Wow. Razor sharp lines. So nice to have confidence in your equipment on waves like that. Are you doing anything special on glassing?
Personally I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught. - Winston Churchill
Here's part of the next group.
The board's are currently being glassed using Silmar's "MAP" Polyester Resin System (Modified Poly Acrylic). I'm also doing some Epoxy builds. I've used Isophthalic resin work on some of the longer boards, Conventional E Glass, S2 Glass, a bit of carbon reniforcing and will be doing some other stuff soon. More on that in the near future.
These tails have Torsional Flex, a lot of horsepower, and there is a noticeable burst of speed thru the 2nd half of cutbacks & turns. That's the acceleration from the water releasing quicker off the tails. The other advantage of the Uber Thin foiled tailblocks is that the boards go quicker rail to rail much like a narrower board while still having superior Drive & Straight Line Trim Speed. They can be tail ridden like a Classic Single or turned from the middle of the board equally well. Great for Power Surfing too.
Did I mention they are FAAAAASSSSSSST?
You're living dangerously putting boxes in those thin tails. But I'm sure you're up to it.
all the best
I haven't snapped one yet. I hold the tailblock in the palm of my hand as I do the final block sanding. The thin foil is all part of the Plane Geometry I use to get the boards to perform as intended. The evolution from the old Stoker V Machines takes these boards to an all new level while maintaining the Super User Friendly attributes found in my earlier work.
Deep Panel Vee, Uber Thin Tailblock Corners, Very Specific Deck to Bottom Rail Contour that helps the Panel V & 2 Part Rocker to generate even more speed thru Turns, Cutbacks, & Straight Line Trimming.
Everything is in synch!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY this 4th of July week end to Derek Thomas who turned 45 years young. His dedication toward helping others maintain their health and well being is a true gift for those who receive his wisdom & guidance.
I can't think of any better way to celebrate his B Day than to give a clinic at the retreat in Nicaragua then paddle out and do this.
Here is a post I made in Jamboards, another site I participate in.
For those who do not belong to it, it's a great, less technical heavy site with a lot of Stoke! I'm will now attempt a cut & paste to see if it goes as smoothly as it did over there. The theme of the thread is How Important is Customer Service to You?
This is an ACTUAL customer inquiry I got a few days ago, and I wanted to allow the reader to be a "fly on the wall" to see what type of commucniation and dialogue I offer prospective customers. It is a good example of my committment toward offering what many consider excellent customer service.
I may be in the market for a new board, and was hoping to get your take on it.
I am looking to replace a 7’10 Mabile Honey Badger that was on loan from a friend.
I currently have some feelers out for a used one on Jamboards, but have also been considering having something done custom.
I am familiar mostly with the stokers and some of the other bigger guy short boards you have done for surfers in the NYC area, as well as your ongoing advice to users on Jamboards Your take usually makes too much sense, so I thought I’d reach out and start a convo.
I really clicked with the Badger, its drive and flow, but def. felt it was a bit oversized for me, especially when trying to drive the rail on my backhand for cut backs, top turns etc. Im sure some of it is technique, or maybe all of it, but seemed more difficult for me than other boards
I was surfing it with a larry allison 9” flex fin on softer mushier days and waves, and switched that out with a 8.5 frye on lined up hollow beach break days.
Either way, I rode it with its little side bites, Seemed to go well both ways.
Im 6’0 200ish in shape pounds, early 40’s, usually in the water 2-3 days a week.
I surf all over the northern east coast, NJ up to Maine, but mainly NYC, northern RI, and outer Cape Cod.
I have a pretty full quiver of other boards from 6’0 to 10’0, but this had become my go to in the softer RI waves on anything waist to head high.
Hope I’m not rambling too much, just trying to give you a good feel for what i’m looking for
Hop you are well, and look forward to hearing from you
The Honey Badger is definitely a solid design that appeals to surfers that want a more familiar experience if their roots stem from learning on a longboard or single fin surfboard.
HB follows the classic design concepts that those of us riding single fin shortboards thru the 1970's became so familiar with as the go to board of that era.
Thickness over the chest area for paddling, pulled in tail for hold, the bulk of the board in front of your tail riding stance that gets hurtling along after a few good pumps and turns. This type of surfboard is exactly what I, and many others rode at Rincon, The Ranch and other better quality lined up breaks along the Pacific coast.
I have owned and made many of these boards over my long and distinguished career as a shaper.
The addition of sidebiters gives a bit more traction particularly if the rider desires a tail with a bit more width for versatility and planing in small softer surf.
The "New Machine" is a very different kind of ride. To be honest, the Anderson Stoker V Machine is closer to the HB then what I have evolved what I now call "The New Machine". The Anderson is just a knock off of the G&S Gypsy first shaped by Mitsven in 1970. Inside of two years, nearly every label had some version of that popular design:
Nose & Tail Width about the same w/Wide Point @ Center or slightly forward.
Nose Rocker 4" to 5" for early entry
Tail Rocker 1-3/4" to 2"
Flat Bottom with slight Vee in the last 1/4 of the Tail
Soft forgiving Forward Rails either 50/50 or 60/40
Hard Tail Rails for Speed & Release.
I was incensed that Rostoker (Stoker's real name) claimed he had created such a utility, well known design from the early to mid 70's. I felt it was a blatant attempt to hijack surfboard design history.
What about the New Machine?
The many design nuances, redesigns, tweaks, advancements over ten years of doing the SVM's has resulted in a very sophisticated, yet extremely user friendly surfboard that IMHO is vastly superior to the early design - including the SVM's I shaped.
The reason why I continue to have a high percentage of return customers and quiver builders is because the boards work with a high degree of accuracy of my design intentions and what my Model Descriptions promise.
W/O any disrespect to the Honey Badger or other Round Pin designs..... designs that I find very appealing to the eye btw...... I have no doubt in my mind that my New (V) Machines paddle into waves earlier with less effort and that NVM's are faster right from the takeoff and just standing on the board aka Straight Line Trim Speed.
What about that wide tail?
The big surprise for guys getting on the NVM's is that the Uber Thin Foiled Tail block and Deep Panel Vee turn rail to rail like a narrower tailed surfboard. This was a design feature that I intentionally built into the NVM's.
Conventional wisdom is that narrow surfboards go rail to rail faster than wider surfboards. Wider surfboards inherently have more drive. Narrow boards have to be pumped frequently esp. in soft surf to carry their speed and stay up on a plane. It's a one-two-turn! one-two-turn! otherwise they bog down and sink in the water.
Not so with wide boards. They plane up early because the increased surface area generates more lift w/o the need of constant turning or hopping up & down on them.
What about the NVM rocker?
I built into the design what I term a "2 Rocker System".
We know that flat/straight is fast but not maneuverable.
Curvy is easy to turn, but slower unless you work the speed out of it.
Can you have both?
The answer is YES.
When do you need MORE ROCKER?
When you TURN.
My design combines Fast Flat Centerline Rocker with Generous Rail Rocker to give you the best of both worlds. The wide tail gives you a Ton of Horsepower for superior paddling, early entry into waves, fast Straight Line Trim Speed, this allows the boards to Carry their Speed thru Turns & Cutbacks improving most surfers riding experience.
They do this better than Round Pins & because of the tail redesign, they turn quickly rail to rail like a conventional width surfboard. So you get the best of both worlds and then some. The NVMs improve the average surfer because of these design nuances. The overall net result is an increase in hull speed, the board's ability to maneuver easily while sticking to the wave face with lots of stability and not bogging down where a narrower board would.
Still, surfers frequently have preconceived notions, and make judgements based upon looks versus physics and sound design criteria.
Here is a recent email from a guy that was always wondering about the boards and his first hand experience, including the concern over the width of the tail.
Craig Owings <[email protected]>
Sun, Jul 5, 5:38 PM (13 days ago)
Picked up a used 6’6” that had a little fin box damage and stress cracks from impact - and fixed it up. Been wanting to try one of your boards for a while. Saw DeNicola ripping on a 6-8 few years ago.
It doesn’t say any sort of model name.
Rode at San onofre a week ago and churches today. First day I was floored at the speed and responsiveness. The tail scared me visually. But it turned like a normal width tail.
Told a couple friends about it. Today the friend I surfed with looked at the tail and I told him it doesn’t surf like it looks. He saw me on a wave and was like “ok, you blew me away at how that board turned!”
It’s amazing how short and agile it Surf’s.
I think his account speaks volumes.
At your weight you could ride anything from a 6'6" up and feel in the zone depending upon the amount of turning & glide you desire. Here's a short clip depicting how maneuverable a 6'4" is on some decent waves:
Ultimately YOU are the customer and YOU decide what ride experience you are seeking. I've given you some food for thought as to what my boards offer that are different than other rides being offered out there. I make LOTS of different rides, including Round Pins, Fish, Longboards, Funshapes, Eggs............ anything you can imagine, I can make............ I've had guys want a V Machine Bonzer, and I studied Malcolm's stuff then went about making the customer his board. My mantra is "Never take the Custom"out of Customer".
I am always happy to answer as many questions as you may have when seeking what surfboard might be right for you, or a design you might be interested in adding to your quiver. My reward is having happy customers that enjoy the vehicles I provide to heighten their experience and hopefully improve their surfing....... not a wham, bam, thank you ma'am kind of approach. That's not me.
Your satisfaction is acknowledgement of a job well done.
That's my ultimate reward.
Note: Craig just attached this clip on my FB page........... he's adding a BFV8 to the mix...... after watching this, I think he'll probably be ripping Church and Trestles on it.
Bruce FowlerWell-Known Member
Jul 28, 2018
Brian got back to me from his earlier inquiry, here is Part 2 of that interaction and a further example of "customer service".
Thanks so much for the reply.
What you stated in your 1st paragraph nails it exactly. For the wave I am planning to ride this board mainly, that is exactly what I enjoy and am looking for.
I have no doubt some of your more modern designs are all around better boards, but I am after that drop, drawn-out bottom turn, pump, pump, fly down the line, deep rail turn, and on and on.
You have definitely given me something to think about in possibly adjusting some other areas of my quiver. I will give it some more thought and be in touch.
I appreciate your time.
Hope all is well!
It's not always a matter of just closing the deal or getting another order.
Can I make you a board like that? Of course, I rode them for years and know exactly what is entailed in making one. I loved that swinging pendulum, hurtling mass with me right behind it directing where it will go on a wave.
For a while now I've thought about doing some more early to mid 70's boards like this which I would include under my "Time Capsules" category. John Bradbury was the most influential local shaper that I prescribed to growing up. Although I am a completely self taught shaper, riding JB's boards were the epitome of that experience we are discussing. Those boards worked so good and I will have fun bringing them back into my offering for that style of surfing.
That model will be an homage to JB who richly deserves the nod.
You kinda got me pumped up to grab a blank and shape one up, so thanks for the inspiration. People have asked me to do them, so I guess the time is NOW!
Have Fun, Pray 4 Surf,
P.S. Here's a read I think you might enjoy.
HERE'S SOMETHING FUN I RECEIVED THIS MORNING.
Here's a new one people may groove on a bit. It's an 8'0" BFV8 for Geoff K. Bob Haakenson did a nice job with the flaming orange resin work and the shape speaks for itself.
Been getting more orders for the BFV8's as of late. Some new ideas are in the mix and will be announced in the next month or so. Pandemic or not, lots of orders pouring in. One bummer that I just got notified of: Amtrak is suspending their Express Shipping as of September 15th until later notice.
Damn, I have sent 65 boards to the East Coast for $110 in bubble wrapped then slipped into new 5mm board bags and the allowed total length up to 120" (Ten Feet). In California from San Diego to SF/SJ/Oakland $65........ $85 to Texas, Portland & Seattle. It WAS a GR8 deal. Soon to be GONE!
Luckily I have a good trucking company I am partnering with that specializes in shipments east regularly taking 3-5 days. I just sent 8 boards to Montauk NY and per board cost was $34 and change. 2 boards in a box average about $75. So far so good...... lots to ship this week.. Screwthe virus, GO! GO! GO!
I notice you seem to stick to Futures fin boxes. Any particular reason? Do you ever do FCS? Just curious.
V8 continues to rank very high on my surfboard bucket list. Nice work as always.
I used to use a lot of FCS but grew disenchanted with the round X2 plugs. While I was glassing a lot of my own at home, I switched to FCS Fusion and was pleasantly surprised at how easy they were to install and how much better they were in preventing breakage than the X2 plugs, which, ironically FCS touted as their "strongest" fin attachment system.
What I found was FCS based that upon their "H Pattern" allowing a resin and cabosil mixture to attach to the deck skin when properly done. In theory, they are right. We went thru a lot of growing pains blowing out sailboard boxes while getting 50 - 60 ft of air and not perfecting the landings. We went thru endless versions of attempts toward boosting the amount of lateral stress the Bahne boxes could take before failing: woodies, lateral woodies, glassing over them, drilling & bolting each end, on and on. Eventually we developed the skin to skin connection and it eliminated the problems we'd been having. (Note: added later - we routed the fin boxes to seat w/the delrin rod footstrap inserts we were making, inadvertently creating the sts connection thereby eliminating previous problems. Then Chinook created a "one part fin box with post". The Fins Unltd aka "Bahne Box" - dsigned & patented by Bill Bahne, is, and remains, a two part molded design, with a top part & bottom plate. For ease ofproduction, the 2 part molding made economic sense. However with the higher price sailboards commanded, Chinook designed their box as a one part piece then used CNC machiney to rout the sliding track once the part had been molded........ an unique 'unibody' approach.)
However, it is different when looking at the X2 plugs. Even when correctly installed, the plugs could crack or punch thru the deck skin and they were notoriously famous for cracking at the corners of the ports that accept the fin tabs. In physics, corners are a junction point weakest to stress and load bearing pressure. A good example of this is a waterbed. If you have a square one, you HAVE TO have a frame or the corners will blow out. With a round water bed the seams handle the weight and pressure of the water 360 degrees equally along the seam. You don't need a frame with a round one.
The filler reinforcement material, and H Pattern "ring", is not enough to prevent what little plug material there is between the corners of the port and the outside wall of the plugs. Now look at the amount of material the top plate of a Fusion plug has and it's a whole different story. Couple that with high density foam, and the larger footprint, and you have a superior approach. The amount of area those 'peanuts' have toward resisting lateral pressure is vastly better than an X2 plug!
Other pluses to Fusion is that they are extremely easy to put in, and they even accept paint well if you don't want the system to be so obvious in a colored board. I used them in EPS Epoxy builds (whiich is what FCS claims they were originally designed for) and when I did builds like an opaque red, the only white that showed after sanding was the port part that the little stick tabs go over to keep resin from getting in the box. I really like that clean look.
To get back to your question however, I guess I ended up using Futures because a lot of guys like the base of the fins like Futures over the two tabs of the FCS. One screw is simpler than two. Of course the chief difference is that Futures rely on the fins being built with 6 or 6.5 degree cants whereas FCS Fusion offers boxes in 0, 5 & 8 degree cant/tilt. I offer both systems on my custom orders and over 95% of customs people want Futures. When I saw that, I deccided to go with the flow and make all the stock boards with Futures. The only exception to the rule is when I do Fish with keel style fins, and that's because I don't like the angled cut on the trailing edge of the fins (that) Futures system demands in order to install them.
HERE'S A FEW PIX. Note the first photo shows the difference between an FCSII fin and the Fusion. I offer them as an option. We've also done Robin Mair's fin boxes as they accept FCS two tab bases and it is a good system. Once in a while we do other boxes like Lok Box but it can be a pain investing in all the jigs and getting used to different installs.
Thanks Bruce for that very comprehensive answer. It was way more than I was expecting. I appreciate it.
Well it's been months since I've been on Sway's. Most of my posts recently have been on Jamboards. Before you burn me at the stake for heresy, I promise to flit over here and keep things rolling on this thread ever since Sways put me out to pasture on the Surfshop 40 section.
There's still enough grass to keep me enticed, so here we go.
New sleds have been under Brand Ambassador aka BF Poster Boy Derek Thomas. DT just turned 45 recently as is still super fit and tearing up Nicaragua. He's back for several week and snapped "Marmalade" his 6'8" after taking off on a 15 foot face, getting pummeled with his head meeting his board in less than amicable circumstances while underwater. His 6'0" BFDE (Double Ender) is alive & well.
I've shaped him up this 6'5" which is a departure from my norm as we are exploring other modes of wave riding. This one has a Downrailed Beak Nose, Single Barrel Concave going out to a flat tailblock with some flip. It is a 2+1 setup which Derek loves to play around with Twins & Single fin options. I also have a 5'4" Twin started until my back decided to go south and remind me I'm a mortal human. I've been handshaping a LOT as of late currently backed up with 54 customs, shop stocks to replace plus Derek's stuff.
Sadly, orders piled up after mid August because, Mel, my wife of many years passed away and I took a month off living in a surreal world of loss and just letting myself grieve.
Here's some visual stuff, so I don't get choked up and keep putting one foot in front of another.
Sadly, orders piled up after mid August because, Mel, my wife of many years passed away and I took a month off living in a surreal world of loss and just letting myself grieve.
Here's some visual stuff, so I don't get choked up and keep putting one foot in front of another.
...... aaaahhhh shit. Shit. Shit. Shit.
I'm not often given to profanity; they're words that ought to be used only to emphasise the strength of your feelings about something. But this is one of those times where it's exactly the right kind of language to use.
I'm really, really to sorry to hear about Mel's passing, Bruce. For her, for you and everyone else who was a part of her life.
And in such situations it's hard to tell what other words will help or comfort.
If it helps, judging by your posts in the past here on Sways about the travels and things you two did together, it sounds like she had a good and full life with a hubby that loved her and kept it full of exciting and enjoyable things. Thumbs up.
Good on you Bruce for doing that, and do whatever you need to, to take care of yourself.
All the best to your and your family Bruce, and R.I.P. Mel.
Thank you SO much for the kind words and PM you sent to me. Mel WAS a very special woman, and I was extremely lucky that a mutual friend had the insight to introduce us to each other decades ago.
It has been a life 'living a surreal existence' since her passing. The finality of death and your lifelong partner not "being back in a minute" nor being able to SHARE some little trivial tidbit that you know she'd love hearing about .... under these circumstances, becomes excruciating!
Ultimately, you end up having an epiphany that the only thing that has true meaning being on this planet ISN'T about wealth accumulated, or fame, or "being a legend", it is about.............. Loving and being loved.
I will be posting a "Tribute to Mel" later this week end, but until now,, I'd like to share a song from Cat Stevens that rings prophetically true.
I am 68 years old now. WHERE did all the time go?!!!? Chance to say I am probably twice as wise as someone half my age, but I am still the kid that has always been inside me, and I always will be. When you get there, you will know what I am ralking abour... To quote a song "that's just the way it is..."
Grieving is for the survivors. Life is for the living, and we all need to learn, as the English now say, to "press on"...
:) You're welcome Bruce.
Judging by the choice of song, 'sounds like things are going okay - not everyone is happy when they're "old" and look back on their life.
Take care & looking forward to learning a bit more about Mel.
Cheers all & maybe reflect a little on your missus if you have a good one, & what life would be like if you'd just lost her. It's easy to take it all for granted, and I don't think they'd mind it if you showed them how much you appreciate them. Remember, it's not like you have all the time in the world to say so.
Losing a partner/wife of 21 years commands one to pause and reflect on one's own mortality.
Especially. when you traveled the world together flying stand by as "non revs" (revenue) on her retired flight crew benefits. Doing so can be trying at times, but also an adventure. The early day flight attendants, "stewardesses", "air hostesses", etc. were a special breed of woman that wanted more than very respectable, but less adventurous careers. Many had additional jobs, like Mel, who was approached on a flight after talking with a F/C passenger that worked for the NFL. He was impressed with Mel's deep knowledge of football, so much so that he told her that the Oakland Raiders were toying with the idea of putting a woman up in their press box. He said "you'd be a natural" and when she said she could fly during the week and go off schedule on weekends, he convinced her to interview with the Oakland Raiders as the 1st woman in an NFL Press Box. She was hired on the spot and articles began to appear speculating who "the mystery blonde is up in the Raider's Press Box"? She became an instant hit with the team, management, and head coach John Madden, even though she was a Wisconsin girl from Wauwatosa Wisconsin, Badgers alumni graduating from Madison, and a rabid Green Bay Packers fan.
Mel worked 14 golden years for Oakland becoming close friends with Madden, his wife Virginia and team members Kenny "the Snake" Stabler, O.J., & Marcus Allen among many others. She was there the day of the "Immaculate Reception", one of the most famous plays in the history of American Football. (Dec. 23,1972 AFC Divisional Playoff Raiders v Steelers). By becoming, and succeeding with the Oakland Raiders Organization, Mel paved the way for women like Kay Adams, Melissa Stark, Pam Oliver, Michelle Tafoya, Erin Andrews, and many others that grace the sport today, all the while flying to Paris, Cairo, Moscow, Athens, Rome, Barcelona, Prague, Budapest, and other destinations between weekend games. She loved Egypt, which was our first trip together while she still worked for TWA. We went to Paris numerous times where she spoke fluent French with our best trip planned as a two week vacation turning into a six week stay. We loved New Zealand so much we ended up buying a house there. Big Island, Alaska, Cabo, Puerto Vallarta, New York, tennis at Indian Wells........ all great memories.
Each Sunday, Madden had a regular practice of having Mel join him 1/2 hour before game time. John would have the room cleared except for him and Mel. He would ask her where she had flown that week, which are her favorite destinations, which celebrities had been on the flights........ they talked about art, museums, and life in general. ANYTHING OTHER THAN FOOTBALL. Then he'd say, "well it's time for us to get to work" and each would head off in separate directions.
Madden also had a deep fear of flying while Mel lived for it. He needed to fly to the games with the team, and when she married her first husband, Keith, a pilot for United, Madden said he'd travel with the team if Keith would fly charter for the team and John could ride in the cockpit! The deal was struck and Madden was allowed up front, something that would never happen in this day and age. Even more ironic, Keith wasn't interested in football stating he "got bored watching it".
Inevitably those golden years are gone forever, just as my days with Mel are. It isn't easy watching your partner waste away as time marches on, stealing a bit of them a day at a time. There is a point in time that you realize that all the sniveling or fighting over who gets the remote, really means nothing at all. To love and be loved might become the most important revelation in your life, at least one can hope so.
Mel passed away August 16th after my taking care of her around the clock, so she could have the privacy & dignity most of us would really want and hope for. She was in a lot of pain and an ambulance took her down the hill to our little 11 bed hospital. I wasn't allowed in due to the pandemic. A half hour later I received a call that her liver & kidneys were shutting down and they would make her as comfortable as possible until she passed. I drove down the hill to be by her side and she was gone by 11:30 that night.
I knew what to expect, as I had done hospice for my father who died from bladder cancer. I stayed with him for a month allowing him to die in his own bedroom at home on New Year's Eve. I had been prepped on what to expect, and was told "you will know when he is near death, his lungs will begin to fill with fluid, as the lungs fill, the breathing will become more labored, this is when you will hear what we call 'The Death Rattle', the heart will work harder and harder until eventually it stops..." and so the inevitable progression I had experienced before came back to revisit me a bit at a time over five or six excruciating, heart wrenching hours until there was silence and a finality that assaults sensibility launching you into new unfamiliar ground. There is a surreal sense of starting your life all over again while emotions swim over you at any time without warning: guilt, anger, anxiety, longing, relief, regret, confusion......... all take a hand in the grieving process. that promises to come back and visit you for an undetermined amount of time if not forever. The saying goes "time heals all wounds".......... that's bullshit, enough time will numb the pain, but the sense of loss will never go away.
Losing a partner you've spent a third of sharing your life with puts things into perspective as to what is truly important.... the rest just being details. Grieving is an individual process left for the living to handle in whatever fashion they choose or have to endure. It is different for everyone, but it reminds you of your mortality. As "the Hound" said in "Game of Thrones". "Death is the enemy, and the enemy always wins"...
New Year's Resolution: Less "spam" aka details in 2021. Here's a piece celebrating a partner that never had to walk in my shadow. She was my equal and I became a better man for it.
Here's a new one just shaped yesterday (whenever that was). Oh, February 10th 2021.
BFDE = Double Ender. 8'6"x23"x3-1/4".
Similar to a Speed Egg in many respects. Soft forgiving forward rails. A teesny bit of belly up front running fairly flat w/a smidge of roll out near the rails. The Tail Section has a Panell v Bottom with hard rails in the tail.
Relaxed Nose Rocker with Centerline Tail Rocker in the 2"s and increased Rail Rocker from the Panel Bottom.
Pretty Neutral Handler. Fast Straightline Trim Speed, Smooth Turning, Born to Carve on Rail.
1/8" Cedar Stringer with 1/2" Balsa Offset Stringers 6" out from Center. Black glueups for some drama. The Balsa wood on this blank was the DENSEST MOST CONSISTENT BALSA WOOD I HAVE EVER SHAPED.!
Balsa comes in all kinds of densities, you can cut a strip of most balsa, hold it up to the light and see the difference in density from one end to the other. This stuff shaved more like Alder wood. I called Marty @ Arctic and asked them if they WERE SURE it actually was Balsa. I have been using Balsa a lot more over the past year incorporating the wood into "Paralams" which, depedning upon the thickness & combination of the stringers I'm doing, gives me varying degrees of FLEX while REDUCING WEIGHT & still Providing Strength. Paralams, Wedged Stringers with Hi Density Foam Stringers and Balsa, Cedar, Redwood, Spruce, Basswood combos keeps everything on the interesting side.
I'm doing thes in both Poly & EPS cores & short & long lengths.
Back at it and it has been crazy. 100 custom orders in the que and no relief on the horizon.
This is a bit much as I am still handshaping the lion's share of these. I just turned 69 on December 29th. I'm going to be cutting my annual customs by 1/2 or maybe even to 1/3rd so that means 3-5 per week. If someone absolutely has to have a one off specialty board, I'll be able to look at each week and when they would come up in the que according to the easier pace I'm going to set: that way I'll be able to just flat out tell them "you're here in the que so that means it will get shaped X amount of weeks from now...... take it or leave it".
For years I've been shaping on a daily basis. Now, for reasons I will explain, I am going to change my business model to accomodate where I am at in life, which can be described as still grieving, but in a good place.
I've decided to sell my rental duplex in Santa Barbara. With current interest rates so low, people are going nutz & housing has became rare both for purchases and rentals. At the time of this writing, there are 26% less homes on the market than last year, and they are selling in half the time. As of this week 37 of the homes selling are for 16% over asking price! Some bidding wars have had homes go for 20% to 30% over asking. That's just plain crazy. (Note: Update - the trend has continued with homes being listed AND SOLD IN AS LITTLE AS ONE WEEK with ten different offers on one home..... it is A TOTAL SELLER'S MARKET.)
This fever was sparked, believe it or not, by Covid and the Pandemic. More people started working remote from home, which has been a growing trend anyway. Now that option has grown exponentially and companies have embraced the merit of not having to maintain large commercial office buildings. Employees are loving the idea that they can move to a more desirable community without a commute, even work at home in their pajams or buck naked. Commercial real estate is in a huge state of flux, and it will be sometime before it rights itself. I expect a share of those commercial buildings in metropolitan areas will be converted to residential lofts like New York City has done.
Many want to live in Santa Barbara or other premiere locations for obvious reasons. With Mel passing, I no longer desire to manage rentals. For over twenty years we were fortunate to have great long term tenants that we rented to for 'under market' prices. Only recently did I end up getting a problem tenant who has broken every rule on his lease, non covid related, then decided to "play the Covid card", lying and paying 25% of his rent, then none at all. THe 25% deal that the governor oof CA decreed is a huge cna of worms. There are always two sides to a story, and many landlords are not heartless, filthy rich land barons. The tenants now feel self entitled not to pay rent, and even though they are responsible for paying the deficit later, GOOD LUCK ever collecting on it! Can you imagine if EVERY RENTER IN CA, THE 5TH LARGEST ECONOMY IN THE WORLD, DECIDED THEY DON'T HAVE TO PAY RENT ANYMORE?
The end result of the tenant fiasco was I offered him a "Cash for Keys" deal after going the route of hiring an attorney & serving him an Eviction letter for "Non Covid Related Lease Violations". 60 days later, he claimed he still couldn't leave, then on and on. I went the C4K route because after reviewing with my attorney, it became obvious the court system was so backed up it could another two months plus before it ever even came to a hearing for an A hole that blatantly lied about everything regarding who was living there, smoking, subletting, on and on and on. As the neighbors complained "it WAS a wonderful quiet cul de sac until his ZOO and meangerie of misfits showed up". I bent over backwards to help facilitate a smooth transition for this ingrate, and it was obvious he just wanted to work me. So he managed to EXTORT $20K from me to get him out....... finally out, much tot he cheers of his neighbors who he insisted "everybody here loves me".......... NOT.
Now I'm knee deep in inspecting, repairing, replacing everything throughout the property making it "turn key" for someone else to purchase. The area is known as "Hidden Valley" in SB, a very safe, attractive area for people to live. The neighborhood is part of a development built back in 1968, largely comprised of duplexes with some condos out around the fring eof the area. The duplexes rarely come up for sale, they are "golden unicorns" for investors to own and enjoy rental income. I figure "Turn Key" makes sense as more than likely an investor will buy this property. If not, then perhaps someone who is well qualified that seeks living in one side and enjoying rental income for the adjoining unit. Friends have asked why I don't just keep it and rake in the rent, but this last tenant, as well as Mel's passing, and the State & Fed's BAND AID FIXES due to Covid speaks volumes to me. Maybe there's a new pandemic, maybe the government does more propping up of our economy with the interest rates which has sparked unbridled home improvements, remodeling, additions, as homeowners now feel they are "equity rich". That's not going to last forever. The bubble WILL burst, and once the "warm n fuzzy" period is over, people will still be owing for that new kitchen, bathroom, additions, pool...... whatever.
When it comes to Real Estate and/or the Economy, nobody has a crystal ball, but my gut says the bubble will burst, and with all the propping up the gov't. did with band aid fixes, this will come back to haunt homeowners that indebted themselves with maxed out HELOC's and remodeling debt. Perhaps in 18-30 months from the time of this writing..... let's say maybe, just maybe 100K, 500K, or.......A MILLION FORECLOSURES HAPPEN SEEMINGLY OVERNIGHT. That is going to change the economic climate in this country VERY QUICKLY.
So what I say to people that have saved for the entire lives that are DESPERATE TO BUY NOW........... "WAIT FOR THE FORECLOSURES".
All that has happened in my life over the past 6 months has been an opportunity for me to reflect on life and what is really important to me for the little time I have left on the planet. What will my legacy be? Mel brought the property with her to our mariage purchasing it back in 1998 and the value has ballooned beyond reality. It was held in trust, and this means it transfered to me as spouse and survivor as well as Trust Executor. When I looked this over, I realized, and confirmed that I would pay NO Capital Gains on the sale of the property. 'm basically inheriting it. I was told by the lawyer for the City Clerk "your wife's passing doesn't trigger reassessment of the property for tax purposes, if you sell the property, whatever it sells for at "Market Price" will become the Stepped Up basis therefore the 1% property tax will apply to the new owner". So that, and even better is that I will owe NO State or Federal Income taxes from the sale........ all I would pay from the sale is for Real Estate agents' commissions (unless I do a FSBO). It pretty much is like winning the lottery, except better. It will never cancel the grief, but it is a blessing nonetheless.
So in the wake of all this, the writing is on the wall, and it will allow me to transform my surfboard business model into something that will include a a website including a 100 surfboard inventory available in an online store that can be viewed, purchased & shipped worldwide within 24 to 48 hours. I am intend on converting the company into a 501(c)3 - Non Profit in which 100% of the NET proceeds of sales will go to favorite charities I have supported over the years. This is my time to increase my philanthropy & PAY IT FORWARD. I have worked long & hard for a long. time, and the chain of events have blessed me. How much do I really need? What example do I set for my son, who is doing great on his own and we have developed an exciting plan for him to establish him well beyond what I ever could have at his young age of 29. I explained to my son that only 25% of American families practice what is called "Giving while Living". The 75% that choose to do otherwise frequently end up with a "nuclear family" that grow apart and distant with one another, maybe they get together once per year at Christmas or some other hallmark time while always promising to make time to get together more often, unti, all too often, they RUN OUT OF TIME, AND THEN....... IT'S TOO LATE.
More on my philosophy of "GIVING WHILE LIVING" later.......... now a bit of eye candy. I continue to keep working with Balsa. I've been doing a variety of boards with Double, Triple & Quadruple Balsa Paralams, also Balsa Wedges with High Density Foam Wedges and some pleasing three stringer setups as pictured here. The boards get a multiple stringer WOW factor while remaining llight and strong.
To be in the position to increase my practice of philanthropy is both exciting & gratifying and will lend even more meaning to each surfboard I shape and put out there. I'll be shaping for causes that truly mean something to me far above and beyond just having to make a buck.
Here's the triple 1/4" Balsa all done.......... weight feels light & really nice to be able to give the board some wow factor without making it heavy. The Black Glue always adds some drama too.
I haven't bee on on Sway's for a bout a year, mostly moved over to Jamboards TBH.
But I've been busywith reconfiguring my Business Model to wr for where I'm at now.
I turned 70 four days after Christmas and that fact alone blows my mind. Time flies when you're haing fun..... in fact pages turn in the book of Life faster than most of us would prefer.
I've survived my wife's passing and learned how powerful a force GRIEF can affect a person. There was a point my body rebelled from all the stress and demans in the aftermath of her passing in August 2020. I ended up not being able to sleep in bed and was relegated to an office chair I had...... this lasted for 3-1/2 months, and thank god I had plenty of experience globetrotting while flying the world stand by as a "non rev" passenger with Mel who was retired Flight Crew for tWA then AA once they swallowed them up.
I'd just pretend I got stuck in a middle seat in Coach versus the more than usual lucky First Class or Business Class we sually enjoyed.
Life finds a way...... my doctor listened to me and pretty much agreed that the symptoms I was suffering from were in large part due to the stress of recent events. Tests didn't reveal any red flags. To make a long story short, a resolution came about in the most unexpected way.
I had told about the Disney+ tv show "/Wandavison" and decided to check it out. It was a novel, rather imaginative bit of entertainment. Whiile tuning in one night, the episode involved the wife losing her sister (I think it was her sis) and she is engulfed with grief. Her husband is a robot, albeit somewhat lifelike, but still I guess what some peole call a synth for synthetic.
Anyway, I'm sitting there watching this show, and he says to her something like "you know honey, I can't possibly know what you are feeling, I mean, after all I'm a machine, but I can empathize with you..... but I can tell you this GRIEF IS LOVE PERSERVERING....
GRIEF IS LOVE PERSEVERING................ it hit me like a ton of bricks. Epiphany time.
Up until that time, I was in that camp agreeing that whoever said "Time Hels All Wounds" was completely full of crap. There were many people grieving the loss of a loved one for months, years, decades, a lifetime.........
GRIEF IS LOVE PERSEVERING.......................... OF COURSE IT IS!
I give thanks to the writer who was so insightful as to help me thru this challenging patch of my life! His/Her statement allowed me to park that pain in its rightful place. I was now able to "compartmentalize" my loss......... to lace it safely stored in a very special place to cherish for ever THEN MOVE ON WITH MY LIFE.
I shared this story with my doctor and told him within two weeks the sciatica that had been plaguing me abated and was nearly all but gone. It reminded me of the moment Maverick goes supersonic to a heavily outnumbered dogfight in the 1st Top Gun, then gets unsettled and withdraws at a critical moment........... "TALK TO ME GOOSE"..........
That Wandavision writer was MY GOOSE.
I got back into the fight that Life sometimes presents, and I relish it and am kicking ass oonn it. I don't have time to be "old".
....and with that, here's a quick pic of one of the recent Aviator Nation sleds I sent out along with 4 other Stingers (my homage to Ben Aipa's Sting) and 30 Aviator Hybrids & Longboards
For the last few months I've been scheduling & doing what i call "Production Custom Runs" of my Models. This has helped keep the crew at Haakenson's with a steady flow of work including some finish shaping by guys I trust & admire.
By giving these guys work, I am able to help them meet their monthly expenses while having some income that can allow them to further their creative aspirations while promoting their own label. I am always in support of other shapers as well as Haakenson Fiberglass, Arctic Foam and U.S. Blanks as pillars in our industry.
All custom orders continue to be shaped by me personally, & depending upon the nature of the order, they are either shaped from a 'Raw' or 'Machined' blank.
Arctic has cut my files for years & the high number of cuts keep the blanks very close to finish allowing me to maintain a high degree of Desigin Integrity. Consistency is king when it comes to Reverse Engineering, and I only justify the approach when you are doing Models and have the Volume to justify doing so.
Models are an identifier that virtually PROMISES the way a certain Design will ride, by being consistent the Designer is making good on his/her PROMISE that the board will ride per the Model's claim or description.
I am fortunate that my designs have been widely embraced & I enjoy a strong repeat clientele as well as many BF Quiver Builders. I take that as a blessing, a reward for smart & hard work always endeavouring to treat my customers like gold. In the past few months I've amassed a "Built Ahead, Ready to Buy" Inventory where Domestic purchases can be shipped in 24 to 48 hrs. from time of purchase. International takes a bit longer partly due to present day logisitics & carry over challenges from Covid.
The BFV8's have continued to grow in popularity & are now being ridden all over the world in waves I never dreamed possible......... we built 80 recently with sizing running as small as 5'6" and as long as 9'0".
Here's a pretty cool Light Gray Opaque 8'8"x24"x3-1/4" BFV8 4+1 we just finished that someone will surely snag soon.....
TRI PLANE HULLS (TPH) RETURN!
The original Greenough/Brock collaboration was quickly embraced & promoted by Al Merrick back in the 70's. The precursor to today's "Edge" surfboards, the Design offers High Lift, Low Drag Flyiing Wing Surfing characteristics.
The Rail Chined Single to Double Concave Design loves trimming high up on the Wave Face then Swooping Down with Speed to Spare for Career Making Bottom Turns. Pump this Sled thru a Series of S Turns for Section Making Speeds.
Testimonial #29117: "
Ride Report for a 6'4" Tri Plane Hull:
Hey Bruce I have great news! Finally got that TPH into some good waves. The problem with getting a board in May is summer happens next and it's just been too crap to warrant taking that board out. Paddled it out in clean 3-4' Sunset Cliffs this morning and boy does that board move. I'd say the most surprising experience was the sensation of effortless glide that I got when up in plane. You know that experience when you're screaming down the line in plane but there's no sound of the board moving through water? That. For a guy that surf primarily single fin convex equipment that was most welcome. It was so novel I was tempted to just stand there until I remembered I had some turns to do. The second surprise was that I LOVE this board as a thruster. I honestly can't even guess the last time I rode tri fin. After a couple sessions as a quad I felt I wanted a pivot point to tame all that V. I will say I was a little worried that it was TOO much V after those sessions. Not at all! Stable, fast, easy to surf, and nimble in turns, color me impressed. Thanks Bruce!!