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

The Orange Peel Surf Wax Mold (My Review)

I was a Kickstarter supporter for The Orange Peel, a new surf wax gadget that just shipped out to most of us last week who bought in to the concept. I felt like doing a review of this product, so here it is. Did I get it for free? Hell nah, brah. These opinions are all Average Surfer Approved, and that’s all that matters, Bro-tein Shake.

The Orange Peel (peelitout.com, $11.99) is a 100% silicone cup that’s meant to fit into your car’s cup holder, and collect the gnar bits of surf wax that end up in your car. Unfortunately, this silicone cup was a little too small and got “lost” in my Surfmobile’s (Yaris) oversized side door cup holders, so it’s going to have to sit in the open middle console instead. Here it is in my grody Surfmobile:

The actual surfy-special feature of this mold cup is a raised strip of silicone along the bottom of the inside. This allows the mold to create the traditional break line for the bar of surf wax after melting it into the mold, creating the distinct halves. A half a bar is enough to wax up a longboard for a sesh, and fits into a pocket easily.

That feature is what makes the mold stand out for me. There are plenty of silicone molds out there for far cheaper in the craft store’s baking section, but as a surfer, I like the simple and practical addition of this line in the mold that creates a truly usable bar of surf wax.

To test this new mold, I used an actual old gnarly ball of surf wax from under the seat of my car, and rolled it around in more sand from the car. Yummy.

Here’s your WARNING WARNING WARNING!

Although the Orange Peel cup itself alone is microwaveable, you SHOULD NOT microwave things with sand all over it. Here in Cocoa Beach, a lot of our sand is dredged from shoals off the Cape, and there can often be trace metals in the dredge material. NOT a good thing to put in the microwave.

For this experiment, I used the little toaster oven we picked up at Goodwill. It stays out in the garage, so I use it for melting small amounts of wax sometimes, but mostly it’s for baking modeling clay (no fumes in the house, bonus).

I heated the clump in the toaster oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit (recommended by Peel Surf) for 20 minutes. This wax was most likely “Tropical” hardness from throughout this Summer and Fall, so I figured I would need to heat it for a while for it to melt sufficiently. The sand and debris in the wax will tend to fall toward the bottom of the cup. After I removed it from the oven, I made sure to give it a little stir to help things along.

Allow it to set for at least an hour. I left mine to harden overnight.

It came out of its mold with some difficulty because of the thickness of the cup’s walls. It’s a sturdy design, but it also makes it tricky to pop out easily without damaging the edges of the finished wax bar a bit.

Once the bar was out, I just scraped off the sludge that had settled to the bottom, which is now at the top of the bar of wax. I still had quite a bit of clean wax that remained.

Done!

Ok, so here’s my overall impression…..

Pros:

  • Makes a decent sized, good looking bar of wax
  • Molds a deep, easy-to-break line in the center
  • The bright color of The Orange Peel makes it easy to spot in a dark car in the morning

Cons:

  • Expensive- the price point of 12 bucks needs to be reduced to make this product work, or else I’m using my old muffin cups
  • May disappear into the cup holders of many cars with oversized holders

My suggestions:

  • Please get the price down- nice concept, but most surfers will have trouble justifying the expense, even to recycle their wax and Save Da World.
  • Include a simple Recipe Book- a lot more people might buy your product if you include some fun how to’s, similar to a Surf Wax Making Kit.
  • Introduce a “Jumbo” Orange Peel for oversized drink holders, and people who want to make larger bars of wax.
  • Consider a Glow In the Dark version for those Dawn Patrol sessions.
  • Offer unique molds (flower shapes, animals, etc.) with break lines through them. Only the inside of the cup needs to be shaped, the outside of the cup can be smooth, so it can still fit into a drink holder nicely.

I’ll definitely be using this cool little mold often, but I’ll be waiting on buying anymore “Peels” until the price drops a bit. BUT, if there’s a surfer you want to splurge on, this might be a fun gift to give along with some natural beeswax (and show them how to make their own surf wax too!).

DIY Boardshort Pillow

When I was young,  I would bug my patient grandmother to teach me to sew. She was a talented seamstress, and sewed for me the most beautiful dresses when I was younger, one of which I still keep with my wedding dress and formal wear.

Back then, I also remember her making me the coolest “Jams” out of ANY wacky printed cotton combo fabric I wanted in Hancock’s Fabrics. I loved my crazy ass pairs of Jams, and even today, I find myself wearing boardshorts with crazy prints just about every day. Honestly, they’re coastal Florida’s version of sweatpants.

I’ll totally admit that most of my boardshort collection is storebought, since surf companies use this schweet, stretchy, silky material that an average home sewer like me can’t get reasonably. Fortunately, most boardshorts like these are fairly long-wearing if you don’t put ’em in the dryer after washing. Good, since you may need to skip a car payment to buy some of these pairs lately…yikes.

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Loved these

One of my favorite pairs of boardshorts was ready for retirement, but I loved the surfboard print, and wanted to hang on to it in a unique way. So I made it into a squishy pillow that I could use indoors or out.

The stitching is pretty straightforward, I attached the inseam of the shorts up about 2″ from the bottom to make the pillow look more square after stuffing, but the legs are still somewhat distinctive.

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Stitching the inseam up to the mark

 

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2” of inseam sewn together

After this step, it’s a matter of closing up the holes. Just leave the top middle section open to stuff, OR you could stuff through the fly, then sew those openings up. The fly section was going to be too bulky for my machine, so I hand sewed the opening shut.

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Sewing the fly shut on the machine was tricky!

You can handstitch this Pillow or machine stitch it, neither way takes very long. Just make sure it’s stitched up tightly enough to be moderately stuffed, and machine washable. Don’t overstuff this, or it might start looking too much like an ass pillow.

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Stuff a little at a time

 

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Handsewing the top shut

 

Done!

 

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Husband calls it the Butt Pillow

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Another I made for one of my BFFs

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I like my Ass Pillow

 

I have the awful feeling the pillows only get bigger from this point on though….

 

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Yeah, hold da meat