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?????






My New Beater Board (My Setup and Review!)

Well, my ankle is taking its sweet time to heal up, and I’m not going to rush it. On the other hand, I’ve come down with cabin fever from sitting around the house.

I’ve taken my longboard out a couple of times in the past week to paddle around, but pop-ups are still out of the question for now after a painful attempt on one wave. After a while, I did take a wave on my belly, and it was super fun after a two month drought of not surfing anything. It was, however, slightly treacherous on a 9 foot fiberglass board. Thankfully, I was able to wrestle the big board down the wave and make a “kick-out” before the shore pound could catch me. Whew!

Bodyboarding would be an option, but I really need surf fins to kick into waves, and that’s out too. Now what? 

Last weekend, I ran into a good friend who has been surfing for over 50+ years, and like many, recently endured knee surgery. Again, he sung the praises of a “Beater” board to me as an option to surf whilst allowing my ankle to be spared. I’ve seen him having lots o’ fun on his Beater board here in the neighborhood, so I’ve been thinking about this purchase for a while- he’s a good salesman, honestly. There are a couple of brands of these soft-top mini boards on the market, invented with the intent of “beating the blackball,” or avoiding Summertime bans on surfing on heavily crowded beaches, like in Southern California. Surfers try to get around the ban by surfing these soft, relatively tiny foam boards. The name has also become associated with a “Beater”, or knockaround board you really don’t care about banging around.

How it arrived from FedEx at the door

Deck of the board out of the box

Bottom of the board out of the box


The board I ordered from Catch Surf is called an Original 54″, which is 4’6″ of foaminess at 20″ wide with two keel fins. Big for a bodyboard, mini sized for a surfboard, I figured this might give me the option and the float to belly ride by paddling into waves instead of kicking for them like I would on a bodyboard or paipo. The website said the board has 30 liters of volume. Guess that means something to the aspiring Pro grom. To me, anything that gets me a little wave time works. I’d love to shred it up like they do on their YouTube vids, but I need to live in the now.

…..Easy on the ankle, and just go have fun, gnar gnar Princess.

It shipped pretty quickly, but arrived on the coldest, rainiest day of the season so far. Great. But, it only took 5 days, which, in December, is pretty fast. So my surf session would have to wait.

It didn’t come with the fins installed, but they were a quick 5 minute install with just my hands and a quarter to tighten the oversized plastic screws. 

I was impressed with how channeled out the bottom was- the website really doesn’t convey this feature. It’s an actual “craft”.

Getting ready to install the fins- the holes were already drilled




This happy little nugget wasn’t cheap, either. I’m not sponsored, a test monkey, a pro blog head, nothin’, so I was screwed. With the shipping (California to Florida), it came out to around $225. However, a good bodyboard can run $300, so while it does seem expensive, it’s about in line with similar alternative surf crafts like this, such as surf mats or paipos. By the way, DON’T call them toys to a mat surfer or paipo enthusiast- they will string you up by your own leash. I’ve tried mat surfing, it’s harder than I gave it credit for, and a heck of a lot faster than regular surfing the same wave. I felt like Clark W. Griswold going down the hill on the greased up disc sled. Yikes.

Speaking of which, the site said the board would need wax for grip, and luckily, I had a pantload of warm/cool water surf wax lying around. The board looked more gray online, but really was a dark blue, which worried me for our hot Florida Summers. I think a lighter color deck would have been better to hold wax. Next time??

Since warm/cool/cold water wax tends to be considerably softer than tropical temps of wax, I always liked using the softer stuff on my bodyboard so I wouldn’t tear up the foam any faster than necessary. I also noticed some surfers using a traction pad with these boards, though. I wasn’t sure about it since the wax may or may not stick, so I did consider it as a future possibility. I went ahead and waxed up the board lightly for now in the mid-to tail section, with a little up around the nose at 10 and 2, where I would steer the board.

Some softish warm water wax I used on it, smelled like grapefruit, which is a bonus

Board all waxed up, ready to try out…


Of course, the manufacturer sells the Beater leash Barbie accessory to go with your Beater board, but you can use any shortboard ankle  leash (preferably the thin Comp weight type) with the loop on the tail of this board. 

The leash plug on the tail, already installed with the leash loop.


That’s a little different from a regular bodyboard, when a wrist coil leash is more typical since you are kicking into waves with your surf fins. Fortunately, I wear my leash on my right ankle, which is in decent shape…knock on wood. I had my own 5′ comp-lite leash from a little 5’8″ fish I used to have. I sold that board because it was just too short. I’ll admit though, it was fun to have a tiny board to screw around on. At least this time, I don’t have lofty expectations of shredding the gnar standing up on this new Beater. Sigh of relief for this middle-ager. Besides, after buying this, there’s no budget for surgery anymore.

This board was considerably narrower than my bodyboard, but the shape was more fishy. With a lot of fullness in the nose.

**** The Ride****

So, who cares about all that crap? How does it RIDE???

I took it out in messy (but blissfully warm) 2-4 foot waves at the Pier yesterday and had a BLAST! However, I was exhausted afterwards. Paddling this little nugget around in semi-drifty surf will make you work for it. For reals.

I didn’t try to stand up, of course, but it’s hell on wheels down the line prone, and I weigh just a fair bit more than a Olsen twin, so I was quite surprised at the speed.

I need to remember to steer more with my hands and fingers, and get my feet out of the water so the tail can work its magic. I’m looking forward to trying it out in other conditions, and I’m going to try to find a traction pad to put on it, and put a how-to on here since I’ve only seen one YouTube video about it, and that kid is SO stoned while he’s making the vid. It’s distracting.

Happy Sliding, any way you can get it!!!

My buddy!! Post inaugural surf session.

Hurricane Soap Recipe (Hot Water Surf Wax DIY)

It’s been so hot here in Central Florida, we’re probably going to get whacked with a hurricane once the Saharan dust storms settle down. A lot of meteorological happenins’. Yikes. Before I learned to surf, I thought surfers were hurriedly cleaning their boards on the beach before going out in the hurricane swell. Now I giggle when I think about wax as “Hurricane Soap” for your surfboard.

I’ve been told my mind only gets worse from here. Boo.

Even my “Tropical” surf wax has been melting off my board onto my arm while I’m in the water, it’s just that stinking hot. The air is about 95ish degrees F, and the water is around 88 degrees F, which is extremely warm, almost uncomfortable.

I lent my 6’10” to a friend for a while, so I’m riding my 7’6″ Town & Country Stu Sharpe fun shape. I love this board, not just because it was my first board, but it’s really fun on the right day. Luckily for me, we’ve had some fun waves this week, so I’ve been taking it out. The down side is that it has a pretty purple paint job with a gloss coat, which doesn’t help wax stay on the board very well when surfing the gates of hell. D’oh.

imageI thought back to my old post three years ago when I made my own wax. I remembered the beeswax being SUPER hard- much harder than even the “Tropical” store bought wax. I laid out all of the store bought wax I had on hand, from the “Cool” water (softest) to the “Tropical” (hardest). I had also heard a rumor that this DayGlo color wax is supposed to hold up to the Sun, so I was curious.

Like I said in the last post about wax, beeswax isn’t the cheapest thing in the world, so I figured I’d use a half-and-half recipe, so I’d have the benefits of the hardness of the beeswax, with some of the spreadability of the storebought wax. Like butter and margarine. But don’t eat it, or you’ll start grunting people off of waves and doing Florida hops on choppy mush. It’s a curse.

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All of the wax measured out

Recipe:

  • 1 Bar of Tropical Sticky Bumps Wax (they only make soy-based now, so it’s a bit softer than previous incarnations, IMHO)
  • Around 88 grams pure beeswax
  • Approximately 5 grams Day-Glo Sticky Bumps Wax (I only had it in warm, which is the only type available around here).

 

I have a dedicated double burner just for doing crafts with wax- DON’T reuse one you will eat from! It is very difficult to get wax residue off of everything, so, be a little anal retentive on this. Mine came from IKEA for $6, and if you can find one at your local thrift store, that’s ideal. I also keep an old knife to chop up the beeswax with, and I have some old wood chopsticks to stir with in my crafting kit. Just make sure not to get wax in your main pot of water under the double boiler- ONLY wax goes in the double boiler, NO water! The double boiler will rest just over the pot of boiling water. The smaller you can chop your wax up, the faster it will melt- the storebought stuff will melt faster than the beeswax.

Be patient and watch the process- I had some chunkage going, so I had to wait at least 15 minutes until most of the big beeswax chunks had started to shrink. I kept poking and stirring the wax mix with the wood chopstick the whole time. Melted wax can help speed up the heating of unheated chunks. It’s like making a fondue, just keep the crackers far away so you won’t get tempted.

Once all the wax has completely melted, and you’ve stirred the wax enough to homogenize the mixture, you can start pouring it into molds. Make sure you have enough extra molds available- you don’t want to throw out any overage. I used some more cheap IKEA silicone flexible ice cube trays like last time, this time I had starfish too!

Let the wax sit in the molds undisturbed for at least 45 minutes to allow them to set up and cool down. Don’t toss them in the freezer- I did that a long time ago, and it can create voids.

So, these aren’t huge bars of wax, but since beeswax is pricey, maybe I’ll try this as my  daily topcoat for a while, since I just put a nice base coat on the 7’6″ just last week. On a side note, if you’ve got kids who like to eat glue, they’ll love these, so keep them away from the children, mmmkay?

So here’s a look at the nose before and after waxing with the new wax. I really liked how it went on in the afternoon heat and the bumps built up really well.

The little bit of the neon yellow I added of the DayGlo wax barely made a dent in the color, so they’re a very light butter yellow, probably because of the beeswax more than the DayGlo coloring.

Maybe this year’s September Surf Expo theme will focus on the declining bee colony population, and how it will impact John John Florence’s shred-gnar ratio because the water’s too warm, and the wax has become too slippery to land triple nipple Ollie rail grabs, and the wax industry’s sold out, man. Deep.

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Our Beloved

What the hell do I know? Alls I know is a just need some tasty waves, and a few nugs of some decent wax, brah.

DIY Surfboard Traction from Scraps

Pulling out the best oldies!

Originally posted by me on June 15, 2012.

So, I’ve been cutting a HUGE traction pad for my 9’2″ longboard from this SeaDek stuff made locally, normally used for tread on boats and other watercraft. It also works great for surfboard traction, and cuts and sands easy. I like it because I’m lazy about wax some days, especially on my longboards, and that always makes for some “Really, I meant to do that” maneuvers.
So, after cutting out my big traction pad, I had a bag o’ scraps leftover that I just couldn’t bear to throw away, plus some blue scraps leftover from another project. Some were pretty small, but the traction’s not the cheapest, so I seem to find some use for them. On a side note, if you have flat bar roof racks, a long strip across makes a great grippy, cushiony pad.


So with lots of small, odd shaped scraps, I decided to make some more art on my 5’8″ that can’t seem to hold wax to save it’s life. I was warned by the shaper that wax would have trouble sticking to the all over color on the epoxy, but found out that he was REALLY serious. I thought making some traction that was artsy fartsy might be fun and solve the problem.
At first, for this 3 mm traction, I tried using some extra heavy shape punches that you can find in the scrapbook section of most craft stores. Doesn’t work. The Martha Stewart XL punch almost made it through, but didn’t. So, I was forced with hand cutting a lot of pieces, which luckily, isn’t too hard with 3 mm.


After cleaning my my board thoroughly, getting rid of any wax (which wasn’t hard to do) I had my area mapped out- from the kick pad up to about the BAT logo.

First, I printed out a couple of fish shapes in two sizes from my clip art on my computer, and cut them out.

I traced these shapes (simplified a bit) onto some craft foam so my pencil would have some thickness to rest on when I used them as templates to trace the shapes onto the traction.
I cut out quite a few of these fish in the two different sizes, since I was aiming to cover that large area.Next, I had some light blue scraps I wanted to make into bubbles around the fish. I did use a tool for some of the larger sized “bubbles”. It’s called a Rotary Cutter, and is used a lot by quilters to cut circles for applique, but also works well on this traction, which I was happy about. It’s essentially a compass with a wheel blade on the outside edge to cut the circle. I didn’t cut all the way through to the backing, just enough so I could peel the circles off like stickers.

imageRotary cutter and circles cut in the traction
For small circles that were smaller that the rotary cutter could do, I used a plastic circle template (like you may have used in school!) to trace the other circles and hand cut them. I did manage to get my regular small hole punch to punch out really tiny dots too- I couldn’t believe it actually worked!
The traction adhesive will require 24 hours to cure.
If I ever wanted to decorate a bathtub, I think I could do it now. Anyway, to those who say it’s going to give me terrible rash when I surf, I always surf in a rashguard and boardshorts so I don’t get charbroiled. Don’t you???

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