Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sea World

And since we were down in San Diego, La and I decided our kids deserved a special treat - Sea World!!!

Fun weekend!!!!

Hennessey/Hobie Paddleboard Race

Yesterday (Saturday) - went down to Dana Point (Doheny Beach State Park) to paddle in the Hobie Race.

I paddled the 6 miler - not sure where I came in (probably better than half - I never said I was fast) - and had tons of fun!

I had a lot of time to think while paddling and got to put the conditions up against the boards and builds of the paddlers and figured some things out.

1. I've always heard that for downwinders, you want a light board. Well I believe it now. My board is not light - 2 pound EPS with a really great epoxy glass job (very durable). Lighter people were flying downwind on the leg out (downwind). If the race you are paddling in is a downwinder, use a hollow board or a full carbon, lightly (just enough) glassed board.

2. For pushing a board upwind or crosswind, a board with heft will cut through the chop/swell much better than a hollow/lightly glassed board. I passed everyone that got ahead of me during the outbound leg - smarter paddling (not veering too far off the mark lines, paddling in cadence with the swell (not fighting it) and keeping a slimmer profile into the wind) helps too, but a board not chattering with every piece of swell/chop that hits it saves your momentum and keeps you from getting beat up (anymore than you already are).

3. When paddling anywhere near shore in Southern California, use a weed friendly fin. If you do not, you will not go fast (dragging seaweed does not make you fast).

4. Unlimited boards go fast.

5. I'd like to go fast.

Fun race!

Hot Coated!!!

Took the board home today to work on it.

I used Posca pens to hand draw on the "E Ku I Luna A Hoe" - the original laminate got washed out - colors from the inkjet were not bold enough to stand out against the avocado colored blank.

Had to throw on another trident - because tridents are cool, tridents are symbols of seapower and I like tridents!

Hotcoated the bottom and the top. Used Resin Research CE epoxy resin (UV inhibitors added in with an optical clarifier - it's blue instead of clear like the old 2000 resin).

The hotcoats setup decently - darn shame I have to put the sander to it... But with the boxes to break free, and the leash plugs/vent still to put in, to the sander it shall go. Anyways - a high grit matte finish is best for fluid dynamics (fully developed water boundary layer - same trick dinghy racers use, but by the hand of a sander with a sheet of 1000 grit stuck on it).

Here's where I get to remember why glassing and sanding are the easiest ways to screw up a home built board...

E Ku I Luna A Hoe!!!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Boxes in...

I FINALLY got the boxes into the board. Work has been crazy busy again (and will be for the next couple of weeks), so it has been slow going on the boards.

Among the many issues consuming time - a proper jig for the center box. 3/4" Ply with sandpaper grip on the bottom. That coupled with a template follower and a 1/2" bit that is 2" long and the box is getting cut!!!

So back to the board - I ran out of epoxy (Resin Research), so I went over to Foam, Fins and Fiberglass today to pick up another 1.5 gallon set. If you are in SOCAL and haven't been to this shop (they just moved from Main to Thompson) then shame on you. Lots of character in this place - you don't get the "they're trying to sell me something" feeling in here like you do in some other shops. Their board building supplies get you interested, but the eclectic boards and cool threads keeps you interested. Check them out if you are passing through the area.

I'll be hotcoating the board on Sunday. Getting closer!!!

Monday, May 25, 2009


Went back to Mondos again today - liked it so much yesterday, I had to come back today and I brought the family!

Well - our normal beach day activities had to be altered a little bit - we normally dig some pretty deep holes, but there are worms everywhere. We've also flown kites before, but this beach had lots of people today so we had limited flying space. The water is starting to warm up, but the wind put a spin on the paddling for La (kept her from standing up the whole session). In short - awesome small wave spot - but not what we're used to.

Despite the comparisons not working in our favor, another great day at the beach!!!

Oh - got new tires today (as well as new belts for the engine - no more squealing when turning over the engine; and a new air filter). A couple of paydays from now and the Pathfinder (Surffinder) will have a new fuel filter, new automatic transmission fluid and new power steering fluids as well as an oil change. Since we're not going to Okinawa anymore (headed for Gulfport, Mississippi now), I'm keeping the SUV for another few years. Gotta take care of it since it will have Humungocumulus (the name of our boat that we are still working on getting/deciding on - cat or tri....) hauling duties.

I'll post Pathfinder pics tomorrow.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

2-fer Today!!!

La was excessively generous to me today -

I got to SUP-surf C-Street this morning. Got more than my fair share of waves - not that I was being a wave hog - more that the waves better suited the shorter SUPs. I tried out some fins I had in reserve - a 6" hatchet in the center box and larger fins (VF2 F4s) in the thruster positions AND WHOA!!!! Talk about ripping!!!

Made me think hard about the potential of the Walden (SUP) (I was thinking about selling it to make another SUP or to get a board with less nose and less waist - all in the name of ripping!). I was able to crank much harder roundhouses with these fins - I RIP!!!!

Ran some errands in between sessions, then Mondos for an early afternoon surf. Awesome break for beginners and just playing around. Real mellow surfers. Unfortunately while parking, I backed up over a beer bottle someone had left in the road - shredded my rear starboard tire - so I had to install the flat (and lost out on the best surf at the break - what followed was still good, but not as good as what was there as I pulled up...).

Nice day of surf!!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

C Street SUPing and Glassing

The shaping class is pushing forward - the first student that worked yesterday got the top laminate on today and a second student got the bottom laminate on as well.

The third one gets his board back from the paint shop today and he'll start glassing on Monday.

I'll start my boxes on Monday and hopefully will get a side hotcoated.

The Team surf club had it's usual outting this morning - pitifully small waves, but fun on the SUPertanker. This June Gloom marine layer is always making me sleepy....

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Diving Day

Training day pierside.

Any chance to jump in the water makes the day better.


On another note - minishreadzilla is not doing so well - I majorly messed up the centerfin box - so bad there was a meltdown. I'm going to have to graft in some new foam to fix it.

Minishreadzilla has been a tremendous exercise in patience... but the twinzer setup does look sweet!!!

The class I'm giving is moving along. I'm trying to get everyone through so I can focus on other things (my family and spending time with them in our last days in southern California, finishing some deliverables I have for work and I'm getting the bug to relearn the ukulele, and maybe some kiting...). The first student has his finboxes in and his bottom deck laminated. Two others are finishing their paint jobs - ready to cut boxes and get to lamination. The fourth is rapidly coming through the rough shaping and the last is way behind - so behind I may have to start shaping his board for him. Anyways...

Pictures tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Top Laminate came out GREAT!

Oh yeah!!!

Even the corners at the tail (notorious for floating off the blank) stayed put.


Next up - cleaning up the laps; routing out the fin box holes; epoxying in the boxes; placing patches over the boxes; cleaning up the boxes; then hotcoating; plug installation; rough sanding - fine sanding - final sanding; curing; riding -

Megashreadzilla should take to the waters off Southern California to wreck havoc on unsuspecting silly-vilians and watermen of lesser abilities (watch out kooks) in about 2 weeks...

I can't wait!!!

Making boards is a great way to out-wait no swell days and general blahness.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Great tools

I have grown to love tools (what person in their right mind doesn't?)! Even if you don't think you love tools, you just haven't opened your eyes wide enough. La has tools galore! Anything you need to sew - even a very smart sewing machine (so smart it feints injury so it doesn't have to work - I got to try that sometime).

One of my newest is this electric scissors from Black and Decker. This things cuts through fiberglass like it was tissue paper!

The best tool I have ever had is this DeWalt Random Orbital Palm Sander. I bought it somewhere on Oahu back in 1997 when I started playing with fiberglass (to modify a Gerry Lopez 6'0" surfboard into a kiteboard - but that's a couple of different stories). I've used it on every surfboard shaping and repair job I have done since then. I would have trouble counting all of them, but I suspect the repair jobs number somewhere above 100 (I don't turn down opportunities to work on someone else's boards either) and the shaping is up past ten now (other people's stuff counted too). I've had to change out the backing pad on this thing 4 times now - and it still won't quit!!!!

In time I know this will go the way of social security and medicare (BROKEN), but when it does, it will only be immortalized in my own personal hall of fame!!!

Anyways - time to get off the computer and get some sleep.

Top Deck On

Cleaned up last night's bottom laminate. The bottom deck came out beautifully. The rails and especially the nose left a lot to be desired.

After the lap cleanups, I went and bought some 1/4" Red Pin Striping tape from Autozone. $4.99

Placed the tape on and then got the fiberglass ready. 2X 4 oz again - with a little less than an inch on the laps. I cut a lot less relief cuts on this one - seemed to work better.

Mixed up 24 oz of resin research epoxy and BAM - right on the MONEY - not a drop wasted!!! As much as I dread glassing, I figure I'm starting to get a gut feel for it.

I love shaping. I love sanding - even over and over again - nothing like seeing the shine come out of something after sanding with progressively finer sandpaper. But I do not love glassing. Of all the things that could go wrong with making a board, this is where all the risk is in my humble opinion. Polyester is probably easier and less hassle, but the stigma that comes with EPOXY - high tech, etc. just keeps drawing me back. Oh, and no spidercracks. I hate spidercracks. I hate spidercracks more than I don't love glassing.

We'll see how it all turned out tomorrow...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bottom laminate

Well -

Inspired by all the awesome surfcraft I was exposed to all weekend, I was driven to get my projects back underway.

I went straight for the big one - glassing Megashreadzilla.

I actually am going to trying placing the fin boxes in after the laminate and before the hotcoat on this board. I'll still use patches to brace the Futures boxes on the side fin positions.

The laminates didn't show up at all - relatively speaking. I thought for sure yellow on a green background would work. I'm chalking this one up to the subtly excuse (although the only time I am arrogant is when I surf - pretty ironic).

The bottom deck (2X 4oz glass) went on surprisingly smooth. The rail wrap is going to require some cleanup before I laminate the top layer though - but don't they all - or at least that's what I like to think.

I am getting to the point where I consider myself to be a decent shaper - but I would still classify myself as an amateur glasser. And my stubborn streak of exclusively using epoxy is just another way of me making it harder on myself (although epoxy is far superior to all but UV activated poly).

Anyways - Enjoy! Tomorrow: rail cleanup/red pinstriping and top laminate

Gerry Lopez

Gerry was at the Sacred Craft show today.

I took Noe back there today so we could see him shape a board and to get him to sign our book and poster.

I don't watch much TV, or pay much attention to any of the current gossip (Jon and Kate have got much bigger problems than where his next date is coming from or who's going to pay for the next Hawaiian vacation) - in fact I've appointed myself the social hermit crab - it takes a lot to break through my tough outer shell (just ask La).

But to see Gerry in action - now thats something to see! A shaper's dream!

And all for the bargain price of $5!!! It's great to know that someone that has such a great philosophy on life has blazed a trail living life as well as he has. I know what I want to do when I grow up!

May the Guru live long and prosper!!!

More pictures from the Sacred Craft show

White Hot Blanks was giving away small EPS blanks and small squares of sandpaper for kids to keep themselves entertained at the show. It certainly worked for Noe (bought me some more time to take in the vendor's booths).

A lot of standups. Dave Daum's shapes looked to be the winner in my book - a little thinner than I have surfed, and with a less drawn down rail than I use, but a solid offering (and the most balanced at the show).

The 8'10" Surftech Gerry Lopez SUP was also on display - if I didn't shape and glass my own now, my wallet would be a lot lighter right now - BEAUTIFUL board that looks like a ripper!!! But of course right??? Look at it's pedigree and you realize that what it's sole purpose on this earth has to be -

Bamboo top deck laminating

From 4pm to 10pm yesterday - prepped the blank and laminate for the bagging operation.

I would have just left it after the bagging but the pump controller was not cutting off at the right vacuum level. So I had the go take the family home and go back to work.

Despite all the rigmaroll, the operation was a success!!! There are a few spots that will need secondary touchups (particularly the nose- the curvature of the nose area and it's distance from the vacuum port made it challenging to get it to completely stay down), but that should be an easy day during lamination.

Next up - automotive store for some pin striping tape!!!


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sacred Craft Show at Ventura

The family mobilized and spent the morning at the Sacred Craft show at the Ventura Fairgrounds.

Just as awesome (eye popping boards, accessories and other things that pull at your wallet) as the one last October in Del Mar.

I'll post pictures over the few days.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Fin repairs

There are very few events that actually make me angry - but dropping surfboard fins that were hidden or camouflaged on top of another board that I was pulling out of the racks and hearing/watching them crack is definitely on top of my list.

Well - since getting mad and staying mad about spilt milk is futile, you have to look forward to fixing the fins. And what happens when you mix any batch of resin??? You have extra resin!!!

And extra resin is just the thing to FIX fins!!!

Time to complete the circle and make peace with the universe again!!!