/*23 Breaths: March 2009*/

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Separated at birth?

Since so many of you have noticed the similarity I thought I should post the pics and let you decide.

Here is a link to the rest of Lance Smith's Anything but Three photos

In my defense, I am a little lazy and usually have a beard or a mustache going.

The almost constant state of hoodedness is due to my right ear being 98 percent closed (ear exostosis). I have had the left one drilled twice and it's no picnic.

No word on Bigfoot's mat and fin preference.

Monday, March 30, 2009

AB3 09


Jon showed up too late to catch a surf but brought his experiment fin shapes and his new 4th Gear Flyer!

If you like to ride a fish and you go to heaven in the end, this is what you see

Andy standing there saying "Sure you can ride my Lis!"

PS I couldn't get shots of the other fishes (Lis and Frye) cause my hands were shaking so bad! (the presence of greatness you know)
PSS Andy also rides a mean surfmat and we had a great time!

Tom Threinen showed up for a surf all the way from Nevada.
I didn't get near enough time to talk to him and no pictures but this is exactly what he looks like!

Image from Tom's website is part of the Don Redondo Project

AB3 09 Haiku

Many preaty fishes

laying with their fins up

wanting to be ridden

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Too Big Events

Anything But Three is happening on Sunday so stop by and say "hi". Click on the link for details and directions

Deeper Visions II

The series of Shelter parties continues this Saturday March 28th from 6-10 pm.
Over 30 artists and 2 great bands…. all working together to help us realize what sight lies beyond what our eyes can see..

New and selected works by:

Adam Harteau

Brian Ingalls

Charlie Calahan

Christopher Best

Cristopher Emeld

Chris Johnson

Elias Crouch

Inaoka Misako

Jacob Tillman

Jeff Beck

Joe Bender

Jo Jackson

J Smart

Johnathan Chesner

Junior Kato

Kelly Nichelson

Kyle Ranson

Landon Sea

The Manson Brothers

Maya Hayuk

Max Flynn

Mike Shine

Mysto Lights

Monica Canilao


Orion Shepard

Peter Hassen

Phil Krumar

Randy Colosky

Richard Kenvin

Ryan Thomas

Tara Foley

Curated by: Marialidia Marcotulli

Live Music by:

Franklin For Short

Tall Tales and the Silver Lining

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rick Griffin

I stumbled over the Rick Griffin website the other day, and as usual whenever I run into his work, I think back to the first time I saw this drawing or that poster.

His work is synonymous with not only early Surfer Magazine but his influence both of and by the San Francisco 60's scene cemented his standing as a great American artist.

His character Murphy is the archetype stoked surfer and will never be surpassed as the ambassador of stoke.

Griffins work is immediately recognizable,  there is an energy that comes from the work., be it poster, album cover, flyer or doodle.    

Classic Griffin, classic stoke

The Laguna Art Museum did a retrospective showing of his work in the summer of 2007 that was fantastic.  I hope someone gathers enough of his material to do another show.

I think my favorite part of the show (other than one of his personal boards) was that since his work was done in the pre-digital age you could walk up to an original work and see the blood and ink that went into it.  

Amazing stuff!

Check out the website, it is run by his family. They have a nice assortment of his work and you can still get tee shirts with some of his graphics.

Here is his bio info from Wiki

Rick Griffin (June 181944 - August 181991) was an American artist and one of the leading designers of psychedelic posters in the 1960s. He was also a contributor to theunderground comix movement whose work appeared regularly in Zap Comix. Griffin was closely identified with the Grateful Dead, having designed some of their best known posters and record jackets. He was also known for his work within the surfing subculture, including his comic strip about a surfer named "Murphy".[1]

Griffin was born near Palos Verdes amidst the surfing culture of southern California. After attending high school, he worked on the staff of Surfer magazine where he created his surfing comic strip. In Los Angeles, Griffin met a group of artists and musicians known as the Jook Savages and participated in the Watts Acid Test held by Ken Kesey.

After seeing the psychedelic rock posters that were being designed by Stanley Mouse and Alton Kelly, Griffin and the Jook Savages decided to move to San Francisco in the fall of 1966, where he designed posters in the living room of his home on Elsie Street in the Bernal Heights district. His first art exhibition was for the Jook Savages, but organizers for the Human Be-In saw his work and asked him to design a poster for their event in January 1967. Chet Helms was also impressed by Griffin's work and asked him to design posters for the Family Dog parties at the Avalon Ballroom, which led Griffin to create concert posters for The Charlatans. Eventually, a poster distribution agency by the name of Berkeley Bonaparte hired Griffin, where he teamed up with the leading poster artists of the 1960s.

In the 1970's he converted to Christianity. He published The Illustrated Book of St. John, a retelling of the Gospel of John with his unique illustrations. He also produced album art for Maranatha! Music, a Christian record label.

In 1991, Griffin was killed in a motorcycle accident in Petaluma, California.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Surfing boards

To continue where I left off with the Surfing post.

I mentioned several other surf craft you should explore to maximize your experience.

I promised to address surfboards  next so here goes.

Make one yourself!

You can be a vintage rail fondler but if you haven't taken saw to blank you're missing out.

The magic starts by deciding what to make.

This isn't a "my dream quiver" exercise. 

This is what am I going to design, shape and glass then ride until it dies.

Something you will be able to surf at your local break on a regular basis.

Big diff.

If you are playing along with the home game I would suggest either a stubbie or a fish.

You will maximize your chances for success by keeping it simple.

Now both of those shapes can be a made with a magical mix of concaves, V's and rocker but let's save that for the next one.

As to the specifics of shaping and glassing I will point you to the fine folks at Swaylocks as they beat the subject (and occasionally each other) to death on a regular basis.

The raw materials ie blanks, resin, glass etc try one of the packages from a reputable dealer, they have everything you need.

One thing I would suggest is that while you can put a leash plug in the board make an effort not to use it.

The idea here is to get a deeper understanding of the surfboard by being forced to attend to each of the thousand little details.

Big tip, allow yourself enough time.  Don't rush to try and get it done by the weekend if you are starting on Friday night.

After you finish you will have learned several very important things you didn't know before.

First off the whole process is a terrible mess and your wife, husband, significant other, dog or roommate will hate you.  This can't be avoided and it's best if they know this about you anyway.

Second the design of surfboards is, at the same time both simple and terribly complex.  If you don't think so, next time try blending concaves into the rail of a double winger. 

Thirdly, before the resin in tacky on the gloss coat you will either have planed to make several more boards or will be trying to find my home address to kill me for suggesting this exercise.

Forth the information you get back from surfing that board will be one of the most insightful experiences of your surfing life! (Especially when you combine it with the experiences you gained in the first post.  You are body surfing regularly aren't you?)

Fifth and final point is that even if you don't start shaping and glassing ten boards a week the experience of making a board from start to finish will have given you insightes into the shaping and glassing process that you wouldn't be able to get any other way.  

That and when you find out it will take six months for the shaper to get to your order, it will be no big deal, you will be stoked that someone who can produce a superfine quality shaped  blanks is still available and hasn't been run out of business entirely. 

And when it's rained for the last two weeks straight, the whole production schedule at the glass shop is behind and resin has gone up AGAIN so they are barely able to cover costs you'll know enough to shut your trap and just say "OK cool just let me know when it's ready".

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring Equniox

Well Spring has sprung as they say here in the northern hemisphere and I have to say I hasn't happened a moment too soon!

The weather will start getting warmer,  south swells will become more consistent and the crowds will once again become horrendous. 

The winter season, such as it is here in SoCal, was  in  the running for the dubious honor of WWE or worst winter ever!

So bad in fact that a certain well known secret spot may not be the result of dredging as previously believed but may in fact be the dumping ground for all the tears cried in SoCal by surfers during the aforementioned WWE (or WFWE if you were really upset about it).  

Misc notes,

The garden is almost ready and as usual I am running a little late but the seeds will be in the ground shortly.

I thinned out the blades on the UDT's and they have turned out great.  Such a great fin!

The second part of the previous post "Surfing" should be up soon.

Well the sun is coming up so I'm off to check the surf...

PS the picture at the top is of Orange blossoms from my tree.   

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I posted a question over at the erBB the other day.

Would you rather do a big carve or get a tube ride?

The results were something like 9 to 1 in favor of the tube.

So this got me thinking about the surf craft I see people ride and if it truly helped the average surfer achieve their surfing goals.

Here are a few things you might do

If you don't already, get some fins and dive in.

The best thing to do to expand on your water and wave knowledge is to spend more time in the water.

One of several unfortunate side effects of surf leashes is that surfers don't swim for their boards anymore. Their swimming skills suffer considerably and they don't learn to body surf as an integral part of the surfing experience.

You might even get to be President one day!

Ride a variety of surf craft.

The variety will do you good.

Hand planes can be made for a few dollars or less and gives you a chance to shape some rails.

Boogie boards can be had for relatively cheap (except for the high end pro models) and should be in every surfers quiver. Black ball go outs, gifting a stoked grom, teaching someone to surf. These things have allowed more people to have more fun than anything.  At the Pipeline, the surfers that consistently ride the farthest back do it on a body board.

There has been enough said, printed and photographed about Alaia's recently that you probably know that this blast from the past is the latest retro fad. But the truth is in the surfing and these things are fast fun and challenging!

I ride a surf mat more regularly than anything and for me, it's the best all around surf craft ever! You can get one of the Intex mats for 10 bucks to try it out. If you decide you like it, the good ones are worth every penny!

OK, sometimes the view from the mat looks like this!

Thinking about how different designs work in different conditions expands your thinking and magnifies your stoke!

Next time I'll talk about surfboards.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Musings on a Sunday afternoon

I was visiting a local secret spot that everyone seems to know about and against all odds I ran into a mat rider.

Ryan got one of the last 4GF's of the last run and was taking it out for it's initial surf.

I was stoked to run into another mat rider but since it was a Saturday I left my mat at home!

Meeting, talking, and surfing with other mat riders is always a blast and I'm bummed I didn't bring my mat.

Sage blossom from the garden.

I have been doing a bit of experimenting lately with the Surfer Bulletin Board (erBB).

I post up a thought or question and the erBB regulars or irregulars respond, comment, kibitz and generally snark.

Since I like to do a bit of economic / sociological research, it can be a bit of fun.

The response was  very interesting, tube rides were preferred by 92 percent of the respondents.

My next question will be "if you would prefer tube rides why don't you ride a mat?"

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ode to Spring (part one)

As I sit here writing this I am luxuriating in that combination of exhaustion and endorphin high that only a good surf session brings.

I have been in sort of a slump lately, the "great waves" were always somewhere else.

(If you can believe the coconut wireless!)

One of life's truisms is that when you have the time to surf you don't have the money to travel and when you have the money you don't have the time.

I have had the time but local swell and wind machines wouldn't cooperate.

But today that changed.

The swell wasn't that promising and the last few days have been windy.

But every the optimist (and with a fresh pot of coffee) I got to the local spot early.

It looked small but glassy and no one out!

At this point I would like to thank everyone who went to The Present last night,  had a few beers and skipped the dawn patrol!

So it was me and three other guys out for the first hour and a half.

Have you ever seen a bear gorging himself on salmon?

That what it felt like!

Nice sized glassy peak, 

no one else on it, 

take off and pull in,

over and 

over and 

over and


I think spring is coming

Here are some shots from around the yard 

Monday, March 9, 2009

Riding the Mat

Another great water shot by Kaser at Daily Bread

You can't be in a hurry.

There is a fair amount of unlearning that goes with the mat. You need to get past the “this will be easy, it's just a mat” stage. Did your last board dramatically change shape during the ride and utilize variable inflation?

You have to be prepared to devote your whole life to your practice.

I used to think in terms of “getting it wired” etc. Now I think that learning to surf with the mat will take the rest of my life and more. I am really happy about that by the way, it means there is always something new to discover.

It's not a matter of spending money, you have to spend your life.

Yes, you need a mat, and a good pair of fins is very helpful but you have to spend time in the water.

There is a great deal to learn and you can't do it quickly.

I know guys who can get a board wired in like three waves, two if they get some good waves.  Then they go out and get a new board.

The mat takes time because you aren't riding the mat, you are working with the mat to explore the wave and waves are infinitely complex.

Mat riding isn't something that can be put into words. You have to practice before you can understand.

“Jet propelled body surfing”. That is as close as it gets and it doesn't even scratch the surface.

The mat teaches us to be natural.

Riding a mat doesn't really have any standard set of maneuvers. Yes, you can do bottom turns, it's great in the tube and it's bat-out-of-hell fast but it all really depends on the wave. The wave leads and you try follow along in a complementary way. The best times are often had when you just relax and marvel at the wave unfolding in front of you.

You can't force things, including practice.

The biggest advances will be made when you aren't trying. I have had sessions that I thought were going to be “marginal” turn into major turning points. This will have you spending weeks afterward trying to figure out what just happened and how to do it again.

Understanding is something that happens naturally.

Eventually you get it or at least a glimpse of it and you'll want to rush out to find someone to tell. Unfortunately when you find someone, the things you say don't capture it at all. But that's ok.

It's different for everyone.

How could it be any other way.

The main thing is is to reduce your desires and quiet your mind.

Take off, turn in, and hold on!

Practice takes a long time and you have to stay healthy.

You'll spend a lot of time in the water swimming. This constitutes one of the best all around exercise workouts ever. You should combine it with some yoga and some attention to your diet. I would expect mat surfers to live longer lives. That's good, there are lots of things to do.

About this blog post. I have been trying to think of something to say here that would be of a more instructional nature.  I don't really think anyone can teach you how to surf but I wanted to try to come up with something.  I had been working on it for a while and had  made no progress. So I gave up and put the whole idea on the back burner.  I got all of the bold lines from a book I am reading that has nothing to do with surfing,  every sentence seemed to speak directly to the mat riding experience and I just wanted to pass it along.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Anyone with Fins!

I have always enjoyed surfing with other mat riders.

You can only watch GG on YouTube so many times.

I asked TFAD if he minded a few well mannered mat riders at his AB3 gathering later this month.

He said he would love to have us!

So mark your calendars for Sunday March 29th in Oceanside.

Regarding AB3 it is well worth the trip just to check out the fiberglass!

I titled this post "Anyone with Fins" to include bodysurfers, hand planers, Paipo riders etc. so come on down and share the stoke!