Wetsuit Recycle Project #4: Handplane Leash

I STILL use this handy little thing when I take out the Handplane I made a while ago. Enjoy this flashback project that proves I’ve been recycling from da way back, yo.

Originally Posted April 4th, 2012.

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Since Summer’s in the air, I figured it was time to pull out the poplar wood handplane I made and make some things for it I’ve been meaning to in time for warm water bodysurfing season (with a hope for some hurricane swells!).

I haven’t lost the handplane yet out in the water, but I thought it might be good to have a little insurance. I wanted to make a leash, but nothing too obstructive that would get in the way. Around the house, we had one of these coiled cord keychains.

For back when I had to be Keymaster for a wild night at the Bar. Sucks.

I just needed the coiled cord, so I removed the key ring from the one end and used a pair of tin snips to cut the hook end free from the cord.

I have the rustiest snips ever

Next, I made a wrist strap by cutting off the last 2 inches of an old neoprene wetsuit sleeve.

No sew, ready to go

If you need a bigger cuff, just cut a two inch section higher up the arm. To attach the cuff and leash, I used pieces of kumihimo cord I made before (or you can use paracord), and an overhand knot tied off to one side of the hand hold. I also made a lark’s head around the neoprene cuff to secure it.

No metal on this leash

That’s it! I’m going to leave this leash attached to my board, but I can cut the tie off if I want. A plastic zip tie would work great also, but I just wanted to avoid using any metal that could scratch up the board or get rusty over time.

I wouldn’t expect this to hold in super heavy waves, but then if I get into a super heavy wave and get tossed, I don’t want a square foot of poplar within close proximity to me anyway….

They force dogs to do this competitively in California. That’s puppy abuse right there, yikes-a-rama.

Painting My Surfboard

FLASHBACK POST!

***Originally published on 19th February, 2016.***

Since I can’t ever leave well enough alone, I wanted to paint my new 6’10” funshape surfboard since I haven’t painted one in a while.

The paint pens I used for this project.

This time, I used fine point Montana paint pens, since they were up at Michaels’, and they have the 40% off one item coupon. Not kidding you, I got a lot of my markers one at a time over a couple of weeks so I could use the coupon. Paint markers are pricey. I’ve “heard” Poscas are the best, but they do not take sealant very well if you need to preserve your item (which you do). I used to use Painters’ Paint Pens- they sell them at craft stores and WalMart- but ever since Elmer’s Glue bought them, they’re pretty awful.

Some people will recommend sandpapering the area of the surfboard you want to paint, for it to “stick better”, but I think that’s a quick way to ruin a good paint pen nib, and gives you no way to undo errors cleanly. I just make sure the board is clean, wax, water, and chemical free!

I had a few aquatic photos of seadragons I wanted to try and paint for inspiration. First, I sketched out the main body and the head in pencil so I could get an idea of the overall proportion I wanted.

My sketch of the head. Yikes- I need that mail-order art class


Next, I started filling in with color (I started on the eye in the photo above). These are pump-style markers, so you have to press the nib down to get them to feed more paint, so I keep a scrap of paper nearby to start a new feed of paint.

Scrap paper to start new paint pens


These markers are pretty decent, I did need to go back over the main fields about 3 times to get the really bright colors. To shadow and highlight, I found it was fun to bring Pointillism back! Paint pens are perfect for this, and blending colors is neat-o. Just remember to let the paint completely dry before moving on to the next layer, and DON’T lay it on thick- it should go on kind of marker-like.

Shading and highlighting with dots of paint

Showing off the phat marker collection

Technically, when these markers dry, they’re waterproof. And yes, if you kept a light coat of wax on this (if the painting’s on the deck), and kept it from getting scratched, it MAY not chip off for a while. But it will. And that can be a good thing, especially if you’re concerned about resale.

If you want to lock your creation down, and protect it from sun, sand, and wax comb scrapes, I recommend sealing it- no matter what side you painted.

This is where is gets tricky. A lot of people claim that paint pens bleed badly when you put sealant on them. I think this typically happens when the paint is put on too thickly, or the painter didn’t leave enough time between sealant coats to let it dry. 

To set up for this, I took the surfboard out to the garage with the door open, fan on, with my FILTER MASK and SAFETY GOGGLES ready to don when getting ready to spray (HINT). I taped off the board with Frogtape (painters’ tape) and butchers’ paper to prevent any other areas from getting sprayed.

Covering the areas I didn’t want sprayed


I used a “2 in 1” Rustoleum “Ultra Cover” spray, but I still used 2 light, even coats. I had no problem with running or bleed with the Montana markers.

Pretty decent stuff, you can get it at the hardware store.

Done!


Gee, I hope I like the board. It’s all mine now, like a tattoo on the butt.

Wetsuit Buying Online

Since it’s about that time of year, I thought about reposting a helpful guide to buying your surf wetsuit.

I originally posted this in January, 2014, but I’ve added updated links and more info.

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Honestly, as much as I want to support my local surf shop, I have a lot of trouble finding a wetsuit that suits my needs and fits well. Even though I’m a woman, I know men have this same problem just as much.
Options are limited a lot of times to one or two brands, and here in Florida, you are given the choice of a spring suit, and possibly a 3/2 mm full suit. This year, I wanted a 4/3 mm full suit since I get cold easier, and the neoprene’s much stretchier anyway than in the past. When I called around to several shops up and down the East coast, I was not helped, but actually insulted by the staff, asking why I would even consider such a suit here in Florida, and did I know ANYTHING about wetsuits?!? Why, yes, I do. And I know I surf for more than 15 minutes at a stretch, so I get chilled easy. So kiss my frosty ass.
I’m so touchy.
Anywho, that’s when I turned to the internets for my future suit. I had an O’Neill suit last year, but I need to consider some things this year:
1. If I upgrade to a substantial design overhaul especially from a completely different brand, the fit may be different. Rip Curl obviously has done this with the E-Bomb, so the fit of the new design may feel different.
2. If the neoprene quality listed has been upgraded to “super-duper ultra stretch”, this may also affect the fit, and even the warmth and durability considerations. Neoprene tech has gone wild, but this can REALLY alter a fit, necessitating a size change from previous seasons.
3. Even if you plan to order online, take a gander at the selection offered at your local surf shops just to get your hand on the neoprene. Kick the tires, so to speak. Give it a stretch, see where the seams are, how they are finished and taped (or not), and look at features up close- even if the suits offered aren’t in your size, or even in your model. Companies tend to keep wetsuit construction pretty consistent over the line- it’s the neoprene quality that improves as well as the taping and lining.

Some helpful hints to ordering a suit online:
Only order from an online shop that has a clear return policy, preferably with free returns, of course.
CHECK THE DAMN SIZE GUIDE. Nobody freakin’ does that, especially men. For your convenience, I’ve procured a list of direct links to Size Guides of the most popular brands of wetsuits. Here’s your happy links to all the Size Guides:

XCEL: https://www.xcelwetsuits.com/media/transfer/img/xcel_size_chart_2.jpg

RIPCURL Men’s and Women’s: http://www.ripcurl.com/product-size-guide.html

O’NEILL Men’s and Women’s: http://au.oneill.com/shop/index.php/size-guide

QUIKSILVER Men’s and Boys’: http://www.quiksilver.com/wetsuit-size

ROXY Women’s and Girls’: http://www.roxy.com/wetsuit-size/

HYPERFLEX Men’s and Women’s: http://hyperflexusa.com/size-chart/

PATGONIA Men’s: http://www.patagonia.com/size-mens-suits.html

BODY GLOVE Men’s, Women’s, Juniors’, and Youth: http://bodyglove.com/wetsuit-size-chart/

Once you’ve found the size guide for your brand, measure yourself with a tape measure at the points indicated on the guide to find your approximate size. If you’re an average dude, your measuring tape is probably in your nightstand. The weight part of the guide is tricky. In my opinion, if you find yourself in a lower weight class, but your measurements are LONGER than indicated (lean/willowy build), it may be best to go with a tighter fit and shorter limb length for better core warmth. Conversely, if you are on the heavier side, and find that your weight class ends up with longer limb measurements (strong/curvy build), keep in mind that you can trim neoprene without worrying about fraying. In fact, most ends of sleeves and legs, you will notice, are just raw edged neoprene. This is my opinion- your fit will be unique, of course.
When you get your order, check the zippers first BEFORE trying it on. That means zip them up AND down at least twice. If the zipper is blocked by tags, remove them- they’re attached by a plastic tab, not a gold lock. The company can reattach it, trust me. If they’ve got an issue with it, that’s ridiculous. You need to at least need to be able to see if the zipper works more than once.
Be courteous to the next guy and have a piece of Velcro handy to cover up the neck tab Velcro (if it’s a back zip) while you put the suit on so you don’t pill and rip up the inside of the suit. Bonus points if you’ve taken a shower, but didn’t put on deodorant yet. Nobody wants your Axe leavins’ in the suit lest you decide to return it. Underpants are a given, I hope.
The suit should feel slightly restrictive, but not uncomfortable at the neck, groin, or shoulder points. Have a seat, stand up, bend over and touch your toes (well, work on that one). If it’s a full suit, the neoprene should reach your wrist bone, and right above your anklebone ideally.
Hopefully it works out, but if not, pack it up- right side out- with all the tags, and fill out the return slip. Send it back and try again, but make sure you’ve carefully measured, and considered what didn’t work about the fit on this one before you order again.
All in all, we live in a lucky time. The early surfers had he pleasure of surfing in wool bathing suits, and when it got cold, switched into army issued stiff SCUBA suits that chafed your tattoos clean off. But don’t let that old complaint keep replaying. I keep hearing kids parroting the elders on this, and this is not sage wisdom being passed down, only unchecked bravado of times past. There is little difference in movement these days for the average surfer in a neoprene suit versus not wearing one. Temperature difference, however, I will concede, will make a performance difference.
Men always complain that women don’t understand shrinkage, so this gentleman has diverted all attention from that area….
HEY! My face is up here you pervert!!!