We're a team of two. See what we've been up to. Great to see you here.
Friday, December 30, 2005
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
I wish I had the time to tackle this subject properly. It is much bigger then Clark Foam closing down. Clark was only one word in the whole phrase that is the "writing on the wall".
Here are some loose thoughts to consider....
Contrary to those promoting the death of pu/pe on this forum. Pu/pe will be around for awhile.
Manufacturing, like making blanks, is stupid to still be doing in the USA.
Manufacturing, like making surfboards, is stupid to be still doing in the USA.
The work force capable of the hand skills required doesn't exist in the USA anymore. Neither does the work ethic. Neither does the desire to do this kind of work. No glass shops exist that aren't struggling to find enough qualified employees. And young men with talent aren't desiring to become true surfboard craftsmen. They want to be surf celebrities, they don't actually want to take the time to gain the skills and earn the right to celebrity via their exceptional craftsmanship.
People that are interested in making surfboards want to do so much more for reasons of self esteem and ego then they really want to do it for money. They want to be seen as cool surfboard maker dudes, they just don't want to get their hands dirty actually doing the work!
Surfboards are now a matured product.
In other words.... the worst molded board exceeds the needs of 90% of those looking to consume them. Once a product reaches this state, the remaining "real" makers of "real" products still made in traditional ways must be able to compete by making or marketing their product in a way that radically exceeds the "perception of value" currently retained by the molded and mass marketed products. If the traditional craftsmen cannot achieve this he will die. And it is VERY difficult to do on any scale that will matter.
Since the molded, mass marketed surfboards will easily appeal to 90% of those looking for a surfboard the remaining consumers left available for traditional craftsmen to sell to as customers will radically shrink. These customers will not only be small in numbers but will be highly eccentric, enthusiasts that are very difficult to please and survive on economically. Additionally, they will be very knowledgeable and capable of finding deals from all the desperate surfboard craftsmen that are trying to hold on to their livelihoods and lifestyles. Because of this, "traditional craftsman" making surfboards by hand in the USA will be hovering on the edge of economic chaos. Too big and they won't be able to compete with mass market boards with top pros names on them. Too little and they won't be able to compete on the unleveled playing field created by the quasi commercial backyarders.
Shipping costs and economies of scale will continue to enhance offshore production, lowering costs and making consumer direct sales possible.
Boards will eventually be available direct to the consumer from the factories in China. These boards will be state of the art Top Pro models endorsed by those pros and marketed through the manufacturers or agents (like Randy French) on their behalf.
Shapers will not get a piece of this. Famous surfers and manufacturers will bypass the Shaper/Designers. There will be no value in paying a famous Shaper a royalty when you can knock off his design and put a famous pro surfers name on the board and only pay a single cheap royalty. Cheap you say!! Of course, pros will scramble over one another to whore themselves out to the highest bidder. When the manufacturer spends tons of money on ads in Surfer Magazine he can create the perception of value for any "pro". He will create his own heroes with ads and pay a paltry royalty per board for the "media pros" name. Eventually, even the world champion will have to settle for a cheap royalty deal. Just like shapers are starting to settle for now from Surf Tech. Heck, even Clark figured this one out and never had to pay a royalty for all the intellectual property he got from shapers via their blank plugs rockers etc.
Surf magazines will soon be inundated by mail order advertisers selling all manner of surf equipment at greatly reduced prices directly to consumers via mail order and Internet sales. Surf magazines won't be able to resist these advertisers money and they will whore themselves out scrambling over each other to "secure" these advertising accounts.
Even though everyone knows that the existence and success of mail order surf companies will be highly destructive to the traditional model of brick and mortar retailing that we have known for the last 40 years, suppliers will whore themselves out and crawl all over one another to get their products sold through the high volume mail order, direct distribution channel.
The amount of money that will move through this new channel will bypass all those who traditionally got a piece of the pie and consciously or not spread it around in their "local scene" where it dramatically drove the cool factor associated with the surfing lifestyle.
Surfing will loose a big chunk of its esoteric flair and cool factor. People won't find surfing necessary to their self esteem and the surfing industry as we know it will implode. I should note here that this is one of Gordon Clarks big fears all along. Once the "pixie dust" magic of being a surfer, surfboard maker, etc is gone, so will be the desire for the masses to participate. Some may see this as a very good thing......and I tend to agree with them!
Contests, local team riders, bro deals, surf heroes, surf scene, new surfwear companies, advertising in magazines, etc, etc are all things that will take a huge economic hit. It will vastly change the economic and hollywood like landscape that has energized surfing for so long.
As fast as any "new" materials, construction techniques or methods are discovered anywhere in the world, they will quickly gravitate to China or elsewhere where the economics of manufacturing is superior. No country will be able to retain exclusive rights to any material or mfg. process. Individuals may retain these rights, but they will seek the cheapest location to manufacture them and deliver them to a world market.
Styrofoam and Epoxy boards as often promoted on this forum won't be much more than a small blip on the radar screen as the whole industry transfers offshore in mass. The few remaining hand made custom surfboards made in the USA will be an eclectic mix of various materials and techniques as craftsmen struggle to define themselves and compete against the offshore boards that will be quickly made the same way out of the same materials
Shaping machines from China will produce superior results to any current machines and will sell for less then $20k WHAT! You don't think those Chinese students aren't learning anything at Stanford and MIT?? You think they can't seen the potential to sell cheap machines to all those new shapers that don't know how to use a planer, but can use a vector drawing program?
If enough of a "non-molded" surfboard market survives it will be extremely competitive. Too competitive for most to make a living at and the lack of craftsmen will require shaping machines. Maybe ones that will be able to sand the boards too!
Molded board prices will drop below $300.00 retail. Some will be as cheap as $125.00, and will be sold at Foodland on the North Shore!
Traditional hand crafted surfboards won't be able to compete. Some will survive but so few that it will be inconsequential. Consider guitars, bicycles, dirt motorcycles, tailors, cobblers, bakers, sign painters, etc, etc.
Giant Bicycles used to be the OEM manufacturer for Schwinn Bicycles in Taiwan. For decades, Schwinn was the biggest name in US bicycles of all time. Giant was an unknown factory in a third world hell hole.
Now Giant is among the Top 3 Bicycle brands in the USA and Schwinn after going bankrupt several times is sold in WalMart! Wake up and smell the coffee boys! Those guys know what they are doing and we are all only stepping stones on their way to economic success. Grab what you can while it is within grasp....
Hopefully that is enough to chew on for awhile!! Ha!!
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Cantillon Kriek Lambic -17/20 (think cherry + sour)
Troegs Mad Elf- 14/20
Left Hand Christmas Ale- 16/20
Delirium Noel- 16/20
Yards Saison- 16/20
Southern Tier Old Man Winter Ale- 16.5/20
Troegs Dream Weaver- 16/20
Compare some of my ratings with www.ratebeer.com and www.beeradvocate.com
Pronunciation guide to the Belgian ales: http://www.belgianstyle.com/mmguide/pronounce/speak.html
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Chimay Blue- 15/20
Kwak Pauwel- 14.5/20
St. Bernardus Tripel- 14/20
Troubadour Blonde- 14/20
Maredsous "8"- 14.5/20
Ultra Blonde- 14.5/20
Rodenbach Grand Cru- 18/20
Allegash White- 14/20
Magic Hat No. 9- 15/20
Flying Fish Summer Farmhouse Ale- 14/20
Unibroue Ephemere- 18/20
Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier- 16.5/20
Victory Braumeister Harvest Pils- 13.5/20
Smuttynose IPA- 14/20
Troegs Rugged Trail Nut Brown Ale- 13/20
Sly Fox Frech Greek Helles- 14/20
Brooklyn Lager- 17.9/20
Yards ESA- 16.5/20
Fullers ESB- 16.5/20
Dominion Oak Barrel Stout- 15/20
Ayinger Celebrator Dopplebock- 15.5/20
Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale- 14/20
Dogfish 90 minute IPA- 17/20
Dogfish Saison- 16/20
Liefmans Frambozenbier- 17.5/20
Saison Dupont- 14/20
Orval Trappist Ale- 16/20
Heavyweight Lucancy- 15.5/20
Victory Storm King Imperial Stout- 15.5/20
Victory Hop Devil- 14.5/20
Hanssens Oudbeitje- 17.5/20
Brasserie des Rocs Grand Cru- 16.5/20
Stone IPA- 13/30
Stone Double Bastard- 17.5/20
Anchor Steam- 14/20
Youngling Lager- 13/20
Youngling Porter- 13/20
Rogue Chocolate Stout- 14.5/20
Left Hand JuJu Ginger- 9/20
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale- 16.5/20
Sierra Nevada Porter- 15.5./20
Weyerbacher Hop Infusion- 15/20
Weyerbacher "Merry Monks"- 16/20
Yard's ESA- 16/20
Yard's Pale Ale- 17/20
Flying Fish Abbey Dubbel- 16.5/20
Flying Fish Porter- 16/20
Flying Fish Extra Pale Ale- 14.5/20
Flying Fish ESB- 16/20
Unibroue Blanche de Chambly- 16.5/20
Unibroue Maudite- 19/20
Unibroue Tois Pistoles- 19/20
Unibroue La Fin du Monde- 19/20
Boddington's Pub- 16/20
Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale- 15.6/20
Corsendonk- Christmas Ale (seasonal)- 17.5/20
Monk's Flemish Sour Ale- 16.9/20
Rogue Dead Guy Ale- 18/20
Harvistone Engine Oil- 12/20
Rasputin Imperial Stout- 13/20
Lancaster "Four Grain"- 18.5/20
Monday, December 12, 2005
Dear Endodontic Faculty and Residents,
As you are aware, Dr. Lamar Hicks stepped down as Chairman and Program Director of the I. B. Bender Division of Endodontics at Albert Einstein Medical Center (AEMC) on
I am now pleased to announce that Dr. Frederic Barnett has been appointed to this important position effective on
Dr. Barnett received his D.M.D. degree from the
Dr. Barnett is well known and highly regarded in the endodontic specialty. He is a member of many professional organizations, serves on several journal editorial boards and is President of the The Louis I. Grossman Study Club,
Dr. Barnett has been a member of our voluntary medical staff and a part-time faculty member for almost a decade. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics and served as a Program Director at the University of Pennsylvania twenty years ago prior to entering private practice. He has a well-established and respected professional reputation. We at Einstein are very fortunate to have Dr. Barnett with us because he is superbly qualified, knows AEMC and has prior program management experience.
Please join with me in welcoming Dr. Frederic Barnett and wish him success in continuing the excellent AEMC endodontic educational program in the tradition of and previously guided by Drs. I. B. Bender, Samuel Seltzer, Seymour Oliet, Louis Rossman and M. Lamar Hicks.
Alan J. Borislow, D.D.S.
The Maxwell S. Fogel Department of Dental Medicine
Sunday, December 11, 2005
Saturday, December 10, 2005
The sudden dearth of readily available foam has incited many conspiracy theories. I always welcome creative thinking, no matter how stupid it is. Hahaha.
On a lighter, crisper, and maltier note, check out the fine creations at Unibroue. Those damn French-Canadians are doing something right. Bubblegum nose. Smooth and lightly refreshing to the palate.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
The bomb was dropped.
Read about Black Monday, December 5, 2005.
More related industry discussion.
Life will be messed up for many. Frustration is imminent. The soul of surfing has been ripped out. Generations upon generations of surfing's manufacturing legacy was destroyed in one day. Now, it's like Mad Max in Thunderdome: iIt's pure animalistic capitalism: supply and demand.
Happy Holidays to everyone.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
A weird day in Santa Cruz: September 2004 and it's 90+ outside. The point has shoulder high set waves with 4 guys out, including Bob Pearson. We rented a BIC 9'0 and an 8'6. I was so self-conscious about riding a rental, especially out at Pleasures, it was killing me. But Pearson gave Pam props as she was hanging 5 through all the critical sections, and it made me feel better. The surf was pretty good, I'd say.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Monday, November 28, 2005
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Happy Turkey Day to everyone. I spent the day watching some football, tossing back some pale ales, and eating turkey at Jake's house. Dominica made a great turkey and an apple dessert cake.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
George Benson-From Now on
Grover Washington- E Preciso Perdoar
Stan Getz- A Handful of Stars
Miles Davis- Blue in Green
Stan Getz- One Note Samba
John Coltrane- Lazy Bird
Jimmy Smith & Wes Montgomery- OGD (The Road Song)
John Scofield- A Go Go
Jimi Tenor- Theme Sax
Tommy Guerrero- B.W.'s Blues
Tortoise- It's All Around You.
Ramsey Lewis- Do What You Wanna
Gotan Project Meets Chet Baker- Round About Midnight.
Monday, November 21, 2005
The times I spent shortboarding in CA were usually at punchy LA beachbreaks- places like Venice, Staircase, County Line, Drainpipes/Zuma, and the South Bay. it's really hard to ride small boards at the crowded spots on average days, since CA is like 2 out of 3 longboarders. Hey, there's nothing wrong with that. Ride everything. A good Indian can shoot any size arrow, right? Tim Gifford (MIA), Chris Cruz, and I used to scope out the northern limits of L.A. County for surf. Sometimes we scored. Most times, Tim would say, "San Diego is much better. So much better."
Sunday, November 20, 2005
When Pam moved out of her place on Walgrove Ave., she held a garage sale on a Saturday. The fortunate few who passed by on foot or in car really scored on some deals on all kinds of sweet stuff.
Among the treasures was this Cartel lowrider bicycle that she had custom made from San Diego. These 3 nice fellows paid $200 bills and found themselves the proud new owner of a very, very, very small bike.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
I've been beat down pretty bad by some kind of third world country sickness. I'm not sure how to feel, other than this bug I have is screwing with my sleep, work, and exercise times. I can't function. I have been watching old episodes of "Curb Your Enthusiasm." But at the end, despite the laughs and chuckles, I'm still frickin' sick.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Darren took me to the Lakers-76ers game at the Wachovia Center for my birthday. He was fascinated by the gladiatorial match up between Kobe and Iverson. We almost got arrested for trying to buy tickets off some shady scalper, so Darren decided to pay full price at the box office: $115 per ticket. Seats were 17 rows up, at half court. It was a great game, but far from a sports classic. AI dropped 30+ on the Lakers so fast you didn't even notice. Kobe dropped 30+ turnovers on his own team. I could feel myself cursing under my breath with each careless mistake. The poor guy couldn't make a gimme layup. To add more insult, the crowd hissed every time he came in and out of the game, and treated him like a fallen hero, even though there are dozens of NBA players who would make Kobe look like a saint. Sadly, he is considered a modern sports villain in the public's eye.
It's really amazing how different venues use different strategies to encourage crowd participation and keep them interested. The 76ers employ stupid movie clips, an overweight all-male dance troupe used to stimulate laughs from audience pity, an ice cream eating contest between six years olds, and various other tactics that just don't have too much class. Staples Center would never stoop so low.
Oh yeah, Bud Light cans go for $6.50 at Wachovia Center, the same price as a really good bottle of imported Belgian beer at Monks.
My little brother Darren has more friends than anybody I know. One of them, Vicky, was hosting a dinner party in D.C., so we treked down there via Amtrak. Score! Between the 2 of us, we had 20 or so meatballs. The steak and random cab sauv from Chile was pretty good, too.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Casino Pier is a small pier in New Jersey. Contrary to what some people (who are not from the area) think, it is not in Atlantic City. This tiny pier collects a funky sand bottom that sets the stage for some pretty fun bowly peaks. Surfer Mag recently ran a 2 page spread (see below) of the pier in the Jack Johnson/Chris Malloy issue.
I was thinking to myself, while surfing here, that this place is better than any beach break in the South Bay. El Porto and Hermosa may break 365 days a year, but the quality of this wave is pretty good. But the water sure is cold. In Jersey, booties aren't a faux pas. It's cold outside, so the old wetsuit in the car while driving to and from the break is allowed here, and not laughed upon.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
What is so special about the surf road trip? Is it chasing swells, or arriving at the beach before they come? Surfable waves are elusive. They come and go like emotions, and they have a profound effect on us. Strange how that works.
New Zealand offers some California point wave perfection minus 250,000 surftech longboards and spring suit booty men, and L.A. pretense. Every drive is scenic. The landscape is gorgeous: a throwback to pre-industrialization and untended American blight. The surfers are friendly in NZ. They are cordial and efficient. They don't care about image, and they kill it out in the surf. We had the fortune of stumbling onto Manu Bay on the last 2 days of our trip. Surf was initially double overhead on the sets and firing off the point. After a fun evening of surf, we returned the next day, only to find a local club surf contest. The surf was still firing, and we were saddened we would have to go elsewhere. But low and behold, The Pointriders Surf Club invited us to participate in their contest, and by that night, we had more friends than we could count. We left the next morning, feeling quite satisfied. Where else in the world can you find a surf club that is sponsored by Lion Red Beer? That's me, at the contest's end, toasting a Lion Red to Ray, the winner of the men's mal division.
Monday, November 07, 2005
Yes, this is the world's smallest, crappiest photo, taken with the world's biggest cell phone, the Treo 600.
As I came out of my Saturday Bowl's session last week, I was surprised to see a Japanese surfer carrying an old board of mine. This little green monster is a Tyler 6'0" fish I had shaped for me back in the last century. I put it on consignment because the army green took too much heat from the sun. Also, the board has managed to send me to the hospital a couple times. I pointed out to this gentleman that my name was written quite large in posca pen under the Tyler logo, something he never noticed.
Well, my little friend, it was nice to see you- in good hands.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Yes, this blog is getting more poetic and less photographic. I apologize.
Being in Honolulu last week was quite frustrating, because I had to drive. My faithful truck that I bought on the Lemon Lot at Hickam AFB was sputtering and not wanting to work for me. We had been going steady for about 2 1/2 years with no real problems. But I guess she had attachment issues with me being away for so long, and since nobody had given her attention in 4+ months, let alone tried to turn the key in her ignition, refusing to start was her way of telling me how much she resented me for jilting her. I suppose the the crappy clutch pedal was another hidden message she was sending me. I'm not sure if we're going to work out in the long run, but I tried to smooth things out between us for the week I was there. She's so damn emotional, I tell you.
Since my move out here to the East Coast, I have put on a new hat. It's my non-driving hat. I'm single again! I can't tell you how liberating it is to be without a vehicular girlfriend for once! This, does, however, have a few consequences.
First, it requires that I use public transportation. Do I mind? Not really, it's good for me. I'm no better than the American sitting next to me that doesn't drive a car, or own a car for that matter. The Philadelphia subway is a rat and piss-infected labrynthe, but it is fast, semi-efficient, and somewhat edgy, since the people that ride the Broad Street Line are so damn scary. It makes me feel dangerous, and that's a cool part of city living.
Second, I have to mooch rides off people when I travel long distance. This can be somewhat embarassing to put yourself at someone's mercy, but I do offer gas money as a substitution for volunteering to drive (this is something I don't care to do). So I have many people to thank. Among them include Clay (surf and beer), Marc (surf and beer), Cary, Sharon (interstate transportation), and Cathy (to be taken advantage of in the future. You just don't know it yet). You guys are the best.
In any case, I don't waste my time doing errands in cars, nor do I sweat traffic anymore. There's no more 8:00am H-1 or 405 freeway stoppage.
In fact, a good bulk of my finances are done online, as is a good deal of my shopping (think amazon.com). Do you think I'd have time for this silly blog if I had a car? Heck no. Less time in car=more time for blogging.