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?????






My Surfboards: Funjun Funshape

Recently, I had a board shaped at Core Surf as kind of an experiment. A really fun type of experiment.

I wanted a shortboard (truly, it is called a funshape or mini-mal by definition) that could surf the tiny- sometimes choppy- waves of our Florida East Coast summers. Bonus if it could surf the decent stuff too. I also wanted something shorter than 7’2″, since that’s my cutoff for a shortboard if I ever want to do fun charity competitions. Most local competitions- IF they have the rule- require the board to be no taller than 2 feet than the rider to qualify as a shortboard to compete. Makes sense.
Since I’m not getting any younger, I opted for a 7’0″ “Funjun”. This shape has a wide backend to get into waves early, and looks a lot like a

Quad setup or single fin setup

 

miniature longboard with the thick rails and the wide nose. The other models of “Funjuns” typically have a 5 fin setup, but I wanted a single fin box instead on this one, with FCS boxes on the side to be able to switch to a quad setup if I wanted.

This shape finally seems to be the Holy Grail Board for me, at least

On my initial surf sessions in 2-3 foot okay surf conditions, I used a 7 inch fin from Captain Fin Co. It worked pretty well, but I’m a still a little timid to try crosstepping on it yet. It did slide out a little when bottom turning on a bigger wave, but I think that’s more my problem than the fin’s problem….

This is the 7″ single fin I use in it

Next, I picked up a larger quad setup by Captain Fin Co. as well. I removed the single fin and just used these for some decent 1-2 foot waves. These were definitely longboard waves, but this board allowed me to catch the same type of waves, but I could get “skatey” on them. That’s good, since I refuse to skateboard on the asphalt anymore. I don’t have much of my right meniscus left. Yikes.

Funjun Update:
This board has been incredibly fun the last few sessions. I’ve gotten some of the best waves I’ve had in a long while.

This is the “large” set of quads- I figured I needed a little more fin for the longer board

After surfing on and off for over a decade, I’ve tried a lot of surfboards out, and have been so disappointed in a lot of boards I’ve had. I’ve wondered how many people get to find their “Magic” board? The board that fits like the Glass Slipper.
It feels really nice to think I may have found MY perfectly matched board. Sounds weird, but now I think I understand what I’ve overheard older surfers talk about from time to time. They tell stories where a surfer may- a one point in his (or her) life- find their perfect surfboard. That perfect surfboard for that perfect time, for that perfect place. I hope this combination sticks around for a while for me.

Wow, is it already 4:20?!?

Deep.

Lovin’ the Nubbin

We were lucky to have a mini swell last week that surprised the hardened Summertime locals, who had already embraced the coming June doldrums. The timing for this project, then, couldn’t have worked out any better, since I ended up with trial run conditions.
I have a 7’0″ funshape that’s set up as a tri-fin. I’m not a teenager, so I don’t ride little chip boards, but I’m not very big, either, so a funshape can be a bit of a bear to turn when I want to go a bit faster.
A friend noticed, and suggested I consider getting a small center fin to replace the regular one I’m using in the standard Future setup I have in it now. They’re ones that came with the board- I’m no aerialist, so fancy carbon, honeycomb, gold flake, sting ray skin, Mick Fanning approved, etc. fins are out.
I went to my local surf shop and the owner made the same suggestion, and showed me a fin called the “Nubster” or the “Nubbin”. There’s actually a couple of types of these! (Be careful when searching “nubbin” on the interwebs- apparently, it means other things. *Shiver*). The shrunken center fin facilitates the turning ability and loosens up the board. Ok, whatever.


http://www.surfstationstore.com/shop/fcs-von-sol-nubster-stabilizer-fiberglass-fin/dp/40341
From surfstationstore.com FCS “Von Sol” Nubster

The price is interesting too- $30 bucks! The store owner then admitted, “Well, sometimes….I just cut down a fin myself.”
Bing! A crafty solution! Here was my version.
I had three plastic center fins that I wasn’t using that were Futures.

I was going to free draw a design, so I did a Goldilocks, and picked one that wasn’t too thick, have too much rake to work around, blah, blah.
I went with this one:

So I grabbed my pencil, a piece of cardstock, and traced the outline of the fin, excluding the base that fits into the board:

Next, I freehanded a shape that kinda looked like what I saw in the surf shop and online onto the cardstock’s drawing within the boundaries of the current outline of the fin:

I cutout the new shape and used it to trace onto the plastic fin:

I then took my fin to the scroll saw to cut the shape out. If you don’t have an electric scroll saw, you can use a coping saw instead. The plastic cuts fairly easily- a standard blade works just fine.

Getting ready to cut
After the raw cut
Next, I used the grinding wheel on the side of my saw with a sanding disc of 100 grit to get the main edges cleaned up.
Before sanding raw edges

Grinding wheel

After that, I clamped the fin into a vise and began fine tuning the edges by hand with sandpaper. I didn’t mess with the sides of the fin, only the edge, to get it smooth and to give it a nice sharp (well, somewhat sharp) edge. I used 150 grit to shape it, then 220 to smooth it out. I really didn’t need to get finer than that, since it was just plastic.

Fin in the vise
Looking from the trailing edge- it’s a little thick up front, but it’s “experimental”!

Here it is installed in my funshape:

I may try making another in an even lower profile in the future, but I was conservative this time. But during this past week using it, it does seem to make the board easier to turn! Maybe it’s in my head, but it does seem looser.
Or maybe it was just the Hennigan’s.

Screw It!

This is the first time I’ve dealt with a problem like this on a surfboard. One of my friends bought an SUP from one of my other friends, and the board was in good condition. However, my friend who bought it wanted to use a different fin in this board. There was the problem. The Philips head screw bolt that held the fin in was just corroded and stripped to the point there was no purchase for a screwdriver to turn it to release in from the nut holding it in the track in the fin box, and the fin was just stuck.

When I tried to use a screwdriver to firmly but carefully take out the screw, the top metal just flaked right off like baklava. Mmmm….

Anywho, I could have gotten a REALLY tiny EZ out bit to drill into the bolt and hope against hope that I didn’t hit the bottom of the fin box and go into the foam of the surfboard! Instead, since the screw head is domed, I made the attempt to cut a groove into the top of it while the screw was still stuck in the fin box.
For this, I used my trusty Dremel tool.

Of course, any rotary tool like that will work. I used a grinding wheel of fiberglass for this job. You can also use a diamond grinding wheel since they have such a thin edge and are good for detailed work (on left!)

Don’t use those wheels they give you in packs of 20 (on right above)- they snap like the cheap wafers they are. Yuck.
To prevent harming the edge of the fin, I made the cut at an angle away from the edge of the fin, and while not moving the the wheel from the groove, I motioned the wheel front and back to open the groove a bit for a flathead screwdriver to fit into.

I stopped from time to time to check the depth of my cut to make sure I wasn’t cutting too far and reaching too close to the top of the fiberglass of the fin.
Once the groove was completed, fresh metal was clearly visible, and it was ready to be used as a groove for my flathead screwdriver. With steady downward pressure, the screw came out easily!

You can see the groove made by the grinder, and the corrosion as well.

Before installing the new fin, I took an extra precaution by applying two coats of a heavy duty wear clear nail polish on the head of the new screw.

There are really clever inventions out there like the Wonderbolt (I don’t get any thing from them, just thought it was neat), that are smart replacements for future situations like this. Might be worth it for the SUP’s, since around here, we take them in the river and ocean, so they might see some different types of corrosion.

On a different note, here’s a recipe I found for an “Ultimate Screwdriver” in case something doesn’t work out above:

Ultimate Screwdriver
3 ounces of Florida Orange Juice
1.5 ounces of Orange flavored Vodka
Enjoy……

Pocket Fin Adjustment Tool Kit

In my quest to make everything more compact, I wanted to make my fin tool kit as small as possible. For this, I challenged myself to fit everything into a standard travel plastic soap container:

I used a stubby flathead screwdriver to fit in the case, for using with single fin change outs. I also added a standard fin key (small Allen wrench) to the box.

For the nuts and bolts, as well as the fin screws, I used little empty lip gloss containers. They’re perfect for keeping small items, and they’re flat and fit right into the soapbox. 

I also labeled each container to make sure the screws wouldn’t get mixed up.

Additionally, I used my handy label maker to label the kit:

Had to label it, or I’d be disappointed I wouldn’t be smelling Irish spring fresh…..

Surfboard Fin Tower Rack

So I thought a neat project to undertake would be this Futures “Test Ride Center” Fin Tree. It’s normally found in surf shops as a display stand for fin samples. Someone on the local surf forum was interested in buying one of these display racks from a surf shop for his home, for storage and for surf decor. I saw it as a challenge. Eddie Murphy’s comedy routine about his Mom making him a “home” Big Mac ran through my head- “I’ll make you a burger BETTER than McDonald’s!”



The Futures Fin Tree (www.futuresfins.com/fin-tree.php)

So, to start off, I knew I wanted to make this from mostly wood since that’s what I had the tools to work with, and I wanted it to spin like the floor display. The rack needed to have at least three shelves and needed to be tall and narrow like the one in the picture. I also imagined holes drilled around the edge of each shelf to accomodate hooks to hang fins off of. It also needed to have enough room to hold large fins like longboard fins, not just thruster sets.
Here’s an idea of what I had in mind:

I started off buying a precut 11 3/4″ diameter by 3/4″ thick plywood disc at the hardware store. This would serve as my foundation (base). I wanted the shelves to be substantial, but not too thick (because of the hooks), so I traced circles with the base onto 1/2″ thick plywood and cut them out with a jigsaw, making 3 of these.

I needed a lazy susan to turn the stand on, and I totally lucked out when I found a plastic black electrical turntable at Goodwill! These things can hold up to 220 pounds and normally run $15.00, so this was a real find. Honestly, Goodwill is a great place to find lazy susan parts since a lot of people chuck kitchen accessories all the time. An electrical stand is an entirely different matter, though.
Here’s the turntable, shelves, and base:

Now, I needed a riser to mount these shelves on, so I went with an 1 1/4″ diameter pine dowel, like the type used for curtain rods in a closet. I cut it at Home Depot to approximately 5 feet long with their rough hand saw. A drawback with a dowel like this is that it can be somewhat uneven, so mounting shelves could be tricky since the dowel isn’t always round and perfect in diameter.
Next, I needed to drill holes through each of the shelves and base centers’ to accomodate the dowel. I used a 1 3/8″ Forstner drill bit to make a clean hole in each center, just slightly bigger than the dowel, so it can slip over. I LOVE these type of bits for this, they make a nice clean, even edge inside:



To make places to hang hooks off of, I marked off eight holes around the edge of each shelf, evenly spaced apart, about a 1/2″ from the edge. I switched to a 1/4″ bit to make these holes. I then sanded inside each hole with a Dremel sander cone bit to clear the debris out.

Now, here’s the decision point: I could make the shelves static or movable. If I made them static, I could probably epoxy glue them in place and call it good. Problem is, I might need to break it down, and also, it might be nice to adjust the width between the shelves for different sized fins.

To make the shelves removable and adjustable, I ordered rail flanges with a collar that goes all the way around with a hole on the side for a set screw to keep the shelf mounted in one place. The problem with these machined flanges turned out to be that they were just too heavy under their own weight to hold up straight! So, this was a set back. Originally, I had wanted little tension collars around the dowel under each shelf, but it’s just something that couldn’t be bought for a project this size, even after scouring the internet. I turned to my husband, another engineer, for help in designing and fabricating some collars for this project. This is what we came up with:

They’re made from poplar, which cut nicely. The donuts were cut on a specially made jig on a drill press (email if you’ve like more details), were cut in half, and re-screw back together again to fit around the dowel to make a nice tight fit against the dowel, then the shelf fits on top, then is screwed to the collar to secure it. They can be placed anywhere along the dowel shaft, so the shelves can be moved at any distance apart from each other. A fourth collar was placed at the base of the dowel against the base disk, and also screwed into that plate. I epoxyed the base disk onto the turntable.

The next step was to spray paint the dowel and shelves. I used a paint and primer spray paint that worked fairly well. The collars I painted with acrylic paint by hand. Poplar wood sucks up A LOT of paint!

To have some fun, I also decided to use some Chalkboard Spray- it comes in a a spray can- just on the 3 shelf tops. I thought this might help to organize and identify fin sizes, types, etc.

Chalkboard Paint

For safety, I bought a 10 lb disc weight in black that I epoxyed to the bottom of the turntable to, to prevent the piece from easily tipping over. In addition, I glued 8 rubber feet along the outer edge so it wouldn’t scratch the floor.

 

Lastly, I got some s-hooks to place into the shelf holes to hang fins off of. Here’s the rack finished:

Spin me right round baby, right round!

Fin Gift Tags

A surfer’s gift doesn’t always have to be a bottle of Cuervo or a case of Imperial, but, if you DO give those, make a supa cool tag that a surfer or non-surfer would think is pretty cool (even after the bottle is long drained).
First, I printed out a template of three tags on a PDF:

These are best printed on some cardstock for tracing onto wood, since the cardstock will have a little edge to trace off of. I cut one out and traced it onto 1/4″ plywood:

Template
Template cut out
Next, cut out the trace with a jig saw, like a Dremel:
 
Make sure to drill a hole in the bottom left corner for hanging (the presumption is that you’ll hang it upside down), using a small drill. After sanding the edges to ensure a smooth finish, go ahead and paint it any color you want. I painted mine red with a palm tree:
 
 
After embellishing some more, it was ready to spray with some sealant. I used a gloss spray sealant like you can get in the spray paint section of the hardware store.
Here’s the tag on a gift:
 
 
Obviously, you can hang it as an ornament afterwards, too. I’m imagining a Christmas Tree next year with nothing but these fin tags on it!!!