Sunday, 31 July 2011

the dirk of doom

Absolutely not a death dagger.........9'4 x 16 x 22.5 x 14.75 x 2 7/8 by the Squire

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, i ordered a surfboard from a wandering minstrel. I didn't get quite what i asked for. I'm not going to rehash the whole story here, the tale was posted previously and you can read it here. I felt somewhat let down and nervous of re-entering the kingdom of kegel again.

As luck would have it, the Squire who hosted the wanderer did feel that something should be done. After measuring the original in great detail he ordered his workers at seabase to shape a replacement, pulling the original template out to the dimensions i'd wanted but otherwise copying the original as far as possible.

The result is the beauty in the photos, which (apologies to john) don't come close to doing it justice. The tint is ace and the finish really out of the top drawer. It's flat, foiled out with soft pinched rails, a hint of concave, a tiny bit of tail kick and some gentle belly in the back. The fin is a slightly raked volan flexy affair, taken from the original gato board. The proof as they say, is in the eating and however good a board looks on the rack, it's in the water that it's true nature is exposed. This isn't supposed to be a noserider, more of a tool for what we might term the new involvement school of surfing, referencing the surfing of Chonoski  and Knost and friends, who in turn are influenced by Nat Young and friends of the magic sam vintage. Namely pocket noseriding with full rail commited turns in a traditional sense. (i know what i'm talking about even if that's confused you!) It's made for waves with good shape and a little pace but not necessarily size.

In the water, it paddles fine, as well as modern progressive longboard. Take off's are a little late compared to a true log but the lack of nose area helps avoid pearling despite the flat rocker. It trims fast and feels responsive and alive under your feet although it demands quick footwork. Bottom turns have a nice spring off the flex in the fin and cutbacks whip around with weight firmly over the fin. In short, a lot of fun and similar to the gato. Noseriding is obviously more of a critical affair with a 16 inch nose but with a steep pocket forming around you and quick feet the board will lock in nicely. In fact, in bowly little waves, the narrowness probably works in your favour making it feel much more manageable. It trims fast and holds really well on the nose through sections and cheating five while head dipping is particularly fun. It will allow a brief ten over though thats hardly the point of the excercise. It is exactly what i wanted and i feel somewhat vindicated that the dims and shape i originally envisaged do perform how i imagined and ultimately how i wanted. It's definately a departure from most of the longboards in the uk right now, not that easy to surf and most definately not everyone's cup of tea but......... For someone like me who rides longboards a lot but has no interest in the 3 finned variety, it's a really fun departure from the norm.

So there you have it, the best and the worst of the custom surfboard experience in one episode! Big thanks to John Isaac for sorting it out patiently and Phil Hodge for taking care with something out of the ordinary. If you're looking for a new board squire are worth considering. contact john here or here

As an aside, if you have read the comments on the previous post you will see that robbie did offer to swap the board for a used one of his or shape me another (at cost!) when he came back to europe this summer. Perhaps unsuprisingly he's already here (& perhaps gone who knows) but no contact to make good on the promise so far.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011


It's a virtue........ or so we are told, everything comes good in the end if you have it.

I got to thinking the other day that so much about surfing involves patience. For all the flurry of action when you're actually riding a wave, there's a lot of waiting, for sets, for swells, for the tide or wind. Waiting even to get a chance to go to the beach. It's only with patience that you can accept the waiting with good grace, take the long term view. It's not something i'm particularly good at, maybe lots of you are te same. Modern life is lived at such a frenetic pace we rarely slow down, any tiny delay the cause for frustration, often the recipe for conflict in our crowded line ups. It's worth remembering, making yourself remember, the timeless words of duke kahanamoku.

"Wave come"

Sunday, 24 July 2011

skomer landing

A classic holga happy accident but i kinda like the light leak on this one

Friday, 22 July 2011

just like marmite......

Al Knost x Malibu from RVCA on Vimeo.

Alex Knost  is a bit like marmite in that he tends to divide opinion. You either love his idiosyncratic style and take on surfing or you don't. Personally while i'm not a big marmite fan, Knost is pretty much my favorite surfer. Whether his latest foray into shaping will last and whether his boards work or just look like they do because he surfs so well only time will tell....

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

get clean

with a bar of this case 5'2 stringerless, shaped by Tyler Warren with Daniel Partsch wood keels......

Kind of an impulse purchase. As previously noted, i've been loving my point concept velo sim over the last year. It's resulted in a few raves on here but at 5'8 it's always felt like i could have gone smaller. Tyler Warren's bar of soap version of a simmons had caught my eye and i knew there were small numbers available through Thalia and Surfy surfy. I thought about ordering one before our trip out to california and JP from surfy surfy did get me the chance of a board but for a variety of reasons i didn't commit.

Imagine my delight then, when i wandered into the Hobie store in Dana Point to see this advocado tinted beauty tucked in behind the SUP's. With the good fortune to have sold a couple of boards before we left, the temptation was too much to resist and i caved in with little resistance!

It took a while for the stars to align and for me to get a chance to ride it. No matter how much you like the look or idea of a board, it's not until you catch the first few waves on it that you know if your enthusiasm has been well placed.

At 5'2 , 22 wide and 2.5 thick, there's still a reassuring amount of foam. Very little rocker and a distinct foil out to the rails so they are less chunky than my velo sim. Bottom wise it's belly to single concave to a fairly deep double concave through the fins which are a little closer to fish keels than the half moon classic sim shape.

It paddles well, great for it's size and no more difficult than a 5'8 fish would. Like wise it's into waves easily, getting in early or late if necessary, the short length really helping despite the flat rocker.

First wave was a chest high mushy righthander and the board flew, in fact it flies in everything i've had it out in so far. There's less belly and more concave than my velo sim and this manifests as a much more "alive" feeling once you are up and riding with a real big squirt out of the bottom turn. It's so short that it's easy to get on rail and wrap around a cutback and the short rail line makes it feel much more dynamic and connected to your feet backside, despite the tail width.

Whereas the velo sim feels like a hull with a fish's ability to cutback, this feels like my favorite larry mabile) fish with a rocket attached! Needless to say, i'm amping and i don't think it's just new board euphoria. Further reports to come as testing continues!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

a moment of singular joy

There's nothing quite like the moment you round the final bend to see glassy lines rolling in and no one in the water. Of course it doesn't happen often in todays crowded line ups but when a little effort yields this kind of result it's a moment to savour!

Friday, 15 July 2011


So Joel Tudor is bringing his Duct Tape invitational contest and atendant circus to Salinas in Spain 28th to 31st July as part of the longboard festival held there. There's a heavyweight list of loggers confirmed to attend but among them is UK vans rider and sennen super styler James Parry which in my book makes a very cool thing even cooler! Hopefully James will get the chance to show off his considerable skills and do us proud.

As an event it's one of the few relevant contests that exist in longboarding right now, with a focus on proper style and single fins. I really wish i could check it out in person.

If you are lucky enough to be close by more details here

Thursday, 14 July 2011

cdm for cetaceans

Chris Del Moro, all round ripper, environmental activist and owner of probably the best beard in surfing (despite stiff competition from keith malloy!) is in Newquay this weekend, hosting a screening of the new documentary Minds in the Water. It's at Newquay cinema on Sunday 17th July at 8 pm.

There's a buffet/ art music thingy in cafe irie from 6 and an after party at the Chy bar from 10 pm. Read their press release and more details here

watch the trailer here

tickets from the cinema on  08712003304

There's a screening at the screening lounge in soho in london on the 20th as well.

I know he'd be stoked if you could come!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Saturday, 9 July 2011

queen of the coast

So i was lucky enough to surf Rincon a few times on this year's trip to california, something i missed out on last year. Obviously it's traditionally a winter break but it does get a little swell in the summer and let me tell you it is every bit as good a wave as you might expect from it's reputation, even with less than ideal swell conditions!

The shape is fantastic, a powerful pocket and a nicely tapering shoulder, more speed and power than i expected. Fun when tiny on a log but i can imagine a hull being a mindblowingly good speed race there at medium size

Obviously it gets super busy on a decent swell but the cove was pretty quiet when i was there, friendly mostly older locals, happy to shoot the breeze bobbing in the lineup. I think my favorite thing though, is just how immersed in nature it feels, even given how close the freeway actually is. Dolphins regularly swam through the lineup, pelicans dove just feet away, even the scrub path from the parking lot is populated by scurrying lizards and nervous bunnies.

i'd better stop now or i'm liable to get a bit depressed about not living there! :-)


Thursday, 7 July 2011

rocking the status quo....

Not the actual Quo you understand. I'm not advocating you go out and listen to caroline or rocking all over the world! I'm thinking more the way things are, there in your comfort zone. It's easy to get complacent, follow the same routines, the same well worn ruts to the same spots with the same boards.

Sometimes what you need is something from out of left field to make you sit up and take notice, make you take a look at things and see them from a new perspective, maybe give you the things you were missing even if you didn't realise they were absent. Just because things are easy, rubbing along nicely doesn't always mean it's the best way forward. Maybe there's a lesson for life, that you should keep looking forward, working at it, not rest on your laurels. It's fashionable to talk about "going on a journey" right now, reality shows are full of it but Shmaltz aside there's a kernel of truth there...

Case in point, the mini simm in the picture. Obviously a fashion correct hipster such as myself had to have one or i wouldn't be able to walk down the beach with head held high. Yet jesting aside, the mini simmons design and the thinking behind it has had a big effect on the daily surfing of a lot of people worldwide. It's a design that looks odd, feels a bit funny to surf initially but unlocks a huge amount of fun in marginal conditions. It's certainly redfined the way i've felt about small boards in small waves and is responsible for more surf stoked smiles than almost anything else in the last few months

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

more sun pleeeeeeese!

and a bit less wind and some nice quality swell while you're at it!

Saturday, 2 July 2011

moving pictures...

Surfing Anorak that i am, i'm always looking out for new dvd's to keep me stoked while the sou' westerlies blow. This dvd popped into my mailbox a week or two ago, the new film from Mikey Detemple, the man behind Picaresque which came out a couple of years ago, called Sight Sound. With great anticipation i popped it into the dvd player tray and it's been living in there since!

Although he does wield a camera, Mikey mostly takes on an actor/director role and steer his films firmly into the artistic side of the endeavor with little in the way of voice or titles cluttering the piece. The film flows past smoothly and in full colour from one section to the next, with a "modern electric" soundtrack that is a hell of a lot better than that description makes it sound!

Like Picaresque, Mikey made an effort to seek out some of the road less travelled while gathering footage. This time we are treated to, amongst others, spitting Nicaraguan beach break barrels, sub zero snowbound Canada, dusty baja zippers and colorful Barbados.

There's an eclectic mix of surfcraft to fit with an eclectic mix of surfers. Chris del Moro clearly rips on anything, Ryan Burch makes slabs of foam look fun and there's plenty of high quality logging on offer from Detemple, Kassia Meador, Scotty Stopnik and Justin Quintal, an east coaster that few will have heard of but many will remember. There's some good footage of Tyler Warren and Detemple on mini Simmons style boards too, maybe the first footage on DVD outside richard kenvins sphere of influence and making them look just as fun as they undoubtedly are. The Canadian footage is high quality too, even if it does look ball achingly cold! It's somehow gratifying to watch pros donning full suits boots and gloves to surf in 40 degree water and snowstorms just like we do!

My favorite section features a rifling right hand Mexican point which looks almost cape st Francis perfect. Jared mell and Kassia Meador feature heavily, their contrasting styles creating a counterpoint like a conversation through the footage. Meador smoothly logging some of the most impressive women's longboarding I've seen while Mell's highly technical almost jagged and urgent "knost-esque" style sitting on the other side of the coin. Mell is exceedingly good and has perhaps the longest hang heels ive ever seen committed to film.

The overall feel is similar to picaresque although the production crew and many of the cast have changed. There's a more balanced mix of short and long equipment, warm and cold water. The most obvious difference is a hike in production values from last time. There's a more lush feel to the shots and some of the footage is shot on 16mm film stock.

It's altogether less "self congratulatory" feeling this time, something that picaresque was criticized for, I really liked it and it's stood up to repeated viewings so far.

Perhaps the best way of rating a new surf film is by answering this most simple of questions..........." did it make me want to go surfing?"

In this case, the answer......."HELL YES!"
check out the trailer here............mercifully the star wipes are not in the actual film!
Nick Lavechhia's photo by the way!
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