Thursday, May 26, 2011

The More Things Stay the Same

Men of a certain age do strange things to recapture their youth--cars, combovers, tight black ribbed t-shirts, whatever. I shape twin fins. Why? Because these days my idea of abusing drugs involves a fistful of ibuprofen before a surf session, and at this point in my life my knee goes out more than I do. In other words, I'm a man of a certain age.
My first surfboard was a quad, but after an unfortunate encounter with the inside rocks at Rhode Island's P__n_ J__i__, it was a twin. I was fifteen years old.
The board was not what some would describe as 'good,' or 'capable of being surfed,' but it was my first board, and it was pure love despite its coffee-colored foam, its delaminated deck, and its tendency to spin out even when paddling. Eventually, a dude at Warm Winds surf shop took pity and gave me two salvaged fins and some roving, and I restored my beloved quad to her former four-finned glory.
But not before scoring some great rides. So, like many first loves, our relationship was a complex stew of the sublime and the awkward. It was clumsy, it was ugly and awkward, but so is every first love. Remember middle school dances?
It's the shape I return to when I think of my favorite surfing moments, and the one I try to reproduce the most in the shaping bay.
And this one comes pretty damn close--the TwinFin Jet Pony which, now that I see in print, is a terrible name for a surfboard model.
Aside from having two fins, this stick differs from its predecessors in almost every other design element: rocker, fin placement, bottom contour, rail shape..etc. What it has in common is glide and effortless speed. What it adds is hold, drive, and a thruster-like positivity without the drag. It recaptures the feeling, but thankfully not the actual experience.
If it looks like there's wax on it, that's because I waxed it. Then I rode it. Then I cranked some Black Sabbath for the drive back home and, for a moment as I passed through a eucalyptus grove with the windows down, I almost believed that there was a lukewarm case of Black Label beer in the trunk and I was going to get busted by my parents for missing dinner again.
Some things change for the better.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Local Legend Part Deux

There are many theories in circulation as to how Dogballs got his name. One version claims that upon the moment of his birth, the Wikopi shaman presiding over the affair stated loudly, “This boy shall heretofore be known as Dogballs.”
“Why Dogballs?” Dogballs’ father asked.
“Because his balls look like my dog’s,” the shaman replied.
The Wikopi are a literal people.
Another version has Dogballs' early vocabulary limited to these two fateful syllables for the first four years of his life. It was the response to every query (“And how old are you, little guy?” “Dogballs!”), the source of every frustration, the proud exaltation of every private joy. Identity is formed in strange ways.
The third theory involves a hot day and three pounds of ground lamb, but I’d like for my blog to retain it’s Family-Friendly rating, so we’ll leave it at that and instead enjoy this nice shot (taken by Dogballs!) of his new stick nestled amongst the poppys.
Either way, Dogballs is an aficionado of The Glide and rips on all kinds of surfcraft, so he deserves his own model (he’s also 5’18” tall, weighs more than me holding a full-grown St. Bernard with a fifty-pound weight in its mouth, and fires a Browning 12 gauge with a shocking absence of safety considerations). This one's 8ft, features a trim-and-shred style bottom contour and rocker, and a bevy of fin options for the tinker-minded schralper.
Glassing, of course, by Leslie Anderson of Fatty Fiberglass.
Speaking of which, rumor has Leslie relocating to a point waaaaay up north, so if you've been holding out on having her glass your next board, better get to it ASAP. Like, now.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Painted Lady

Abstract acrylic on foam by Jay dL—local charger, Puerto barrel enthusiast, inspired artist, informed horticulturist, slayer-of-all-boards, and rocker of pearl-snap full-yolked Western shirts. He can also fix your computer, lead pumpy trad climbs on steep granite, and brew a mean yerba mate. Clearly, a Renaissance man.
The board’s a tweaked-out, Northcoast-speficic 8ft. hull-inspired trim machine. 'Lighter Than Ice' blue tint and thinnest-of-thin white resin pinline by Leslie Anderson at Fatty Fiberglass, a hell of an artist in her own right.