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.