The Paipo (pronounced pie-po), a member of the family of ancient Hawaiian surfboards like the alaia and olo, is experiencing a resurgence and finding a place back in the lineup. The small, flat, wooden bellyboards have become so popular that The Paipo Society decided to create a summer gathering.
Over 75 stoked people attended the inaugural Paipo Stokefest, which took place on July 29, 2012 at Scripps Pier in La Jolla. Besides having plenty of paipos to test ride (thanks to Encinitas shapers Jon Wegener of Wegener Surfboards and Christine Brailsford of Whomp), it included other prone surfing craft such as handplanes, mats, alaias, and basically anything that can be propelled by a pair of swimfins.
You’d think a ship designed after a baseball bat would go over like a foul ball when it comes to seaworthiness, but research ship FLIP has been a hit since its launch 50 years ago.
The bizarre research vessel can go from a horizontal to vertical position while staying afloat and stable in heavy seas, even in 80-foot waves. That allows it to perform oceanographic research measurements with great accuracy.
Operated by Scripps and owned by the U.S. Navy, the 355-foot FLIP was designed by Phillip Rudnick, Fred H. Fisher, and Fred N. Spiess, and first tested in July 1962 as part of an anti-submarine rocket program. It was recently shown off in the Pacific for its 50th birthday.
Every trip aboard conventional ships reminds the oceanographer of the value of a stable platform from which to perform experiments at sea. A ship’s natural motions not only make ocean measurements difficult to obtain with accuracy, but it reduces the effectiveness of personnel and equipment. This driving ocean force, among the most powerful in nature, dissipates rapidly just beneath the ocean surface. Even during severe sea storms rolling over several thousand square miles, a layer of relative calm lies a few hundred feet below the unruly waves. This region has become the domain of submarines during the past half century.
In 1962 they were joined by the research platform FLIP, FLoating Instrument Platform, whose great length lies mainly in the untroubled waters beneath the waves. As a result, she is almost as stable as a fencepost and, for those who study the sea, oceanographers, she offers an opportunity for more refined ocean measurements than they have ever had before.
The Floating Instrument Platform, FLIP, is a 355 foot long manned spar buoy designed as a stable research platform for oceanographic research. FLIP is towed to its operating area in the horizontal position and through ballast changes is “flipped” to the vertical position to become a stable spar buoy with a draft of 300 feet.
Sea levels off most of California are expected to rise by about three feet over the next century, according to projections released Friday by the National Research Council.
The study is arguably the most comprehensive report of its kind for the West Coast, and its conclusions fall into the range offered by other estimates in recent years. They reinforce predictions that coastal areas will face increased damage from storms and big waves — what the research council called one of the most visible effects of large-scale climatic changes.
“Following a few thousand years of relative stability, global sea level has been rising since the late 19th or early 20th century, when global temperatures began to increase,” said the peer-reviewed report, co-authored by Daniel Cayan, a research meteorologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.
“Sea-level rise will send reverberations throughout local and state economies.”
Keep reading – Report: sea level rise will be about three feet
In the past 60 years, California has experienced two heatwaves – in 1955 and 2006 – in which temperatures in its urban centers were greater than 37.8 degrees C (100 degrees F) for three or more consecutive days.
A new analysis prepared by other Scripps researchers indicates that by century’s end, those kinds of heatwaves will be the norm. Scripps climate researcher David Pierce said the new data will be assimilated into a major climate report scheduled for release in 2013.
“We’ll start getting these kinds of heatwaves more frequently by 2020 and by 2070, they’ll become common,” Pierce said.
…in all scenarios, not only do episodes of 100-degree-plus temperatures happen more frequently (several times a decade), but events in which temperatures top 100 for seven or more days begin happening at least once a decade by 2060 in all the models.
A new and interesting area of scientific research is called a “whale fall”. This occurs when a whale dies and the massive body falls to the ocean floor. During the fall and for many months afterwards the whale becomes a haven for life.
This process, first observed in 1987, revealed 30 previously unknown species and has since become a popular research focus. Imagine an entire school bus gradually sinking and then resting on the ocean floor. Whole species thrive off of nutrient-rich area and some, including the newly discovered species, live solely on the school bus (whale carcass).
This burgeoning area of research recently received a lucky gift, actually several of them. The story starts on a San Diego beach:
The 67-foot fin whale was towed to Fiesta Island on Nov. 23 for scientific study. When the carcass landed on the water line, about two dozen researchers started carving it up for biological samples.
Scientists quickly determined that the whale had been killed by a ship because it had numerous fractured vertebrae and large areas of hemorrhage that indicated that it was alive when hit, according to a report put together by Kisfaludy and his partners at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, SeaWorld and Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Then city officials, unsure what to do with this massive thing, “announced plans to haul the whale to a landfill,” and that’s when Virgin Oceanic got involved. They offered to tow it out to sea using their crew and 125-foot catamaran.
The organization, one of Richard Branson’s enterprises, promotes exploration of the seas. Its leaders wanted to see the carcass turned into an undersea laboratory.
For two nights, the whale was secured to a telephone pole by heavy rope and to an anchor in Mission Bay.
The day after the necropsy — Thanksgiving — Kisfaludy said he and Rouse “ran all over the county looking for steel that we could use.” They found 3,000 pounds of large shackles and 13 links of large ship chain that totaled about 1,000 pounds. They added that to 10,200 pounds of rusty steel mooring weights Kisfaludy secured from sources at Newport Harbor, where Virgin’s 125-foot catamaran docks.
The recreational catamaran then towed the whale 11 miles out to sea and released it. It sat there for a moment until it got crushed by a wave and then sank 800 meters to the ocean floor.
In the coming months Scripps researchers plan to visit the carcass using Remotely Operated Vehicles in search of new biological discoveries.
Video of a whale fall, just landed and 18 months later