Posts Tagged ‘Essence Surf’

 

As I write this New Jersey is digging out of a massive snowstorm which left several feet in its wake.  In a few words, it is cold, it is icy, and it is mean.  Flash to another time and place with me though.  The palm trees are swaying to the hum of the paradise breeze, while crystal blue barrels fire in 78 degree water.  The air lightly hints of sunscreen, but in actuality it is the coconut trees in the distance that are so fragrant. 

Well, the first account is my reality- the latter is the reality of Mr. Gene Wahl, owner and lead shaper for Essence Surf.  He is currently in Hawaii testing out some of his new designs.  Fortunately, I had the chance to catch up with him before he left about all things Essence Surf.

SSS:  So what is happening in Gene Wahl’s world?

Gene Wahl: I have been shaping a bunch for one thing.  I have also been getting prepared for my trip to Hawaii.

SSS: Is this more work or vacation? 

GW: It is hard to tell (laughs). As a company Essence Surf has been in expansion mode to a degree and so there is definitely an angle that pertains directly to the business model.  On the other hand, I will be surfing a bunch of new designs I have been working on, and that does not feel a bit like work.

SSS: Are you talking about one off designs, or are you crafting signature models at this point?

GW: These are defiantly models for future shapes.  For instance, I have the latest update on the Quasar where I decreased the nose width so that it holds better in the high line.

SSS: What else is in the board bag?

GW: Well, the Misfit is something that I am really excited about.  There are three variations; the standard short board, the 5 fin set up and the quad channel. 

SSS: What can someone expect from the Misfit?

GW: It is a solid go-to shortboard.  The quad channel is extremely fast and is a little wider in the turn.  This make is great for big cut backs on an open face.  Both the standard and the 5 fin are made to get up into the lip and to go vertical on demand.

 

SSS: So outside of the new boards what else will be happening for you?

GW: I am really excited because while I am in Hawaii I will be meeting up with Ben Aipa.  He is such a classic surfer and shaper.  I have had the chance to spend time with him in the past and to learn from him and it caused my shaping and surfing to grow in leaps and bounds.  It is an honor to spend time with a master of the craft. It is a blessing to see the tool work and technique of someone who shapes at his level.  Of course, at the end of the day my goal is to bring that knowledge back to New Jersey.

SSS: So we have a small branch on the historic tree?

GW: Maybe more like a leaf, but yeah. (laughs)

SSS: So Essence Surf is positioned to have a good run in 2011?

GW: We are.  There are plenty of custom orders to keep the bays busy.  Local shapers can reach out to us directly if they need a blank as well. We are offering glassing services and if someone wants to learn how to shape we offer classes. 

SSS: Just check the website right bro?

GW: Exactly.

SSS: I hope you bring back some aloha spirit too, New Jersey needs it.

GW: I will see if I can fit it into my carry on.

Advertisements

So, the last great swell that New Jersey and the rest of the East Coast had has gotten plenty of press- as well it should.  There are the pictures on surfline as well as Mikey Ciaramella’s sequence of the week.  Localswell has also posted a bunch of great pictures which they always do.  Kudos to them.

That being said, and I know I am late to the party, I thought I would share a few of the pictures I snagged.  Central Jersey was absolutely firing and the breaks were completely empty.

A Perfect Peeling Right.  Well Over Head.

A View From the Dunes

In other news I recently touched base with one of Jersey’s favorite sons again, Mr. Gene Wahl.  There are big things happening with Essence Surf and he gave me some great information.  Check back right after Thanksgiving for the complete interview.

Another shaper that is beginning to shine is Basil Giletto.  After his first ever wood board worked with some success he jumped right back in.  The pictures that follow are of his second attempt, and this time he made a single fin fish.

The board is currently sitting in my garage and awaiting a maiden voyage.  The prospects look bright.  I feel guilty putting wax on the thing though.  It is just to damn good-looking! 

However, when the waves come it will be going out.

I know it may be a little too late (or early) to revisit Earl, but Tim Bourne of Identity Surf shot a great video of some Jersey surfing that I wanted to post up.

For me, the video could not have come at a better time. 

Let’s face it, most of can’t surf whenever we feel like it.  There are jobs, families, responsibilities and all of the other facets and complexities of the day-to-day that can keep us out of the water.

Personally, this will often cause a disconnect.  So wrapped up in my busy life, I will at times forget what it means to be a surfer.  I will even occasionally think that I may be done.  “Who has the time?” my brain will tell me. 

It is in moments like this that I am reminded of the infamous line from the Godfather III when Al Pacino says,  “just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”

As a surfer, I don’t mean say this with the same brutal angst felt by Michael Corleone.  I actually apply the line with the utmost gratitude and affinity for those who help share the stoke.  Afterall, if I stopped surfing today I can’t turn State’s Witness.  The best I can do is tell you about a few unknown breaks that work best on a south swell at mid-tide.

So this time, with the burdens of “all things life” feeling, well, burdensome- it was Tim’s excellent video of a bunch of guys getting glad on the waves of Earl that drew me back in. 

 

Now, I will feverishly follow the reports in the hopes that I can get in the water again soon.  Happily thinking to myself, “yes, I am drawn back in!”

Floating Over Igor

I have had the fortune of meeting some really cool people through surfing.  As a sport it has a way of bringing people together, because it is true that “only a surfer understands the feeling.”  Igor, and his swell, helped fortify that level of shared community even further.

On Friday evening I surfed with Philly Dan.  We met in Ocean Grove because he was interested in buying a board I had for sale. We got a few waves together and he walked away with my Local Motion.  Having never met before I was stoked to have had the chance to grab a few waves with someone new. 

Cool Pictures from Michael Pallers

 But parting with a board is sweet sorrow.  I realize that they are only pieces of foam and fiberglass, but I cannot help but forming emotional attachments.  In many ways it feels like getting dumped by a girl in high school- you know deep down it is not a big deal, but still it sucks.

On the other hand, now there is room in my quiver for a new board. That is where Gene Wahl and Essence Surf will step in.  I know he has big things happening with his designs and I am excited to see where he is heading. I am also happy that Philly Dan will get some really great waves with it.

 After we had surfed early Igor together, with evening settling in, I met Michel Paller.  She was one the beach shooting these pictures, which she was kind enough to share with Sea Sand Surf.  She was super cool and is down for shooting pictures of anyone’s epic session, just send her an email. Pallers@juno.com

The guys in the photos were sharing in the fun.  They had surfed in LBI Friday morning and came north of the Jersey Bend to grab a few.

 The conditions were not the greatest, but it was a nice start to things.  After all, what is better than surfing some fun waves with new friends?  I can’t think of much.

10 Things That Made Danielle Great

1)      The water was warm, and the sun was shining

2)      The crowds.  Hell man it is summer.  If you can’t beat ‘em (and you can’t) join ‘em

3)      Finding a nugget to yourself, like this unnamed fortunate soul did (no it was not me)

(There was a beautiful photo here but in respect of the break you will have to imagine it) 

4)      She was a great test of all things surf reporting.  Did anyone not know a week ahead of time?

5)      Surfing with groms who were yelling OUTSIDE! at the sight of an approaching set.

6)      Seeing said groms stoked on grabbing their first hurricane swell

7)      Knowing that Earl is coming, and did someone say Fiona ( and I don’t mean apple)

8)      Seeing a few college guys who got some waves before a landlocked semester

9)      Realizing that Labor Day is a few days away and the crowds well, will not be as crowded

10)   Paddle shape, paddle shape, paddle shape.

The wind has been blowing onshore for the past three or four days.  Frustratingly, it has not produced much in the way of quality surf.  There has been the distinct smell of autumn in the air however.  This is not to suggest that summer is over, but the fall is waiting in the wings.  Although early predictions had suggested that we would have an active tropical season that has not been the case yet.  We all know that can change on the dime so keep monitoring the reports.

My previous few surfs have taken place on the 5’8” Quasar shaped by Gene Wahl from Essence surf.  The board performed very well.  I was skeptical, as it was a step down for me from my traditional 6’ board, but it is sweet.  I rode it as a tri-fin set up, although the board is constructed with 5 fin boxes offering all kinds of options.

There is very little rocker and it paddles like a champion.  The thicker rails allow for easy wave entry and they offer a feeling of stability as well.  If I were to summarize the board in one word it would be “fast.”  The board seems to naturally generate speed and any prodding on my part only made the Quasar run faster.  The board also turns on a dime and stays underfoot very well.  If you are considering a step down or a pod in general, it is a solid way to go.  

In other news, I recently met with Mike Stadler, owner and shaper of New Life Surfboards.  Mike is a true surfer and he has a very interesting story which I look forward to sharing.  It is always great to meet other people who share the same level of passion for surfing, and he and his wife Trish were super hospitable.

For all the Tri-State readers, if you have not already done so, get your tickets to the Surf Bash at the Algonquin Theater in Manasquan.  The date is Saturday, September 18th.  There is a free outdoor Surf Festival that begins at 4:00 and Matt Costa is performing at 7:30.  Jay Alders and the guys from Original Skateboards will be there, and I am sure it will be a cool evening of surf art, music and community.

Thanks for checking in.  If you have not contributed your thoughts to the Six-Word Ocean Project please do.  Look forward to hearing from you.

Pot of Gold

Sharks can clear the water with the flash of a fin.  That is never going to change.  But can you imagine not being able to get in the water at all because the line-up is swarmed with Sea Nettles?  It sounds crazy I know, but it may not be far from reality. 

A sting from one of these things is worse than bumping into a hornet’s nest.  The article in the Asbury Park Press clearly documents how they may become a monster of our own making.  Check it out.  Stay informed.  Do your part to keep our oceans clean.