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

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Bird in a Barrel

I swear that I saw a seagull pull into a little tube on Sunday. It may have just been the angle, but from where I was sitting the little charger was perfectly framed in the teardrop of the wave. I think I even saw a little spit blast his tailfeathers as he emerged to trim along the shoulder.

As a side note, I just got a film called Ultimate Sessions from Netflix today. I could use a little "Morning of the Earth." I'm gonna watch it right now...

The Hold Steady - Same Kooks

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Surf Safari

On my way through Tillamook (home of fine cheddars and cow dung), I spotted this RV parked alongside the road. As I checked the surf on the back, I noticed that the massive motor home was made by a company called Safari, in a town outside of Portland. I wondered if the guy who painted the scene was singing the Beach Boys tune as he airbrushed the back of the beast.

Funny how a hollow left will always get me to pull over, no matter where I am.

Beachboys - Surfin' Safari

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Jocka Shaka

Last week there was some controversy in the college football world when Brent Musburger revealed that USC Trojan quarterback David Booty uses the "hang loose" sign to let his teammates know there's one-on-one coverage.

Rumor has it that Musburger apologized, adding, "But dude, surfers have been harshing my name for years when they come across small waves without any power, calling them 'Musburgers.' This is, like, totally bogus."

British Sea Power - Oh Larsen B

Monday, October 02, 2006


The fourth time ended up being a charm with this secret spot. When the wind, tide, swell size, interval, and stars are all in alignment, you're required to drop everything and make the trek. Fantasy football be damned. Family obligations be postponed.

And often when you think it should be on, this temperamental break can send you back home with dry hair. But not this time. Six surf buddies alone in the heaving turquoise swell, reminded of what real waves feel like.

Kevin Baker - Riding the Wind