Friday, December 30, 2011

Custom NC Dumpster (almost)

He she is - first the numbers

Length 8' even if I squint I can't make it less ???

Width 30"

Nose at 1' 17 1/2"

Tail at 1' 21"

Nose rocker -

at tip 6"

1' from tail 3 1/4"

Weight 17 lbs

Glassing Schedule

Top 3 x 6oz plus a 6oz standing patch
Bottom 2 x 6oz
Hull contour - dead flat until 37" from the tail when a slight V starts and increases slightly through the fins.

Now the pictures -

Initial reaction is - I love it and I reckon I can do this, next thought - I want to go slimmer and shorter, third maybe listen to Bill next time and slim down the tail a bit, followed by,  I really need to get out and ride this puppy.  Problem is the forecast is so shite for the next week or so and we are off to Costa Rica soon. Nice dilemma.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas Blog World

 Bill from Escape just emailed me this picture.

7'10 NC Dumpster  resplendent with St Piran's flag 
(Baner Peran The Cornish Flag)

How good does that look? I have to say I'm more than a little excited about this. In fact this picture has been giving me Tissue Issues all day!  

Massive thanks to Tris from Home blown for cutting the blank and Bill and the crew from Escape Surfboards for all the finishing and especially to Dwight over at NC Paddlesurfer for the modified Dumpster design, incentive and inspiration to get this done, My mum for her unwavering .   .   .   you get the idea.  

I've not seen it in the flesh yet and I  have to wait until next week before getting my sweaty paws all on it. Could be queuing up a New Years day session, now that would be something.

  I've no idea if I'm going to be able to ride the damn thing yet, but even if I can't, you just can't beat a bit of Cornish tribalism and this looks like pure art to me.

 "I wander if Charmaine will let me hang it on the wall? Hang on. What the hell am I thinking? It's going to be phenomenal!! Just look at it ferchrissake it's amazing  .    .     .   .   .       UUurrghmmmph "  

Oops,  SORRY slight gentleman's accident, that's five today. Can't accuse me of not being passionate about my sport. Anyway more pictures to follow as soon as. 

Thanks to all who read this blog and a massive thank you to those who have left comments over the last year - always appreciated - hope you all have a fantastic, happy Christmas and a healthy and rewarding New Year - Regards Steve.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Escape to The Rescue

These are the first images of the raw blank straight from the machine at Homeblown, got to say I'm pretty chuffed with the way that it looks. Tris told me that he glued three blocks of foam together and then hot-wired the basic blank prior to having the shaping machine deal with Dwights numbers for the final shape. 
On the Machine 

Rail Line and Nose Rocker

 I love the look of this bottom profile - it looks like a porky version of my Naish and there is something comforting about the width of the tail. Above all though to me it looks like a proper job surfboard.

Ok - to sum up the story so far is -

I have a 129litres of surfboard shaped foam all ready to rock and roll.

A big, fat resounding N.F.I. from  three local shapers, one of whom  I had hoped might be vaguely interested in hand finishing the blank, and slinging a couple of layers of epoxy drenched six ounce glass on the bottom and three layers on the top.

And an increasing feeling that I was going to need a crash course in glass lamination and epoxy resin.

The prospect of having to do the glassing myself was looming large, there was no way that I could pull this off without help so I called Andru to see if he fancied re-awakening his board manufacturing skills.

'I could probably get the loan of a shaping shack' he said, 'and I'm pretty happy to stand over you whilst you screw things up'.

Well it was a back up plane least.  Then Tris who could obviously feel my pain mentioned that he was about to travel up to a customer of his in Wadebridge, who not only had experience in epoxy but also with StandUps.  That customer was Bill of  Escape Surfboards.  He suggested that I gave Bill a call. So I did, and you know what? The guy was so easy to talk to, he was interested in my project, his first comment was -

'Yep we can do that'

His second was

'No problem'

and his third was

'Give me an email of exactly what you want and I'll give you a price.'

So I did - glass it as you see fit, twin leash plugs on the tail, twin plugs in the deck to use the paddle as a carrying handle, (no balance issues with this one) and a leash plug and FCS plug in the nose for a GoPro mount. Paint the bottom with a Cornish Flag and you know what - he emailed me back within 24hours with a price. Happy with that I thought and off we go again.

I was gobsmacked - apart from being an easy going guy that made me feel like a customer and not a pain in the ass, Bill had pretty much single handedly restored my faith in  custom shapers, and he hadn't yet seen the blank.  Top bloke.

So there we go at the moment the blanks with Escape being hand finished prior to glassing and fitting out. Can't wait.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Custom Board - About Time

Four years in now and I've pretty much lost count of the stand up boards that have crossed my path. When I was surfing prone longboards I would probably order a new custom every 3 or four years and each new board would usually 'retire' it's predecessor gracefully but totally.
The idea of buying a 'pop out' was alien. I always wanted a little bit of 'Me' in my boards and bizarrely I liked the notion of using a local shaper. Quaint eh!

Then along came the standup's and everything changed.

Board ownership  has been measured in weeks and months in what must look like an orgy of stand-up spending. Fortunately a lot of these boards were subsequently snapped up by fellow SUPaddicts. Limited supply (here in the UK) meant that depreciation was pretty much non existent especially on the used boards and moving boards on and between friends was commonplace and easy.

The source of this board fever could  partly be traced to the progression that had taken place in my still limited abilities and also in the availability  and design of the boards on the market that convinced me that I could advance said limited abilities.  Funny I never bought into this with prone boards perhaps it was the excitement of being close to the beginning of something new and evolving. Perhaps it was a perverse form of pressure that stemmed from keeping this blog. Who knows? But the boards kept coming thick and fast.

So where now?
I have no doubt that for me boards are fast approaching the end game in terms of size and possibly design. As far as size is concerned both Gong and Starboard are now producing boards under 7' and even sub 6'.

 At some point the paddle advantage on a stand up is going to be lost over lying prone especially on windier days when we present a significant sail area when standing and with shorter boards offering little or no glide advantage over lying prone we may as well ride prone boards.

Design? - Well I could be wrong but there can't be that many undiscovered 'magic' hull shapes, rockers, plan shapes, rails etc. etc. that have not been tried and tested on conventional surf boards over the years. There may be as yet untried combinations and maybe new materials and construction methods but true design?  Not sure.   Which is why Dwight's custom shape made so much sense.

I had been hankering after a custom board for a while and the thought of riding something shorter than my 9'0 Mana was an itch that was gaining in intensity.

 My Nah Skwell 7'8 proved beyond doubt that short was not only viable but also capable of wringing more out of less than perfect conditions.  When Dwight over on ncpaddlesurfer started down his  foam frenzy of home shaped boards I watched with envious admiration.  He first shaped his downwinders which was impressive, but he really caught my attention when his first surf stand up was hot-wired from the solid block of foam.

His philosophy seemed simple and obvious - take a proven surf shape and blow it up to a size that would support a rider and paddle. Keep the hull flat in order to maintain wetted area helping with both stability and speed. Beautifully simple, and for me the fact that his Naish 7'8"'s were immediately put up for sale and sold bore testament to his shape.

There was no way that I could personally copy Dwight's handiwork, as I said to him in a recent email my manual skills are stretched when I have to dig a hole with a shovel. My only option then was to get a blank machine shaped using DW's detailed CAD designs and then get a local shaper to glass the beast -

Easy right - WRONG!!

Phone call to Tris at HomeBlown surf blanks.

'Urgh Hi, I don't suppose you could shape me a Stand UP blank could you? I've got some drawings and numbers for your shaping machine'

I was desperately trying to sound

a) serious
b) not a numpty
c) Technically together

There was no chuckling from the other end, I don't think I even detected a snigger.

"Yep, no problem, send us the drawings and we can give you a price."

Bloody hell that was easy. So I sent over DW's drawings and back came the quote - £180.
BLOODY HELL this was going to be a doddle and not crazy expensive.  Better ask a few questions.

'So how finished would that be?  What weight foam is it?  Would it have a stringer?  How long would it take? Could you glass it?'

I was now sounding

a) desperately naive
b) like a cock
c) totally clueless

The answers came back almost as quick as I had asked them.

'An hour or two hand shaping to finish', something in kg/m2 that passed me by totally, 'no', '3 days' and 'yes, but not a chance'

"Brilliant", I said "lets do it"

So I paid my money and set out on a quest to find a glasser to finish my board.  It would have been easier to milk a Unicorn.

Call one -

'Hi  - it's Steve, how do you fancy glassing a board for me, it's ok it's not huge, in fact it's just 7'10, yes it's EPS. Right so it needs to be done in Epoxy. Right so you're not keen then because you think it will fall apart and you could end up with herpes. OK not to worry, thanks'

Strike one.

Call two -

'Hi Any chance of glassing a Stand Up Blank for me,     .     .     .     .     yes in epoxy, ok so you would rather nail your hand to tree Mmmn so that's a no then is it?.'

Strike two.

Call three -

'Hi  any chance that you can glass a Stand up blank in epoxy for me, it's pretty much finished, just needs glassing.  You can!! Fantastic !!!  £1800 and it will probably be a pile of shit, the EEC will fall apart and I'll get herpes.  Mmmn, not short of work then?'

'F@$k Me - Will someone somewhere just glass my F@$king blank!'

  I could be in trouble here or worse - I could end up doing it myself!!

Call from HomeBlown three days later.

'Hi Steve it's Tris, your blanks ready'

"Great! - I'll be over to get it then."

They could hear me crying down the phone.

To be continued - with pictures.