Deep Thoughts on a Paddleboard

So obviously, a lot has happened since my last post. I’ve gotten a divorce, started a new job, and I’m getting ready to move into a new house in a few weeks. Hey, I’m used to having my head slammed, so it’s all good. Last I checked, they’re still selling Diet Coke and Cheez-It’s, and most importantly, the ocean’s still there.

So then, I guess Club Earth’s staying open a little later and serving 2 for 1’s. It’s NOT the end of the world, after all.

I’ve gone surfing a few times this winter, but mostly I’ve been going on paddles on my SUP in the lagoon here in Brevard County. Paddleboarding, to me, is the best way to zone out, or really think deeply about things. I loved prone paddleboard races that were 5, 10, even 12 miles since it gave me maximum alone time PLUS possibly a goody bag and a medal if I was focused enough, or I was the only chick in the race. Bonus.

Me on a fun winter wave early 2019. Photo: @cbsurfkaren (Instagram)

These days, I mostly paddle on my SUP, still getting myself way out too far and lost in the beauty of wherever I am. Much more scenic than a long shower to hash out my thoughts, ya know?

Me after a paddle on the Banana River (Lagoon)

Here are some of my deep thoughts that have popped up over the last few months:

Surf trips by yourself can be hella fun.

Right after my separation, I threw my funshape and water wings in my car and drove up to Folly Beach, South Carolina, and surfed at the Folly Beach Pier. Met lots of cool people, saw lots of neato things, and I chose the phresh music for the drive. Nothing better.

Surfing is a lovely sport since there is no perfection.

I’ve been told to stop surfing because, well, if you’re not “good,” then what’s the point? I’ve watched so many videos with so many unique styles, could anyone agree on exactly what ‘s the best and when you should hang it up? I mean, in 30 years, who knows what wacky ass things will be considered cool in surfing? Old surfer chicks? Maybe…..

It’s OK to want to be a surfer/paddleboarder/waterwoman.

Yes, this might sound bizarre to some, but the surfer image (perceived or real) doesn’t always sit well with non-surfers, and it can be hard to deal with. I’ve finally quit apologizing. I even bought a pair of Vans so I could get more aligned with my inner Spicoli. Namaste, brah.

Hi. I’m Crafty Surf. I like surfing, paddleboarding, and crafts. And that’s all good.

Repeat after me: You are AWESOME today

The Adventures of Crafty Surf

Ok, the past several weeks have majorly sucked in Crafty Surf Land, so I’d thought I’d write about happy things to cheer me up. It’s all good, ya know?

I first started working as a co-op student down here in Florida back in 1999. One Saturday that first semester, I decided to go to a ROXY Girls’ Surf Camp day down in Indialantic Beach. It turned out I was the old lady among the campers at the ripe old age of 23, with the next oldest being 16. Yikes. I felt like Kramer in the Karate Class episode.

Let’s go for ice cream!

It turned out to be a fun day, and it was the first time I ever got to try surfing. Lots of the little girls kept saying I should ask out one of the hot surf instructors there (that was a bonus- they looked like a Baywatch lineup). Since none of kids volunteered to be my Wingman, I let my chance pass by. I did end up smoking all those little girls in the Surfboard Paddling Relays, though. Booyeah, kids.

At the end of the day, they gave us all goodie bags of ROXY stuff in a backpack. I still have the backpack, almost 20 years later. Over the years, if a fun place I visited had a patch, I’d add it to my bag as my little souvenir. The latest patch I’ve added is from a surf shop in Folly Beach, South Carolina. I visited SC a couple of weeks ago on a spur-of-the-moment, much needed road trip. My first patch from outside of Florida.

Felt like a real surfer girl with my bag when I got it

I wish more places still had patches like this for little souvenirs

Remember that movie “Up”, when Ellie had her Adventure Book? Guess this has ended up being mine. It’s totally got another 20 years. Well, I certainly hope….for us both.

What’s next?

Beater Bodyboard Paipo Sock

All week it’s been gnarlicious around here due to some storms out in the Atlantic plus quite a bit of local winds. When the waves begin to get crazy, I’ll bust out my 54″ Twin Fin Beater board, that I can use as a giant bodyboard. Because it’s a soft board, I don’t need my helmet and crayons like I normally would. Bonus.

Nice wax job

Since I wanted to throw it in the car to surf yesterday evening, I wanted to make a sock for it with a quickness. I’ve done this project for my funshape, but this time, the board is small enough to put on my cutting table directly, so I can wing it even faster.

Ugly fabric? Check.

I used some remnant Lycra spandex fabric I got a long time ago that was sitting around. It’s ugly, but Lycra spandex that’s cheap is always useful for something when you’re in the water a lot.

I folded the fabric right sides together, with one side being the fold, so I won’t need to sew/serge this edge.

Putting my board on the fabric for layout

I even used my French curve to trim the nose!

After cutting

I used my rotary cutter to cut this Lycra- much faster. I also used a serger for this project.

Serging the sides

Fit check

Trimming off excess for the casing

I used the extra at the bottom opening, folded it over, and reattached a casing for an old shoelace. Made a perfect closure.

Reinforcing the pull through site

Reattaching the casing to the bag

I used an old shoelace

Cool beans

Done!

It’s great in da surfmobile, and now I can just keep my little 5′ leash on the board without worrying about it dragging everywhere. The sock stretches over the board super easy.

In da car

Pink and paisley

So I got to play around in the gnar for a bit yesterday afternoon, since the surf sock only took an hour. Here’s a pic I took from last night:

Just do it

Once again, my tradition of procrastination lives on….

I would have been too lazy to do this in high school

Chunky Little Manatee

Many people don’t know that manatees are closely related to elephants. In fact, if you look closely at a manatee’s flipper, you’ll see the remnants of nails and toes that resemble an elephant’s foot. Under an x-ray, they even look like human hands. Pretty cool.

myfwc.comManatee flipper under x-ray

Here in Brevard County, we are fortunate enough to see Florida manatees fairly often in the Indian River Lagoon (brackish water), and in nearshore coastal waters by way of going in and out of local man-made ship inlets.

They are also known as “sea cows” because they move slowly, but they are VERY powerful. I’ve gotten knocked off my paddleboard more than a few times by a manatee. Hey, they didn’t want ME on their lawn….I don’t blame ’em.

I still love manatees, and they’re a good indicator of the health of the Lagoon system, which is obviously very sick and toxic currently, heading into a state of eutrophication sadly.

So I wanted to share some of of this fun info with you, plus a pattern I made up to make your own little chunky manatee Amigurumi toy! It helps to know basic single crochet in the round for this pattern. Add a loop of heavy thread on top to turn it into an ornament for the holidays. Manatee Tree. Freakin’ cool.

Chunky Little Manatee Pattern (PDF file)

Stuffing the body of the manatee

Sewing the tail closed

Making the flippers

Fluke view

Front view

Manatees are cute, so they might get people’s attention.

I’d love to see this

Eidon presents the 20th Sisters of the Sea Surf Classic

Each year, I like to go to an all women’s surf contest in Jacksonville, Florida. The Sisters of the Sea Surf Classic is an amateur surf contest to raise money for Breast Cancer Research, which is the philanthropic cause of the Sisters of the Sea of Jacksonville.

Trophy tent at Sisters of the Sea Classic

Surfboards being raffled off

And, they have NICE raffles. I freakin’ love raffles. It’s a horrible pleasure, but silly fun for a recovering statistics nut.

One of my best friends Karen (follow her on IG: @cbsurfkaren) went with me since she’s a GREAT photog, and this is always a big surf event, usually with over 150 women competitors, but lots of spectators, photographers, and gawkers.

Not so stoked about that, but I’ve got to “suck it up, Buttercup.” Outta that comfort zone, brah.

In surfing competitions, surfers will paddle out in groups of 4 or 5 at a time (called a heat), and attempt to catch as many (up to 10) quality waves within those 15 minutes. We had waves this Saturday, but they were on the smaller side and a bit closed out for me. I managed to catch my two wave minimum, but the far more talented ladies in my heat were catching wave after wave! I tried for a couple of more, but got caught in the rinse cycle. Oh well, I was gettin’ the exercise in, ya know….

Me tryna surf

I really love my new FunJun!

No more freakin pics….

So, I didn’t win a medal, but dead last in my heat. Boo. BUT, it was a fun beach day- encouraging women to take up surfing, and supporting the Women’s Center in Jacksonville. I think I’ll live knowing I didn’t “slay.” I’ll slay another day. Or whatever.

We had to leave early to head back home, but a friend of mine called Saturday evening to let me know I won something in the raffle. Booyeah.

Hey- need not be present to win, AND my dear friend brought it back for me.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

9’1” super light longboard. Schweet. I LOVE raffles.

Big Blue Button Amigurumi

Jellyfish are often misunderstood creatures in Florida, especially since they often hurt surfers with stings that range from annoying to scream worthy.

I’ve had my fill for a lifetime, believe me.

In actuality, many of these “jellyfish” are groups of polyps clinging together, drifting with the ocean’s currents. These type are known as Chondrophores, which include the Man O’ War, a particularly famous critter that gives humans a painful sting. However, there are other types of unique Chondrophores here in Florida that don’t pack quite the wallop.

Blue Button

Blue Buttons are part of this group, and can be found in Florida quite often. They are small (usually only 1-2 inches in diameter), but they are beautiful to look at. So, I decided to make a jumbo, huggable version out of yarn. Just because, of course.

Below I’ve shown a bit of my process in pictures for those into amigurumi:

I used three basic blues with a 3.5 mm hook

Making a circle for one side, starting to change color to make stripe

Using a half- color change technique

Top half done- I made it a bit taller

Bottom half

Two halves complete

Each tentacle is from 5-8 inches

Lots o’ tentacles

Pulling each tentacle into the half

Knotted inside and ends trimmed

Placing eyes

Stuffing and sewing shut

Top side

Surprise underneath!!

So happy together

At da beach….

With the oxygen levels dropping in the ocean as sea temperatures rise, expect to see more jellyfish (and colonies). They serve as a canary in the coal mine, if you will.

At least the signs of our stupidity will look pretty….

Keep overthinkin’ it

Eco Surf Hippie Beanbag Pillow

I’m the first to admit I’m a material hoarder. Lots of people don’t realize that clothing makes up a large fraction of landfill trash, and these days, much of it is synthetic and breaks down slowly.

I like to save old Lycra from random rashguards and surf gear, so I decided to cut pieces up into small quilt squares to make a simple two sided squishy pillow filled with scrap neoprene. Woah…that’s being supa Bro–active about our environment, yo.

Pile o’ Lycra

Cutting pieces into smaller squares from various pieces

Laying out a fun pattern

I serged into rows first

Layout of the other side of the pillow

Both sides of the pillow

Pinning the pillow to stitch it up before stuffing

Neoprene beans from wetsuits

I stuffed the pillow casing I made with quite a bit of the cut up neoprene “beans” I had cut up previously (see this project).

Clipped the opening closed and I whip stitched it closed

Done!

That’ll fit my rear, watch out, Max….

So I figure this pillow with be perfect for the beach, since I can rinse it off, toss it in the wash with no worries, and it’s small enough to sling over my bag.

Hey, if this helps the environment, great. I mean, it’s your world, brah.

Try me……but have a nice day