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

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 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

Can Surfing Be Considered “Going to the Gym?” (How Do You Stay Fit?)

25 07 2014

I’m going to make a case that there are similarities, so please read the whole thing before you close your mind to my question.

I work for a company that pays me a salary. In that capacity I am in the field, not behind a desk at an office. Sometimes I have to go into the office, but most of the time I am in the field, and occasionally working from a desk at home. I don’t really have set hours, but let’s just say for arguments sake, I work a standard 8 am to 5 pm shift. Being salaried, I don’t really take a full hour for lunch, unless I’m out with others for some reason, and I really don’t start at 8 am, it’s more like 6 am. I am sometimes on my laptop after 5 pm, too. I’m a clock watcher, though I’m not a legalist about what time I work or don’t work.

I say all of this because I know friends and colleagues who take an hour or so at the gym 3 to 5 mornings a week, and they do it before going into the office. Some have start times at 8, but really get in at 7 and that’s fine. They get up early, travel to the gym and can shower and be ready to go for work without any problems.

For myself, part of my field work includes selling products with sales people. Maybe training, asking customers points of pain questions, and in general, promoting my company. I really like my job and love my territory, which includes the coastal area between the South Bay and San Simeon. Sometimes the sales people I am going into the field with have me meet up with them around 9 am. I did their job at one time so I know that can be a standard time to meet.

In Los Angeles, there happens to be a lot of traffic around rush hour. I know that’s a new revelation to some of you, but stay with me; I hate traffic. I know I can leave my sleepy little town by 5 am and reach just about anywhere within a 60 mile radius in one hour. That’s because at 5 am there isn’t much traffic. There are a lot of cars on the road, but it’s moving along pretty swiftly.

Now, it’s summer time and the sun is almost up at 5 am by June 21st. It’s light enough to see the waves most of summer by 5:15 or 5:30. If a sales rep says, “Let’s meet at the Malibu Pier at 9am”, what would you do? Here’s what I’ve done: I got up at 3:30 am, done my normal routine to get ready to leave and beat traffic and left by 4:30 am to get to the Malibu area unmolested by slower cars and surfed for an hour. I never take longer than an hour on a work day, but I have to ask, “How is that different than someone getting up early to go to the Gym?”

This is that very session.

I guess I’m writing this because one of my co-workers mentioned to me that some of the other employees, not even my managers or higher ups, are thinking that I’m surfing too much. I don’t understand that, but I stopped posting as much on Facebook and Twitter about it, and stopped advertising my latest movie (they really take about 30 minutes to put together, anymore) because of those “complaints”. I can only call them complaints cause to me that’s what they’re doing. However, my work gets done, I’m organized, and I’m able to rinse off with fresh water and look all business when my surf session is over, so I’m unsure how they can even tell. I usually have to volunteer that I surfed that morning.

What’s funny about the surf sesh above is I was out of the water and dressed by 7 am, and sitting behind my laptop answering e-mails, researching products, providing quotes, and basically doing the job I would have done at 7 am before my 9 am appointment with the sales rep I was meeting that day. And we had a hugely productive day.

I’m sure I would have had as productive a day without the surfing, but I love surfing. More than going to the gym. I don’t even have a gym membership, so does it matter if I take that time to surf? Apparently it does to some.

This week I was meeting in Manhattan Beach at an account with a sales rep. Another 9 am first appointment set. Here’s what I did that morning:

I hope no one misunderstands me. I’m not trying to start an argument about what I do or don’t do for my company. I just know that there are some things that are possible to do and still get your work done. I think some of these people think I’m surfing all day and getting around to my work, but if you ask my direct sales reps that I work for, they’d tell you they usually always get a hold of me, or a timely reply. That I take care of the customer. That I’m organized. Etc.

Anyway, for those who like to motocross, or things much harder to get to, I realize you probably have a harder time doing that before work. However, there are some things you can do to stay fit before work, and going to the gym for an hour isn’t the only thing.

I hope I helped some people understand that just because I surf on a weekday doesn’t mean my work isn’t getting done. Maybe it sounds like I’m trying to justify it, but you can draw your own conclusions.

Get out there and get or stay fit so you can continue to do what you love. If I don’t surf, I walk 4 miles in an hour. 🙂

Take care and God bless,

Surfer Yoda

So I Pulled the Trigger

18 07 2014

In past blogs I’ve written extensively about the longboard I ride and why I think it’s the best longboard. I ride a 9’0″ Walden Magic Model 3 epoxy made by Boardworks, who hasn’t made Walden’s for well over 5 years now. That should be a testament to the quality of the board, though. I haven’t needed a new one and I still think if I could only have one board, that would be all I need from ankle snappers to 3 feet overhead and beyond. It’s a great longboard whether I walk to the nose old school, or choose to do some cutbacks and off the lips with it. It’s a very versatile board.

That said, I also got it used from a friend. The last time I bought a brand new board for myself is probably 2007 and that was off the rack. My last custom board was just about 30 years ago when I had a 5’10” Spindrift tri-fin shaped for me. I loved that board. It was made for me, based on my desires, weight, height, and ability.

So what did I pull the trigger on? I finally ordered a brand new custom board for myself.

I went to a guy I’ve had fix my boards in the past. He’s really good at ding repair and has been around the shaping bay awhile. His label is Backnine Surfboards, but now he’s R.Lucke Surfboards and the board I have him shaping for me is called a “Lucky Lucke”. It’s his version of the Mini Simmons.

It started when I mentioned in the last post that I had stopped at Revolution Surf Shop in Camarillo looking for Kane Garden Twin Keel Fish, only to discover they had none. However, they did have a board I saw Tommy Curren ride in Switchfoot’s “Fading West” movie. It’s a Tomo Vanguard. I took a pic, put it on Instagram, and told the world (well, my followers, anyway) that was going to be my new board. It’s a really progressive looking stealth fighter type shape. Crazy lines and would have been a good compliment to my quiver. I had been back to riding my 6’0″ Huerta/McNair Twin Keel Fish and figured the funkier it looked to ride the better. And I also think it was one of those ridden in the Red Bull series “Decades.”

One of my buddies saw the post and immediately texted me with an alternate to the Tomo Vanguard called a Mini Simmons. I’d heard of them and he showed me his, which is a Ghostbuster from Larry Mabile. At first I wasn’t sure, but he assured me that the way I surf my fish and with my long boarding ability, I’d really like the Mini Simmons.

After a couple of months trying to figure out what to sell on ebay and doing research, I finally pulled the trigger and ordered my Lucky Lucke. It’s going to be 5’5″ and about 22″ wide with twin keel glass-on bamboo fins. It’ll have green resin tint top and bottom for that Yoda look. And I am so stoked beyond belief that I’m getting a brand new custom shaped for me board that I cannot contain myself. Here’s a vid of Ray and how the Lucky Lucke came about:

I can’t wait to surf it! I’m at least 4 weeks from getting it, but I know when I do, it’s gonna be rad!

That’s it. I’ve been surfing my fish a lot and I even have another fish in my quiver: A 6’0″ Roy Sanchez Twin Keel Fish with glass-on wood fins. Who needs another 6’0″? Well, they are two different boards in how they surf and I love both of them, so I’m not getting rid of them. The Sanchez was given to me and the reason I got my Huerta/McNair in the first place, but the Huerta/McNair helps me get into the bigger waves a little quicker. So when I need that, that’s the board I choose.

I hope you get to find your board and try it soon. In the mean time, I’ll just keep writing about what I’ve been doing surfing wise. Hitting my favorite spot tomorrow with the crew.

Take care and God bless,

Surfer Yoda

Where I’ve Been Surfing

12 07 2014

At last post I had mentioned that I would try to get back into writing more and today I thought I’d share the spots I’ve been surfing.

Since I started the year out doing my day job in the field more, I’ve made sure to have a surfboard or two in the car with me. That means that I keep my 9’0″ Walden Magic Model 3 and my 6’0″ Huerta/McNair Twin Keel Fish in there when I know I’m headed to the coast. Occasionally I’ve been close enough to my usual spots I’ve just surfed Zuma and my unnamed secret spot. I’ve actually named it as of this year, though. It’s called Staircase and I’ve been surfing it almost 32 years now. I’ve also hit Porto on work days.

Other trips have taken me to the Central Coast where I’ve surfed Morro Rock, Pismo Beach, and maybe Rincon on my way home.

And still others have allowed me the freedom to Dawn Patrol the Orange County area, including Trestls, Huntington Beach, and for the first time, Seal Beach Pier.

GoPro Huntington Beach 7-10-14 Dawn Patrol from Surfer Yoda on Vimeo.

I’m stoked to be riding my fish more than I thought I would. Which had prompted me to stop at a surf shop in Camarillo one day called Revolution. They used to carry Kane Garden Surfboards and they make really nice fish of the twin keel variety. They weren’t carrying them anymore, but I found another board I liked that was a Tomo Vanguard.

I’m going to leave it at that for now because as much as I wanted that board, it looks like I’m going to be getting something else. That is what I will talk about next time.

Until then, God bless and take care,

Surfer Yoda