Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Years Resolution: More Style

Just got this flick off netflix. I've already watched it twice (with a non-surfing friend, who is demanding that I burn him a copy). The movie is so damn good, from the great footage to the crusty Warren Miller-esque narration banter, to the vibey soundtrack. You get the feeling that these old dudes are ripping on a bong during some of the pauses in the dialogue.

One of my favorite scenes is when they say "Perfect V-land" as a dog comes over to investigate some bikini-clad babe's nethers.

Happy New Years - here's to a year filled with great style.

Bluebird - We Are Stylemasters

Thursday, December 21, 2006

More Swell

Today was more swell than yesterday.
Yesterday was more swell than the day before.
Our last day here.
Hoping for a little more swell.

Alethea and Donna - Uptown Top Ranking

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Mother of Mexican Moustaches

I grew a 'stache for Mexico and despite your comments on the previous post, I thought it was pretty good. Then, I ran into this guy at the church in Sayulita. His stoosher looked like an upside-down rotten banana. Mine wilted in comparison.

REM - Hair Shirt

Monday, December 18, 2006

Sayulita con las Senoritas

Kinda expected Sayulita to be a repeat of Old Man's in Baja, with longboarders and beginners a-go-go. I guess you could say I was wrong. Apparently, the best surfer in Mexico lives in this town, and when the swell gets big, as it did on Friday, he comes out and lands crazy airs like this McTwist-meets-Rocket-Air thing. Needless to say, OS and I didn't get many waves with 15 groms out there perfecting their air show.

Luckily, the town was sweet enough that we had a fine time with our (very patient) ladies...

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Dropping a Line

Nothing like a little clean Mexican swell to clear the cobwebs of tequila from the brain. We've been in Punta de Mita, Nayarit for the past 2.5 days, getting our holiday spirit going a few weeks early.

Waves? Check.
Sun? Check.
Beachfront condo with infinty pool? Check.
Margaritas with Shitbird and his crew in Sayulita? Check (with a bossa nova dance party to close things out).

The first thing that comes to mind when I look at the above shots of me surfing La Lancha today is "stiff old man." I need to limber up. I look the same way when I tie my shoelaces.

Yoga. More yoga.

Cibo Matto - Agua de Marcos

Monday, December 11, 2006

More Big Friday Shots

I used to think towing in was ridiculous, but after watching the competing teams maneuver through the massive beachbreak and work in tandem to ride treacherous waves that couldn't be touched by traditional paddling, I changed my mind.

It may not be a form of surfing that I can relate to personally, but I had to admire the battle between man and nature that went on last week. The only question I was left with after interviewing a local tow-in guy named Ryan, was why no Oregonians were invited to compete in the Nelscott Reef Classic...


Seelenluft - Manila

Friday, December 08, 2006

Great Nelscott!

Big waves today at the Nelscott Reef contest in Lincoln City. When we pulled up to the beach, we could feel the electricity in the air - or was it the vibrations from the apocalyptic beach break? Outside waves had 30-40 foot faces. It was a little tough to see the action out yonder, but when a few brave souls swung into the inside fun stuff, we were treated to a stand-up barrel show. More pics to come...

Steely Dan - Don't Take Me Alive

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

What color bait?

According to, an 18-foot-long, 5000-pound great white shark attacked a surfer on Halloween in Lincoln City. It was the second shark attack in the area this year. Nobody was hurt, but apparently, both victims' surfboards were the same color: yellow.

Makes me think of fishing for trout with Power Bait. Seems like every season the fish are interested in a different color. Orange, chartruese, yellow, rainbow. If you don't know what they're biting on, they pretty much treat your hook like a chopped liver.


Donovan - Colours

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Squiggly Takes Lucas Echo Park

My art licensing operation, Squiggly Studios, is having a little opening down in LA next Saturday. We'll be filling the walls of Lucas Echo Park with our scribbles, limited edition digital prints, sculptures, and a curious pink log, all just in time for holiday shopping. And this stuff is cheap, man. It's part of the little art walk that happens once a month on that trendy little strip of shops in Echo Park, including: Lucas, Little Lucas, Showpony, Han Cholo, Flounce Vintage, and Work.

Who are we trying to kid? This is just an excuse for a big party in LA! If you're in the area, stop by, have a few drinks, listen to some tunes, and invite me out surfing. I'm bringing my board.

Ratatat - Wildcat

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Wish I had a few extra inches on Saturday...

My main mang, Festus Porkmeyer, sent some great pics of his own personal Parmenter Widowmaker on Saturday, and I found them in my mailbox when I got home from a surf session where I was slightly undergunned. Good timing.

How many classic sticks does this guy have?

He also directed me to a website I'd never visited before, Wow. Another site to drool over as the rain pelts the roof...

Thanks, Porky!

The Hold Steady - Chillout Tent

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

What's a Widowmaker?

After I posted about ordering my new surfboard from Mandala, there was quite a bit of commentary about the merits of Manny and his alternative shapes. But then the comment flow died, as all blog chatter does when the topic gets stale. A few days ago, though, Warmjet (my favorite bonzer/music afficionado) chimed in about the 2+1 setup and how it resembles a board known as The Widowmaker:

"Parmenter makes a 2+1 called the 'Widowmaker' that looks great. ( See the Andrew Kidman movie 'Glass Love') Now the 'Swift' movement has a real nice one from Neil Purchase Jr. Manny seems like a good shaper with a artistic sense about him, yet he seems to be on the reproducing end of design and not so much on discovery. Eventhough Fitz is the man for the 2+1's beginning, I'd go Parmenter but I certainly want to wish you good times on the Manny."

I found the above photo of Purchase Jr. on Swaylocks and quickly got sucked into the vortex of surboard design, turning up picture after picture of various 2+1 widowmakers:

I read a comment by a famed shaper on Swaylocks who swore by the widowmaker design, reaffirming the characteristics that Manny described to me when he sold me on the shape:

"The yellow board in the photo is sporting one of the two Tri Fin setups we used at Surf Systems in 1971. We used the PressLock removable, injection molded fins, (invented by me, I might add.) as the sides. We used the setup on semi guns, as well as small wave fun boards. It opened up the upper 25% of the wave to more agressive maneuvers, without loss of control, or spinouts. Also made it easier to turn in, and drive out of, the pitching lip of a wave."
Bill Thrailkill
Shaper since 1958

And again:

"The above photo is of my personal board, summer of '71. With the very wide tail, I had an easy time catching any wave I chose to try for. The Tri-Fins (as we called them then) enabled the same board that I could ride 2' beach surf with on one day, to be ridden the next day in 12' reef breaks, with the same setup. And not just survival riding, but ripping, going anywhere on the wave face that I would choose to go. If I were to build a similar board today, I would increase the board width to 22'', or evev 23'', and use the close set twin fin setup I've shown you before. I'd also tweek the rails, softer, yet with a hard, tucked under, release edge. But I digress. The above board is one of many that I regret ever gitting rid of. Sometimes you don't know just how good a board is until you move on to something else. It's interesting that a new generation of surfers are rediscovering some of the earlier design paths."
Bill Thrailkill
Shaper since 1958

Kye Fitzgerald (Terry's Son), riding an original Drifter in a recent WQS event.

Then I looked at some new photos of Manny's latest 2+1 designs and I was pleasantly surprised:

So the next thing I'm going to do is rent or buy Glass Love to see what the movie says about these boards. Being a huge fan of Litmus, I'm actually scratching my head as to why I haven't seen the film. The next thing, of course, would be to talk to Manny about my forthcoming 2+1. I know he's doing things differently than Parmenter, Purchase, Thrailkill, et al just by looking at the predominantly shorter lengths of his boards and the fluted wings he's incorporating.

This is gonna be so cool...

Rogue Wave - California

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Three days into November, we'd already accumulated more rain in Portland than the whole month of October. And with the biblical downpour came the inevitable storm surf. Twenty-five feet with 65 mph winds and little or no interval. The list of metaphors is fairly played out: "Washing machine." "Soup." "Spin cycle." "Victory at Sea." "The perfect storm." "Absolute liquid chaos with a side of old-growth timber floating in the impact zone." (Okay, that last one is mine.)

On the bright side, my fantasy football team is doing really well... Ugh.

Ratatat - Lex

Monday, October 30, 2006

This Board Has My Name on It.

My homey Gee just sent me a link to a board he found on Craigslist LA. The joke was that because it was a board by "Rick," I should consider picking it up... The crazy thing is that it kind of has a similar outline to the board I just ordered from Manny, except for having two wings (and no bite fins). I've heard that Rick is a classic surfboard brand. I bet that thing would ride like a Cadillac.

Robert Pollard - I'm a Strong Lion

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

(I've Got) Two Tickets to Paradise

The left side of this picture is fairly typical winter surf in Oregon. The right is a shot from Punta de Mita in Mexico. My wife and I just booked our holiday surf vacation: eight nights in a beachfront condo on Punta de Mita beach, just south of Sayulita in mainland Mexico. I've read great things about this little stretch of coastline. Apparently, there are 20-30 breaks within striking distance of the little resort town where we'll be. You can even hire boats to get to more remote locations. Anybody been there? We'll be sharing the two bedroom condo with our friends OS and She, and though it isn't exactly "going feral," an infinity pool/jacuzzi at water's edge was instrumental in selling the idea to the ladies in our group...

The only drag is that I'll be flying to LA, switching planes, going to Mex, then spending a few days in LA on the way home, which means mucho dinero to transport a board (if I have to pay $75 for each leg, we're talking $300 for my fish to fly). Should I just rent a stick down there? Should I buy a beater? Somebody in LA want to lend me a quad for a week?

Whatever I end up riding, it's gonna be great!

Eddie Money - "Two Tickets to Paradise"

Monday, October 23, 2006


I just got this t-shirt from one of my new surf chums. There really isn't anything like it, is there?

Danielson - Ship the Majestic Suffix

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Seed for a Surfboard

When I got my last board, a 5'8" quad, it was a real awakening for me. For the first time, I was riding a surfboard that was the right size for my height, weight and the waves in Oregon. The feeling of speed and manueverability that came along with my first ride was just as stoke-inducing as the first time I rode a board down the line.

A light went on in my mind.

I quickly considered liquidating my old 7'0" speed egg and 6'6" hybrid, and replacing both with a smaller board that could handle waves that the quad might not be able to ride as effectively. My first instinct was to buy a "traditional" thruster, somewhere around 6'0", because it seemed like the most essential board of the last 30 years. Everybody has owned a tri-fin, and I thought maybe I should have one as well, for those bigger days or for pushing my surfing in a more vertical direction.

I tried a couple rental boards (a 6'0 JC Stingray and a 5'10 Olea swallowtail) and was immediately unimpressed by the lack of speed and paddling power the boards provided. So instead of plucking a Merrick off the racks or pulling the trigger on a used Parmenter (which was an awsome deal, Porky), I waited, scouring the Surfer Magazine message boards for more information on alternative waveriding vehicles. The Surfer Forum has become a haven for bonzer, quad, fish, twinzer, and single fin enthusiasts, who swear that surfers have been programmed by the surf media to ride what pros ride instead of what rides best for one's skill level. (Ironic that Surfer has perpetuates that paradigm).

Then, I saw a used 6'2" Jobson twinzer pintail offered for sale in the classified section of the same message board. It was the personal surfboard of Manuel Caro, the shaper/artist behind Mandala surfboards. It seemed like the perfect combination of performance board and alternative shape, so I gave him a call.

When Manny picked up the phone, I expected the board to be sold. If the board wasn't already sold, I expected him to be happy that I was taking it off his hands. But, to my surprise, Manny suggested that this wasn't the board I was looking for. He said that even at his size (5'5" and 150), the board was pretty difficult to get into waves. Also, the twinzer setup wasn't going to be significantly easier to get vertical.

He said he was developing a surfboard for people just like me, who wanted to step up from fish, but also liked to get into waves earlier and easier. It was also a board that would be snappier off the top, but also easier to get back in the pocket.

The board was a winged pintail with a 2+1 setup.

I told him that I would call him back after giving it some thought, and in the meantime he sent me pictures of his own personal 2+1. They are the pictures of the board in the shaping room in this post. On Sunday, I called him back and placed my order.

Manny and I talked for over an hour, not only about my surfboard (which will be 5'11" x 20.5" X 2 5/8"), but also about how he got started shaping, why surfboards should be beautiful, how he met Toby Pavel, and parallels between shaping and painting. At the end of the conversation, he ensured me that my decision not to get a "potato chip" surfboard was the right one:

"When you're catching waves way outside of your friends on their traditional tri-fins and spraying them from 50 feet away, you'll know why this board was the right choice."

Broken Social Scene - Shorlines

More Naked Pictures

It started raining on Saturday and along with the storm came bouncing bouys, indicating high winds and heavy chop. Saturday night I checked out one of my favorite bands, The National, and awoke Sunday feeling fluish. It didn't help matters that I contracted the "Irish flu" from boozing the night before, so I curled up on the couch and watched football instead of gambling on getting decent surf during the storm. I also had a chance to look over some of the other pics I took from Thursday. This stuff is fairly decent stroke material to fantasize about between sessions. At least for us Oregonians.

The National - Mr. November

PS - Oh yeah, and I also ordered a new board from Manuel Caro at Mandala surfboards, but that's a whole new post altogether...

Friday, October 13, 2006

PC Was All Right

This was yesterday. I feel somewhat guilty for posting this picture, even though PC is a well-known break in Oregon. Somehow, it seems like I'm showing the world a naked picture of my girlfriend. But I guess this blog is about kissing and telling, so here goes:

I can honestly say that I got the best right of my life yesterday. It was a set wave, well overhead, that I got into early (on my 5'8" quad) and just carved. It was one of those waves where you look down the line and realize that the possibilities are as broad as your skill level. I've just never been able to do that backside on such a big wave. It just went on forever. I aimed my arms upward and the board followed up to the top of the wave, then I turned my shoulders back downward and the board dropped back in. I crouched low when I needed speed, and I flew past a feathering section. I took it all the way inside and instead of kicking out, turned away from the barrelling shore-pound in the nick of time.

Yesterday was all right. I didn't even go left once.

The Who - The Kids Are Alright