Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Holiday surf session...

This year we were treated to nice little swell for the Holidays. I got the opportunity to share some waves with my grandson and my step-daughter's boyfriend. The beautiful weather was just the frosting on the cake. I hope you have a wonderful Holiday season with your friends and family. -tp

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Need for Speed....

I'm pretty excited about this new iteration of the Nova Speedster. This particular board has the same rocker as Chris' blue Speedster, but with a slightly fuller outline and extra thickness to accommodate my weight and age.
Dimensions are 9'6"  17-1/2" x 23" x 14" 3-1/4". I had the opportunity to surf it recently in chest-high waves, which is really at the lower end of the wave-range for the Speedster. Normally, this board wouldn't come out until wave size hit shoulder-high or better, but you all now how it goes with new boards. 
I had a hard time shooting photos of this board because of the stellar polish job provided my master sander-polisher James at the shop. Anyway, this board is fast, as in blazing fast. I managed to blow by the SUPer who dropped in on me on my first wave. But, after "sharing" a couple of more waves, I decided to call it a sesh. (I hate it when a wave drought ends with a swell on the weekend. Waaay too much desperation in the water.) This session left me very excited about the promise of this board's performance in better waves,
When ordering the blank for this board, I chose a T-Band of two 1/8" basswood stringers. Glued side-to-side with opposing grain, this t-band adds a little more structural strength to the shape. I selected red glue color for aesthetic reasons, knowing that I would be using a red pinline on the deck. My glasser thought a dual pinline would look really nice, so we added the blue. Lamination was done with light-yellow opaque

resin on bottom and rails, with double 6oz cloth on deck and single 6oz cloth on bottom. Finished off with the superior gloss and polish already mentioned, the board looks as good as it performs. For fins I chose a 7" Smith/Parrish full-base center fin, with a set of 4" LB side-bites, all from True Ames.
Wanting more hold, I opted for the larger SBs, and then dropped the depth of the center fin down from my usual 7.5" to 7" in an effort to maintain the same total fin area. Price for this board, including fins, is $872 + tax.

WARNING: Geeky Shaper Talk   The key to this board's performance is choice of blank selected to build it. When building a board, the shaper selects a blank that already has a bottom rocker curve that is close to the intended rocker of the finished board. This not only saves time, but helps to increase consistency of rocker between similar shapes.  Digging through an old Clark Foam Blank Catalogue I found a blank (9-8S) with rocker very close to the rocker I wanted for the Nova. Then I asked the guys at US Blanks, who have all of the old Clark Foam rockers, to apply this rocker curve to a newer blank, the USB 9-9B. After skinning the blank and shaping thickness and foil, I found that I only had to make minor rocker adjustments at nose and tail to get what I was looking for. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Chris' Nova Speedster...

Customer Chris drove all day from San Francisco/Ocean Beach to pick up his new Nova Speedster.
The Nova Speedster is what some would call a longboard semi-gun. It features a pulled-in nose (17") and pulled-in tail (13-1/2"). Width at wide-point is 22-3/4". The board is 3-1/4" thick along the stringer, but the deck is crowned to maintain thinner rails. The bottom has a tucked rail edge, with low rocker throughout, slight belly in the nose, flat in the middle and moderate tail-V peaking in front of the 2+1 fin array. All the essential ingredients for pure speed in waves of consequence.
YIKES! SF Ocean Beach Winter - Photo N. Lawrence
A longboard semi-gun is not a board you'd find on the rack at your local surf shop. Contact me if you feel "the need for speed".

Thursday, December 5, 2013

New Nova for Winter 2013-14...

This is my next Nova Speedster winter demo board. At this stage it has been hot-coated and sanded, and is waiting for red pinline and gloss coat.

The Nova Speedster model is designed to be surfed off the tail, in larger, more powerful surf. Overall rocker is flatter than the standard Nova for speed and faster paddling. I borrowed the rockers from the old Clark Foam 9-8S blank, and had them applied to a US Blanks 9-9B. I also used a double 1/8" basswood T-Band stringer for added strength. I've chosen a 7" Parrish center fin from True Ames, with the new 4" TA Side-bites, all in red (of course!). The 4" SB will provide plenty of drive and hold. Dimensions are 17" x 23" x 14" 3-1/4" thick with medium, tucked rails. I kept the bottom very straightforward, with slight convex in nose, flat middle and V through the tail. No concaves to slow water flow.

A slightly more narrow version, which is headed for the wintertime waves at San Francisico's Ocean Beach, is being picked up tomorrow. I'll post some photos in a couple of days.

 Its December 5th, is your winter longboard ready?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

"Will this board work for me?"


I get asked this question a lot by new and /or inexperienced surfers when I advertise a shortboard or fun shape for sale. The single most important performance consideration for a beginning surfer is the ability to catch waves, period. The more waves you catch, the quicker you'll learn the basics and the quicker your skill level will progress. Start with the biggest board you can afford, and realize that this will not be your last surfboard. (remember, walk before you run) Most surfers who start with a shortboard soon realize how difficult the sport is and give up in frustration. Their shortboard is usually the first and the last surfboard they own. They soon discover that its not much fun watching other people catch waves. And, while its true that traditional, single-fin longboards are less responsive then shorter shapes, a solid 2+1 modern longboard can be quite responsive. What's more, they have such a broad performance range, that surfers at any level of experience can enjoy them. A reasonable shape progression would be LB, mid-size board (9'-7') egg (roundnose) or hybrid (pointy nose), and then shortboard or shortboard alternative, e.g. fish, mini-egg, etc. How fast you work your way through this progression depends upon how often you surf, your athletic ability, your age and your level of commitment. 
As you grow as a surfer you will learn that certain wave conditions lend themselves to certain surfboard shapes. Nothing better than a longboard for waist-high or smaller waves. Shorter boards work better in faster/bigger waves. If you surf where most surfers are on longboards, you'll never get a wave to yourself on a shortboard. Just the opposite is true if you ride a LB at a SB break. Most surfers have more than one board or a "quiver" for this very reason.