A New “How To” Year is Here

7 01 2016

So far for 2016 I’ve gone surfing twice. Saturday with the crew and Monday with a buddy in Carpinteria. After all, I had an appointment in Santa Barbara. For the most part, I’ve left the GoPro and Sony Camcorders at home, especially at the beginning of this year. It’s not so much a resolution to stop the madness (a movie every time I surf?), but a commitment to just surf and not have more surfing to do when I get home.

Those movies take a lot of time to put together. So based on a suggestion from one of my surf buddies I’ve decided to make them more of a “How To” vlog. He actually used the word podcast, but I think I’ll just stick to showing other surfers how to do certain things. Of course, not with the “this is the only way to do it” mentality. I know there are multiple ways to probably do some of the things I’ll show, but I’ll show what works for me.

So the first one I did I actually uploaded Dec 30th, 2015, but that’s because I didn’t put my movie on my newest surfboard together yet. It’s done, but I still have to narrate it.

So sit back and enjoy my first entry of 2016 on putting the rope through the center fin box leash hole. It’s intriguing. 😉

Again, I’m sure there are other ways to do this, but always remember to keep that rope short.

Thank you and God bless,

Surfer Yoda

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Old Habits Die Hard, Bad Habits Need to be Murdered

14 10 2015

I got a new board, again. A 6’6″ Parole rounded pin tail, similar to a Lopez Lightning Bolt of the 70’s, but updated and with a 2+1 set up. I sold my 6’6″ Bonzer Egg and my 9’0″ Walden Magic Model 3 in order to pay for it, but after this weekend’s maiden voyage, and yesterday’s extra shot at it, I made the right choice.

The waves on Saturday were forecast to be overhead and I figured it would be a great opportunity to try it out. The tide was on the high side and the swell was more powerful than normal making for bad rips at my favorite secret spot. Rips like I’ve never seen in many years. I’m blaming that one on El Nino, but then, we’ve had some great waves so far this Fall.

With the larger consistent surf, a couple of feet over head on sets, I had to do a lot more paddling and duck diving than I normally would, which always leads to a little apprehension on my part. That apprehension is there because when it gets bigger I always seem to be out of breath, held under longer than I want, and feeling close to drowning. I know the “close to drowning” is a bit dramatic. However, when you wipe out and don’t know how much longer you can be held under only to think “what happens if I pop up and don’t have time to catch a breath before another one hits me?”, it makes for energy loss and fatigue. So yeah, it feels like I could drown.

I’m always confident I could save myself as I’ve done in the past, but still, it turns what should be a 2 hour session into a 1 hour session, or less. And I discovered the problem after I surfed that morning.

As a kid, I hated water going up my nose when I’d swim. I also hated holding my nose with my fingers as I felt that wasn’t something men should do, so I just sucked it up until a friend told me I should slowly blow air out my nose and that would help keep water out, and keep me from the necessary plugging of nose with my finger and thumb. Not bad advice, but it turned into a very bad habit that I realized is a problem, and one of the reasons I might not like waves over 8 feet after 34 years of surfing, which makes the bad habit that much older and harder to break.

It turned into blowing air out my nose every time I’m under water. Swimming, surfing, whatever. I paddle out, duck dive and blow air out my nose and when I pop up I need a breath. I wipe out and blow air out my nose only to be out of breath when I finally surface. That is a terrible habit I developed and didn’t even realize it until this last weekend’s swell.

My eureka moment made me realize that I needed to murder that habit for good, if I expect to surf some of the larger waves expected this winter. I’m still all about surfing, not surviving, so it will have to be good for me to paddle out, but coming to the realization that if I just stopped blowing air out my nose when I go under water will help me relax more when I’m under, will save my energy. I will have more air when I surface in case I can’t take a breath.

It might seem elementary to you, but really, that’s why it’s a “habit”. I made it that way and it’s not just old, but bad.

I got to put my theory to the test on Tuesday Morning. Though the waves dropped a bit, it was still overhead on the sets and I made sure to not let a lick of air out when I duck dived. It was a little harder to remember when I would wipe out, but I still even managed that and after surfing an hour, catching all kinds of waves, I still had energy after my hour was up. I know it wasn’t the same test as putting that into practice last Saturday, but it was a good test none the less.

As I surf more, big or small, I’m going to do my best to remember not to blow the air out. I never had a problem yesterday with water going up my nose, so that helped make it easier to handle. Hopefully I’ll remember that every time I go surfing. Or am in the water for any reason, for that matter.

I don’t know if you have a bad habit you need to murder, but remember, they may die hard, but you can be the killer of it.

Take care and God bless,

Surfer Yoda





My Favorite Boards

9 08 2015

In the past I’ve written about my favorite board being my Walden Magic Model 3 because it is such a great all around board. It is still at the top of my list of boards that if I could only have one board in my quiver, it would be the one. I can nose ride it. I can do a floater. I can cut back on a dime. It hits the lip pretty hard after I’ve cross stepped up to the nose and back. So as boards go it’s the one in my quiver I can ride from knee high to double overhead (not that I ride double overhead, but there could be a reason to do that on the right swell and spot).

Today, though, as I’ve shortened my boards again, and have 6 in the quiver, I’ve decided that I really can’t decide between two of them.

Lucky Lucke – Shaped by Ray Lucke in Camarillo, it is the first custom board I’ve had shaped for me since I was in High School. At 5’5″ it is my shortest board and at 22″ wide it is my widest short board. It’s green for my Yoda-ness and because it’s based on a Mini Simmons outline, it’s got the traditional twin-keel fin set up. I love this board when I ride it. It’s absolutely a dream in just under waist high to overhead surf. It’s probably the fastest board I have because it hardly has any rocker and being shaped like a longboard the rails are more parallel than any other board I have, even my two longboards.

Lucky Lucke

Bonzer Bumblebee – Shaped by Malcolm Campbell in Oxnard, I purchased this from a guy in Orange County from a Craigslist Ad. I had sold a 7’2″ Bonzer Egg because I wanted a shorter version, and this popped up. The first time I rode it was at Rincon on a chest high day and it immediately took over the Lucky Lucke as my favorite board in my quiver. It’s so fast and loose and at 5’10” and 20-7/8″ wide is my next shortest board. Also ridden from under waist high to a few feet overhead it’s not quite as easy to ride at the smaller sizes than the Lucky Lucke, but it has proven rideable in most stuff I’ve taken it out in. It is quite a fun board to ride and again, became my favorite short board right away.

Bonzer Bumblebee

That last movie wasn’t close to the best days I’ve had on it, but it was a good enough day.

I just finished repairing some dings on the Lucky Lucke and I’m so glad she’s ready to ride again. I missed her while she was down. It was what prompted me to write this. I love the Bumblebee so much that I rarely threw the Lucky Lucke in the car. You see, I have another Bonzer Egg, a 6’6″, that I’d throw in with the Bumblebee in case it was a little bigger than I expected, and a few times I’ve been glad I had it.

However, as I missed riding the Lucky Lucke I realized that it too has a place in my quiver that cannot be replaced. The only thing I can do when the Lucky Lucke is on it’s last leg is to go back to Ray and commission him to make me another one just like it. I love it that much.

I hope you have boards you can day dream about when you’re not able to surf. That’s what these boards are to me. I still even day dream about the 6’0″ Roy Sanchez Twin Keel Fish, the 6’6″ Bonzer Egg, the 9’0″ Walden Magic Model 3, and the 9’11” Bill Hubina “Smith Noserider”. I can’t help it. I love all my boards. I just have a couple of favorites.

Get out there and surf. Take care and God bless,

Surfer Yoda





Drainpipes on the Bonzer Egg

18 03 2015

Last Saturday, 3/14/15, Pi day, I guess, I surfed with that buddy I’ve been mentioning that got me hooked on different boards. It was a normal Saturday to surf with the rest of the crew: Gooch, Gorilla, Uncle Chris, Spock, Ranger, Forest, etc. However, Cletus finally had a Saturday his oldest didn’t have Rugby and he asked me to go surf with him. I let the rest of the crew know my intentions and planned a day with Cletus.

His original thoughts were somewhere in Ventura County, like Port Hueneme, but it quickly turned to Drainpipes in the Malibu area because of the swell direction and previous day’s reports.

I hadn’t surfed that part of Zuma Beach in years. Multiple years going into possibly passing a decade. When I surf Zuma with or without the crew it’s usually around Tower 12. That’s more at the northern end close to Trancas and shy of Broad Beach, if you even know where I’m talking about. Drainpipes is at the southern end and is right out front of the entrance to Westward Beach. They call it Drainpipes for good reason and I had so many good sessions there when I was younger riding the typical Thrusters of the time.

The wave can suck out off the shallow sandbar and make a nice hollow wave on the right swell and tide.

This day I had my newest additions with me: a 6’6″ Bonzer Egg and a 5’10” Bonzer Bumblebee, both from the Kings of Bonzer’s Malcolm Campbell. Inventor of said board, and artist of the progression still today.

Cletus likes to go a little later than I do and though the rest of my crew was meeting up at our favorite secret spot around 6:30, that’s what time I was heading out with Cletus. He drove and brought two of his own boards. A 6’1″ T. Patterson Thruster and a 6’2″ Bonzer Octafish. That Octafish is also a Malcolm Campbell masterpiece.

As we pulled up to that southern part of Zuma we used to call “Free Zuma” you could tell there were going to be some fun little nuggets. Just in front of the bathroom were little A Frame peaks hitting waist to chest high. But you could see Drainpipes farther south a little bit bigger and with fewer to no people out. So we headed down that direction.

You can see from the vid it doesn’t seem to look as big as it really was, but the sets were pretty far apart, which meant we didn’t get very many of them when we were surfing more inside. I only put the waves we caught, and didn’t put in some we did just because we were out of frame coming into frame at the end, but we sure had a lot of fun. I rode my 6’6″ Bonzer the whole time and really felt like I caught some good waves. Cletus rode the T. Patterson and also had some really nice waves as you can see.

I most definitely want to throw Drainpipes back on the list of places to check. It’s so steep and fast compared to even Tower 12. More opportunities to get barrels. It’s no secret spot, but if I got there earlier on the right tide I’m sure there’d be no other place I’d rather be. And next time I’m taking the Bee out.

I hope to surf there again sooner rather than later, but until my next post, take care and God bless.

Surfer Yoda

PS – I did have the GoPro so here’s a shorter movie with my favorites.





How Do I Even Start Back?

8 03 2015

That is the question. Every hiatus I’ve started with “it’s been awhile since my last post,” or something to that nature. However, it really has been awhile. The last post was about a board I had made for me. My first custom board in 30 years. A 5’5″ Lucky Lucke by shaper Ray Lucke. I wrote that back in September 2014.

Since then, I’ve done some other experimentation of boards that I thought I’d never ride.

One was a 7’2″ Campbell Brothers Bonzer E-Wing Egg. Technically it was a Bonzer5 because it had the Bonzer 5 fin set up. If you’ve never seen the Bonzer 3 fin or 5 fin set up, here’s a link to their website, Bonzer5.com.

Malcolm and Duncan Campbell grew up in Oxnard and first shaped one of those boards with that 3 fin set up in 1972 when the shortboard era was in full swing. You can read on their site their cool story, so I won’t get into it here, but when I started surfing in 1981, I had seen some Bonzer’s. I went the typical route of the time, my first real surfboard being an MR inspired Twin Fin shaped by Greg Liddle (all the Malibu surfers know that name), then moving to the typical tri-fin thruster of the day, inspired by Simon Anderson. I was always afraid of that Bonzer. It just didn’t look like it would be easy to surf.

So here I am in 2015, 48 years old, doing the longboard only thing from about 30 years old to 40 years old, and I’m experimenting, with input from my buddy Cletus (He’s been the reason I’ve even looked at other than Fish alternates and I’m really stoked for his input. Here’s New Year’s Eve morning with me on the 7’2″ Egg and him riding a 6’2″ Octafish Bonzer5).

That Bonzer Egg was really quite loose for 7’2″. But it was 7’2″ and so I had to think about moving down in size.

Next up is one of the shapes they did for themselves between 1973 and 1978 called the Bumblebee. I picked it up from a guy in Orange County. It’s 5’10” and the 3 fin version. It was so similar in dimensions to one of my 6’0″ Fish that I sold that Fish.

The first time I rode it was at waist to head high Rincon. Wow! So loose like my Fish, but it held so much better! I liked sliding the tail on the Fish, but seriously, I just thought I had to live with that. After riding the Bumblebee and feeling the looseness without the slide I was so stoked on it. I even took it out on a knee to waist high day at Leo Carrillo just to see how it could handle the small stuff and it was loose! It was a day the Lucky Lucke would have been better, but I was not at all disappointed in the performance of the Bee.
This is a bigger day on the Bee and before work, so only a few waves. Also in here is a 6’6″ Egg I found for cheap. After selling the 7’2″ Egg and the 6’0″ Fish I had enough to pay back my savings account, and buy two boards!

I don’t know why I got so blessed, but I’m so stoked to have them in my quiver. I’ve had 5 boards in my quiver since I got the Lucky Lucke and with the bartering and selling and buying I’ve done I still have 5. All different. And in the future if I’m in the market, another Campbell Bros Bonzer is in the mix.

I probably will have less and less video of my surfs as I move away from that addiction, but I am also hoping to not start these posts out with “it’s been awhile”. (That reminds me of the band Staind.)

Anyway, take care and God bless,

Surfer Yoda





My New Lucky Lucke – A Mini Simmons Story

6 09 2014

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a few weeks, but I had to wait for the board to be finished. As an aside here, since then I’ve put the Magic Model 3 fin set up back to it’s 2+1 set up. It was nice as a single fin, but still best as it was intended.

I won’t bore you with rehashing the story about why I picked this board to be made for me. You can go back to my previous posts for that. Let’s just say, after I commissioned Ray to make my board, it was close to 5 weeks to completion. Mind you, Ray shaped it, glassed it with the resin tint, sanded it, and polished it. He did it all start to finish while losing some employees to laziness (they just didn’t show up for work).

When Ray called me to let me know my board would be ready for pick up in a couple of days I was so stoked! It was a Thursday and even though I wasn’t surfing that Saturday, I so wanted to go get it and my wife joined me to go pick it up. That was two weeks ago. I was sick that weekend, Hurricane Lowell was showing itself and Marie hadn’t yet gotten us to Big Wednesday. Leave it to illness to keep you out, but I knew by last Saturday I had to get that board wet no matter how weak I still felt. But I’m jumping ahead of myself.

So my wife and I went to pick it up and Ray had to make a trip to Santa Barbara so he wasn’t there yet when we got there. The cause of one of those surfers he employed not showing up for his assigned work day. One more aside – If you get a job, show up for work on time, all the time. It helps all who need you there and shows you care about more than yourself.

The unique and cool thing about that is I got to sit there and video him sanding and polishing my board. I really wish I could have videoed from start to finish, but that just isn’t possible living an hour away from his “surfboard factory”. I did get to video him resin tinting the glass one day, and also the sanding and polishing part. So I’m pretty stoked to hang out with him to do that. Ray is a very nice guy and likes what he does. He puts a lot of love and care into his creations.

So I took the board home and put it away for a week, taking it down to look it over and check it’s lines every once in a while. (I was in Bakersfield for Hurricane Marie’s Big Wednesday, and still up there Thursday, so no surfing on it, not that I’m sure I would have those two days anyway.) I finally got to wax it up that Friday before my surf with the crew. It was Labor Day Weekend (last week) and I was going to surf both Saturday and Monday. I even coaxed Spock into letting me use his Solo Shot for the day (Monday when he was back from Colorado) so I could have other footage of my days. You see, I didn’t want to mount my GoPro to the nose of my new board, yet. 1. It’s a new board, and 2. It’s only 5’5″ long and I wasn’t even sure it would get me above the waist when it did record.

So Saturday rolled around and I had borrowed a camera from my daughter to set up on the beach while I used my GoPro Wrist housing. What a fun first day! (I have my typical YouTube video, but decided to only post one video for this writing.) That board was so fun to ride. My buddies were making fun of it’s size, but really, it wasn’t that hard to catch waves. It’s got a longboard outline and it’s 22 inches wide, so with the shallower rocker, it made for catching waves as easy as on my Fish. It really was made for my favorite surf spot, too.

Lucky Lucke Mini Simmons from Shaping Room to Surfing from Surfer Yoda on Vimeo.

From the vid you can see one point where my buddy Spock dropped in the wave just in front of me and the speed I got on it catching up to him and then cutting back into the white water. It is the fastest board I’ve ever ridden. That Monday the conditions were even better for our favorite surf spot so the beach cam stuff also came out nicer.

I would soooo recommend this board for anyone wanting to go to a smaller board and wants something different. With all of the retro/alt board choices out there, this is definitely one you should have in your quiver. There are a lot of choices and when my buddy Dirk was helping me make my decision on which one to go with I had considered the Infinity Tombstone or the one he rides shaped by Larry Mabile called the Ghostbuster. I’m sure I would have loved any of those boards, but I really am glad I got my Lucky Lucke from Ray. We have mutual friends and even if we didn’t, he is very friendly and fair on pricing.

Here are some links to his stuff – Ray’s own blog spot; His website; and the Deep Magazine interview.

I was in the San Luis Obispo area this last week, Wednesday and Thursday. I usually try to surf up there. The waves weren’t that great and I couldn’t meet with the sales rep Thursday I had set up to meet, so I headed back towards home. I looked at the waves as I was driving through Ventura and ended up going out for an hour at South Ventura Harbor Jetty. The Lucky Lucke was the only board I had with me. It’s a little more pounding at that beach break and even though it was waist to chest high, it can be a powerful wave. The board performed really nice in steeper, hollower waves. I really believe this will be my “go to” board for the future.

Thanks so much, Ray, and I look forward to the next board I get and having you shape it!

Thank you and God bless,

Surfer Yoda





The Single Fin Experiment

3 08 2014

As I sit here watching the Men’s Semi Finals of the Vans US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, live on the internet, I thought I’d write about an experiment I did yesterday. It happened to be inspired by the very same US Open of Surfing from Friday’s Duct Tape Invitational.

The Duct Tape Invitational is the longboarders showing their stuff in between the pro surfing qualifying and Jr. Rounds. I love it because I just love surfing, whether I watch the pros on the WCT, or the Jr’s, or even the longboarders. If I understand it correctly from the announcers, they are required to have a board at least 20 lbs in weight, 9’2″ in length, and it must have only a single fin and no leash plug. My guess is that if it has a leash plug, so what, just don’t wear a leash. Another cool thing about the contest is they encourage sharing waves by offering extra cash for the best shared waves.

As I was watching it, I knew Saturday was my surf day with my crew and our forecast was 1 to 2 feet. That said, I figured I’d be riding my longboard, which today is the 9’0″ Walden Magic Model 3 that I have written about in the past. It has a 2+1 fin set up, a single fin that is 7″ long and two small side biters, about 3″ or less, I haven’t measured them.

In the garage I have a 9’8″ Kennedy single fin with a 9″ Josh Farbrow fin in the box, so I thought I’d experiment a little and remove the 2+1 off the Magic Model 3, then attach the 9″ JF fin. I wasn’t sure how much of a difference it would make, but I have ridden one of my Magic’s in the single fin set up with the 7″ that came with it and it rode fine. A larger fin was going to make the board feel bigger, though, and I wanted to see if my nose rides would get better.

The first couple of waves I rode I could tell right away it felt slower and bigger, but as I got used to it, I could also tell that I was going to love trying it out and experimenting. I was already able to get 5 toes over on it in the old set up, but I wanted to make it less a cheater five and try to get my feet closer together. A few more waves and I really felt comfortable up there. I got my back foot on top of the logo, which is the farthest up I have gotten it.

It was a really fun small day and as I continue down the road with the single fin experiment, I will be adjusting the fin back in 1/4″ increments. Gonna try to hit it tomorrow before work, but with the possible swell picking up I’ll probably ride one of my fish. No Mini Simmons, yet.

Until next post, take care and God bless,

Surer Yoda