Surfboard Fin System Blues

I’ve never been a huge fan of the current surfboard fin systems available.

Everyone’s got a favorite

To the uninitiated, there are basically two big players in the “fin system” market currently: FCS and Futures. They are the iPhone and Android of the Surfboard Fin World, and have superfans who are just as rabid. Once you pick a fin system to go into your board, you’re stuck with fins made for that system. It’s like only shopping at Google Play for eternity. Great.

 

FCS has upgraded their systems recently to allow you to snap in your fin without needing the tiny screws anymore. Supposedly.

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Lost one of my special FCS II compatible quad fins that way during a surf, so now I’m back to the tiny freakin’ screws set into the old crappy plastic box. And these other quads STILL back out on me, causing the fin to begin to lift out of the box. I discovered this happening again the other day:

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This keeps on happening

It’s absolutely absurd to pay this much money for screws that back out, systems that don’t latch, plus the cost of lost fins, which get hella pricey. No wonder FCS has a whole page dedicated to replacement FCS fins. Hmmmm….it’s not because yer a gnar shredda, brah.

Once again, I went back to the online hardware store to find some screws- some call them “grub” screws- a bit longer than the others made of quality 316 stainless steel that are MUCH cheaper than what FCS and Futures sells these for in surf shops.

Link to the screws I bought online here– I don’t get anything for this, it’s just info.

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The ones I ordered are da best since they’re not marked up 1000%

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Share with ya friends, wanker

These still sit flush when screwed in, and maybe they might have a better chance of staying in. And now when I lose one, it won’t cost a fortune. I have some boards that use Futures Fins, which only require one screw, but it’s the same length as the one I ordered, but I believe these are better quality for approximately 10 cents each. Sooooo much cheaper.

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Doesn’t stick out

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I replaced all eight

I really wish these companies would step up their game since they seem to be monopolies in the surfing world, much like Clark Foam was years ago.

The Surf Industry is just like any other industry, though….

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And people take me to the cleaners daily

The Problem with Single Use Plastic

Unfortunately, I end up snagging some form of plastic trash from the water or off of the beach just about every time I go for a surf. In fact, last week, I pulled an empty bottle of bleach completely labeled in Spanish that was covered in barnacles. I wonder how far that may have travelled. If there was a note inside, the bleach ate it up.

My good friend Scrappy Yoga works with

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This is just a trashy issue, no matter what party you’re in

environmental groups and surfers trying to eliminate single use plastics from the chain. They just had a Press Conference in Santa Cruz, California, and it is one of those issues we can all get behind:

SURFERS AND ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS URGE CALIFORNIA LEADERS TO REDUCE SINGLE-USE PLASTIC POLLUTION

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I get this filled for only a buck

Being a Southern Girl, I am a rabid Diet Coke drinker, but I use a large reusable Big Gulp container with a reusable straw. Not only is it MUCH cheaper to get a refill at a convenience store, I never have to worry about throwing away straws or cups EVER. Most fast food places let me use this too, I just pay for the large drink, and fill ‘er up. There’s really no excuse, kids. And now I’ve got a place for all my Gnar stickers that no longer fit on the surf mobile. More surf cred??? Schweet.

On an old blog post, I made some surfboard art out of bits of plastic I found all over the beach,

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Shades of eternity

mostly around Cape Canaveral, even up into the Canaveral National Seashore unfortunately. Just that little project alone reminded me that just because I put that little plastic straw or fork in the wastebasket, doesn’t mean it evaporates into thin air…

 

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Or a cockroach 

Just Surfer Girly Things

Since it’s almost the official start of Summer, I figured it’s a good time to share my honest opinion about Surfer Girl related stuff out there in SurfyLand that I’ve personally purchased and/or tried recently. As always, y’all know I’m not sponsored, a “rep”, nor am I worthy of touching Kelly Slater’s bald head. Just an average surfer chick with some info for ya.

N-Joy!

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LOVE: Costa Bikinis

I recently decided to try this company’s swimwear since I really admire some of their team surfers like Keala Kennelly from Hawaii, and Kaydi Archer, who is an extremely charitable and talented local surfer lady who is VERY active with Surfers for Autism. Plus, their suits are made in Spain. You know, I went to a Tapas Restaurant once, so I’m an expert about Spain.

They have a sale going right now, so I picked up 4 pieces for $80 with free shipping. It took a while to receive my package, but the wait was worth it. Reversible construction, nice prints, comfortable to wear, and stays in place when I’m surfing- I’m sold. I can see paying full price for one of these instead of a poorly manufactured, pricier Roxy suit.

Their online shopping area was difficult to use on a mobile platform, however, so I hope that gets worked out soon. As far as sizing- if you’ve got some interesting curves, go for the next size up from your normal size. I was glad I did. On Instagram, they put “costafriends” as a 15% off coupon code- I’m assuming that’s open use, and not a one time only deal, but I can’t confirm.

LOVE: Sally Hansen X-Treme Wear Nail Polish

This is my #1 recommendation to all surfer girls who paint their nails or toenails. This particular line has been the ONLY nail polish that will stay on my toenails for a hot minute when I surf. I’ve tried OPI, Essie, Chanel, etc., and none hold a candle to this bargain. I can take the bits of wax stuck to my toes after a sesh, and the polish still stays intact underneath. Even after knee paddling, duckdiving, Rickrolling, etc. this polish can last me almost a week of surfing every day, and still look halfway decent afterwards. Amazeballs.

The best part is you can find it at the drugstore for cheap. Yeah, there’s not a huge selection of colors usually. Get over it. Just stick with lighter shades, use the matching clear topcoat, and stick to only 1 coat of each. Even makes my funky feet look passable. Don’t ever stare at your feet too long….trippy……

LIKE: Sun Bum Deep Conditioning Masque

This is the only time of year I’ll pick this up, since it seems to help with the summer heat and saltwater that dry out my hair. Honestly, I really dig the beachy smell of the conditioner, but it sucked 20 bucks out of the Surf Trip Fund.

This is great to use every Monday morning before work, so you can think of the beach and “bum” yourself out even more when you’re at your desk. Nice.

LIKE: Sand Cloud Towels

I finally broke down and ordered one of these towels. They are expensive for a beach towel (I ended up paying around $40 for mine total), but they are nicely woven and shockingly light.

The first time I used it was to watch a rocket launch on the beach. At first, I wasn’t too jazzed about the braided knotted tassels that finish off each side, but they seem to give the towel a little weight against a windy beach which was a nice bonus.

Mine seems to wash well in warm water even though the tag says hand wash only. Yeah, right. Make sure to use a 25% off coupon when you buy a towel online- it usually consists of a girl’s name (they’ve got loads of “reps”) and the number 25 (example: JANE25, MARY25). Check a coupon code site for one if that doesn’t work.

MEH: Pura Vida Bracelets

Ever since Pura Vida was found to be manufacturing their bracelets in other countries outside of Costa Rica (the whole basis of their sales pitch), they’ve sure had some backpedaling to do (read the Mia Culpa here). So with that, I’ve just been making my own, or opting for 4Ocean Bracelets this summer.

MEH: Rip Curl G-Bomb Front Zip Jacket

I was so disappointed about this one. When I first tried it on, I noticed I had to go waaay up in size compared to other brands, and it was still a bit difficult to get on and off, but the half front zipper’s teeth were covered well (protects from the surf wax). I really wanted that feature, and I was having a tough time finding it on other vests, especially on front full zip jackets.

If only this vest had a slightly larger chest circumference and a full chest zip like a true jacket did. Boo. Instead, I guess we’re supposed to pull our zippers down a little and let the tight torso give us cleavage whilst surfing like a pro, like freakin’ young Alana Blanchard. Mmmkay.

You know, if I ever make a surf wear brand, I’ll call it “Surf Cougar,” for all of us older surf chicks out there who haven’t totally blown out a knee or hip quite yet. Hey, it takes a certain degree of confidence to keep on surfing into the sunset. No apologies, brah.

Shell Jewelry Tips

At one time or another, every surfer (or aspiring surfer) worth their cred tries to make their own beachy shell jewelry. It IS part of our primal urge. In fact, some of the earliest known forms of adornment were pierced shells and teeth on handmade string.

But after an hour after the Upper Paleolithic Revolution has worn off within the surfer, then he or she usually gives up and buys it somewhere.

But if you have a flat day of surf, and you’re

I love Pauly Shore

feelin’ a bit like Encino Man, here’s three tips I’ve found helpful over time when making shell jewelry…

 

 

 

1. Go to a thrift store for shell beads and pendants first.

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A nice shell necklace I found, but it’s too chunky and sharp to wear comfortably as a necklace

I love shell jewelry, but the current shell industry has now over harvested and overbred many species for the trade. I’ll pass on that choice first.

I’ve found MUCH higher quality shell beads among thrift store and vintage finds over purchasing recently grown and cut varieties. I’d rather buy my shells at the better vintage quality whenever possible, rather than contributing even more to the over harvesting problem. It’s kind of how I feel about pearls. Bonus that you can still get a deal at a few thrift stores these days. For now. The beach is always the great option, of course, but you will be drilling these yourself and removing natural items from the beach.

2. Use nylon or wire to string shell beads.

When shells are drilled for sale as beads, rarely is the inside diameter perfectly smooth, unless you pay a premium.

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The drill holes are clean, but at odd angles

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Various types of stringing material I use with shells 

Common shell beads will cut most cotton, hemp, or poly thread like a Ginsu knife. So, get some decent stuff that won’t cut nor fray easily, or your ocean cred probably won’t last da Summer.

Or….I guess you could

Bizarro Hasselhoff

say you sliced that freshie shell anklet you made on a shark’s tooth while saving the Mayor’s kid from the deadly riptide, you Gnar Lifeguard????

You’re welcome.

3. Check your shells for sharp burrs, and file them down before stringing.

I was warned by a lapidary long ago to ALWAYS WEAR A MASK when filing, sanding, or drilling shells. Excellent advice. The calcium carbonate particles are easily inhaled- along with whatever fun stuff that shell has absorbed. Use a bit of water to minimize dust, and go outdoors for the task preferably.

Sharp edges and burrs can often be removed using a decent nail file from the drugstore, a bead reamer from the craft store, or a rotary drill. It’s best to do this BEFORE staring a piece most times. After the piece is finished, it’s difficult to sand some areas typically.

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Keep a supply of water nearby to keep the shell wet while sanding or drilling 

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Various pieces polished and drilled

Enjoy trying out all the types of natural shell, seed, and nut beads available. If you really hate doing it yourself, though, this is a good time to plug my Etsy store where I post my random surfy jewelry (including shells), as well as projects and art I like to do. Surprise. I have an Etsy store. I think it’s mandatory for crafters.

Anywho….shell jewelry is cool since it’s nice to have a reminder that there’s a great big ocean out there and we get to be a part of it, if only for a vacation. I mean, that’s one of the beautiful things about surfing, right? Right???

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I guess you could make a surfer necklace from your sacred gym key

You put da Lime in da Coconut….

I’m not a drinker, but I wanted to take Harry Nilsson’s advice and see if a lime in the coconut would make me feel any better. Except I’ll do it Crafty Surf style.

We had a pile of bark that came off of the coconut palm in the backyard.

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Spring cleanup

Some of the innermost bark can be almost canvas-like, similar to a rough piece of papyrus, but a touch more supple. I thought, why not try and do some bead embroidery on it for kicks?

First, I soaked it in some soap (or Mr. Belvedere’s Gnar Pro Wash works GREAT to disinfect beachy finds). I made sure do this, or critters might eat the work. Yummy.

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I selected a piece that was pliable, but had some density in the weave

I cut a nice sized rectangle of slightly damp bark material to work with. Using a very thin beading needle and fine nylon beading thread, I took glass seed beads and created a lime slice in freehand for kicks.

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Some of the supplies I used

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Making the first few test stitches

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Almost finished

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Beadwork complete!

The bark sewed surprisingly well, and wasn’t all that brittle. It helped working with it slightly damp, and I made sure there was plenty of space to work with. On the down side,  it sheds quite a bit after a while, so I didn’t want to make a lot of elaborate beadwork since handling it too long just shreds it. Also, the bark doesn’t allow for a lot of mistakes- once you’ve punctured it, ya done.

After I completed the lime slice, I tore away some of the edges of the bark to give the piece more texture. I tried not to tear too far…

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Neato

Done!

I don’t know about you, but every time I hear that song, I think of the only two good actresses from this movie:

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The one on the left will always be Rizzo, sorry

Upcycled Surf Scrunchie

Yes, I’m guilty of STILL liking the idea of scrunchies. Fortunately, it’s a trend right now. Good- I could really use a good waterproof scrunchie to keep my freakin’ snapback on my head while I’m surfing. I’m really addicted to wearing a ball cap when I surf now. Helps me ignore the wave snakin’ wankers.

So, I usually pull my hair back in a ponytail and though the cap’s back hole. I like the newer silicone hair ties since they stand up to saltwater for far longer, but they absolutely tear my hair out when I get out from surfing. Enter the brilliant scrunchie.

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These things usually rip my hair out

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Scrunchie makin stuff 

I got out the remainder of the rash guard I used for another project, and cut a 4 inch wide strip from the waist area of the former rashie. I didn’t cut the side seams.

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Using a rotary cutter helps

Keeping it as a continuous loop, I pinned the edges together, lining up the seams on each side with the pink elastic encased.

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Going around the silicone band- this takes a while

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Another scrunchie I made from custom printed  fabric

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All pinned up

I could have whipstitched these edges together, but I serged them instead. I went VERY slowly around the piece, making the Lycra as straight as possible for the machine without overstretching it.

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I went super slow

Done!

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It’s the 80’s Way

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Went nuts making some

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Doesn’t come off as a scrunchie 

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Hurricane Hair

So the silicone band inside should last a lot longer than the traditional ones that seem to break on me CONSTANTLY (what a waste.) Plus, this is a perfect way to recycle gnarled Lycra from a rashguard.

Worked super well during this evening’s surf session. I never lost my hat, and that makes me happy. Bonus that it doesn’t rip my hair out after I get out.

While I don’t judge here at Crafty Surf, if you’re a surfer dude considering the Man Bun option, please consider this image first:

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Man Buns will make you a Conehead

Surfboard Fin Fun: DIY Roundup

I’ve done several DIY’s and crafts related to img_0857fins, so I wanted to round up a few fun posts to share during this April’s fin madness here at Crafty Surf. I just can’t handle the craziness.

Cheap DIY Fin Covers

I still use these craft foam covers- they’re better than the plain black ones they usually come with, and labeling them yourself just keeps things organized. For the surfer with a hint o’ engineer quirkiness.

Surfboard Contact Info

This is a handy hack using the single fin box to put some stealthy contact info if your board is ever stolen. Happens often around here, unfortunately.

Single Fin Thumbscrew

Great item to have if you’d like to get rid of a screwdriver in your surf gear. Check out the link to see the specs on what you’ll need.

Recycled Neoprene Surf Fin Sock

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In this project, I needed to make a soft cover for the glassed in fin on my wall hanger surfboard. An old wetsuit was perfect. After a good washing, of course.

Lovin’ The Nubbin

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I had a good time with this project. I took a plastic fin and mowed it down with the scroll saw. Then I attempted to sand some semblance of a foil into it. Silly and crazy, and mega fun to surf with. Fools have the most fun, right?

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It’s been mucho fun learning about fins, and since new fins and fads keep popping up all the time, I know there’s more to see and learn.

I’m still upset at myself for letting my holy grail fin get away. I wanted this one for the uplifting art alone, since it speaks to my soul on so many levels….

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The Shaka and Beer. Like the Old Man and The Sea, they are forever entwined