Feb 24, 2016

From Witzig/Greenough/Electric Sunshine ...

This is an interesting shot from the early 70's...probably 1971. The footage is from the Witzig film "Animals," and was posted just the other day on Electric Sunshine.

Greenough is seen here riding Lennox on a "Stripes Down" Hodgman mat. The ride is in slow motion, which gives us some nice detail as to his constantly changing riding technique.

The Hodgmans from this era were long, narrow, and very thick. They had a solid, "potent" feel in larger waves, and served as the basis for the 4GF Standard model...which was developed in the mid 80's and still going strong today. Hodgmans were also ridden in Crystal Voyager (9:23, 34:49 and 36:50.)

Feb 23, 2016

From Bretto ...

Hi Paul,

This is from the Cronulla Body Board Museum...



Feb 17, 2016

Awesome Mat Hack From Greg ...


FYI at some of my local breaks in south o.c. the guards would try to not let me ride my fatty because they thought it was a raft of some sort. Until I showed them that you personally made it for me with the born on date and sig.

Thanks, Greg

Feb 15, 2016

From Aaron ...

Nice play on words!


Feb 14, 2016

From Goomba271 ...

Hi Paul -

Seen this one?  Thought of you shaping when I saw it on Craigslist.  HAHA


Feb 13, 2016

From Mister Dirk ...

The palm trees along Refugio Beach are succumbing to the high tides. This one fell overnight. Campers reported that it was leaning but still rooted last night at 10:00. Surf has been really good, and combined with high tides, the coast is getting scoured away faster than ever.

These trees are nearly 100 years old, and they survived weather events like the massive swell of 1969.

I went up there before dawn this morning, and I was the 2nd person in the water. Wave conditions were excellent -- glassy, fairly big, and very consistent. After I rode 3 fun ones, I pushed deeper into the break zone, not too far off the outer rocks.

I had just pulled myself into a resting position on my surf mat to recover my breath when I got a clear view of a shark's dorsal fin about 30 feet outside of me, trolling steadily down the coast. Judging by the shape, the ragged trailing edge, and the size, I'm guessing it was a 6-9' great white. I didn't feel anything but ice cold surprise, no fear. However, without hesitation I also turned and bolted for the rocks, about 70 feet away. I looked back over my shoulder and the shark maintained the same cruising speed but swung a turn and came directly at me. Again, no fear, but I pondered a series of outcomes and responses, all bad. More sprinting and another look over my shoulder, but there was no shark to be seen. I was in the foamy break zone by then, but still in pretty deep water.

The other surfer was coming back out within earshot, so I yelled that I spotted a shark. In a few more seconds I was standing in waist deep water, and the other guy and I stood and watched for a while. No more sightings. By then surfers were piling into the water in droves, and I mentioned it to several, but nobody even paused. I went back out but then the fear set in and I was too sketched to surf properly. I kept scanning everywhere, and when underwater kelp bumped me I flinched hard. So I gave up.

A couple of hours later my friend Paul arrived, the crowds had peaked and waned, and the waves were going off. We both went out for a long productive session together -- testing two versions of a new mat design -- and I re-calibrated myself back to normal.

One thing that comes to mind, in the cool logic that follows this kind of event, was something that George G has touted for years... if you see a shark, swim towards it in a calm, deliberate manner. The message is that you aren't afraid. He's still around after over 60 years in the water, so there must be something to it...but I'm not going to be the one to try it!

Feb 9, 2016

Aloha From Molokai ...

Hi Gloria and Paul,

Howzit? My passport ran out of pages so I took it as a sign to visit the US. 
Three months now growing lettuce on a small farm in Hawaii. Riding the free bus to the beach with 4GF Mini, pod3 flippers and bare feet. Having way more fun matting than ever! The Mini has turned out to be the one. Plus pod3s are comfortable fun flippers (tie your ankle tethers close to the heel straps). Having just a tiny mat, good flippers and new trunks (thanks Mom) is so sweet... 
Yes it's super fun, and also somewhat frustrating, being super minimalist with wonderful experiences but limited capabilities. I've got the least stuff and money of anyone I know, and tend to fall into a variety of situations that could not happen any other way. 
Am in a very poor part of the state, the most "underprivileged", which is full of nice talented people and warm aloha. Getting slim again due to being broke and workstaying at a place with not much to eat in winter season. Really enjoying hitchhiking and riding the local bus. Surf has been giant with one or two mattable days between back-to-back 30'+ swells. The Mini Max is super fun in Hawaiian waves and handles some fairly intimidating stuff. This is a good place to chill out while the next opportunity marinates.
Hoping all is well.

Mahalo and Aloha

Mat Max

Feb 2, 2016

From Steiny ...

Joni Sternbach is documenting surf communities throughout the world using a process as old as photography itself. Wet plate tintypes. Like Matthew Brady's portraits of Lincoln. 

Her work can be seen here.  Surf culture photography here.

-- Steiny

This is from Joni's site...

Joni Sternbach is a native New Yorker. She holds a BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts and an MA from New York University/International Center of Photography.

Sternbach uses both large format film and early photographic processes to create contemporary landscapes and portraits. Her work centers on our relationship with water, contrasting some of the most desolate deserts in the American West to iconic surf beaches around the world.

"Photographer Joni Sternbach gets a lot of attention when she takes her wet-plate collodion equipment, used for the intricate photo process made famous during the U.S. Civil War, to beaches around the world. Besides the large cameras, pre-mixed chemicals and jugs of water, a dark box is required to create her tintype photos. “Once you go to a small beach with a big outfit you are very noticeable,” the native New Yorker says. Sunbathers, surfers and swimmers all wonder what’s inside, often asking her whether it’s a puppet show or cappuccino maker. “The size of the camera and the immediacy of the wet-plate collodion is what really draws people into this project,” Joni says. 'That is why the process is so important to me.' "

More from Joni:

"Many years ago I bought a handmade book with an antique tintype of a woman embedded into the cover. I intended to turn the book into a photo album of my pictures or maybe even my father’s. However, as I assessed the pictures in my archive and my fathers, I found none that I deemed worthy of this book with a beautiful cover. It remains blank to this day. The tintype on the cover beguiled me with the importance and meaning of a portrait. I did not know when I discovered this book, that I would one day be making tintypes myself.

The art and craft of making wet-plate collodion, tintypes is elaborate and dirty work. The silver nitrate used to sensitize the plates can oxidize on your skin and form a dark brown stain. The process is a finicky one that necessitates patience, experience and a touch of luck to make a good plate. It requires a portable darkbox or tent to sensitize and develop your plates in while on location. Your plates are the same size as the back of your camera, so if you want large plates, you must have a large camera.
The tin is coated with collodion (a mixture of gun cotton, alcohol and ether) and poured by hand on to your plate. It’s then sensitized in a bath of silver nitrate for several minutes. Once that’s done it’s placed into the back of the camera and it’s ready for exposure. Exposure times are guesstimated, and because the process is a wet one, the speed of the medium is very slow. My exposures range from ½ second to minutes, depending on subject matter, lens and light.

The next step is development, which is done in the dark box. Once developed and rinsed, the plate is taken out of the dark box and into the daylight where it’s fixed. This is the moment of excitement and discovery. As the plate is submerged into the fixer bath it transforms right in front of your eyes. It goes from looking like a bluish negative to becoming a positive image on blackened metal…in essence, a tintype.

This dark art, the craft of collodion is like old-fashioned magic. There are potions and elixirs that stain your fingers and have a strong smell. There is a dark box with a cloth of mystery and enchantment. There is a feeling of anticipation and exhilaration as each plate emerges from the fixer. The sense of collaboration is palpable, as my subjects and I both wait for the image to clear, to see if we each held up our end and made a good picture."

Abraham Lincoln. Photo: Mathew Brady

Jonathan Steinberg. Photo: Joni Sternbach