Wednesday, 29 September 2010


She'll hate that i posted this but i think it's a cool portrait.
Happy 6th Birthday to my beautiful daughter today too. You fill our lives with so much happiness!

Corduroy lines has it's first ever paper issue out now. It's been a labour of love for Simon and each issue has gone from strength to strength. It's a real treat to be able to hold a copy rather than read it online.  Check here and order yourself a copy!

Saturday, 25 September 2010

flying the friendly ghost...

Anyone with even half an idea of current trends in surfing outside the all encompassing thruster movement will doubtless be aware of the emergence of the mini simmons as a new branch on the board design tree. Coming out of the work of Simmons in the late 50's and his adherence to the principles of even earlier boat hull theory, the concepts were rediscovered by Richard Kenvin as part of his Hydrodynamica project. Working with Joe Baugess from much longer simmons originals  and apocryphal stories of simmons riding a styrofoam 6 footer til the windansea shorebreak destroyed it they first made a 9 foot replica in balsa that Kenvin and co. successfully rode in large waves in California and the Galapagos. Then they went shorter..

The result was an epoxy 6 footer quite unlike anything else out there, a seemingly simple shape with decpetive subtleties. This first board was named "casper" after the friendly ghost and started to pop up in photos and videos around the net a couple of years ago. Having been ridden by a number of high profile surfers, all well documented with glowing ride reports the idea caught on and quickly many different shapers began to take the idea and put their own spin on it.

I think it's pretty safe to say that few people in the UK have actually seen one of Baugess original shapes though there are a few UK shapers who are making a version. For the past 6 weeks or so i've been riding the little 5'8 in the pictures and it's very quickly become my favorite board. This one is a Point Concept Velo sim, designed by Ryan Lovelace in Santa Barbara but loving shaped over here by Tim Mason off Ryan's templates.

Tim actually does a very fine copy of the Baugess which is shorter and thicker than this with a more pronounced s deck and has a slightly more complicated bottom shape. My board is bellied to flat to concave through the fins, 5'8 x 22 x 3 but foiled out through the rails. The fins are wood keels but more semi-circular in shape than those for a classic fish.

So after digesting all the hype i was keen to get a feel for the shape people are raving about, and let me tell you it's a hell of a lot of fun!! It's definatley a board that draws lateral lines rather than truly vertical ones on the wave. The feel is probably best described as being like riding a bar of soap. It rolls from rail to rail smoothly and cuts through the water much like the feel of a hull. It's a board you need to get low on as you bottom turn and it feels great in a high line trim. Where it differs from the hull is in turning.The fins are set well back, only a few centimetres from the tail and the board will pivot off the bottom or the top much like a normal twin keel fish. Once you outrun a section it cuts back like a skatey loose fish so you can set up for the next speed run, then repeat til your grinning like a loon and hooting yourself!

 It's much friendlier on your backhand than a hull too. Like a hull, the roll in the bottom gives it a slightly "unsafe" feel as you put it into a bottom turn. It requires a bit of practice to get the right amount of weight on the rail as you start the turn, you almost need to gently but progressively weight the rail but once you have that figured it performs backside too.

Like any board, it loves a clean down the line wave, i've had it out in headhigh and under surf so far and the speed it generates is awesome. Where it really excels, however,  is in junk surf. I can honestly say that a couple of weeks ago i had the best surf ever in 1-2ft sloppy windswell. The combination of effortless speed generation and quick direction change facilitated by the bottom contour and short length respectively give you the ability to chase the open face through, over and around whitewater and maximise the fun in poor conditions. It could be the ultimate junk wave design, as long as you're not a died in the wool shortboarder desperate to live out your slater fantasy for every surf.

While Tim obviously isn't the only shaper who will make you one of these, i honestly think few shapers in the UK understand boards derived from hull principles as well as he does and for something like this you want someone with that knowledge. Ryan, whose original design this is, has a proven track record in these types of shapes with a group of like minded test pilots and Rincon to work out the flaws. Once again not it's not going to be everyones cup of tea but it is a MUCH more functional daily driver than a hull while still retaining the smooth feel and different enough from a Lis style fish to warrant having both in your quiver.

 These shapes are a different branch of the tree than conventional concave bottom shortboards and if you believe Kenvin, are the true ancestors of the modern high perfomance board as well as both skateboarding and snowboarding. Big claims but the proof as they say, is in the eating!

Friday, 24 September 2010

a stones throw

The south side of the point at La Torche is littered with hundreds and hundreds of these little piles of stones, like some kind of ancient offerings to the gods of the sea. Makes for a slightly surreal landscape, especially in the dawn half light.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

basking in the afterglow..

Full of stoke from an uncrowded twilight session in zippy small p-land. Back in love with my Dano and it's ridiculous section beating capabilities from the tip and cruising the net for further logging stimulation i turned this up.

It's a sweet little promo video of tudor's noseriding thing at the US open. Made for pacifico by Dana Morris, a talented young filmmaker and the guy who made "way of life", my most played surf dvd for a long time.

Enjoy wasting a few minutes of someone else's time....

Sunday, 19 September 2010

they are waves jim....

 but not as we know it....... The Gardner contemplates another wasted lie in!

Thursday, 16 September 2010

suits you sir

The last couple of months i've been testing this Nineplus stylist wetsuit and so far i'm very impressed. The latest generation of suits seem a real step up in quality from the last nineplus suit i had a couple of years ago. Mostly single lined 3mm Yamamoto neoprene, it's soft, fits like a glove and is supple and flexible too. Seams are glued blindstitched and spot taped on stress points. The "shorts" area in particular feels very flexible, you aren't aware of the seams in this area at all.

Closure is with a back zip and a generously sized "batwing" collar underneath to keep it watertight. It's a warm suit and i'm looking forward to getting my full leg version soon which i'm sure will be even warmer!

The big problem with the Nineplus suits i've owned in the past has been durability but so far it doesn't look like an issue thats going to affect this suit. All in all, stylish, warm, flexible and good value for money.

Monday, 13 September 2010

retail therapy

Being the assiduous student of surf culture that i am, and secretly enjoying shopping more than most blokes, we visited plenty of shops on our trip. Probably the raddest was "the captains helm" in Oceanside. Owned by Mitch Abshere of captain fin fame, it's best described as newquays revolver on a US scale with motorbikes instead of tattoos!

A little further north in Laguna is Thalia Street Surf shop, somewhere i was keen to visit having ordered boxes of t shirts on a couple of occasions in the past. It's a cool little shop with a friendly owner, Nick and stocked to the gills with todays cool brands of clothes & boards. In pride of place on the counter was Dan Crocketts "the kook" surf newspaper. Really cool to see something thats pretty english in it's inception and style being loved by the so cal locals

Saturday, 11 September 2010

a little bit of sam's magic

9'4 Anderson Breakwater model with C street in the background. I rented this board from mollusc in venice for the first three days of the trip. It's a classic paralell template noserider 19 x 23 x 16 x 3 ish with a nice foil, plenty of foam but not too big and blocky, pretty flat with nose concave and a decent kick in the tail. Really pretty similar to my favorite gulfstream and a board i really enjoyed surfing.

Interestingly (to me at least) was that it came with a 9.75 inch greenough 4a fin. Not the template i would instinctively put in at home on a noserider, but one that worked really well, held on the tail but loosened the board up nicely especially in the slightly faster point style waves.

Really i shouldn't have been so suprised, after all, greenough is a genius and the 4a is pretty much the template he encouraged Nat Young to use in the famous magic sam, the board he used to take the 66 world title and usher in the whole involvement school of surfing that led to the shortboard revolution etc.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010


Christiaan Bailey, curator of the surf screen and one of the select club of people to have produced and sold a british surf film, perfectly dressed for a day at the beach in July.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Vive la france!

Scored some super fun waves in Brittany last week, while everyone was scoring at home. Couple of days on the log before it was time to break out a shorter board. This was Tuesday morning, we were the only ones out at first light for about 40 minutes. 

Massive thanks and apologies to the random french photgrapher, who took the pics, sadly i have no idea of his contact details to post as these were taken from a forum, but cheers Benoit!

Sunday, 5 September 2010

over sand under grass..

Just post dawn patrol glass and pre pancake breakfast at San O. Sadly the perfect little waves at old mans are burnt out of the background. We were so lucky to spend a day with the Threadgills there. They used up a precious day of annual leave to show us a classic san o beach day of surf, cookout and stomp rocket fun. I've already thanked them on here once but, thanks again guys, you showed us an awesome time.

San O was definately somewhere the average level of surfing was pretty high. Plenty of my surfs in California left me feeling pretty good. I left San O feeling distinctly average having witnessed some really great logging by pint size rippers, Josh Baxter put on one of the best displays of prog longboarding i've seen in real life and an unamed hero hang ten like i dream, of on a soft top!

Course they all have some super good consistent waves to get good on. One interesting thing about San O is that SUP's are banished to their own peak, way south by the (slightly pornographically shaped) power station. A pretty good thing in the opinion of everyone i talked to.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

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