I stripped all the wax off my favorite log the other day. It was about time, it pretty much looked like it had been Tarmaced! Much to my horror i noticed that the blank has twisted, pretty significantly. It wasnt entirely unexpected, i know most of the other boards shaped from that batch of blanks have a twist to some degree, an unfortunate dodgy supply i would assume.
The weird thing is that it's (still) an amazing magic board. It's always paddled slow but it has been and (since noticing the twist still ) remains one of my favorites. I'm pretty sure the twist has been there for a while which leads me to question how much difference does it actually make? In theory you are only engaging one rail at a time (the basis that asymmetric boards work on)
I mean is the twist in the rail actually part of the magic? The argument for hand over machine shaping has always been one which says that it is the inaccuracies in a handshape that make the difference between a great board and a mediocre one and the precision of the machine loses this "magic touch"
As far as i can see the only problem is that it affects the resale value.... which is fine because this log is a keeper!
So i'm trying hard to keep this all surfing related generally but as i type this i'm in france and it's raining, massive and onshore so i aint surfing today, in fact as surf trips go, this one has pretty much sucked.
As you all know, surfing and waves in general are fickle beasts. For every hour surfing we spend precious few minutes actually stood up and riding waves and countless more watching, waiting, hoping for somthing to happen. That puts surfing at odds as a "sport" with most other conventional sports. Take tennis or swimming or football (or most anything else) Once you have negotiated a window to go do them, it's pretty much just a case of turning up and playing. Even skateboarding and snowboarding, our closest cousins, are the same, theres always something to ride on the mountain and skate spots only change slowly over time.
Book a week or two at the beach though, especially if it's a european beach break and you could luck into 10 days of perfect warm swell or the hundred year storm and the ensuing fall out. This holiday has definately trended towards the latter........
Patience is key but in our ever more busy lives it's a difficult lesson to learn!
So last weekend saw the opening of the new Finisterre and Gulf stream joint venture in Braunton. It's in the original GS shop but the space is now shared so you can lust after Finisterre's high quality clothes as well as Jools finely tuned surfcraft. It looks fantastic and i think there is a real confluence between where the two brands are coming from. Hopefully its going to be really mutually beneficial.
Opening night was a real fun evening hanging out with some local friends and meeting the finisterre guys. Most of you will already be aware of their clothes but if you arent they are really worth checking out! Clothes designed for surfers by surfers and ethically made.
I've always thought of them as a kind of British Patagonia and like the american brand, they are moving into the wetsuit game next year. They have been prototyping some winter suits designed to be warm, durable and dry quickly at a reasonable price. All things that we need for cold water surfing that overseas brands dont always appreciate. They look great from what ive seen so far.
Probably worth making sure your young children are not in the room for the "interludes" stolen from 70's soft porn but a fine little dvd all the same. Shot in 16mm and very much on the arty side of things it's made by Tin Ojeda and features some of the usual hipster subjects as well as some lesser known faces.
Highlights for me were Devon Howard on his Tyler egg, Dane Peterson killing it in his super smooth style and the deepest reaches guys finding trim and style on very long and very short boards....
I just stole this picture of Jools from Gulftream aboard his 5'0 Seapea from their blog (pic is by Gordon from devondigitalimaging.co.uk)
Jool's post is pretty much spot on, talking about the simple joy in racing along a wave, beating sections, climbing and dropping, weighting and un-weighting to generate speed. As he says, it's a fundamental part surfing that is often overlooked in the media in favour of bigger brasher, faster, "radder" manouvers. Yet it is one of the most fun things you can do on a wave. The Seapea and it's mini simmons brethren are some of the best boards for this, taking the foundation in speed that the fish platform woke the world up to and adding afterburners.
Well after what wasnt really a banner summer for surf, autumn continues to deliver so far! Another couple of days of long distance, well organised swell with perfect winds.
I've spent my sessions on a mix of the two boards in the picture. The 5'8 Larry Mabile twin keel mentioned a couple of posts ago and the 5'2 Tyler Warren Bar of soap. It's been interesting comparing the two boards and also comparing the bar of soap to my SeaPea. The twin keel fish definately carves a turn better and takes more weight through the turn without slipping out but loses out in speed generation and section making. Definately fun though.
The bar of soap, as i've posted before, is one of the best boards i have owned. It's definately got more shortboard influence than most mini simmons, there's no stringer, the wide point is not forward and the bottom shape is roll into a deep vee'd double concave (spiral vee?!) That translates to a board that feels really alive and spritely under your feet with great down the line speed but slightly less smooth flow than the single concave of the seapea. Off the top it's looser and easier to whip through turns, feeling like it really sits up high in the water.It's not quite as good as the SeaPea in junk waves though, it definately likes just a little bit of shape.
Boards come in all shapes and sizes and colours. There are lots which are just there, but there are some that speak to you, well to me anyway. Some perfect confluence of curves and colour that draws the eye from across a crowded board room, begs to be touched, to feel the smoothness of the gloss coat and the fluid way water will run from concavity to convexity and off the rails.
I think hulls and hull derived shapes are often like this. They have such a soft, organic form with no hard edges that is always pleasing to the eye, sending you mindsurfing that perfect point with flowing high line and deep railed bottom turns.