La Jolla Businesses, Please Move to La Mesa

If you haven’t heard by now, a bunch of rich business people are complaining that the ocean stinks.  They want to disturb nature so they can continue to make money from their fabulous views.

I have a solution for them.  Move to La Mesa, that way, the beautiful natural smells and sounds of the ocean will be far away and they won’t have to complain.

I can only hope the Sea Lions start climbing up on the streets and going into the businesses, like they do in Santa Cruz and San Francisco.  Sea lions are pretty much the best animal ever so these rich transplants should either accept or move.


Everyone should stand in solidarity with the sea lions and boycott La Jolla, especially these businesses attached to the lawsuit
La Valencia Hotel
George’s at the Cove
*source: UT San Diego
The La Jolla Village Merchant’s association is weighing in on whether or not to join the lawsuit.  If that happens, no one should set foot into La Jolla.


The Problem With California

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*from Surfline

This is what happens when a long flat spell ends on a holiday weekend. If you don’t see the problem here you are either a SIMA member or should quit surfing.

Happy Holidays :/

Board Review- Gary Hanel Keel

Two words describe this board perfectly: speed and flow.

I hadn’t had a keel fish for a couple years, and I got the strong itch for one this summer.  I attended the erBB Log Jam at Cardiff this summer and due to the combo’d conditions the waves were not good for loggin.  I had a couple shapers’ keels in mind and GH was at the top so luckily Silentbutdeadly had his at the Log Jam.  I paddled out on this, took off on a head high wave and BOOM!  High speed and loose flying feeling.  I had to get one.

I started gathering everything I needed to order a custom when FishFace sent me this picture


He said that he rode his quad version a lot more so this board soon became mine.  There’s some Instagramming going on in that photo because the photos he sent me went away on my old iPhone and I didn’t save them (doh).  The board is a nice kelly green bottom and rails with an orange deck.  Lokbox equipped.

It is a 5-9 x 21 x 2.75.  Gary Hanel’s 2.75 is in the very center at the stringer maybe, its really more like any other shaper’s 2.5.  The rails are not chunky retro rails at all, they are as bladed as any modern HPSB.  This is what makes GH boards so awesome and turnable.  Mollusk describes these as the “all-around ripper fish” and I cannot disagree.

I’m currently running a set of Ian Zamora cutaway keels in it.


You have to pump these fins a little more than the Lowboy set that GH himself glasses on and have a bit more release on them that help on turns. This, combined with the Hanel rails means you can get up go with the planing speed that you’d expect from a keel finned fish but with turns that you’d expect from a shortboard.  These are a lot of fun but I recently found a beat up set of CI keels which are pretty damn close to the lowboys

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These are going in the next time I surf the board because even though I love this board I’m still chasing that feeling on got on SBD’s at SanO this summer. I had a great time at waist-high Oceanside on Xmas Eve, there was still enough swell then to ride a shortboard but it’s been lined up enough that I knew I would have a good time on this. I’m glad I took it out just like I am every time I make the right board decision.

This board is going to stay in my quiver forever. When you live in San Diego, everyone should have a keel fin fish. There is a reason why these boards were invented here. They work in everything but they are perfect on medium sized, lined up, slopey to mushy surf that we get on our reefs and whatnot all year. They can work for groveling, although there are better options, and they will work in bigger stuff if its not too steep and/or throwing.  Gary Hanel is one of the very few masters of the design along with Lis, Skip, and Pavel and I am lucky to have one.  Someday I’ll order another with all the Moonlight bells and whistles.

Board Review- 8-2 GDaddy Hot Generation

GDaddy and I both are fascinated with the transitional period from 67-70 when boards were rapidly being redesigned and dropping feet in length.  Hibbers and Putnam had designed a board called the Hot Generation, which is based on the Australian V bottoms from late 1967.  This is the next progression from Nat Young’s Magic Sam and were around 8 feet in length.  The best way to describe them is a long hull, although they are much more forgiving than something like a Liddle.

Here they are in action when they were new.

These were nearly flat, with a convex bottom and a radical vee through the fin to the tail. The PHD versions are flat and bladey like a Liddle hull without much Vee in the back. These also have the widepoint back of center, which followed the example of Magic Sam. This was a throwback to the 50s pigs at the time and I find that it helps turning. The Lovelace vBowls also utilize the widepoint back design.

Since all the boards mentioned above were designed for speedier and hollower waves, GDaddy and I relaxed a few design elements.
1. 60/40 rails instead of 50/50. However, these are still pretty bladed. The PHD version is dime sized while mine are more nickel sized.
2. Relaxed vee. The original boards were bitchy unless they were in good waves because of all the vee. We just put a smaller amount in for control with the wide tail.

This was the first time GDaddy had made a board in this style and it came out f’in amazing. 8-2 x 22 x 3 constructed with Epoxy + 3.2oz Volan over U.S. Blanks Green

GDaddy did 3 layers on the deck plus 2 layer deckpatch laid at opposing 30* bias, and 2 layers over the bottom. With this many layers of volan the board came out with a coke bottle tint. The finished weight is not light: ~14#.




The original guys were using fins that were 12″ and bigger but I went with a 10.5″ Larry Allison wide base flex fin
(like this one but red, can’t find a current pic of my own)


This board performs exactly like I wanted it to, which is my kooky version of the guys in the video at the top of the post. Walk to the nose for short 5s? Check. Stand on the tail and crank it? Check. Trim it for hull light speed? Check. GDaddy did such an amazing job on it and it is so fun. I even got my hands on a Jim Phillips-shaped Velzy and got rid of that since I like this board so much better. It definitely doesn’t deal well with closing out beachbreak, but on anything lined up that you’d want to ride a trim-type board on it rules. I keep using it as my small wave board but I need to get it out in some sizable, lined up stuff so I can really feel like I’m an Aussie in 1967. I love this thing.

One of those days

Today was one of those crap surf days where the only problem was me.  I still had some good waves but nothing compared to earlier in the week and most of the f-ups were simply due to me.

I have excuses, but can’t really use them since the thing that was the most out-of-sorts was me.  I just wonder why.
1. Waves were more mushy than hollow, and would have been perfect for the Hanel Keel which was sitting in my garage- Excuse 1
2. I hadn’t worn booties since Monday and did today- Excuse 2
3. I longboarded Wednesday- Excuse 3
4. It was cold- Excuse 4

I’m still stoked though because I’ve surfed 6 out of the last 7 days.  Tomorrow will probably be another day off but Sunday is ready for ripping

Dannowar Bonzer 3- Board Review

This is rapidly becoming my favorite board ever.  It is 100% my daily driver, which is the most important board in a quver.  I’m completely sold on the Bonzer movement now and, with the exception of my 8-2 Hot Generation and Hanel Keel, I will be building a quiver of Bonzers to go from grovel to as big as I feel comfortable with.   I’m going to buy a couple from the Campbells, but I’ll definitely be getting Danny Martinez to build me my DDs

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Here’s what Danny originally had to say about this board: “had a blank sitting around in the garage for a while so i knocked out a replica of my favorite board. beefier rails than i usually ride and one of the runners is 2 degrees off (could make it magic?).

5’10 20 2.25 (in the deep channel, the volume is probably that of a 2 3/8 or 2.5)

i was gonna keep it but i figured id give someone a smoking deal and make a personal one a little thinner.”

Boy am I glad I jumped on that offer, here are my initial impressions written after about a week of sessions (funny to think I wrote this in the middle of October and that’s the last time we had consistent waves until recently)

This board is sick.

Taking Dannowar’s advice I got a 6″ Bonzer fin and placed it so just a smidge of the leading edge was overlapping with the runners.

First wave I took off right in the pocket and felt that bonzer feeling of levitation, I then went completely vert and did a huge top turn, feeling like I was surfing way better than I normally do.

The rest of the session was good wave after good wave on this board. Rights and lefts on both mush and bowly pockety things. I really wish I would have had the fin for my AM session yesterday at this spot because it was a barrel fest then.

The board is PU/PE but feels super light. D thought the rails were a little full for him but they are perfect for me. It was a flat deck which I really like too.

I really can’t get over the feeling of this 3 fin bonzer setup on this board. It feels loose and floaty almost like a keel when going down the line but when you dig into turn it responds like a thruster. Its almost like you get the advantages of a thruster (turns) without the disadvantages (anchor-drag feeling). I know this has a lot more to do with the bottom than just the fins though

Dannowar did an awesome job on this board. It will be my fall/winter DD

Today I had the best session I’ve had in 6 months, a great topper to the past two days which were awesome as well.  It is not just because the waves are good, it is because of this board.  I got empty HH peaks with Silentbutdeadly today and am still stoked 10 hours later.  Bonzer 5th gear was present all day long.


Finally, waves

After what seemed like ages, we finally got some decent waves on Sunday and Monday, and they are supposed to continue throughout the week.  I am so stocked, I needed this.

Sunday AM coincided with me drinking for first time in months on Saturday night.  I was also drinking some kind of Imperial Stout so I was hungover on Sunday.  Badly.  Every time I got my heart pumping past relax level I was rewarded with a headache that felt like my brain was going to drain out of my nose.

Fortunately, the conditions looked like this (not my photo, should have taken one)

so the surf made fighting through the hangover worth it.  This was also the best day I’ve had my Dannowar 5-10 x 19.75 x 2.5 Bonzer 3 out in and it was even better than I thought it would be.  Stoked.

I met my buddies out at the same spot this morning and although the conditions were not as good it was still very fun and I actually got a couple better waves today.  Doesn’t look like the swell’s going anywhere so I’ll be looking forward to more sessions this week.

5 days until Winter and we’re finally getting a Fall

Sharpeye Sole- Board Review

Sharpeye Sole
5-7 x 20.5 x 2.65 32.58L
Shaped by Marcio Zouvi

The Sole has a deep double concave with vee throughout the entire bottom, fairly flat rocker and pretty foiled for being 2.65 thick. Double wing round tail.

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This board was ordered while I was losing weight, but not down to my nadir of 160ish.  That being said, I think that this could work for someone between 160 and 190 especially since this is a grovel board.  Marcio foiled the rails enough that even lighter weight guys can still get it on rail and turn.

I never rode this as a thruster because I hate thrusters, however, it would have been easier to dial fins with a thruster.  A twin + trailer setup would have worked as well, but I never tried it like that.

Dialing in quads was a process on this board, just like it can be on many quad surfboards.  When I had my Tomo Nano, I plugged the maroon FCS GMB (Mayhem) quad set and never had to change them again.  If I still had this set I would have been stoked because the quad placement on this board was very similar to the Tomo.  The rear placement is somewhat McKee-ish on both the Tomo and the Sharpeye; Robert Weiner does a similar quad placement.


I had a thruster set of the neon green GMB fins, so I tried the front fins of those with my FCS tabbed, Future Vector foiled 435s (that’s a mouthful!) as rears.  This had been magic on boards with an on-rail rear placement, but was horrible on this board.  Tracky is an understatement for this setup.  If you weren’t driving with your back foot the board would basically stop.

Next, I left in the GMB fronts and plugged in some GL longboard sidebites as the rear fins.  This was way, way better but lacking a little bit of drive.  I left this same setup in and put in a nubster and had a few good sessions like that.  The nubster combined with the small rear fins somehow made this board feel very thruster-like.  It would be fun on short-lived beachbreak waves, but lacking glide for more lined up stuff.

My next quest was to get a proper quad setup.  I borrowed the K2.1s from my neighbor and this board came alive.  It was exactly what I had been looking for.  I was just going to buy a set of those until I found the True Ames Tyler Warren quad set.


This set was perfect for the Sole.  Once I plugged those in I never thought about changing fins again.  This had the perfect combo of drive and looseness that you want with a little round quad fin board like this Sole.  They also worked in micro crap all the way up to shoulder-high, which is the largest I rode the Sole in.

I was able to catch waves on the Sole that I only would have thought were longboardable.  This was an essential part of my summer quiver; in fact, it was my summer quiver.  Reefteef said “Having seen this thing in action, it’s a wave catching machine that just rips the bag out of waves” and that’s exactly how I felt about it.  Trestles, Oside, Grandview, Campgrounds, basically everywhere I surf this thing worked awesome.  Unfortunately, I rode Silentbutdeadly’s GH Keel at the SanO logjam in head high SanO mush and NEEDED a Hanel Keel after that so this board had to go.

Would I get another one?  Absolutely.  I actually need a low-end grovel board like this for next summer, I got the Hanel at the end of summer thinking we were going to have waves in the Fall but we did not.  Keel Fish are for slightly better waves IMO and everyone should have a super grovel board like the Sharpeye Sole in their quiver for tiny days where the longboard spots are too crowded

Christenson Cafe Racer- Review

This originally appeared on the erBB

Christenson Cafe Racer
6-0 x 19.25 x 2.5 (FULL 2.5)

I have been running the Futures Rasta quad set in it exclusively. I love this board. It is flat, fat and fast but the round tail with the 50/50 rears of the Rasta set give it hold in the larger waves that we’ve had (rarely) since I got it. It is perfect for slopey and soft N. County waves, but it has also passed the walled Georges test as well. This is the first time that I’ve gone up in volume in a couple years, and I really was missing it.

This is more of my larger wave board, but the forward volume and flat rocker (not much nose kick, tail completely flat) makes it work even in waist-high Grandview PM crap. My first day out was on OH Cardiff-area reefs and this board just ate it up. I was getting long rides that I had only been getting on longboards but with ease of going top-to-bottom as well as full rail cutbacks. Despite all of that, the main feature was mind blowing speed. This is not only for OH surf though. I had the exact same experience on the chest high offshore waves yesterday. I can’t throw it around with the added weight like I can my anorexic boards, but the added speed and basic ignoring of flat spots gives me the opportunity for better cutbacks and speed runs which I like better anyway. This board is very front footed as well, you can easily surf off the tail, but you can step forward and hula hoop away if you are so inclined as well.

I’m done with HPSBs for a while, the Alt-hipster boards just work better for me and the surfing I do. This is full-boat awesome too; resin tint, resin leash loop, volan deck patch, good weight, tight pants and beard included. I’m really stocked on this board, it was a good trade for me.

Oh and BTW the tail pad is gonzo now

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I had this board when I weighed over 200 lbs and it worked perfectly for me then, and even after I got down to 160 it still worked well for me in the flat faced larger waves in San Diego and north.  During the large south swell this summer, I had an amazing day at Cottons where I caught multiple waves-of-the-day.  I moved this board out due to my newly found love of Bonzers but this will be one that I have a feeling I’ll regret getting rid of.

The beauty of this model is that it would work as a smallish wave board in Fish dims (eg 5-6 x 20) or in Step Up dims (6-0 x 19)

Mushy Closeouts

My name is Andrew and I am a dad, surfer, and broadcast engineer who lives in North County San Diego.  This is going to be a surf-heavy blog consisting of board reviews, surf reports, random musings about surf “culture” and surf contests with other random stuff about life and music sprinkled in.

I love surfing and I love surfboards.  My only claim to fame in the surf world is that I renamed Ryan Fletcher, the Rip Curl Team Manager, as the Ultimate Bro Brah.  He’s a bit of a hero to me as well

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I’m by no means a ripper, just your average desk jockey who really likes to surf.  Since I live in San Diego County, that means I am usually surfing in subpar waves so I hope my surfboard reviews will help the averagejoe/everyman out.

I’ll be working on getting reviews up of many boards that I’ve had.  I’m somewhat of a boardwhore, and I move through them quickly with a one-in, one-out policy.