Authors Posts by Stevie

Stevie

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Whether it's waves or the Internet, I'm always surfing

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How To Make A Surfboard

Have you been wondering what it’s like to shape your own surfboard?

Depending who you talk to to, it could be a piece of cake, or a daunting task that no man should do by himself.

I wanted to find out for myself.

When my buddies John and Frank offered to walk me through the process of how to make a surfboard, I couldn’t refuse.

So before we get into all the juicy details about how I made my own surfboard, I just want to let you know…

This is less of a “How To Make a Surfboard” with all the technical knowledge, and more of a “How I (Poorly) Made a Surfboard That Some Thought Wouldn’t Surf, But It Does”.

You can learn from my mistakes, and hopefully avoid making the same ones if you decide to shape and glass your own surfboard.

SHAPING THE SURFBOARD


The three of us decided we all wanted to shape fish surfboards.

I had been riding my Lunchtray a lot, which is super fun, but not very maneuverable. But every time I took out my shortboard, it felt like I was surfing a noodle.

So I wanted to shape something in between.

A fish surfboard has more volume and less rocker than a shortboard, so it’s easy to catch and ride mushy waves (San Diego summers hello), but still very maneuverable.

Making the Surfboard Template

Tracing surfboard template


First task was making a template for the outline of the fish.

Got some “hardboard” (aka masonite?) from Home Depot for this, along with some PVC pipe to bend for smooth curves.
$22.88 split 3 ways, $7.63.

We made a similar outline to John’s old fish, because I rode that board and really liked it.

Cutting and Shaping the Foam Blank


The foam blank is the inner core of your surfboard, and there are a bunch of different sizes you can choose from, depending what board you want to shape.

I bought my foam blank from Mitch’s Surf Shop, and if you’re in San Diego that’s probably where you will want to get yours.

Cost me $71.12.

I didn’t rent a shaping bay or anything, we just did all of the shaping in John’s garage.

You adjust your template towards the nose or tail of the blank, depending where you want your rocker (the blank has rocker built in, so you don’t need to do as much sanding).

Then just trace the outline of the template onto the foam blank.

Using a handsaw, cut the along the outline on the foam blank, keeping the saw straight up and down.

Cutting surfboard outline


Oh, and remember to wear a face mask or respirator… there’s gonna be lots of foam dust flying around.

Next we brought out the planer and started shaving some thickness off the blank.

Planing the surfboard blank


Then it was time for some rail work.
After making some outlines for the rails, we took off some foam with the planer and then the screen.

(Add $8.50 to the running total, for sanding supplies.

Shaping the rails of the surfboard


From there, it was just a lot of slow sanding with various tools, making minor changes to the foam blank, until we had the perfect fish shape I wanted.

The finished shape of the fish


Shaping the foam blank took wayyyy longer than I expected… about 6 hours total! And there were 3 of us πŸ˜‚

The boys decided we should just take our shaped blanks to a local glasser, instead of glassing them ourselves.

Until…

GLASSING THE SURFBOARD


So this where the plot twists…

John and Frank changed their minds and said they would help me glass the board. But after waiting weeks for them to help, I decided to take matters into my own hands 🀲

Frank did let me borrow some much needed tools for installing the fin boxes (template, router, and jig).

I made quick and dirty work of that.

Routing the slots for fin boxes


A quick run to Mitch’s, and I had all the supplies I needed:

  • Fiberglass cloth (6 yards of 6oz cloth)
  • Epoxy resin and hardener (stronger and lighter than polyester resin, and no fumes. Slightly more expensive)
  • Squeegees/spreaders
  • 2 Futures fin boxes
  • Latex gloves
  • Black pigment
  • Leash plug
  • 5 Paint brushes
  • 5 Measuring buckets
  • 5 Stir sticks

$113.83 for all those supplies.

Surfboard glassing supplies


Time to lay down the glass!

I brushed off the foam blank, and laid down the fiberglass cloth. I cut the cloth so it hung a couple inches over the outline of the blank.

Cutting fiberglass cloth


Now for the tricky part… the resin.

The guys at the surf shop told me to use the whole jar of tint for this project… I think this was a big mistake. I’ll tell you why in a minute.

They also didn’t know how long the epoxy resin takes to cure, and the label didn’t have any timeframe either.

So I went ahead and mixed the resin with the hardener and the black pigment. I didn’t know how long it would take for the resin to harden, but I knew I had to hurry!

Unfortunately I forgot to tape off my fin boxes, so after I poured resin in the fin box area of the foam blank, I had to fumble and tape the fin boxes with my messy gloves.

Inserted the fix boxes into the foam blank, and spread the resin over them.

Installing the fin boxes


I was running out of time…

Now I had to spread the resin across the whole bottom of the surfboard, but I didn’t quite spread it liberally enough.

The resin started getting thick as I was spreading it across the board, and that made it pull on the fiberglass cloth, so I had to stop.

Spreading the resin


I quickly mixed up a small batch of clear resin, and worked that around the rails, tucking the cloth under the rails as best I could. This somewhat salvaged it.

Tucking the rail laps under


A few hours later after the resin cured, I flipped the board over and cut off the excess cloth (laps they are called) from the rails.

It wasn’t pretty, but it wasn’t totally ruined.

Trimming hardened rails


Time to repeat those steps, but for the deck of the surfboard. Only this time I knew I had to work faster.

I spread the resin liberally and quickly, and it went a lot better!

Waited about 6 hours and went to town with the disc sander. Actually I should have sanded even more than I did, but I thought it was good enough.

Sanding the surfboard


At this point I wasn’t even sure if the surfboard was going to work… the rails were all lumpy, and the first coat wasn’t very hard. Like I could dent it in with my thumb.

Remember when I said I shouldn’t have used all that black pigment? Yeah I think that’s why the resin wasn’t fully curing. Thanks Mitch’s πŸ™„

But I couldn’t quit now… on to the hot coat!

Hot coat layer on surfboard


The hot coat was much easier. All I had to do was brush a thick coat of resin onto the surfboard. (I didn’t use pigment in this coat, so it cured fully hard).

Of course it wasn’t perfect… there were tons of little air bubbles. Like when I used to make cakes with my mom, and she would gently drop the pan a bunch of times to pop the air bubble. Except I couldn’t do that with my surfboard.

Bubbles in resin


So after letting the hot coat cure, sanding the whole surfboard again, applying front and rear traction pads (goodbye wax), I had a fish surfboard that didn’t really look like the glass job would hold up to my surfing.

Only one way to find out…

SURFING THE SURFBOARD

I popped in my new twin keel fins, and took the fish for a paddle πŸ„β€β™‚οΈ

Surprise surprise… it worked!

It was just what I wanted… in between my Lunchtray and shortboard. Fun and playful, but still easy to catch waves with all its volume.

I was surfing on surfboard that I made myself. Let me tell you, that’s a good feeling.

That being said, making this surfboard was a LOT of work!

I don’t know which part was worse, the shaping or the glassing… well John and Frank did most of the shaping for me, so clearly the glassing was worse for me. The glassing had to be spread out over a few days, because each coast of resin had to cure for several hours.

Slide into John’s (@toob_king) and Frank’s (@fderubes) DM’s if you want to talk details about shaping and glassing… they love that stuff.

This was the first surfboard I ever shaped, and very well might be the last.

πŸ’ͺ
Total cost: $201.08

So what do you think… do you still want to make your own surfboard?

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It happened again πŸ€¦β€β™‚οΈ

The dreaded black ring around my neck after surfing.

It seems to happen to all of my wetsuits after 2 or 3 years. The neck of the wetsuit starts to “melt” onto my neck. The latest victim is my 3/2 Xcel Drylock.

It feels gross, and I have to scrub it off with soap and paper towel after every surf.

But hey, I can’t just ditch a $500 wetsuit, so I decided to get crafty.

Aquaseal Neoprene Wetsuit Cement

$11.95 and two Prime days later, I had the solution: Aquaseal neoprene westuit cement.

This stuff comes out like gooey paint, and dries into a somewhat flexible rubbery coating.

As per the instructions, I did one coat around the entire neck of the wetsuit (the inside part, that comes in contact with my neck)… waited 5 minutes… did another coat and let it dry for 10 minutes ⌚️

Wetsuit Glue on Neck

I worked on half of the neck at a time, because it was too tricky to do the whole neck at once.

After letting it cure overnight just to be safe, I tested it out the next morning.

Success!

Wetsuit Neck Repaired

While it felt a little “crustier” than normal, it still sealed the water out pretty well, and didn’t leave any black marks.

$11.95 to salvage a $500 wetsuit… job well done Stevie πŸ‘

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7TILL8 Wetsuit Falling Apart

“What wetsuit should I try next?”

It’s always hard to decide.

Luckily I won this Hurley Advantage Plus 3/2mm fullsuit from a video contest, so the decision was made for me πŸ˜‰

(If you’re curious, my winning video was Pokemon Go, remember that one?)

It was perfect timing to get this wetsuit, because the water temps were dropping in San Diego, and I was getting chilly! My Xcel 3/2 is a couple years old and letting in some water, and even my 1-year-old 7TILL8 4/3 wetsuit is pretty ragged.

7till8-wetsuit-damage

So I put the Hurley Advantage Plus to the test, to see if this 3/2mm was warmer than my year-old 4/3 from 7TILL8.

FIT: 10/10

How The Wetsuit Fits
LOVE the fit on this wetsuit!

I’m 6’1″, 155lbs, and the Medium Tall size fits me perfectly.

Good length on the ankles and wrists, and it hugs the jewels nicely πŸ€— (Unlike the baggy-ness on my 7TILL8).

Really easy to get on and off. PS… do yourself a favor and cop a changing poncho.

WARMTH: πŸ”₯

I’ve gotta say, I think this 3/2 Hurley Advantage Plus is just as warm as last year’s 4/3 from 7TILL8.

I was surprised!

It’s really easy to move in, and of course it has a key loop pocket in the leg (some wetsuits don’t, for whatever reason)
Ho Stevie! leashes have a key pocket in the ankle cuff, but I prefer to keep my key in my wetsuit.

Key Loop Pocket in Hurley Advantage Plus

BUT WAIT βœ‹

It was all going so well…

But after surfing in this wetsuit for about a month, I noticed that the stitching on one of the knees is starting to unravel.

Hurley Advantage Plus unraveling knee

I’ve contacted Hurley about this, but they haven’t gotten back to me yet.

πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ

Besides that problem, I really like the Advantage Plus.

Oh, and the white stripes on the leg are subtle, yet help your friend on the beach pick you out from the crowd.

I’ll update this post if I hear back from Hurley about the knee stitching.

Who’s on the Hurley bandwagon?

*** UPDATE 2/22/19 ***
So Back in December, I DM’d Hurley on Instagram and Facebook, and they gave me an email address to contact (hurley_store@hurley.com if you need it yourself).

I emailed them December 7th explaining this situation, with a link to my video.

And waited…

Finally, 5 weeks laterΒ (January 15th) I received a response.

After a little back and forth (they needed more pictures, model number, etc) they agreed to replace the wetsuit.

I sent the damaged Advantage Plus back to them (they paid for the return shipping label after I asked them to) and my brand new wetsuit arrived about a week later, with no loose threads this time 😊

Now, did they only give me this treatment because of my Youtube channel and blog? Quite possibly. I always wonder in situations like this.

Either way, I have a fresh wetsuit for spring, so I’m stoked! πŸ€™

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Packing Surfboard for Airplane Travel

Airlines are notorious for damaging surfboards (after you pay loads of money to get them on the plane).

Here’s how to pack your board to prevent damage during airplane travel.

It’s never guaranteed that your surfboard will arrive safely, but this will add a lot of protection.

If you have a surfboard bag designed for airline travel (these are really expensive) then you might not need to take these extra steps. But if you have a lighter weight daybag, you’ll want to stack on some padding.

The good news is that the supplies only cost a few bucks.
All you need is pipe insulation, and masking tape.

Get enough pipe insulation to cover the entire length of your surfboard rails. I bought two 6-foot pieces for this video, but I could have used a bit more.
You can buy this at any home improvement store like Home Depot.

Also pick up some masking tape. Really any kind of tape will work, but if it’s really sticky (like duct tape) then it’s going to leave residue on your surfboard. And you don’t want that.
Painter’s tape is best, as it leaves no residue.

Buy pipe insulation and tape

Remove the fins from your surfboard, and put them in the pocket. You can also remove the wax from your board if you’re worried about it melting inside the bag.

Remove fins and put in bag pocket

Push the pipe insulation onto the rails of your surfboard, and wrap the tape around your board so the insulation doesn’t come off.

Packing Surfboard for Airplane Travel

Load the surfboard into your bag, and you’re ready to go! You can also throw your towels/poncho in there for extra padding.

You’ve done all you can, now just cross your fingers and hope the airline handles your gear nicely 🀞

Click here to buy a surfboard daybag

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Surfboard front traction pad

Front traction pads on surfboards are becoming a lot more popular lately.

A post shared by Dion (@dionagius) on

Guys like Noa Deane and Dion Agius have been using deck pads for a while now, but there’s a swarm of more “average” surfers using them now.

And for good reason.

With a front pad, you eliminate the need for wax on your board.

No waxing it up before every surf session, no worrying about it melting all over your car or off you board when you leave it in the sun.

Just good traction. There for you every day, like the perfect marriage partner. Actually better than a partner, because once the pad is on your board, it requires no maintenance.

Here’s how to install a front traction pad on your surfboard:

Step 1
Remove any wax from your board.
Leave it in the sun so the wax starts to melt, then scrape it off.
Remove any residue with your choice of household cleaner and paper towel.
It is​ very important to have a clean board before you apply the pads, otherwise they will not stick properly!

Remove wax from your surfboard

Clean surfboard with household cleaner

Step 2
Lay the pads on your board, to find the perfect placement.
Stand next to your board, with your normal stance, to determine where to put the pads.
You can mark on your surfboard with a pencil or marker, where you want the pads to go.

Lay out front pads on surfboard

Step 3
Carefully peel the backing off pads, and lay them on the board, one at a time.
Firmly press on the entire area of the pads so they properly adhere to your board.
Wait 24 hours, then go surf!

Apply front traction pads

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Longboard/SUP Center Fin Installation

Installing a center fin in your longboard or SUP is extremely easy and fast. It takes less than a minute, and you don’t even need any tools!

The installation process is the same whether you have a longboard or SUP… I will be using my longboard in this example.

Our longboard fins come with a “no-tool” screw, so you can hand tighten the screw. If you are using a different fin/screw, you might need a screwdriver to tighten the screw. All the other steps in this guide should be the same, no matter what fin/screw/board you are using.

Installing Your Longboard/SUP Fin

1. Lay the screw plate into fin box.
Carefully slide the screw plate into the fin box, and move it towards the front of your board. You can use a pen or screwdriver to move the plate, because your finger probably won’t fit in the box.

Fin screw plate

Moving screw plate

2. Insert fin into box.
The back of your longboard fin has a pin in it. You insert this part into the middle of the fin box, and then slide the fin back (with the front of the fin still lifted).

Inserting lonboard fin

Find your desired position for the fin. Position is all preference… the farther back the fin, the more stable it will be. The farther forward the fin, the more maneuverable it will be.

Once your fin is in position, you can push the front of the fin down into the box. If it fits too tight, you can remove the fin and gently sand the sides of the base.

Sanding longboard fin

3. Tighten the screw.
Line up the screw plate with the end of your fin, so the screw can thread in. You’ll want to use a pen or screwdriver to move the plate around.

Move screw plate

If you have a “no-tool” screw (like our longboard fins come with) you can just hand-tighten the screw.
If you have the classic longboard screw, you’ll need a screwdriver to tighten it.

Hand tighten longboard fin screw

Click here to buy our Longboard Fin

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7till8 Wetsuit Review

Surfing wetsuits can be expensive.

Earlier this year I reviewed my O’Neill Psychofreak, Xcel Drylock, and Need Essentials fullsuit:

The first two suits cost around $500. The Need Essentials is around $200, but I didn’t like the fact that it doesn’t have a key loop. What am I just supposed to hide my key somewhere while I surf?!

So this fall/winter I got a wetsuit from a new company 7till8, and I put it to the test:

I’ve been wearing this suit almost every day for a few weeks now, and I like it!

It’s warm (I got the 4/3 version), easy to get in and out of (even with the front-zip), AND it has the key loop!
(I could just use the key pocket in my leash, but I prefer to keep it in my wetsuit)

Key Loop in the neck

No rips or seams/threads coming undone in the short time I’ve had it, and hopefully it stays that way.

My only complaint is about the sizing.
I got size MT (I’m 6’1″, 165lbs) and my other MT wetsuits fit me great. This one was maybe a tiny bit short around the ankles, and pretty baggy in my “junk area”.
Not a huge deal though, as I mainly noticed it when walking up and down my stairs, not when I was actually surfing.

A little loose...

Overall I’m super stoked on the suit, and would recommend to anyone! (Actually my neighbor bought one just a few days after he saw me with mine)

7till8 Wetsuit Box

For $225 you get a nice warm wetsuit delivered to your door. Click here to check out the wetsuit that I got.

Oh, and 7till8 are great people with excellent customer support, so that’s always nice πŸ™‚

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2016 Hurley Pro at Trestles

This footage is from September 10th at the Hurley Pro.

Filmed some freesurf action before the heats started, and then watched Jordy Smith and Kelly Slater tear it up!

Very cool to see the freesurf stuff, pretty much every wave had someone flying on it.

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Pokemon Go Surfing

We thought we would hop on the Pokemon Go bandwagon, so we made this video.

I’ve never actually played the game, but after watching Casey Neistat’s video, I had a good idea of what to make.

My buddy Ian came down for the weekend, and we filmed pretty much all day Saturday, and Ian edited all day Sunday.

Here’s the finished product:

And a little glimpse behind the scenes:

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Win a Surf Poncho