Monday, December 29, 2008

ULI Mania - fill your boots

Anybody who regularly reads this blog will know what a fan I am of the ULI boards. My biggest problem with them is actually keeping one available for myself - Steve from Sunset has just got back from touring New Zealand with my 10' Steamroller model and with a bit of luck should manage to get it to me in time for my holiday to Costa Rica - it's hard I know, but someone's got to go there.

Offshore prevailing winds and stunning beaches 3 minutes from my bed. OOOhhh!! Warm warm water - boardshorts - cold Imperial beer eating fish every day - stop me if I'm boring you. Message me if you want the lowdown on how to organise a seriously cost effective, megaa chilled family friendly holiday that'll blow your mind. Like waking up with erupting volcano's in your front room window.

I digress - back to the ULI - for those that have not trawled through the dross of my last 12 months worth of blog posts - well, it's the ULI that made me start this thing.

ULI - Ultra Light Inflatable (get it) surf and paddle boards. No Seriously. These boards are the absolute mutt's nutts. Basically you ride it - hard, you can't hurt it. Then you pull out the plug, roll it up - put it, the pump and the paddle (3pc) in a kit bag check it as normal luggage, jump on the nearest plane and chuckle to youself everytime you see a post about 'how to travel with a SUP' or how I got raped with an excess baggage charge by the world's freindliest airline.

ULI's are Ace and if you are really quick you should be able to snag yourself a bargain as they are having a bit of a clearout at the moment -

the saving in $ should cover the import duties to the UK, that coupled with the reduced vat at the moment (applies on the carriage as well remember) now is a good time for some inflatable loving.

If you need to see one I'm seriously thinking of renting mine out in the new year - I have heard that there is a new model on the way and I have to subsidise it somehow.

Which brings me to this - anyone interested in a Pope Bisect Carbon Stealth Wayne Rich 9'0 longboard number 007 ??? great travel board - real performance shape cost over £1200 into the UK and judging from the recent forum posts we may not see too many more of them - damn shame as the two pc boards are bloody good - the carbon is out of this world. £750 delivered into the UK - mail me for details and pics.

Advert over

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Devil is in the Detail

Sometimes I think that I can spend too much time thinking and not enough surfing - then every now and again I'll have a conversation with someone that 'gels' all the thinking and possibly takes the surfing on a stage or two.

For instance - quite often I think that the best thing to come out of these blogs is not the post itself but the conversations resulting from, and reactions of others to the post - moral ALWAYS read the comments - and if possible leave one - even if it's to say 'wrap up'

I'm guessing that most people are like me - they want a 'magic bullet' to take their surfing on to the next level - perhaps it's a board or a fin combination or a paddle - but I want that shortcut - although honestly deep down I don't think that there is one overall quick fix.

It is fun trying different boards but is one better than another or is it just different? Everytime I ride Gavin's 9'0" Starboard Extremist I think 'this board is so much fun' but then I bog the nose down. That's my failing not the boards' - a decent surfer would make the board sing - probebly any board. But Im just mediocre and happy to search for the fix in the tools rather than the technique.

My BK Pro amazed me the first time I dropped into a late, steepish wave it instantly blew away all the trouble that I had keeping upright on it. It made it worth persevering with - pretty much my whole SUP story - dozens of challenges coupled with heaps of rewards always coming at a pace that would maintain my interest. Which brings me to the Naish, and a conversation from the comments section of the blog with Dwight from ncpaddlesurfer - he recently revisited a PSH 9'3" and it didn't have the same effect on him as the first time he rode it - it's still a good board but there are other things that he now looks for or prefers in a board - and hopefully soon he will find it in his new C4 Sub Vector.

Can't wait for the results.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

All I want for Christmas is . . . .

Pretty much what I got from Charmaine this afternoon really - we finished about 1'ish closed the shop and she said 'If the surf's that good you might as well make the most of it' - it was so we did.

Shane and myself high tailed it over to Gwithian to catch the high tide. 10mph bang offshore and 7' at 14 seconds - thank you Santa.

I was a bit nervous as there were loads of people out pretty much from Godrevy to the Rivermouth - but there were gaps and the sets cleaned up a few more spaces as they came rolling through - still new board and I was apprehensive that I was going to look like a bit of a dick. Paddle out was uugh bracing but not as hard as I feared Shane, John and myself soon found our slot and I got stuck in fairly quickly - nerves washed away with the rinsing inside. Shane and John were both riding shortboards under 6' I was on my new Naish.

I'm always amazed how my opinion of a session can change with a single wave or event - I was having plenty of decent rides and not falling off too much between waves but still feeling a bit clumsy on the board. I had fitted a larger centre fin and this seemed to slow up the tipping slightly and after an hour or so started to feel a bit easier on the board. Then the session just seemed to switch with a single wave.

A peachy head high left found me in just the right place to stroke in and ride it cleanly backside just in front of the curl - might not sound much but I was stoked, in my book that was a good one. Paddling back out I was way left of the others in a big empty gap pretty much as soon as I got out a set started to show I paddled to where I thought I would be best positioned and waited for the first couple to roll through before taking a half decent right. This was my wave of the day lots of power hard bottom turn off the top and back to start all over again and again and again to pop out at the end and paddle back to the lineup. Please did anyone see that - John did YES - Shane had got out. I had gone from way left to way right for me absolute perfection. A succession of really nice waves seemed to follow although none as good as that - well worth it though.

I got out tired and content - I really like this board - a lot!

So thats it hope to get a few more in over the holidays - catch up soon.

Many thanks to all who have passed through here - have a fantastic peaceful and wave drenched Christmas all the best Steve.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Naish 9'3" - Quick Update

Just finished shivering on Sunday when Gav's text came through - 'Come on milky eyes - give us a go on your board' well something like that. It was nearly 2pm and with only a couple of hours of light left we met in the car park at Perranuthnoe. Still pretty busy but lot's of people getting out.

The wave was clean, waist to chest high on the sets and quite punchy with the pushing tide. It always seems to be steeper faces on the south coast. It was also a damn site warmer than my morning session.

I wasn't putting on much of a show doing my best to avoid the surfer's - I'm never comfortable in crowds. I had a couple of half decent waves but as the two main peaks were packed I stayed in the dead zone in the centre where the rides were way too short to make anything much of them. Still board time is board time.

Gavin had a quick bash - I think he was quite impressed it certainly ruined the next few waves for him when he got his Starboard back.

Another couple of guys came in on their C4's and I followed them into the quiet corner where we had a few waves to ourselves. Both looked pretty smooth on their 10'6's getting in nice and early - while I struggled. It was one fellows 2nd session - respect.

I made a little mental note for next time - bigger centre fin while I get used to it - it seems to have worked for me in the past by just slowing the board up to the tipping point a little bit. It is manageable and easier than I first found my BK pro however conditions were good and I'd like to think that I've improved a bit (as far as balance is concerned anyway).

So that's it - hopefully get in next Sunday then into the holidays and grab a few more sessions before packing the ULI up for Costa Rica. Now I wander if I can persuade Jim form Uli to lend me the new superlight surf model . . . . .

Sunday, December 14, 2008


I was going in today regardless - nothing was going to stop me - I even had a single beer last night so that I wouldn't lie in - The forecast was verging on the EPIC for both coast's - wind was offshore on the South so I had half a plan for Perranuthnoe first thing but thought that I would check out Gwithian first - closer and familiar. After all it was a special occaision, a sort of a coming of age. Today I would take out my new Naish 9'3" for the first time. I always want the first time to be special you know the type of thing -

'I paddled easily out through the oncoming breakers that sparkled in the early morning sun, - held my station under clear blue skies for a moment before turning effortlessly on my back foot and dropped into clean 4' face weighting my back foot and inside edge I started cranking a . . . .blah blah'

Nope - didn't happen like that - I drove to Gwithian - huge, howling onshore mess. Made my way across to Marazion. Clean calf to knee high but held back by the strong offshore wind and fairly full tide.

Quick blat up to 'uthno, still early not yet 8.45 and bugger me, about a million cars in the car park - what's going on? This was always my quiet south coast bale out spot. There was no way that I was going to paddle out on an unknown quantity amongst that crowd.

Carbis bay - not a chance - even the quiet corner wasn't happening.

'This isn't how it's meant to be'

Last chance trip back to Marazion hoping that the tide had dropped back - it had - a bit, some sets were pushing through at waist high - just!. So in I goes.


The most noticeable thing for me about this board is the lack of it.

It's very light -

It's very short -

It feels far shorter than Gav's 9' Starboard - ok there is only three inches difference in length between these boards BUT the nose is so pulled in if you told me that the Naish was 8'6 and I didn't know better - I'd believe you -

It's not a Short Longboard Sup -

For me it's a Long Shortboard.

Jumping on a board for the first time to paddle out you can usually tell if things are going to work out. My initial thoughts were if I can paddle it - I can surf it.

I could paddle it - phew - in fact it floated me easily don't get me wrong it's not rock solid stable and my feet had to be exactly on the sweet spot, that I found to be where my heels were level with the rear of the super deep hand hold.

The yaw effect appeared to be similar but no worse than the Starboard - I'm probebly going to make lots of comparisons to the little Starboard as that's the shortest board that I have ridden however as I said above although the Naish might be longer tip to tail it actually feels dinky.

Conditions were not good and although I managed to paddle out, it took a few minutes for me to reset my calibration boundaries - that's just a poncy way of saying that I fell off a couple of times. . .

Settling down a bit I held my station under clear blue skies for a moment before turning effortlessly paddling . . . aahh nope that was bull.

I waddled my way across the path of an oncoming waist high set wave - the wind was strong cross off and bitingly cold - I paddled hard, pulled myself off balance and fell. By now it was also raining heavily with an accompanying squall. Arse.

I paddled out and around again - the peaks looked pretty good but the wind was taking me a bit too far out - there was no way that this board was going to 'glide' in from way out. Paddling had to be 'easy not wild' small, shallow, rapid strokes were much more fruitful than deep stabbing ones again suggesting that the board was more responsive to paddle accelaration than speed - could mean I have to get a smaller blade.

I circled around and across once more and dropped in late to another waist high wave and WHHOOOA off we went, no fuss no drama - this baby goes late - way late. The wave was a little right and I scooted up and down a bit before kicking out and falling off - that was fun - this board surfs.

Paddling back out I tried to ignore the ice cream head that I'd just incurred and concentrate on what what happening - The Naish cut it's way through the oncoming wash almost surgically - that was the pronounced nose rocker - that's what I'd longed for in my Starboard.

Another wave - and again the incredibly intuitive feel that I'd first experienced with my BK PRO but without the physical effort required to crank it round, in fact the Naish seems to turn from the hips - my hips. I tested this out by standing parallel footed on the board and 'punched' my hips side to side the nose turns - noticebly. I think that this is the short length accentuated by the incredible rocker running from nose to tail. The 9' Starboard has some this 'skatey' feel, my old 9'8" Starboard didn't - nor does my BK Pro - it must be a length related thing - is this what some call 'swing weight'?

The BK is very loose and fantastic to surf but hard for me to maintain station when not under way due to it's 27" width, I also find it harder to turn either of my 10' C4's within their own length. Something that both Starboards are brilliant at, might be a bit too early to call but the Naish seems to achieve this through traditional, good old fashion rocker and it's short waterline.

By this time I was in pain, the air temp was 5'c when I went in, the wind chill must have been loads less. I hate wearing hoods so I don't - no gloves either which is why my hands were now technicolour red and purple - my core was fine (matter of opinion) and I just knew that I'd gone in a man and would get out a girl.

Just one more wave - I paddled around again trying to maintain my position as the squalls came and went - there was no one else in - the next peak reared up and again I forced myself to go late and again off we went this time a seemingly endless left (I like lefts) that I managed to milk hoping that there was someone, somewhere watching - decent rides were that few and far between and I needed to regain some honour. The board held it's line hard on the wave face allowing me to get further forward, I know it's not a nose rider but with the stiff breeze I needed to keep the weight forward in order to maintain speed and not stall. Nice wave!

Just one more wave - I was enjoying this and my calibration reset was almost complete - I hadn't randomley fell off for ten minutes - this board is going to rock - I can do it - I like it - I can't feel anything in my extremities but I want to go out again - just as soon as my frostbite heals up . . . Dont laugh - as I'm writing this there are snowflakes the size of pidgeons falling out of the grey skies - snow - in Cornwall - that ain't right.

I caught my last wave - and following my mantra of 'get out on a good one' I hussled a decent little wave in to the shore.

To sum up - no epic bottom turns - no radical reo's (whatever they are) - but fun, especially given the conditions - and the board - it has all the elements that I want - I think!

The shorter length makes it easy to turn in front of and on a wave.
The rocker ditto - the rails - the nose the tail - and the looks - It is the prettiest board that I've ever seen and it's mine.

One thing that is obvious - it's going to make me a load of new freinds - my take off zone has just got closer to the beach . . :-)

I struggled with the wind carrying it back up the beach thinking - 'that session was too short to actually write anything' . . . .

I'm 5'10" - currently 199lbs - 14 stone 3lbs 90.5kg.

oops text from Gavin - Kids party over - do you fancy another bash? - I'm off . .

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Naish 9'3" - Did I say Moist - I meant Drenched!!!

This post is going to ramble on a bit - there's gonna be lots of new Naish pic's with some 'What I did to my new Naish stuff' then - I'm going get deep. Blog deep. Let me know what you think 'cos I'm sort of revved. That's the effect a new board has - here goes. list uploaded pics in the wrong bloody order - this one is me fitting some clear protective tape to my rails - it seems to have worked on the C4.

1" wide - normally used for cycle protection - quite thick.

That's nose!

That's nearly 7" of nose lift - almost more than Joan Rivers.

More pics of the clear tape.

That's the money shot

Nose - oh yeh!

Cute little fin - supplied - along with FCS side biters.

Original shape by Harold Iggy - Naish stats. Mine are

Tail 17" 1' off the tail
Nose 15" 1' off the nose
Weight 19lbs with all fins

I'd call that a keel - what the hell is that going to feel like?

Super sharp rails that seem to go on and on.

Check these pics out - it looks like a fat boy's shortboard.

Look I'm really sorry if my last post got a bit out of control - you know filled with sexual metaphors - about a paddle board - But if these pics don't move you - you got no soul.

But Hell that's the beauty of blog's. I can say what I want - It's my ball.

I honestly feel that the majority of people that take the time to write these things do so because it's how they (we) see it. Does that make sense? I mean - you buy a magazine - you want to read a review - but you just can't help thinking that there may be a tad of a commercial bias in there somewhere.

Even with forum's quite often they are dominated / frequented / sponsored or moderated by people that may have a commercial interest. Nothing wrong with that but sometimes I'm too scared or too intimidated to say stuff on a forum because - I don't surf 20' waves - I dont build my own boards - I can't get air, I don't know Laird Hamilton or ride endless tubes - or paddle 25miles downwind, but you know something - I dont care - I have fun - I'm always learning and if you're happy reading this stuff, well - I'm happy to write it.

Not quite sure where that came from but basically just wanted to qualify where my opinion stood in the scheme of things - I'm a paddle board numpty - I've been at it a year or so NO MORE HONEST - made some progress and been in the fortunate position where I've been able to try out a few boards.

BUT now I'm scared - I always said that my BK Pro scared me - it does - I always think that I'm never going to be able to ride it -

BUT I always do -

I've had my best surfs on that board it's sharp - it should be - it's 27" wide - Christ that 8-9" less than my waist measurement!!

But it's also 10' long - I've ridden shorter and I like it -

But the boards are as wide as France and flat as a a baking tray.

Now I've got something that I've bought that has more rocker than Elvis, and I've told the whole world (that reads this blog) about it.

What if I hate it? -

What if it's shite? - Worse -

What if I'm not good enough??? I'm going to look like a Paddlesurf blogging Cock!

You know - I don't care - I'm just like you - no different - that's why you read this - that's why all these blogs are so damn relevant - I feed off of Dwight's blog - I follow Eric's beginners blog - I love Casso's reviews - oops havn't linked to him yet - because we dont have ads - it's just how we feel - it's how you feel - it's not that we are right (or wrong) it's just an opinion -

This ones mine.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New Naish 9'3" Wood deck SUP first Impressions

Fantastic - Rich pitched up tonight with my new Naish 9'3" - WOW - it's gorgeous - sort of proper full in a curvy, comfy, buxom kinda way - but you could tell that it's got nails that'll make you wince (or is that rails?) the sort of girl that you just know would do . . . . sorry - lost it for a minute there - miles away - anyway the board looks pretty good.

We had to rush off early tonight so I'll have to post the pics and the 'Tale of the Tape' tommorrow - but it's paddle board porn - - dirty dirty dirty seems a shame to put a grip on - better safe than sorry though.

Just a quick once over and my first thoughts are - It's got nose - lovely, pointy, pulled in (and up) nose, and rails that are so hard and long and sharp - and a keel - well I suppose it's a double concave through the hull at least from the waist to the tail and . . . did I say nose?

It's got a dinky little glass over wood centre fin with two side biters that I have not even had out of the packet yet. We were in a hurry!! There is a two piece white full length deck grip and twin leash plugs on the beautifully formed tail all wrapped up in a decent storage bag. The carrying handle is so deep it almost go's up to my elbow - well not quite. But what a piece of kit. I'm excited -

I can't wait.

I'm almost moist.

Gotta go - b. . .

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Staff Christmas do last night, started off easy but ended up having a bit of a session - the prospect of an early morning surf - the first for ages - was slipping away - fortunately the 'eye' of my hangover storm seemed to pass over at about 9am so I hauled off to Gwithian and met Gavin for a frosty, knee high perfect wave on a pushing tide.

We were both a bit rusty - not so much balance wise but I felt sort of clumsy on the board - my feet always seemed to be in the wrong place - too far forward, wrong side of the stringer sorry centre line just plain rubbish for the first half an hour or so but soon as the session went on we both started to pick up the game and got stuck into a few small but half decent swells that washed the hangover mugginess away.

We swapped boards part way through, Gavin's 9'0 Starboard felt like a skateboard after the 10' C4. But it was such a blast the C4 turns from the tail the Starboards turning point is directly under my feet seemingly at the mid point of the board. If the Naish mimics this feel but with more nose rocker I'm going to be in for a treat. Roll on Wednesday.

Swapping boards made me think about how far we have come and how good these boards are. Gavin rated the C4 over his Starboard - I did not want to get off the Starboard - what's going on? Perhaps we get to a point where there isn't better or worse - just different - just different enough to take us out of our comfort zone and give us something different to think about.

Also managed to pick up a secand hand Kialoa Shaka Pu'u paddle - that should turn up next week. The pu is a slightly smaller blade and full carbon - my fibre glass paddle has been fantastic but I've always hankered after a carbon never even used one - now we'll see.