The Latest Surfing Trends and Fads: Fall Edition

So I’ve dug up some more surfing trends and accessories you may or may not have heard about. Some are inventive, some are…..not ready for primetime. 

Did I get any of this stuff for free or at a discount? HELL nah. I wish. My opinions are definitely my own, and I tell it like it is, brah.

Gnarly wipeout, brah

Grater Grip for Surfboard Wax

I bought one of these at their booth at a local surfboard factory sale. They were thirteen bucks back then- now they’re $9.99- which is still a little pricey. It’s essentially a flat plastic cheese grater to help put on your surfboard wax, and remove it. This could be a good idea if you like that type of traction on your board. I tried it, and hated the feel AND look of it, personally. Oh well.

Pros: Great for using up the tiniest bits of wax left in your surfmobile

Cons: Random people may walk up to you with plates of freshly cooked pasta

Stained Glass Fins by Rainbow Fin Company

I had to snag this fin!!!

I have bought two of these fins so far as gifts, and I have been pleased with them, as well as the recipients. I like giving something that’s beautiful AND useful. Since they are one-of-a-kind handmade surfboard fins, they can run 100 bucks and up, so it’s more of a collectible for the “more seasoned” (aka older) surfer crowd. 

Pros: Makes simple, functional artwork on your surfboard or on the wall.

Cons: At the price, it’s definitely an investment.

Wax Knuckles

This pic is from their website

I don’t own this, but it seems like an awfully good idea. It’s a wax scraper and wax comb that is ergonomically designed. If you like to change out your wax a lot, or resell a lot of surfboards, this scraper is kinda neato. It costs twice as much as a regular wax comb (these are $5.99), but if you do a lot of scraping, it might be worth it.

Pros: May save on some carpal tunnel surgery down the road

Cons: The HUGE handspan required to make the scraper comfortable to use may exclude other smaller surfer chicks like me. I’ll wait for the smaller Oompa Loompa Model to be launched 

Ventura Vientola Finger Surfboard

I thought this fad had passed, but it’s back for Boomers

When I first started surfing, I bought I tiny toy 3” plastic “….Lost” surfboard I sat on my nightstand for my own encouragement. I guess this is the upgraded model at seventy bucks, but it is handcrafted in California out of mahogany, comes with a tiny leash, carrying pouch, and a miniature bar of surf wax. This would look good next to your wine rack and humidor. Did I guess right???

Pros: That’s art to any surfer, and looks better on the wall than the Family Cat in a frame. Also good if you live in a tiny house and drive a Mini

Cons: You may start buying these to look at when your knees start hurting too much to use an actual surfboard

Hope I showed ya something new today!

Do ya EVER graduate in surfing?????

Sea Heart of the Ocean Necklace

In my last post, I practiced polishing a Sea Heart sea bean. Now that it’s finished, I wanted to be

The Sea Heart I polished last time

able to wear it, but I didn’t want to drill into it or paint it. This will keep the piece as natural as possible.

To make my necklace, I used a macrame technique called Bezeling. The sea bean is thick, so I needed to make sure the bezel wrap would hold the sea heart securely. To make my ladder, I used two strands of light tan Linhasita macrame cord spaced 1 inch apart. For the alternating lark’s head knots, I used a dark green color strand.

I used a macrame foam board and lots of t-pins to keep things straight

Close up of the lark’s head ladder in work

I had measured the circumference of the sea heart to estimate the length of my ladder. I erred on the short side so I can “stretch” it over the edges of the sea bean to secure it using a bit of tension. I tied the ends together using a few square knots, and I melted the ends of the excess cord with a lighter (please use it outside- it’s a smelly process).

Tying the ends up around the bean- this was quite tricky

I singed the ends, leaving just two long strands to use for my necklace

Next, I used the 2 long cords remaining to make my necklace. I tied on 2 dark brown pieces to each light tan cord, and made a half hitch sinnet for a few inches, then braided the rest to the end. I did the same with the other side.

One side of the necklace

Completing each side of the necklace with a braid

For clasps, I used a carved tagua nut hook set that was drilled vertically, so I could thread the cord into each hook, and knot the ends off. This method doesn’t require any glue, but I did singe and melt the cord ends.

Tagua nut clasp

Finished necklace

With this very basic type of bezel wrap around my bean, it’s pretty secure. However, I’m probably not going to wear it while surfing though, just to make sure it doesn’t pop out. It is totally waterproof, however. Gnar.

That model needs a LOT of photoshop…..

I think it looks really cool, but it is a LARGE piece, so maybe only on special beachy occasions. Otherwise, you can call me Flava Flav of Cocoa Beach. Boiiiiiiiiiii.

My Hero.

Sea Heart Sea Bean Polishing (aka Gilding the Lily)

We’re already 3 letters deep into Hurricane Season 2017, and many are anxiously awaiting our first hurricane swell out here on the East Coast. Usually, it seems to start churning about August, but there have been a few years where we got an early sneak peek of the Atlantic’s coming swells.

I have sworn off Hurricane surf since the Bertha swell a few years back, after a not-so-fun air drop I had on a wave that was too big for my ability that day. So instead of gearing up for gnarly surf as if I was a teenager with pliable bones, I get into finding stuff that washes in with the storms.

Just a taste of my collection of “treasures”

One of my favorite things to collect are sea beans, especially sea hearts (Entada gigas). Sea hearts are seeds of the Monkey Ladder, a vine that grows in tropical zones in the Caribbean and Central America. Sea heart beans come from the World’s Largest Seed Pod on record- some pods can grow up to six feet!

Sea hearts have been considered lucky, and their ability to be carved and polished like wood have lent to the popularity of it’s use as ornamentation. I wanted to polish one of my sea hearts, just to try it out. Honestly, I think they look just as beautiful in their natural condition, having traveled thousands of miles in the ocean. “Gilding the Lily” sprang to mind as I worked on this little project to remove all that exterior.

Unpolished sea heart

I used a Dremel tool for this project. Some people might put their beans in a rock tumbler to polish them, but I’m going with what I already have.

Sanding drum on a bit- 150 grit

The main goal is to sand off the outermost shiny layer of the bean. This part took about 15 minutes with the Dremel bit, but the result was a very dull bean.

After sanding with 150

The inclusions are gone, but it’s not nearly shiny as before.

Next, for kicks, I used the felt polishing wheel bit on its’ own to buff it up a bit.

After polishing with just the felt

It did get a little shinier, but to help it out I added some polishing compound (jeweler’s rouge) to the felt wheel. Much better result, but it does have a crayon aroma to it…

This rouge Polishing compound came in the Dremel Polishing Kit

Big improvement with the compound

I probably spent about 10 minutes buffing the sea heart with the compound. I was happy with the result.

Unpolished sea heart (left), polished sea heart (right)

You can seal the sea heart with lacquer if you want, especially if you wanted to paint on it. I would recommend sealing it with at least one coat before trying to paint on them, since the bean can be a little porous and do funky things to the paint job.

In my next post, I’m going to show off the polished sea bean using macrame techniques- no drilling, painting or wire work required.

In the meantime, here’s Mr. Bean….

I’m doing this on A1A someday

Holey Shell Necklace!

When you walk along most beaches, you’ll find some shells have a hole in them where either the critter burrowed out, or maybe something burrowed in. I’m no shell expert, but after some research, I’ve found that most shells around here that have holes in them are called Atlantic Coquina, or “Angel Wing” shells, which I’ve heard them called sometimes. When I was out a few weeks ago, I found a beautiful striped shell with a hole that I believe is a Cockle shell. It’s this shell I’m going to use in my project.

Cockle Shell I found with hole at the top

For the necklace, I’m going to use waxed cotton cord. I like this stuff because it comes in lots of colors and is very durable, even surfing every day with it on.

Waxed cotton cord in several colors

For this, I used a sand color and an ocean color. Decide how long you want your necklace to be, and cut lengths more that you need, for extra to finish off. I doubled up one color to make a loop on one end and added a third color for a simple braid and joined them with a double overhand knot:

Double overhand knot to start off, with a loop

Next, I just braided the length of my necklace- I’m making a choker, so I just braided a little over 16 inches or so for me.

Finished braiding

Next, I’m going to finish off the braid by tying a few overhand knots on top of each other to form a toggle end I can slip through the loop on the other end to close:

End of braid

Next, I used a jump ring to prepare to attach the shell to the braid:

Open jump ring passing through the shell hole

Next, I’ll take the jump ring- still open- and find the center of my braid length. I will pass the jump ring through two of the braid strands. This will keep the shell centered on the necklace, and prevent it from migrating around your neck. Close the jump ring with jewelry pliers, or small pliers.

Jump ring going through two strands, not yet closed

Trim off the excess ends of the braid and put a dot of E6000 glue on each end knot and let dry. Here’s the finished necklace:

Back closure

Easy to make in any color combination if you can braid and do an overhand knot.
So, hunt for a holey shell, but pick up a beer can or two while you’re out there. If you’re wanting to make a necklace pendant from a beer can, though, I think you’ll need to jump over to Flava Flav’s “Funky Fresh” Craft Site for a how-to (did you know wall clocks make great necklaces???).

Surfboard Art with Beach Plastic

Recently, Surfrider had a contest for it’s “Rise Above Plastics”/ One Foot at a Time campaign, so it looked like it would be fun to enter. Before I headed out for Costa Rica, I thought I’d try an entry. I collected my trash on the CCAFS/Merritt Island Refuge shorelines, which are just north of Port Canaveral. These beaches get a lot of washed in flotsam debris from other beaches, boats, and ships.
Essentially, to get started, they gave you an outline template you printed out on letter sized sheets and taped together. I chose the surfboard template:

Surfboard template

The idea was, to take the outline and creatively fill it in with beach or community trash you collect.  Here’s just a sampling of what I collected- I had to collect a LOT to get a good variety.

Just a bit of the trash collected

I eventually wanted to be able to mount this “art”, so I traced the Surfrider template onto a cardboard beach toy box to use as a base.

Template outlined on the scrap cardboard
The back side of the cut out piece

To begin, though, I did layout some pieces on a paper template to get an idea of what I had to work with. Some of the plastic was so brittle from being outdoors and in the water so long, it easily broke into tiny bits for a mosaic, which was good for art’s sake, but bad since everything was so fragile to work with.

Laying up the general pieces for an idea

Once I had an idea of what I wanted, I used a hot glue gun to start gluing pieces down to the cardboard surfboard template. I started with the “stringers” of the surfboard, using long pieces of plastic handles, straws, etc. I used some of my pattern weights I made for sewing to hold the cardboard down.

Starting the final piece- drew the Rusty logo on the board to make into a mosaic
Pattern weights to hold cardboard down while glue dried

Additionally, I touched up the R in the Rusty logo with tiny bits of this reddish plastic, using a fishing bead I found as a perfect dot!

This part burnt my fingers a lot!

Instead of the green at the top layout, I wanted to start out with blue plastics and work into lighter greens then darker greens.

Darker blue pieces
Working down into lighter blue pieces

A lot of this work required hand breaking pieces to fit, or doing a lot of rearranging so everything would get filled in. I finally had most of the board filled in, ready for detail work:

After stressing over it, and making sure holes were filled in, things were balanced, and so forth, I tried to make myself stop working!!

The next stage was to take the piece out to the beach for it’s “modeling shoot”. This is the final picture I sent into Surfrider:

The Finished Entry

Keeping my fingers crossed, but it’ll be fun to hang up anyway, win or lose!