Sunday, March 29, 2009

Next up at bat...

Leandra has a gazillion projects going on at any one time - Hawaiian quilts, sewing projects for herself or the kids, sewing projects for friends, the desire to cook new foods, physical fitness activities, sewing classes, and other things. She has said, and I am quoting, "you have to start a new project before you finish off your current one to keep your perspective fresh".

Well - even though I've got two ongoing projects (the woodie at home and the foamie with the class), I must admit I've been thinking about what is next (LA HAS GOTTEN ME BRAINWASHED).

Well, here it is - a sub 9'6" SUP. Probably will be a 9'2" - this one built for manuevering as it's main focus. The Walden will turn, but it still has a longboard/cruiser feeling to it. This next project will be built to have a wave dissecting capability that will make it the envy of all waveriders!!! That's the intention anyways... and if you don't like it when I'm done, well thats ok too. As long as La likes it then that's all that matter!!!

The Naish 9'3" is almost perfect - except that it has FCS fins (I hate FCS fins!) and the nose is a little skinnier that I would like (take the Naish 9'6" nose and put it on the 9'3" tail, use Futures boxes on the side thrusters and put a fin box in the middle and I'll buy it!). The Infinity Carver is also very close - it has the wider nose, curvy hips for turning and futures boxes. What it doesn't have is the bomb proof composite sandwich construction the Naish has.

Bamboo top and bottom skins, vacuum bagging (yes Nick - I have seen the light), 2# EPS core, carbon fiber as the bottom inner glass to promote stiffness - this will be pretty cool when it's all finished.

My mission - to take the best from both and make the "ENVY"!!!! Depending on when I get orders and to where, this may take a while...

But like La says "You gotten start before you finish"!!!

The 9'3" is credited to the Naish Surfing website; the Infinity Carver is credited to the Infinity Surfboards website - both AWESOME sources for AWESOME boards (I have several myself - so yes I do endorse them).


This plant is ubiquitous here in Southern California.

The DOT plants it all along the freeway system.

It grows all along the shoreline.

Developers plant it in neighborhoods.

This group was at the Oxnard Beach Park. The TEAM had it's annual Easter Party for the kids of the families at UCT TWO. We had a pretty good turnout and great weather. The flowers these plants put out have always mesmorized me - stringy petals and the vibrant purple and yellow contrasted by the green leaves - when you take the time to notice the little things around you, you suddenly realize just how much there is out there and how awesome it all is.

And I went SUPing - forgot the GoPro so no evidence. I brought the Naish 11'6" thinking La and maybe some others would give it a go, but alas it was me taking on the sea alone. At first it was ugly - it had been a while since I had this board out in sizable waves (Saturday was shoulder to head high - swell from the West). But by the time I was ready to call it quits for the day, I was paddling the board out through the breakers (standing up) and zooming into the steep beach breaking walls (and getting a few cutbacks with this ginormous board). The waves would have been easier to ride on the 9'6" Walden - but they were challenging and fun on the 11'6".

To be a good surfer - to me anyways - means you need to be able to adapt to changing conditions and equipment. I am a GOOD surfer!!!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mini Transat

Here is the other end of the sailboat spectrum I am trying to sell La on...

These are smaller single hull boats that are used to race across the Atlantic single-handedly. Pretty ambitious - but if we get one of these, it would be to fart around on and slaughter local yacht club fodder.

More likely a dream that will remain unfulfilled (we are really looking at a beach cat that we can store in the backyard), but with dual rudders, articulating keel, sleek, streamlined cockpit - how can you not like this boat???!!!

Maybe after I retire from my second career...

Photo credits to

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Gratuitous Head Shot

I just got back from visiting two of the Dets -

I won't say where but some interesting places.

Here is a picture of me waiting to make a dive - I reenlisted one of my seabees 134' below the surface. Good fun!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Decking glued up on the Paipo

Both the top and bottom are all glued up.

I may have to do some cosmetic surgery on the top deck... the two halves were not jointing properly (I guess I waited too long to start the gluing - 3 years and varying environments = warping; just funny that it was only these two central planks and no others). I ended up using a jigsaw to cut through both layers in order to get the two halves to come together tightly.

Well, it was dark, cold, there was poor lighting and a few times I got off track. Hopefully the glue I'm using (came with the kit) will solve the problem. It is colored or has some sort of filler in it.

Anyways - tomorrow morning when the clamps come off, I'll see what the damage is.

If I have time, I'll get a 2x6, a 2x4 and start setting up the rocker table.

Foamies moving along

3 of the 5 guys taking the shaping class were working today.

Seemed like a factory - really cool!

Thursday, March 12, 2009


The bottom deck of the paipo is all glued up.

I have also drawn in a center line (to line up the keel during gluing) and drawn in the outline of the board (plus 1/2" for a working surface). I will bring home my Japanese pull saw (from work where I'm teaching a class on building a conventional board) and cut out the outline.

The other picture is the top deck almost glued up - just have to glue the two halves together. There was a significant gap in the two center pieces. I need the Japanese saw to make a clean up pass and get the two top done.

I also need to make a rocker table (simple one).

Seabee Divers Association - 35th Anniversary of the UCTs

HOO-YAH 35 Years of Underwater Construction Technicians!!!

The Seabee Divers Association is holding a 35th Anniversary (of the commissioning of the Underwater Construction Teams).

Dates are starting to settle in - June 26/27/28.

Some activities will be held at UCT2, others at other restaurants/venues around the local area.

The group planning the event asked me for help in getting a commemorative coin designed/made (I re-did the UCT2 command coin recently). I unveiled the idea I had for a tattoo - the picture is a really rough sketch, but if it would make a good tattoo, it would certainly make an awesome coin.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Blast from the past

It's been a while since I posted on this -

The Grain 'Leaf' Paipo board. Last we visited this project, I had just finished gluing up the ribs and spine. Knowing my days here in California are numbered, I figured I need to get this thing put together (as the movers would surely trash an unfinished board in packing/shipment).

Also - it'd be nice to have another wood board in the quiver (albeit swim fin powered and of the belly variety - the Alaia will be an awesome wall-hanging tribute to surfing history, at least until I can get the rails tuned up and my shoulders in shape for paddling it).

Here's the top deck planks being glued up. I figure I'll finish the top deck tomorrow, and use Wednesday and Thursday to glue up the bottom deck. Time permitting, cut out the rough outline from the bottom deck and put it all aside again until I get back from travel.

I'll need to make some PVC spring clamps also before going full swing.

Humans need to be busy, ehh?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Nacra F18 Infusion

This is the other competitor in the F18 class.

The lines on this cat are amazing!!!

It's also vacuum bagged and infused with resin to maximize strength to weight ratios.

Nice - really nice.

On another note - I don't know why I do this to myself? We are headed to Okinawa in less than four months - for 3 years. No chance of us getting a boat while we're there (can't ship anything longer than 14' - SUPs yes, Catamaran no). Yet after reading that Plastiki article and discussing selling my motorcycle with La (with no replacement when we get back since the kids are getting older - at least with a catamaran I'll be able to get a cool truck) I am now researching something I can't get for 3+ years.

Torture. Pure torture.

I did this to myself while I was in Baghdad - research things I can't play with.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Ocean outtings yesterday

I didn't take any pictures, but yesterday was a good day -

Dawn patrol in the morning at the north end of Silver Strand. Head high on the sets (caught a few of those) and only a few people out. I used the 6'5" I made last year and it was great to be surfing short again - except for being 'in' the water - it was really cold. I'm so spoiled now keeping high and dry on the SUP...

And the double feature was a kiting session in the afternoon at the south end of Hueneme Beach. 12-O and go!!! Used the 12 Shockwave and the short 'Flash' board. Like I said a few days ago "my favorite board".

My arms hurt in a great way last night -

I've been scheming with some gadgets, so more picture ideas coming...

Hobie Tiger

And here it is -

This (or a Hobie 16) is in our future, most likely when we get back from Okinawa in 2012.

By then I should have La trained in the fine arts of sailing and talking like a pirate - ARRRRRRHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

Have a HOO-YAH day (that's diver talk for 'awesome')

Friday, March 6, 2009


A person who wants to bring awareness to the Pacific Gyre filled with plastic garbage is funding a project that is making a catamaran out of recycled plastic bottles and alternative building materials.

Alot of similar efforts have been circulating in the backyard surfboard making circles for several years now and are even showing up in production levels to a degree. Fiberglass is being replaced with bamboo fibers and polyurethane blanks have moved to expanded polystrene and now to soy-based foams. It'll be a few more years until these new materials fill in the larger market share (oil prices will have to go up again, production infrastructure will have to come into place and most important - the mentality of the market will have to change to be more accepting of these products, which will be driven by the durability and user friendliness tests being performed today).

As an engineer, I am glad there are alternative materials popping up - each has properties you'd want to tap into. As a father who wants a better place for my kids to grow and live in, and a surfer that sees and has to pick up garbage all the time, to be able to take water/drink bottles and turn them into items we use everyday would be awesome.

La is really stoked to get to a warm water locale again (Okinawa-bound). She wants to crew on a racing catamaran and hit the circuit with me (Hobie Tiger...). So browsing the web I stumbled on this article. I think this guy is on the extremist side (he has a lot of money and time on his hands, and get this - he isn't even a sailor and he's looking to go transoceanic - what happened to work ups and risk management?), but the approach is interesting - from a marine architecture point of view.

Photos credited to:
Mark Costantini / The Chronicle

Main article is located here:

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Favorite Kiteboard

The 4'10" Naish Twin Tip Directional "Flash" model

Certainly an oldie - but to date the most dependable board I've ever kited with (and the list is long and distinguished).

The quad setup on this one is actually being used on the latest racing boards being made (reference the NJS fin setups) and the thing is bullet proof - hardly a scratch on it after tons of usage.

I ordered this board back in 2001 and it has served me faithfully all these years as I've slashed waves apart across the globe (Virginia Beach, the Outer Banks, Florida, Oahu, the Shonan coastline, and the Ventura beaches).

Massive channels upfront.

Sometimes things happen for a reason... this board and I were meant to meet wave energy head on and convert it into stoke energy.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tako to me

If you want to reach out from cyberspace, here's my contact:


Please don't spam me (even though I enjoy a good musubi) and announce yourself in the email title if you don't want me to instantly delete the mail for fear of a viral release.

Oh, have you seen this?

This is surfer porn!!! And in my backyard!

And the last post for today...

I have to say 'Aloha' and 'Mahalo' to Wardog from Surfing Sports

If you check out his blog, he says this very blog you are reading is 'kewl' - and he's got a picture of me paddling the new Naish Glide (awesome board)!

Leading the good life - surfing, windsurfing or paddling depending on the conditions; running a surf shop; traveling to try out new boards; and getting to try out the coolest gadgets (of which I have bought plenty). I want to be a Wardog when I grow up (and retire from the Navy).

Here's a few back at you Warren!!! Keep up the great work!

My 'second' favorite kiteboard

The Stretch Trow Directional

Incredible wave decapitator, especially with a fully powered kite or in high winds. Soooooo easy, it's like trimming the fat of a perfectly done roast - cuts like a hot, sharp santuko knife through butter.....

The quad setup (familar sight around my garage) is as always - drivey when you want it to stick (bottom turn), yet break loose-able when gouging (off the tops) - oh, and fast as the General Lee on nitrous on the way to the dirt ramp to do the obligatory jump (by the way, have you seen the new Dodge Challenger??? HOT-HOT-HOT. Too bad roof racks and a big SUP would ruin the lines...).

My 'all time' favorite kiteboard tomorrow....

Next please...

I'm holding a class at work (after hours of course) to raise funds for a picnic/tshirts/ballcaps/etc (no - were not using any government resources to do this except some space - all tools belong to either me or the group members shaping).

Here are a few pictures of the newest board emerging from the foam ether... It's going to be an egg with a 2+1 setup. I'm still debating about standard futures for sidebiters, or going with C5 boxes and fins (a la Andreini 'Vaqueros de las Olas') - there's time before I have to make a decision, but I am already leaning towards the regular SBs for versatility (the tail is going to be round instead of squared).

Yeah I know there is a straight section in the port rail - a little sandpaper will take care of that. Besides - perfect symmetry is for boring people who are ambidextrous (or goofy-regulars) - I prefer my boards to have character. Rails and templates to accentuate and capitalize on the strengths and weaknesses of my front and back sides (at least that's my story and I'm sticking to it ;)

This one says 'vibrant green' to me. Maybe vibrant green lateral stripes on a really dark green base.

Any how - stay tuned as the shaping class continues....