Sunday, 23 December 2012

Some footage from Bali

In the depths of the miserable, cold, windy and horrendously wet winter, Bali now seems a long, long time ago but somehow I've managed to pull together some footage I took on probably my most enjoyable session of the trip. Waves were only head high but very fun on the 7'6" I'd borrowed for the occasion, even managed to clock one of the rides at 25 seconds which has to be close to a personal best! I suspect the session was made more memorable thanks to it coinciding with one of the numerous spectacular sunsets I witnessed during my two weeks at Canggu.

At any rate the music to the video is 'Gold Fever' by 'The Wind Whistles'. The whole album can be hear here: Window Sills and advice you to check it out, great little band.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Allow me to introduce The Coffee Table

Well after far more many months than I originally anticipated and well past the late autumn surf I promised her, The Coffee Table is now complete. I've only given her one coat of oil so far, there will be many more to come before I'll take her out but it's just nice to see her in all her glory and finally see the grain pop out. I like to think this is my prettiest board yet though with the absence of fibreglass and a healthy dose of air inside, possibly also my least sea worthy. With that in mind I've decided to wait until we get some small, perfect summer waves, to catch her at her best and lets me enjoy the ride in my summer suit. You know, just in case she pulls a Titanic on her maiden voyage. At least that gives me the winter to stare longingly at her!

Once she's been oiled up a bit more I'll get some nicer photos and also pull together a full build entry for her but until then here's some snaps I took this morning.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

I Wanted a Really Shiny Board

Well my reason for making this board was two-fold, firstly I wasn't particularly happy with the board I made with the crow design previously and wanted a design with an autumn theme and secondly I wanted a really shiny board. Unfortunately you can't really tell from these photos but honestly it is a really shiny board! 

The board design is pretty standard for me being a solid paulownia wood bodyboard, 150cm long with a large single concave but to finish it this time I used a clear spray on lacquer. First tried the spray lacquer on baby Kaelon's board but wasn't as nice as I was expecting however after watching an episode of 'How it's Made' on Discovery (they were making a banjo) I found out where I went wrong, the banjo had 17 layers of lacquer and I had 6. This time though I used two cans of the stuff and after a couple of hours of polishing I now have a really shiny bodyboard that I can't take a good photo of!

Sunday, 2 December 2012


Anybody who fancies a spot of film making should check out the IFLOW, impressive looking toy and it need's to make its $50,000 target because I really want one!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Bali Baby

Been a while I know but just got back from a few weeks in sunny Bali! While the waves weren't quite world class there and KLM's embarrassingly unreasonable board charges meant I had to rely on rental boards (NEVER again, good lord did I miss the Jubilee Sim!), it was great to finally see some sun and have the opportunity to surf in some board shorts! For the first time on a holiday I took a load of video footage so going to be pulling that together over the next couple of months. No hurry though, it just wouldn't be Jonesy if I did.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Testing my GoPro wrist strap

Finally pulled together the test footage I've collected with my home-made GoPro wrist strap this summer. It's most certainly not a cinema quality effort but I have learnt a fair bit from it! In short I can say the following:
  • Video is rarely successful when you're facing the sun
  • Longboarding on clean waves seems to give the smoothest footage
  • Bodyboarding requires an extension to raise the camera higher if you want to avoid splashback
  • Mixing resolutions and frame-rates results in some major headaches when it comes to exporting your film!
  • To get the best quality some nice weather helps.
  • The wide angle lens makes the waves seem a lot smaller honest!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Last Roy Stewart board update

Home straight for this board now so this will be the last build update before it's finished! All the uneven joins have been levelled now and all the epoxy filler sanded back. Find have been finished and places have been marked out on the base for them. All that's left hopefully is to drill out some holes to mount the fins in, sand the whole board up to a fine grit, burn on some design and oil her up. One productive weekend should be all it takes but as usual that can't be promised!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Photo book, 14 months in the making

I know I haven't updated this in a while but I have been keeping myself busy honest! Few things I've been working on should be coming to fruition soon so will update when I've got some snaps. On the plus side though, the increasingly dark nights and god awful weather has meant I've finally gotten round to finishing my photo book of my exploits in Africa last August, it's currently winging its way over to me at the moment! I'm aware it has nothing to do with surfing but I'm very proud!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Latest Wooden Sim Update

Home stretch now I think, board is all glued together now so hopefully it's watertight. Roughed the outline out, rails are still squared up at the moment. Dropped a bit of a bollock when it comes to the nose, didn't include enough wood in the nose to shape it as flat as I intended so had to make it slightly longer and with more of a pulled in nose than I planned. Looks to resemble more like a Firewire Sweet Potato than a mini sim now but to be honest I was planning to pull the nose in for my next evolution of the Jubilee Sim so not necessarily a bad thing, did give me a scare though! 

At any rate, essentially what I have at the moment, after many hours of work, is a surfboard blank! 

Also knocked up some fin blanks, these will need to be shaped then marked out on the board so I can route out some slots for them and glue in place. Then all that's left is to shape out the rails and give it a final sanding and oiling. Would still like to be able to surf this in my summer suit so time is running out!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Trying my hand at something new

I can be easily influenced and YouTube has been a terrible influence on me. At any rate after watching this video by Original Skateboards I felt my life was lacking a longboard and being that I had some spare ply kicking about I figured how hard could it be to build one of those? As it turns out probably not too difficult assuming you have the right tools. I didn't have the right tools and most certainly did not have the right wood! 

With a bottle of wood glue, some misshapen sheets of ply, a load of bricks, a jig-saw and plenty of mistakes I eventually had a board that resembled a longboard. Some heavy sanding, a disastrous attempt at making my own grip tape using sand and varnish later and the addition of a pair of trucks and a set of wheels later and she was complete.

As much to my surprise the board has snapped under usage yet and the combination of soft wheels and a pretty flexible (though fat) deck means this board is actually a pretty comfortable ride and quite the little carver even if she's not the easiest on the eye.

Undeterred though I've now gotten my hands on 7 sheets of maple ply, a bottle of Titebond III and a sheet of XPS foam (I have a cunning plan) so the mark II version should be much improved, watch this space!


Sunday, 26 August 2012

Baby Season

Seems the season of the year for babies to be born. This time it's my pal Jon and his wife Sol's turn and as is now tradition I've knocked up a little board for the young fella. Made from Obeche wood with a Cedar stringer this board has been finished with an acrylic spray rather than varnish, was interested to see what it looked like and it's certainly quicker than varnish!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Wooden Sim update

I have to admit, table saws scare the life out of me but you can't deny their effectiveness! Thinned out the deck planning now, ready to be glued down to the frame.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Board for my new nephew

My new nephew Finley was born last week, as I'd made a board for his sister it was only fair he got one too. Coming in at 23 inches, he can't stand up on it yet but you've got to start somewhere. 

Monday, 30 July 2012

Roy Stuart Original Sim update

Well finally gotten round to working a bit more on my Roy Stuart Sim, starting to take shape now and starting to get quite excited about getting it in the water!

Have glued the frame together and now ready to be trimmed ready to lay the top planks. Was a bit concerned about bending the rocker into it as per Roy Stuart's instruction so glued the frame together on the rocker table, using my current Sim to get the nose rocker and planning on shaping trail rocker later, though it will be very small, going to be a planning machine. So far though I'm enjoying the process of making this board.

Hopefully I'll get the to planks sawn this weekend then start glueing next week.

Monday, 16 July 2012

GoPro Wrist Strap

It was during a glorious October session down Caswell, that I decided I needed a GoPro camera. It wasn't a particularly big swell, waist height at best  but with no wind and long period the water was resembled a mirror reflecting back the orange sky as the sun was setting and I cruised along on some slowly breaking pealers. It was one of those moments that make you so glad that you surf, that you love a sport that puts you in really beautiful places at really beautiful times. It was at that moment that I thought it such a shame that I couldn't capture a glimpse of this moment, that I didn't have something I could look back on when I was old and arthritic and remind myself that I used to partake in something beautiful. My own little version of Greenoughs Crystal Voyager. It would be nice to think that a GoPro system could help me out.

As great as it is to see myself styling on my longboard with the help of the GoPro sticky nose mount my real intention was to capture the scenery flying past, the waves breaking and to not look like a coal miner in a wetsuit with the help of the GoPro headstrap mount.

After a couple of failed efforts at making a simple wrist strap, with horrendous results, so decided to go all out and make a decent hash of it.

The basic frame of the strap was constructed from a couple of strips of balsa wood, glued and taped around a thermos flask, which roughly resembled my forearm.

For the section that would hold the mount I reinforced with a few more strips of balsa.

This was done then sanded flat while the rough edges and corners were sanded smooth.

The construction was then fibre-glassed with a few layers of cloth and epoxy to make it bullet-proof.

An old damaged wetsuit was then cut up to wrap around the strap, this was done while the strap was being hot coated.

With the GoPro mount attached the whole construction was then sewn to the sleeve of an old wetsuit.

Finally a broken leash was salvaged to and stitched on and she's ready to go.

With the camera attached and leant back (complete with the floaty backdoor just in case) it is angled to face forward when you're arm is held at a comfortable stance. Only thing left is to get some footage together!

UPDATE: Some footage of the wrist strap in action (a bit dodgy but I'm getting to grips with it slowly!)

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The UFO - Unidentified Floating Object

Been playing around with the design of my solid paulownia bodyboard with my latest version. Rather than tapering the rails up and confining the concave to the central third of the board I've extended the concave all the way to the rails. This has the effect of making the rails sharper and more refined. My intention being to keep more hold in the rail without compromising on speed, indeed the seeing as the base is now somewhat less cluttered drag should be even less allowing for even more speed. 

Only had a chance for a brief surf on some stormy high tide waves but initial impressions are that this is board has a cracking turn of speed and I'm not sure whether it's just because this board is shorter than I've been using of late but it seemed to cope better with steeper take-offs. Will need some more testing until I can say this board is more manoeuvrable than previous efforts but it's looking good so far.

Went for a gloss resin finish on this board rather than just oiling it. Last time I go for this option though because while it looks lovely and shiny it was a right pain in the arse to coat and polish. To make matters worse one miss-timed wave resulted on me and the board getting dashed on the rocks and scuffing my lovely shiny finish within 10 minutes of getting it in the water. Live and learn I guess.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

My new camera

Not too much to report recently as I've been busy getting started on several new summer projects which will be coming to fruition shortly. In the meantime here's some snaps I took on Saturday, trying out my shiny new Fuji X Pro1.