Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Very HHG Jewishy Christmas in New England

Shaped, Glassed, Wrapped in Northern California.

Unwrapped, Jumped On in New England.

Intracontinentally stoked.

This year's  Headhighglassy Kind-of-Jewish Christmas in New England Tour saw much family, much stoke, a few alarmingly underheated homes, rain, snow, high winds, freezing temps, freezing rain, freezing snow, and enough fine bourbon to fill every bathtub in the fine state of Kentucky. The highlight was my eleven-year-old niece's first custom shred stick, ready to rip NC waves with the unfiltered stoke of an eighty-pound ten-year-old girl.
Of course, back home the local beachbreak has been pumping. The weather, according to the local paper, has been 'epic' both at the beach and inland. The sandbars, previously as unruly as a cowlick, have smoothed into shape.
Still, it's nice to be swathed in down and wool, drinking steaming mugs of hot tea while the gray light outside fades and my girls gorge themselves on My Little Ponies, which Santalah Clausenberg knew would keep four and six-year-old girls occupied for hours without interruption--long enough for the grownups to pull another tiny dog onto our laps and sample some more fine bourbon.
I took a brief hiatus from shaping in late 2013 to work on some other stuff, including my website, which can be found right here.  I still don't know how to feel about it, but it was time and makes things a bit more simple, and what could be better than simple?
Other highlights include talking to tiny dogs in New York accents, storing perishables in cars (!) when there's no more room in the fridge, complete Rainbow Loom takeover, debating the current existence of Megaladon with a fourth grader, catching my seventy-year-old parents grabbing each others' asses in the kitchen, and watching kids fall over in snow. Doesn't get much better than that.
Anyway, here's some more pics of an 8'0 Broadsword in some snow.
 Happy New Year!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

All Clear

Cha-Ching! Paul gets to cash in his Sandwich Club Card with the receipt of this sleek 6'0 double-wing MiniSimmons. It's got a slight arc tail, a cedar stringer that made my shop smell like barbecue for a few days, and is super shiny.
If I had just aquired my sixth board, I'd go for a General Washington: an off-the-menu #98 with fried chicken substitited for halal chicken on Ike's own (non roof-of-the-mouth-destroying) dutch crunch. Good lord!
I hope Paul doesn't order a Lizzy's Lips (halal chicken, italian dressing, pepperjack). Not because the of the sandwich, which sounds awesome, but because Lizzy is my sister's name and that would be weird.
This board can be ridden as a four fin or three fin. I recommend pairing it with some waves, a little wax to make your feet stick to the board, and a nice dram of Templeton Rye. Even though it's from Iowa and not upstate NY, this is one hell of a whiskey. Honey and vanilla give way to crisp mint and wintergreen. Makes me wonder why I used to waste valuable drinking time mixing in vermouth and bitters. Perfect on a cold night, a warm night, a mild night, or during a hockey game. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

6'4 Clover: All Hallows' Edition

How did the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, a necessary practice for warding off ghosts and evil spirits, morph into modern day Halloween?
Beats me, but I do know this: my girls have been in an H-day fervor for the last week, blasting through so many princess-with-wings variations that my living room looks like the Disney Corporation mid orgy with an Oregon wiccan solstice festival. A whole new world!
Halloween, believe it or not, can also be a time for reflection as we wave goodbye to summer and hesitatingly hold the door open the door as winter, sad boots and all, trudges in.
This 6'4 Clover for local shred artist and rad dad Lucas has enough volume for summer, but enough rocker and fin snap to carry him into the more light-challenged months ahead.
True Story: I'd been shaping this model for over a year when Lucas ordered his. Deep in a creative fervor, I had coined the shape the 'widepoint-forward pulled-tail egg'. Lucas was cool with that, and only asked that a include his graphic with daughter's name, Clover, on the deck of the board.
It was referred to as the Clover Board at the glasser (Patrick at Northern Light, who did a bang-up job, as usual), and then again by board fondlers when they saw it in my shop. It stuck.

Here, local shredmaster and two-wheeler enthusiast Joey tries to get a little fresh with Lucas' new board. The golden light and his long shadow are clearly mid summer, the venue clearly the Toad in the Hole pub. Fresh new stick, long sun-drenched days, and a few pints of Lagunitas IPA (also handmade in Sonoma County!). Not a bad way to be.
ps--see that unbelievable two-tone '68 bus in the background? Mine's the '06 minivan parked to its left...

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Lids Part Deux

The road to hell may be paved with trucker hats, but you’ll definitely need one when you arrive—it looks pretty bright down there!
Since my last run of hats a few years ago, I’ve been working with Tommie at Dedicate Brand to put something together that would satisfy even my toughest customer (Craig, who, now that I think about it, is kind of a dick). Tommie’s got the connections and set me to work product testing up here in Sonoma County, on the East Coast, and in Ames, Iowa with a guy he only refers to as ‘Corntooth’.
I recorded scads of promising feedback like, “this is nice,” and “it kept the sun out of my eyes,” and, “I probably shouldn’t be throwing up into your hat right now.”
I incorporated criticism like, “my dog stole that hat and licked it under my bed for three hours,” and, “nobody with a mustache and that hat is allowed in the jumpy castle.”
Sewn-on Patches+Pinot Noir=Classy
As you can see, I applied the same rigorous, user-generated feedback with these hats as I do with every surfboard that leaves my shop.
And it shows in the results. I’ve got three different shades of blue. Buy them all and tell your friends, “I’ve got the blues.” When they ask, “what the hell are you talking about?” shriek, “Are you saying I’m fat?”
I’ve got a grey that states, “this hat is fifty shades of awesome! Also, I wouldn’t mind getting spanked right now.”
And a brown that claims, “I work for UPS…psyche! I actually shred my sack off in pumping surf.”
Interested parties should email me. Then send me $25. Then I'll send you a hat of your color choice and a hilarious note scribed onto a piece of scrap paper that says something wildly sardonic like Thank You! Or, if I'm feeling the whole brevity thing, Thanks!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Clover XL

The government may be shut down, but damn if Boehner can stop the stoke!
Here's an XL Clover for Central Coast ripper Jonathan (the 'J' is pronounced like a 'Y,' as his origins are definitely Viking). He's a big dude, so he gets a big Clover. Hence the Custom in Custom Surfboards.
Every once in a while, Le 'Stache lets me carve one out in his shaping room. Sometimes he offers feedback, like, "yeah!" or, "fun one!" or, "how much longer is this going to take?" or, "you're going to have to put on some pants if you want to continue shaping here."
This Clover is 8'0 and nearly 23" wide. I can barely carry it, but Jonathan's arms are Paul Bunyan to my Woody Allen, and he'll be able to throw this thing around like he just caught it kissing his sister.
It's gonna have three fins.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Paddle Baddles

It's that time again!
The annual Bluewater Paddle Race on Bodega Bay. This year, the event's fourth, promises to be a good one: bluebird skies and low winds on tap, playful-sized swell in the water for pre and post paddle shredding, and a healthy roster of in-form competitors.
So sign up or just show up with the family, dog, neighbor, neighbor's family or kid or dog, whatever. This is a great community event and rare get-together opportunity for Northcoast surf enthusiasts. Proceeds go to keeping our bluewater blue.
You can find out more information, prize lists, and signups by clicking HERE.
Hope to see you there.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Showerbeers Bronson

Last year I had a kid in class named Norbert. It was difficult for me to imagine an exhausted, overjoyed couple gazing down at the just-born, tiny naked ball of energy of their new baby boy and whispering Norbert...Norbert...Norbert...into his crackly pink ears.
We called him Bert, but still.
Same thing with new Sandwich Clubber Showerbeers Bonaparte. Whatever possessed the Bonapartes, flush with the excitement and stupor of childbirth, to gaze into their tiny boy's dark eyes and say Showerbeers, is not up to us to decide. Naming is every parent's right, but, unfortunately, they don't have to live a lifetime in the shoes of Norbert. Or Showerbeers. Or anyone named Richard that they insist on calling Dick.

Fortunately, Showerbeers has overcome this particular linguistic handicap, and has made those who know him proud. He finished law school without too much drama, has a healthy fan relationship with 80s cinematic masterpiece Cocktail, and is the proud new owner of a sweet new 8'6, rounded-pinnie Bronson.

Two-plus-one fin setup with a shreddy flexie in the middle, two-tone color lamination by the boys at Almar Glassworks, too-legit-to-quit Bronson radness.
If you note Showerbeers ripping his new sled in the greater Los Angeles area waters, or note this Bronson strapped to the roof of a diesel Bendzo in hot pursuit of a speeding ambulance, throw him a shaka!

Friday, August 30, 2013

A Clear Sense of Things

American poet Wallace Stevens penned the following lines about fall:
After the leaves have fallen we return
To a plain sense of things. It is as if
We had come to an end of imagination,
Inanimate in an inert savoir.
Sorry, bro!
(by the way, I looked up savoir so you don't have to: a personification of death)
Fall means many things to many different people up here in Northern California, but 'inert' isn't one of them. Winemakers and grape growers boost their heart rates to 'high alert', poised on the edge of a gargantuan push to kickstart one of the most wonderful processes in all the world.
Steelhead, feeling increasingly more funny in their netherparts, burst from their upstream feeding grounds in pursuit of saltwater and sweet, sweet love. Fishermen, feeling a similar tingle,  spool backing onto fly lines and fantasize about #8 egg-sucking leaches and depth-charge nymphs.
Young 'uns lay out new clothes and feel awkward and try out for sports and theater productions and wonder if their fresh haircut will grow out by picture day.
And surfers. Eager to transcend the thigh-high windchop and socked-in, wool-sweater fog of summer, surfers begin mindsurfing the inevitable pulses of North Pacific energy.
Know who's ready for Fall?
Lucas, as evidenced by his new Sparkplug.
This thing has fall in Northern California written all over it--clean lines, no-nonsense shape, no frills glass job by Pico and the good folks at Northern Light Surf Shop in Bodega.

To be fair, Wallace Stevens was living in Central Pennsylvania when he wrote A Plain Sense of Things.
And, in a sense, we, too, return to a Plain Sense of Things in fall--attentions shift wherever they had been for the spring and summer, and come into a sharper focus. The Pacific Ocean stirs, and things start happening. Surf. Weather. High pressure. Low pressure. Pulled pork in the crockpot. Red wine and Islay single malts. Socks. Unmanageable surf. Highly manageable surf.

Lucas is a man who thinks ahead. He'll have his Sparkplug quad dialed by the time the first overhead wave spins toward our rocky shoreline this fall, bringing with it the hopes and joys of Pacific Coast surfers, and a beginning, rather than an end, of imagination.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Keeping it Bronson

Jordan's a good guy. He agreed to meet at my favorite Outer Sunset baking company for a mind-blowing breakfast sangie, then handed over some monies and a mind-blowing Highland single malt--perfect for summer!
In return, I only had to hand over this surfboard: 9'4 single fin Bronson.
If trimming were currently-gentrifying mid-sized cities in Northern New York state, it would be Rochester. You get the picture.
It feels very good to ride this surfboard on waves (they're made by wind!) in the ocean.
True to the Bronson legacy, Jordan kept it classy: cedar stringer, clear with a gloss-and-polish finish, volan deck patch, neapolitan mixed-wood tailblock (cedar, bass, balsa, redwood). Tight.
I recommend pairing this wave-riding vehicle with Jordan's generous gift: Ancnoc (pronounced uh-knock, which is great for creating Ancnoc-Ancnoc jokes)12yr. It's first casked in bourbon, so you get the toasty vanilla and caramel notes of a fine American whiskey, then finished in sherry casks, so you're not at a loss for rich fruit and mulling spice flavors. Highly recommended after a summery-but-foggy California/Baja shred session. The malt will work its way down from your head while the feeling of a locked-in bottom turn works its way up from your feet. They'll meet right in the middle, coating your heart with a malty mixture of blissful warm stoke. The undeniable harmony of a single fin, a single malt, and cold, cold water. Ahhh, summer.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Clover

Signs we're at the front end of an economic recovery:
1. I no longer cry in the shower after checking my home value on Zillow.
2. My kids can now have peanut butter and jelly on their sandwiches.
3. The local beachbreak has been conspicuously devoid of big-ass trucks in the parking lot, pointing to the conclusion that construction is on the uptick.
4. The board-order queue is redlining right now, a whole new batch of sandwich cards are being distributed, and some stoked shredders will be receiving an Ike's in the near future.
Leading the aquatic charge right now is the Clover--a widepoint forward stubb-egg shred machine. This is the original Clover, 5'10, which got passed around up here more than a endless-refill penicillin prescription on a Motley Crue tour bus.
5'10x21 2+1 Clover
Since then, it's proven itself in all kinds of waves and conditions in all kinds sizes with all kinds of fin setups.
This light gray 7'0 didn't disappoint in Baja.
Hull entry+concaves+hard rails in the tail=crazy fun as either a 2+1 or single with a flexie fin.
I am going to go surfing now.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

On the Road Again

The Baja leg of the annual HeadHighGlassy Family Summer Tour Palooza went off without a glitch. Waves were shredded with impunity, borders were crossed tactically, Tecates were consumed with abandon.
Perhaps more important than time spent with family and friends, or the thrill of intracontinental travel, or widening my childrens' worldviews to include cultures other than our own, is the true spirit of surf trips: subjecting new designs to a rigorous eight-step sciency feedback process.
As any considerate, rational, detail-oriented, kinda nitpicky, borderline pain-in-the-ass, OCD, self-absorbed, narcissistic shaper will testify, there is absolutely no replacing personal feedback in the water. Shapers should be their best team riders (team models, no. Have you seen my calves lately? Christ).
2013 HHG Family Baja Quiver

This year's quiver featured a wide swath of waveriding vehicles, including a couple perennial favorites and a new model (!) in two different lengths and fin setups for maximum geeking potential.
Bottoms up

The results?
Mrs. HHG is firmly attached to her 8' Broadsword, as per usual. She's also very pretty and nice.

The 5'6 MiniSimmons was my go-to board last year, and it was hard as hell to stay off it this year, but I had work to do: 6'3 and 7'0 Clovers (two middle boards in above pictures).
The Clover is a souped-up egg/hull mashup and features a hull entry to a kicked tail rocker with a hard edge and concaves through the fins. I rode the 6'3 as both a quad and a thruster in waist high to well overhead surf and was stoked out of my mind with both fin setups. I rarely say, 'stoked out of my mind,' just so you know.
The 7'0 was crazy fun as a 2+1 with a flexie center fin and really lit up in juicier surf. It's not a longboard alternative, and shreds with aplomb.
My arms were noodled out one afternoon, and the surf was still clean and pumping, so I put my hull fin in it and rode it as a single and it was as good as it gets.

I'll post the sleds up later when we're back from the (hot. Humid. Claustrophobic) East Coast leg of our Summer Tour.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Flexible Member

Ahhh, summer! 
The pitbull-to-human ratio at my favorite Russian River swimming hole skyrockets, Trader Joe’s Coconut Water Fruit Floes are the most coveted item in the freezer, and boards get short and chunky. 
Or long and chunky. 
Or medium-sized and slender.
Basically, what I’m saying is that I have no idea what boards do in summer. Some folks choose to discount the entire windy, foggy, shit-sandwich season, crossing off the days on their calendars until the North Pacific roars back to life in Fall. Witness the host of step-up winter-sized boards that came out of my shop last week.
Others, like Fred, embrace summer, opting to shred-with-joy the short wave periods and overhyped south swells matching conditions to equipment.
Fred's Equipment 
5'2 stringerless Mini Simmons quad. Master glasser Tony Mikus (over 300,000,000 boards glassed!) said it was the most difficult board he's ever laminated. Springy flexy bouncy on the glassing racks.

Ideally: shoulder-to-head-to-overhead (!) and peeling.
Probably: shoulder-to-head and choppier than the Swedish Chef with a third arm.

Fred’s a board-ordering pro (this is his third sandwich card punch), and kept it short, sweet, and detailed. Here's email read: 5’2, charcoal tint, black boxes, black leash plug. That's it.
When dudes are speficifying the color of their leash plug, you know this ain’t their first barbecue.
Speaking of barbecues…ahhh, summer!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Of Beards, Boards, and the Naming of Things

It would be a nailbiter if TofuChris and I had a beard-growing contest. My Scottish/Jewish heritage has me predisposed for both facial-hair density and uniform coverage, but Chris's lack of shame and humble grooming habits more than make up for the sparseness of his face bush.

Plus, Chris pays little heed to the Full Beard Protocol, which clearly mandates beard-free faces between Memorial Day and Labor Day (similar to the Law-of-White-Pants for douches).
Beards aside, we figured it was time for Chris's signature model, mostly because he's been begging me for a 'signature model' for years, and I don't give a shit either way. We nailed the design, a high-pro noserider for  beachbreak shredding, but got stuck on the name.

In Genesis 2:19, Adam named all the animals in one big push. Impressive. We tried this with the help of a few IPAs, but came up with bupkis.
The obvious choice was the TofuChris model, but agreed this could isolate hysterics and meat eaters--my core constituencies.
I like keeping it simple, and offered Hi-Pro Beachbreak Noserider. Shot down.
Chris liked The Throatee, after his beard, which comes in low and hangs on dearly. Perhaps a bit close to the Neckbeard model by an industry leader in imported boards...

Names are central to identity and should be taken seriously. Scientists are keenly aware of this, which is why we have the Dumbo Octopus and the Dhole wild dog.
So I'm taking matters into my own hands and calling this hi-pro beachbreak noserider model the Helen Putnam, after Sonoma County teacher, mayor, and county supervisor. What a lady!
Plus, it's the name of the Ike's sandwich TofuChris is most likely to shred after one more punch on his Sandwich Card--avocado, breaded eggplant, cheddar, and french dressing, yo!
 It's business time.

Monday, May 20, 2013

One Lone Swordsman

New Broadsword, and punch #3 on the Sandwich Club Card for SC shredder Mike.
This was my second-to-last blank from a batch of US Blanks that had insanely dark cedar stringers. Every time I'd make a pass with a hand plane my shaping room smelled like someone eating a pulled-pork sandwich in a Norwegian sauna.
Mike wanted a shorter version of his previous Broadsword (see here) for maximum rippage in more sizable surf. Since he digs the other board so much, we just had to make some down-scale adjustments (rocker, outline curve, fin placements) to recreate the magic in a smaller form.
Customs are rad!

If you live in or around SC County, there's a solid chance Mike oversaw the shipment, unpacking, and shelving of your foodstuffs. Not an easy job, nor one without some serious lift-from-the-legs skills.
The dude knows his veggies!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Blue Bronson

Le Bleu Bronson for SF log enthusiast Erin, who convinced me to amend the Sandwich Club Charter to include a certain Outer Sunset bakery named after the Beastmaster that features perhaps the best breakfast sangie Team HHG has ever experienced.
Therefore, Sandwich Clubbers, the choice is now yours: a full sandwich card gets you either a ridiculously good Ike’s sandwich (no chips, for chrissake) up here in SoCo or, for you City shredders, an insane breakfast sandwich from ______________ (name withheld to preserve location’s reasonable line lengths), which is also endorsed by fine photographer and helmswoman of my Urban LadyShred team, Rebecca H.
Ladies always know where all the good breakfast eats are at!
Couplinches shy of 9ft, but designed to maximize the glide in typical Bronson style with more curves than a bucket of snakes.
Erin’s name means ‘Ireland,’ which is pretty fitting for a surfer—being surrounded by water and such.
Deep blue tint by Tony Mikus at Almar Glass Works in Santa Cruz. Polished by Tim the Polisher, who is a fine board builder, to boot.
That's the first time I've ever attached 'to boot' to a sentence--written or spoken.
Not convinced it works.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Jason, who's getting dangerously close to a full sandwich card, wanted a replacement for his beloved 7'2 step up for OBSF that buckled during a now-infamous run of swell this past winter.
Since it was shaped in a different decade on another continent, I felt no moral trepidation about lifting the template, which was pretty heavily Parrish influenced.
Rocker, foil, fins are all no-nonsense OB.
Triple pinlines to give him something to look at while he's walking fifteen blocks back up The Beach to find his car.
Next to the Original
Jason's a marine biology nerd, and like nerds the world 'round, wanted to incorporate some sort of nerdiness into his board aesthetic.
This one mimics the concept of counter shading, a form of camouflage in which an animal's pigmentation is darker on the top than on the bottom. Hence the lovely blue steel 'reverse wrap' resin tiny by Tony Mikus.
Counter-shaded marine dwellers are hard to spot from above, as they blend in with the darker ocean floor, and hard to spot from below, as they blend with the lighter surface.
This penguin diagram nicely illustrates the principle.
 Counter shading didn't work out so well for these anchovies.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Of Thrusters, Mini-Simmons, and Questionable Single-Parenting Practices

Fresh foam for Northcoast shredders M and K, whose boards managed to be shaped and glassed during a particularly unhinged chapter in my life that was the product of the lovely Mrs. HHG frolicking in London for two weeks with her mom.
It's not that single parenting is hard the way that coal mining or dairy farming or building a railroad is hard, but here’s the deal: it comes at the expense of every other thing in your life.
Free time? Nope.
Food? Hope you like shoving a cold hotdog-covered-in-applesauce into your mouth while you hover over the sink.
Culture? Only if your idea of culture is falling asleep on the couch four minutes into an old Arrested Development episode, then waking up two hours later because your laptop is burning into your chest with the heat of a thousand suns. And you're drooling.
Let's say your life is a balloon ride, and all your wonderful non-parenting pursuits (surfing, making surfboards, gardening, scanning ebay for an exact replica of a shirt an old girlfriend gave you that you wore until it was shredded, enjoying the occasional dram of Ardbeg Uigeadail you’ve managed to hide from your peers for the last month) are sandbags hanging over the rail of the balloon basket. There will come a moment—usually within the first twenty-four hours of single parenting—when first one, then suddenly all of those sandbags must be cut free. 
K's 6'0.
The remnants of your former life drop unceremoniously to the ground so that the balloon may stay aloft. You don’t really have any control of where you’re going (though, at some point, you’ll probably end up at the pony rides at Howarth Park), but you have momentum and you’re all aboard and as long as you have some instant Mac&Cheese and popsicles you should make it just fine.
Also, for some reason, there's a lot more nudity when your significant other is out of town. You get out of the shower, almost put on pants, then think, nah.  I know what you're thinking: doesn’t you walking around the house naked look like a sad, hairy snowman?
To which I reply, no, thank you very much. Snowmen wear ties. 
M's 5'7

Maybe a bit of an overshare for a surfblog, but I’m on allergy meds and my head feels like it’s filled with something soft.
Let’s check back in with the surfboards.

From my incomplete family to M and K’s newly completed one: his and her shred sleds in matching green hues with deep, dark, chocolaty cedar stringers.
K’s is pure thruster bliss with top-and-bottom resin abstract by Tony Mikus at Almar Glass Works.
M’s 5’7 mini-Simmons features a green resin wrap with Braztafarian resin pinlines.

M and K are our surfy Northcoast version of Sonny and Cher, only with more dreadlocks and natural-fibered clothing.