Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Kelly is a Renaissance man—surfer, artist, designer, entrepreneur, musician, dude with a mustache. He’s also a builder with of epic vision. How do we know it’s epic? because it’s in the name: Epic Design Build.
The EDB bros are scientists of building efficiency. They also like riding bikes, shredding Northcoast waves, and drinking beers at the Toad.
Kelly is at the forefront of a movement to transform Santa Rosa’s Railroad Square from a place of occasional dining and hobo watching to a model of the contemporary urban ideal: small local businesses, artists, intellectuals, musicians, surfboard shapers with an alarming amount of gray finding its way into their beard this winter, purveyors of local-made (and brewed!) goods intermingling with community-minded homeowners and their offspring. Sounds nice, eh?
So what does a man-of-our-times order when he wants to shred?
6’ Sparkplug.

Like the name implies, the Sparkplug is the necessary ingredient for heavy duty shredding. Plenty of foam for Northcoast paddling with a rocker to match our steep beachbreak offerings.
Quad for extra spark.
Because he's also a gigantic design nerd, Kelly created his own custom Sparkplug lam just in case, in the middle of a sess, he forgets why his board shreds so hard.
California born, start to finish.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Broadsword Nouveau

What better way to celebrate the hard work and gritty determinism of the early American settlers than to set aside the third Thursday in November for gluttony, sloth, and immoderate consumption?

Across the pond, however, our French neighbors reserve the third Thursday in November for impulsiveness and general abuses of the liver.
Vive la foie!
You see, just six weeks ago in France, deliciously thick-skinned Gamay grapes were minding their own businesses in the Loire Valley, contentedly fattening up on their vines while watching the world zip past them in a blur of unfiltered cigarettes and colored denim.
Then they were picked.
"Fear not!" their thinner-skinned varietals called to them as they were loaded onto palettes in whirls of unfiltered cigarettes and colored denim. "You will have plenty of time in ze bottle to adjust to ze new life!"
"How long?" cried the Gamay grapes, bunching together tightly. "How long?"
Turns out, not long at all. Anxious, curious, really thirsty, the French harvest, press, ferment, bottle, and drink their Beaujolais Nouveau in six weeks.
Because seven weeks is too long to wait for a bottle of wine.

And what better to do when you're in France and it's the third Thursday in November than uncork a freshly pressed wine and have at it?
And what better way to celebrate the third Thursday in November if you're Pierre in Northen California than to uncork this Franco-American midlength: Broadsword, Beaujolais tint, fresh out of production and ready for consumption.
And what better to do if you happen to be at San Onofre between Wednesday and Saturday afternoon than stop by and say hi? We'll be the large group of pasty Northern Californians chasing our wee ones around between log sessions, sipping lukewarm Tecates, stoked out of our minds to take off the booties and share some waves with friends.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Local H

What do you do when a really big dude wants you to shape him a big board?
You shape him a big board, damnit.

 Howard, who stands at least three feet taller than me and would make Thor feel like a schoolboy in shortpants, gets a 9’9.
Why 9’9?
Because he wanted something between 9'8 and 9'10. I'm no math teacher, but 9'9 seemed right in there.
Howard is a bicoastal shred and ocean enthusiast, a hell of a kayak fisherman and--I hate to blow his cover--as nice a guy as you could ever meet. So, if you see him tearing it up on the central coast, just go ahead and push him off his board and have a turn on it.
You might want to bring a couple friends to help push, though. Even then it would probably look like a kindergarten class trying to uproot a sequoia.
Production shot of Almar Glassing and Tony's resin-fume hideaway. Those stands have seen more tints than a Jersey Shore tanning booth!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Green Lady

The Green Lady for SoCo wave shredder, family man, teacher, and open-minded weird board enthusiast Paul.
8'ish with a full coke-bottle tint.
The Lady series, spawned by The Painted Lady, are northcoast-specific trim machines. They borrow heavily from Greg Liddle's hulls in concept, though only moderately in form. I'm aware that Lady is a terrible name for a surfboard model, but sometimes these things are out of my hands.
More rocker than a traditional hull and more meat in the rails for our long paddles, thick wetsuits and shelfy sandbars.

 Less convex on the bottom of the board, and pulled in noses and tails to fit in steeper pockets.
These things work best with some added length—think mid seven foot to mid eight foot range. This gives them a long rail line for drive and hold. A flexie fin rounds out the package with the result of a fast, maneuverable, drivey pocket rocket that finds the power spot on the wave and holds tight. Think: greased pelican getting shot out of a black-bored 28” Browning Citori barrel.

Actually, don’t think that. It’s kind of gross. I’ll let you come up with your own parallel—you’re an adult and I trust you.
If you’re an East Coaster dealing with the aftermath of Sandy, our thoughts are with you.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


If March roars in like a lion, then October pads in giddily like a golden retriever, all joy and gentle reminder.
You may need these, October suggests, your socks cradled in her mouth as you creep out of bed at dawn, suddenly darker than it was last week. Or this, she says, nuzzling a sweatshirt.
October points to the Thermos you almost forgot on your way out the door, the hotwater jug, the hat October knows you’ll be glad you remembered when you get out of the water.
October rides shotgun to the coast, head out the window, head back in to look at you, warm lips stretched into a smile, and asks, isn’t this amazing?
And it is.
And then you’re at the coast and October is bounding in a frenzy, dizzily pointing the soft cylinder of her nose at the sea—its cloudy breath and slick, morning-gold surface.
Then she’s wriggling, belly on the ground and you lower yourself to see what she’s got. Down here, she implores, listen. And you press your ear to the ground—wet, fresh—and you hear it. Thump Thump Thump of October’s tail on the packed earth.
Thump Thump Thump of the waves’ as they shatter onto sand.
Thump Thump Thump.
Deeper you listen, eyes closed.
Thump Thump Thump it goes.
Winter’s almost here.

Monday, September 24, 2012

iAdios, Verano!

So long, Summer. We humbly stand at the dock and salute your fickle ship as it sails west, or south, or wherever the hell you go when it comes time to turn off my landscape irrigation.

You greeted us with some fun Baja peelers, as evidenced by Mrs. HHG, a fun Baja peeler, and the view from our rented deck that was tough to relax on because the kids kept pretending to throw themselves over the rails. Ha!

One night you looked like this, and made our dog hide in the closet for two days.
You brought out the east-coast creepie crawlies, and introduced my daughters to a new river, the Housatonic, to add to their ever-expanding list of awkward public places to take off their clothes.
Now you've pulled anchor, and the boards coming out of my shop are starting to look like this one: PitBoss. OBSF ready. Currently resting on the racks at Almar Glassing in Santa Cruz.
More Hot PitBoss Action here.
And, based on this morning's buoy readings, Summer's sweet, sweet stepsister Fall has already moved in to take her place.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

This is Tommie's 8'6 mini log.
Tommie makes cool stuff through his Dedicate Brand.
Q: How much more black could it get?
A: None more black.

Monday, August 20, 2012

An Egg is an Egg is an Egg is an Egg

The Problem of Universals is an ageless philosophical dilemma. It asks, quite innocently, do universals exist?
This simple question is peppered with brain-busting convolutions, and all the mathematical and philosophical heavies have weighed in on the dilemma since Plato first proposed it two-and-a-half thousand years ago.
Basically, it points out that in order to have a universal, there must be an ideal, and the closer you examine the ideal, the further from the ideal you get.
Example: we all have an image of a triangle that pops into our heads when someone says triangle. What does it look like? For some it’s an isosceles (at least two sides equal), for some a scalene (no two sides equal), and others an equilateral (all sides equal). Three very different triangles, so an ideal triangle would have to be all three, which is impossible.
Dan's new 6'5 Egg
Most things in the world confuse me, and I try to make sense of them through surfboards. So let’s use surfboard design—specifically, the Egg shape—to explore The Problem of Universals.
First, we need an ideal egg surfboard. Without opening up the argument about who first designed the egg, let’s just say, for efficiency’s sake, the ideal is a 7’0” Skip Frye.
What, then, does the ideal look like besides being seven feet long? Round tail. Roundish bottom, single fin, flat rocker, 50/50 ‘egg’ rails all the way around. The ideal egg.
Let’s look closely. What if one of the rails were a fraction of a millimeter thicker than the other? Would it still be an ideal? Is symmetry part of the ideal egg surfboard? I assume that it is, but we all know the more closely we inspect a surfboard, the further from symmetrical it becomes. So can an ideal be flawed?
If so, what about other ‘flaws’? What if it were a 7’1” instead of a 7’0”, can we no longer consider it an egg? What about adding another fin? Or two? Three? Four? What if we shrunk it and increased the nose rocker? What if we lengthened it and flattened the tail rocker, narrowed the widepoint and moved it aft? Squared the tail? Put a pointy nose on? Made asymetrical?
If we open the door to variation, then all variations must be eggs, and, therefore, everything could be considered an egg. The term Egg, itself, would become meaningless.
Nose isn't quite as shovel-y in real life
How about another one: a fish, according so a certain sect of surfers and surfboard designers, must be in accordance with Steve Lis’ ideal—the 5’6 twin fin, deep swallow tail, flat, thick, wide, downrailed, beaknosed, glassed-on fins with no cant and no toe and foiled from marine plywood.
Cool, but a lot has happened in the forty years since the ‘ideal’ was born, including major adjustments in volume, width, outline, rocker, rails, foil, and number and placement of fins.
Every single design aspect has changed, and all refinements are currently being enjoyed by Lis’ current customers.
So if he created the ideal, then changed it, do we still have an ideal? If an ideal is fluid, how can we use it as a foundation?
When surfboards begin to confuse me I turn to poetry. Poets tend to stick their fingers deep into the swirling masses of gray area that upset mathematicians and philosophers and make me feel better about being a dimwit.
Thruster. Thumby-dummy tail.
In her 1913 poem Sacred Emily, Gertrude Stein wrote, “A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.” A wonderfully elegant entry into the Problem of Universals discussion.
Stein repeats “rose” with the existence-confirming preposition, “is.” This suggests that a rose “is” many things. Many roses exist, and there is no single ideal. A rose is a red flower. A rose is a yellow flower. A white flower. A rose symbolizes life. A rose symbolizes death. It can symbolize both change and constancy, life and death, nature and man.
And then, finally, it becomes just a mindless syllable that means absolutely nothing but a reminder that words themselves are just rough tools—that by meaning one thing, and its opposite, they can mean nothing.
This is why surfboards are such fascinating objects—they are most certainly a thing. Plastic. Round, flat, and sharp. And they are most certainly not things—ideas, concepts, promises, hopes. Art.
A surfboard is a surfboard is a surfboard is a surfboard.
Or in the case of this post, an egg is an egg is an egg is an egg. This is Dan’s Salmon Egg, which is different than a Pleasure Point Egg, or Swami’s Egg, San Juanico Egg. Nauset Egg. Nobadeer Egg. Matunick, Ogunquit, Tofino, Maunganui, Vanuatu, Yallingup, Kewalos.
Foiled tail and cedar stringer.
Dan ordered this board and had a baby boy on the same day, so the dude clearly goes huge. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Crow

This is a clear 8'something Broadsword with five fin boxes and a cedar stringer and a big black resin crow on the deck for NorthCoast ripper, family man, fish-and-chips fan, and generally stoked outdoor dude Jean (as in Van Damme, not Billie King).
Why a big black resin crow?
No idea. I don't ask the questions. I just make the boards.

Now that I've written that, I realize that in shaping boards I do, indeed, ask a lot of questions. So I guess I don't ask a lot of personal questions. Sometimes I do, though, like weight and foot size and, "what's your favorite sexytime website?" and good ideas for ceviche recipes.
 Basically, I've lost control of this post and will end it here.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Je Suis Revenu

Just flew back from the East Coast and boy are my arms tired.
But seriously. What'd I miss?
Took advantage of the first kidless hour in two weeks (God bless gym daycare!) and busted out a double-super-top-secret quad fin design that was doing dirty things to my brain on the plane to SFO.

Now that that's out of the way I can check in on my local sandbar to see how it's handling the remnants of this little south swell...
It’s good to be home.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Of Frankenfish, Summer Reading, The Hindenburg

As you can imagine, I get the electronic version of heaps of mail (Kilobytes? Megabytes? Brownie Bites?) weekly, from topics as far-reaching as shaping, to why isn't my board ready yet, and what the hell do you mean you went to Baja and left my board at the glasser, and why haven't you called your mom in a month, and how come there's a credit card charge for a movie called The DaVinci Load?
Anyhoo, I treat these correspondence as I treat all of my business dealings: with respect, dignity, and the occasional impulse to post them online so that all 37 (got another blog hit last Tuesday!) of you can enjoy.
I present to you the HHG Mail Bag, Summer Reading Edition!
And a new surfboard for local shredder Chip.

Chip's 7'Something" Frankenfish
Dear HHG, I just finished reading Chad Harbach's best-seller The Art of Fielding and was kind of underwhelmed. However, I don't trust my instincts. First, it's on the bestseller list. Second, there's like fifteen pages of positive reviews before the book even begins PLUS an author interview at the end Also, the cover has cool font and is very patriotic. All of these must add up to an amazing reading experience, right? Is it me? Are my tastes slipping?
LitSlip in Leucadia

LitSlip, if you're asking me for assistance, your tastes are already questionable. However, with regard to Mr. Harbach's novel, you must stand strong with your opinions. What would have happened if Hindenburg captain Ernst Lehmann hadn't stood strong in his belief that his zeppelin airship could be safely docked at Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey during an electrical storm with strong headwinds in a flammable aircraft packed with combustible gasses? How would history have been changed had flygirl Amelia Earhart not stood firm on her opinion that an equatorial around-the-world flight plan would be a piece of cake? What would have happened if I had not taken an unwavering stand with the lovely Mrs. HHG that there would be 'no consequences whatsoever' in allowing each of our young girls to eat an entire bag of dried cherries during our recent sixteen-hour drive back from Mexico?

More Frankenfish!

Dear HHG,
on a recent surf trip to Baja with a few other couples I noticed an interesting phenomenon with the ladyfolk: there would be hushed whispering, a stifled giggle or two, the sounded of a blender motor, a concealed exchange, and then one would disappear. Several days later she would reappear in search of more margaritas, and the phenomenon would begin again. What gives?
Gray Curious in Carlsbad

Gray Curious, your instincts serve you well: E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey is wholly responsible for these behaviors, which can circulate through select populations with a cyclical regularity. Remember The Bridges of Madison County? Overall, this clandestine literary pursuit is far preferable to what the less-fair sex does with their gender-isolated pursuits: jumping off things. Farting on things. Football.

Four Wings+Four Fins=Sixty-Four Times the Radness

Dear HHG, Should I read Atlas Shrugged?
Randy in The Tenderloin.

Randy, please read Atlas Shrugged if you hate humor and self awareness, and love drawn-out 'moral' justifications for self-interest and greed! Also, read if you enjoy hundreds of pages of white men giving speeches about their importance, predictable characters, and d-bags approaching you with their own half-baked, semi-racist, self-serving economic theories. Also read if you love boring shit in general.
Don't get me wrong, Randy. I love bad writing as much as the next person--culture snobs, as a whole, are a  paranoid and miserable bunch, and act as if the rest of the world is the same way. Screw those guys! Read books about sports stars bitchin' cars and celebrity marriages gone bad and murder mysteries that are also love stories that turn into feel good road trips with vampire-hunting ex presidents. There is joy in that stuff, and that's what reading is all about.
And summer.
And Chip's new 7-foot-Something-inch surfboard.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I’m no science teacher, but I’ll take a stab at hydrodynamics to explain in layman’s terms how the Twinzer fin system--originally envisioned, applied and tweaked by Wil Jobson from the 1980s to the present day--works:
sciencysciencysciencyAngle of Incidence+
physicsphysicsphysicsLaminar Flow=
fast, loose fun.
There you have it.
 This equation will be thoroughly tested in Baja for the next few weeks.
 Correspondence will resume in July. Hopefully in a more relaxed, crustier, and surfed-out fashion.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

Happy Dad's Day, dads.
Do your thing.
But maybe think carefully about your thing before you do it. Just sayin'.

So give a dad a wave today. How will you know if they're a dad?
General look of exhaustion. Unshaven. Grateful.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Of Broadswords, Pinot Noir, and Uni

Mike’s about as capable a waterman as you can get. Surf? Kills it.
Fish? Slays ‘em.
Sea kayaking? Yup.
Abalone diving? Si.
Urchin plucking? Enough already.
Lately he’s been ripping up the East Side on his 8’something Broadsword:
Pinot Noir bottom wrap by the boys at Almar Surf Works

Like Mike’s time in the water, his sword is all about options: 2+1, single, thruster. Whatever.
The go to lately, though, has been the quad.
Options provided by the good folks at Lokbox and Rainbow
In addition to the secrets of the salty deep, Mike inadvertently tipped me off to a secret parking stash somewhere in Santa Cruz. You see, he looks like a man who has a system. Who knows things.
So I followed him.
Sure enough: parking stash.
Thanks, amigo. And if you see a certain minivan paralleled in your usual spot, I swear it’s not mine.
Beefy cedar stringer. Strong like bull.
Still, you don’t want to wax the windshield. That would piss me the owner off.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Spring Blows

Sweet mother of God, how much has this spring sucked?
Who knows to what extent poet Mary Darby Robinson was deluded when she penned the lines in her Ode to Spring,
Ev'ry little flow'r
Seems to exult in thee, delicious Spring,
Luxuriant nurse of nature!
but she definitely wasn’t on the same allergy medication as me. The only nursing I’ve experienced these last few weeks was sucking on bottles of Lagunitas IPA while keeping tabs on a new sinus infection. Turns out my new sinus infection doesn’t love Lagunitas IPA. Turns out I don’t give a shit.
Remember fall? Sweet, sweet fall?
Some folks call it autumn. I have no idea what Mary Darby Robinson called it, but if she wrote anything less-than transcendent about it I’m burning my membership card to The Wearisome Poet’s Society For Those Who Use Exclamation Marks Whilst Describing A Season. If that society even exists. And if it did, why would I have joined in the first place? And what, exactly, does one have to do to get a membership? What were we talking about again?
Speaking of fall, this one snuck by last fall, as boards do when the surf is the clean and the sinuses clear.
Note how the board's color palette stimulates a conversation with autumnal leaf background. Waveglider took this photograph.

Notice how this picture was taken in a Costco parking lot. I took this picture. Clearly, one of us is the better photographer, and it ain't me.
Waveglider has been around for a while—surfed with the heavies on Oahu back in the day when mens’ heads featured a bit more hair in the aft sections, and shorts featured a bit less fabric in the leg sections. He has a penchant for beak-nosed single fins and rippable 2+1 longboards.

WG is also no stranger to the vast expanse of the California coastline, and knows what he wants in a surfboard. It was a fun challenge trying to meet his, um, suggestions. For one of my shapes to be resting alongside the others in his quiver is indeed an honor.

This particular 9'6 has been joining WG in his jaunts into our cool, dark, watery offerings up here on the Northcoast.
Remember those?
Ahhhh, fall.

Abstract bottom by resin Maestro Tony Mikus