Saturday, December 31, 2011

Stories from the road

    Nick's delighted. Somehow he's managed to procure a couple ambian, a vicodin and a supersized frosted pot brownie. Climbing into the car, he explains me his upcoming strategy. "The ambian and the vicodin are for the plane flight back, and the brownies for Malibu!" Right. As long as his heart dosn't stop on the plane flight back, I'm fine with it.
     Days later Somehow that plan has slipped my mind. Pulling into Malibu, Nick's starving. We didn't pick up any food since waking up from a hard night in Ventura. Scavenging around in the glovebox he's discovered breakfast. Pulling out a tupperware he peels back the lid revealing a delicious frosted brownie. With sprinkles.   I silently salivate. He's halfway through it when he stops suddenly. 
"This thing is probably pretty strong..."
He reflects on the individual that he procurred the brownie from. 
"He deals with some strong stuff..."
I nod in agreement. If I even touch it, it'll be a nibble. 
Fast forward 3 hours later. Nick finds me hiding in the car with a towl over my head.
Apparently even a nibble was a little too much for me. The seagulls started talking to me.
Nick digs out the remaining bit. Laughs something about never letting me touch the stuff again and wanders out into the parking lot. I take a nap. 

It's always an adventure on the road. <(") Carl

Thursday, December 29, 2011

More Fin Mania

Today I found my self sorting through the rubbish that I hauled out of my old shaping room at Pearson Arrow. Inspired by my last post about Tanner, I sought out an old bag of fins from a period where I was studying thick foiled fins and their cause and effect in coordination with noserider design. I was operating on a hunch that you could alter the amount of drag on a given board by simply thickening or thinning the foil of a fin.

     One of the problems with a building a proper noserider is it is often difficult to really hone its over all speed into a particular break or rider weight with out building a few boards. Often referred to as "dialing in" this process can be expensive and frustrating. Especially because once a board is glassed, making alterations to the rocker of a board, the only other heavy influence on a noseriders speed, is pretty much out of the question. Unless you're willing to pick up a saw and cut off the tail and reshape it. I did that too, but simply put- attacking the fins was a much simpler and cheaper solution.

I was messing around with wing-like templates at this point because angular lines are much easier to correctly proportion the foil shape and thickness so that I could be sure that it was the foil affecting the flow of the water and not some other unseen variable. Adding thickness to the fin created a more "true" foil shape. From these experiments I realized something that seems pretty simple now, the more correct the shape of the foil to nature, with no flat spots like you see on modern "plate" fins, the smoother the fin felt to ride. The thickness had a definite cause and effect to over all speed, as probably seems obvious looking at these pictures, but it was the smoothness that I became captivated by.
This led to several other fins...

 The red one is actually a noserider fin too. Its foil was accurate to the point of using digital calipers to double check the over all foil shape and flow though out the fin. Pretty wild I'll admit. It was an experiment to see what happened when you keep the foil shape true but then reduced the over all area of the fin dramatically. The blue one is left over from experimenting with CAD designing the fins and foils and CNC cutting them, then moulding them. The wood one is a master plug that the mould came from. The idea at this point was perfection- how does it feel when the foil shape is mathematically correct- and eliminating hand foiling at this point was the only logical step. At this point I had gotten sucked into a few tangents and was just playing around with different ideas. I had stumbled into a project building an old Greenough  flexspoon and was really wrapped up in what he was doing with the shape of his fins. Alot of people tend to look at the Greenough 4A and think that it was all about the template. His templates were amazing and way ahead of their time, exactly the reason we are still generally riding the same thing today. I suspected though that he was way past the template and the foil shape was something he was concerned with. 

Revelation was struck when I got a package in the mail from Paul Gross, a longtime Greenough disciple. In it contained the schematics for building a true, period correct Greenough fin. You can see in the pics that the base flares out, but the bottom foil is just a scaled shape of what the overall shape of the foil was. There was a letter contained with the schematic, and Paul had told me that George had struggled with getting his boards to position themselves correctly in the "neutral" part of the wave, the part I suspect would be what we would consider the optimal place to position our noseriders.  It turned out that George had discovered the same thing as I, only 40 years before and had honed his foil in to solve this problem. The term is "aspect ratio" and it refers to the thickness of a foil in relation to the length. It is often referred to in percentages and is commonly overlooked.
I still continue experiments to this day, but in a lesser capacity- but with a much firmer grasp of what happens when you "cut" though the water with a fin. Simply filing the leading edge of a fin blunt will slow it down dramatically, and conversely thinning it out or sharpening the leading edge will speed the same board up. These solutions seem so simple now in reflection, but the foil- a term that is often thrown around with abandon, is one of the most important aspects of a board. At least in the opinion of this shape geek. <(") Carl

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


It's funny having a blog with someone 2500 miles a way. I love clicking on it to see something new. I read it hunched over the screen thinking it will get me closer to the action. Carl and I are definetly two differnt people. one spell checks the other doesn't (guess which one) One uses numbers and formulas, while one seems to wing it hoping for the best. Together its a pretty good duo. I remember the last time I was on the mainland sitting at carls house going through all the R and D photos he has done over the years. Pretty amazing. I had always heckled him for working at Arrow being a ghost shaper. See I always thought he could do it on his own, he has the skills. Going through all his fin reserch, composite boards, finless etc. it came to me. He has a PH.d in board building. You can see it when he shapes, but more so when start talking theorys of differnt designs and eras of boards. He is not a guy who built one finless then moved on, he built dozens, modifying and tweaking. He can foil the shit out of fins, and when you discuss a certin composits in surfboards, you see the mad scientist. Anyway I told him he should be posting some of his reserch. To him it's boring. In the past. But for me it something I never got that deep into. I was just a sander. I don't know where I am going with this, all I got is some pictures of doodles and some floatation devices. I just like colors and doodling, luckily someone on the team has some credintials.

Here is a holiday mix CD from our friend Lan. She printed it up all nice in a little custom packaging. Notice the song selection. I wonder where the inspiration came from.

A high tech fin placing system in place. Developed by NASA and used in the glassing room.

Two Crows going green, recycling beer boxes for stencils.

A couple new boards for Surf Garage

"How to prevent a fire" a little doodled inspired by... well you know the story :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tanner Beckett

      Recently a friend of Tanners contacted me to make a copy of one of his old personal boards (the Olsen/Arrow seen in the picture below) and I had many old memories wash through me during the making of it. I thought I would reflect a couple of them. 
     Tanner was the first person that ever ordered a board from me, we were just punk ass kids that surfed the point all the time. I'll never forget that first board we made together. We called it the "Cosmic Pig"  and it was an orange & blue resin swirl fat fish twin fin board that he ended up surfing to death. I'll never forget polishing the thing in the morning before class while he stood outside my makeshift shaping room in his wetsuit. I sent him on his way, headed to school and spent the day of class dreaming and worrying about what the verdict would be. Would he love it, would he hate it? By this point he was already an established ripper in the scene and so many uncertainties flooded though my mind that I had pretty much thrown in the towel by the time I made my way home from school and checked the surf. I was shocked to see that he was still out. Stoked, I ran home and grabbed my stuff, I was in the water in 10 minutes later. Paddling out through the channel, I saw him take off on a nice wall and started heading down the line, coming right at me. POW, He chucks a huge front side air right in front of me. The verdict was obvious, he loved it. 
     After that we built piles of boards over the years, refining and tweaking mostly fish designs to his always curious and stoked taste. The fish that you see displayed on this page is probably the most recent design that we developed together. It's at least 7 years old, coming out of the "fish movement". Tanner rode a Skip Frye Steve Lis style fish for a few months when they were becoming popular but really wanted something that was more maneuverable, more "shortboardy" ...this board was it. It's basically a shortboard disguised as a fish... the rocker is modern, the fins are modern, and the outline is actually just a shortboard template that was pushed out from the stringer with a swallow tail and the nose pulled back in to the tip. 

 A giant concave runs down the center getting deeper out the tail tip, so that the rocker down the center actually does the opposite of what it does in most concaves- it doesn't get flatter, it actually gets curvier. This is because the board was meant to run on rail like a modern shortboard, performance was always the name of the game for Tanner. We spent years just figuring out the fins on this design.
Most of the time, we would just focus on the templates like everyone else. But we noticed that there was something more afloat with the design of one particular design, it turned much better than all the other boards and had much more drive. On a whim I had foiled the fins in a particular way, so that they were concave on the inside, just as an experiment. Below you can see how I was taking molds of fin foils at this point, totally focused on what was going on with the foil aspect of the fin.

Here's another great picture I found in the archives. It's the actual foil from the original magic board with the inside foiled fins. A better term for it would be "cambered" and it opened up a whole new world of design theory to obsess over. The fins turned out to be very hard to replicate- I built endless copies trying to hone in on the design and understand it, a whole other story in it's self.
 In the end, because of the complexity involved in building just one set of fins for a board we settled on putting a quad setup on the design. The feeling was similar, and the price to the customer was better, and no one really seemed to care about the complex foils of the fins anyway. Except Tanner. Hopefully the current board he has will last him a life time so I don't have to foil another set of those fins. :)
Here's a couple of shots of his friends board. It's fun to see the shape stay the same and the brand change. Out with the old, in with the new. <(") Carl

Monday, December 26, 2011

Doodle Mania

Sometimes I get caught up working on boards. For me they are fun, colors, creativity and then some. I get my creative juices out, enough stay sane, but dooddles are medicine for the brain. A pen and cardboard, a beer and a tune, I can doodle all afternoon. I little idea can go a long way. Nothing fancay.
"As Single as a single fin" Resin Painting available at Surf Garage
A merry Christmas Minni Simms

The History of Two Crows in doodle form.

I have been looking for an RV to cruise around/ live in. This one I thought would be the one, but has a bit of mold damage. Changed my plan now looking for a school bus. 

" I like my toes Hungover" Doodle on cardboard

Sunday, December 25, 2011

X-mas 12'er

Managed to finish up Waylon's new 12'er in time for Christmas delivery!
 Awesome Two Crows license plate frames from my sister for Christmas... Might have to have a few more made for the other rides! 

Merry X-Mas

Shaping. It never ends. Here's a little clip of that new planer in action.

And a couple pix of a CA Noserider that just finished up. Love those freestyle bands! 

And a shot of a pair of sissors from Welzies art. We're contemplating turning them into a T-Shirt... The piece was the result of an argument between Nick and I about a broken pair of sissors... 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Presents boards and doodles

Steve, the guy who runs the Third Stone Factory was handing out Christmas presents today. Brian King ( the real Turtle) got a Kentucky Derby Poster (he's a fan) Cody the screen printer got some Pabst Blue Ribbons, Jamie the cute artist chicke who rents studio space got a water jug ( always complains there is no drinking water) and well myself, I got a fire extinguisher. I am so stoked. We hadn't had one in our glassing room so not only was it a funny gift, but more practical than using a sweatshirt covered in sanding dust. I am thinking about wearing it as a neckless for ultimate safety. safety first.
Geralds new Board. I dig those stripes.

Safety First

Christmas stock

Stop by Hotline and take a look at the boards we've got in stock. They're all on sale for X-Mas 
 Asym Mini-Sims

 Lady Log
 5'8" Fish
 Weird little fun Egg thing. 5'11"

Thursday, December 22, 2011

X mas Rushing

 Juan's new Quad
Freestyle Jail house striped fins

Team Rider Toots ripping in town.

If you want to see board builders stressing out a good time to do this would be the week before Christmas. The Sugar Mill shop is bustling 20 hours a day. Everyone in the shop is to their elbows in resin, running around each other like chickens with their heads cut off. It's all good though everyone is in the same boat and more than willing to help get the job done. A pretty good example of hurry up and wait. Shoot a past then wait eagerly for the resin to go off (not too hot of course). I only got two more boards to do before Sunday so I have been lucky enough to sit back and lend a helping hand with a beer in hand. Big thanks to Josh and Juan for stocking our beer fridge for the holidays, everyone at the shop has been tapping the Rockies once the sun goes down.