Monday, 23 November 2015
I think Doheny is probably the spot that ive surfed most in California, mainly through it's convnience to the a couple of the condos we've stayed in. It kind of gets a bad rep amongst the wider surf world for being fat, slow and busy but its a fun wave with a mellow crowd and some really good longboarders across several generations. This particular sunday it was baking on the beach and busy in the water with glassy head high sets rolling through in boardshort temperature water. A classic californian beach day shared with the three G's (thats you Threadills! :-))
Monday, 16 November 2015
Wednesday, 11 November 2015
ONE SESSION WITH: DANE PETERSON from travis kuhlman on Vimeo.
Turns out i cant embed this video here but it's worth clicking the link. Sure malibu is a perfect logging wave but DP makes it look so easy. I love his understated style and catlike movements. He's definately a big influence on my own surfing. His board in the clip is very similar to my if6was9 log, piggy shape, greenough fin, not too much foam and i personally think its where a good modern log should be right now. Still noserides great in the pocket but turns smoothly too.
Friday, 6 November 2015
What a great run of autumn swell we've had! Definately been keping the stokeometer up and most of the quiver in heavy rotation. Curent boards in the van are the if6was9 modlog dane peterson influenced 9'4, the 5'2 TW bar of soap and the gulfstream 5'6 twin keel which absolutely flies and i cant believe i allowed it to languish un-loved in the board store for such a long time!
Friday, 23 October 2015
Monday, 19 October 2015
The next installment of views from california. This is a glassy set wave peaking up at The Hook, just south of Pleasure point in Santa Cruz. Lovely short paddle out in giant lulls through kelp beds then slightly overhead reeling right handers section chasing down the point. This particular morning was unusually quiet compared to other times i checked it. The kelp was so thick in places you could feel it pulling at your fins and leash, alomost enough to pull you out of the wave at times. It sounds weird but you could almost imagine getting tied up in the fronds underwater when you duck dived or wiped out. It was too fast for a log, i rode the seapea but even that had a little bit too much foam. My friend Matt from SF loves this wave on a fish and i can really see it being a great board selection.
Wednesday, 14 October 2015
George with all the beach essentials! Thats my old Dano Old pleasure which has found an appreciative new home with Mr Barrett. I loved the shape but always found it had a little bit too much heft for my diminutive size to man handle in our beach break waves. It suits George to a tee and i always enjoy watching him pilot it through a busy saunton line-up
Tuesday, 6 October 2015
Much a i like the immediacy and convenience of having a camera and editing software in my iphone shaped trouser pocket, shooting film is still the best. Manipulating an instagram picture this much might seem contrived and yet this is just a straight 120 film scan from my holga complete with light bleed and weird colout cast from the cross processing. I love the fact that you never know exactly how the picture is going to turn out until you scan the negative.
I'm pretty stoked on this one. It's from the county fairground parking lot in Ventura at the top of the C street point, somewhere i surfed quite a few times on this trip. Although the Santa Barabara/ Rincon area is littered with right hand points, most of them only properly wake up in winter when the swells come from the north. In summer, C street is the go for many locals and it is a really fun wave on a log when its small or a fish when its bigger. Despite the crowd, it's pretty mellow in the water and usually has multiple sections / take off spots to thin the pressure on the sets.
As with most of the waves i surfed, even on days that the locals considered sub-par, it was better than 99% of the waves i surf at home.
Thursday, 1 October 2015
The drive from Carmel at the south end of monterey through Big Sur and down to Hearst Castle is just jaw droppingly beautiful. It's difficult to keep your eyes on the highway as it twists it's way from headland to headland for 50 miles or so. It's impossible not to keep screeching to a halt every couple of miles to drink in the next stunning vista that just revealed itself. This is maybe halfway down, mid afternoon and one of many such photo stops.
Saturday, 26 September 2015
With a summer south swell, Highway 1 on the mid-californian coast is peppered with little gems. This is just north of Cayucos and brought our tyres screeching to a halt. It's not in the guide books and it would be easy to miss but it was a fun right hander with a pretty much flat water paddle out from the little bay in the foreground. Long period swell and glassy conditions with a little bit of kelp to smooth the chop certainly helped too
Tuesday, 22 September 2015
This is probably my favorite photo from our Californian trip, taken in Santa Cruz at about 8 am from the sidewalk above The Hook at the south end of pleasure point. I was still dripping wet from a glassy headhigh session on the Seapea, avoiding the thick kelp beds and chasing and racing perfectly shaped right handers down the point.
I've never surfed in such a thick layer of kelp before. It's weird paddling through it, you feel a little like its going to grab you as you duck dive and hold you under and it pulls at your fins as you take off. Like all of the california coast, it's beautiful and having a couple of sea otters breakfasting just outside the line up only added to the picture.
Monday, 7 September 2015
This is Morro rock, in Morro bay, home to a good beach break and a lot of noisy sea birds. We only really passed through on our way south but i scored head high glassy peaky waves on my Seapea early one morning.
Seemed like the seapea was the perfect second board to take with me, short enough to be fun in the faster peakier beach break waves but flat enough and with enough foam to make the most of small summer swell. This and a session at "the hook" in Santa Cruz were two of the best sessions ive had on this board.
Wednesday, 2 September 2015
Monday, 24 August 2015
Tuesday, 18 August 2015
Pilgrim Film: Manuel Caro from Pilgrim Surf + Supply on Vimeo.
As far as I'm concerned, California is pretty much ground zero as far as surfboards are concerned. There are two or three shops that always have a huge selection of mouth-wateringly beautiful resin tinted logs, eggs, fish etc. Icons of surf in San Clemente is always good to drop into with friendly staff and a board room that would make your Visa card sweat!
Further south is Mitches North which has a similar but different selection, usually with a couple of Manny Caro's Mandalas tucked in amongst the rack. Manny cut his shaping chops up in San Francisco with help from Rich Pavel and was initially known for a superb version of Pavel's speedialler, double bump quad fish ( believe me they are SO good!). Since then Manny has moved to Leucadia and found his own path, mixing elements of hulls and Simmons but putting his own twist to create something that's a little different than many of the mini Simmons influenced designs out there. Similar to Jeff McCallum, many of Manny's shapes are just that little bit quirky but they all work great. He's a really nice guy too if you ever get the chance to meet him.
I've been a little bit obsessed watching the clip above. Classic playful, glassy Californian waves and the smooth fast lines of a Mandala ASQ quad ( for most of the video, the last two waves are an arc tail quad which is closer to a normal mini sim) It looks like a real fun board, generating speed like a mini sim but carving more like a quad fish. Whether you believe the "variable rocker" flex in the tail or not, it looks like a fun board and one I'd really like to try!
Wednesday, 12 August 2015
Drink One from Ben Potter on Vimeo.
I don't know if I got a bit stale with surfing over the winter, or just busy or just lost a little bit of enthusiasm for the daily grind required to be a regular wave rider in this country. I think I'm old enough and I've seen enough for not much to seem so new anymore...
A good surf trip was always going to top up the stoke-o-meter and California certainly didn't disappoint. Two and a half weeks of glassy waist to head high swell, mostly on right hand points is definitely going to do it. It's amazing what consistent waves will do for your surfing and I've returned full of Stoke and hopefully back up to a decent level of logging.
I'm going to post up my film pictures her over the next few months and I'll type out the highlights as I go, those of you who follow me on Instagram will have seen plenty of pictures already. I met so many cool people in the water and saw some really high level surfing on logs, short boards and everything in between. To everyone that chatted and shared a wave, thanks for being so welcoming and stoked on meeting an English traveller, you all added something.
I want to thank the Threadgills for once again for your hospitality. We wish we saw you more often. And to Matt and Talla for showing us a proper July 4th. Hope we see you guys again soon.
So what's all this got to do with a stolen video of East Coaster Mikey Detemple logging in Montauk, New York?
I took two boards with me to Ca, the seapea and my trusty 9'4 if6was9 log. Pretty much a perfect quiver for summer in California. The logs been featured here more than a couple of times. It's pretty foiled, has the wide point aft of center with a wide tail, a narrow nose and a greenough 4a. It's definitely the direction where logs have gone over the last couple of years drawing from the Aussie involvement movement in a direct line from Nats magic sam board and I for one am a convert.
It's loose off the tail but still nose rides real well in the pocket and the narrow nose helps with control in steeper waves, allowing the boad to get more parallel. It must do something right, a random Santa Cruz local told me my board looked "bitchin!"
The board Mikey rides in the video plays from the same hymn sheet. It's a christenson flathead model with the similar dimensions and shape to my if6was9 (albeit with a much bigger and longer nose concave and perhaps even more "piggy") it's one of the clips that's been inspiring me since I've been back. Mikey's surfing is smooth yet powerful and stylish. Solid nose-riding and sweeping turns.......
Plus he's got a pacemaker, you can't help but be inspired by that!
Sunday, 9 August 2015
Thursday, 30 July 2015
Monday, 20 July 2015
Wednesday, 15 July 2015
This is Ellie Miller of Miller surfboards, one of the few female shapers in the UK and always a happy face in the local line up. She's not been shaping for that long but she does have a natural talent for it and is turning out some lovely boards that have got the seal of approval from some of the "heavy weight" locals.
Worth considering if you are in the market for a new board this summer.
Saturday, 4 July 2015
Wednesday, 24 June 2015
Friday, 19 June 2015
This news is a few weeks old now, but it's still depressing and the fall out for the local wildlife continues to manifest.
Refugio is a beautiful little beach, about 40 minutes of Santa Barbara with a perfect little right hand point wave. It's tucked away and unspoilt, away from the urbanisation of much of SoCal. It's one of the places ive been looking forward to returning to in a few weeks time although it remains to be seen if thats going to be a possibility. With all the dollars that oil brings into the state comes a responsibility to the environment. It apears someone dropped the ball on this one!
Sunday, 14 June 2015
Monday, 8 June 2015
It's probably a bit of a hackneyed surf image but i guess the vw camper shot is a timeless image for a reason.
After a pretty good spring, summer has been a real let down so far with no sign of warm water or fun summer swells. The boots are still on and the water has been cold. People have even been surfing spots that usually only work in deep mid winter. I'm rarely lucky enough to have the time to travel that far and i am definately suffering from a distinct lack of surf stoke. Last week helped but i'm not paddl;e fit and feeling rusty.
Hopefully the current offshores will groom a little logging wave for us aver the next few days.......
Monday, 1 June 2015
Monday, 25 May 2015
Friday, 15 May 2015
Friday, 1 May 2015
Sunday, 26 April 2015
Tuesday, 21 April 2015
Tickets for the second ever Somersault festival at Castle Hill in North Devon are well and truly out. It's a cracking line up this year and should be a whole heap of fun if last year is anything to go by. It really feels like they have built on last years success and this year they have, amongst others, Laura Marling, Passenger, Bombay Bicycle lub and Crystal Fighters as well as legends Jimmy Cliff and Norman Jay.
It should be good!
In the meantime, feast your eyars on Laura Marling's first album. It's a really beautiful record. Top pop fact is that her band at this time contained some of Mumford and Sons before they "made it"
Thursday, 16 April 2015
Friday, 10 April 2015
Monday, 6 April 2015
Monday, 30 March 2015
The more social media aware of you will have noted that i finally took delivery of my 40th birthday present a few weeks ago. Ordered in June through Nineplus in Braunton it was mos definately worth the wait. It's a 6'10 Howard Special mini egg from Hawaiian Pro Designs (i.e Takayama) I think it is one of the most visually stunning boards i've owned with a stunning glass job and a beautifully refined shape. This is no magic carpet or beginers mini-mal, its a proper californian egg from the lineage of Skip Frye and friends. #midlengthcrisis indeed
It's taken a few weeks to get it in the water in some semi decent waves so i've held off posting until i had some decent initial thoughts to post.
In one word........smooth
First impressions are that it is just unbelievably smooth. The bottom shape is roll into panel V so it's not a board for speed generation in junk. It's a board for swooping around and drawing smooth carves. It paddles in early and has a beautiful, slightly hull-like projecting bottom turn. It trims fast in a high line and comes off the top far spritelier than it's size suggests - theres not huge amounts of foam hidden in there so the swing weight is not that great.
I havent ridden a board with 3 fins for a long time, all my logs being single fin and shortboards are all twinnies or quads. It's also probably got the narrowest tail of any of my boards too. It turns beautifully, far more controlled and carvey than the wider tailed twins, far less pivoty than a single fin. It also carries speed through the apex of a cutback far better than a single fin egg would - i often find they have a tendancy to lose speed throughout the turn, especially without a nice flexy fin.
All in all, i'm super stoked with another keeper!
Tuesday, 24 March 2015
Friday, 20 March 2015
Monday, 16 March 2015
So over the last few weeks i've been testing a pre-production version of the new @finisterreuk wetsuit. It's a 5mm suit with a full time hood and even taking into account the bias that geting a free suit might engender, i'm really impressed and you should be too.
Talking to Tom Kay (head honcho at Finisterre) back in November about the suit that they have been developing over the last couple of years, he was excited and promised to send me one to try when they arrived. His focus was to make a suit that was properly designed to be a good winter suit for UK surfers, designed by people who surf through it, not by people who think 16 degree water is a bit chilly! His key aims were a warm but flexible suit that would dry quickly and be value for money - by using a direct sales model they are hoping to deliver a suit that has the features of a top of the range suit with a more reasonable pricetag than brands like Patagonia.
I think they've nailed it.
Hanger appeal of the suit is great. It's 5mm chest entry with a full time hood and subtle branding (although there is a hoodless 4mm version coming out too) The neoprene feels supple and stretchy. It's mostly double lined with a single lined hood and chest and back panels. The seams look well sealed with a wide but flexible tape on all of them. Inside, the whole of the suit is covered in whats best described as a short pile version of the fuzzy side of velcro, sort of reminiscent of patagonia but obviously not woollen (see below)
It looks like a well made, warm and durable suit, with a couple of well thought out features. Firstly, there is a small webbing loop on the back of each calf to aid getting your foot through the ankle seal. Secondly there's a clever extra liquid seam rubber reinforcement on the chest entry panel designed to reinforce this area (which is prone to tearing on chest entry suits) and act as a second seal where the chest flap sits.
In use it's been really good so far. It's easy enough to get on and off ( for a chest entry system - they always require a little bit of contortion to get the first elbow out). It is SUPER warm - almost too warm on a windless sunny day and feels very easy to paddle in with no real flushing of water. Overall i think its really very good.
The only negative i've come up with so far is that the cord in the hood is too short/ not elastic enough to allow pulling the hood down once in the water and the sizing on the hood is ever so slightly too big for my tiny head on the size small. This isn't the final version of the suit and i've no doubt that these small issues and any others that the testers around the country have identified will be sorted by the time the suit is available to buy next winter.
Friday, 6 March 2015
Sunday, 1 March 2015
Wednesday, 25 February 2015
Tuesday, 17 February 2015
So, just back from a rad trip to Norway. The light is so good when the sun shines it's easy to take beautiful photographs, it's a shame that all my film cameras are too bulky to fit in a pocket. Thats my excuse for posting digital shots anyway, that and avoiding frostbitten fingers messing around with fiddly camera buttons!
Friday, 13 February 2015
6'10 of californian goodness and boy am i excited!
I was hoping to have an initial ride report to post with the pics but it made it to devon just before i went to the mountains and the swell hasnt really co-operated yet, maybe today is the day?
It's a lovely board though, the glassing is flawless and the shape is really refined. It might be a midlength "egg" but it's about as far from a mini-mal or beginner board as you could get. It's going to be smooth!