This is part 4 of a 4 part series – you can read the rest here: Recycling A Broken Surfboard – Part 1 Recycling A Broken Surfboard – Part 2 Recycling A Broken Surfboard – Part 3 After I finished painting the board I dropped it off at Sunset Shapers in San Francisco to get glassed. It was winter, the busy season in those parts, when big winter waves broke boards and drove demand for new ones, so I figured it would be a while until I eventually got it back. I wasn’t in much of a hurry anyhow. A few weeks later while browsing Surfline I noticed my surfboard had made the weekly social media roundup. It was sitting next to a Tomo creation, nonetheless, which made it even cooler. Daniel Thomson, founder of Tomo surfboards, is a (much, much, much better than me) shaper that I really respect
Yesterday I surfed Mavericks. This has been a goal of mine for about two years and I’ve been actively preparing for the past year. I am so stoked to have completed this challenge and very grateful to have done so without harm. Here is the story along with some of my thoughts and observations. Final Preparations The last month or so has been amazing for surfing in central California. We’ve had a run of swell where it seems every other day is 10ft+. I’ve been getting out to Ocean Beach before work and spending plenty of time in the water. There is a saying (or at least there should be) that it is better to succeed late than to fail on time. I originally challenged myself to surf Mavericks in 2013 but extended my deadline because Mavericks is a winter wave and only broke twice in the 2013 half of this winter.
Today was almost the day. Over the last month I’ve gotten back in surfing shape. I’ve been surfing a few times a week so my arms are strong again. I’ve been running & doing my breath drills so my lungs are too. I even took a few poundings in OH surf just to make sure my nerves were solid. I got the automated email last night. The report showed 10-15 ft waves at Mavericks. My exact target range. As I took my bright yellow gun down from its wall racks the excitement and nervousness of a two year goal began to set in. I got up early and drove down early to see what the conditions were like. A solid groundswell, sunny morning and offshore wind combined to make what seemed like the perfect day. As I drove the coast I saw hints at what to expect. I had that feeling
This is part 3 of a 4 part series – you can read the rest here: Recycling A Broken Surfboard – Part 1 Recycling A Broken Surfboard – Part 2 Recycling A Broken Surfboard – Part 4 Continuing where I left off. Previously I stripped down the old broken board, shaped the foam into something new & now I’m ready to put the finishing touches on my recycled surfboard. Surfboard artwork has always been a place for expression an individuality. From back when islanders would carve artwork into their giant wooden plans, to the pre-war era surfboards with paint to contemporary sticks graffitid with spray paint and Sharpie. How a board looks shouldn’t affect how it rides – but I defend that it does. So much of how a session goes is built on momentum that the good vibes from the parking lot compliment to a paddle out conversation can all
A long summer of mediocre waves, strong winds and lots of slop all but removed surfing from my routine. Riding waves was relegated to a vacation activity. Limited to a few trips to Santa Cruz for south swells, a road trip to So-Cal and a camping weekend up north. Far from the daily habit it once was. As a result, two and a half months from the end of the year, I am basically back where I started. No where close to being ready to surf Mavericks. I can hold my breath for just over two minutes, I’m not in great cardio shape and my arms don’t have the strength they need to get me in and out of giant waves. This isn’t where I wanted to be at this point in the year. This is where I am. Thankfully the fall, a glassy head high jolt of electricity, has
This is part 2 of a 4 part series – you can read the rest here: Recycling A Broken Surfboard – Part 1 Recycling A Broken Surfboard – Part 3 Recycling A Broken Surfboard – Part 4 Picking up where I left off about a month ago – this weekend I continued to work on recycling my old broken longboard. The next step of the process was shaping the board. The foam was still pretty rough as you can see from the picture below. The top had a lot of soft spots and divots, both of which can ruin the long term resilience of the board. The Shaping Room Shaping a board is a messy job. As layers of foam are carved away using planers, files & sand paper, sticky foam dust escapes. The easiest way to have it all contained is to do it in a shaping room –
Her name was Cecilia. I bought her used from Stewart’s boardshop in San Clemente, CA on March 29th, 2010. A 10’6″ Regal model, custom shaped by the legendary Bill Stewart for another surfer. Ding repairs and yellowing spots showed the board’s age. It had clearly been well used by it’s previous owner. A good surfboard deserves no less. A diamond in the rough when I found it, there were a few dings on the rails, but nothing I couldn’t fix. She ended up being a great board and together we enjoyed many of Southern California’s best longboarding spots. In 2011, while surfing Huntington Cliffs, I stayed on the nose a bit too long and had to bail in the shore break. I dove off at the last second as the wave closed around me. When I rose to the surface I was staring at the rear half of my favorite longboard.
Stoked! I cracked the four minute mark this week. Most of my improvement has come from better oxygen conservation. I have been focusing on relaxing to minimize the oxygen I use per minute – thus letting me last longer on one breath. To do this I’ve been working on lowering my resting heart rate and slowing everything down. I think relaxing my brain is the hardest part, so I’ve been counting in my head really slow. I think that helps pace my body a bit as well. I haven’t been able to push any further on the discomfort scale – once my vision starts to go blurry I stop. I think that is probably safer for training, but I’d like to try blacking out a few times so I’m familiar with it in case I ever get to that point under water. Finally, this week I heard of a
Imagine this – its 6:00 AM on a Thrusday and you’re driving half an hour up the coast to surf a wave you never go to during the week. Why? Because your iPhone told you to. That killer session you had last summer, it looks like the swell is lining up to recreate it. So you grab your board and hit the road hoping to turn the stoke up to 11. The world of surf forecasting & reporting has evolved slowly over the last 50 years. While it has adapted to the world of websites and mobile apps – most are simply new skins on the broadcast weather radio reports surfers have relied on since 1967. They are channels for data. They tell you the swell height, period and direction and something about the wind. Even when they look amazing they are usually showing the same information. They are not simple and intuitive nor are