Wednesday, February 20, 2008

True (Glass) Love...

We all know the ebb and flow of the surfing life. You're on it and score, you're burnt and need to bodysurf for a month before you want to touch a board again. But always the waves beckon. Our wives know this too. "Surf widow" is a little too snarky a quip for me, but I get it. I leave my wife and family to surf often. I try to be considerate. But all the cold winter long while she is in dry dock my wife is gracious enough to encourage my surfing. Well, she outdid herself in the encouragement department...

Last Sunday she organized a celebration for my 30th, thirty-eth, thirtieth, three tens-eth, not a kid anymore-eth birthday. I surfed with friends, was taken to breakfast (Naked Breakfast in Sports Arena) and then was given a remarkable gift. Blank, talent, time, conversation, stoke shared with Josh Hall. I don't know Josh well, just a few times talking while surfing or in the lot. I'm happy to say that he is a cool guy with a ton of talent. He is a continuation of a lineage of surfing and shaping authenticity. No machines, honest marketing, real surfer.

Amy, Thanks for an amazing gift. 5'8" mini-fish simmons quad, shaped as I watched and chatted. Currently at Moonlight awaiting glassing.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Niche dedication...

A record of efforts spent in relative obscurity but resulting in exceptional beauty for the lucky discoverer. From Sway's:

Year Built: 30 years

Dale Solomonson
Manufacturer: Dale Solomonson
Location: Pacific Northwest

A while back I was photographing a few of the surfmats which I`ve made over the last 30 years, having found them scattered around under dust and tucked away in my shop`s loft. In addition to my old ones, examination of the photos reveals two new surfmats: one is black/yellow (Warren Pfeiffer of Yamba, NSW) and the other is black/black (Kenny Hughes of Santa Barbara, CA). Both feature rocker and rotary valves.

In contrast, two other mats in the pics are very old and completely thrashed: a yellow DuPont Hypalon large wave design (15' to 18') and a white Naugahyde mat. Both represent two phases of my matworks from the 1970`s through about 1980. In addition to thin sheets of Hypalon and Naugahyde, I was also experimenting with pure rubber, PVC and neoprene.

Each new surfmat project was taking me about 30 to 40 hours of labor (not counting design time), and just prior to my 1982 discovery and initial experiments with the original "Hero" mat`s heatseal nylon/PU fabric, average construction time had been trimmed to "only" 20 hours!

One of the most exciting things about those early surfmat projects was that I`d successfully lowered their overall weight (yet increased the overall strength) from about 7 or 8 lbs. for a typical rubber and canvas raft, to 5 lbs. for the mats I was making by the latter 1970`s. As can be imagined, going from 8 lbs. to 5 lbs. was an improvement, especially in terms of sensitivity... but to go immediately from 5 lbs. to less than 16 ounces... well, that was literally a dream come true!

After I made George Greenough`s first military green "Hero" mat in the winter of 1982-83, an entirely new chapter in high performance mat surfing began to unfold, with radical changes occurring in design, materials, and fabrication. The results were significant gains in overall speed, handling and response... an endlessly fascinating process which continues to the present day."

I have found the new Mat to be a wonderful tool/toy. It looks so silly, but senses are chattering! If you haven't tried it, you must!

I saw a lone surfer jogging down a beach trail today, bag rolled up, duckfeet in hand. The second Mat rider I've ever seen in my county. I was driving by and had the urge to stop, run to catch him and then... What would I say? Why? Let it be evidence of the human condition- we love to share a treasured secret.

Friday, February 15, 2008

What to ride, what to ride...

Courtesy of Anonymous, Somewhere, CA

I'll take the Liddle, Andreini, Long frye fish, Dark green Pavel Keel, Swirly Lis, and a Speedialer (for good measure).

A few too many of the same arrows for one quiver, but hey, I don't think he's worried about it. What would you pick?

Monday, February 11, 2008

The other end...

I was on the fence about selling this Frye Eagle. Saturday session at local beachbreak resolved the issue. Eleven feet, two inches, g l i d e. I'm into different feelings in the water. Usually this manifests in the sub log range. This board, though, this board is something of an exception. The other end of the spectrum, but somehow similar to some of the shorter toys. Trim, baby trim.

Sit literally 25 feet outside of the longboards. Spot your wave and paddle. Feel the glide. slide to your feet. Deep trimming turn. Set your line. On your feet by the time you reach the "lineup". Sections come and go, and go, and go. People either love you or hate you. Don't be greedy, let five set waves pass before taking your next.

Swung by Skip's shop today, introduced myself and inquired about the correct fin. It's fun to share stoke with a man who has been gifted with bringing others so much stoke.

More Eagle pics:

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Grom love...

My son arrived back with my wife after a week away. We hit the garage and checked out some boy stuff.

Ready, steady...
3'9" fishy is 80% done.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

But it's raining...

Courtesy of Sissyfish

If you can time it just right. If you can peek out your window and measure the wind. If you can check the tide and swell. If you can narrow down the list to THE spot. If you can pick the board that can handle the chop/wind/mess. If you can change your wetsuit in the wet. If you can brave the runoff stew. If you can surf in the rain then...

You might catch a few sandbar beauties with only a handful of other people, all of whom you know. You might trade boards with a friend (sick little J.Hall quad fish). You might wipe out ingloriously. You might hoot or be hooted for. You might trade in a board for a bag and slide around happily while the rain continues to fall.

Or you might get hepatitis.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Artisan du jour...

Andrew Kidman has been busy. He must have a ton of footage from those Herbrides days.
Click here to navigate and then hit the preview button.