Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cheers to Surfrider and New Belgium

Saturday, July 25th we hosted a party downtown at the Bare Back Grill. It was a celebration of activists, activism, and beer! Hooray beer!

The folks at New Belgium Brewing Company wanted to focus their national ad campaign for Skinny Dip Ale on the recent success of the Surfrider Foundation to stop the toll road. They carted a van full of activists around Laguna for a day were we shot the ad. I think that its easier to do this in a river, but we got it down after 3 locations.

PJ, the owner of Bare Back and a huge Surfrider Supporter, offered to let us host a party. We got a few kegs of Skinny Dip Ale and a few bottles of Barefoot wine, invited some Surfrider peeps, got Luke Kinney and Lewis to sing and play guitar for us, and proceeded to raise some money for the local Surfrider chapter. By the end of the night, we raised $450 in proceeds and $60 from the raffle.

So, cheers! To Surfrider, to New Belgium Brewery, to Bare Foot wines, and to activists! Keep up the good work!

Jenny Useldinger

Check out the August 6 Rolling Stone, Jenny is interviewed in there about a TV project she has been working on called "Isolated". I've seen the trailer, it gave me goose-bumps. Its like Survivor meets big-wave surfing, where 5 feral surfers hunt down the biggest, nastiest wave they can find. Can't wait to see the whole show!

HSD hooked up with Jenny about a year ago in Santa Cruz. We sat down across from this beautiful, smiling woman who showed us pictures of her surfing Mavericks and Waimea. Funny, she didn't look like she had balls, but the photos proved she did. JP and her hit it off and he shaped a few boards for her and can't wait to see her in September when she'll be swinging by the Shaping Shack.

We are so stoked to work with her, and hope that we can keep making bigger and bigger boards for her. Oh, and we just got the good news, she's pregnant. These photos from Indo, pregnant. You go, girl!

Monday, July 27, 2009

American Surf Designs

What is American Surf Designs? Its a TV reality show, think LA Ink but for surfboards. In each episode, JP and Andrea Holeman make boards for different customers- from pro surfers to celebrities to charities- and you get to see all the drama that ensues with their glasser, Wyatt Henderson, at their shaping shack/house, and with all the characters around them.

You'll see some good surfing, hilarious moments at the house, and all the love that goes into each and every board. This is the true Southern California surf life, not some glossy image of one.

Performance Surfboards

Surfboard performance is the driving force of JP's designs. He strives to design and build boards that compliment and improve your surfing. Lately he has been working with his team riders to create boards that perform well in less-than-ideal conditions. It is not as often as we would like that the waves are firing, so we spend a lot of time surfing small waves, just like you.

The Groveler is a board specifically designed with kinda weak, kinda small waves in mind. We recommend you ride it 2" shorter, 1/8" thinner and a 1/4" wider than your normal thruster. It comes standard with a swallow tail, and all of our team riders have been liking them- Nathan Carvalho, Cody Leutgens, Jesse Guglielmana, and Jenny Useldinger have all been riding them this summer.

The Cherry Bomb is another good small wave board. This board has a thick round tail that makes it easy for you to get out of the white wash on mushy waves. Its a loose board that will still surf fast on good waves. Taylor Dodge and Pat Zabrocki have been loving these for a while. The Cherry Bomb is also a good board for practicing airs and is one of those boards perfect for a one-board quiver.

We also offer shapes and designs not shown on the website. Some that we like to ride are the Hyper-single, the Plank, the Four-Fin Fish, and our super-custom 5-fin bonzers. Nathan has developed a new model, based on his suggestions for the Groveler, that is about to be released. Our team rider Luke Kinney has been surfing a one-of-a-kind performance longboard and placing well in contests, and he's not even a longboarder! He swears its as easy to surf as his Cherry Bomb and won't give it back. And, as always, if you have something in mind you'd like to try, ask. If JP likes the basic idea and design principles, he'll make you one.

Sustainable Living

Sustainable living refers to a lifestyle that minimizes your use of the Earth’s natural Resources. In the modern world, this includes reducing your carbon footprint by altering methods of transportation, energy consumption and diet. You try to live in balance with the Earth’s natural ecology and cycles.

In order to live in a sustainable way, the first thing we must change is our rate of consumption. Over-consumption exhausts natural resources too quickly, generates waste, and is prized in our society. Being aware of and limiting your consumption of unnecessary goods, packaging, and food is the first step in sustainable living.

Next, growth must be limited in terms of population, economics, and the environment. This is a big concept, considering things like the amount of food that can be grown in the climate, the amount of people a certain size land can support, distribution systems, and long-term global trends. In your daily life, these are the topics you consider when making important choices like where to live, where to get your food from, how many children to have, and how move around.

Finally, technology must become sustainable. It is unreasonable to think that human civilization will not continue to progress, so the focus of advancements need to be sustainable and beneficial. Technology that destroys natural systems is directly out of balance with nature and not sustainable.

Friday, July 24, 2009

More Reason I Love Summer

Surf, sunshine, warm water, jumping dolphins, southern hemis, tomatoes, salads, bar-b-q's, tans, bikinis, camping, vacations, Disneyland, cool movie theaters, water balloon fights, swimming pools, body surfing, family, friends, chill evenings, cold beers, walks on the beach, swimming dogs, swimming kids, corn on the cob, dirty feet, leash tans, tanlines, fresh board shorts, blonde hair, new boards, fresh wax, salty hair, sunscreen, afternoon naps, hammocks, watermelon...

Things I Love About Summer

Here in Oceanside, the late summer and early fall are really something special. Take yesterday and today for example. Yesterday was sunny and warm all morning and all day, with a beautiful sunset. Not many clouds, not too windy, borderline perfect. The swell was building nicely, overhead on the sets, pretty consistent, and still nowhere near peaking. Ended the day at a Surfline party overlooking the US Open of Surfing.

The water is warm, right around 72.

Woke up this morning to overcast skies, and perfectly still air. The swell is still building.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

How to Order an HSD Surfboard

I just wanted to real quick explain the steps in ordering a custom board from us.

1. Decide on a board model you would like to ride and consider the dimensions and rail shape you like.

2. Email or call us to set up a consultation with JP. It can be done by phone or you can bring in the board you are currently riding. JP will ask questions about what you like/don't like, why you want to try the model you chose, how you'd like to improve your surfing, and if you are here he'll make you skate down the street to see how you use your legs and body to turn. This is 10-30 minutes. Together you will decide on final model, materials, and dimensions.

3. Place order and put down deposit. Cash or check is best, credit card is ok, too.

4. If you want, JP will have you come by when he hand-shapes your board. He lets you come in the room so he can explain what he is doing and how it will translate into your surfing. JP wants to improve your surfing experience and for you to begin to understand design and performance. Lots of shapers don't do this but we think its WHY you order custom boards. This is about 2 hours.

5. When your board is done, we call you. It usually takes 2 weeks from this point but we will give you an ETA. You finish paying and its yours, only thing left is to go surfing.

Surfrider and Green Boards

Last night's Surfrider meeting was about educating surfers on the greener options now available to surfers. The San Diego Chapter invited Ned Mc Mahon of Malama Composites, JP and Andrea Holeman, and shaper Jake Moss. Each company is trying to build a greener surfboard and lessen their carbon footprint. Everyone also agreed that the health of the people making the boards and materials was a big motivating factor to cleaning up the industry.

The surf industry is an old-fashioned and stubborn thing, especially when it comes to the building of surfboards. The technology used until Clark's closing in 2005 had been relatively unchanged since the 1950's, when foam cores were invented. Since 2005 there has been a rush of technology improvements and experiments to improve aspects of surfboard building. Its confusing for those of us in the industry to keep up with the different foams, what they are made of, what resin it needs, new epoxies, stronger cloths, and what fins and boxes are made from. I can't imagine a consumer trying to sort it all out, so Surfrider engaged us all in a discussion about greener options for surfboards.

Ned Mc Mahon is a great source of information. He thinks like a chemist, talks like someone that knows about composites, and really cares about worker's health and the environment. He's been leading green improvements for some time now and seems determined to educate consumers. He talked last night about ingredients in foam, resin, catalyst, and cloth. Ned explained that foam and resin can be made from basically any oil- soy, linseed, castor, petroleum- but there's really no getting around (yet) the toxic catalyst that account for less than 5% of the final products. He and Dan Van Zaten showed off a new Super "Green" surfboard that looks futuristic, but is a green option. There is no sacrifice on performance.

JP and I brought in a board Wyatt is laminating for me. It wasn't done yet, but it was good enough to explain what we have been working on lately. Its made with 30% post-consumer recycled styrofoam (we can get 100% now if you want it), a bamboo stringer, sealed with Elmer's glue, and laminated with a linseed epoxy. Everything can be washed up with soap and water. The fins are the tricky part. JP can hand-foil some from scrap wood if I want glass-ons, or i can just use Futures. Rumor has it they are going to be greening-up their fins and boxes because of demand, so thats good. JP and I try to run our business like we run our home- sustainable and green.

Jake Moss showed off his latest, tripped out design. Its made from locally sourced greener materials and has bamboo fins also made locally. The bamboo fin was an interesting story- the guy making them chose bamboo because of it strength and flex and didn't even realize or care that he had a greener product. Jake talked about durability, how any oil can be epoxified, and hemp.

The three presenters all proclaimed the same message really. There are green surfboards, not in stores yet, so you'll have to look around and ask for them. You can get greener, custom, hand-shaped boards that perform and last. Surfboard builders are striving for cleaner, safer work environments. The "Wal-Mart" mentality of cheap, cheap, cheap has all but made the once booming and revered craft of surfboard building an "endangered species". Smaller carbon-footprints are good.

Change starts small, change starts local, and change starts with you!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Green Surfboards

JP has always wanted to make high-performance, environmentally sound surfboards. Something that is not poisonous to the workers or the immediate surroundings. Something that maybe biodegrades or can be recycled. For past Surfrider events he has collaborated with other environmentally-conscious surfboard builders to create better boards.

What makes a surfboard green though? Is it taking TDI out of foam? Must it be all-natural? We at HSD have some opinions on this that we would like to share.

First, you vote with your dollars. Consumers are the best catalyst for change in business. If you, an eco-minded surfer, want a high performance board made from recycled foam that is durable, ask. If you keep showing up with money in your hand and leave without buying when you can't get what you want, businesses will notice. And change.

Second, there are different aspects to consider when thinking about "going green". If you want to lessen your foot-print and support local businesses, then order a durable epoxy hand-shape from a local shaper that gets boards glassed by surfers in your area. Take it one step further and ask about a blank made from recycled foam or plant-based linseed epoxy. Did you know that styrofoam can be recycled over and over again while retaining all of its virgin properties? Its about as recyclable as aluminum. An important note on the "durable is green" arguement is care. You need to take care of your board and fix dings properly in order for it to last.

Next, we realize that it is a big investment to buy a board made in a new, possibly experimental technology. The board may not come out as fast as "regular" boards and it might be hard to fix. Ask yourself, what kind of car do you drive? A new H3 or a Prius? Why didn't you buy the car that spends more on marketing, because you know that long-lasting environmental degradation is not cool. Ask your shaper or surfshop kid about technologies, feedback from people who tried the boards, how you can try a board, and just be interested in green technology.

Finally, change takes time so be patient and keep asking. Just be willing to experiment, be prepared for some room for improvement, and engage other surfers in discussions about green technologies. Be the change you want to see, isn't that what they say. If you want to learn more, swing by the Surfrider chapter meeting in Oceanside this Weds, July 15. JP and other surfboard builders will be talking about what they've seen and tried, what they are going to try next, and take questions.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Morning After Mess

The Surfrider Foundation always hosts a huge clean-up after the 4th of July, to clean area beaches from all the partying that goes on. This year the Oceanside location was at the South Harbor Jetty. While I'm sure it gets messy, I really wanted to clean my beach. So I signed in early, got some supplies, and headed back down to my house. JP, Derek and I all cleaned what was is our normal walk to surf.

There were cigarette butts, 275 Derek counted plus the hundreds JP checked off in groups of ten. There were bags and broken bottles, drink cups, razors, fireworks, and dead animals. The street sweeper must have drove by three times, and it seemed that for all that effort, the guy walking around with a broom would have actually cleaned something up instead of push trash towards the storm drains. At least we guilted some of the partiers in the neighborhood to sweep up in front of their house. Its a start.

After 2 hours of walking, stooping, and sweeping the three of us had collected 30 pounds of trash and almost 1000 cigarette butts. We, sadly, walked by the mother-load of Starbucks cups, because we really wanted to get to the beach. Waves are overhead and barreling, now is time for our reward.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy Independence Day

Just wishing everyone and Happy and safe 4th. Celebrate at the beach; pack it in, pack it out. Clean up after the weekend at "The Morning After Mess" July 6th 8-11 am at various county locations

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Recycled Surf Resin Jewelry now on Ray St

I am finally making my way back to San Diego and my recycled surf resin jewelry is now on sale at Soul Ryde in North Park. Located at 3819 Ray St 92104, Soul Ryde is right in the heart of the burgeoning arts district in North Park. Several Saturday's a month the galleries in the area open and you can see some of fantastic contemporary arts. I'll be there in person soon.

My friends at Soul Ryde are the guys that do all the cool laser engravings and wood inlay projects with us. Just this year at the Ninth Annual Art Gala hosted by the San Diego chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, HSD, Soul Ryde, and our friend Wyatt Henderson collaborated to make an eco-friendly surfboard. The goal was to use little or no petroleum-based plastics or cancer-causing styrene, so JP shaped a plant-based blank without toxic whiteners, Wyatt laminated it with linseed resin, I painted it as always with low VOC acrylic paint, instead of stickers or laminants Soul Ryde reproduced classic Surfrider stickers out of scrap wood from their skateboard business, and then Soul Ryde hooked up a bamboo fin our friend Woody made. The result was a classic mini-noserider that makes you wonder why we use all the toxic stuff when there are perfectly good alternatives.

At the Soul Ryde shop they offer their cool custom skateboards, laser engraving for anything you can imagine, and recycled jewelry from local artists. Check them out!