Grain Surfboards Heads West - NorCal
But we had a chance to talk to the lone surfer we met there that day, and to admire his ride - even as he admired ours. With not a lot of people around to demo boards, Brad and Greg decided to suit up and give it a try at a long beach break we ran across farther down the road. It's amazing how much bigger the waves looked once we were at sea level and we quickly learned why the locals braved the trail at Moonstone. The guys started their paddle-battle and after an hour of turtle-rolls and a couple of disastrous tries that are better not described, they had been washed so far south with the current that we couldn't even see them get out of the water. They walked over a mile back to the camper with their tails between their legs. Like Oregon, Northern California just had it in for us. On the plus side, Matt's sister, who lives nearby, had met us with some delicious baked goods and fruit (thanks Nicole!) and showed us the way into Arcata. This hip little town has a great surf shop called Greenhouse Surf, so we paid a visit and drummed up some interest in the ways of wood. A few coffees later, we hightailed it out of town and set our course for San Francisco. The drive took us through some of the most beautiful areas of the state, winding roads through forests of towering cedar and redwood. Some construction delays in the mountains set us a bit behind, but the guys at Proof Lab in Mill Valley were really nice and waited â€˜till after hours for us. After a good visit there, we rolled down to Ocean Beach in San Francisco where we pulled up to the curb in time to witness a gaggle of rats fighting it out along the seawall. Just when we were heating up a late canned dinner, the police rolled alongside and made us push on â€“ no bad thing considering the rats. A vacant lot behind Aqua Surf shop became Grain's West Coast office this Thursday night. Friday - Ocean Beach, Suicide Texting and the Shins Pre-dawn Friday, we moved the two blocks back down to Ocean Beach and set up for our first demo in the area. Waves were big and stormy, but a good number of people still came to check out the boards. A few of our custom board and kit customers came out as well, and it was really nice to meet them and see their boards first hand. We were psyched to see Emily and to check out the great job she did on her board.
With a little prodding from our Home Grown customer Emily, Matt decided to paddle out and brave the ridiculous conditions with her.Despite the waves and the current against them, they managed to get a few inside rides as the waves reformed. Danny Hess also stopped by to welcome us to the neighborhood. We've been seeing more and more of his boards around, and they look great. We were hoping to visit his shop, but he had to go to his glasser all the way down in Santa Cruz to pick up boards and wouldn't be back 'till late. After the demo, we visited Mollusk Surf Shop. This shop is a mecca for any surfer, with an amazing lineup of boards - hulls, bonzers, fishes and longboards - a real candy store. With a relatively free afternoon, we decided to take an hour drive north to see if we could find a break protected from the relentless wind. The road north hugs the side of slopes hundreds of feet above the water. Tight hairpin turns with sheer cliffs alongside is scary enough, but our 30' behemoth RV on a road that seemed designed for sportscars and sport bikes was clearly a poor choice. Multi-tasking Matt was undaunted. Text messaging local contacts and snapping pics while banging around turns and flooring it up steep grades, he eventually got us to a quiet little spot where Brad, Mike and Matt suited up for a relaxed session. The local crowd was super-friendly to us and we caught some nice waist and chest high peelers. We didn't have the only wood boards there, though... there was a Hess kneeboard in the lineup! Nice. After another hair-raising ride up and over the pass, we met up with Randy who had flown out from Maine to join us for the southern part of the trip. The whole group of us (plus a few) met up with Clayton and Shelly, some old friends of Randy's from Costa Rica who live in Berkeley. Shelly's a concert promoter and arranged to get us all back stage tickets for the Shins at the Greek Theater on the UC Berkeley campus. It was an already amazing day, but the show and the back-stage scene was a capper for sure. We had a great time looking at Clayton's classic quiver (maybe thirty boards) and had some deeply lusted-for hot showers after the show. Getting our clean bodies back into our rank, dudey smelling RV and returning to our charming vacant-lot location for a fast five-hour crash brought us back to the surreality of this thing called â€œGrain Goes Westâ€.