Posts Tagged ‘music’

De La Soul, rap group extraordinaire, had an album out back in the day titled Three Feet High and Rising.  And while I could probably remember 80%  of the lyrics for Hip-Hop karaoke, it is not the music that stays with me, rather it is the album title.

Three Feet High and Rising is the perfect way I like to think of an incoming southerly swell.  If you are familiar with the album you may remember the refrain where Posdnous asks, “how highs the water ma’ma” and Plug Two replies “three feet high and rising.”

There are times when I am paddling out and I will hear this as clear as a bell and I just need to laugh.  Or even better, there are times when I am hoping for waves and some random object will make me stop and think, “yes, that would be the perfect wave height for me right now.”

Hence the red fire plug.  I passed it on my drive yesterday, and it caught my eye.  All I could think to myself was, how highs the water ma’ma?”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0irL1M15DH8&playnext=1&list=PLB58D37F7688379FA

 

 

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Below are ten very unofficial suggestions you may wish to adopt as resolutions for the year twenty-eleven.  Either way SeaSandSurf wishes you a year of peace and good times. 

1) Don’t hate on the beach that is growing on the floor of your car.  Sand is beautiful.

2) Drink more pre-surf coffee so you can stay warm during those winter sessions.

3) Don’t doubt it- when it’s your turn to go, paddle and go.

4) Road trip!

5) If you find yourself mind surfing in the middle of the afternoon then you must be doing something right.

6) Don’t let the boss know.

7) Surf on a day that is beyond your comfort zone, even if it means a surf trip to Tahiti.

8) Go ahead, hoot that stranger in the line-up into the wave of the day.

9) Snake one for old time’s sake.

10)  If anyone can get away with wearing a pair of purple Uggs you can. No, for real!

A special thanks to Daniel “Surfer Into the Woods” Yackewych for helping to formulate the scientific list above.

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!”

When I arrived to meet Mike Stadler, owner of New Life Surfboards, I did not know what to expect.  A mutual friend suggested that I talk to him for Sea Sand Surf and I took the lead.  Mike and I exchanged several emails, set a date for an interview, and I drove over to his place in Manasquan assuming nothing.  I figured “how bad could it be to talk shop with another local surfer?”  Worst case scenario, I may know another face in the lineup when all is said and done.

What I found upon meeting Mike was a surfer with a wealth of knowledge and a shaper with ties to the deep history of the sport.  He was kind and generous and extremely stoked to show me around the intimate workings of New Life Surfboards.  We got together early, after a wave check revealed a mess, and he and his wife Trish gave me a great cup of coffee upon my arrival. As often happens with surfers, it felt more like I was seeing old friends rather than becoming acquainted with strangers.

Sea Sand Surf:  So when did you first start surfing?

Mike Stadler: It was either 1964 or 65.  My father used to pack the family up and take us to Sandy Hook.  My earliest memories center around surfing and everything associated with it.

The Stadler's and Their Summer Quiver

SSS: Did you stick with it this whole time?

Stadler: Pretty much.  It was one of those things. It got in my blood and I could not imagine it any other way.  My father passed the love of the sport onto me, and when I had my son I tried to do the same.  My son is 28 now and has been surfing his whole life.  Surfing is part of the Stadler family.

SSS: How about shaping surfboards?  Is this something that you have always done?

Stadler: Not really.  I have only been shaping for a couple of years.

Stadler Knows that Fine Edges Make for Fine Surfing

SSS: What made you want to get into it?  Why not just surf a few boards you love and be done with it?

Stadler: The design of boards has always been an interest to me.  I have always been very aware of my equipment and the way that it was built and how it functioned in the water.

SSS: I think most surfers share that desire to understand their boards, but to start a surf company like New Life Surfboards is a whole other thing right?  How did that transition happen for you?

Stadler: Well, I was sitting around one day in an apartment in Jersey City, totally frustrated by the rat race.  I was caught up in it.  I was a successful graphic designer, but the landscape of the profession was changing rapidly.  I was fed up with the hyper-competitive nature of things.  I was laying this all out on the table to my wife Trish, and she said, “well, what do you want to do?”  I told her I wanted to shape surfboards and she just asked me what I was waiting for.

SSS: I am sure that support is a big help right?

Stadler: (laughs) I tell everyone that she is the C.I.O of New Life Surfboards… the Chief Inspiration Officer.

Cool People Doing Cool Things

SSS: So you basically dove right in from there?   That must have been daunting.

Stadler:  I was already accustomed to working in design so the transition felt natural in many ways.

SSS: Did the 40 plus years of surfing experience help?

Stadler:  Absolutely.  I had a pretty clear idea about what works in the water and what doesn’t- so that eliminated a good deal of the trial and error phase for me.

SSS: What types of shapes have you been designing?

Stadler: I love making classic East Coast Long Boards.  Boards that let the rider get in the wave early enough to get down the line, but still offer some precision turning in the tail.  I try to get the right foil on the rocker with a perfect blend of concave.  That, combined with the rounded pin, and you have a board that flies but still turns on a dime.

A Classic East Coast Board from a Classic Guy

SSS:  Have you branched out from there?

Stadler: I have.  I have made some fish that work really well, and I am currently working on a shape for a classic California Long board- a board that will let the rider get ten over the nose.

The Cup Loves to Hang Ten- Forever...

SSS: Outside of your C.I.O, who are your other influences?

Stadler: I was fortunate to fall under the tutelage of Donald Takayama for a spell.  In the short time that I had the chance to see him at work I was amazed.  I went to California to meet with him.  I left so inspired, and I have applied that inspiration to my work.  I mean, here is a guy that has been shaping for over 55 years, and I am standing there learning from him thinking, “this can’t be for real.”

SSS: How does it feel to be a small leaf off of that great branch of surfing?

Stadler:  You know; it is my goal to help other people get stoked on surfing.  When I shape a board for someone I try to get to know them as a person first.  I may go out for a session with them, or do a quiver inventory.  In the end, I want their New Life Surfboard to be something they will have in their quiver for a long time to come.  So when a shaper like Donald Takayama opens his bay to me and spends some time I am ultimately very grateful.  He has a knowledge base that is so unique, and the fact that he was willing to share it with me just solidified my love of shaping.

SSS: What direction do you see New Life Surfboards taking?

Stadler: As of now, I am really focused on making custom boards for people who love to surf.   A number of people have approached me about making “go to” long boards for their quivers, and that has really driven me.  In the end New Life Surfboards has a core mission of passing along the love of surfing on to people in any way possible.

SSS: What is on the radar in the near future?

Stadler: We will have a stand at the Belmar Pro in September and we welcome everyone to stop by and say hello.

 SSS: Best of luck along the way.

Stadler: Thanks.  We will get there one great board at a time.

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

Click the link above and take a moment to think about the ocean. Thanks!

 

The Grateful Dead had a line in a song that always struck me: “once in a while we can get shown the light in the strangest of places if we look at them right.”  I share that, because even though the ocean has been flat, I have still seen surfing in so many places in my travels recently. 

First, I had the opportunity to sit and discuss surfing with Sam Hammer yesterday.  We got together over a cup of coffee in Point Pleasant.  It was an awesome interview, and as always Hammer proved himself to be a solid guy.  I look forward to sharing the contents with you soon. 

Secondly, I was riding my bike yesterday morning trying to mind my cardio in the event that waves do come (and they will).  In my travels I came across this piece of wood sitting next to a dumpster in Bradley Beach.  I sought the owner of the shop out, and when he saw me standing next to the thing all I had to do was point.  He said, “what, do you want to make a board out of that?” 

So, You Think it Will Float?

 

I said, “I think it will float” to which he responded “of course it will float.  That is the way they used to make them.  Take it away.”  Another project to add to the list. 

Lastly, I came across another Todd Stewart film.  I know that the summer is busy, the beaches are packed, but this is a great reminder that we can still have a nice get away with the ocean.  Does anyone else smell autumn in the air?