Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Modus Operandi...

I have a pretty short attention span. Suits the surfing life well. Each day and wave different. Each style of riding and board different. Anyways, two new arrivals (Neumatic and long Lis, above)have my head spinning. That Frye fish is still a puzzle I'm working on, too. My two favorite remaining fish, a 5'8 Lis and a 5'6 CC are both becoming "well loved"- prompting me to try out my other craft more often. I haven't had a session in over a month during which I rode only one board. Jack of all trades, master of none.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Competent surfing on unlikely equipment. Not the most fluid surfing, but can you imagine how difficult this would be? No fins, no rocker, not enough length to get you into waves. It's that miraculous and terrible invention, the boogie board! I searched out this video after reading/watching this. Thanks Pranaglider!

My favorite surfer...


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Theme Universal...

I have this ongoing argument/conversation with a guy who frequents "Slim Pickin's". He is pro-popout, market forces and capitalism as innovation. I call bullsh!t. We go 'round and 'round about how local shapers deserve support/ innovative material genius dudes in Thailand deserve support. I'm right, he's wrong.

I have this friend whose wife is into local eating. Saves the earth one carrot at a time. I didn't really buy it until I started reading "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" at her prompting. I guess asking for an apple to be shipped to me from New Zealand doesn't really make much sense. Farmer's Market here I come. She's right and now so am I.

I took my wife's car into the shop. "Is it worth supporting a domestic brand?" The shop owner, who I deem as trustworthy as any car repair guy on earth, tells me that cars are a global product of a global market. The difference between a Ford made in Detroit and a Toyota made in New Mexico (or wherever) isn't much. No one is right anymore.

So what gives? Global capitalism forces are making surf culture into a caricature, making food culture into an environmental/medical nightmare, and making Automotive Detroit into Anycarville, Anywhere? This may be rehashing an established point. Point made.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

From the Franco-files...

I’m from San Diego and a sucker for clean lines. It should come as no surprise, then, that the fine craft of Barrel Surfboards caught my eye. I was perusing a blog or 'board when I came across a few of their gems and learned that they are based out of France. France, home of wine, beachbreaks and sensible health care has a board maker that would pass the litmus test in any Sin Diego lineup. Alexandre, the creator behind Barrel Surfboards, was good enough to converse with me a bit. It seems this gentleman shaper, while living in Bordeaux (yes, the wine), has developed a love for trim and glide that has led him towards a board builder's life.
Alexandre is an architect by trade. The hours spent studying form, function and aesthetics in structures have transferred nicely into shaping. His boards have the clean, drawn out curves of Frye, the balance and kinetic implication of the Campbell brothers and the hallowed gravity of California surfboard makers of notable lineage. It is from these iconic figures that Barrel Surfboards draws influence and inspiration. French board builders such as Chevalier and Toy have produced quality boards, and formed a base of Franco-shaper pride- an oak of support to Alexandres fledgling shaping vision. It would be remiss to omit the primary force behind Barrel Surfboard’s design- surfing the beachbreaks of his Atlantic home. “I only shape boards I like to surf.” Isn’t that the core of it.
Alexandre’s home breaks are the beaches that make up a 250 kilometer stretch of tide and sand sensitive beachbreak. Fickle, frustrating, but potentially epic. These conditions have led his board design to center around maximizing fun on any given day. You won’t find any rockered-out WCT machines in his arsenal. Twin fin fish, are a preferred choice as both a rider and a craftsman. “I never get as much fun as on a twin fish. Shaping one take a lot of time but is a great fun too.” Alexandre wrote. In fact, the fish design is a primary reason for Alexandre’s venture into surfboard shaping. “In France, when I started shaping, there were no boards like that and they were boards I wanted to surf. So I started shaping for myself short, wide, thick, low rockered boards and they really are efficient boards.”
As his experience grew so did his repertoire. Barrel Surfboards now creates eggs, single fins, and fish of the twin, twinzer and quad varieties. When pressed, Alexandre might even whip up a “user friendly” tri-fin shortboard. To be sure, Barrel surfboards are entities of functional art. A particular attention goes into each board as it is conceived and developed through the shaping bay and into the hands of the glassers, true craftsmen in their own right. "There is one thing I really like about surfboards: when lines, volume, colors, and fins match altogether and you can feel it's been done to remain one unique piece.Some boards can have nice curves but sad fins and poor colors... then you can only see how average they are.One part of the job i like to take care about is the fin choice, material, templates, color match etc... On the pictures I chose (for this article), I love the way the boards came out, curves, polishes, colors, fins.To me, these boards look like a solid material, much more than foam and resin."

To my eye, his boards look wonderful, though Alexandre insists the evolution of Barrel Surfboards is far from complete. “As a shaper, I'm in front of the Himalaya and I've just landed in Katmandou and climbed the first rock. I wish I could travel again and meet more shapers to exchange with, share shaping sessions and so on. I'd love to become a better shaper to offer better boards to all the surfers who dare to trust me.” Right on Alexandre! The hand built paradigm of surf-stoked surfcraft is alive and well!
I initiated contact with Barrel Surfboards. I was motivated by the unique nature of what I saw- a French board builder whose boards are dripping with San Diego lines. No commercial activities were involved. Kindly remove your suspicious grimace and let’s see the surf stoked grin that fuels us.
Most pictures are of Alexandre's choosing. I indulged my own fancies here and there.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Back from the dead...

My wetsuits are like my quiver, full of holes. This has been the coldest dawn patrol winter in recent memory. It just so happens that it's my "stretch" year for wetsuits, where I'm trying to make older suits last just one... more... season.I've been freezing. In the midst of my chattering and shivering I have the luxury of looking around and seeing every toasty geo-neo-eco-limestone suit keeping fellow surfers comfortable in the lineup. "Sorry, I can't feel my torso anymore so I had to drop in on you." Hee, hee.

I sent in a 4/3 Rip Curl suit in horrible shape hoping for a miracle repair. A couple days later I get a quote for $41 to repair a tear and some seamwork. Ok. A month or so passes and I haven't heard a word about said suit. I call and a nice dude tells me they totally forgot about my suit. Damn. So I'm expecting my $41 charge and a crappy suit back really late. I pick up the suit last Sunday. It is almost better than new! Newly taped and sealed seams, new fireskin liner (which was not even on the original suit), new back and front panel. No Charge!

I had sworn off RIp Curl after this suit self-destructed but thanks to a little costumer care- they may have a return costumer. Still, I think next winter may be bite the bullet Patatuse time.

Larger Lis...

If I was a little larger or a little richer I might jump on this 6'2 Lis fish with a bit of a pulled in template. $800 buys a lot of swim lessons for my grom so I have to pass.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


When I began this blog I didn't understand that there was a whole community of surfers/humans who spend some of their time to communicate with other like minded souls. I have found the selection of surfblogs on the net to be entertaining, inspiring, informative, encouraging and oddly compelling. Thanks for making my days richer through your electronic offerings. Thanks, also, for participating in my own contributions to the surfblog community. Now, get a dawn patrol in before the rain hits!

When life gives you lemons...

December 31, 2007

Nice sandbar setup at favorite early morning beachbreak, "Slim Pickin's". Nice shoulder to head swell running. The fish is flying. A little high line sliding and foam bounce climbing. A few kneelo tubes and keel track trails.

Speedo sets up the blackball. I, one of only a few cattle at this particularly fertile peak, am herded south, past the flag. A few waves come through, but now I have to share. The fish went solitary. I sneak a left into the blackball and belly in to the shore. Boogie was in the car but soon found its way to the water. Reclaim said peak with only one other boogie player.

First wave offers two in and outs. Second wave offers off the top reverse spin. Third wave offers full leg stall to dead stop in the shade. All in all a nice trade off. One big set offers a nice closeout view- I let my toy drift to the sand where a friend picks it up for me.

Now fins and I are immersed. Three nice body slides and I'm ready for the shore. The water is chilly when you're fully submerged.

Fish, kneel, sponge,

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

I have resolved to...

I like resolutions. They set the stage for growth. This year's resolutions:

1. Gain flexibility- enough to touch my toes.
2. Be a better listener in all situations.
3. Give away at least one wave every session.
4. Never leave a precious board alone in an unlocked car.

Oh, and of course, the obligatory, surf more.