Saturday, September 29, 2007

D. Malloy

Dan Malloy is the latest subject on Hi Shredability. If you haven't already seen them, the Alex Knost segments are good watching too.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Nice quad shaped by Scott Henry. I have two boards that Scott made me during the past year, and I have to say they are two of the best boards I've ever had. Scott has been shaping for over 35 years. He is rooted in the past but dedicated to exploration and pushing design. He makes everything from modern shortboards to all kinds of funky mid-lengths, fishes and classic logs.

Another cat who is making beautiful boards is Erik Hakon Olson; many of you know him through the Breaks Selection blog. I haven't gotten a board from him yet, but that will have to change.

Don't want to preach to the choir, but let's always support the craftspeople who make surfing what it is.


Saw this Bing quad on Craigslist and had to cringe a bit. Now, it's a bit unfair because I've never used traction pads and probably never will, but I think people should do what they want to do. So, I'm not necessarily "anti traction pad," but sometimes things just don't work together. This is, in my opinion, one of those times. Just doesn't feel right to me. Kind of like a leash on a fully traditional heavy classic log. Just doesn't click.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


I've been using a True Ames L-Flex in my 7' teardrop pintail egg. I'm really into it. I've had a Frye flex in it since November and it's been fun comparing/contrasting the two. They're both great, but I'm gonna keep the L-Flex in for a while. Anyone else using this fin? Any other fin favorites/feedback?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Del Mar Skate Ranch

We used to go to the Skate Ranch quite a bit in the early to mid-eighties. You never knew who you'd see, but there was always a good chance you'd spot guys like Hawk, Owen Neider, Steve Steadham, Caballero, and Lester Kasai (featured here, shot by J.Grant Brittain). For you skate heads into the era, is a fun look back at this venerable park. The site's been up for a while and hasn't been updated recently, but it has a great selection of photos and some very classic video footage as well. It's also kind of fun to geek out on the classic board graphics of the era. I wish I would have kept all of my old decks.
*Check the shadows happening inside the Keyhole.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

When Will It Get Here?

I think TSJ is the best surf publication of all time. I'm serious; I fiend
for the Journal and always go through withdrawals after I finish the current issue. I put it in the bathroom to go through it again with a fine-tooth comb as if I missed something the first go-round (I didn't). When this begins to fall apart I retreat into my back issues and start the same exploratory process. I soon realize that I've picked everything to the bone and it's time to occupy myself until the next issue. This whole deal intensifies when the new issue is released and mine hasn't arrived yet.
I see it at the store just sitting there on the shelf, but I don't pick it up and thumb through it. This would mess with my ritual, so I wait until my own copy arrives. When I do get it I don't just jump right into it (sick, I know). I wait until I have an open space of time, say when my wife and daughter have gone to bed. Then I dig in and start the whole process over again. Sound pathetic? Maybe.

This looks like it's going to be a good issue. Any feedback yet? I'm particularly interested in the David Eggers article.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Jumping On…

the bandwagon.

I know, they're everywhere. Everyone's talking and blogging about them; filming them. I've never really cared about trends in surfing/surfboards. Like many, we were always riding different types of boards: fishes (big & small, keels & quads), eggy single fins, discs, etc. It's interesting to see the current resurgence of "alternative" shapes. It's really only a resurgence on a more macro level as these designs never went away in scattered pockets of the surf world. Regardless, I am really happy that it's happening and that we're seeing so many cool new takes on design.

Old news to many, the hull phenomenon is another example of a design that's always been around, but that many are only recently getting hip to. I'm one of the many in this case. I always had vague knowledge of the displacement hull deal, but they just weren't on my radar until a few years back. Then the popular Six Feet to Fit article came out, and later the Liddle Hull Tribe article in TSJ. All of the footage that is circulating—both vintage and new—is just too much to take. It is just too intriguing to pass up a try. All of that tight-position, flying-down-the-line with style has made me jump on the bandwagon. I am so stoked to be getting a Vaquero from Marc Andreini. I spoke with him on the phone, had email contact with him, and he was totally gracious and stoked—a very cool guy. I have a lot of respect for this well-respected craftsman. From everything I've gathered, the Vaquero should be a good introduction to the hull experience. I'm sure there will be some interesting early sessions, but being a flailer on a different design keeps it fresh. I can't wait.

So, what's your take on hulls? I really liked Chum's account at Sissyfish.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Very Bad Man

For all of you soul/funk/beats heads out there, if you don't know about James Black—check it. It links to a geeky drummer website, but I'm including it since it has complete audio samples. Hook and Sling is a must listen. For a less geeky site with info., check this out. If you ever got into Ubiquity/Luv & Haight compilations you've probably heard this master behind the drumkit.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

SB1000 Presents…You Make the Call!

Citing recent observations, Sunday shall now be officially designated:

A. Popout Day!
B. "I'm Sorry Man, I Didn't See You Behind Me" Day!

You make the call.
Other suggestions?

Saturday, September 15, 2007


Funny session yesterday. The beach was working pretty well as the tide filled in. I surfed from 11 to 1. It was lined-up, wind wasn't a factor, and it was really sunny. Cold water, but no big deal. Vibes were generally good even with a little bit of a crowd.

Late into the session a nice little right comes through and I'm heading for it as another guy does the same (I'm in position). I know he's gonna fade me; he does. I laughed at him as he looked back; not the reaction he was expecting, I suppose. He paddles back out and I am close to him just smiling, having a good day. I really try to stay positive out in the water, and this was no reason to bum an otherwise fun session. A few waves later another right comes through and now his buddy is in the same position with me on the inside ready to go. He paddles as if he's going to drop in on me. I take a high line towards him and he doesn't go, but he basically sticks his board into the wave a bit, just to be a dick. I cut back and go around; it's a fun wave. I'm pissed at this point and take a few breaths as I paddle back out. I paddle right in between them and you can feel that we're all aware of the situation. I stay light, but am aggressive when the waves come through. One of them completely blows a nice wave. They know I'm not going to budge and paddle south down to another peak.

That's it. No dramatic finish; just some vibes. It was annoying, but it's incredible how people change when they don't get a reactive response from you. But I have to admit, it's always nice to see them bury their nose on a peaky set wave.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Bunker Book

Looking forward to the new book about Bunker Spreckels. I'm optimistic since it involves Craig Stecyk and Art Brewer, and it's being published by Taschen. Here's an interesting little three minute view. Photo: Art Brewer

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Paying Respects

I read a great post titled Surfing is Music by alan_m at Waves of Discontent today. Talking about craft, instruments, surfboards, etc. made me think of master drum maker Paul Bleifuss. He died of cancer last week after a nearly two-year battle. In addition to being an impeccable craftsman, Paul was also an incredible drummer. He was a very low-key guy and made only a handful of drumkits each year. His snare drums are among the finest made, and that is no exaggeration. A testament to Paul's craft, jazz legend Billy Higgins was playing Paul's drums in his later years.

I was extremely fortunate and honored to have Paul build me a drumkit a few years back. He was one of the nicest people you could meet and absolutely passionate about his craft. I have so much respect for those who make fine instruments (surfboards included). They make the world a better place by providing joy in a tangible form which then radiates more joy in ways too numerous to get into.

RIP, Paul Bleifuss. I'm honored to have known you. jb

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Surf/Music V. 1

Selecting music to get amped before a session is a ritual observed by surfy types for decades. Have the wrong music in your head and a session can go badly. For example, as other dads may know, the award for stickiest music on the planet goes to every kids' recording ever made. Hear a children's CD once and it burrows into your brain like a relentless earwig (just go with it). And let me tell you, there is nothing like getting pounded on a good size day with Elmo's theme song pumping loudly between your ears. It can just make things extra frustrating. The Eagles do the same thing to me (sorry fans).

Anyway, keeping things on a positive note, I thought I'd list some of my choice music/surf pairings. Since there are so many possibilities, I'm going to keep it quick and simple. So, here's Volume 1 in an ongoing series.

Maybe it's the early Bruce Brown movies with classsic Bud Shank soundtracks, but it's clear that stylish surfing and jazz just work together. For example, if you're in the mood for this kind of session:
(Dickie Moon at Blacks by Ron Stoner)

Then this is one example of a record you may want to check out:

Herbie Hancock's jazz catalog consists of several classic recordings made for Blue Note Records. Check out more about him if you're interested. A lot of people know him mainly from his 80's classic "Rockit," but there's a whole lot more to this master. Any of his Blue Note records are foolproof. And if you're into funk, check out his stuff on Columbia through the mid-70's.

This was the second of his records I bought. Inventions and Dimensions has a Latin tinge that never gets overbearing. It is a beautiful mix of a master composer playing with a few master percussionists, all supported by Paul Chambers on bass. Mr. PC played bass for Miles Davis and John Coltrane (to give you an indication of what a badass he was himself). This title is undoubtedly my favorite pre-70's Herbie record.

So, what are you listening to before a surf?

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Surf & Skate illustrated by Mila, the world's greatest 4 year-old. She has completely taken over my drawing/production table and spends a good amount of time in creative mode each day. Check out her old man's cutback—not bad, eh? As for the skating, it's just point A to point B these days.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Feeling Fall

Woke up early today and headed north for a really fun session. It was indeed well-attended, but I had a bunch of fun ones and headed in after about an hour-twenty or so. When I left the house it was definitely cooler than it has been. I actually grabbed a long-sleeve spring just in case, but wore trunks and a jacket anyway. The water was nice and there was plenty of action to keep warm. Still, it definitely felt like Fall was in the air.

So, why a detail of Hynson at the Ranch by Ron Stoner? Understandably, I'm a big fan of both Hynson and Stoner. But it's Stoner's imagery in particular that often gives me feelings of Fall. Maybe it's the crisp shimmering quality in many of his photos; reminds me of Fall light. As a kid I never thought I'd say it, but Fall is my favorite time of year. I'm glad Summer is coming to a close. No fairs, no horse races, mellower traffic, better surf. So, here's to Fall. And Hynson. And Stoner.

Things I never say:

Action Sports
Energy Drink

Guess I just don't relate.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Clean Lines Part Dos

Sorry, I forgot to include my flip-flop in yesterday's lame photo.
I sincerely hope this post doesn't come across as filler so I can go watch a movie right now. I'm just trying to show the concaves more clearly. Oh, they're in there.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Clean Lines

Sorry for the lame photo. Viva handcrafted art objects!

Two of my favorite things:
1. 60's Eames Shell Rocker for Herman Miller (fiberglass, metal, wood), with original base and maple runners.
2. Big Fish (MDI foam and Volan) shaped by Scott Henry with custom single-foiled fins made from a discarded Nixon watch cabinet.

Get to Work, Pavel!

I wish I could say these are shots of Rich making my latest board, but they aren't. These are from 2004 when he made me a wide diamond tail, single fin, 8'4" transitional shape. Kind of that Innermost Limits vibe—still one of the best surf films ever. Great soundtrack too. I've always been into the fuller-outlined boards and smooth carving from that era. That Australian, Greenough, Nat, Spencer, Lynch, etc. vibe!

Anyway, I'm not necessarily against machines, but I'm more into handmade customs. So, just thought I'd post these shots of Toby in hands-on mode. This board was a great utility vehicle; I pretty much rode it all the time for a while. It was heavily glassed and had substantial volume so there was plenty of inertia when you locked in, feet in the middle in full trim. I actually just sold that board to a friend in anticipation of two new orders. I'll talk more about those later.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Have You Used This?

I'm usually all about Sticky Bumps, but I've been curious about this wax. You've heard it a million times, but I do think it's important to continue exploring more sustainable surf materials. Since I prefer polyurethane blanks and more traditional board-building, this can get tricky. As such, the new Pavel will be shaped from a Biofoam blank. Scott Henry recently made me a board with a Homeblown MDI blank and it has been great. Aside from exploring more sustainable materials, Homeblown US is a local San Diego company.

Anyway, if you have used GreenSurf wax and would be willing to send a comment, anything would be appreciated. I have contemplated ordering it at wetsand a million times. Man, I just realized I'm overthinking surf wax.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Remain Calm!

For most surfers, Labor Day often brings with it a crowded, chaotic mix of boards, bodies, and attitudes. Whether you'll simply head down to your local beach or choose to check an out-of-the-way enclave, here's to good waves and good vibes for everyone. Don't sweat the scene, we're surfing. Have a safe holiday.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

TSJ Bonzer Article

I can't remember if this was previously mentioned on another blog. I recently re-read this article and just figured I'd mention the full pdf version of the article available on Eaton's website. I was forever looking for this back issue of the Journal and was happy when I found this a while back.