The Latest Surfing Trends and Fads: Spring Edition

Once again, I’ve got a fresh batch of surfy gimmicks and gadgets from the surfing world. Am I EVER given any of these things for free? No freakin’ way- I’m the last average surfer chick they’d want reppin’ their brand, and that’s all good with me. Some of these I think are great ideas, but some paddle straight into a huge closeout.

As always, N-Joy….

Shower Toga

 

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So this is another Kickstarter funded product that allows you to take a full shower in the open. This may be necessary after surfing in a remote location, or if you need to return to work with minimal stink. To me, this is an easy DIY project with an old shower curtain (instructions here, kids), but I guess there are enough people who don’t have time nor interest to go the DIY route. The price is pretty high in my opinion, but I guess if you’re part of the need-it-now crew, thirty bucks (plus tax and shipping) isn’t bad. They also sell a rinse kit that is very similar to another DIY project I’ve done. Just sayin’.

Cost: $29.95
Pros:
  • If you don’t wanna do DIY and have 30 bucks to spend on a fancy shower curtain, this looks like a good one
  • If you’re against the wonders of indoor plumbing and live with a bear named Ben, this was made for you
Cons:
  • It’s a $30 shower curtain

 

Shark Eyes

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So this has become THE hot item as of late, and I’ve seen it on quite a few boards around here. Developed by Australian surfers, they are large eye stickers placed on the bottom of your board to supposedly deter sharks from below, minimizing the chance of being attacked. Hey, it’s the psychology of it all, ya know? Come to think of it, I had my DIY anti-shark device on my board when I was NOT attacked by a shark, but just popped in the head by an errant stingray. Thesis defended, drop da mic.

Oh, wait- I forgot. I don’t have the Australian cred. D’OH!

Cost: $20 per sticker
Pros:
  • Great gift from a nervous Surf Mom to her Groms
  • Fun decor for any type of board
  • Cheaper than SharkBanz
  • Could end up in an interesting staring contest with a shark
Cons:
  • Shouldn’t be construed as any type of guarantee- local awareness always matters
  • It’s a big sticker of an eye….that’s a little freaky
  • As of today’s post, their website is down, so….that’s never a good sign

 

Hang Air

This product is a wetsuit hanger that contains a waterproof air fan to dry your wetsuit faster than just slinging it over your shower rail. I honestly didn’t think much of it when it first came out, but now I’m a total believer. It’s pricey, but I’ve had mine for a few seasons now, and I’d never surf in winter without it. I can hang my suit up wet after an afternoon sesh, turn it on, and the next morning it’s totally dry. This is also good for those multi-day SCUBA trips, because a dry wetsuit is a good thing at 8:00 A.M. on a cattle boat out to a reef. Keeps the suit usable for a longer time too, in my opinion. Also nice is that it’s made in the USA from recycled materials too.

Cost: $69.90 
Pros:
  • Keeps the stank out
  • Prolongs the life of the suit by preventing mold and bacteria growth
  • The hanger holds up to 100 lbs- that’s a lot of soakin’ wet gear it can handle
Cons:
  • Pricey up front, about the cost of an average wetsuit
  • The large size of the hanger may make it difficult for smaller wetsuits to fit over it properly (I have some difficulty with mine)

 

MyGo Mouth Mount for GoPro

Ok, so it constantly amazes me the number of different GoPro camera mounts available on the market. I have noticed a trend within the last year of these “mouth mounts” on many surfers using GoPros in the lineup. Yes, these mounts- used by Kelly Slater himself- can produce some outstanding footage of the inside of Pipeline from your simple GoPro, making for some epic surf vids.

Problem is, how often are YOU surfing at Pipeline? Yeah, me neither.

The mouth mount honestly looks a bit dangerous to use in a heavy swell. While the footage can be worth it on big barreling waves, most surfers won’t be dazzled by their own video- I’ve seen a handful of decent looking mouth-mounted shots, and they’re all from Slater, of course. So it’s a meh accessory for someone like me.

Cost: $29.99 (marked down from $34.99)
Pros:
  • Comes with bite supports that claim to give more stable footage
  • About average price of most GoPro anything
  • Compact and easy to use for a skilled surfer
Cons:
  • Can be dangerous for even an intermediate surfer to use in rough surf
  • No flotation (but a lanyard is included)
  • This type of angle is typically not desired for average waves and/or surfers- it won’t really impress your buds unless it’s a gnar barrel

***

Hope you enjoyed checking out some phunky phresh surfy gadgets and trends out there in the fun Surfing World. Above all else though, we all just wanna catch as many waves as humanly possible, right? The rest is….well, just even MORE gravy.

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Somewhere in between always works, brah

Atlantic Stingray Says Hi

Today, I had an unusual encounter with what I believe was an Atlantic Stingray. There were many fish jumping as I was paddling out to surf, which can be an indicator of some hunting activity. This doesn’t necessarily mean a shark, dolphins like to hunt for fish too, of course.

This stingray leapt out of the water, hit the back of my head, then leapt once more onto my back and surfboard before I was able to push it away. What stunned me was the force of this critter! After this close encounter, I just had to do some research about Mr. Atlantic Stingray, and I’m going to share it with ya.

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I guess I needed a smack

Atlantic Stingray Fun Facts!

  • They can sense their prey in the sand85BFC459-6E3B-4886-B5D3-1B643A538076 through their Ampullae of Lorenzini, which serve as electrical field sensors. But my backhand today apparently didn’t register with this specimen- I don’t get it.
  • An Atlantic Stingray can sting you, and it’ll hurt like a bitch, but they are typically not fatal. But when it can punch like it did today, who needs to sting?
  • Mating season is from October to April, but they don’t really get their freak on until the warmer months of March and April.
  • Although their Conversation Status is “Least Concern”, the Atlantic Stingray’s biggest threat is becoming bycatch in commercial fishing. I think Red Lobster’s having all-you-can-eat “scallops.” Just sayin’.
  • Tiger sharks and Bull sharks are their natural predators. I really hope it wasn’t jumping away from an shark onto my head, but I can understand his predicament.

References and More Info:

Georgia Aquarium

Smithsonian Institution

Florida Fish and Wildlife

Florida Museum

I always have to remember, when I surf, I’m visiting another’s domain. I won’t be scared of the critters of the ocean, but I’d sure be scared if there were none.

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Don’t mess with that smile

Gnar Pro Wetsuit Wash DIY

We’re starting to get an early Spring here in Central Florida with temps up into the 80’s. We may get La Niña patterns-a-comin’ soon (means worse hurricanes for us in the Atlantic), but it’s WARM.

And that makes my inner Chris Farley dance like the El Niño king.

I would wear this

So in celebration, I decided to come up with an end of season wetsuit cleaning routine and try it on the ripest suit I could find….

There’s a lot of Neoprene here

This suit was given to me by a kind friend for scrap material, BUT, it’s 10 years old! Sorry, but before I would even touch it with a 10 foot pole for a project, it needs a DEEP clean. Bleach is the best option, but the chemicals in traditional bleach are harmful in so many ways, especially to the environment. Also, cleaning sports gear with regular detergent is a no-no if you want to make it last and avoid breaking down the material.

I’ve read that Oxygen Bleach is a good alternative to regular bleach in many cases, and can be easy enough to make yourself. The key ingredient is hydrogen peroxide, usually added to a carbonate. For this, I’m using Washing Soda, which is more effective than Baking Soda in this combo. Washing Soda can be found in the laundry aisle too, along with standard detergents. Just keep ’em separated, and they’ll last ya a while. Hint: you can use these for other things, not just wetsuits.

You don’t need much

Procedure:

This required my trusty 5 gallon utility bucket, cleaned and ready for use- outside. Although many instructions will say oxygen bleach will work in all temperatures, adding a bit of hot water doesn’t hurt to help along the reaction, which is a slow chemical process.

I began by filling the clean bucket partially with hot (or not) water. Now I was ready to start adding the ingredients, measured for use with approximately 3-4 gallons of water. Do not use more- a dab a’ do ya, brah, don’t over chemical things, man.

Wetsuit Wash (Dilute in 3-4 gallons of water, mix well):

  • 1 teaspoon Washing Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Hydrogen Peroxide (most stores only sell 3% to 5%, that’s all you need)

To stir, use a stick or handle, not your hands- it is bleach, yo. I used a broom handle. Allow the mixture to react for about 5 minutes BEFORE putting the suit in- the solution will get a little milky colored like mine did.

Make sure you stir the mixture for a few minutes before anything goes in

I put the suit in (with the broom handle since it’s grody), stirred it around, dunked it with it stick, and then let the suit sit in the mixture 24 hours, stirring it a few more times at the beginning of the process. Be sure to cover it if you leave it outside- I put a lid on mine to prevent any animals from drinking from it since I left it overnight.

 

The reaction is fully completed after 12 hours or so, so the mixture is inactive, and can be tossed out safely. Yay.

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I made sure to rinse the suit REALLY WELL afterwards- this is important! You don’t want any white powdery crud to remain on the suit.

BUT…if your suit is x-tra freakin nasty…..

Fill your rinse bucket back up with clean water, and add a few drops of pure Pine Oil. Pine Oil is a very effective disinfectant, and only a few drops are needed to make a quick rinse dip for your suit. Be sure to rinse it once more afterwards.

I hung the suit up on my HangAir dryer in my garage to dry, and it smells so much better and fresher. The inner lining didn’t lose any color either.

Smellin’ PHRESH 

So no, I can’t bottle this up and sell it, but if I did, I’d totally name it Mr. Belvedere’s Gnar Pro Wetsuit Wash. “Gnar Pro” gives it the surfer cred, but “Mr. Belvedere” makes it classy to be clean, yo.

It’s all about the marketing.

It’s sorta effective 

What do you think Mr. Wonderful???

This Old Rashguard….

It’s always good to fix or reuse whatcha got already, instead of always going for new, shiny stuff. This is especially true with clothing, which actually takes up a big percentage of our waste these days.

I avoid using the dryer as much as possible to extend the life of my boardshorts and swim gear (just look in the lint trap to see all the fibers you lose every time with your clothes). I’ve started to discover recently that it’s worth reusing and resewing some of my surf gear because the prices have become crazy for material and for the finished garments themselves.

Remember in my last blog post when I used a too small rashguard for a project? Here’s what I did with the rest of it.

This is what the original too-small rashguard looked like:

After my last project, I was left with a sleeveless top with a collar that I removed with the seam attached:

Next, I wanted to trim the length of the top so the finished garment ended up around my ribs (with a 2″ elastic band). I don’t need it riding up on me, and I’m not going for skimpy. I cut across about 4″ down from the armpit:

I also wanted to make the neck a bit shallower and matching front and back, so I used a French Curve to make a slight scoop:

At this point, you may want to line the front of the top with some of the extra rashguard material, especially if you are using a lighter colored rashguard, or if the material is really thin. I didn’t bother lining this one.

Next, I cut the collar into halves. This creates a little tunnel I can feed cord through, and the seam keeps it shut.

I pinned each of these halves onto the front and back of the neck, and serged them on.

So next, I measured out some 2″ soft waistband elastic. The rule of thumb for elastic is, take your measurement (an inch or two below my bustline for this), then subtract 10%. However, since I’ll be surfing in this, I’m going to take 15%, just because saltwater breaks down elastic quickly. Boo.

I serged the ends of the elastic into a loop, pinned the band onto the bottom, and strrrrrretched the elastic as I serged it to the bottom of the top.

To make the loop strap around the shoulder, I cut a 2″ strip from the leftover rashguard material. I pulled the strip taut to make it curl onto itself to make a cord so I could feed it through the channels at the neckline:

I sewed the cord loop closed when I got the length where I wanted it. Remember that it will stretch a bit over time. I like the long length, since I wipeout a lot, adjusting my top is a PITA.

Here it is, front and back. This dress form is a little small, but you get the idea:

No, I’m not going to model it personally and post photos. I’m a modest Southern lady that enjoyed fried foods for some years now, unlike my healthy quinoa friends.

Don’t judge me.

My Favorite Disney Princess….

Easy Wetsuit Hack Attack

It has been cold for Central Florida, with our water temps dipping down into the high 50’s. At least today was warm, but it won’t be for long. I may have to break down and buy another full wetsuit that goes all the way down to my ankles, and that makes me sad. Worse yet, I’ve got to go try some on, and it’s a pain in the ass to wriggle into the freakin’ wetsuits.

Most surfers have heard the old trick about slipping into a wetsuit easier (dry or wet) by using a plastic shopping bag over the foot or hand, sliding the appendage through, then removing the bag. There’s even surfy gimmicks out there you can buy to help you like the Jimmy or WetSox, but you can make this so easily, it’s insanity.

This upcycling hack looks similar to WetSox. I’m taking an old rash guard of mine that’s a teensy too small, cutting a sleeve off, sewing up one end with a whipstitch, and BOOM! E-Z Wetsuit Slip On Tool. Here’s my process in pics (I wish WordPress would let me do captions again):

A little more permanent than a plastic bag, plus it’s washable. Schweet.

So what am I going to do with a sleeveless rashguard? I might come up with another project, or I may go surfin’ with this brah, he knows the feeling of a good wipeout…

Surfer’s Jewelry Tray Pattern

It’s been super mega frosty here in Florida lately. The water has been extra cold this season, hovering right around 60 degrees F, which is right at my tolerance level limit in a 4/3 wetsuit. I’ve surfed in 55 degree water before, and it felt like tiny needles on my hands when I paddled. More motivation for me to NOT wipeout. I lasted for a whole TWO waves before I needed to bathe in some hot soup.

In winter, I have to remember to take all of my jewelry off, including my wedding ring. Cold water will cause you to lose a priceless ring faster than you can say “Shark!” Ask a few surfers- they’ll have stories. Not going to embarrass anyone in particular, but I did learn to take my jewelry off from hearing their stories. And around here, the littoral drift means you’re probably not getting it back.

So I wouldn’t forget where I left my stuff when I get back home from surfing, I made a simple little jewelry tray with some waxed Linhasita cord and some simple crochet techniques. This little basket could also be done in fine hemp, but it won’t shape and hold up as well as the waxed cord will.

Here’s the pattern I came up with if you’re so inclined….

Surfer’s Jewelry Tray Pattern

Made in continuous rounds. I crochet tightly, so I used a 2.0 mm hook for this project with the Linhasita, but you may want to size up or down, depending on how “nautical” looking you want it. The firmer crochet in a tan/sand gives it a fisherman’s basket look. To me.

This is also a good reference for using this type of pattern: Crochet Abbreviations

1st Rnd: 10 sc in Magic Ring (10 st)

2nd Rnd: Make 2 sc in first sc from 1st rnd, place a marker in the first sc in this rnd. Make 2 sc in next sc in rnd, and in every sc around. (20 st)

3rd Rnd: Make 1 sc in the first sc (place marker), 2 sc in the next sc. Repeat this pattern until the end of the rnd. (30 st)

4th Rnd: Make 1 sc in each of the first 2 sc (place marker in first sc), then 2 sc in the third sc. Repeat this pattern until the end of the rnd. (40 st)

5th Rnd: Make 1 sc in each of the first 3 sc (place marker in first sc), then 2 sc in the fourth sc. Repeat this pattern until the end of the rnd. (50 st)

6th Rnd: Make 1 sc in each of the first 4 sc (place marker in first sc), then 2 sc in the fifth sc. Repeat this pattern until the end of the rnd. (60 st)

7th Rnd: Make 1 sc in each of the first 5 sc (place marker in first sc), then 2 sc in the sixth sc. Repeat this pattern until the end of the rnd. (70 st)

8th Rnd: Make 1 sc in each of the first 6 sc (place marker in first sc), then 2 sc in the seventh sc. Repeat this pattern until the end of the rnd. (80 st)

Now, here we’ll start making the sides of the Tray. I’ll crochet just a hair more loosely on the sides, allowing some stretch.

9th Rnd: Make 1 sc in FLO of first sc. Repeat this for the entire rnd. (80 st)

This round makes the base for the side.

10th-14th Rnds: Make 1 sc in BLO of first sc. Repeat this for the entire rnd. (80 st)

Bind off, weave in ends.

Shape the tray, hand pressing the bottom flat and hand shaping the sides outward.

Starfish Accent

I riffed off of the original motif pattern which can be found at this website, or you can check out my other Motif post.

I used a bit of fishing line to sew the motif onto the tray, like it’s going up the side.

Ready to use! I put my 4Oceans bracelet in the pic. If you buy a bracelet, they claim they pull 1 pound of trash out of the ocean.

WHOA…..what if MY pound they pulled contained 100 surfers’ lost wedding rings? I want in on that action, so I bought one of these bracelets. Just waiting for a call when I win my pound of trash.

What? That’s not how it works?

WTF is a Mystery Blogger Award?

Ok, so I was nominated for the “Mystery Blogger Award” by the Inked Shrink. I really enjoy the blog On the Couch, because he talks plainly about many issues we all deal with throughout life, and the blog really promotes good discussions and insights. It’s definitely worth checking out.

As for me- honestly, I’m really not a mystery. I’m just a average Florida surfer chick with a silly blog. Boom.

Here’s the breakdown that I copied and pasted:

What is a Mystery Blogger Award?

The creator of this award, Okoto Enigma, says “It’s an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion.

The Rules.

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog.
  • List the rules.
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog, as well as to the specific post in which you were nominated. That way, the blogger who nominated you will receive a Pingback and know that you posted your answers and will be able to read them!
  • Mention the creator of the award.
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  • Nominate 5 people.
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.
  • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice, with one weird or funny question (specify)
  • Share your link to your best post(s).

“Okoto Enigma”? Yeah, I don’t get it either. Anywho….

***

Three things about myself:

1. I’m a surfer chick, not a surfer dude. When I first started blogging years ago, I’d put up a new post each Friday on our local Surf Forum. When people started realizing who I was in real life, they said “WELL THAT EXPLAINS WHY ALL YOUR CRAFTS ARE GIRLY!” They automatically had assumed I was a guy because I raced paddleboards and surfed. I think they were picturing Richard Simmons on a surfboard.

2. The deepest SCUBA dive I’ve ever done was to 110′ on a shipwreck off the Florida Keys. And it was pretty awesome. I saw a Goliath Grouper up close, and I felt like I was the one on the platter.

3. The longest paddleboard challenge I’ve ever done is a 22 miler between island causeways. I paddled a 14′ prone board, and it took me a little under 7 hours of continuous paddling (with a two minute Clif Bar and water break). I was seeing stars around Mile 16, but I finished the race, which is all I cared about. Hey, YOLO, man. Not doing that shit twice, though.

My questions from Inked Shrink:

1. What inspires you?

I’m always looking for ways to reuse things, or make things I might otherwise buy and pay a lot of money for. I see a lot of waste left at the beach, and it’s a reminder to be more resourceful.

2. If you could have dinner and talk with any one person (dead or alive) who would it be? Why?

Colonel Sanders, because then I might get a decent two piece and biscuit.

3. What’s one thing on your bucket list?

I’m all good, bro.

4. Who was the person that had the most influence on your life?

Ooooh…trick question. Me??

5. What’s a project or accomplishment you hope to complete in 2018?

No surfing injuries this year!

The Nominees:

My Questions:

  1. Coke or Pepsi?
  2. Miami or Orlando? (I guess this is the “weird” question??)
  3. Apple or Samsung? (Let’s make this the “funny” question)
  4. Chips or Chocolate?
  5. Sand or Snow?

And yes, there ARE wrong answers. N-Joy.

I’m supposed to put a link to a good post of mine here, but I’d rather share some wisdom.