Thursday December 3rd 2009
Is it 1, 2, 3, or 4? How many fins does your board have slicing through the water every time you ride a wave? It started with no fins whatsoever, my fatherís one hundred pound redwood board back in the 1930ís was finless , slid sideways on occasion, but got the job done. Way before him were the Polynesians and their alaia boards, again, boards without fins. Whatís up with all of the fins, or complete lack of fins? Why donít we take a quick look?
Back in the 50ís, 60ís, most boards were single fins. The boards had stability and went in a straight line real well but required anticipation and brute force to make a very abrupt turn on a wave. When the shortboard revolution hit, the shorter board length allowed for a lot more maneuverability in spite of the single fin.
The 70ís ushered in more fin experimentation, including the twin fin design originally made popular in San Diego by the keel fin fish. Early twins had fins mounted all over the place with little or no consistency in fin size or shape. MR changed that in the late 70ís with his carefully thought out twins, and showed the surfing world what a twin fin surfboard could do.
The 80ís brought us two fin set ups, one that disappeared only to reappear recently, the quad; and the second is the very well known tri fin. I think every surfer knows all about the tri fin, and the designís ability to hold in very critical places on the wave face, generate speed, and not slide out. Definitely an improvement over the twin fin for a lot of surfers.
More recently, a lesser known fin set up appeared on the design radar screen. Designed and refined by Will Jobson and known as the Twinzer, this very sophisticated four fin creation had the speed, drive, and hold of a tri fin, and the instantaneous direction changes of a twin. When set up properly, this fin arrangement, along with the appropriately shaped board, would not slide, provided lift, and had acceleration beyond your wildest dreams.
Today, the tri fin is king but donít dismiss the second coming of the quad. Iíve been riding and refining my quad designs for over two years and thatís all I ride. This time around, tuning up a quad is much easier due to the availability of removable fin systems. Gone are the days of grinding off fins that were not glassed on at exactly the right spot for optimum performance, and no more fiberglass itch from reshaping glassed on fins that were not the perfect template. And, thanks to the untiring efforts of designers such as Bruce McKee and his Mission Quattro, the modern quad is now a more sophisticated and viable piece of wave riding equipment.
Surfing is fun and riding different boards adds to the enjoyment. Keep an open mind about the number of fins you think you need. As for me, Iím in love with my quadsÖfour better or four worse.
Sunday November 1st 2009
It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, so this month I thought I would post some photos, save my breath, and not bore you with my ramblings.
On October 3rd, Gordon and Smith Surfboards celebrated their 50th year of building surfboards in San Diego. G&S was where my shaping career started professionally and I was honored to be presented with this plaque recognizing my shaping contributions to the company from 1973 to 1982. It was a great party!
This is a photo from the Art of Shaping San Diego Edition surfboard auction. I was flattered to be chosen to take part in the event. Over $46,000.00 was raised for charity.
La Jolla Cove. Iím so proud of Bryceís accomplishments with the City of San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, thatís him in the middle, surrounded by a bunch of really important people. He was chosen and honored as the Employee of the Quarter, April 1, 2009 to June 30, 2009, for his ďsustained efforts and diligence in the performance of his duties. His exceptional abilities are to be applauded.Ē Simply put, he is a kick ass lifeguard.
Hiking in the Sedona, Arizona area last month. The red rock region of Sedona is amazing with its incredible formations.
The Sacred Craft Show was bigger and better than ever. The number of people attending was at a record high. Interest in surfboards was keen and legit with everybodyís booth crowded with stoked surfers. This is the South Coast display booth prior to the crush.
Talking shop with MR.
I just really like this shot of a 6 channel I designed for Sacred Craft. This board is going to fly down the line under some lucky surferís feet.
This is David Miller glassing on fins. With removable fin systems so common now, glassing on fins is becoming a dying art.
This is a shot of the surfboard trophies I made for the BMX championship event, held at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista. These BMX riders are insanely talented or maybe just insane!
Be thankful for what you have, donít eat too much turkey, and have a very happy Thanksgiving.
thursday october 1st 2009
October is here in Southern California and, while most of the rest of these United States are seeing and feeling a change in the weather, San Diego will be experiencing a change of a different nature. The Northern Pacific will start to get stormy and begin sending ground swells down the California coast that will smack San Diego square in the Cliffs, making us all forget about summer. Yep, the only thing scarier in October than Halloween is opening day at Sunset Cliffs. The first few weeks of good, solid, northwest swell will create a buzz of excitement, fill the Park parking lots, and form a conga line of surfers heading south. And you can plan on me being one of those happy souls.
Another thing I plan to do this month is attend the Sacred Craft Show that has taken place on the Del Mar Fairgrounds, in north San Diego County, for the past two years. This yearís dates are October 10th-11th, admission price is still only 5 bucks, and you will get to see, feel and talk surfboards until your head falls off. This event brings some of the finest surfboard builders in Southern California together, under one roof, and readily accessible. The chance to watch a shaper put his Skil 100 to a raw blank and hand shape a board from start to finish during the ďTribute to the Masters Shape OffĒ, is worth the cost of admission alone. All things considered, I would say that this show is diametrically opposed to the ASR Show that took place last month, i.e., itís almost exclusively surfboards, and you donít have to submit to a strip search and background check to get in. What a deal!
So, grab a cup of coffee, drive to Del Mar early, get in the water and snag some waves, and then come to the show. Iím sure you will not be the only person there with sandy feet. Iíll be hanging around with the South Coast boys, so stop by. And please, while youíre telling about the gnarly barrel you got this morning, donít let your salt water filled sinuses drain onto my feet!
Oh, by the way, Happy Halloween!
tuesday september 1st 2009
Wow! Itís September already, where has the summer gone? Itís been a fairly good summer surf wise for Southern California and San Diego specifically even though, as a San Diego summer surfer, you need to be willing to drive north or south to really get the brunt of any decent south swell. Either that, or you duke it out at a select few local reef breaks here in town that do a good job sucking in any stray swells.
Another thought comes to my mind when I think about September, and that is the Action Sports Retailer show. I spent a few years back in the late 80ís, helping Local Motion of Hawaii at the ASR, and the show was dominated by surfboards and girls walking around in tiny bikinis. As time went on, it seemed that the emphasis moved away from the core surfboard, and began including lots of other stuff that kind of diluted the whole surf scene. My interest in the ASR began to wane in the 90ís and I havenít given the show much thought since. That changed this year.
Enter Royce Cansler of Billabong and the Art of Shaping San Diego Edition. Twenty four San Diego shapers were asked to build a surfboard of their choosing to be displayed at this Septemberís ASR show, which runs from the 10th through the 12th. The boards will be auctioned off on Friday, the 11th, at a private, invitation only, fully catered event, with the proceeds of the sales going to selected charities. Iím very flattered that I was selected to participate in this very worthwhile event and Iím looking forward to rubbing shoulders with some of San Diegoís finest surfboard craftsmen.
Iíve included some photos of my entry into the Art of Shaping along with a link to Billabong. You can also click on the Art of Shaping image and Surfboards Love Color link on the right side of this page to get the skinny.
For me, attending this yearís ASR show brings both me and the show back to our roots. Hope to see you there.
sunday july 12th 2009
It seems like it has taken me forever to launch this website. I started this task over a year ago and worked on it periodically, but things always seemed to side track me and prevent this site from launching in a ďtimely mannerĒ. Things came up, like the surf and the snow falling in Mammoth or Big Bear, and a hiking trip to Yosemite Valley with my wife. When I wasnít enjoying the surf or the snow, there was always, of course, work. Namely shaping surfboards, which is what I love to do and have done for about 40 years.
Surfboards have attracted me since I rode my first one at age 12. They have come in all sizes and shapes, with or without color, with one fin or multiple fins, but the common thread that kept me and all these boards together was how much fun they were to ride. Learning to shape a surfboard became a logical direction for me to go, and one thing lead to another and all of a sudden I realized I have a career and a new website.
Take a look at the surfboards I have designed, shaped, and presented on this website and hopefully you will develop an appreciation for the simple beauty of a clear finished board under the shaping room lights, or the unique artwork that can make a surfboard a functional piece of art. My website is a work in progress and will be changing and evolving without warning. New photos, articles, links, and ideas will be added regularly, so keep in touch.