Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Not enough time in the day...

There never seems to be enough time in the day to do everything you want and ride/shape wooden boards. With only a few days left before I head to warmer waters to "test" the first batch, I have a lot on my plate. Rehearsal tomorrow, show Thursday, stop by the airport to confirm that they'll fly my boards (they sounded positive on the phone), still trying to get a decent quality version of Charlie Moore's talk at UNCW online, and an attempt to pump out 3 new sliding machines.

I got the master template shaped up and ready to go, and have ordered some sweet organic corn bio-plastic leash plugs. Now the leash plug is somewhat controversial in my mind. The leash was the greatest advancement in surfing in the past 50 years...other than that not much has changed until now. Going back to the wooden planks with raw linseed oil, no fin, no rocker, no wax, no leash. There is something sacred about it and it is obviously not for everyone, but it forces you to get it right. It hones your ability to ride to a much finer level. And almost eliminates a huge swath of those who can actually do it.

BUT...we here at Wrightsville Beach have what's called a "leash law". So as a socially responsible surfboard maker, I've decided to install leash plugs into the boards I'll be presenting to the public.So at least they have the option. Plus, if it weren't for leashes I wouldn't have the best job in the world at Surf Camp and leaving for Costa on Friday...Check them out at Greenlight Surfboard Supply. They have some crazy bamboo cloth as well...

Until next time...here's some education for your listening enjoyment...

Captain Charlie Moore @ UNCW "A Sea of Simmering Synthetic Soup" from J Sun Productions on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Paulownia Is Beautifulownia

No matter what it is, it's always exciting to get home and find a big brown box fresh off the Fed Ex truck waiting for you, but when it's Paulownia Wood it's even more exciting!!! Just finished unpacking 6 fresh planks for 3 new boards. It felt even better knowing that, after hiking through New Hanover County Landfill yesterday, there will be no waste associated with these planks. The cardboard gets recycled and there is no plastic or foam wrapping...just pure wood fiber and saw dust. Awesome. Back to the Man Shed to begin the process...someone called me a mad scientist the other day...I'll take it....I'm feeling pretty crazy and full of froth at the moment!

I'm really excited at where these are going as well...can't tell you yet. But I can tell you at least one of these boards, once finished, will be available for the public to demo!

Monday, January 11, 2010


So living in Wilmington has many advantages. Great beach, great downtown, 5 minutes from the airport for international jet setting, etc. But within the last few years both Delta and US Air have decided they don't like flying surfboards out of Wilmington...Huge discrimination and loss on their part if you ask me! Although there was that one time I talked US Air into letting me bring my Dakine World Traveler to the Canaries (for over $500!!!) after telling me I couldn't bring it at all. I could have just bought a plane ticket and gave it the window seat for what they did to me. Funny how they didn't charge me coming home...Thank the Lord! Anyhow, I've learned to forgive them at about the same rate that my lovely and justified wife has been forgiving me for that trip. Sorry honey.

Now, we all know that you can easily fly boards out of Raleigh and Myrtle Beach on practically every airline, but instead of complaining about it, I've come up with a plan. I'll let you fellow Wilmingtonians and Wrightsville Beach Folk know if it works. Just so happens that I have a few "boards" that don't look like surfboards. They look more like sculpture, art work, something you'd hang on the wall....right?! We'll see. I'll be directing WB Surf Camp's adult camp to Costa Rica in two weeks, and I'm going to attempt to execute my plan and see if my theory is correct.

New shipment of Paulownia should be here tomorrow and the mill said that the pieces look pretty outstanding. Only Premium Grade for your viewing pleasure!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Present and the Plank

A movie that has changed my life and will continue to resonate and inspire this movement was premiered here in downtown Wilmington one summer evening at Level 5. Thomas Campbell, the creator of Seedling and Sprout, put together this master piece with the Malloy brothers and Patagonia called "The Present".

If you haven't seen it, go pick up a copy and sit back with a good snack, your favorite beverage (which for me right now is mint hot chocolate with the howling NW wind and 25 degree wind chill) and be amazed! But before you go, here's a few photos of me testing out the new Little Albatross...photos courtesy of Keith Ketchum!

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Endeavor

So a couple of months ago...actually back in the summer, I made a trip to Charleston and rode a friend's (Richard Prause - Grasshoppersurfboards) first attempt at an alaia. The waves were small mushy Folly Beach slop, but I got up on my first wave and was hooked. The glide and the slide were unlike any surfing I'd ever done. Though I've never liked twin-fins and standard fishes because of their slideyness, I loved this ancient art form. So I bugged him for months to make me one. Then back in November he finally sent it up with my friend Cody. I haven't stopped riding it since. For two months solid I've dedicated myself to figuring this thing out, and with each session I learned something new and got at least one incredible ride.

After about 100 nose dive/face plants, and a lot of swimming o the beach I began to "get it". Over Thanksgiving , while in Ohio visiting the inlaws I spent hours which turned into days which turned into weeks reading, researching and finding resources on how to make these things. I rode a normal thruster for the first time while in Hawaii right before Christmas and had a lot of fun, but in the winter on the north shore of Kauai, a normal board is good to have! No complaints. When I got home I began acquiring tools and materials and shaped my first one on Christmas Eve for one of the local WB groms. I've shaped 2 more since then and with the New Year, I've decided to continue embarking on this fascinating and addicting journey. Just like riding them, I learn something new with each board I've made. Each one feels better and rides better than the last. My stoke level is so out of this world right now, it's hard to explain to people . Especially when the surf is knee high, the water is 52 degrees and there's only 30 minutes of light left. There's time for a slide and that's all that matters if I've got time.

I invite anyone else willing to give this a go to contact me so we can put our heads together to create something beautiful that will bring, literally, a lifetime of stoke for you. Granted these things take some extra paddling power and some patience to learn, but man, they are worth it!

Here are some photos of Alaia #2 and #3. I heard Tom Wegener, the guy in Oz that initiated this little revolution of finless rockerless boards, say once that each of these boards should have its own name because each one is so unique. So, as you'll see I've begun naming them. Appropriate or not, they speak to me while I'm shaping them or finishing  them. Because of the natural qualities of wood, no two could ever turn out the same!