Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Winter has arrived...

Winter has arrived, and with it chilly blustery conditions. Everything shifted around favorably last week producing a few days of nice clean waves. Last Thursday was really fun; the pics below are from Friday when the waves were dropping but still fun enough. The wind has shifted around from the north yet again, and we are back to flatness. I'm hoping for a few more decent days before the new year and my annual trip to Hawaii...but with it being solidly below zero I don't mind the lack of surf at the moment.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

November's Last Blast

After a fun October, November was pretty inconsistant. During one 11-day spell it was completely flat. Unfortunately, when the winter north winds start blowing across Russia it completely flattens everything out here in eastern Hokkaido...must make for some decent swell in the Aleutians though. We did, however, finish the month with a nice four-day swell. Caught some real gems over that period, and got pounded pretty heavily as well. All in all, a nice last bit of surf before winter arrives.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Fall Swell

After a bit of a lull last week, the waves are back up. Throw the swell together with the warm autumn sun, and this has been a great couple of days of classic Hokkaido fall surf. It's supposed to continue into the weekend as well. I took the day off and surfed two and half hours at Gyokyo, check it out....

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Post Typhoon 19

Typhoon 19 turned out be a non-event up here in Hokkaido. The way it tracked over the main islands meant we didn't get the epic waves we hoped for. It was fun though, especially this morning, with sunny weather and shoulder to head high sets rolling through. Once again, I had an hour and half by myself at Kako this morning, then stopped and snapped a few more pics on the way home in evening. Another beautiful day in Hokkaido...


Monday, October 13, 2014

New longboard

Just in the midst of finishing off a few projects before winter arrives. Below is a longboard deck I just finished. My son came back from Canada a few months back with a plastic penny skateboard, and I just had to put the hardware to better use. So here it is, epoxy tint over pine and mahogany over a 10 ply glue up. Looks much better than the plastic and rides nice and smooth.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Typhoon 19 update

This, undoubtedly, is the most amazing typhoon picture I have ever seen. The eye is 25 miles across. The astronauts who took the picture said they have never seen anything like it. Just incredible...hang in there Japan.

Last one for 2014

Just finished up my last board for 2014. The short, fat and flat single fin (6x23x3.25). As the weather cooled off over the last couple of weeks I had a bit of trouble with curing of the top coat, especially on the deck, with it drying pretty lumpy. I've got to remember that in Hokkaido fiberglassing isn't a good idea in October in an unheated shed. Anyways, it's done and I can't wait to give it a go. The waves should pick up with the approaching typhoon. I'll report back how it went. Here's some pics:

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Typhoon 19 (Vongfong)

The Most Powerful Storm on Earth This Year Is Heading for Japan

Wow, looks like things are about to get pretty wild here in Japan. If the model is correct, Tokyo will get slammed pretty hard, then it will spin back off into the Pacific and skirt past Hokkaido. Should make for an interesting week. Hope everyone stays safe.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Typhoon 18 and USU

Typhoon 18 has wreaked havok in southern Japan, our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone recovering from the devastation.

As fall typhoons often do, Typhoon 18 spun off towards Alaska last night, leaving Hokkaido with only sunny skies and groundswell. As I pulled up to Usu Point this morning and watched the waves pour into the bay, John Severson's 1960 caption from a photo of Hammonds rung like a bell:

"In this crowded world, the surfer can still seek and find the perfect day, the perfect wave, and be alone with the surf and his thoughts."


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Update: glassing

A great week of waves this week, and it looks like it's picking back up again with Typhoon 18. Nothing finer than surfing in Hokkaido in the fall.
I got the 6' Chop Tail glassed, now I just need to install the vent and leash plug, sand and clearcoat it, and I'm good as golden (Molson Golden...sorry I couldn't resist). Can't wait to try this little board out. Here's some pics from today:
Bottom (pika pika ne)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Time to glass, and the waves are arriving

Summer's done, but, thankfully, that means the good wave season is here. Today there was a bit of juice, hopefully it'll be around for a few days.

Also got the 6' chop tail ready to glass. I need to hop on it this week while we still have the warm weather. I think I'll just put a single fin box in for now, and later add a set of FCS quad plugs if I want to go in that direction. I'll put up some more pics in a week or so when it's glassed.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

More summer pics

Just sorting through my memory card of pics I took over the summer. Here's a few shots that catch the mood of the summer at Kako.

Monday, September 22, 2014

End of summer, one more board

The end of summer has arrived and fall is in the air. As usual, I didn't write on the blog over the summer, just been too busy enjoying myself. Besides trips to Canada and Singapore, I've surfed pretty well every day for the past 2 months. Tons of two session days as well. It hasn't been great wave-wise, but it's been fun enough with a few good days thrown in; can't complain when the water's warm and there's something to ride. Overall, another glorious Hokkaido summer.

I'm working on my last board of the season, trying to get it done and glassed while the air is still warm enough for the resin to cure. It's a six foot fishy outline, but without a deep swallow tail. I'm going to chop the tail and go for a wide squash tail. That way I can run it as a single fin, or set it up as a twin or quad. The 6' Simmons I made works well enough, had a real good time on it this morning, so I'm continuing with the short fat approach, just with a pulled in nose and more curvy outline this time. Here's a pic of where I'm at now. I hope to have it done in the next two weeks.  
Progress on the 6' wide squash
One of the bigger days in August

Noboribetsu Diamond Head

Thursday, July 31, 2014

6' Mini Simmons(esque) done

Finally got the hybrid (wood over EPS) board done, and it's ready to ride. It ended up 6' x 24.5" x 3.25. Unusual all around, way to much volume for most people, but it was put together for the mushy waves we get here on high tide and where nothing else works (besides a real long board)...super long boards don't fit into my car so I though I'd give this a go. It was fun experimenting with the shape, new materials and the resin tint over the paulownia plywood. The bottom is flat, so it won't have the hydrodynamic lift of a concaved hull, but there is plenty of surface area to help it get up on plane. I'll give it a go tomorrow, and report back how it went.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Summer Update

It's been a while since I opened up the old blog....when summer arrives life gets moving pretty quick. I've been out in the water pretty well every day for last six weeks, with a few days off here and there, but basically going at it every day...had a few multiple session days before and after work and must say...it's bloody wonderful. Nothing finer than this, lots of different waves rolling through and beautiful conditions...already in the spring suit as well. Wish it were like this all year.

I've finally almost got the EPS core paulownia mini simmons ready for glassing. The weather's nice and warm now, so it should cure up nicely.
Tomorrow the swell is jumping up to 2 meters again...will update again when we hit the summer flat spells.   

Monday, May 26, 2014

EPS sandwich experiment

Picked up a block of EPS foam at my favorite home improvement center in Sapporo ("Joyful AK", just around the corner from Costco), with the intention of trying to make myself an EPS/wood sandwich board. Most of these types of boards are built with thinner veneers vacuum bagged around the blank, but I don't have that gear, so I'm giving it a go with a low tech approach. I split the blank, put a stringer in it, then shaped the blank into the foil shape. I picked up some 5mm paulownia ply for the top and bottom, and have glued up the bottom sheet. For now, the goal is to get the top and bottom sheets on, clean up the outline, then build up solid paulownia rails, and finally glassing. This is a new process for me, so I have no idea if it'll work out, but it's interesting giving it a go. I throw up more pictures as I proceed...   

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Ska Interlude

I don’t usually do music on my surf blog, but I just ran across this mighty mighty fine ska playlist. For those who are “Ska’d for life”, it’s a real treat:

Monday, May 12, 2014


Here's an entry from last week I failed to post correctly...it's out of order, but shows how the rebuild progressed.

Wow, it's been a while since I wrote on the old blog. Been real real busy, lots of waves over the last month, some really great days. Throw in the the beginning of the semester, and all the other stuff going on, and the schedule fills up pretty quick. I've finally got the rebuild sorted and glassed. Now just some sanding, a clear coat, add the vent, and its good to go. Looking forward to riding this one, should be ready go by next weekend. 
 Had a BBQ down at the beach last week with the Kako boys (a send off for one of the crew heading to Sudan for PKO). We said we'd do a bit of a parking lot clean up, and Chiba-san shows up with this! No messing around with these guys!
Another shot from Mark, I haven't taken any wave shots this last month...too busy surfing, time to dust off the camera.

Finished the rebuild

Finally got the rebuild done. Now instead of sitting in my office, this board is actually in my rotation. It was way more work than building one from scratch, but it feels good to rescue it. I took it out Saturday evening in some fun little beach break peaks and it went well, drawing nice single fin lines, but being a bit slow on the cut backs. Overall, very pleased with it.   

View from the kitchen window. Four of these little guys live in the mountain behind the house. This one is pretty bold, and is always munching the grass in the side yard.

Monday, March 31, 2014

End of March

It's the last day of March, the snow is pretty much gone, the sun is shining, and the waves are up. It finally feels like we made it out of winter. Here's some pics Mark took this morning, really fun, and only two of us out. Hopefully the swell lasts into tomorrow...I'm too tired out to write any more, so I'm off to have a beer and rest up for an April Fool's session..