Deep Thoughts on a Paddleboard

So obviously, a lot has happened since my last post. I’ve gotten a divorce, started a new job, and I’m getting ready to move into a new house in a few weeks. Hey, I’m used to having my head slammed, so it’s all good. Last I checked, they’re still selling Diet Coke and Cheez-It’s, and most importantly, the ocean’s still there.

So then, I guess Club Earth’s staying open a little later and serving 2 for 1’s. It’s NOT the end of the world, after all.

I’ve gone surfing a few times this winter, but mostly I’ve been going on paddles on my SUP in the lagoon here in Brevard County. Paddleboarding, to me, is the best way to zone out, or really think deeply about things. I loved prone paddleboard races that were 5, 10, even 12 miles since it gave me maximum alone time PLUS possibly a goody bag and a medal if I was focused enough, or I was the only chick in the race. Bonus.

Me on a fun winter wave early 2019. Photo: @cbsurfkaren (Instagram)

These days, I mostly paddle on my SUP, still getting myself way out too far and lost in the beauty of wherever I am. Much more scenic than a long shower to hash out my thoughts, ya know?

Me after a paddle on the Banana River (Lagoon)

Here are some of my deep thoughts that have popped up over the last few months:

Surf trips by yourself can be hella fun.

Right after my separation, I threw my funshape and water wings in my car and drove up to Folly Beach, South Carolina, and surfed at the Folly Beach Pier. Met lots of cool people, saw lots of neato things, and I chose the phresh music for the drive. Nothing better.

Surfing is a lovely sport since there is no perfection.

I’ve been told to stop surfing because, well, if you’re not “good,” then what’s the point? I’ve watched so many videos with so many unique styles, could anyone agree on exactly what ‘s the best and when you should hang it up? I mean, in 30 years, who knows what wacky ass things will be considered cool in surfing? Old surfer chicks? Maybe…..

It’s OK to want to be a surfer/paddleboarder/waterwoman.

Yes, this might sound bizarre to some, but the surfer image (perceived or real) doesn’t always sit well with non-surfers, and it can be hard to deal with. I’ve finally quit apologizing. I even bought a pair of Vans so I could get more aligned with my inner Spicoli. Namaste, brah.

Hi. I’m Crafty Surf. I like surfing, paddleboarding, and crafts. And that’s all good.

Repeat after me: You are AWESOME today

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…

Surfboard Cosmetic Surgery

If you keep up with this crazy blog (thanks to those of you who do- right ON!!), you’ve seen my badly injured favorite surfboard with the deeply cracked right rail:

I thought I was going to need a new board

I took it to my local surf shop to have it repaired, and they did a great job filling in the deep gash from a 9” Longboard fin- yikes. However, since my Mahi Mahi fade color paint job was on the rail of the board, the repair was a big obvious white splotch:

Solid as a rock, but obvious

Right side of the deck

The bottom of the board

 
As for the bottom, I picked up a couple more Mahi Mahi stickers to cover the discoloration, no big deal. I broke out my medium tip Montana paint pens from Michael’s, in shades of green, blue, white, and black to work on the rail and pin line.

Make sure the board’s super clean before starting

I actually re-did the black pinline first, it made a world of difference:

It already looks better!

I don’t have airbrush equipment, so I dotted green and blue shades of paint on the rail, blended the paint with a sponge brush, and then wiped the color away, leaving a stain. This was better than trying to color in the green directly, since that would be MORE obvious on top of the glass job. 

I wasn’t going to try to match the color exactly, I was just aiming to reduce the glare of the white, so I repeated this process until I was happy with it.

Comparing shades

Kinda just staining the board back green

As I was blending some bright blue, I decided to paint some bright fun dots concentrating around the repair area, and spreading outwards. My usual crazy doodling.

After allowing the paint to dry, I sealed it with 2 coats of sealant, and allowed it to dry fully for 24 hours before using it. I like to use the matte finish instead of the gloss, unless I’m coating an entire deck.

Stuff’s ok, but works well for this purpose

Woo-Hoo! Back to life again, ready to surf!

The dots help to mask it, and they look cool

A few more stickers on da bottom….

Schweet!!!!

As far as the ding, play along and say you saw me do this out at the Cocoa Beach Pier last week. Yeah, that’s the ticket……



Scariest thing I’ve ever seen. Happy Halloween.

10 Tips on Buying Used Surfboards

Although I’m not a Pro, I have bought and sold A LOT of surfboards for an average surfer. I really don’t want to admit how many, but trust me, it would make Wilbur Kookmeyer jealous. (Check out THIS guy’s collection- I can’t hold a candle to it)

Oh, Wilbur! I know how you feel!

I’ve learned a few things, and had my share of victories and losses buying surfboards. Here’s a bit of insight from my experience, hopefully it helps other surfers have more successes buying and selling surfboards right off the bat. In this post, I’ll start off with tips for buying used boards.


*****


Tips for Buying Used Surfboards

1. BUY a surfboard for NOW, not LATER.

    Don’t let your surfy dreams get in the way of reality. That little used 5’10” Kelly Slater speed thruster may only be $150, but there’s a reason why. The guy selling it couldn’t ride it. You won’t be able to either, bro. Spend a little more on a used funshape, fish, or longboard, and you’ll be surfing a lot more, and getting more for your money. Then, if you want to progress to something shorter like that potato chip, you’ll probably be reselling the longboard, funshape, or fish anyway.


2. BUY a CLEAN used board.

    If a used board you’re looking at is covered in nasty wax and/or stickers, that should be a big red flag. If you can’t inspect for any dings, or repairs to past dings, just walk away. Open, unrepaired, or improperly repaired dings can create more damage later since water can seep into the surfboard foam.


3. BUY a used board WITH FINS.

    I hate it when a seller tries to short me at least a basic set of fins on a board, usually because they want to keep them. It’s a hassle to go hunting for fins to fit a “new” acquisition, and you better believe I will offer a lower price if a seller does this. The exception to this rule is if it is a vintage or antique collectible surfboard.


4. DON’T BUY a surfboard with more than 10% UNREPAIRED damage.

    Yes, you’re going to have to guesstimate this one, but I think you catch my drift. Repairs cost not only money, but time. When you buy a new-to-you board, the last thing you want to do is wait on getting your board fixed until you can ride it.


5. DON’T BUY a surfboard with more than 20% REPAIRED damage.

     Once again, this is an estimate, and the gauge I personally use. Like a car, I figure most of the value of the surfboard goes down once it leaves the surf shop. Because of this, I expect to get a good deal on a used board still in good shape overall, and that includes damage even if it’s been repaired. Repairs are still potentially weak spots in my opinion. I’ll pass on heavily repaired boards.


6. For new surfers, find a trusted local Surf Shop that sells used boards.

    In coastal areas with surfers, a lot of times, local surf shops will carry a selection of used boards on consignment. Yes, the surf shop gets a commission, but they can help steer you in a good direction to make a choice that won’t waste your money in the end.


7. For experienced surfers, use Craigslist (if you live in a safe area).

    Once you are familiar with what you are looking for in a surfboard, Craigslist is awesome. Generally, I find most surfboards listed under the category “Sporting Goods.” Here in Florida, I never limit my searches to coastal areas! In fact, some of the best deals I’ve gotten have been from inland areas like Orlando, or flat surf areas like Tampa. Sites likes eBay are better for Vintage and High End Collectible surfboards.


8. Consider trades.

    If you have a good sized surf community, consider trading a used surfboard you already have for another surfer’s used board. Sometimes, you can agree on an even trade, or a trade plus cash. Our Surf community has a few local Internet forums, which aid in trades with people you already know and surf with regularly.


9. ALWAYS pay in cash.

      If you don’t have the cash on hand, forget it. It’s impossible to negotiate with a credit card, even today. Checks are a hassle for a seller too, which will result in a halt to ANY potential reduction in price of the board for you.


10. Research what you’re looking for.

       Unless you’re completely new to surfing (seek out your local surf shop for help!), you should be able to do your own research before buying a used board. Find out what a similar NEW surfboard costs, and realize that most boards seem to lose 20% of their value (on average) as they walk out the door, even brand spankin’ new. Find out what standard board repairs cost. Compare prices on Craigslist, local Surf Forums, and at your local surf shops. That way, you can make fair offers that won’t cost you too much, but won’t totally offend the seller either. That’s good, since you may see them in the lineup in the future. Yikes.

Next post….Selling a Used Surfboard…

Yup.

      

      

    

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:

Schweet

Now that’s how you MacGyver, kids.

Yikes. World’s over.

I Meant to Do That (Learning to Fall off of a Surfboard)

So I had another surf lesson this morning down in the Patrick Air Force Base area, since the waves were fun-sized for longboarding.

At least he went. Yikes.

 

Even though I’ve been surfing for quite a while now, I’ve only just recently been more careful about how I bail off my surfboard. I’m not too proud to learn the proper way to fall, because I’m certainly not getting any younger, and my punchcard at the Holmes Regional Trauma Center is full. So, today’s surf lesson at the slightly rocky, worm reef area of north Satellite Beach brought back a spoonful of reality.

That’s me (not from today). This ride was headed for a wipeout

I’ve become better at reading the wave, which helps, but I wish I had practiced falling off properly when I was first learning to surf. Better late than never.
My surf teacher suggested I look up skateboarding videos to help with surfing, since they are quite similar. And no, I won’t skateboard anymore (water is softer than concrete), but some of these videos are really good. I found one on YouTube that goes through falling off a skateboard properly, but he really explains how you should fall off safely in any action sport. I don’t personally know this guy, but it’s quite good:

How to Correctly Fall Off a Board (YouTube)

I will use the whitewater now as an opportunity to

Weeble Wobbles!

practice “tumbling” off of my board instead of just flying off backwards. This seems to cut down on the surfboard yanking back and hitting me, which is always a bonus, bro. Remember Weeble Wobble toys?? I figure if I stay low on the board, I can get knocked around like a 1 year old’s toy. For a hot second.

After being very mindful of falling off my surfboard correctly today, I composed a deep haiku, brah.

Paddle, paddle. Grunt.

Push-up. Twist, flail arms around.

CLOSEOUT! Tuck and Roll.



Always remembering the last surf session…..

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