/*23 Breaths: October 2012*/

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Omni

Is here.


The new mat from 4GF
that reportedly, uses previously unavailable alien technology
is soon to be available.

I kept hearing from test riders.

In unrelated and wildly separate conversations that the Omni was "the best mat ever"

When someone says that I tend to think "Great! Good session, good waves, stoked you got some!"

But as the summer turned into fall turned into, well whatever season we are in now.

(It's "fun size" candy week according to my calendar so don't ask me)

I kept hearing the same thing from everyone who had ridden one.

People whose mat knowledge and water experience exceeds mine,

by like a factor of ten.



"Best mat ever!" seems to be the most common comment

followed closely by

"(this mat) Makes the Unmakeable" which, you have to admit, is something you would like in your surf craft.

So now the secret is out

(Paul uses the same people as Apple for new project security, although none of the early mats turned up in Silicon Valley bars)

You can read all about it over at Surfmatters 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Griffin - The Movie

A re-post but an important one as the time frame for the Kickstarter program is coming to a close.

We have discussed this before, this is how the movies you really want to watch get made.  Steve really wants to make the movie, we really want to see the Rick Griffin story so we all have to chip in to produce it. If you want Hollywood or Bollywood for that matter to make your movies for you then you get what they want to produce and deliver. It's your choice. The link is down below.




The Life, Art and Raging Times of Rick Griffin

The Film: “Griffin” is a feature-length documentary that explores the art, life and eccentric spark of one of the world’s least known and most influential 20th Century surrealists. Over the time-warped span of the 1960's, one-time teen cartoonist Rick Griffin created defining icons for three pillars of west coast counterculture: surfing, psychedelic rock and underground comix.

Check the Kickstarter for the movie




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. (Nope they are doing a movie! See the Kickstarter link above)

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!

I'm super stoked to see a movie made about Griffin. I hope it's a good one.



Thursday, October 25, 2012

burrrr-rito

The nighttime temperatures have finally dropped to pre winter levels.

As I was looking thru my shoe annex looking for my trusty Ugg boots I came across my new wetsuit!


I needed a new one and took advantage of a sale on "vintage (last years) models" just before the weather turned hot several months ago. This one is made of limestone etc and has many of the bells and whistles one finds in wetsuits these days. I'm not sure what I am going to do with the bells just yet but I think the whistles will come in handy at some point.


Getting your wetsuit to fit is as important as it is in getting fins that fit. The size marker above assures me that this wetsuit will fit my potato like shape. (I plan on serious dieting during the Thanksgiving and Christmas feasting holidays)

Random street markings


"Surf mats defy common logic by going very fast by being very still"

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

the end is near!

no I don't mean the election season.
In this case I mean that you probably won't read a comprehensible post out of me for a while.


I recently purchased a stove top espresso maker. A purchase I have long pondered and have been able to resist until just last weekend.

Karl Marx said that "the history of society is the history of class struggle".

I would say that the history of my surfing has been the struggle to get myself out of bed in the morning, down to the beach and into a damp smelly wetsuit.

After that things just sort of run their course.

I have long used coffee (even before Starbucks) to make my day a little more pleasant, a little more active and basically bearable.

I resisted espresso like a recovering junkie resists the white lady. Knowing full well what lay in the cards not yet dealt.

But now my future spreads out in front of me like a sack of coffee beans spilled upon the floor.

Heading off in multiple directions at once, with neither rhyme nor reason in sight.

"jet propelled body surfing" indeed!

Onward and upward

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Coffee two sugars

lot of pieces to help you keep warm on the bike

It had sprinkled off and on yesterday and last night so the plan for a dip in the sea turned into a bike ride instead.

The rain continued during the ride and it was fun, just as wet as a surf but without the high E. Coli count.

The weekend and continuing for several days this week we are having Fall weather.

Not a moment too soon as November is next week!

A note to the anon commenter for this post. I don't consider a coffee with two sugars "doping" but I can see your point. Not to argue but I bought a stove top espresso maker on Sunday. Stop by sometime and we can discuss it over a cup...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

almost

 I had almost convinced myself that I already had enough fins to last a lifetime.


Then Stevie D posted up some favorable information on the new Voit Duck Feet over at Surfmatters.

Now I don't know...

I've always been a vanilla Duck Feet kind of guy


well with a few modifications
just to make things interesting

I swear I can stop any time 


But you have to have summer fins, 

ones that you can wear with no fin sock, then a pair that works best with fin socks, then another larger pair for winter when I wear a full booty.

Then there is the pair you are breaking in so if one of your regular fins fails ...

That pair that I bought at the garage sale for 5 bucks that were pretty thrashed but in a good way,

Oh then there are the UDTs I've been whittling away drunken monkey style for years now. Eventually they will be perfect

There are the Churchills that I won in the raffle that work really good and basic black goes with everything in my closet...

and I had been meaning to get a pair of Da Fins...

Now the vanilla Voit rubber blend isn't vanilla anymore and is even better!


So I'm asking for your for help

I need a new story to tell my wife as to why I need another pair of new fins. 

She sees thru my normal BS like plate glass

so I think out sourcing the reasoning is best

The more bizarre the the story better!

Lets see what ya got in the comments section ...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

stand-up surfing and being the glide

I have been stand-up surfing
(that sounds so stupid but I can't think of another way to describe it)
for decades


I did stop for five years when my kids were born
it didn't seem right to go to the beach
and leave my wife changing diapers

Misc shot of the rafters (Is that a raccoon?)

After that I rode,
tri-fins
long boards
Bonzers
a host of mid rangers
the odd hull
and a school of fish
until the stars aligned
and I lucked into the mats
(again)

Photo by Mom

Since that time I have been sort of singular about riding mats

I have ridden boards on occasion but they seem so distant compared with the intimacy of mat riding

With the mats, not only are you inches from the wave face, but you aren't in the mode of “what can I make of this wave”, its more “the wave is taking me along for a ride, I wonder where we are going...”

Too much fun for words, wheeeee is as close as I can get.

But I noticed something the other day.

I had lost my mat,

(it happens)

but I was in a great place to pick up the next wave and body surf in to where my mat was floating inside

So I'm riding along thinking hey I'm body surfing pretty good

No, not like someone watching and saying, “Hey look at that guy! He's surfing pretty good!”

Just going along having a really good time

Which is more than enough for me

I am totally enamored with a minimalist approach.

It seems the years I have spent on the mat has given me some skills that directly transfer to the other finned facets of the surfing experience.

By "finned" I mean swim fins.

I think I am going to devote more time to the finned water sports,

So mats, hand planes, Paipos, body boards, serving trays and just plain ole vanilla, ultra groovy

body surfing.

There is something about the glide,

not being on top of the water feeling it thru a couple of inches of

poly foam and glass

but in the water,

every inch of my body

contributing in some way to

being the glide.


the first and last photographs by Jason Hall at Daily Bread

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I enjoy a good fall



not the type, down a flight of steps
but that too brief a time between
summer and winter

A time when the water can be warm
but the surf can be hot.

A time when the whole planet
shruggs off the long hot summer
and looks around for a nice place
to recline and sit out the winter

I moment between a long inhale and
a  deeper longer exhale
that lasts
thru the fall
thru the entire winter
and creates a place
for the inhale that is
next years
spring
and
summer

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The annual Board Room and Mud Run

The Ley Lines of creativity, design and craftsmanship decidedly cross in San Diego. Although their intensity peaks in the winter months with the increase in NW swells, this late Autumn show, after the last of the  summer "is my board ready yet?" questions has been answered, is a gathering of the local tribe.

I have made the trip down the last few years happy to leave the shores of Surf City to share the stoke.

As Jack O'Neil said so long ago, "Only a Surfer Knows the Feeling".
But if you want to know why then ask your shaper, glasser, sander, pinliner.

 Three kids playing with an artificial wave machine.
First thing I remember seeing at the show.
This bodes well for the future.

Some thing indeed!

Multi faceted artist Ed adjusting the flux capacitor on the *Enjoy stoke machine

This is the "other side" of one  Ed's series of handplane head photos. Check his Instagram feed for more. (yes full pinky extension is required)


 Mike Marshall's Skil 100

Pendo makes the best boards!

 So what does an artist do when he is done working on the big colab project?
If you are Matt Beard you head outside setup next to the band and get to work

 a parabola ( /pəˈræbələ/; plural parabolae or parabolas, from the Greek παραβολή) is a conic section, created from the intersection of a right circular conical surface and a plane parallel to a generating straight line of that surface (I see waves) 

The birth of the new generation in surf tycoons


Mark Richards was a great choice for this year's honoree at the show.
World champion surfer, great shaper and from what I understand a very nice guy and a class act.

But in the days after the show I have begun to wonder.

When does a handplane shaper get into the "in honor of" slot at the show?
Or a paipo shaper, how about a mat maker?

Swim fin makers, board fin makers, knee board shapers and designers have all made large and small contributions to our sport over the years but don't seem to be well represented.

Body boards are ridden by more people in more places than anything else.
When does Tom Morey get the nod he so richly deserves?

Can we really celebrate surfing and the people that design our surf toys if we are only looking at one facet of the sport?

My advice is for the producers of the show and shows like this is to close their eyes take a deep breath and picture all the things we love to do in the ocean and include that in the next show.


PS thanks to my wife who took most of these photos.
When I get to the show I can either 1. run around like a kid in a candy store or 2. Try to make some photo journalistic decisions on a cohesive bonding of some images to possible future story lines here on 23B.

Even though my dear wife is famous for her photo decapitations I decided that option one was the way to go.

Friday, October 5, 2012

I surf a mat



The surf mat has been my chosen surf craft for a while now.
I still love surfboards and I spend hours in surf shops checking the rails, rockers, fins and foils. It's just that in my opinion the mat is the most advanced and adaptive craft I've ever ridden

As with many things, surfing is about your intentions as much the act itself. The time spent leading up to and even after surfing is as much a part of the experience as the actual wave riding.

Lets begin with the approach, the mat is easily rolled up and tucked under one arm, my fins interlocked and dangling from one finger of the other hand.

I can casually stroll to the water but I actually prefer to walk in some distance to my entry point.
The walk warms up my body, lets me focus my mind, concentrate on my breathing and I have to say I love the beach.

Beachcombing was more exciting before the days of the big sand cleaners. There was more driftwood, more shells, more beach finds of all descriptions. These days I am as likely to find a used syringe as a neat looking shell, my favorite beaches are those that don't accommodate the big sand sifters.

Since I walked in, I'm warmed up enough that my pre-surf yoga is more effective. I usually don't go for a big stretch just enough to find any tight areas and loosen them up. That way I can focus more on the wave and my body will just glide along.



The surf mat and fins allow me deeper access to the water. Less paddling on top of it and more swimming through it. I love the water.

A bit of wading, a few duck dives and some kicking and I am outside waiting for a set.

Duck diving with the mat is not much different with than a surfboard. In fact surf mats have some definite advantages. Just before the wave reaches you, you shift your weight forward and use your body weight to drive the front of the mat underwater. At this point you are underwater, under the wave energy churning above you and holding on to a bag full of air. All that is left to do is relax and hold on while you and the mat rockets to the surface behind the wave. On bigger days I can lessen the inflation of my mat. I can also swim out through larger surf with my mat completely deflated and then inflate the mat once I am safely outside. Easy on a mat, impossible on a conventional surfboard.

The mat take off for me is a lot like body surfing in that the takeoff is usually in a critical breaking part of the wave. Of course you can take off well before the wave breaks but as a matter of personal preference I like the no paddle take off, no doubt a remnant of a lifetime spent surfing fish style short boards. Once you are in good position, you are sucked up the wave where you can turn and with a quick flutter of fins begin your slide down the wave face.

Flying is really a better description, there is much less drag on a mat than on a surfboard. The toed in fins on most boards that allow small radius turns are completely absent, along with the drag they create. Less drag means more speed. The soft nature of the mat lets the air inside act like a shock absorber. Very little of your forward motion is used up being tossed about. Even choppy days seem smooth and glassy. Most mat riders are speed freaks. I make no apology, I like to go fast!

Mats are optimally ridden less than fully inflated. This allows you the freedom to shape the mat as the wave changes moment to moment. You build a rail by squeezing the outboard front corner of the mat which plumps the inside rail, which as it turns out, is quite adequate to hold in steep conditions. You have to consider that your mat, your inside leg and your fins make up your "inside rail" when you ride a mat.

If the wave backs off or you want to hold yourself back in the tube, you release pressure on the outboard edge of the mat, the shape of the mat flattens out, then by lifting your fins and with the correct body english you are in a controlled side slide.

"Just like a Willy's in four wheel drive" to quote my friend and Matter El Supremeo, KenDog.


If you have ever ridden on a dirt track the feeling is similar to drifting through the corners.

Since you can adjust the floatation of the mat so easily you can change it on the fly from a substantial floating platform to a completely neutral flotation surfing device. Wave size, surf conditions and personal preferences dictate the amount of air to use. There is no one right answer on inflation. With variable inflation one surf mat can handle a broad range of surf conditions. I use a quiver of three mats.  After years of riding them I have yet to find conditions at the beach that one (or more) of the mats isn't suited for.


I like to watch waves. Sometimes I'll sit on the shoulder and just watch them go off. Liquids do not readily compress. Winds blowing across the surface of the water hundreds or thousands of miles away introduces energy into the water which gets passed along atom to atom and moves as waves until it dissipates or breaks upon a distant shore. The waves you surf this morning could have been born days ago halfway around the world. Sitting just out of the impact zone with a ringside seat waiting for that special wave that invites you to ride it is a very special treat. I try to keep an "attitude of gratitude" when I surf. So many things had to happen just right to make the waves that break on my local sandbar.



Riding the mat is all about the wave. Not necessarily the size because it’s always overhead. Compared to stand up surfing the motions are much subtler, quite often invisible to all but a handful of fellow practitioners. You move your weight around your core to emphasize the changes you make in the mat shape and volume. You aim at maximizing speed and subtle directional vectoring in tandem with the way the wave is breaking at the moment.  Since the wave leads in this dance you are best advised to be "in the moment" without trying to impose your idea of a good ride on the wave.

This quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupery explains it best, “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

Mat surfing is and will continue to be for those of us who seek an intimate relationship with the ocean unencumbered by all but the basics of a fast slide down the waves face and some quiet moments in the water.

PS Thanks to Jason at Daily Bread for the use of the photos!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Nadine - 23 Days and counting

Atlantic storm nadine is 23 days old (the fourth longest storm in history)

Time for a quick celebration as Nadine is becoming associated with a cold front






Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Can I go in now coach?

I didn't go down to the beach today

but if I did

it would have looked like the photo above.

The late summer heat wave

that lasted the last two months

seems to be gone for now

Replaced by seasonal fall weather

like a eighth inning substitute

"Can I go in now coach?"

It's quiet in the fog this morning

and the usual traffic noise

has been replaced

by the sound of water

dripping off leaves

Monday, October 1, 2012

Rick Griffin - The film




The Life, Art and Raging Times of Rick Griffin

The Film: “Griffin” is a feature-length documentary that explores the art, life and eccentric spark of one of the world’s least known and most influential 20th Century surrealists. Over the time-warped span of the 1960's, one-time teen cartoonist Rick Griffin created defining icons for three pillars of west coast counterculture: surfing, psychedelic rock and underground comix.

Check the Kickstarter for the movie




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. (Nope they are doing a movie! See the Kickstarter link above)

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!

I'm super stoked to see a movie made about Griffin. I hope it's a good one.