Science and Surfing

You're invited to "Surf's Up Nightlife" at the California Academy of Sciences this Thursday, Dec 2nd, for an evening filled with the science, art, and culture of surfing. There will be films, forums, and surf related displays. You can even see some tarp surfing.

I'll be sitting in on a round table on surfboard shaping and green design. Come on by and get your stoke up. There's going to be a lot of great stuff at a very cool location. Hope to see you there.

California Academy of Sciences
"Surf's Up NightLife" - Thursday, December 2nd

Mavericks Film with Pro-Surfer Panel

We’re pleased to present a screening from the soon to be released movie ‘Super Natural’ from Powerlines Productions. This includes footage from last year’s big wave event at Mavericks and giant surf from Pe’ahi (aka “Jaws”). The movie’s producers will introduce the piece and each screening will be followed by talks and Q & A with a panel of professional surfers. Check back as the event approaches for confirmed panel participants.

There will be two film screenings, each followed by the panel discussion. Seating is limited, passes will be available on a first-come, first-served basis on the night of the event.

Tarp Surfing and More

Throughout the building, we’ll have a variety of surf and ocean oriented activities. There will be a stunning display of tarp surfing in our central piazza, films and videos playing throughout the building, and other great surprises.

Surfing and Ocean Gallery

Our iconic African Hall will be transformed into and gallery dedicated to the art and science of surfing. We’ll have surf board art, interactive displays and games about the ocean and surfing from local Surfrider organizations and others.

Scheduled to participate are: Save the Waves, Marin Surfrider, San Francisco Surfrider, San Mateo Surfrider, Surfaid, Surf for Life, American Cetacean Society, Project Kaisei, Sea Stewards, Frank Quirarte, Art Gimbel, Doug Acton, Seth Migdail, Matthew Proehl, Paul Ferraris and others.

Expert Roundtables

Here is your opportunity to learn more on a variety of topics pertaining to surfing and the ocean in an intimate setting with renowned experts. We’ll have three topics this evening:

Surfboard Shaping and Green Design - Moderated by David McGuire and featuring James Mitchell, Danny Hess, Ward Coffey, and Kevin Whilden

Surfing and Environmentalism - with Kyle Thiermann and J. Nichols.


Enjoy the following planetarium shows this week at NightLife:

Life: A Cosmic Story
6:30 pm

A surfing film from Powerlines Productions (title TBA)
7:30 pm and 8:30 pm

Passes to planetarium shows are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Pick up your pass at the Planetarium Kiosk.


Northwest Passage

Most of you are familiar with the Malloy brothers getting all bearded out, poking around in plaid, and chasing exotic waves around the globe. Well here's a group of guys living the dream right here in the continental US. In true Lewis and Clark spirit, these adventurers show us that the quest is as much fun as getting to the end of the trail. I am reminded that if we take the time to make the time, anyone can enjoy the riches of the outdoors, good friends, good spirits, and good times.

Guest post by Jeff Smith:

With a couple of Ward Boards and boat in tow; myself, good bud Rob Sweet and new to the crew Mike Boo ventured out to the Northwest coast to explore a remote break. The plan was to motor my wooden drift boat over to a lake island to camp.

From there we boated over to a trailhead to begin the 2 mile hike to the Pacific.

We had surfed the spot before but always on very small swells. This weekend we were more hopeful with a 7ft/13sec West rolling in. Due to the remoteness of the 2 mile trail, going was tough on wet, slippery, broken boardwalks with fallen trees to navigate around. Soon, however, we heard the sweet sound of swell and took a break before the last mile on the beach around a couple of headlands.

Rounding the last corner, smiles sprouted at the sight of head high peelers coming through offering slow lefts and fast paced rights.

For three straight days we were greeted to this sunshine and briny dream followed by satisfied hikes back, evening trout fishing, campfires and booze. 4 days of Autumn paradise.



Look up in the sky. It's a bird. It's a plane. No, it's Spudnik! Sean takes an earthly view of his new "mini Simmons" inspired craft. At 4'10" x 22" this board is closer to a bar of soap than a surfboard. But Sean says, "this thing is out of this world and puts me in a whole new orbit!"

Interesting feedback. Could this be the new space race in board design?


Rasta's New Ride

Though the van is pretty cool, the 5'11" quad fish Dave Rastovich is holding is even cooler. The quad fin project I've been working on with Thomas Campbell has been bearing some sweet fruit.

Thomas has been fired up on these quads and knowing that Dave was going to be passing through town, Thomas had me make one up so he could get it to Dave as he headed to the East Coast to chase hurricane swells and then on to France for a gig there.

In Maine, Dave hooked up with Dug and the boys at "Get in the Van". They've got a good pulse on the East Coast surf scene and put out a nice blog with some great images of their capers. For more photos of Dave's run, go to Get in the Van / the Chase Channel and click on the (hurricane) Earl button.

After we got back the images and feedback from Dave, I told Thomas that if we can make a surfboard that will inspire you to surf, play music, and make art then we've made the world a better place.


Samba for Surf

This is Santa Cruz and when the surf goes flat for a couple of weeks folks around here will try anything to appease the surf gods. In this case a local Samba band decided to do an impromptu photo / video shoot in front of the Steamer Lane mural by my shop.

I was in my shaping room when I started hearing an unfamiliar beat. It drew my outside to see these cats pounding out a hypnotic rhythm.

Next thing I know it's a party and gala clad girls on stilts with feather boas and hula hoops start dancing around.

Soon it was a carnival and a lively crowd gathered and watched the festivities unfold.

The mural has been the backdrop for a lot of interesting and creative photo ops. Santa Cruz has a richly colorful cast of characters who at an moment can pop up and remind us that life is really worth living. Whatever mojo these folks have it must be working because shortly after their gig we had that nice south swell and our first northwest of the season heading our way.


Double Mint

Jon's 5'10" double wing Egg measures out at a 15 7/8" nose, 20 3/4" midpoint, 15 7/8" tail and is 2 5/8" thick. Heaps of float but low rails in the nose and tail.

Tri or quad fin options make the board extremely versatile. From the beaches to the point breaks, Jon's got it covered.


When Groms Get Shacked

From the "it's always overhead" annuals, Sam tucks into a nifty little bowl at our favorite wedge factory. Just a stones throw from our house, this summertime fun spot makes those flat spells spin by.

If you added up all the kids' tube time this summer I bet it would be more than some kids spend in front of a screen or thumb wrestling their phone. I think that's a fair trade off for good clean fun.


All Smiles

Dave got the green light to get a new surfboard, with the condition that his daughter be in charge with coming up with the color design. With smiles like these I'd say everyone was happy with how things turned out.


Modern Art II

Another batch of boards for the folks at Del Cabo. Very simple but colorful spray jobs.


The Other Side of the Tracks

Eli and the boys cross the tracks on their trek down to the beach in search of some waves.

Through the eyes of a talented lensman everyday landmarks take on monumental forms of striking beauty. Such is the case when David Smith (dustybermshot.com) joins up with the crew for a surf.

This was one of those magical times when the sun just breaks through the grays of the morning fog and everything turns sparkly and bright. It's moments like these when you look around and know how lucky we are to be able to live and surf in such a beautiful little notch along the coast.


King Neptune Says Surf

Toby had one of Neptune's favorite sons, Dave Gardner, do some of his wacky surf themed art on his new board.

If you've cruised through the lower Westside neighborhoods or along the North Coast just outside of town, chances are you've seen Dave's artwork hanging from telephone poles or tucked obscurely along the train tracks.

And any sidewalk surfer who has ventured the highline along the tiles at the Santa Cruz Skate Park will know Dave's work well.

Choosing to work with materials on hand and a lover of all things organic, Dave is the ultimate underground artist. And when you have a resume that includes teacher, farmer, and ultra smooth wave slider you have a lot of humus to draw from.

This surfboard's artwork is witty, simple and fun, and is filled with little treasures of Oceania mixed with what a spirited sailor would dream of while out at sea.


4x4 at the Fun Factory

Thomas C ponders the possibilities of his new quad fish. We've recently collaborated on a few surfboard projects with some really good results.

With this board we've focused on maximizing the performance features in the design. By pulling in the tail, adding tail rocker, and redesigning the bottom contours, the board feels super responsive, cranks off the bottom, and seamlessly transitions into tight snappy turns off the top. I've paired the board with the Future Fins V2F4 Quads which by all reports is the go to set up.

Like all projects, things keep evolving. And I'm completely stoked in the direction it's going.


Modern Art

Seems like every time you open a surf mag all you see are super human surf stuntmen chucking their boards above the lip line. As one commentator at the recent WQS contest said, "the air reverse is the new cutback." Interesting.

The other thing you may notice is that most of the artwork is done on the deck of the board, and particularly in the back 2/3 of the board. Reason? Well, admittedly we're all followers of fashion in a sense, and what the pros ride is what the kids want. But there is also a bit of function to the direction of color design.

One, the fresh white canvas of the nose area allows the sponsor's logos to be seen clearly (important, because they are paying the bills). Two, all that color between the surfer's feet flashes brightly as they go through one of their tail chucking turns. Judges like that and the big turns get rewarded accordingly (also important, because good results mean the sponsors keep wanting to pay the bills).

Where is this going? Let's get back down to earth. The folks at Del Cabo Surf Shop asked me to do a batch of shortboards and were wondering if I would do the color work too. "What would you like?" was my question. "Something the kids like" was the reply.

Hmm. I might have an idea. The one thing about the youth movement is that anything goes. And that's what made doing these loose and simple sprays so fun. This batch will also have the WCS logo offset to the right side so the kids can put all their cool stickers up on the nose.

Post script: Stress Test

The most stressful part of my week is loading up freshly shaped and airbrushed boards and driving them to the glass shop. It's similar to running an "egg in a spoon" race across a prairie dog town - land mines everywhere. Traffic and road construction is all part of running the gauntlet.

Not until after the boards are all safely lined up with work cards and decals can I take a deep breath and relax. Now let's go surfing.


Spring Fling

So here is one of the reasons I haven't done a post in a while. You see, we've been having such a good run of surf I treated myself to a new board. It started out so innocently but things have gotten pretty serious and I've been spending a lot of overtime in the water with my new ride.

This board measures out at 6'0" x 14 1/2 x 20 1/8 x 14 3/4 by 2 1/2. I'm using the Future VF4 Quad Fins which really give the board a lot of drive and speed. With the rounded pin it's very smooth rail to rail and holds tight in the pocket. I'm pretty jazzed.

It's a bonus to the stoke factor when you find a faithful companion that will fly freely on the face of a wave and surprise and enlighten you on each go out.


A Word from the Toy Maker

My fitness friends Scott and Todd at SurfStronger put together this nifty little video of me talking about getting a custom board. It gives some insight into the thoughts and process that go into shaping a board, plus the stoke I get from my customers.

As you can see, I'm serious about being a toymaker. And the gang at SurfStronger is serious about being fit and in shape to surf at your full potential. Their programs have worked great to help this stiff old geezer stay in the game. Maybe the next workout video will be ShapeStronger.


Easter Egg Hunt

Damon hops up and takes the high line on his backhand. Like all creative people, Damon not only puts a lot of positive input into his boards, he also designs his own color jobs. For more on his work, check out www.PitchedMedia.com.

The one thing you might not find is where this photo was taken. But that's what surfing is all about, going out on a hunt to find little treats that await us tucked away in the coves and along the beaches.