Peel Surf Co. is all about getting new stuff to make our surf game better, but we never thought there would be a science behind choosing the right fins! We're all familiar with the first part of the article, asking about fin boxes, and I'm sure most of us wish we could have a universal fin but hey, it comes with the territory. What we DIDN'T take in to account was thinking about how much we weigh, our surf style, and how many fins we want. Surfer.com lays it out in detail here.
We're a little biased here, but we're all about the redheads at Peel Surf Co. The Inertia recently outlined some stuff about the things we face as redheaded surfers in the wild, and we were intrigued. While we see the occasional sunburn on our shoulders, we tend to be careful since were familiar with these issues. Check out the article here!
No, not Billabong... billboard. You heard us right! Rareform is a company who epicycles the cynic used in billboard into sweet board bags for us to use to keep our sticks safe. Not only are they getting the cynic from those giant billboards out of the landfill, they're getting us some sweet looking gear! Check out the article from surfer.com here!
Breathe in, breathe out. Now take a second to think about how you bend and move during a surf session? Its a lot of different angles and muscles involved isn't it? After reading this article about different yoga poses that could help you surf longer sessions we were determined to find out if they worked. We've been trying some of the suggested motions and once surf season hits again here, we'll see how we do! Check it out here in the meantime!
So put this down on the list of things we never want to see or encounter...
Via The Inertia, see the full article here.
Akbar Salubiro went missing Monday after we had gone to harvest palm oil. “They didn’t find him (Akbar), but the villagers saw an unmoving python in the ditch,” a local villager told BBC Indonesia. “They grew suspicious that maybe the snake had Akbar. When they cut it open, Akbar was inside the snake.”
The Associated Press reported that one of the man’s boots and tools had been found near the snake. Pythons, in this case a reticulated python, eat large mammals by squeezing them to death and then swallowing them. Attacks on humans are rare. In fact, according to the BBC, finding documented cases of pythons killing humans is nearly impossible.
Watch that video with caution! EEK!
So we're big fans over here of getting custom boards made, but sometimes you want to get something thats covered in good vibes, or you can just throw around without worrying about dings. Thats where getting second hand board some in, and they're a part of the eco conscious options available to surfers. Our buddy Harry at Surfvault actually did a fantastic writeup with mpora.com about how to buy used, and what to make sure to look for when buying a second hand board. Some of his great tips are below! Check out the rest of the article here.
When it might be a good time to buy?:
- When you’re not really sure what you want, and have limited disposable income. By going second-hand you can experiment fairly cheaply with different designs and dimensions as you hone in on the elusive perfect board.
What to look for!:
- Discolouration may simply be the result of sun damage, which isn’t disastrous but looks ugly and means the outer layer will be weaker than it once was. Alternatively, especially if the discolouration’s limited to one particular area, there may be a leakage nearby.
- “Look out for painted horizontal stripes across the middle or the nose of the board,” warns Harry. “This is a sign that they have been creased or snapped and the repair has been hidden under a bit of paint or posca pen.” Paint jobs over the glass will feel courser than normal paint jobs, which are applied to the foam blank before glassing and are thus left with the same smooth finish as the rest of the board.
A new way to keep your grip? While we're trying to make sure the surf industry is as responsible as it can be with it's wax use, reading Tom Keyes article in The Inertia about a wax alternative, we were intrigued. We've seen some stuff on the market, but when Tom said he tried it we liked the feedback he gave. He tried Van Der Waal Surf Grip, and seemed to like it saying that he liked the grip better than standard wax which surprised us! He is based out of the UK and was wondering how well it will do when he is bootless in the warmer waters, but seemed to think it was a good possible alternative. Only time can tell if wax is going by the wayside, but until then, you can use The Orange Peel to get the best life out of it and keep it off of the beaches!
We've been long time followers of Riley Elliott and are fascinated by his knowledge of sharks and willingness to get into their element to teach us more about them. Recently he did an expose on Mako sharks, teaching us more about their tendencies, how to be sure you approach them out in the wild (tip: don't!) and why we all need to make sure that the shark populations live long and prosper. Check out his Instagram @RileySharks and his website here for more awesome shark related stuff! We <3 Sharks!
Thank's to you guys the Orange Peel is finally becoming a reality!
Whats the biggest, baddest wave you can think of? You probably thought of Jaws, didn't you? Now when you're out in the water, you're all "omg I'm in the water attached to this giant floaty surfy thing connected by WHAT?" and you look down and its a thin piece of plastic and you think "crap, that can break really easy can't it". Well, Dakine has figured out how to settle your anxious mind by making a leash that can withstand the pounding of Jaws, even if you're surfing in little lake Cocoa Beach. Check it out here.
We all rely on fossil fuels which effect our environment in more ways than one, but researchers are doing their part to make sure that we can live a cleaner and better day with our pristine outdoors. Researchers in Argonne National Lab have created a sponge that can soak up 90 times its weight in oil, and you can find out how here.
We've all seen Owen Wright come up over the years as a big name in the surf community. While some may know, others aren't aware of the incident that nearly took him sway from us. Owen was surfing at Pipeline in 2015 when he went under, getting a concussion that he almost didn't come back from. He was rehabbed by with sister and wife and we didn't see him at all during the 2016 season. Then he surprised us with taking part in his first pro event in almost 2 years at the Quiksilver Pro event in Australia and we were stunned when he took home first place. Surfline has an interview with him catching up over the last few months and seeing what comes next for big surfs greatest comeback kid!
When Hawaii joined the USA, there was an influx of surfers heading to the island chain to catch a wave. The cost was huge to get out there, so it made sense that people wanted to get the best of the best. What they didn't expect was the Hawaiians response to others surfing on their turf. Read here how Hawaiians came to know and work with the mainlanders who wanted in on some of the magical Pacific Island swell.
We know how to do Spring Break here in Florida. We're pros when it comes to the beach, sun, sand, and surf. What we love to see though are some other sick places to spend your week of freedom while getting some time in the water, and Surfer.com has complied a list of places to go that won't break your piggy banks heart. Check it out here. Let us know in the comments if you've ever been to any of the places listed!
We're Florida born and raised here at Peel Surf Co., and we know how iconic some of he breaks on the East Coast are. We love seeing the history behind some of those more famous ones, and getting the stories from long time surfers about those badass waves. Surfer Magazine wrote an article about Sebastian Inlet, one of the most famous surf spots in Florida... Check it out here.
What happens when two middle-aged surfers paddle into the lineup at a world-famous California surf break?
When the two surfers in question are serious science historians at preeminent California universities, the result is a fascinating new tome on one of the world's oldest sports: The World in the Curl: An Unconventional History of Surfing.
Peter Westwick, an expert in the history of the aerospace industry at the University of Southern California, and Peter Neushul, a research historian at the University of California, Santa Barbara, were surfing a break called Cojo near Santa Barbara when they decided to combine their passions for history and surfing. But the result isn't just a list of contest winners or a cursory treatment of a pop culture phenomenon that has permeated everything from music to film to fashion.
Instead, Westwick and Neushul attempt to explain major historical events through the lens of what is mistakenly presumed to be one of the most unserious of sports—now a ten-billion-dollar global industry that boasts more than 20 million practitioners worldwide. Along the way they bust several myths about the sport and delve into the rich Hawaiian culture that continues to infuse it, while uncovering fascinating revelations from the surf history vaults.
Who could have guessed that the "pursuit of happiness" phrase in the Declaration of Independence may have been inspired by early accounts of surfing? Or that the modern surfboard actually has deep roots in the military-industrial complex? Or that after Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War, he eased his stress by catching a few waves?
Contributing writer Joel Bourne recently talked story with the authors of the unconventional history of surfing.
You've uncovered some great, little-known moments in surfing history. One of my favorites is that early accounts of surfing may have influenced Thomas Jefferson to make "the pursuit of happiness" an inalienable right in the Declaration of Independence.
PW: That came from another historian named Andy Martin in a book he wrote on the Enlightenment and Romantic period that had fascinating insights. Both the French and American revolutions occurred as these incredible literary images were coming back from explorers in the tropical Pacific. The surfer on a tropical wave is the very antithesis of what we were doing in Europe, which was perfecting the guillotine and better ways to kill each other.
If you are sitting in Europe or colonial America reading these travelers' accounts coming back from the South Pacific who are describing "the most supreme pleasure," it really might give you pause. It might make you think, "Wow, these surfers have it right."
You write that wave riding was actually practiced in many coastal cultures around the tropics, but that it reached its pinnacle in Hawaii not only because of the warm water and constant waves, but also because of the tremendous productivity of the taro fields and fish ponds that made early Hawaiians not only extremely fit, but also able to take three months off each year to surf.
PN: I've been working on aquaculture systems for years. I used to go to Hawaii with my father, who was a famous marine botanist [Michael Neushul, Jr., a renowned expert on kelp and other seaweeds], so I knew about the fish ponds. Looking at surfing, it made me think: How could these people be such amazing athletes? How could they have the time to do this in a subsistence state?
They were remarkable ocean people, not just in the way they could cross long swaths of ocean, but also in their diet and their huge access to food. The size of the fish ponds and the amount of protein that was coming out of them was just amazing. The unique thing about Hawaiians was the emergence of this stand-up pastime of surfing.
One of the long-standing myths that you bust in the book is that prudish Protestant missionaries, who came to Hawaii from New England, were repulsed by nearly naked men and women having so much fun together in the water and used their considerable influence to end the islanders' favorite pastime.
PW: The usual story is that the missionaries came along and quashed surfing. But that's too pat and too neat. It wasn't the missionaries. It was the loss of the leisure time they had previously.
When the colonial powers introduced the cash economy, soon they were working on sugar plantations and had much less time to surf. Above all, they suffered from a devastating demographic collapse from the diseases that Westerners brought in.
You write the Hawaiians were decimated, down to possibly 10 percent of their precontact population in very short order.
PN: Basically, Captain Cook arrives, he leaves, and when he comes back syphilis is just rampant among the people. After that there really were no more pure Hawaiians. There are people with some Hawaiian blood. They had to bring in Chinese, Filipinos, and Japanese just to work the sugar cane because the Hawaiians were so decimated by disease.
It was similar to what happened to the Native Americans with first contact. They eventually developed resistance and were able to regroup. But when you are on an island there is no getting away from it. It was a real tragedy.
Surfing starts its revival in the early 20th century as a tourist attraction by real estate developers in Hawaii and then California, who wanted to get people into their beachfront hotels. But people tend to forget that the guy largely responsible for reintroducing surfing, as well as Hawaiian culture, to the world was actually an Olympic swimmer and world record holder, Duke Kahanamoku.
PN: Duke was, and will always be, the greatest surfer of all time. How many sports or pastimes have the Michael Phelps of the world as their centerpiece? He was just a phenomenal athlete. The fastest man in the water for 16 years. And he also had this spirit to him, this presence.
But his story is somewhat tragic. To retain his amateur status, he worked at gas stations. He worked for the city of Honolulu. Eventually he worked as the sheriff for a while. Then he became sort of the chief greeter, the representative of aloha. When a president arrived, Duke would be there and he would talk to him. In a way it was sad, because his life was representative of what happened to many of the remaining Hawaiian people. They almost got marginalized in a way. Others made money from his name.
So Hawaii provided the soul of the sport, but you write that California provided the great leaps in technology that enabled it to spread around the world, from lighter, more hydrodynamic boards, to wave forecasting, to wetsuits that expanded surfing into colder climes. Much of that technology came from the military and aerospace research going on at Caltech. Gerard Vultee, a Caltech aeronautical engineer and co-designer of Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Vega with its rigid, hollow fixed wing, was a friend and paddleboard competitor of Tom Blake, who invented the first hollow surfboard along the same lines. Bob Simmons, who brought fiberglass, foam, and advanced hydrodynamics to surfboards, was a Caltech mechanical engineer, while Hugh Bradner, a Caltech engineer who worked on the Manhattan Project, became the father of the modern neoprene wetsuit.
PW: What we were trying to get at was why surfing flourished at particular places at certain times, whether pre-colonial Hawaii or mid-20th century California. The standard historian approach is "why then, why there?" What else is going on that might promote surfing? What's going on in California in the middle of the 20th century is the defense industry, and especially the aerospace industry.
So you try to find connections. And sure enough, even back in the '20s there was Gerry Vultee, then World War II with Bob Simmons, Hugh Bradner, and Walter Munk [the father of wave forecasting], all at Caltech. All these people who were coming through the defense industry were also surfing.
You also delve into the seedier side of the sport that emerged during the 1960s, with the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, a crew of California surfers that created a massive drug-smuggling operation.
PW: Surfers not only reflected the '60s, they also actually helped create the '60s because they were the ones driving this tremendous supply of drugs. This image of surfers as a bunch of longhairs on the beach who can't get their act together may have helped them get away with it.
When you read federal task force reports on the menace of drug smuggling, the feds refused to believe these hippie surfers could possibly pull off something this complex and this organized. It was a major global network that these guys were running out of Laguna. They brought in millions of LSD doses, among other things.
You also address some of the coastal environmental issues that surfers encounter—notably raw sewage that ends up in the ocean.
PN: One of the most shocking things to me is you go out to the North Shore and they don't even have a sewage system there on Oahu. They have cesspools. Basically, on a rainy day you could potentially reacquaint yourself with what you just got rid of that morning.
I took my daughter down to do a science project on fecal coliform counts in the ocean in Goleta, California, where the sewage is treated in our area. The guy there told me that fecal coliform is always there. It's just when they become most acute that you close the beach. So you are always swimming in fecal coliform no matter where you go.
The only issue is whether it's going to be enough to make you sick.
You have a great section in the book about how the rise in women surfers can be traced directly back to the influence of Title IX—part of the federal Education Amendment of 1972 sponsored by legendary Hawaiian Congresswoman Patsy Mink.
PN: I really wanted to know whether Mink ever surfed. So I called her daughter, and she said no, she was a plantation girl. Didn't surf. Surfing is not a collegiate sport. But once Title IX comes you have girls becoming athletes, playing basketball, volleyball, swimming. If you are able to swim, you are able to surf.
Women's swimming takes off because of Title IX and so it had a huge, huge impact on athletics in the United States. I think in the last Olympics we had more women medalists than men medalists.
You also write about the current obsession with riding giant waves and its deadly impact. More surfers have been killed in the last 15 years than in all the previous four decades combined.
PN: Big wave surfing in a way is a revival of the waterman that the Duke was. You have to be really athletic and ocean-wise. It's also an outlet for a different kind of surfer to get remunerative gain in terms of professionalism. Anyone bigger than 6 feet (1.8 meters) tall trying to compete in the current surf contest with the short equipment and focus on airborne performance is not going to do so well.
Yet people are fascinated with riding big waves. There is now a cash prize for the person who gets a picture of himself surfing the biggest wave of the year. And when there's money on the table, people are going to risk their lives to get it.
But let's face it, commercial fishing is a lot more dangerous than surfing. And you are not going to ride those big waves unless you are prepared to do it. You won't even be able to paddle out. The people doing it are well prepared, and despite that people are getting killed. That's the nature of extreme sport.
Final question. Surfing has been around for hundreds if not thousands of years, from early Hawaiians, to Mark Twain, to Duke, to Gidget, to Kelly Slater, and yet its power to attract our attention seems stronger than ever. Madison Avenue is using it to sell everything from cars to cologne. Why does this activity continue to fascinate us so?
PW: I think it traces back to its origins in Hawaii and this idea that surfing is the pure pursuit of pleasure. Its association with tropical paradise and this image of surfing as the antithesis of modern society helps sustain its popularity. We are no longer teenagers, but we still have this identification with it.
I was taking my kid to the skate park the other day and this guy says, dude, you are 45 years old, you should not be out in a skate park anymore. And I was like, well, that's what I do. There's no surf, so I'm going to go down to the skate park with my kids and pretend I'm surfing. It's a perpetual adolescence.
PN: It is pure unadulterated fun. If a good south swell was running and we went up to Cojo, no matter how long you've been surfing you would remember the waves you caught forever. It's a unique wave, very clean. So it's a very unique pastime that creates memories because it is so different. The feel of weightlessness, of the speed, and being in the ocean environment, it stays with you.
It's just a lot of fun. You don't have to be riding a 40-foot wave to get that feel.
Lexicon is everything in surfing. If you don’t know your air reverses from your full-roters, or your dropped wallets from your cutties, you’re in serious trouble. It’s especially rough because, well, words are constantly changing. Not to mention, some that sound nearly the same can say very different things about who you are. Case in point, the words bro, bra, brada, and brew (or bruh). Here are some helpful observations to help guide the uninitiated.
Depending on where in the world you come from, bro has different connotations. In parts of Southern California, for instance, calling someone “a bro” as in “that guy’s a total bro” has become a pretty demeaning way to refer to a person whose attire consists of Dickies shorts that go well below the knee, long socks, puffy shoes, and a hat worn extra low sometimes with the bill curled up. The shittiest part about that reference is that while such attire, typically associated with folks from inland communities, is looked down upon, for some reason it remains relatively socially acceptable to call someone “bro” as in “What’s up bro?” Elsewhere in the country, to non-surfers, a bro often is the average surfer. So, it depends where you come from. Variations of bro, e.g. broheim, broski, Charles Brokowski, are always acceptable. As is the common refrain to bust a friend’s chops, “Cool story, bro.”
This is a tricky one. It’s not uncommon (in Hawaii, especially) to hear what sounds like bra or brah, i.e. “Ho, brah.” There’s a soft “d” in there somewhere, though (see number 3).
Bra, with a hard “r” and long “a” is different. And it’s been mainstreamed in such a way that it’s not uncommon for non-surfers to give surfers a hard time by throwing a corny shaka, giving it a shake and delivering their best Spicoli impersonation with a, “What’s up bra?” For those whose lexicon still includes this word, it may be time to hang it up. Just sayin’.
If you find yourself saying “brada” (including the soft “d” version, see above) with any frequency, you must be from Hawaii. Either that or you can thank Hawaii for it. Inherent in the word is an Aloha spirit and rhythm. It just rolls off the tongue.
4. Brew (or bruh)
If you’re saying this, you’re either from South Africa, or you’re one cultured soul. If it’s the former, saying brew (alternatively written: bruh) is second nature to you – think dude in Southern California. It’s not even specific to surfers in that case.
If it’s the latter, though, you probably enjoy the finer things in life: travel, curling up with a good book, a nice full-bodied merlot, and perhaps some exotic food. Good on you.
Any more observations about these words or similar ones? Tell us in the comments below!
We've always loved working with our hands to create things, and the best things are created with passion. The Orange Peel was born of our need to recycle wax, and our love for creating new things on our own. Love and hard work go into creating something you are proud of, and that is apparent in this interview The Downtime Agenda had with shaper Hayden Cox.
We LOVE reading about others adventures, almost as much as we love adventuring ourselves. We've found a collection of great blogs and websites that perfect capture the wanderlust we have in our hearts, and allows us to think about sand between our toes.
Check out this post about surfing a reef break for the first time from Over The Dune: