DIY Upcycled Neoprene Pouch Keychain

This week has been cray cray. The stress of the holidays is approaching, and you can see it around Cocoa Beach with the influx of angry out of towners. And here I thought the ocean was supposed to be soothing.

Instead of getting out in the crazy shopping melee tomorrow, MAKE something useful out of your old wetsuit, since you’re probably getting a new one anyways. Even if you’ve been naughty and stealing my waves, you wanker.

I used a scrap of Neoprene from a machine washed wetsuit sleeve for the main part of this pouch. Machine washing is OK and DESIRED if it is to be used for crafting! The Velcro and nylon webbing piece came from another old surfing vest zip back. I cut the piece of Velcro in half so it would span the top flap and keep it closed.

I also used a keychain ring with a clip from the hardware store, and some heavy duty nylon thread in purple and black to sew everything. You can use Neoprene repair glue if you want to glue the pieces instead, but I hand sewed everything on.

I cut the sleeve just a few inches above the wrist, then cut away a little on the inside, leaving a top flap to put the Velcro on:

I sewed the clip and strap onto the back of the pouch also:

Done- and useful for putting all sorts of surfy stuff in, like surf wax, fin screws, leash loops, etc. Schweet.

Now, wasn’t that more fun than dealing with the holiday chaos?

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FYI: Outerknown Black Friday Sale

Hey, I don’t freakin’ work for Kelly Slater, but he IS da MAN here in Cocoa Beach, and a nice dude, so I’d thought I’d give a plug for his latest clothing endeavor, Outerknown. They’re having a Black Friday Sale, so if you’ve ever wanted to check out the brand, this is a good time. This is just info, I wish I got free stuff from them, but no, I just keep watch on da sales.

Their clothes are usually CRAZY expensive, but on their website, I just picked up a pair of boardshorts for $30.

I’ve checked them out in person before, and they were extremely well made, but I couldn’t justify the original price of $75. Yikes. Currently, the boardshorts are the best bargain on the website, in my opinion.

Guess he’s gotta pay for that new wave pool.

Time for a New Surfboard Leash

Last week, we had a few days of fun longboard swell, so I took out my heavier 9’0″ Dewey Weber Performer longboard. When I attached my usual longboard surf leash, I had noticed that the Velcro was beginning to fray badly and the attachment points had become far too supple, almost to the point of tearing. It was time for a new leash, and this one was finished….

Typically for my longboards- which have ranged between 8’6″ and 9’2″- I’ve used a standard 9′ long surf leash. Your leash needs to be about as long as the surfboard you plan to ride. I have a 9′ leash for my longboards, one for funshapes/shortboards that’s 7′ long, and a 5′ leash for my little 4’6″ Beater board.

Surfboard leashes have become an essential safety item to me, since the lineup here in Florida can become crowded quickly with surfers AND swimmers alike. I don’t want to take the chance of a wipeout potentially injuring someone else. I also consider it important in case I become too tired to swim if I lose my board, which was one of the main drivers behind the invention created in the late 1960’s in California (History of the Surfboard Leash).

Pat O’Neill (of O’Neill Surf Company fame, and the son of founder Jack O’Neill) gets the credit for making the “kook cord” popular. Ironically, he lost his eye when his board snapped back in his face due to the initial poor design of the surf leash. Today, better designs make this much less common, but there are some things I still do to prepare my leash before its’ first use.

Once either end of the leash attach points become frayed or loose, spend a little coin and get a new leash. It’s not worth taking the chance over spending $20-30 bucks at least once a year if you surf frequently. More if yer a gnarly ripper, brah. Lawsuits can get pricey. Same goes if the cord comes loose from either end- no gluegunnin’ it here- this is SAFETY equipment. Y’all feelin’ me?

Now, all brand new leashes have the same problem- they’re kinkier than Christian Grey.

Kinky.

Every one of my new leashes gets a turn on a sturdy palm tree to stretch it out a bit. I like having both my eyes, so getting it stretched out a bit keeps it from “snapping” back as much during initial surf sessions. Of course, future wipeouts will help stretch the leash as well. Yikes.

I’m finally getting some strength exercise in…..

Much better than before.

This particular leash I purchased is a “Regular” leash, meaning the cord thickness isn’t too thin, nor too thick for most recreational surf breaks. It’s what is typically found at most surf shops.

Comp” or “Competition” weight leashes have a thinner cord. The concept is that the thinner cord reduces drag when paddling, surfing, and doing tricks. Personally, I really like them because they are light, and more than enough cord thickness for our usual 2-3′ waves here in Cocoa Beach. Comp weight leashes are hard to find in 8’+ lengths at many stores, but I’ve seen them on occasion.

Big Wave” leashes have supa thicky-thick cord. Unless you’re planning on surfing huge Pe’ahi or Cloudbreak with your 10′ elephant gun, OR your name rhymes with “Blaird Blamilton,” you can probably pass on this type of leash. If you ever need it, trust me- you’ll already be in the know then.

Can’t wait to try out my spiffy new leash, but it’s gnar chop city for a few days, so I’ll have to find somewhere else to go…..

Surfer Gifts: Holiday Surf Wax

I go through a lot of surf wax. I’ll totally admit that I’m not nimble enough to get away with a quick scrape of wax on my board before paddling out.

I took my heavy noserider out the other day and realized it was time to stop by Core Surf for some fresh wax. I picked up several bars of Warm Water blend Sticky Bumps, since our water temp has dropped into the mid-70’s. After reading Make Something Mondays’ post about Fall Scented Candles, I was inspired to make “Holiday” Scented Wax. I used Sticky Bumps since I’ve found it holds the added scent better than other brands of surf waxes in my opinion.

I thought this would make an excellent DIY surfer gift for the season, without spending a fortune.

If you look in any baking section of a craft or big box store, you’ll find a lot of silicone molds available these days. They’ve become quite affordable, and they are super handy if you like to customize your own surf wax. I really liked the shape of this mold, since it’s a handy shape to use when applying surf wax.

Use silicone molds to make it easier

First, I broke the original wax into pieces to fit into the molds. Three original Sticky Bumps bars were used to make six bars of scented wax. I popped the whole thing into the oven at around 175 degrees F for over twenty minutes. I didn’t want to boil the wax, just melt it gently. Don’t use the microwave, unless you like a gnarly mess, Bro-tato Chip.

The wax will melt into each mold shape


Once the wax was completely melted in each mold, I used some Lor-Ann baking oils in Apple and Orange, and also some real Vanilla extract. Only a few drops are necessary, but add as much as desired for optimal smelliness. 
Use a toothpick to stir in the oils evenly and minimize bubbles. The oil will settle to the top a bit, but that’s okay, it will be distributed as it’s applied on the surfboard.

Some oil has a little color, but it won’t be noticeable on the surfboard


Allow the wax to cool in the mold and harden fully before trying to remove it. Don’t put it in the freezer- that can create voids in the wax.

Stack o’ Wax: Apple, Orange, and Vanilla


Done! I got a little wooden crate at the craft store for a buck, and it really classes things up as a Christmas gift. I also used a cardboard punch to make tags out of the wax box, and strung it on with some hemp.

Surfer gift done.

A holiday gift that’s surfing related AND smells like food???

That’s righteous

Meet Max Chill, The Amigurumi Surfer Dude

I’ve been crocheting for a while now, and honestly, I’m SO over all the pricey, “yummy” (I freakin’ HATE that yarn store word!) yarn out there. Gimme the Red Heart cheap stuff, and let me sculpt something goofy in my favorite crochet technique, Amigurumi, and I’m all good.

Case in point, I wanted to make a fun cartoony Surfer Dude, but I’m better at doing it in yarn- I’m not a great clay sculptor. So, I just started crocheting, spiraling around Amigurumi style, starting with the head, hair and face. I typically use between a 2.5 to 3.0 mm hook with the standard acrylic yarn like you find at most hobby stores for a couple of bucks. On this project, I used a 3.0 mm hook. No pattern, I just made it up as I went, yo, it’s all righteous….

Starting with the bulbous head

Made each individual dreadlock, brah

Nothing says surfer like droopy eyelids and a Zinka nose

Making the rest of the torso

I made the appendages next, and I wanted them to be exaggerated and goofy. The narrow legs and arms made it tricky to stuff, though. 

I used a paintbrush to stuff a little

I even made the Dude some boss boardshorts from an old rash guard sleeve. Plus, I used a tiny holed shell I found on the beach last week to make him a gnar surfer necklace, so he has some cred.

Sweet boardshorts

When he was finally complete, he just looked like he should be named Max Chill. Cool, bro, stoked. Let’s surf.

Is it 4:20 yet?

Duuuuuuude…

Anti-Shark Attack Hack

Just to preface this, if you are in between a juicy bait ball and a starved shark, a well timed punch between the shark’s eyes is the best defense. 

Having said that, there are a lot of gimmicks out there claiming to prevent a shark from attacking in the first place. A lot of pricey gimmicks, of course.

They spent A LOT of money, yo

 
There are SharkBanz, shark deterrent wetsuits, and shark repellent stickers to cover the bottom of your surfboard. While I’m not exactly impressed with the small neodymium magnets that so many surfers have been buying for $50+, I’ll actually admit that there may be something to the notion of a shark’s avoidance of poisonous sea snakes. At least enough for the shark to take avoidance measures over prey. Somewhat.
A shark’s vision isn’t the sharpest, so high contrast objects get the most attention- they’re easier to discern. Sea snakes are very poisonous to sharks, and have distinctively high contrast (black and white striped). 

Typical sea snake, unloved by sharks….

 

Since objects are usually spotted by a shark from below, rather deep in the water column, I figured the best place to put my “sea snake” would be within the back 1/3 area of my surfboard on the bottom. This area is usually somewhat parallel with the ocean floor whether I’m sitting, paddling, or surfing on my board, so it would be the prime location. If a shark looks upward, the “snake” would be visible from below. Or so the theory goes.
I used plain bright white and black duct tape for this project. This combo ensures optimal contrast, especially when waters can become murky at times.

I placed my duct tape supplies about where I was going to tape across

I put the white duct tape down first, then the little black cut strips of tape on top

Look at that shark SWIM AWAY! Wow!

I dig it with the Core Surf octopus sticker! Extra scary to any shark!

 

Hey, I don’t warranty ANY of this, yo. If you honestly want to believe any of these gimmicks are going to work 100% of the time, well….bless your heart….

He’s buying it

Pearl Knotting

As a crafter who likes ocean related stuff, I’ve always been drawn to the natural look of pearls. It’s got to be the “Little Mermaid” fantasy, with the mermaid chick sporting her shimmering green tail, shell pink bra, and always present choker of pearls.

You’ll never unsee this


Pearls are the only gemstone created by an animal, usually a type of oyster (saltwater pearls) or mussel (freshwater pearls). On the Mohs’ Hardness Scale, the pearl rates about 3.5 (can be scratched with a coin), so it’s fairly soft in comparison to other gems. Because of this, pearls are most commonly used in necklaces, as opposed to rings or bracelets, which must be able to endure harsher wear.

For many beaders like myself, freshwater pearls can be affordable to use in projects. They make nice, beachy looking jewelry as well. Cultured freshwater pearls tend to be a little more misshapen since they are almost entirely made up of nacre with a very small starter seed at its’ center. Cultured saltwater pearls, however, tend to be a thinner, more uniform veneer of nacre over a much larger starter seed inserted into the bivalve. The Wikipedia on cultured freshwater pearls is very interesting, and worth a read.

I used dyed cultured freshwater pearls in this necklace

I’ve been pearl knotting for years, and it’s a nice skill to learn, albeit very tricky. Pearls strung on silk need to be restrung about every decade (depending on wear), so knowing how to CAREFULLY string and knot delicate pearls can be a nice side gig. Here’s a great tutorial on the proper way to restring and knot pearls well. Pearls are usually knotted to prevent them from rubbing against each other and losing their luster. With knotting, it’s practice, practice, practice. Because of the soft nature of pearls, you have to become a patient knotter….and unknotter. It can feel a little surgical at times.

Tip: Knotting using thicker cord and big, cheap plastic beads at first will help you get a feel for how everything should lay and look before you try it on tiny, delicate pearls!
Personally, I like to use nylon cord for stringing and knotting instead of silk (unless I’m restoring a piece) because it’s far more durable and has less stretch over time. You can buy small cards of nylon or silk with needles already attached, which means you don’t need to double your thread. Bonus. There’s also a few knotting tools which help greatly as well.

By mixing colors, and spacing the pearl grouping an inch apart, it made the necklace more beachy, and less stuffy

 
Handmade cultured freshwater pearl necklaces can be wearable and casual enough for everyday if you design them with a few things in mind:

  • Use pearls with irregular shapes for an organic look.
  • Avoid using all white pearls unless you’re channeling Donna Reed.
  • The greater spacing between pearls, the more casual the piece appears.
  • Combine multiple sizes and colors of pearls to avoid a standardized appearance.
  • Use contrasting or coordinating color knotting cord to accentuate the pearls.

Tree ornament

Try out your hand at this skill and get your inner Mermaid on….

I’m in it for the Dinglehoppers