Surfy Little Pillow

I recently finished up some curtains for a friend’s place (I tend to surf at her break a lot, so it’s the least I can do), so I ended up with some scrap fabric leftover. Just for fun, I wanted to whip up a surfy themed pillow for her beach pad.

Art by Seaweedsa

My inspiration 

I decided to try out the surf primitive style, that uses bright colors and a thick, defining outline on the simple shapes. My inspiration was the art of Seaweedsa, who has done great artwork for our Florida Surf Museum’s events. For my little project, I did my interpretation in appliqué.

I gathered my scraps, a 16” by 16” quilting square (the size of the pillow), some iron-on double sided adhesive for the appliqué pieces, and sketch paper to make pattern pieces to cut out.

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My supplies

I made a simple beachy design, cut the shapes out, and backed them with the iron-on fusible Steam-A-Seam to fuse them onto the pillow case piece I would be making out of one big sky blue scrap. From there, I used a wide satin stitch in black to outline every piece.

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Arranging my pieces

Once I had my pieces where I wanted, I did my black satin stitch around them, starting with the foreground pieces- the surfboards.

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Wide satin stitch

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Outlining

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Adding detail with a Disappearing Ink pen

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Sewing over the drawn details

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Appliqué completed

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After the pillowcase has been sewn up each side, and is still turned inside out (note that I used interfacing on the back to help stabilize the fabric!)

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Hella surfy

 

And, as it turns out, she likes it. Good thing, or I would have been feeling like this dude….

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That pillow looks mighty tasty

The Latest Surfing Trends and Fads: Spring Edition

Once again, I’ve got a fresh batch of surfy gimmicks and gadgets from the surfing world. Am I EVER given any of these things for free? No freakin’ way- I’m the last average surfer chick they’d want reppin’ their brand, and that’s all good with me. Some of these I think are great ideas, but some paddle straight into a huge closeout.

As always, N-Joy….

Shower Toga

 

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So this is another Kickstarter funded product that allows you to take a full shower in the open. This may be necessary after surfing in a remote location, or if you need to return to work with minimal stink. To me, this is an easy DIY project with an old shower curtain (instructions here, kids), but I guess there are enough people who don’t have time nor interest to go the DIY route. The price is pretty high in my opinion, but I guess if you’re part of the need-it-now crew, thirty bucks (plus tax and shipping) isn’t bad. They also sell a rinse kit that is very similar to another DIY project I’ve done. Just sayin’.

Cost: $29.95
Pros:
  • If you don’t wanna do DIY and have 30 bucks to spend on a fancy shower curtain, this looks like a good one
  • If you’re against the wonders of indoor plumbing and live with a bear named Ben, this was made for you
Cons:
  • It’s a $30 shower curtain

 

Shark Eyes

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So this has become THE hot item as of late, and I’ve seen it on quite a few boards around here. Developed by Australian surfers, they are large eye stickers placed on the bottom of your board to supposedly deter sharks from below, minimizing the chance of being attacked. Hey, it’s the psychology of it all, ya know? Come to think of it, I had my DIY anti-shark device on my board when I was NOT attacked by a shark, but just popped in the head by an errant stingray. Thesis defended, drop da mic.

Oh, wait- I forgot. I don’t have the Australian cred. D’OH!

Cost: $20 per sticker
Pros:
  • Great gift from a nervous Surf Mom to her Groms
  • Fun decor for any type of board
  • Cheaper than SharkBanz
  • Could end up in an interesting staring contest with a shark
Cons:
  • Shouldn’t be construed as any type of guarantee- local awareness always matters
  • It’s a big sticker of an eye….that’s a little freaky
  • As of today’s post, their website is down, so….that’s never a good sign

 

Hang Air

This product is a wetsuit hanger that contains a waterproof air fan to dry your wetsuit faster than just slinging it over your shower rail. I honestly didn’t think much of it when it first came out, but now I’m a total believer. It’s pricey, but I’ve had mine for a few seasons now, and I’d never surf in winter without it. I can hang my suit up wet after an afternoon sesh, turn it on, and the next morning it’s totally dry. This is also good for those multi-day SCUBA trips, because a dry wetsuit is a good thing at 8:00 A.M. on a cattle boat out to a reef. Keeps the suit usable for a longer time too, in my opinion. Also nice is that it’s made in the USA from recycled materials too.

Cost: $69.90 
Pros:
  • Keeps the stank out
  • Prolongs the life of the suit by preventing mold and bacteria growth
  • The hanger holds up to 100 lbs- that’s a lot of soakin’ wet gear it can handle
Cons:
  • Pricey up front, about the cost of an average wetsuit
  • The large size of the hanger may make it difficult for smaller wetsuits to fit over it properly (I have some difficulty with mine)

 

MyGo Mouth Mount for GoPro

Ok, so it constantly amazes me the number of different GoPro camera mounts available on the market. I have noticed a trend within the last year of these “mouth mounts” on many surfers using GoPros in the lineup. Yes, these mounts- used by Kelly Slater himself- can produce some outstanding footage of the inside of Pipeline from your simple GoPro, making for some epic surf vids.

Problem is, how often are YOU surfing at Pipeline? Yeah, me neither.

The mouth mount honestly looks a bit dangerous to use in a heavy swell. While the footage can be worth it on big barreling waves, most surfers won’t be dazzled by their own video- I’ve seen a handful of decent looking mouth-mounted shots, and they’re all from Slater, of course. So it’s a meh accessory for someone like me.

Cost: $29.99 (marked down from $34.99)
Pros:
  • Comes with bite supports that claim to give more stable footage
  • About average price of most GoPro anything
  • Compact and easy to use for a skilled surfer
Cons:
  • Can be dangerous for even an intermediate surfer to use in rough surf
  • No flotation (but a lanyard is included)
  • This type of angle is typically not desired for average waves and/or surfers- it won’t really impress your buds unless it’s a gnar barrel

***

Hope you enjoyed checking out some phunky phresh surfy gadgets and trends out there in the fun Surfing World. Above all else though, we all just wanna catch as many waves as humanly possible, right? The rest is….well, just even MORE gravy.

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Somewhere in between always works, brah

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

 

 

DIY Upcycled Neoprene Surfing Beanie

In case you didn’t already know, I hate winter. We don’t generally get snow in this part of Florida- just windy, gloomy days with a biting chill that can become unbearable sometimes. At least the winters appear to be getting shorter in the Northern Hemisphere, and that means I may have waterfront property sooner than later.

Always look on da bright side, yo.

As I’ve been playing with and learning more about Neoprene upcycling, I’ve considered more things I can make, and one thing I NEED is a well fitting Neoprene beanie hat that will stay on when I surf to keep my head warm from the chilly wind. However, most surf beanies are fitted right to the skull- great for guys with short hairstyles, not so great for surfer chicks with ponytails…

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BLEH!!!! NO chinstraps, please

I wanted to make something that had the top open enough to allow my ponytail to poke through, but I could close it up if I had wanted to wear it down. I used plain paper, a pen, and rulers to draft out a beanie pattern that would use 4 of these pieces (this is a good visual tutorial that is similar to my project).

 

 

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Drafting out my beanie pattern

 

I had an ancient 1.5 mm Hyperflex Neoprene surf vest that had plenty of decent material to use. I made sure to cut away any original flatlocked and finished seams on the vest, so the sewing machine wouldn’t bite on them.

 

 

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Cutting away the neoprene pieces out of the vest

 

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Laying out the pieces and pattern

 

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The four beanie pieces cut out

 

In this project, I used a simple 2-thread overlock on the serger since the total thickness would be 3 mm (1.5 mm for each layer). If it was any thicker than 3 mm in total, I would’ve hand stitched the pieces together. Totally doable with a sharp heavy hand needle, some heavy nylon thread, and a basic whipstitch.

 

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Two pieces of the beanies serged along the edge, with the top left open

 

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Fit check!

 

For the hat band, I used 1″ fold-over elastic in black. I measured the elastic about 3″ shorter than the hat’s circumference, and stretched as I stitched to fit.

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After the hat band (fold over elastic) has been sewed on

 

On the crown, I hand stitched grommets (2 at the top of each quarter, 8 total). I made these grommets so I could pull elastic or a drawstring through to close the crown. I made my own drawstring ribbon from some scrap Lycra in a fun purple paisley print. Just because it’s so freakin’ jaunty. You can use elastic cord, or other drawstring materials.

 

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Different things to use as drawstrings

 

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Last fit check

 

Done! Now, I can thread my ponytail through, and it will help as a pseudo-tether as well.

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Better than a chinstrap

 

Hey, surfers may get a bad reputation as stoners, but at least our beanies and hats don’t turn out like the skiers’ and snowboarders’. Ya hippies.

 

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I’ve skied in one of these, full disclosure

 

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?

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…..