Thursday, December 13, 2012

While you're waiting for the next swell...

Here's a cool vid of Joel Tudor and Wingnut talking 'bout noserideing

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Ventura area surfers were treated to three days of outstanding surf this weekend. Calm winds allowed clean conditions nearly all day. I surfed a couple of late afternoons on the dropping tide. Something I haven't done in months.

Here's the Pier at C St showing some size where there's typically barely a ripple. The little black  dot at the edge of the white water is a surfer.

One of the smaller set waves at Pitas Point. This shot was taken from where I hope to be parking my newly acquired travel trailer this winter.

6-8 HYB 5-Fin...

I shaped this hybrid shape for the older, larger shortboard surfer who has a job, responsibilities and doesn't get to the beach as often as he'd like. Or, for a surfer who is looking for a sub-7' board to add to his quiver of mid-size and/or longboard shapes. The board has a full outline with wide-point very close to center, which is typical of hybrid shapes.. The bottom has relaxed entry rocker with a slight kick in the last 6" to cope with later take-offs. Bottom contours are a subtle single-to-double concave. At 2-5/8", the thickness is in between standard shortboard thickness and standard funboard thickness, striking a balance between paddling power and lower volume.

(BTW, the rocks you see in the photos were covered by 3' of sand prior to this weekend's big swell! Time to break out the booties.)

The five fin-box option allows the rider to experiment with either tri-fin, quad-fin or 5-fin configurations. As a transition board, this shape tries to provide the broadest performance range possible. Dimensions are 13"x20-1/2"x15"  2-5/8". Those interested in the shaping of this board can check here.

Contact me if you're interested in taking this board for a spin.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hey Michael! Come and get your Nomad!

Here's the latest iteration of my Nomad shape, a.k.a. egg, speed egg. This is the epoxy/EPS version, which was glassed with 4oz+6oz S-cloth (deck) and 6oz S-cloth bottom. Board is about a 2lbs lighter than a standard PU/PE shape. Boards dimensions are 7'6" 16-1/8"x22-1/2"x15-1/4"  2-7/8" 53.7L.
Here's Ray polishing the deck

This shape has an interesting story behind it, and it demonstrates how my shapes evolve over time. Earlier this year I hand-shaped an 8-0 EPS King Fish for a customer, and then had the same shape cut by machine, using EPS again. I use the AKU  program for machining my blanks and since AKU doesn't cut swallow or fish-tails, the tailblock of the cut blank is left straight. Since personally, I'm not a big fan of big fish shapes, I decided to just re-shape the tail into a round-pin. Thus was born the 7-11 Egg which I really enjoyed last spring. But, I felt the shape in EPS was a little to floaty for my weight, so I sold the 7-11 to Mike G., and hand-shaped a 7-6 from PU foam that was much more to my liking. About 5 weeks ago, Michael stopped by and turns out he works and surfs with Mike G.  He had ridden the 7-11 and wanted something similar, but smaller. So, I loaned him the 7-6 for a week or so, and after riding it, he felt the shape was still not quite right. So we narrowed the outline, and reduced the thickness and went with EPS foam to maximize float, and here is the final product. And that's how my shapes evolve; a combination of personal trial and error, coupled with feedback from customers. Don't forget, you can get a custom shape for the same price as a board off the rack. All it takes is about 4 weeks of patience.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

King Fish for David...

After riding Kirt's KF, David decided he wanted one for himself, but with a few modifications. This 8-0KF is a little smaller overall, with pulled-in nose and tail, thinner rails and just a little less thickness. Final dimensions are 8'0" 16-7/8"x22-1/2"x15-3/4"  3" 64L. The cedar stringer adds a subtle touch of elegance to the uncluttered look of this clear finished custom. David's choice of Hexcore fins by True Ames will allow this shape to perform to its potential.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

One for the shop...

In between all the recent board orders I've taken, I managed to slip in one for the "shop". This is a 9-6 Nova which is my all-around, go-to, modern longboard shape. It's a board you can take to the beach almost any day and have a great time. Chest-high or smaller, pop out the side-bites and add a 9.5" center-fin (Velzy NR by True Ames is my favorite) and "enjoy the glide, the slide and the occasional noseride". Shoulder-high or bigger, pop in the 3.7" side bites and your favorite 7"-7.5" narrow tip center-fin, and enjoy top-to-bottom turns and cheater-fives through speedy sections. A narrow tail and moderate tail V, make this board turn effortlessly, while the half-length, blended nose-concave and moderate nose width invite endless noserides. If you only have budget for one LB in your quiver, the Nova is your best choice. Dimensions: 9'6" 18" x 23" x 14-1/4"  3-1/8"
Foiled at both ends
Love this medium thick tucked rail!

This board was glassed with two layers of 6oz E-Cloth on the deck and one layer of 6oz E-Cloth on the bottom. Ray used just a "stick-dip or two" of yellow pigment in the resin, added a red pinline and finished with gloss and polish.
I love yellow surfboards!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Stubby 2+1....

Just picked up the 6-4 "lemonade" stubby. Ray did an awesome job with the abstract bottom and the pinline.

Full outline and boxy rails for extra volume in a short length. 2+1 fin config for that retro cruise style.
6-4 14-1/2"x22"x16"  3"       Price $510 without fins

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Another new stick for Kirt...

This is an 8-4 Nomad Quad + 1, with a double-bump round-pin tail. The 5-fin set-up allows Kirt the greatest range of fin configuration choices; Single, Twin, Twin with trailer, 2+1, or quad. Boards dimensions are 8-4 16-3/4" x 22-1/2" x 15-1/2"  3". Bottom is fairly flat in the middle, with slight convex in the nose and V in the tail. Board has low entry rocker with and a slight kick in the tail. The double-bump tail, tail-rocker kick and V placement will keep this board loose and free despite its relative size. The low rocker makes it an easy paddling board that will be very fast when in trim. Now all Kirt has to do is to decide which fins to use.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sean's Zinger...

Zinger 2012
Delivered this beauty to Sean just this morning. The Zinger is the latest iteration of the TPS Widget. "What's a Widget?" you ask? The Widget is a shape I designed as an alternative to the "big fish" shapes that started re-appearing 4-5yr ago. 
7-2 Widget 2008
I used the flat rocker, full outline, and double bump tail of my Mod Fish design, but replaced the swallow-tail with a diamond tail. On the Zinger, I pulled in the nose a tad and added the sloped-deck rail, which allows max volume without a bulbous rail. Other refinements include a shallow single-concave bottom, with double concaves feeding the fin array and a slight amount of "V" starting just in front of the fins running out the tail.

End results is a speedy mid-sized board with high-performance features that can be scaled to the riders size. The dimensions of Sean's board are 7-2 15-3/4x23x17  3-3/8" thick.
Here's Sean and his new Zinger...
Here's what Sean had to say after today's first session:
"Well the waves weren’t perfect, knee to waist, winds picked up as the tide went out. I’m surprised how light the board felt in the water, it did everything I asked. I’ve never covered so much ground in small waves before. I caught everything I looked at, lefts rights, point to the cove. I was ready to go in but a few strokes and I was back out catching another wave, it paddles fast. Stay tuned for some new swell in the santa barbara pointbreaks… thank you!"
Order your new custom Zinger today!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Making lemonade...

The last few weeks have been really busy with orders for new boards. And, I've been making almost daily trips to my supplier for blanks, S-glass and the odd fin box or fin. One of the orders was for customer Chad, who owns this spiffy 6-8 2+1 . Chad wanted the same basic design, but a little shorter, a little narrower and a little thinner. We worked together on the design using AKU and I picked up a blank that would accommodate the width, length and thickness. After cutting the outline, and shaping the rocker and bottom contours, I was shocked to find that the blank was still 3-1/2" thick! Chad had ordered 2-1/2" thickness, and cutting an inch of thickness out of this blank would make it highly susceptible to denting. Not cool. So this blank became a "lemon" and I stuck it in the corner of my shaping bay. I picked-up another blank for Chad's single-fin 6-4 and finished it (being glassed now) and then shaped customer Rick's 9-4 pintail Nova. All the while the "lemon" was standing in the corner reminding me that "haste makes waste".

While cleaning up the bay after finishing the Nova, it occurred to me that the "Lemon" might make a good Stubby, with CI Biscuit dimension, i.e. short, wide, thick and flat. I set the broom aside and picked-up my trusty Clark Hitachi, and when the dust settled, here's what I had.

Final dimensions are 6-4, 14-1/2"x21-1/2"x16" 3". I added the wing in the tail to step-down all that width, kept the rocker very low throughout, ran a shallow single concave down the bottom and added a little V out the tail. I'm going to go with a 2+1 fin set-up, and have Ray finish with an abstract, resin-tint bottom and rails, with clear deck inlay. Board will function as a fish alternative.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Zinger...

After machining
Here's a new shape for the big boys (you know who you are!) I call it the "Zinger" and it was inspired by my conversations with customer Sean, who needed more performance than his 7-10 was offering him. Like all my shapes, I created the design in AKU and sent the PDF to Sean for review. While I hand-shape 90% of my boards, I like to use CNC technology on my more technical EPS foam shapes. The nature of the material makes CNC a better choice. Once we were both satisfied with the shape, I sent the file to Marko Foam, who cut the EPS blank on their CNC machine. Blanks was delivered today.
After finish shaping.

After machining, the blank has the look of corduroy, with grooves left from the cutter head. Sanding and screening leaves the blank ready for glassing.

The Zinger is a hybrid shape with a fairly full outline and flat rocker. The dimensions of this particular model are 7'2" 15-3/4" x 23" x 17"  3-3/8". I used a sloped-rail design to keep the rails thin, and added double-wings in the tail, to reduce tail width. The flatter rocker will help to keep Sean from pushing water while paddling, the full outline will give him maximum planing surface, the sloped-rail will allow him to penetrate the wave face for better hold, and the bump/wing tail will make turning easier. Sean chose the 5-fin set-up for maximum versatility. This board will be glassed with S-glass cloth and epoxy resin for strength and light weight.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Season opener...

First west swell of the Fall lit up my home break with three days of solid waves. I took advantage of the opportunity to surf three different boards; 6-8 mini-LB quad, 9-6 Speedster and 9-4 Classic. Seemed like I got more waves in those three days than I did all summer. Fall on the Central Calif Coast is a magic time, with warm days, spring-suit water temps, west swells and a good chance of offshore wind.
Me on the 9-6 Speedster. Photo courtesy Slider Magazine
I shaped three custom boards last week, and I'm waiting for blanks for another two. All different shapes, with a new model I'm calling the "Zinger", a high-performance hybrid shape for bigger riders. I'll post some photos after Ray works his magic.

Now is the time to order your custom winter board. Current delivery time is 4-5 weeks, and there's always a slow-down in production around the Holidays, especially if we get some early winter NW swell. By December, delivery time can be 6+ weeks, so don't wait too long.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hobie Paipo...

Last month, a guy named Bill brought a board into my glasser’s (Ray Lucke) shop. We do a lot of ding repair so this wasn’t anything unusual. I was in the back shaping when one of the guys came back and told me to come look at this odd-looking board. Here’s what I saw:

Bill told us the board belonged to his old aviation tech school roommate and childhood friend, who bought the board in 1969, surfed it a few times and then left it with Bill’s father in Glendale while he went back to Montana. Tragically, Bill’s friend was killed in an auto accident before he could retrieve his board. The board remained forgotten in Bill’s father’s attic for over 40yrs. When Bill inherited the house from his parents, he re-discovered the board. Ray recognized the logo of the glasser (Gunther Glassing Northridge, Ca) and a few phone calls later Danny Tarampi, former owner of Gunther Glassing (1963-75), was at the shop giving us the board’s complete history.Danny told us that in the late ‘60s, surfboard manufacturers were scrambling to get on the shortboard bandwagon. Hobie delivered several longboard blanks to  Gunther Glassing with orders to re-shape the blanks into shorter boards. Danny said the only shortboard shape he was familiar with at the time was a paipo, and offered to shape a big paipo. He referred to the board as a “cut-down”. The boards were glassed by David Artz.

The board's dimensions are 5’1”, 19” x 22-1/2” x 22”, 3-1/2”thick. The wide point is 13”up from the tail and extends to a point 22” up from the tail. Board has significant belly and crowned deck, with eggy rails. Thickness flow is 2-3/4”@12” down from nose, 3-1/2” at 24” up from tail and 3”@ 12” up from tail. Board was glassed with double 10-oz Silane, deck and bottom, and weighs 17lbs! Fins were made by “Fly” using 10 layers of 10-oz mat (blue resin) sandwiched between layers of 10-oz silane (black resin). Fin template is “reversed skeg”, 6-1/2” base and 3-5/8” depth, and is not foiled. Trailing edge of fins is set 3-3/4” up from tail and 4-1/2” off rail, with no toe-in.

The board is in perfect condition with only a couple of gloss-coat scratches. Seeing this board and hearing its story from the man who shaped it was like opening a time capsule. I asked Danny if the board was ridden prone or standing up. He said most people rode them prone, but knew of one surfer who was able to stand up on it.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Mini-Simmons Collaboration...

Several months ago, Ray began researching the mini-Simmons shape with the intention of building a couple. He knew that I had been exposed to this new shape while surfing and shaping in the San Diego area, so he would ask me for feedback as he went through the process of building a template, ordering the blank. selecting the fins and setting the fins. By early summer, he had shaped a couple and placed them in the capable hands of Shawn Tracht, who's rider's review can be found in the Sep/Oct issue of Deep Magazine.

After finish-shaping 3 of Ray’s mini-Simmons boards, Ray ask me to ghost-shape one for him. I agreed and watched intently while he shaped one, asking questions and taking notes. I was taught by master shaper Tim Phares that, when ghost-shaping for another shaper, it is just as important to duplicate the “process” as it is to duplicate the template and dimensions. Differences in process have subtle impacts on the final outcome. So after watching and studying his process, I set about shaping a 5'10" mini-sims. 
Now, with the shape complete it was time to set the fins. A set of glass-on True Ames Hobie Fish fins in “smoke” was chosen. After some discussion, fin location was determined and marked. The shape was glassed and the fins were placed as discussed.
Next the board was hot-coated, sanded, gloss-coated and sanded smooth with 600g.

Its this collaboration, this give-and-take between shapers and glassers and surfers that is at the very heart of surfcaft building.  All photos courtesy of Jay Golien, SliderMagazine.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Project Egg completion...

The board was gloss-coated yesterday and allowed to "cure" overnight. This afternoon, the board was sanded with 400g on the deck and bottom.
The sander has to be careful not to round edges or leave flat spots where there should be curves.
After sanding the deck and bottom by machine, the rails are wet-sanded by hand.
With the board sanded, polishing compound ("secret sauce") is applied and the buffer is brought out.
A short while later, I pulled the tape off the fin boxes, threaded the leash loop and installed the fins. Here's the finished board, 7-6 17-1/2" x 22-1/2" x 15-1/2"  2-7/8" NR=4-1/4" TR=2-1/2"

I hope you enjoyed following the journey of this 7-6 Nomad, and have a greater appreciation for the work and craftsmanship that goes into each Thomas Patrick Surfboard.

All glass work courtesy of Lucke Glassing in Camarillo, CA