While I had my paint brushes out and was making a mess, Jim and Steve stopped by to order a couple of boards for an upcoming trip. Jim asked if I was having a flashback because some of the stuff looked like the boards I was painting and riding in the mid 80's.
Surfer Feb 1987, photo: Woody Woodworth
Well, yeah, I guess I was, only this time around I'm not sporting a mullet and a fluorescent yellow and blue wetsuit.
Drew's interest in all things retro took him back to the mid 1970's. This time capsule represents two design approaches that shapers and surfers were pursuing both in Hawaii and here on the mainland.
The island gun single fin with it's pulled in tail and down rails was the ultimate board for styling in the big juicy waves of the North Shore. At some point we all wanted to be Gerry standing in the barrel with his trademark style and grace.
Meanwhile, the rocket fish was finding favor in the mainland surf breaks. This speedy twin fin would fly over the mushy flat sections yet with the shallow tail and down turned knifey rail, it would hold in on the bigger stuff too.
Drew also knew this journey meant going all the way in construction. Pigmented lams. Glassed on fins. Double pinlines. Gloss and polish finish. The results should be fodder for many tales to come.
So where does the fun come in? Picture if you will gliding out into an ocean of plate glass, the light patter of water drumming along your hull as you tuck up along the kelp beds. The coast and landmarks roll by as you stretch out. Soon you're warmed up. Ready to turn the headland and grind it uphill for a bit. The breeze freshens. The light spray that splashes your face feels refreshing and cools you down. You're feeling it now. It's time to push so you dig in and start to pull. The wind and swell increase a notch or two. The slight pang of pain and doubt surface but you press on and push through the wall that your body and board have hit.
You wait to get a little farther up the coast so when you turn and make the gentle arch out for your downhill run you can catch some good runners. The chop and the wind are now almost annoying but under it all is what you're looking for. Small uniform swells come together and roll by. Two, three, sometimes more they come. It's time to check your bearings and begin the arch that will send you into your downhill dash. As you roll parallel to the swell you set your course and complete the turn. Wind at your back, a feeling of calm resides.
But then a surge from behind comes, grabbing your board and pushing you forward. You dig and adjust. You're off to the races riding this swell, cleaving a path through the open ocean. Fatigue now gone, adrenaline, stoke! You look for the next swell, the hook up and connect. On and on you go farther into the bay, wishing these sleigh rides could go on forever. But soon you run it out. The ocean and swell play out to calm glass again.
Back along the kelp beds, warm sun now sparkles the surface. You just feel the glide. The still water ripple returns. A big exhale, another sweet run. You just surfed tons of waves on a flat day. Your arms are buggered but you feel good in an achy sort of way. You're in shape.
Well for those who get addicted to those experiences and feel that a bit of racing with friends would be fun, the Jay Moriarty Memorial Paddleboard Race is a great opportunity to get out there and share the stoke. Young and old, they have events for everyone. Check it out if you get a chance.
8th Annual Surftech Jay Moriarity Memorial Paddleboard Race
Presented by CLIF BAR
Santa Cruz, Calif. (June 2, 2009) – Mark your race calendar for June 13, 2009 when the 8th Annual Surftech Jay Moriarity Memorial Paddleboard Race presented by CLIF BAR will hit the water. Paddleboarders and stand up paddlers from up and down the coast of California and as far away as Florida and Hawaii will converge on New Brighton Beach in Santa Cruz, California to compete for the coveted “Jay Race” title.
The “Jay Race” is widely recognized as one of the top paddleboard races in North America. The best paddlers in the country come here to brave the chilly waters of the Monterey Bay. They come to test their paddling skills against a field of top competitors and to enjoy the unique setting that only the Monterey Bay and Santa Cruz can provide. “The level of competition for the 12 mile race seems to increase every year,” says Gunnar Roll co-race director, “yet despite the high level of competition in the 12 mile course, the 2 mile race is a great opportunity for beginning paddlers and paddlers who aren’t quite ready to spend two and a half hours or more giving it all they’ve got on the 12 mile course.”
They also come to pay their respects to big wave surfing legend Jay Moriarity. Jay was one of the youngest surfers to ever attempt the massive waves at the notorious big wave break known as Mavericks. To train for the beatings that Jay would inevitably endure at Mavericks, he logged countless hours paddling his paddleboard. Jay passed away in 2001, one day before his 23rd birthday, in a free diving accident while on a surf trip to the Maldives. He will always be remembered for his fearlessness in big waves but more importantly for his friendly, positive attitude towards others in and out of the water.
For the 2009 race, CLIF BAR has stepped up their commitment to the event by coming on board as presenting sponsor. CLIF BAR staff will be on hand passing out their incredible energy bars and other nutrition products including their new sports drink, CLIF Quench.
For more information about the 2009 Surftech Jay Moriarity Memorial Paddleboard Race or to register online, check out the event site at www.surftech.com.
With the summer time flat spells getting longer, a lot of folks are breaking out the paddleboards to keep those arms in shape.
This 14 footer was designed using my stock 12 ft templates. I stretched out the curves to come up with some pretty sleek lines. From glass to rough conditions, I try to design my paddleboards to cover a big range.
The 12 ft and 14 footer have really been popular sizes for their versatility and simplicity.
When the blanks and templates don't exist to build what you want, you have to make them yourself. I'm old school and like to loft the curves at full scale before I start throwing foam around. This project is for a couple of short, wave specific SUPs I'll be building.