Friday, April 27, 2012

DIY Surfboard Project: Final Chapter

(continued from Day 2: Art and Glassing)

Aaron knew his way around fins from prior experience, so after a bit of input from Albert, Ant, and others on placement, he and Max used 5 minute epoxy to get them attached to the board.  It took a bit longer than 5 minutes, but eventually they set.  We toed them in slightly - appx 1/4 to 1/2".  We had previously worked out the cant by eye and sanded the base at that angle.

We started to run out of daylight, but we had time to get two layers of glass on the outside of the fins.  Very important to get the air bubbles out, particularly on the base where it's easy to push the glass and create an air pocket.  Aaron here using a brush and generous helpings of resin to keep it nice and solid.  We did end up with an air pocket along one fin edge, which I fixed by cutting holes at each end and squeezing some fresh resin through with my fingers.  Then I copied Aaron's technique today and glassed the inside edges.

Making the leash loop.  Greenlight included a modern leash plug but lacking the tools, we found it easier to go old school with fiberglass rope.  I also find I prefer the way it looks.  The wax crayon is just something I found laying around that maintained the hole.  Once this cured - just a few minutes in the hot sun -  I went to town with my sander and got the edges and uneven patches into rough shape.

Everyone took a turn waxing the board and almost before we had begun to celebrate, Ant threw the board in his van: "Let's go!"

A few of us took turns, and with the sun going down, Albert dropped into a wave and threw a fat bucket of spray at me.  Mission accomplished!  The feeling is just unbelievable. It feels like a dream, that we accomplished this in a few days during a surf trip, and now there is a board that we will pass between us in the years to come, that will carry with it the unique memory of our time together.  Big, big ups to Brian Gagliana, and all the crew at Green Light Surfboard Supply for making this amazing experience possible.  GNASHERS USA!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

DIY Surfboard Project Day 2: Art and Glassing

(continued from Day 1: One Board Shaped)

After taking a day off to surf, we got back to work.

We used lightweight spackle to fill in the little holes and dents, and lightly sanded.

Ant: "We're gonna call it the Chicken Petter."  And so it was.

We had red, blue and green tints.  We decided to make the tail green and leave the front a swirl of unmixed red and blue.

We only had 4oz glass so we went with two layers on the deck and one on the belly.

Team glassing, so much fun!  I now see I should have pre-mixed the red and blue with resin before combining on the board.  As a result some of the tint got clotted up in some small concentrated spots where the resin didn't mix with it fully.  But it resulted in some pretty interesting patterns.

Solarez.  Catalyzed by our good friend Sol, peeking out from under the board.  This is my first time working with this resin, and it's a great way to go since it kicks super fast in the sun.  As you can see, we went free lap cause we all like that look, but also because it seems right that the board celebrate its own handmade origins.

Once the belly kicked, we sanded the rough patches and laid two layers on the deck.  We were a bit sloppy with the rails so we did the deck glass one at a time.

Max did a truly absurd deck art piece that had us hysterical with laughter.  He did a bunch of test patches with different papers lying around like vellum, paper towel and cotton paper, and found that none of them laid flat after glassing.  Then he hit on the idea of using a coffee filter.  It worked brilliantly.

Jamie glassing the deck.  We had a bit of uv leaking in so he worked with some pretty fierce speed.

The waves were waist high but punchy.  At some point we just couldn't stand it any longer, dropped everything and went for a surf.  I borrowed Micah's helmet camera mount and chased him down a wave to get this shot.

As the sun was dropping in the sky, I realized that with rain in the forecast, I'd better paddle in and get that hot coat on.  I should have started a bit earlier, since the sun was getting pretty low by the end.  It was still a tiny bit tacky when it got dark, but hopefully we'll be ok.

Next up: sanding, fins and leash plug.  We're debating whether to sand the hot coat or do it after we put the fins on.  I think we might go with the former to make sanding the tail a bit easier.  We want to ride this baby tomorrow so we may risk working on it today even though it's a bit damp and overcast out.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ryan Lovelace Kickstarter

Ryan Lovelace launched a Kickstarter for a good idea that supports a good cause.

From the Kickstarter page:

My project is all about environmental and community responsibility.  I'm a custom surfboard builder that wants to help make a change in our toxic industry while also taking action to help protect a rare California coastal habitat.     
I want to build a line of environmentally friendly-er surfcraft to offer at an upcoming art show and auction, then pay it forward by donating the profit from the show to a great local organization.  The boards will bring attention to environmentally conscious surfboard building materials while allowing me to expand my horizons as a small business and at the same time donate a lump of cash to a worthy cause...I can't think of anything better!
The funding of the campaign will allow me to use plant-sap based resins and recycled foam products to build a collection of beautiful surfboards.  Once my work is finished I'm going to hold an art show/silent auction and donate the profit from the line's sales to the Save Naples Coalition, who is a small group of people helping to protect one of the last areas of privately owned coastline on the Gaviota coast from major development.   
Larger scale change is always spurred on by grass roots efforts that raise consumers' expectations.  I want to be part of the challenge and help change the demands that customers put on our industry.  
As surfers, we rely completely on our environment for our pleasure, and we tax it heavily in the process.  The act of building a surfboard has been known for a long time to be very toxic, yet the industry has turned a blind eye towards the effect that it has on our surroundings as well as the effect it has on the people who build them.  The chemicals contained in polyester resins and polyurethane foams are extremely high in VOC's (Volatile Organic Compounds) and are widely known to cause cancer and serious health problems.  Not only does using better materials turn a surfboard more environmentally sound, it creates a healthier environment for the builder.  
The resins that I want to use, in place of VOC-rich polyester, are a plant-sap based resin which is extremely strong and readily available.  Not only do they put less strain on the environment in production, they have the potential to outlast traditional products, making the demand for new surfboards far less.
The technologies required to make a better surfboard are no longer experimental, they're high quality and available for those willing the invest the time and money necessary.  The materials are new and cost more than traditional ones but create a valuable and conscious product. 
I'm excited for the possibilities ahead and the projects that will come from your support!
Wanna learn more about Save Naples?
For more info on Entropy's unreal Sap-based resins check out
And if you want to learn more about my obsession, check out my work in and around surf craft at, or check my blog for near-daily updates (over three years of 'em now!) at . 
Thank you SO much for your time and donation if you chose, I'm humbled and honored to be able to do what I do for a living with or without this campaign.  I'd like to do my part to make it healthier for all of us and our ocean as I find my way through it!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The 6th annual NY Fish Fry

The 6th Annual NY Fish Fry is On!
Saturday, May 12th @ Washington Blvd
Bring your beloved Fish’s, quads, keels, asymmetrical shapes, oddities, blocks of foam, and positive vibes…
All surfer’s are invited…
The NY Fish Fry is chance for “surf enthusiasts” to get together to try each other’s boards out and enjoy in the camaraderie of other surfers. Dozens of boards will be on hand to ride as in years past. Shapers from both East & West Coast will be on hand with their boards. Positive vibes all around…
No need for cash, no need to sign up. DIY style… Just show up…

Monday, April 23, 2012

One Board Shaped!

Location: Outer Banks, NC
One foam blank
Jigsaw, hand saw and rasp
No wood, nails or screws

But add 13 crazy artists + craftspeople and a DIY vibe, and what happens?

 A raid of a nearby construction site dumpster for some plywood scraps

 No nails?  No problem!

Enter the blank, kindly supplied by Brian Gagliana at Greenlight Surfboard Supply along with glass, resin and basic hand tools.

Jake puttin his back into it.

At left: chief instigator Ant.  At right: Jamie. This is his first stab at shaping, but as a sculptor is well at home working with various shapes and materials.

Final touches.

Done!  Total time elapsed, including shaping stand construction: 2 hrs.

Next up, art and glassing!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Leftover ply, shelves or....

Finished making a loft/storage bed and I had some leftover ply and some leftover polyurethane from the floor.

Shelves or...

Based on Paul Lindbergh's paipo design, combined with some pics of other style shapes garnered from pics and videos online. I want to see what a real wide shape would feel like. Gonna try and take it out on a small day and play around.

Monday, April 9, 2012


Imagine my excitement knowing that I would have a responsibility free weekend coming up. Not only that but I would also be visiting a friend close to Ditch Planes. I was landlocked during the last couple of small swells that came though due to career and parenting duties.  Now imagine my disappointment knowing it would be flat flat flat! I had to go see Ditch anyways and caught a killer sunset.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Thursday, April 5, 2012

3 Time Zones, A Whole Lotta Windbags

Mat Meet Rockaway Coming in May! In association with ukmatsurfer's MAT Meet 10, we're holding our first meet that same weekend. California may do the same! 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Rockaway Gets a Surf Shop

Well, not the first to cater to NYC's home break, but what was formerly a mediocre surf shop, fueled primarily by its cash cow board locker business, has busted down an adjoining wall, doubled its size, and been given a new life.  Have a look at the new Boarders Surf Shop.

More of everything, most notably boards. (Click then drag on panorama below to view 360.  Yes, the boards are actually in one pano app bugs out sometimes.)

And definitely showing off more interesting shapes.  Justin scopes out a Matador noserider, that resembles something more commonly seen at the end of a spear.

Some classic local pics, including a noseriding soul arch that probably hasn't been seen in these parts in about 40 years.  Finally, for the confused and dangerous (of which there is never a shortage in these waters), someone has finally printed Rules.  And for those with Paipo fever, ladies and gents, start banging your cowbell!