Baggies, Jams, Boardies….Just DIY ‘Em

The “history” of surfing shorts varies depending on the surfer you ask. Some may say the original surf short began with Duke Kahanamoku and his scratchy wool swim shorts. The original big wave Hawaiian surfers of the 50’s and 60’s may tell you that Mr. Nii’s in Makaha was THE place to get a pair custom made- even personalized with your name.

I remember the “Jams” of the 1980’s…the tacky,

Clearance Bin Find!

comfy, long and super baggy shorts that EVERYONE had to have, from the Hawaiian beaches to the innermost cornfields of Iowa. That’s the version I’m down with. So, appropriately, I chose a SUPER easy pajama pant pattern I picked up from the clearance bin for 39 cents that I cut to a knee length short. Score.

The fun flamingo cotton print I got from fabric.com, with some contrast print I got from my cotton fabric scrap bin. I won’t go through the entire process in detail, but I did add custom pockets I designed myself to the front of the shorts, as well as a simple square patch pocket on the right rear. I also added the contrast fabric as a hem facing to the bottom of the shorts, as well as the lining of the pockets. It doesn’t readily show, but I know it’s there, so…..cool. Here’s a breakdown of some of the process in pics….

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My custom made pocket pattern- checking for placement

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Making the front patch pockets with lining

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Top stitching the pocket onto the front part of the shorts

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Making the back square patch pocket and lining

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Positioning the back patch pocket

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Attaching the hem facing

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The hidden elastic waistband!

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Threading the waist tie through the front buttonholes

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Finished hem detail

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Finished front pocket detail

Done! This was a very easy level sewing project, and a great first sewing project for anyone if you forego the pockets.

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Front of the shorts

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Back of the shorts

Here’s the modeling shots by a non-model. It makes things a lot easier when you don’t have to Photoshop my face out of the pics. Yikes-a-Rama. Try to find Max Chill….

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Where’s Waldo???

So flamingo, so tacky, so FLORIDA. I don’t know if I’ll surf in these cotton boardshorts, but I’ve said it before- Jams like these are Florida’s version of sweatpants.

But the Kentucky Derby IS coming up fast, so I will need to bring out the big guns pretty soon….

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This would be acceptable any time of the year in Key West….

Deep Thoughts on Surfing

Last week at the Pier, it was a fun, warm, glassy day of longboard waves, which, of course, brought out the spirit of Road Rage in everyone. Happy Freakin’ Holidays. Of course everyone’s stressed out. Maybe these dudes are finally getting some time off from work, so that justifies getting aggro, making everyone else’s day worse by jockeying for ALL the waves.

You win, Seabiscuit.

“More waves for me, more joy. Screw the other guy today, I’m stressed out- if I can get the Wave, I’m entitled!”

This mentality permeates the surfing culture. For a sport that is supposed to be so Zen-like, it sure does have its’ unwritten rules, protocols, and hierarchies and a rough enforcement of those policies at times. I’ve slowly learned that surfers do this as an initiation, while strangely claiming to be inclusive the entire time. Helps to keep the surfing lineup freshly culled as well as a bonus.

You’ll often hear words like “Aloha Spirit” or “laid-back” in association with surfers. The only Hawaiian spirit I notice a lot of surfers embrace these days is the Da’Hui. Yikes. I don’t remember that Fun Gang in Back to the Beach.

No wonder this sport is so intimidating and confusing for most to even attempt.

Towards the end of my surf sesh that day, I saw a college-aged guy getting a surf lesson from an instructor on the outside of the main pack of surfers (where I usually like to park it too). He was learning to sit upright on his board in the lineup. To me, that skill can be one of the hardest to master when learning. Most people don’t use those muscles until they try to surf, so it’s a surprise to even the most athletic people I know whom I’ve seen surf for the first time.

The newbie surfer noticed several of us “drifting surfers” moving away from the crowded lineup and towards him, and quickly became self-conscious and embarrassed. While still trying to get his balance, he said apologetically,

“Really, I can snowboard REALLY well, I’m just not USED to this, really…..I AM a great snowboarder back home….”

Being SOOOOO over all the aggro vibe that morning, I thought to myself,

“Dude, what’s with all the puffing? There are plenty of jealous people sitting up on that beach that wish they had the ability and courage to be a Kook- even for just one day.”

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…..

Meet Max Chill, The Amigurumi Surfer Dude

I’ve been crocheting for a while now, and honestly, I’m SO over all the pricey, “yummy” (I freakin’ HATE that yarn store word!) yarn out there. Gimme the Red Heart cheap stuff, and let me sculpt something goofy in my favorite crochet technique, Amigurumi, and I’m all good.

Case in point, I wanted to make a fun cartoony Surfer Dude, but I’m better at doing it in yarn- I’m not a great clay sculptor. So, I just started crocheting, spiraling around Amigurumi style, starting with the head, hair and face. I typically use between a 2.5 to 3.0 mm hook with the standard acrylic yarn like you find at most hobby stores for a couple of bucks. On this project, I used a 3.0 mm hook. No pattern, I just made it up as I went, yo, it’s all righteous….

Starting with the bulbous head

Made each individual dreadlock, brah

Nothing says surfer like droopy eyelids and a Zinka nose

Making the rest of the torso

I made the appendages next, and I wanted them to be exaggerated and goofy. The narrow legs and arms made it tricky to stuff, though. 

I used a paintbrush to stuff a little

I even made the Dude some boss boardshorts from an old rash guard sleeve. Plus, I used a tiny holed shell I found on the beach last week to make him a gnar surfer necklace, so he has some cred.

Sweet boardshorts

When he was finally complete, he just looked like he should be named Max Chill. Cool, bro, stoked. Let’s surf.

Is it 4:20 yet?

Duuuuuuude…

10 Tips on Selling Used Surfboards

In my last post, I talked about 10 tips for buying used surfboards. Since I’ve been on both sides of a board sale WAY too many times, I’ve got some more tips that will hopefully help you out if you want to sell your used boards too.

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Tips for Selling Used Surfboards

1. CLEAN the board.

     When I mean clean, I mean ALL wax and wax residue, all stickers and sticker residue, and any other random skid marks, ya ripper. This will improve the look of the board tremendously, save the buyer the hassle of cleaning it, and you can honestly say you weren’t hiding any condition issues with the board when you sell it, which makes for a much smoother deal.

Get that wax OFF!



2. RESEARCH similar boards on the market before listing.

    You need to know what you have before you sell it. Luckily, I’ve had honest shop owners stop me from a bad decision (thanks Core Surf!), but that’s not always the case. Use Craigslist, internet surf forums, and visit surf shops to compare pricing. The longer the board is, the higher the cost- in general (a 9’ longboard should be priced higher than a shortboard, if in the same condition.)

3. BE REALISTIC when setting a price.

     If you read my last post, I estimate that even brand new boards lose 20% of their value walking out the shop door. This is because a surfboard is a specialty item, with a narrow audience. Deduct even more from the price if you the board has custom graphics or wild colors, since this narrows the potential buyers even more. This is also a good lesson to remember when you go to buy or trade that next surfboard. Again, the exception to this rule would be in the vintage or collectible surfboard market, where a certain “look” might be sought after.

This Dewey Weber is a “collectible” type of longboard.


4. CONSIDER surfboard consignment.

    Many surf shops offer used surfboard consignment. Some even have “trade-in” programs, which are a great value if you like trying out new shapes every year, like me. Consignment fee types can vary from a percentage of the sale of the surfboard, to a flat fee. I like shops that charge a flat fee to sell your board (e.g. $50 for a shortboard, $100 for a longboard, etc.) I consider it a fee for displaying it in a store where people will be looking specifically for a surfboard. Plus, the shop owner has to work on making the sale for you. You’ll take a hit on your profits, but I guarantee you’ll get your money a lot faster, if that’s an issue.

5. TELL your surfer friends about your surfboard.

     I’m not saying sell to your surfer friends, but if you’re planning on selling a board, sometimes there are fellow surfers who may find it a bit rude if you don’t give them first dibs. Even if your immediate circle isn’t interested in your used board, I’m sure they’ve got other surf squads they hang out with too to help spread the word on your board for sale. A bonus: doing a transaction with people you know and possibly trust and vice versa. Makes everyone more accountable.

6. INSIST on cash.

    Unless you’re selling a surfboard to Grandma, don’t take checks, gift cards, credit cards (charges can be reversed easily), or promises to “be right back with some cash.” Take cash only, and don’t get burned because of your eagerness to sell.

7. NEGOTIATE WITH MORE than just the price.

     A while back, I sold a used paint-penned 7’ funshape to a dad looking for a fun first surfboard for his daughter. I was fortunate that the daughter LOVED my paint job and the board, but the dad was still hesitant to buy it. When I offered to throw in a 7’ OAM leash I had that I no longer needed, it sealed the deal for the indecisive dad too. By offering an accessory like a leash or a board bag that fits the surfboard you’re selling (you may not be using the accessory again anyway once you sell the board), it might encourage a buyer who is on the fence.

This is the board I sold that I had painted. Glad the buyers liked it.

 



8. DON’T suffer the lowballers and scammers.

     There are ALWAYS twits out there looking to scam you or waste your time. I hate when people will just send out “whatever you’re asking- with a 90% discount” as an offer on my used surfboard listing. It’s just a fishing expedition. Don’t be offended by those lowball offers, but DO keep track of all the offers you receive, since that info will help you now and for any future boards you might sell. 

9. MAKE a Selling Timetable.

     If you sell your surfboard on consignment, they usually do this part for you. But, if you’re selling on your own, don’t let your board linger out there forever for sale. If you haven’t heard ANY offers within 3 days on a site like Craigslist, you may be pricing a board too high, and need to come down. Just like a store, the longer the stuff sits around, the more discounted it becomes. If you can’t sell the board in a week, maybe consider dropping the price by 10% each week until it sells. Make sure you have an absolute bottom selling price, and a plan if it doesn’t sell at all. Yikes-a-rama.

10. DON’T put “Price is FIRM” on your used surfboard.

     This is the ultimate buyer turnoff. I’ve passed up even looking at a surfboard I probably would have otherwise snatched up right away. Why? Because if they’re not willing to negotiate, they’re not really ready to sell usually. Some of those listings come from husbands whose wives forced them to list their surfboards SOMEWHERE on Craigslist. By putting “$800- price is firm” on their dinged-up 7’2” Big Wave Body Glove Gnar Gun from 1985 prevents a sale from ever being considered. Hey- it’s happened.

Hope you enjoyed these posts about buying and selling used surfboards, and take away a bit of wisdom from my foolishness.

    

DIY Surfboard Carrier Sling

I think these surfboard carriers are pretty smart, but they can also get a bit over the top. I just need something to take some pressure off of my

Kinda pricey, but nice

 carrying arm when I’m taking my board down to the beach. More so now with my recent shoulder injury. There’s some on online stores that are well-designed, could probably take a bullet, but also cost some real cash (plus S&H, too).

I just figured I’d make my own simple one out of an ancient bath towel, a couple of surf tees, and a bit of rubber kitchen drawer grip ($1 for a big roll from the thrift store originally). Kinda has that MacGyver feel. Nice.

I LOVE this shirt, but it’s a little big

I did this one mostly for my 7’0” funshape, so this not-too-big, not-too-small shrunken bath towel would work fine. This towel’s width was around 1/3 of the length of my funshape board, which I thought would help for stabilization.

The only machine stitching I did on this carrier was to make the top casings for the handles. I just folded down each end a bit to the outside of the carrier, pinned it, and ran a straight line of stitching down each end. Also hid the fancy pants brocade strip so common with bath towels. Takes away from the Surf Cred, ya know.

If you want, you can add the kitchen drawer grip as a strip to the bottom of your carrier, like I did. I made mine 6” wide, and around 26ish” long, approximately the width of the carrier sling. This will help the board from sliding out of the sling as you move around. I used a heavy hand-sewing needle and Button and Craft thread (thicker than sewing machine thread) to sew in the strip to the bottom.

Next, I applied interfacing to the back of the surf tee logo to give it some stiffness for use as a pocket. I sewed the cut out patch pocket onto the front of the carrier, being careful not to overlap the kitchen grip attached at the bottom. I used a triple step zig-zag stitch around the curved edge. The top edge was open, but I had hemmed it already.

Taking the remainder from the surf tees to make the handles for the carrier sling using t-shirt yarn (learn how to make t-shirt yarn), I braided the strands, then sewed two braids together to give it some width. The t-shirt knit makes it comfortable on the shoulder, too, and also stretches a lot.

The handles were made by feeding 1/2 of my doubled braid into the casing I made on the towel, and sewing the ends together. Same for the other side.
Done!

I’m in full GNAR mode now

I was pleasantly surprised that it will carry my biggest longboard, my 9’0” Dewey Weber:

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Now that’s how you MacGyver, kids.

Yikes. World’s over.

My Manifesto: Manicure or Ding Repair, Surfer Chicks?

Being a woman who surfs, I’ve noticed that most other surfer chicks just aren’t into the surfing DIY scene. There’s still a bit of an intimidation factor out there to do your own repairs.

Fixing up your own surf gear seems like something a lot of surfer girls just don’t do, and furthermore, don’t want to do for a variety of excuses. It’s a real shame, especially since these same women could probably do a killer manicure and pedicure on themselves. Trust me, THAT’S much more difficult than fixing a surfboard ding, Mr. Dude Brah. 

I’m guilty of being too afraid to fix my own dings and cracks in some of my surfboards, even though I craft stuff constantly. It is a bit intimidating, but I needed to get over it. My first surfboard required some surgery right now, and I didn’t want anyone else to operate but me.

I can’t believe it got this bad

That is gnarly, dude

If you read this blog, you’ve seen my post about this board, my first real surfboard. Its’ tail got cracked all to hell since I’m a kook, with bonus random dirt shoved down into the cracks. The foam had also shown some water intrusion because it was beginning to turn light brown. I had FINALLY talked myself into retiring this board to the wall hanger status it deserves, but I wasn’t going to hang it up with the tail looking that nasty. And it wasn’t coming off with any cleaning. Gross.

I got out my Dremel tool and used a NEW felt polishing wheel bit. Kinda like one of those manicure pens. Perfect. It’s glass, so I wanted a light touch. Remember to wear eye protection and a mask, just like you do when cooking meth, Mr. Wizard.

Buffing it out

The felt polishing wheel worked great, but it’s a process that takes some time and patience. I had to buff down deep into the cracks to remove the dirt, which required me to cut a little into the first layer of glass. I noticed this because the “hairs” of the fiberglass (fabric the board is wrapped in) started to pop up like hairy goosebumps. I stopped when I saw that starting to occur, but I still managed to remove the majority of the damage, which was awesome.

Next, I mixed just a little jewelry resin (I like this stuff because it’s SUPER clear, and it’s self doming, so it will spread into the cracks) and used a tiny sponge brush to “pounce” the resin into the cracks on the tail. I then used the edge to smooth the area over. I used Post-It flags to mark the area I buffed, so I wouldn’t dump extra resin over the good areas.

Make sure you get any bubbles out!

Using a sponge brush

 

Done! This particular jewelry resin takes up to 3 days to cure, but it seems to work better than standard Ding Repair resin on this type of heavy gloss coat. I did this repair indoors since it’s a 100 degrees here, and I was worried that the resin wouldn’t cure correctly in the heat of the garage. I’ll just finish curing it on the wall.


This was a pretty bad “ding”, so the cleaned up version looks a lot better. I just need to keep it on the wall, and swear to no more surfboard abuse. But, just in case, I need to practice on my ding repair. I’d better check Pinterest….

That actually might be useful