Saturday - Ocean Beach to Santa Cruz
We woke up in the same dirty SanFran parking lot that we did the day before and poured ourselves down the two blocks to Ocean Beach, groggy but functioning. But we perked up when we saw that conditions had finally cleaned up, and there were double overhead peaks kicking up everywhere. The parking lot quickly filled up with surfers, surf-checkers and "morning people".
One of our guys pointed out an odd but telling sight: six surfers, each pausing to stretch at about the same spot before entering the water one after the other. Each carried a nearly identical, nearly all-white thruster. Clad in all-black wetsuits, with matching surf-caps - hell, they even had the same build - they looked like the same surfer times six, one following the others. It put us in mind of the conventions that seem to drive surfing today; conventions often rooted in dictates of style and conformity. We unpacked our boards, each one beautifully unique despite the similar golden hues they reflected in the early light.
In a short time, people drifted over, and most seemed really psyched on what we were doing. But we noticed one recurring comment - regarding the weight of the boards - from about a quarter of the onlookers at this location. The trend was that the people who have never heard of us and have little or no familiarity with wood boards, think our boards a little heavy. Contrary to that, people familiar with what can be done with wood always say that they canâ€™t believe how light they are. We have always felt that an important part of our job was to educate people as to how wood can be an alternative to more toxic and unsustainable alternatives, and these comments helped us see just how important that is. It is part of the reason we are on this tour, in fact - to dispel some of the misunderstanding that surrounds the performance of wood boards by making them available for people to surf.
Some of us have been reading through Tom Blake''s Hawaiian Surfriders 1935. After the required history-of-surfing sections, he talks about how the first hollow boards were built back in the 1920â€™s. We were pleasantly surprised to hear that white cedar was very common, even back then. One of the things we like about our technique is that it allows for maximum use of the material with the minimum of waste; keeping the boards as light as an all wood board can be (theyâ€™re lighter than comparable chambered balsa boards), while still having the board built from solid, mostly renewable material.
After our demo, Randy said goodbye to his Sarah who was flying back east, and we headed over to Aqua Surf Shop and then Wise Surf Shop. After explaining how the added weight of a wood board will add to momentum and glide, and how a wood board is stronger than foam, one of the guys from Wise Surf commented that if he wasnâ€™t worried about weight, he could simply build a foam board with a super-heavy glass job, and it would last "forever". Randy quickly came back with â€œit would last forever in a landfill tooâ€. No comment followed.
We dropped Brad off at the ferry terminal to begin his long trip home and headed off for Pacifica and the Log Shop. This is another must see shop filled with classic logs (obviously), bonzers and single fins. Aaron, the manager and a good friend of Matt's, was speachless while checking out our boards. Needless to say, youâ€™ll be seeing our kits there in the near future. From the shop, we drove by the beach to check out the scene for our demo. Waves were closing out, so we decided to leave.
As we were halfway out the driveway, we noticed a guy holding up a wooden fish in the back of a pickup. Weâ€™re so thankful that he flagged us down, because not only did we get to see his beautiful home-made redwood board, but also a work of art from one of our Home Grown kit customers named Dean.
Dean (who drove all the way from Sacramento just to meet up) did an outstanding job building one of our Wherrys. He decided to paint his rails blue, which really highlighted the wood deck and bottom. He also had invested a considerable number of hours in getting a stunning finish on his board. He used the MAS epoxy that comes with the kit, but took some extra steps to achieve a super polished high gloss finish. We were so glad to have met him and seen his board.
From Pacifica, we headed south for Santa Cruz. As we came up on Half Moon Bay, we decided no west coast surf trip would be complete without a visit to Mavericks. We made our way past Jeff Clarks Mavericks Surf Shop and parked at the trailhead to the infamous spot. We took a quick walk up and over the point to check out a really nice left just around the point from the big wave spot. Tide was a bit high, so we decided to high tail it to Santa Cruz in hopes of catching a sunset session at Pleasure Point.
We didnâ€™t make it in time to get in the water but instead watched the sunset behind some beers at the Crows Nest down in the harbor.
Mikeâ€™s friend Andy who he used to work with him at Burton back in the late 80â€™s came down and clued us in to all the secrets of Santa Cruz where he now lives. We fell asleep in the harbor parking lot dreaming of perfect sunrise at Pleasure Point.
Sunday- Santa Cruz to Big Sur
We went to bed the other night with rats on our minds and were awoken this morning by the sea lions - a.k.a. sea roosters. Theyâ€™re up early and love making noise. We drove over to Pleasure Point first thing, and found our friend Andy holding a parking spot for us. Itâ€™s key to have a local friend when trying to park a large RV in a crowded surf area! (Thanks Andy!)
We quickly pulled out some boards, and before we knew it, were surrounded by surfers checking them out, and it stayed that way for 6 hours, until we literally had to apologize and cut it short so we could get in the water ourselves. The waves were in the knee to waist high range, but super clean and fun. Our 9â€™, 10â€™ and 12â€™ were in the water all day, as was the 6â€™0â€ and 6â€™5â€. It is always great to actually surf alongside others as they try our boards for the first time. First hand feedback just moments after a wave... what could be better?
We even got a couple local rippers, Bjorn and Ashley on board. Bjorn, who typically rides a super light short board, was so stoked on our boards that weâ€™re going to try to work together to develop a more performance design with him.
Most of our demos have had a real road-side flea market feel to them. The schedule is set - so that people know where to find us - but the demos themselves are super-relaxed.
Itâ€™s just a great chance for us to talk with people about our shapes, weights, different types of construction, and performace characteristics as they are having the opportunity to try the boards out themselves.
We packed up around 3pm and headed over to Oneills Surf Shop, grabbed some mexican food and hit the road for Jalama. Opting to take our time vs. rushing down the freeway, we drove Big Sur and hit the top of the pass right at sunset. Great ending to a busy day of logging with love.