors. The Fattyshack itself is awash in color—birds, boards, plants, reptiles. In fact, I’m sure her current obsession with chameleons stems not only from their amazing color patterns, but from their ability to change colors to suit their mood. She’s jealous.
Leslie’s a lady full of contradictions, too—the mark of complexity. She would belabor a board’s appearance for days. Call me several times in an hour, email me, text me, whatever. Then, if I would do the same she would quip, “it’s only a surfboard.”
“A friggin’ pool toy. A plastic hoo-haw. Go surfing and chill the heck out. Maybe then you’ll stop whining and get me some more orders.”
This from a woman who once called me in tears because a color of a tail patch came out a quarter shade darker than what she had in mind.
“Is the customer going to notice? “ I asked.
“No.” She said.
“Will anybody notice?”
“No,” she said, then thought for a moment before adding, “ but I will…”
It didn’t matter that the board was bound for the east coast in two hours and she would never see it again.
I sometimes wonder if other glassers do this. If they call the shaper with a catch in their voice when the creation doesn’t meet their vision.
Or if they ask their shapers to pick them up something at the farm supply store on the way over. Or if a board dropoff turns into a café visit and conversation over coffee. Or if their favorite gratuity isn’t beer or weed but Idiazabal cheese and chai tea.
I wonder how many glassers sign off a phone conversation with ‘Love ya!”
And that’s the thing: when I first met Leslie, I had no idea we’d join in this adventure together. That we’d talk almost every day, that I would grow to respect and love her tremendously.
Of all the things that stand out about Leslie, one thing is standing out for me this morning: she always refers to the boards by the name on the stringer. It’s not the ‘blood-red quad fish with the yellow pinline,’ it’s Garrett’s Board. And even though she never met ¾ of the recipients of the boards she spent so much time working on, she always called to find out how they liked it. “How did Danny dig that abstract?” She cared because she put herself into everything she did, and I can think of no greater compliment than that.
In a culture where ‘whatever’ forms the dominant tone of many conversations, and ‘meh’ is used to describe something, to care—and to care deeply—is a rare gift.
So don’t worry about Les—she’ll be a bit chilly, but fine. And don’t worry about Fatty Fiberglass, it’s now in the capable hands of Leslie's right-hand dude Jake Sacks, family man, beard enthusiast, and stoked boardbuilder.
I currently have boards on the racks at Almar Surfworks in Santa Cruz, entrusted to the uber-talented hands of Mike, Tony, and Michel. They’re solid guys with amazing skills, and though the boards will be mindblowing, I doubt I’ll be signing off any phone conversations with, “lova ya.”
Still, you never know--Michel's about as nice a guy as them come.
The adventure continues for all of us.
I’ll shut up now and finish just how Leslie would want—with her work speaking for her. She glassed each of these from start to finish. The last one is Leslie('s legs) with my eldest daughter--one of her biggest fans.

p.s. If you see this rig anywhere between Ventura to Southeast Alaska, get her attention then buy her a chai tea. She's good people.