And the Band Played On

This was the last waltz for Gary Stachan in his role as a California State Park Ranger, including a long running gig as head ranger at Año Nuevo State Park. After 34 years of service, Gary is retiring. To celebrate he threw a classic shindig full of music, food, and good friends.

As a hardcore surfer and accomplished waterman, Gary has been outstanding in his field. He has always stood tall in the forest of bureaucrats and has embodied the meaning of stewardship of our state's wild places.

During his tenure, the parks along the North Coast have been transformed into real gems of stunning beauty that are well planned, accessible, and most importantly, still natural and wild. Gary was profiled in the summer 2006 Surfer's Journal. It's a good glimpse of a waterman's life as a California State Park Ranger.

How many rangers do you see in a surfboard print button down wearing a lei? Even though Gary will no longer be the front man at Año, rest assured that he has found his voice and will continue to hit the right note in more ways than one (more surfing and kitesurfing!)

I know that for my family, his work along this coast has made our lives richer. Let's hope that Sacramento and the people of California follow his tune and the song remains the same.

Feliz Año Nuevo


Easy Rider

Allyn makes his annual migration to the warm waters of Puerto Rico and wanted a serious Fun Gun for cruising the bigger waves at places like Wilderness. We set it up with 5 boxes so he could try it as a quad and also gave it a heavy glass job to deal with the strong winds and bump that come with bigger waves in PR.

It's Good To Be Loved

Leslie, the SwimArt open water swim coach, had her surfboard swiped recently. But she wasn't without a board for long thanks to these amazing speedo clad polar bears who banded together and had me build her a custom board complete with business logo. The next time you're out surfing Fort Point and you see a few bright colored swim caps bobbing around, you might have to reassess your definition of "hardcore"!

Trouble in Paradise

Steve sends this photo and some insight into what folks living in paradise are faced with when things get rocking in the big pond (and being a surfer, he also took note of the surf potential and local customs).

"I recently went to survey the damage caused by the tsunami in American Samoa. It was my first time working in a disaster area and it was kind of heavy. Some of the villages were completely wiped out. The Samoan people were unbelievably friendly and were quickly cleaning up and rebuilding their homes and lives. Everyone had an incredible story to tell about their experience with the tsunami. I attached a photo I thought you might be interested in, tsunami damge and a perfect wave in the background.

Unfortunately too much survey gear to bring a board!! I know, hard to believe. Plus there are basically no surfers on American Samoa. No surf shops. No boards to rent. Not even a surf sticker anywhere. But there are plenty of spots and we saw alot of perfect set-ups. Most of the spots appear to be high tide only shallow reef ledges. There was quite a bit of wind at the places with the most swell as well. The wave in the photo was a few feet overhead, spitting and makeable. At low tide, every wave ended on dry reef. Respect is key in Samoa. You can't just pull up and surf. You have to find the village Chief (Matai) and ask for permission to basically even just hang out. The people are super friendly and there are no problems, but you have to ask."


2009 Sunset

Rebecca and Buell sent this photo from their recent Baja adventure and it reminded me that the sun is setting on 2009. Where has the time gone? This past month I've had a full plate. The blog got pushed to the back burner as board orders, holidays, and family fun time began to boil over.

I feel at times that I haven't done justice to all the great feedback I get from my customers. So for these last few days of 2009, my hope is to share a few of the great stories and photos from the year.


Things with Wings

Jake has always been interested in the classic designs that have come and gone over the years. But he has also had the mindset to bring them forward and transform them into modern performance shapes. This has been a great watershed of experimentation and creative freedom.

Both these boards harken back to the single fin 70's. The outlines give a hint to how plan shapes were set up. But the retro lust stops there. Everything else is pretty much modern. Sure, I'll flatten a deck a little, puff a rail out, or flute the wings, but that just adds to the fact that these are custom boards and not just something you get off the rack.