6'10 " Island Style

Size: 6'10" X 19 1/2" X 2 1/2"

This is a glass board shaped by Daniel Thompson under the Island Style label. I'm not sure in what country it was shaped or whare the shaper hails from. I bought it new in Tubes for €400 which is a pretty good price.

The board could be described as a big boy or executive type thruster. It is Polyester/polyurethane traditional style construction. It came with a sanded finish, there are still some scratches where the coarser sandpaper gouged out a furrow which the finer finishing paper didn't clean up. Not too many though. The board was very solidly constructed and felt heavy for it's size. On the other hand after a few months use there was hardly a pressure mark on the deck no dings and not one spider crack. So a definite thumbs up there.

As usual I put in decent glass fins. I mostly rode this board with a John Harris 3dRed tip centre fin. I found that it was a lot more board than I was used to. A bit stiff in the turns due to it's size. Nonetheless it was a very solid predictable ride. The rocker rails and bottom contours seemed just right for the board. I enjoyed this board. I reckon it would just get better the bigger the waves.

Overall a thumbs up for the board, a solid predictable ride if a bit heavy but good value at the price.

Rating: 4/5
Colors of the day.
Custom from our neighbor for Mr.Chris.
Dennis glossing another set.


We want to congratulate Taylor Patton for making it to the finals of the Blackies Classics contest on Saturday.  This kid is improving so fast, it's scary.


Also, we want to recognize Gantez Warrior, (Levi Prarie and Dylan Sheehan) for an amazing performance at Killer Dana on Friday night.  If you haven't heard them, look them up.

Learning the Curve

Last month I talked with Mac from a bit north, who seemed almost embarrassed about his board order. "I have an emotional attraction to a certain type of board," he said sheepishly. "I just wanted to see what you thought about that..."
Turns out Mac likes curves.
I surf quite a bit with a geometry teacher who is also fascinated with curves, and traces the earliest forms of geometry to around 3000 B.C.E. One of the first geometric equations was to divide the circle into 360 degrees of 60 minutes each, creating, in a sense, ‘time.’ This equation was used to plot the courses of the planetary objects and develop the first calendars. Curves predicted rains, droughts, harvest and planting seasons, etc. The geometers were seen as spiritual leaders, the curves themselves considered sacred objects.
What am I getting at here? I have no idea, but Mac wanted an egg. Curvy as hell. Round at the nose and tail, gently curving through the middle, soft curvy rails and an even rocker along the bottom.
I have a similar attraction, and I don't know why. For some reason, I take more pictures of completed eggs and longboards than I do shortboards. I isolate the nose curve--the deepest curve on a longboard or egg or hull--and take a picture. I run my hand over it. I look at it for a really long time.
My wife comes out to the shop and goes, "ooohhh," when there's a really curvy board in there.
Sometimes I try to talk people into a roundtail or rounded pin over a squash tail. Most surfers wouldn't notice the difference, so what's the point? It's the curve. The flat line of a square tail or squash tail doesn't stir the eye (and the heart) the way a curve does.

Why have artists forever focused their attentions on the curvy female form over the male? Check out what may be the earliest yet-to-be-found example of art, Morocco's Venus of Tan Tan, dated from 300,000 to 500,000 B.C.E. The thing is pretty curvy. In this case, as with a lot of early art, the figure is believed to be some sort of fertility symbol. In the hands of the artist the link between curve and fertility, and therefore life itself, is inextricable.
Why does the curve excite us so much? Is it spiritual? Is it because of some sort of connection with the planetary objects and time?
Why are curves described as 'sexy'? Why do we love looking at surfboards? Why do we need to touch them? What does this stir in our souls?

I'm not too sure, and clearly I've had a lot of coffee this morning, so I'll offer a few pictures of Mac's new egg, curves and all. Dig.

Not long to go

PT is in town to pick up a new fish for the Fry from Dick Van Straalen.

A sample of Glenn da Cat Collins take on the fish that will be on show.
Another sample of Glenns craft.

Da Cat will be loading up the stead and heading down from 1770

Tom Wegener is making some sweet little fish for the Fry

Washington's Birthday

Question: Does it get any better than a windless, swell-filled day with no work obligations and the Little Lass in daycare?
Answer: Yes.
Perhaps our First President would have smiled had he surveyed today's coastal bounties (though perhaps not, as he was known to be a bit 'morose' in his more advanced years). Signs of freedom stretched from the coastline, where a relatively high number of surf enthusiasts enjoyed somewhat clean conditions, to the roadways, where the Amgen Tour of California passed through town preceded by every vehicle in the county with a siren, to the fields bordering the roadways where grapevines were slowly, selflessly preparing the fruits that will make us enjoy our freedoms all the more.
I think Washington would also applaud the voices of criticism on this day who speak out against a legacy of old white guys who have ruled this country from its inception. My dad's an old white guy, and I love him to pieces, but Washington was a famous advocate of change (I believe he was Commander-in-Chief of the Revolutionary War, for starters).
Onto the surf!
Surf was mainly leftovers from a bigger swell this weekend, but it doesn't clean up too often up here, so these chest-to-head high zippers provided a welcome meal. This girl rips!
I chose to ride the winterfish today, and now I'm smitten. A pulled in, fully-rockered quad, it does what I ask it to do. Having not surfed for some time, I didn't ask much, but I have a lot of questions for it in the future.
By the way, if you think these guys above look like seals from your angle, imagine what they must look like from below.
Actually, don't do that.
It ain't SoCal. The kid in the foreground told me it's the first time he's gone shoeless since the summer. How'd it feel?
"Bad," he said.
And now I'm imagining Washington lighting a fire right there on the beach, sitting down and motioning to this young lad to come over and warm those little piggies right up.

new fins

Spent most of today working on fins for the new batch of boards. 

sweaters coming soon? stay tuned.

New T-Shirts

4 new shirts should be in soon, and the new designs are available for viewing on our website.

Take a look, we'll start pre-orders soon.



The Modern Brometheus

"I seek the everlasting ices of the North,
where you will feel the misery of cold and fronts."
-The Monster, from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus

Local surf diehard Brent is my new hero. Born and raised in Sonoma County (heretofore referred to as SoCo), father, enviro-champion, and stoked beyond belief, whether it be freezing cold dawn patrol or freezing cold anytime else. Actually, I've never heard the guy complain about the cold, which leaves him almost peerless in this most unwelcome of surf destinations.
And he shows up with beers.
Many of those beers are represented in the design concept of this board.
The Frankenfish stands at 7'9" (the champagne of board lengths), is longboardy wide, fishy tailed and ???? nosed. It's a quad, and features a single wing at the rear of the front fins.
The wing creates a pivot point right at the spot where I dropped a Tecate on the nearly completed shape. My bad.
Of course, no Frankenfish would be complete without the beak nose--a feature I feel really ties the shape together.
This crisp Ice9 blank will get a stellar full board tint from Fatty in the weeks to come. Color? I'm not going to spoil the surprise, but let's just say it rhymes with 'yellow with a blue pinline.'
On a more gastrointestinal note, remember that soup my wife reminded me to buy last week when she was feeling ill? Well, I bought a ton of the stuff (can you ever have enough soup around?), and it really paid off this week as we both got really sick. The roasted corn and pepper is our current favorite--sweet and spicy!

The Power Pig emerges

This board is a new experiment with curves, and the addition of a boat tail. . . We expect that it will be very fast due to its almost flat rocker, and of course a tunnel fin!

Update on this year's Fish Fry...

 This year's Fish Fry is going to be even bigger than last year with a lot of interest and enquiry from shapers and board builders from all over Australia. This blog has also attracted international interest from around the globe. 
A large cross section of Australian shapers from Victoria, NSW and Queensland will be attending. Roger Hall from New Zealand is making a return visit along with a number of other kiwi enthusiasts. Jim Robertson from Lok Box is attending again and bringing with him Ian Zamora and DJ Kane from San Diego. Californian Chris Christenson, who was also here last year with some great little craft is coming out again and we welcome Steve Ford and Darren Ledingham from Southern California, who are heading this way after stopping off in Japan for the surf industry show. We have photographer Jamie Bott from the UK surf magazine Drift coming as well as UK film maker Christiaan Bailey shooting video and stills for various broadcasters (Channel 4 , Xtreme, etc.), magazines and his own projects. Junko and Takashi Tomita who covered last years event for Glide and Surf N Life magazines are making the trip again along with a Japanese entourage. These are just some of the confirmed parties at this stage. 
Obviously the fish has moved way ahead of some "retro"revival of a few years ago and made everyone involved take a good look at the basic principles of not only this unique shape but why we surf. The fish shape has now evolved into its many forms which will be on show at the Alley on the 2nd of March.

The Long of It

Enough jibba-jabba, here's a longboard for Bodega Bay surf enthusiast Mike.
Mike is famously hard on his boards. Despite the hefty glass job on this 9'6" noseridin' special, I drew up a Bill of Longboard Rights upon order that looked something like this:
I, Mike, hereby pledge to take care of this surfboard most beautifully glassed by Fatty. I promise not to leave it on the top of my car, uncovered, when I spontaneously decide to drive to Tahoe for the weekend. I promise not to paddle out at Bobo with my dog perched on the deck. I also give my word that I will not attempt any ding repairs, as I have proven to suck at this, and instead I assure that I will bring my freshly damaged board straight to an industry professional."
The comp band is to prove that he's full of it when he claims a cheater five.

The boardcam has arrived!

In 1995 we visualised how a boardcam would look. Lots of people have done it before, with complicated water housings... etc. We thought that we would have to build a water housing too, and we didn't have a spare camera to risk. Anyway to cut a long story short.. we discovered the ATC2K by Oregon Scientific. A small waterproof camera which records video onto a SD card. Brilliant!! We attached it to the Resolute Salmon as follows:

and took it out for a test ride here:

Then we had to get new software so that we could edit two points of view together. We found Adobe Premiere to be able to do the job and after a few attempts made this video:

wood fin i made for Christenson, custom for Rogan
took a break. too busy to do this blog. but now it should be a daily thing.

As traffic to my blog continues to blow up (last week I got three hits in a SINGLE DAY, more than doubling my previous record), I've been getting the inevitable email requests for a head shot. One female corresponder (and you know who you are*) was quite graphic in her demands. My first instinct was to stave off the hordes--to keep the focus on my body of work rather than my body of flesh and lots of hair. To preserve the fourth wall, as it were, between surfblogger and surfblog audience.
But I am just a man, and every man has his breaking point (not sure about this with women, as I've witnessed natural childbirth).
The following is a candid shot of me in my shop, taking a break by resting on top of a fresh blank, as I'm wont to do when the weather turns. It's not the best shot--my mustache is usually fashioned into a more impressive 'handlebar' style, and my nose is actually a much bolder color of red--but it's one of my only non-boudoir images. And to anticipate a question: yes, I do have a T-Band stringer. It adds strength, but mostly it's for aesthetics.
On a side note, it's been pointed out to me on several occasions that my nose has a striking resemblance to the Channel Island keel fin template for Lokbox, a similarity I cannot deny. I have no idea if it this is coincidence or a breach of surf industry ethics, but Al has been spotted in Northern California in the past, and I'm a notoriously sound sleeper...
*You don't, since I just made you up. My wife's been grooving on her ceramics lately. From shape formation to glazing to actually using, the more she talks about it the more I'm convinced we are actually engaged in the same pursuit when I'm in my shop and she's at the studio. I'm reminded of this connection when strangers ask me about surfboards--many times they don't even surf, but they are curious about the shape and the process. Upon investigation, they almost always have something they are passionate about. Something that broadens and deepens their curiosity, makes them see form where others see formlessness, sense where there only appears to be material.
An eighty-two year old man, a friend of a friend over for dinner one night, asked me the most pointed, articulate questions about surfboard design I'd ever heard. He had been a professional photographer and currently spends his time making beautiful, intricate wooden jewelery boxes. He'd never seen a surfboard in person.
My third grade piano teacher told me that if you can master one instrument you have, in a sense, mastered all instruments. I think this holds true for anything we are passionate about--if we have learned to look at something closely, really closely, we can start looking at other things closely. Soon, we are looking at everything closely, and the world is a more vivid place.
Below is one of my wife's mochi desert bowls. To me, this rivals the best resin swirls out there. To a science geek, it might look like the formation of the universe. To my wife, it's just what happens when impurities in pigment meet heat.

I hope you're out there doing something you love.

New boards coming soon.

Just finished a few more boards today... we can't wait to see what they look like when they get back from the glass shop.

This is the proposed design for the diamond tail board. (5.11 x 22 x 2.25)

Tipsy Turtles Tent Show

Thanks to everyone who made it on Wednesday, we had a great time, and hope to play again soon.
Final attendance was 770 people... not every band can say they've played in front of a crowd like that.

Random Flexlite

Size: 6'6" X 18 7/8" X 2 3/8

I picked this Board up in Tubes shop in Cork for a trip to Fuerteventura. It is the same contruction as a surftech, however the deck seemed to dent just as easily as a standard shortboard. A LOT cheaper than a surftech though.

I really didn't like the ride of this board, it felt really dead.I got rid of it as soon as I came back home.

Saying that I know a really good surfer who rides one and really likes it.

Rating: 2/5

6'8" Peter Mel Machine Surftech

Size: 6'8" X 19 1/2" x 2 3/8"

This board is a Surftech. So the comments made in previous posts about Surftech construction and flex apply here also.

I bought this board from the same friend who sold me the 6'4" PMM below.

The shape is a strange blend of dimensions. Its pitched as a step up board from the 6'4". But its not a fat boy (or lazy boy) either. It manages to keep a very subtle blend of volume and high performance curves. The nose rocker is a beautiful progressive curve, I think its about 4 1/2". This type of curve suits my style as a front footed surfer.

As always the first thing was to take out the cheap plastic fins and put in a pair of FCS H2's. My first day out was at my local beach in head high messy conditions. I have always been looking for a board that makes the most of these conditions. Well this is the one. On my first wave the board just flew down the line cranking 3 or 4 really nice smooth turns. I have ridden this board quite a bit and I really like it, its fast smooth and handles messy conditions really well.It also paddles great. I have nothing bad to say about this board. If you have put on a bit of meat or are sprouting some grey hair it could be the one to keep your surfing high performance.

Rating: 5/5 loving it!

Escape SUP

SIZE: 10'10" X 28 1/2" X 4 1/2 by Bill Atlee of Escape

I had been plagued by shoulder problems and was looking for something to have fun with. Ambrose Curry once posted that the secret to a long surfing career was to balance the stresses on the body by mixing it up with different wave crafts. So a SUP seemed a good idea, as I'd already almost drowned on a waveski. Plus it would also let me take the kids in tandem.

I read a fair bit on swaylocks about SUP's paying particular attention to Blaine Chambers of Paddlesurf Hawaii. Some shop owners tried to convince me that only a board around 12' would be stable enough for me at 175lb. Having looked at what was available to me (Jimmy lewis - starbord - Escape and South point) I determined that Escape had the best overall shape . I went with the 10'10". This size suits me perfectly and its really stable. I thing it's really important to get the tail width right for stability in a SUP.

I got a good deal on the board which came with a full length deck grip, leash and a bag. I'm not saying how much but the retailers will have good scope for a discount on these. It's a single fin, i would prefer a 2+1 or quad personally.

Its built like a surftech PVC composite sandwich over polystyrene. This is the only way to go with such a big board, and you can carry it comfortablyon you head to the water. If you drag it down the beach the sand will wear off the paint. Bashing it with the blade as you paddle also chips the paint easily.

I dispensed with the optional carbon paddle which came in about €150 as I couldn't afford it. I made a balsa paddle myself but snapped it. I eventually bought an alloy paddle from Ainsworth paddles it only cost €60 and I'm happy with it. I have heard of people snapping expensive carbon paddles.

Ok so how does it go ? Well first time up I found it really stable paddling once you get used to it. You have to get used to paddling a few strokes each side, nice and long through the tail to keep a straight line, also you must compensate for te wind. In windy conditions they are a lot of work. I reserve it for glassy days.

There is a bit of technique in catching a wave, I half turn the board so I can paddle for the wave without having to change sides with the paddle. When the wave comes under you it gets really unstable. I find it easy to drop low or walk back a bit at that stage. With the weight of the board it is slow coming off the wave, but retains speed easily. You really need tha paddle to surf these boards and there is a bit of technique to using the paddle to assist you turns. I have a paddling background so I find this bit easy.

In summary they are loads of fun. But they are not very manouvreable, so I never use it around people. I will certainly try surf bigger waves on it, as it's such a different experience. My 4 year old loves a spin on it as does my dog! I am really looking forward to next summer, flat or not.

Rating: 4/5 good value and great shape but I feel a 2+1 option with more durable paint would help