Monday, June 23, 2014

Almost Famous

Stett Holbrook did a great job capturing the current spirit of NorthCoast surfing in this week's North Bay Bohemian. What's present is his article is accurate: a deep respect for surfers--by surfers--that may not be present in all of California's wave zones.
What's missing are all the boring, shrill stereotypes about surfers being myopic and territorial. Finally! Instead, Mr. Holbrook subtly highlights our coast's inclusivity. Our respect-for-just-making-it-out-into-the-lineup attitude. Our commitment to cold, dark, raw waters that are hard to love and, for some, hard to turn away from.
The article focuses on, well, me, but it really paints a thoughtful, articulate picture of surfing north of The Bridge. It can be read HERE.
Feel free to 'Like' and 'Comment' and stuff.

Speaking of surfing, remember that board from last post? Well, it's been all glassed up, waxed, and shredded. Initial reports: Oh boy.

Here she is all purty. Tony Mikus did a bang-up resin tint that's more 'kelp gold' than 'baby poop brown'. Thankfully.
I really like Tony--he's a character that's been under the surf-industry radar since the 70s. I like him to sign my personal boards. Here's what he came up with this pork chop:

Festina Lente is Latin for 'Make Haste Slowly'. Basically, it means that slow is smooth, and smooth is fast. So hurry up and slow down. Perfect, as I issued a rush on this board that probably had the entire glassing crew cursing my name.
It had to be done. Our plans for Baja were set. The paparazzi from Stett's article were relentless. South swell pulses were on the radar. Shredding had to happen, and it had to happen on this board.
And it did!
Wanna know what it's like to paddle out a new design with weird, homemade fins into hollow, dredging, top-to-bottom conditions?
How the hell should I know?
Both of today's sessions were in playful, peaky, shoulder-high mushburgers with fun, lined-up inside sections. This lil' lass dominated: easy entry, positive bottom turns, and loose, drivey fun.
Here's a rocker shot:
I can't say with complete honesty that both of today's sessions were totally 'sober' or 'without the influence of Tecate and tequila', but I can say this: this surfing life is a gift.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Summer Teeth

The Simmons platform has all the marks of true genius: functionality steeped in Newtonian mechanics, never-before-seen design aesthetics, and an incredible versatility--there aren't that many designs out there that will work for such a wide range of dimensions and wave sizes.
For example, the current crop of Mini-Simmons have sprouted at mid-to-sub five foot range. They slay flat-faced waves up to head high. On the day of his death in 1954, Bob Simmons rode a 10'6" in well-overhead surf at Windansea.
Reading Simmons theories gets me all sweaty and nerd stoked, so I carved out a 5'9" for myself that dives a bit deeper into the 'experimental' end of the design pool.
Low rocker (Simmons:"you just don't need it!") for maximum planing, and 'cambered' nose contour (in this case, a paneled forward vee) to spread water to the high-pressure rail area at takeoff. Domed deck blended into round, thin rails, to shed water off the airfoil. 
Widepoint ahead of center, as Simmons believed (and was backed up by aerodynamic and naval architecture) that load had to be forward of lift. 

Super wide, with a pulled nose rather than the more tombstone-y noses I've been shaping the last few years, as Simmons departed from the wide-nose plank designs of the day, experimenting with pulled-in and even pointed noses.
There's a subtle concave to reduce pressure flow under the board, and the tail is thin and wide.
The double wings are a departure from a more fundamental Simmons approach, but this board's going to be ridden in Northern California beachbreak, and a tighter tail will fit more comfortably into a steeper wave face. 

This one builds off my already flat Mini-Simmons rocker and breaks up the twin Simmons fins into a quad system.

These quads, too, depart from the norm, shifting more area from the rear fin to the forward fin. I love the drive off a huge twin fin, especially on drawn-out bottom turns, so this should maximize that hand-tickling-the-wave-surface feeling while adding an additional control element. Neal Purchase Jr.'s been having some success with this style in Australia and beyond.

Good lord, this post got tech weenie fast. How about little joke to break the geek tension:
Question: How do you know that Bob Simmons influenced your surfboard?
Answer: Because it works!
Are the various elements going to combine for maximum small-wave shreddage?
Who the hell knows?
All the applied design theory in the Library of Congress won't necessarily turn a lawnmower into a Stealth Bomber, but I'm pretty stoked to find out. 
Fortunately, we have a few weeks in Northern Baja coming up to provide a suitable testing ground. I'll keep you posted.