Last weekend, while attending the Sunset Beach Handplane Demo Day, I met a fascinating surfboard shaper by the name of Jeff Beck. Through his company, Nine Lights, Jeff is performing some incredible experiments that could change the surfing industry. He had many of his boards on-hand to try for free, which is a regular part of the “demo day” ethos.
The first board that I tried, called the Slipper, perfectly represents Jeff’s unique design sense. The board has no stringer and instead uses a thin piece of wood on top (fiberglass bottom). According to Jeff, “when you remove the stringer it opens up all sorts of design possibilities. You can experiment with different shapes and sizes.” He said the wood top provides as much, or more, strength than the stringer would provide.
I took the board out to try him at his word. Now, I’m 6-feet tall and weigh 180+ pounds. I pounded the hell out of that board because it is a modified Alaia, which means no fins, long and real thin (picture below). You have to pop-up quick and immediately start turning. The board never once gave or bent and felt stronger than my classic stringer boards. I definitely think Jeff is on to something, and it was so much fun to ride that it was my favorite of the event.
To give you more insight into Jeff’s innovative thinking I want to tell you about his handplanes made out of aerospace airplane wings. Made from the foam in the wings they are super-strong and amazingly lightweight. When you hold it in your hand all the weight you feel is in the leash. I tried one out and it definitely feels stronger than regular surfboard EPS foam (I kept smacking it because I couldn’t believe how strong it was). An amazing way to recycle old airplanes and turn them into a fun ride.
Overall, I was truly impressed by Jeff’s deep understanding of surfboard design, experimental concepts, and his environmental focus. The next time I’m in the market for a surfboard I will assuredly be checking out Nine Lights Surfboards.
Morgan Maassen is possibly the world’s most talented surf photographer. All you have to do is look at these shots and you will be impressed. He is also a past winner of the Follow the Light Foundation.
Here are 8 of his images pulled from his public Facebook page, where you can find tons more. He can also be found at:
On Friday, a historic, record-setting heat wave covered a sprawling region from the Midwest to the Southeast. All-time high temperatures records of 109 were established in Nashville and Columbia, South, Carolina and tied in Raleigh and Charlotte which hit 105 and 104. Here in Washington, D.C., the mercury climbed to an astonishing 104 degrees (breaking the previous record set in 1874 and 2011 by two degrees), our hottest June day in 142 years of records.
…the coverage and availability of this heat energy was vast, sustaining the storms on their 600 mile northwest to southeast traverse. The storms continually ingested the hot, humid air and expelled it in violent downdrafts – crashing into the ground at high speeds and spreading out, sometimes accelerating further.
Peak wind gusts in the D.C. region include the following:
71 mph near Dulles Airport
70 mph in Damascus, Md.
79 mph in Reston, Va.
65 mph in Rockville, Md.
70 mph at Reagan National Airport
76 mph in Seat Pleasant, Md. (Prince George’s co.)
77 mph in Swan Point, Md. (Charles co.)
70 mph in Ashburn, Va.
69 mph in Leesburg, Va.
In addition, an 80 mph gust was clocked in Fredericksburg. To the north and west, 91 mph and 72 mph gusts were measured in Ft. Wayne, Indiana and Columbus, Ohio
The five finalists for the Billabong Girls Overall Performance category of the 2012 Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards. The rides depicted are just examples — the performance award acknowledges overall excellence over the entire year. - BillabongXXL
The 2nd girl in the video, Maya Gabeira, won the 2012 Overall Performance Award.
Welcome to the first episode of “Anatomy of a Swell“, Surfline’s new series that dissects the science of swell events and brings the very best footage and photos to your computer, smart phone, or tablet. Our team of forecasters and scientists will break down all you could possibly want to know about a swell, including the three main meteorological ingredients that lead to significant swell events:
Paul McCartney recruited award-winning surf filmmaker Jack McCoy to create a music video for his previously unreleased track “Blue Sway.” Written nearly 20 years ago, McCartney’s never-before released song, “Blue Sway,” is available for the first time…
Jack McCoy has been capturing the surfing vision in a truly unique way. Using a high powered underwater jet ski, the filmmaker found that he was able to travel behind a wave, creating underwater images that have never been seen before.
Over the past couple of years, McCoy set out to capture footage for his surf film, A Deeper Shade of Blue. During the editing process, McCoy put one of his surfing sequences to a song off McCartney’s The Fireman album. A mutual friend, Chris Thomas, saw the footage while visiting McCoy in Australia, and when he returned to the UK he gave McCartney a copy of the sequence.
“Paul was pretty stoked with what I’d created. He immediately thought my images might be suitable to go with his unreleased song “Blue Sway.” said McCoy.
McCoy spent the next six weeks creating the music video, while also working full days on making A Deeper Shade of Blue. McCoy compiled and edited footage that he filmed off Tahiti’s Teahupoo reef to create what became the “Blue Sway” video.
“When I saw Jack McCoy’s underwater surfing footage put to the soundtrack of “Blue Sway” I was blown away,” said McCartney.
Why are all these lifelong surfers trading in their boards for swim fins? Board builder and alternative surf craft artisan Jon Wegener had this to say:
“As surfing becomes more complicated, futuristic and radical, there’s a backlash of people who just want to go and have fun. You want to find something simple, and it’s just easy to go and have fun with a handplane. We don’t have Pipeline and waves like that. We have mediocre beachbreaks, and this stuff is really fun in waves like that. You don’t need a lot … you get your best tube view on a head high wave when you’re bodysurfing, so it gives you some exhilaration in our waves.”
Ed Lewis of Enjoy Handplanes added, “We all grew up going to the beach, jumping in the water and playing around. For me, getting back into bodysurfing brings me back to being a kid, and you just kind of need that.”
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.