Today starts the Designing a Board series with Kirk McGinty from L41 Surfcraft. Part 1, today’s installment, is our opening conversation about design and the current L41 models. Over the next week Kirk will be sending me some ideas hitting my target dimensions, which I’ll be sharing with you all, and then we’ll decide and build one of the boards. It will be my board for our upcoming California trip, I’ll journal on the ride and then Kirk will come back on the show and we’ll discuss the process and performance.
Kirk isn’t your normal shaper. He’s an industrial designer at Google. He spends his days designing and building state of the art technology and in his free time he designs and builds surfboards. He’s just the guy I’d like helping solve for the future of paddle surfing.
We discuss a few different models of his boards on the show. Here are a few so you have an idea of what we’re talking about:
The Original SIMSUP
The TV Dinner
In our first discussion we’ve agreed that we don’t want to shape a board similar to what I normally ride. This is an experiment in performance for me, and Kirk thinks it’s going to blow my mind to surf a sub 7 foot board.
I’m leaning towards the Popdart or the TV Dinner, as I still do want some aspects of performance. I’ve ridden enough Simmons surfboards to have a general understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, what I don’t know is how the paddle will change that.
For dimensions, I’m going to opt for a bit more foam than normal. There are a few reasons.
1. I’m going to be using the board for the first month in California. I haven’t put on a wetsuit in 10 years, but if I remember correctly they’ll add a few pounds.
2. We have a lot of small, clean, mellow days where I live, and I’d like a cruisy board for those conditions.
I want to go as short as possible. If we can come in at 6.8 or around there I’d be stoked. Width will likely be 27-28. I’ve been on the trend of narrower is better, but I had some magic sessions on my Starboard Airborn, my first small SUP, and that was 28.5.
Check back in a few days to see the first designs that Kirk’s come up with.
Meet Jason. Jason is software developer and web marketer from Santa Monica. He started kite surfing in 2007 and in 2011 found paddle surfing. About a year ago he stumbled across paddlewoo, listening to the podcast and reading the journal he decided that for his 40th birthday he’d like to come train at Blue Zone in Costa Rica.
Jason is an intermediate paddle surfer with a high degree of comfort in the ocean. He catches a ton of waves, gets down the line easily and is working on more advanced turns. He’s a great representative for the passionate paddle surfer who has more love than time, but is driven to progress.
His goal for the trip – to progress “a few years of California surfing in a week.” A lofty goal, but one he thinks he achieved.
Jason’s progression on the Backside Slingshot Bottom Turn in 5 days. Notice shoulders, head, paddle, hand position, paddle position and weighting.
I’ve wanted to do a podcast with a guest for a while now, and Jason proved to be the right person. His approach to learning and ability to articulate what he’s feeling will resonate with a lot of you reading. I highly recommend that you listen to the whole podcast and I believe it to be the most valuable I’ve recorded for the intermediate surfer who listens for tips to improve.
There is also value for the industry guys that listen as Jason is your ideal customer. In fact we are now in a discussion about what board is next in Jason’s race down in volume, and he’s ordering a 27 North Paddle, and getting the 20% paddlewoo discount. You can too.
Here’s some notes about the show:
We discuss the book Peak, by Anders Ericsson, at great length. I might make this mandatory reading for anyone coming down to train. Jason read it on the trip and we spent mornings over bulletproof coffee discussing its application in paddle surfing. Peak is about the journey to mastery though deliberate practice. It’s why I started the progression journal – to stay focused on deliberate practice in my surfing, and it’s paying massive dividends.
Seated Pop-up – Jason credits learning the seated pop-up as a massive energy saver. We surf a lot and you want to save your energy for surfing, not just paddling around waiting for waves, but if you’re not efficient in transition between sitting and standing you’ll miss waves and burn energy.
Stroke Technique and Paddle Length – Jason brought his own paddle down. Probably a 95 sq. in. blade, and cut at 4 inches over height. He used it once then dropped down to forehead height, 85 sq. in. blade, and never went back. On the show he discusses the paddle, changing his stoke and the net affect on wave count and fatigue.
Jason tells a story about surfing in crowds and not realizing the impact he was having riding a bigger board. He was on a voluminous 8.6 and taking off way out the back, thinking no one else could catch the waves. Then, after dropping down to the Rawson 7.10 he had to take off inside, where the longboarders sat, and other paddle surfers were taking off farther out on waves he wanted. He realized that until he dropped down in size he was taking waves that others could have caught and didn’t realize it. It changed his mindset about surfing in crowds. Here’s a piece I wrote with my strategies for surfing in lineups.
If you liked this post, you’ll love coming down to train in Costa Rica with Oscar and I. Inquire below for fall/winter dates.
Tyler Callaway dropped some knowledge about fins on Episode 34 of the Podcast. Tyler is a return guest, so if you’d like to, know his story, listen to this.
This is a video episode, and should be watched as a video, especially the first 20 minutes when Tyler is using fins to explain different principles. I’ve also produced an audio show, but you’ll miss a bit.
Enjoy this technical discussion of fins in SUP paddle boards. Some key points from the show –
Wider tails generally work better as quads
Quads are faster, but they draw wider lines
Thrusters excel in turns past 90 degrees, surf better vertically, but take more to get going
If you want to turn harder go bigger front fins and smaller back fin/s
More rake will draw out turn, less rake will feel faster and turn harder, but slide out first
Tyler advocates trying different sets of fins in your board before settling, you never know what set will flow with the board
FCS2 center box fin is a game-changer, adjust placement during a surf
In this episode of the Paddlewoo Podcast we Erik circles up with Fernando Stalla of Mexico. Fernando is an accomplished paddle surfer and racer, he competes on the World Tour and International ISA competitions representing Mexico and Sayulita.
On the show Fernando discusses his progression through boards, the tenacity he has for training and why the most motivating factor for him is when friends, family and sponsors put their belief in him.
To help team Mexico get to Fiji for the 2016 ISA Worlds go to their Go Fund Me Page Here.
If you’re looking to up your paddle surfing game in a beautiful location, check out Blue Zone SUP! Come down and train with Erik and Oscar in paradise!
I’ve got endless ammunition to destroy guys with excitement – Kai Lenny
So lives Kai Lenny. In a state of passion and excitement. He’s a SUP surf world champ, a SUP race world champ, a kitesurfer, and one of the best big wave surfers on the planet. He has transcended surfing into the mainstream world with sponsors like TAG Heuer, Red Bull and Nike. And his instagram page is an inspirational photo essay. But who is the real Kai?
Before I recorded with Kai, I told him I didn’t want to do the normal interview. You can check youtube and find 20 interviews with Kai, his story. I asked Kai if he’d have a deeper conversation about what motivates him, the pressures of global exposure, and living with debilitating passion (joke) — he was excited to participate.
I enjoyed getting to know Kai and think you will too. Spend an hour and get to know the future of surfing, Kai Lenny. (more…)
Episode 31 of the Paddlewoo Podcast features the Editor and Jefe of SUP the Mag, Will Taylor. Will is a lifelong surfer, growing up on the Oregon coast, and has moved into the standup world in the last few years. He’s been with the mag for 3 years and took over command this year. (more…)