Monday, March 29, 2010

Blank Number Three

This is the light wind kiteboard. Not a racing board, not a surfing board, but a board for those days when I could put up a bigger kite - but why?

Why not cruise and relax?

Why not take it easy and don't worry whether my speed is enough to keep the board from submerging?

This board is based off a bunch of things I've seen in the past

- Jeff Timpone's early kiteboards
- The NPS racing boards (the newer ones, not the older ones)
- The Airush Sector
- and some of my own thoughts on what a board that will be used on lighter wind days should look like

This is a fat, stubby pig that is being designed to fly!!!

This one is polyurethane, so it won't be as light as an EPS blank. And I'll be armoring the top with bamboo veneer and a good deck pad to prevent pressure dings (2 layers of 4 oz glass on top of the bamboo and a layer of 6 underneath in the foot bed area should be more than enough to prevent pressure dings - I'll use a 4 + 6 schedule on the bottom for strength on the bottom).

This will be a quad.

I'll skin this one tomorrow and get it to the point where I have the center thickness close to final.

The kids mini-SUBs will be much easier to shape (no skinning - I love EPS!!!)

I want to knock out the shaping of these three boards before the big ones show up. The big SUP blanks are starting their journey East (called Pau Hana Surf Supply today and they are in shipping now - should be another week).

Skunked!!!! And board building

The winds were pumping all day from the SW at 12-20.

I didn't get out until 1530 - planned downwinder from Gulfport to Snappers (in Biloxi).

Dropped off the return car at 1545, and as we were making our way back up to Gulfport to launch, the wind literally turn before our eyes. Within a span of 30 minutes, it swung to the NW (straight off shore).

Classic skunking.

SO, I went back to the garage and kept working on the new boards.

Marlon and Noe's boards have been templated and trimmed. The template for my lightwind kiteboard has been transferred - I'll trim it today after work. I need to hang some plastic sheeting in the garage before skinning/thinning the blanks (so La's van doesn't get snowed over).

The pace is picking up!

It's always nice to have a few things going on at once, so skunkings don't stink as bad.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Kiting Gulfport

I finally kited over on the East side of Gulfport Harbor (usually we go to the West side). This is the spot where the locals hang out.

Yesterday the winds were not behaving as predicted. The forecast called for strong, steady SE winds. The yacht race I was supposed to sail in got cancelled - Roger said "I'm at the Skipper's meeting right now standing a nervous crowd of sailors that don't want to go out". Granted at that time of the morning, the winds were jumping and the swell outside was 3', but that would soon change.

So with my mid-day now freed up, I'm trying to get a kite session lined up. Went to Gulfport to meet Joe. Driving down, the trees were NOT moving...

Went back home and did a bunch of other things to make good use of time (laundry, dishes, cutting out templates for the mini-SUBs from their blanks, massaging feet, playing soccer with the kids). Then the wind started back up.

Went back to the kite spot and rigged up the V4 16. To tell you the truth, I've never felt dated flying this kite, AND I still didn't. I love the C kites from 2004! But seeing all the latest kites did rouse my curiosity.

La and the kids came so I had my photog on the beach, but I also had the GoPro on the kite lines. La, Marlon and Noe played with the training kite. As the water warms up, hopefully I can get La trained back up - this is the year!!!

Fun pictures!

The wind was barely enough for my 16. If I brought the Flash board (old 4'10" Naish), it probably would have been better (more float than the Stretch Trow I was using). I'll have to get the lightwind board finished up sooner I guess (but priority is on the kid's boards).

Today the winds shifted to Westerlies - we'll see what brews up...

Mini SUBs

The first boards to get processed will be Marlon and Noe's Stand Paddle Up Boards.

I measured each kid's shoulder to shoulder span, made a quick ratio from my own shoulder span to stable board width, and took that ratio and came up with a width for their boards.

I used Aku Shaper (free download if you didn't already know) to come up with a shape that wouldn't necessarily cut through the water, but give the kids more of a stable learning platform that they could take out in small waves one day. I printed out the templates - taped it up, cut it out and traced the outlines on the 6-1 pesci blanks.

More pictures of these "Mini-SUBs" later today

Friday, March 26, 2010

Prelude to Summer???

Took the Naish 14' out today for a 45 minute run.

While I was loading the board just outside of the garage, there were gnats biting my ears.

When I was taking the board off the top of the truck at the beach, there were gnats biting my ears.

As I was paddling well over a mile offshore, there were #$%##@ing gnats biting my ears.

In the car driving back home, there were !@%$%##@ gnats biting my *^(*(*&^%$ ears.

If this is anything like what Summer is going to be like, I'm buying some industrial strength DEET, and I'm going to wear it like it's going out of style...

I hate gnats!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Shaping Bay taking shape

Here's how the back half of the garage is looking after rearranging the shelving, relocating the boat (to the front half - where the truck went when it was stinking cold outside - scraping frost in the wee hours of the morning sucks...), and pulling the sawhorses in.

The overhead 2x2s (purchased while we were in Japan - they use lumber there, but having to import from Canada, they use it way more efficiently - like splitting hairs), are a carry over from our house in Japan - vaulted ceilings with exposed beams made for a really cool place to store surfboards. Now they'll hold ongoing projects.

I have to take the 2x8 in the foreground and make new shaping racks (maybe tomorrow afternoon???). Then I'll have to make some templates and it'll be time to GET TO WORK!!!



Little known fact that La and I have a pretty extensive sand collection. Most of the beaches that we've been to (and some I've been to because of the job) we have samples of.

We don't have a place to exhibit them yet so I can't take pictures of the whole lot - but these are some that I've more recently gathered (check out the names on the jars).

The jars are a whole other story -

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Racing Day 2

Same crew, winds for the SE this time. Ran the course in reverse. Only 2 boats (us and a 36' Catalina) running today. DIscussion was that after the events of last week, lots of people were gun shy of the forecasted winds.

Roger told me his strategy for winning the overall trophy - but I'll keep that secret.

Dolphins starting to come back - warm waters returning!!!

No pictures today...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Aipa Twinzer

This is the fin I will be using in the 8-0 SUP. Super tall to get the right bite.

I will be using a G-10 Futures Hatchet for the center fin. I will probably place a second set of boxes towards the rail to give quad options, but the Aipa's will be riding the forward boxes fulltime!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Here we go!

The first 3 of 6 inbound blanks arrived.

The top one will be my light wind kiteboard - somewhere in the neighborhood of 5'8" to 6'2". Still debating between the latest and greatest course board template or the new train of thought 'freeride' style windsurfer (of course brought down to kiteboard dimensions.

The two underneath will be mini-subs for Marlon and Noe. I actually think these will be the most fun to build.

Go back and take a peek at the pictures I took of the garage. I have plans to rearrange the configuration of the back half of my space to make a full blown shaping bay (so La doesn't get pissed at me for dusting her ride).

The last point I want to bring up is the shipping box that these blanks came in - meet the new template stock!!! For years I have been on the hunt for door-skin thin plywood longer than 8' to make templates out of. The search is over!!! And it is a great way to recycle cardboard!!!

The Fun Train is back in town!!!! Whooo- hoooooo!!!!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Aerodynamics, Bernoullis and Feathers

Seabirds in flight have always fascinated me, especially when they have enough wind to carry them without having the flap.

High aspect ratios, ways of flexing joints, muscle and feathers in ways man has yet to mimic to ride the wind (or steal food - check out the pic with just the two seagulls). And effortless -

Next time you're at the beach, slow down and watch what's going on around you. You may not be as geeky as I am and see the low pressure suction named after an old Italian manifesting itself as laughing seabirds waiting to drop target practice packages of digested fish and garbage on the hapless humans walking around (which I do think is funny, unless I am said human), but undoubtedly there is something (tiny waves breaking, dunes built up in the sand, seashells half buried in the sand, clouds sailing by) that will catch your eye.

Racing Day 1

Yesterday was a bust - lots of wind but Marlon wasn't feeling well - twist my arm... I so rarely get to take a nap. No Dauphin Island kiting and shell hunting. However, after a nice long snooze session, we still took a drive down the beach to take in the beautiful weather.

Today, wind was nuking!!!

Met up with Roger (owner/skipper of the F28 I'm crewing on) just before 1200. We were out sailing by 1250 and racing by 1345. We were doing nicely until around 1445 - between us and Gulfport (off the port bow) there was what looked like an overturned sailboat. It was a capsized boat that the owner, crew and several racers (all the boats dropped their sails to lend a hand) could not right. By the end of it all, the mast had floated off and the hull was just poking out of the water (all 13' of it - not that deep between mainland and the barrier islands). Hopefully the owners can get the boat salvaged (which they should).

That ended the race and we (Roger, Camille, Missy and I) headed back in. My GPS read 16.6 kts max speed - Roger's hull mounted speedometer read 14.7 kts max. Not bad. I think we would have easily taken first if circumstances didn't sink a boat today.

Next race next Saturday!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Blanks MIA

I ordered blanks and supplies from two different sources last week.

I ordered SUP blanks from Pau Hana Surf Supply - one for Ray Rojas (11'6" finished - Board 10-A), La (9'2" finished that will fit inside the van so she can go paddle without me - Board 10-B), and a 7-11/8 (Board 10-C) for me to kill smaller waves with. I didn't get an email from them indicating shipping occurred yet, so I called to check. The guy on the other end said the blanks were still being glued up, and then asked in a curious manner "what are you doing over there in Mississippi that you would need SUP blanks?". I told him I'm a surf junkie that got relocated by my employer from Oxnard to Gulfport - and then we got into a longer conversation about surfing C Street in Ventura, the Strand in Hueneme and Pt Mugu - turns out he grew up in Oxnard - small world. It'll be another nearly two weeks before these blanks get in. BUT these guys have awesome shipping prices, so the wait should be worth it.

The other order was from Foam EZ - two fish blanks for the kids (I'm planning to make SUPs for them, but maybe they'll end up with surfboards... we'll see - Boards 10-D and 10-E) and a 8'+ that I'm going to take down to a 6' lightwind kiteboard (super flat rocker - easier to pull out of the middle of a longer funboard blank - Board 10-F). The shipment left on Tuesday and was originally scheduled to get to the house on Friday, but it's still somewhere in middle Mississippi. Which is probably for the better so I can focus on generating the templates this weekend (in the evenings, busy in the day as indicated in the previous post). This shipment has all the finboxes, epoxy and other pieces for the boards.

Talking with some other folks that have gotten word that I'm firing up the planer, I will probably be ordering another set of SUP blanks in the summer - more fun in the sun - not - it's not quite warm enough in the garage to glass yet, but it is perfect for shaping. In a few months the garage will be way too hot for anything...

SO, the lesson learned here, if you want to make surfboards, you should have lots of patience or live in SOCAL.

Pictures to follow as I:
1. Get the materials delivered.
2. Use up the scrap pieces of lumber in the garage to make new shaping racks.
3. Start mowing.


Predicting an amphibious weekend!

The wind is supposed to be nuking this weekend - especially today.

However, it's still coming from the W-WNW so side off to offshore direction. BUT HAVE NO FEAR!!! I now know the way to Dauphin Island!!! The plan for today is kiting or windsurfing at the Western tip of the island, go shell hunting, checking out the Estuarium and the nautically themed souvenir shops down there, drive up towards Spanish Fort to buy some tupelo honey and eat dinner at this cool Thai restaurant we had found earlier.

Tomorrow - Roger Evans is entering a race series so I'll be crewing aboard his trimaran. Wind is supposed to die back to 5-15, so it still should be a fun time!!!

Another few weeks and it'll warm enough to lose the wetsuits!!!!

This picture is another from the Japanese website listed in the left hand column - the windsurfer is sailing at a beach in Sagami Bay called Inamuragasaki - I've surfed this wave when it was overhead and barrelling and browsing the web this morning before setting off to hit LA (lower Alabama). As a family, we all vehemently agree that we miss living in Japan. It's neat being able to watch floks surf and windsurf halfway across the planet, then going out to do the same thing on the same day makes the connection still stick.

Get out from behind your computers and get out there!!!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

You got to start them off right...

Only 4 and already skateboarding.

This is hot on the heels of riding a bicycle without training wheels (January).

I've already gotten both kids a paddle, so as soon as the water warms back up hopefully they'll be SUPing!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Volvo Ocean Race

I poached this off the Sailing Anarchy site (gomen nasai) but I couldn't help it -

Maybe it's the 6+ years of post secondary education I had studying fluid flow, the ocean, pressure and energy transfer.

Maybe it's the 25+ years of being on, in, around water around this planet of ours.

Maybe it's the feeling of the wind in my face and the crispness of salty skin after a day of sailing.

I don't know what it specifically is but the lines on fast sailboat are so alluring and get me spun up...

Does that make me a pervert??? ;)