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?????

DIY Handplane Wall Racks

So, FINALLY the water’s and weather’s warming up around here in Central Florida. And all this winter, my poor little handplane I made last year sits outside, dwarfed by my longboards and hoping it doesn’t get whacked by an errant tail.
It’s only recently- now that the warmer weather made me think about handplaning again- I thought that the handplane deserves a better storage place. It is quite a neat little creation, whether or not you made your own or bought yours. I thought a little set of racks would be in order.
To make the racks, I bought a piece of craft basswood at the hardware store, 1/4″ thick, by 3″ wide, by 24″ long, for about 4 bucks.
I cut out a template from a cereal box (yes, I’m a Cheerios junkie) for the hooks. I provided the template I made as as PDF here:


I used this to trace out the hooks onto the basswood:
Then, I used my scroll saw to cut out the hooks carefully, and sanded the edges smooth.
To make the bases to attach the hooks to, that then mount to the wall, I used the remaining basswood to cut two 3″ by 2.75″ squares.
You can paint these pieces, or stain them- I used some water based stain I had leftover that goes on a bit like paint. It took a couple of coats to get the look even.

I then glued the angled top part of the hook to each base about 1/4″ down from the top edge using a good layer (but not goopy) of E6000 glue, and made sure they stayed propped up while they dried.
After that, I sprayed both pieces with clear polyurethane sealant.
To hang them on the wall, the best thing to use is a sawtooth hanger with prongs you can press into the soft wood with a small mallet on the back of the bases. Line them up carefully on the wall, not too far apart from each other, and make sure they’re even:
Here’s my handplane hung on the wall upright and on it’s side on my “Surfing” wall:
Looking forward to some sand burns soon- how does it find it’s way in THERE???

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 (

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 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!!!

Triple Stringer Picture Frame

When I was at the craft store, I noticed these basic picture frames made from plywood. They are mostly finished, but still need some sanding before painting. I thought these would these would be fun to get creative with, and maybe come up with a surfboard inspired frame, but I wanted to do something a little different than just painting surfboards on it.
I wanted to use some Minwax water based stain I had left over from a previous project in mahogany color.

I needed to sand the frame badly. I started with 100 grit, then went up gradually to 300 grit so it was smooth enough to paint. I concentrated on the edges especially, since they were glued in layers. Since the edges were glued in layers, I used a paint pen in deep brown since the stain wouldn’t take very well on the sides and would end up looking mottled anyway. The thicker paint also covers up the glued layers.

I painted all edges with the paint pen, being careful not to go over to the surfaces of the frame.

Next, I used a foam brush to paint the water based stain over the front and back surfaces over the frame:

I did this for several coats until I got a deep mahogany color. I didn’t do the wipe-on wipe-off thing, since this stain goes on more like a paint. I also went ahead and put a layer of gloss sealant on:

Using delicate surface Frog Tape for painting, I taped off sections and used my pale yellow pen to create balsa-like “stringer lines”. I was messy to ensure coverage, but that’s OK since the tape will cover the paint that spills over:

Then, after letting it dry for about 5 minutes, I carefully removed the tape to reveal the stripes:

After that was the final sealing process. I used gloss sealant in a spray can to make several light coats to make the frame durable and able to be put outdoors.
Next, I used a photo I had taken a couple of weeks ago at the beach as a subject for my frame:

Hibiscus by the beach

I printed this out on glossy photo paper, cut a piece of yellow posterboard to 3.75 inches square, and mounted the image on the posterboard piece using foam tape to give it a bit of dimension.

Finally, here’s the finished frame hung on the wall:

There should be plenty of good surfing pics here in the Cocoa Beach area for you to take this weekend if you make your own frame!

The Cross Stepper Trainer 3000

I’m bound and determined to learn this mystical trick they call cross stepping. It’s where you nimbly step, foot over foot, down the center of the board to control speed and to show off some style and skill while surfing. Here’s an example of a cross step, mid-step, by an expert, Kassia Meador:

Kassia Meador showing style even on a larger wave.

I watched the movie “The Walkabout” and Kassia noted that she would practice cross stepping with a 2″x 4″ on the ground, using it as a low balance beam. I thought this would be a cheap, easy, low tech DIY, but I’m going to finish one out a bit to my liking and for safety as well. I also want to use this indoors with the rest of my small workout gear.
I found a piece of pine out in the garage from a scaffolding project that was a 1.5″ by 3.5″, and approximately 32 inches long. Good enough. If you have bigger feet than mine, get a wider beam.
The pine was pretty rough, so I wanted to give it a good sanding before I painted it. Since I have zero patience (you knew that already) I hit it with the power sander for a few passes on each side, and made quick work of that task. If you use power tools, PLEASE follow all instructions that come with the tools and use safety equipment!

One end clamped to work on the other end.
Work slowly! It doesn’t take long overall.

After sanding it down with some 100 and 120 grit, I was ready to paint it with some extra acrylic paint I had lying around. I went ahead and painted all sides, including the top, using up the paint and also ensuring the beam would be smooth and wouldn’t bow slightly on one side if I had painted just on the bottom. Next, I cut a scrap piece of SeaDek traction in a rectangle 3.5″ by 32″ to adhere to the top of the beam when it dries. The traction is about 3 mm thick foam, so not only will it provide traction, it will give the beam some cushion on my feet.

Painted beam and the cut traction to go on top.

If you don’t have access to this kind of traction, you can get some 3M grip tape at the hardware store. The type I got is made from textured rubber, NOT that gritty, scratchy stuff, so I can use it indoors barefoot if I wanted, which is the intention.

3M textured rubber grip tape from the local hardware store

I used the foam traction for this project, and here’s what it looks like attached, trimmed, and with some flair….

Harder than it looks.

Super easy to make. I set mine on a grippy mat, but if you’re setting yours on a slick surface spring for some rubberized grip tape on the bottom or some grip dots so it doesn’t slip out from under you.
Actually, for being so simplistic, this is a good exercise, and really tests your balance without you crashing to the ground if you mess up.
The next thing Kassia advised was to NEVER shuffle on the board- only go for it and step. Kassia, I like to ride a wave once in a while for more than a millisecond….let just try this first.

DIY Surf Sign Art

Everybody knows that surfing really doesn’t require a whole lot of equipment, a board, a leash, and some wax. But still, surf shops stay in business because they can be a hangout of sorts. At least in the earlier days, but some can still be found. You could kiss up to the shaper there in hopes of becoming an apprentice of sorts, boast about the waves you caught (that nobody else in there happened to see), and maybe then pick up some some wax as the cover charge for the time spent dawdling in there.
I’ve seen I lot of surfy type of art around, but I thought this would be a fun project to bring back a little nostalgia without shelling out for someone else’s mass produced art.
First, I used a piece of plywood I picked up at the hardware store. For this project, I used a rectangular shape, but of course, the size and shape is up to you. This is just a idea to get you going.

My plywood

Next, I gathered up some acrylic paint, some foam brushes, and a few actual art paintbrushes to do some of the lettering work. A paint pen is also handy if you like to outline, like I do.

Supplies for painting

This part’s kind of fun. Since I wanted my sign to appear a bit weathered, I used layers of alternating green and black. I wasn’t too careful about if one layer streaked into the other, in fact, I didn’t give too much drying time between layers since I wanted a streaky effect. I did this longways down the rectangle.

Painting the background

Once I was finished, I let this dry for at least two hours. The result did come out to be a brighter green, which was OK. My next step was to letter the bottom of the sign. I thought it would be cool to have it say “Surf Shop 2 mi.” with a direction arrow. I did the lettering freehand, but stencils are super cheap to pick up and then you can just use your foam brushes. A stenciled sign would look pretty wicked, too.

Lettering finished

At the top, since I’m a Tom Blake nut, I imagined plank surfboards at the top to add some more surfiness (new word alert!) to the sign. I used a piece of paper to cut out my plank board template until I was happy with the shape, then traced it three times across the top, standing upright.

Template and tracing the outline

From there, I used my paintbrush to fill in the boards with a nice woody color I got from mixing some of my browns, black, reds, and yellows.

Filling in of the surfboards completed

Next, it was time to let the work dry for a couple of hours, only to take some sandpaper to it! At first, I used a high grit to test the look:

First pass with a high grit to test.

Next, I just went buckwild and started using a combo of 120 grit on the face, then sanding the corners down to give it some wear look with some 80 grit.
After doing that for a bit (carefully, but not too daintily) I used my paint pen in gold to give a muted outline to the words and the give the boards a stringer.

Outlining with the paint pen

Once again, I made several passes with the sandpaper to blend this new paint in after it had dried.
Since I was going to hang this inside, I only used two light coats of Mod Podge Matte (NOT glossy!) sealant to keep it protected. If you are handing this outside, spray at least 5 light coats on both sides, including the corners, to keep it from weathering worse!
Next, to hang it, I drilled two 1/4″ holes with a wood bit about an inch down and 3 inches in. Depending on the next step, you may want to use a bigger or smaller bit. I wasn’t too concerned with neatness points on this, since it’s meant to be a bit rustic.

Holes drilled in the top

I used some cotton cord I had around the house, but really, you could use leather cord, fabric strips, nylon boating cord, etc. I thought the cotton cord kind of looked old timey nautical.
Instead of threading the cord from front to back, I threaded it from back to front. You may need an awl or something sharp to help poke it through the hole. I secured it with a simple overhand knot facing out.

One side knotted

I measured out about how much cord I wanted and how low I wanted the sign to hang before cutting the other end to do the same thing and knot it through. Here it is on the wall:


You may want to put little felt squares on the back bottom corners to keep it from messing up the wall or scratching it.
My sign points to the garage. Shorter distance, but sounds about right. Hey, and you gotta buy a bar of wax to hang out there, OK?