Wednesday November 27, 2013
A spontaneous excursion is always a great way to refresh the mind and explore. In this case I decided to head north to Big Sur. The swell forecast looked minimal but it doesn't take much to have fun at some of the spots along this pristine yet fickle stretch of coast. A good 4/3 with a hood and booties is the call most of the time, especially this time of year as California ocean temperatures begin to drop. So I packed up the camping gear, 2 boards, 3 sets of True Ames FCS fins and began the mini-journey. After hours of driving from Santa Barbara it begins to look and feel like a foreign land. The air was crisp and has a mixture of evergreens and salty ocean.
The waves in this area can range from sloping beach breaks to barreling rocky reefs, and many of the best waves are hidden from sight. It takes patience and a little bit of luck to have all of elements align for a good surf. This particular time the winds were light and swell was manageable, A bit of a numbing paddle out first blended into a fun session of head high beachbreak...I used a set of Timmy Patterson FCS fins for this session, The waves had plenty of open face and I've found that the TP fins can draw out your turns slightly, especially on cutbacks, giving you a wider range of movement on open faced waves.
The sun sets pretty early in the Fall on this magical span of coastline and after few hours at the beach it was time to keep on heading north to set up camp. There are plenty of camp grounds along the main road but finding one with open sites is a challenge sometimes especially when the weather is good. It' s also common for the campgrounds to not allow camp fires during certain times of year. I was planning on staying warm so I drove up even further to find a great campsite on the river that had plenty of space and allowed fires. time to defrost and setup before dark.
Day 2 led me on a long hike in search of waves. The winds had come up overnight and the surf was on the decline, but I was ready to either surf or just enjoy the hike outside and in nature. As I suspected, when I finally arrived at the beach, it was pretty much flat, and the lineup was dotted with thousands of seagulls basking in the sun. This was their spot, so I explored the beach and cliffside with my camera and sketch book. The sun was beginning to descend as the moon began to rise, it was time to head back to camp and settle in for an early night.
The next morning I woke pre-dawn to pack up and head back home. I wanted to catch the sunrise driving home, something that I haven't seen in Big Sur before. Cool offshore winds blowing down out of the valleys were keeping the surf clean along the way. I knew that there could still be some swell and possibly some good surf. As I headed out of the highlands and down the coast I spotted a peaky beach break with some really nice barrels. The winds were light and the sun was up enough for a paddle out. These waves looked pretty heavy so I switched out fins to a set of Eric Arakwa FCS fins. I knew these fins were going to hold in on the steep faces and have solid bottom turns. This spot was bigger than it looked and really shallow, Perfect for getting shacked. As the deep water canyon just off the coast magnified wave energy creating super powerful surf. A great match for the EA fins on my board. An hour into the session, the winds began to come up and extremely large seals started to swim out for their session. I was out of there and just in time for breakfast.
Just 3 days of adventure along the Big Sur coast was packed full of good times and interesting scenic sights. Until the next trip, I'll let this one marinate in my mind for a while.
We now offer our Hexcore system fins in a new color..."Orange Glow" These orange fins are super bright and when the sun hits them you get the orange glow. Available in FCS fins compatible and Futures fins compatible. These are the highest quality fins using the resin transfer method, which produces maximum drive and tuned flex.
Thursday November 21, 2013
In this short form profile, VitaBrevisFilms interviews Eric Arakawa for the third exploration of our PROFESSIONal series. Shot on location on the North Shore of Oahu, Eric gives a candid account of the people who both inspired and guided him. From the novice fabrication of his first board, to shaping the late Andy Irons last custom job, Eric shares his hope to pass his knowledge on to his young employees and those around him.
Thursday September 12, 2013
Twin Fin + Mini Trailer ~photo by: Lucas Thornton @ Wood Foot Surf Craft~
Originally used as a 5th center fin for quad setups, this mini trailer fin works surprisingly well with a twin fin setup also. My twin fin was riding just as it should, loose, fast and fun… However, I felt that a trailer fin would help the board out in bigger surf, So I just went for a test ride. I tried a normal sized 3.5" center fin at first but the board just rode like a regular thruster. So I tried the mini-trailer in the center FCS tab.
On my first wave I could immediately feel the difference. The board actually accelerated much more than usual and the bottom turn just felt so much more powerful. This added drive projected me to the lip and as I turned I could feel the fin holding in just enough to feel a nice controlled tail drift, similar to a power slide on a skateboard. The board rode out of the turn nicely and down the line with speed to the next section, another controlled slide into a stylish turn.
The mini trailer gave that twin fin just enough added stability and drive to convince me to use it all of the time. I'd probably recommend using it on a twin fin for waves that are in the chest high + range. If you're surfing smaller waves in the 1-2 foot range your' twin fin should work just fine. and If you have a quad setup- it will really stabilize the board in bigger powerful surf.
Thursday August 15, 2013
BONZER MECHANICS The primary purpose of the Bonzer system is to efficiently organize water flow. We have done this by designing fin and bottom systems that work in a synergetic fashion in order to maximize the use of the energy that is created by the water passing through the tail area of the board. When you’re doing a turn, the water travels diagonally across the bottom of your board. The Bonzer side fins have a base totaling 9-3/4” on each side, and a maximum depth of only 2-3/4”. The angle, combined with the shallow depth of the fins, allows the fins to come in and out of the water with little resistance. This makes rail-to-rail transition much easier, which in turn allows you to keep your board on the rail with much less effort.
While turning, the fins on the inside rail are fairly vertical in the water, providing very refined edge control. As the water races across the bottom, the outside fins deflect it down and back through the tail. We have always looked at the water that escapes off the outside rail as unused energy. The combination of the Bonzer concaves and the long base of the side fins redirect far more water through the tail area than other designs. This maximizes the use of the force that is created during turns. The fins are essentially an extension of the concaves and, since water adheres to curved surfaces, there is very little disturbance as the water passes through the fin area. This dramatically reduces drag. Basically, we have tried to create surfboards that you can get more out of with less effort and energy input. It’s all about reducing entropy.
3 fin vs 5 fin The Bonzer 3 and 5 fin systems have very similar performance characteristics. The main difference is that the 5 fin setup is a bit quicker off the top, and is more maneuverable in the hook. This makes it more conducive to a contemporary approach to wave riding. The 3 or 5 fin systems can be used on any model. This will produce a slightly different feel in each, but inevitably, the shape of the board will determine more the way the board rides than the fin set up. For instance; putting the 5 fin setup on a Russ Short Model is not going to turn it into a contemporary shortboard.
Center fin placement The position of the center fin can vary from surfer to surfer. We have included a basic guide within the description of each particular model. This is not etched in stone. Please feel free to experiment. A few general rules are:
1. If you are having trouble finishing out turns and cutbacks, or are not getting up and down the face quickly enough, you should move your fin up approximately 1/8” to 1/4”. 2. If you are digging rails, or catching rails in the front 18” to 24” during cutbacks, you should move your fin back approximately 1/8” to 1/4”. 3. The leading edge of the the center fin usually ends up about even with the trailing edge (at the base) of the of side fins, plus or minus 1/4”.
Please understand that these are basic guidelines, and are relative to where you stand on your board, and if you are standing in the right spot according to your style and the type of board you are riding.
This revolution, “The Bonzer Experience”, is about evolution: evolving ones thoughts, experiences and consciousness. It’s about dynamic changes that produce quantum shifts in understanding and performance. J.G. Bennett, describing Gurdjieff’s concept of evolution, states, “Evolution is the production of high level energy from a lower level source.This requires an apparatus of a different kind; for the “upgrading” of energy is improbable and cannot occur at all unless some high level energy is present. Life is an evolutionary process that goes against the direction of probability. The work by which Mankind is transformed is evolutionary.” This quote sums up in a nutshell, more than 30 years of some pretty intense work. In 1970 the 3 fin Bonzer represented a quantum leap in possibilities, and in late 1982 the 5 fin Bonzer presented another tremendous shift in design and performance potential. Maybe it was pure naiveté or a misguided sense of mission, but whatever it was, ever since the first wave we rode on a Bonzer we have felt an obligation to continue refining the design in order to keep possibilities open. We have wanted to give something back to surfing, which has so greatly enriched our lives. Against all probability the Bonzer stands here today as a symbol of the open-ended nature of evolutionary potential and performance capabilities.
Thursday July 25, 2013
Above: a photo of some of George Greenough’s original designs for the paddle fin, and a collection of some windsurf boards and molds. ( Spoon and Chopper ) He used to make almost all of his fins, boards and other equipment, and was an innovator who enjoyed creating and reinventing.
Late 60′s George makes the first paddle fins out of stainless steel. Sometimes these fins would take 2 or 3 days to grind and finish, but the end product was worth every second of labor for George. In fact, he was windsurfing one day and lost the fin on the rocky bottom. He came back at low tide for a few days of countless hours of searching and found the metal fin in tide pools.
1987 Greenough encourages Chuck Ames to use the paddle fin design on surfboards. The result: A thruster setup with 3 small paddle fins, unfortunately they would break off since they were glassed on with and had a very small base.
1990′s As system fin box designs developed became widely available these paddle fins were tested out again, the problem was the base of the fin was still too narrow, especially for smaller thruster setups.
Early 2000: The paddle fin design was now adapted to fit onto a longboard with a fin box and produced great results. True ames labeled the fin The “Stage 6″ the combination of a stiff leg and active paddle to generate powerful turns, the bigger sizes were powerful on the tip.
Today: The Greenough “Stage 6″ fin has come a long way and is a classic model that’s been refined and perfected. From the early days being crafted of metal, to now, where the fin is light and has the perfect flex and made of high quality fiberglass.
Above: a photo of some of George Greenough’s original designs for the paddle fin, small thruster setup.
Monday July 15, 2013
We have a new set of rear quad fins called The 6-4 Rear Quad This is a specialty set of 2 back fins that use a 60/40 foil. These are specifically designed to give you more power in bigger surf. The 6-4 has a more "straight up" design that give you the control you need when riding a quad setup in overhead plus waves. This keeps your board moving down the line and less relying on rail to rail surfing, giving you longer, more drawn out turns. The 60/40 foil is closer to a symmetrical foil than a flat foil or 80/29 which equals drawn out turns.
Tuesday January 29, 2013
this is a digital version of our 2013 catalog. We just got them printed!! If you are interested in getting a copy email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday December 10, 2012
Sometimes a blank canvas comes in different shapes other than the traditional square or rectangle. Here are a few plain glass on fins with a little creativity and paint. They are block printed and have a randomness to the design which creates a unique look to each one. These hand printed fins are just a few ideas that are brewing in True Ames art department. Art by: Ryan Kleiner
Tuesday May 29, 2012
After surfing the left point, it was time to explore. Load up the truck and hit the road in the heat with visions of empty beachbreaks. Not so fast, as we hit a checkpoint within the first half hour of our drive. I'm not getting used to sight of machine guns, but all is good. We were back on the road after some attempts to speak broken spanish.
Soon after that, we found ourselves lost in the middle of some old city, right in the middle of the market, driving on sidewalks and getting strange stares... OK so we're obviously not from around there. Stop again, to ask another heavily armed group of policia for directions, these guys were cool, they told us the way to the beach. After seeing endless sugar cane feilds and some smoldering volcanoes, we found the beach that we were looking for. too late for surf though, time for cold cervezas and dinner!
As the Sun came up at five AM the next day we were up and ready to go. The tide was way too low for the beachbreak so we headed to a rivermouth by boat. This was in the middle of no where and pulling up from outside we couldn't tell if the waves were any good. All I saw was a strong rip, closeouts and super murky brown water. Not what I was expecting. So to get a better look headed into the river to get a view of the setup by land. It looked good and nothing like how it was 20 minutes ago from outback.
The tide was pushing and there were peeling lefts on one side with an identical right peeling off of the other side. The goofy footers outnumbered so I surfed the left. This time I was trying out the Eric Arakawa fins. I could tell the swell was picking up and these were kind of racy walls with a few sections but really long waves with plenty of good cutback sections and lips to hit. I felt really in control on a few waves that were head high, maybe a few feet bigger on sets. I liked the way these fins seemed to hold in, but the got loose when I wanted them to. They never slid out in critical sections just a good release with full control. Good fin selection for this wave. The wind was coming up, so it was time to head back. The beach was out of control closeouts and windy by now, but the tide and swell was supposed to be really good for the next day.
Another 5am wake up call and the surf was looking good, nice A-frames coming in on the beach with no wind. Finally an opportunity for some tubes...I chose to try out the Small Channel Islands fins on this particular day thinking that the waves were head high or so. This is where I was convinced that I could ride the smallest fins just by the way these waves looked. The peaks up the beach were so playful looking and fun. Not exactly, it was twice as big as it looked since there was no one out. About a foot and a half deep on hard packed sand. These were drop in under the lip kind of waves and just get shacked . take a deep breath and hope you make it out of a few.
Here is where I could have used a bigger set of fins, I saw this set bumping up on the horizon and a perfect right peak headed my way. This wave came in with some serious push, I paddled and made the drop, as I was about to come out of the bottom turn into a bus sized tube, fins skipped out and I lost it, dove straight into the wave and then got thrown down to the bottom for a solid hold down. I learned from this wave, after that I was able to just draw out the bottom turn and ride a little bit higher to stay in the right place to make it out of some good tubes...
All good, sometimes a nice hold down will get you ready for the next bigger set. I was able to pick off a few good ones after that, Just making sure not to push the bottom turns too hard. A great session overall and I'd recommend these CI small fins for head high and under. They worked really well at another beach break left that I surfed a bunch, it was about chest high there and more of a speedy long wall of a wave.
Overall having these 3 sets of fins was ideal. To handle any kind of wave there could be on that trip. I was a bit weary of having only one board but luckily I didn't break it. Miss the warm water waves and mellow vibe down south. Until next time...
Tuesday May 22, 2012
On a recent three week trip to Central America during the beginning of the south swell season, I was able to try to out 3 different sets of fins. I wanted to go minimal with my fin selection, so I brought 1 board, a 5'11 Simon Anderson squash tail, this would give me a chance to try 3 sets of fins. A small, medium and larger set for any kind of waves that I could find. It's amazing how much you can change the ride and feel of one board by simply changing fins...
There were a wide variety of waves ranging from super hollow barreling beachbreaks, long sweeping points, powerful outer reefs, and perfectly peeling sand bottom river mouths. The swell was consistently head high plus at most of the spots and a few days with close to double overhead.
My Choice of fins were:
Standard sized Channel Islands / Eric Arakawa / Channel Islands Small ( Some of my boards are FCS fins compatible, This time I had Futures Fins compatible setup, I think they are much easier to change out and a more solid base.)
LOCATION: The Point- FIN CHOICE: Channel Islands Standard- This spot had a wide sloping takeoff zone and then the wave would hit the edge of the reef for a short tube section. I wanted to start off with the Channel islands standard size set for this wave just to see what they could handle. Drops were easy and plenty of drive off of the bottom even on overhead sets. I noticed that since I was up and riding before the barrel section I could have time to setup and pull in with ease, going backside in a hollow spot I would probably use the larger fins but these CI Standards were holding in just fine, and not slipping out in the steepest sections.
Check out the next post for another session with the Eric Arakawa fins, as the surf picked up and headed north to some solid beachbreaks and a boats to a desolate rivermouth. Story/Photos: Ryan Kleiner
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