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.
According to Wegener, this historical Hawaiian surfcraft – which appears to be little more than a flat piece of wood in the shape of an ironing board – may not only be the most enviro friendly surfboard available today, it might be part of one of surfing’s next big leaps in modern board design.
It is also a much-needed design, since the foam boards of today are nearly as toxic as you can make something. The recent movie, ‘Manufacturing Stoke’, discusses this strange development, as well as a detailed post I wrote on Green Surfboards.
The next step is finding the right type of wood that can match the ultra-high performance of the industrial-era poly/resin/chemical boards used by professional surfers today.
Phil Joske introduced him (Tom) to a sustainable board building material called Paulownia wood. With a much greater strength-to-weight ratio than balsa, an easy-to-work-with nature, and an imperviousness to saltwater, Tom used this unique wood and his innovative longboard designs to help revolutionize the genre of hollow wood surfboards.
Many in the industry are taking note of these designs, there is a certain beauty to a glossy wooden board. Especially, knowing that it is handcrafted and great for the environment.
Learn more at Patagonia’s – Wood is Good series (featuring videos, interviews, and lots of links to surf films and designers).
At this Central Park adventure, kids will hammer, saw wood, make forts, push themselves around in the shallow water on a raft and do all sorts of climbing, jumping and whatever they choose. Kids can raft on a small pond, navigate a rope bridge, use a cable slide, go down a mud slide and more. Bring a spare change of clothing, a plastic bag to put the wet clothes in and close-toed shoes for safety.
Parents will not be allowed to tell the kids, “Don’t get dirty.” Sorry mom or dad. The dirt is what this is about and you must just butt out!
This summer-fun event is held annually. Adventure Playground runs mid-June through mid-August. This experience is suitable for kids six to twelve years old. It is only open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday. Adult supervision is provided and a small fee is charged. For information and group reservations, phone (714) 842-7442.
Location: Huntington Central Park, 7111 Talbert Avenue , Huntington Beach, California.
A google user: “I loved going here when I was younger. Tons of fun!! The rafts and the mudslide were cool and the tree house building area was my favorite! I recommend it.”
It’s springtime and I’ll be out doing some planting today. Yesterday, at the farmers market, I picked up four seedlings: Pepper, Heirloom Tomato, Thai Basil, and Mexican Squash.
Before getting started I looked up what a ‘raised bed’ was. I had been hearing a lot about them and was wondering why they’re so popular. Turns out they have several endearing features:
Extend the planting season
Reduce the need to use poor native soil
Serve as a barrier to pests such as slugs and snails
Can be planted earlier in the season because the soil is warmer when it is above ground level.
Raised bed gardening is a form of gardening in which the soil is formed in 3 – 4 foot wide beds, which can be of any length or shape. The soil is raised above the surrounding soil (approximately 6 inches to waist-high), is sometimes enclosed by a frame generally made of wood, rock, or concrete blocks, and may be enriched with compost.
The vegetable plants are spaced in geometric patterns, much closer together than conventional row gardening. The spacing is such that when the vegetables are fully grown, their leaves just barely touch each other, creating a microclimate in which weed growth is suppressed and moisture is conserved.
Additionally, waist-high raised beds enable the elderly and handicapped to grow vegetables without having to bend-over to tend them.