Happy 2nd Birthday Guys!

surfscience 2nd birthday

Yum! Thats the taste of a job well done.

This month marks the 2nd birthday of SurfScience.com. Its hard to believe that just two years ago, our little corner of the surfing-internet didn’t exist.

Where did people go to learn about surfboards?

Who interviewed shapers?

How did people find rating on the boards they wanted to buy?

I’m not sure… but then a few surfers from Orange County had an idea. We would learn everything we could about surfboards and share it with everyone who wanted to listen.

SurfScience.com was born and has been growing like a bean sprout ever since. We’ve had the pleasure of working with some awesome folks from the surfing community throughout the year and have gotten tons of fan mail from our grateful readers.

WE ARE STOKED THAT YOU DIG SURFSCIENCE.COM!!!

So happy birthday to everyone that’s been a part of this ride. I can’t wait to see what our terrible two’s hold in store.


Source: Surfscience

Apple, I Think You Owe Surfing Some $$$ (Also Thanks for Making iOS5)

Most of the time my blog posts are about exciting things in the world of surfing, but today I have a bone to pick. That bone is with Apple Computers, who I feel is a bit out of line.

Let me start by saying, I like Apple. I think they are a great company doing great things and making very cool computers. This post is mostly in jest, but… seriously, there are a TON of surfing pictures on Apple’s website and someone needs to call them out for not having any relation to the sport or culture of surfing.

Background Info: Yesterday Steve Jobs announced a bunch of cool stuff that Apple will be releasing soon including, iCloud, OSX Lion and iOS5. Very exciting things for lots of fan boys everywhere.

While I was checking out their site I noticed a picture of a surfer. Sweet I thought, a surfer.

apple computers surfing

"Oh sweet, a surfer"

Then as I browsed some more I saw another surfer….

surfer macbook

Another surfer, thats strange…

and another….

surfer on macbook

again, really?

and another….

apple surfer girl

At Least They Used A Girl This Time

Seriously?  I counted about 15 different surfing related pictures in all.  (More at the end of this post).  This isn’t just a pattern. It seems to me that Apple Computers uses surfers for like 40% of their pictures (maybe a bit less…). I’m pretty sure it was an intentional move from the highest levels.

Using pictures of surfing to sell products is nothing new.  Nike, Target and Hollister have been doing it for years.  But Apple has been doing pretty well for itself lately…

apple stock surfing

Apple Stock Prices Look Like Mavericks

The company is currently worth around $300 Billion. You’d think they would at least throw us a little kick back. I’m not saying we deserve 40% of the cash just because you’re using our sport in 40% of your pictures.  But at least shell out a few million to build a cool artificial reef or help Kelly Slater fund his wave pool project.

Heck, I wonder if any of Apples 12,000 employees even surf.

apple computer hq near ocean

Hey Woz, want to spot check Mavs at lunch? Shaka Nar Nar

I guess it is possible. They are pretty close to Santa Cruz, Half Moon Bay and The Beach. I bet the one guy from Apple that actually does surf is the one that made it into this iPhone ad.

iphone surfer

Sik wave bro

Double over toe!

So here is what I propose. Apple, you owe the sport of surfing a few Mil. I know you have the extra cash sitting around. If you’re going to use the soul of our sport to sell your computers, phones and music players, at least help us out a bit. Steve Jobs, I know you’re a good guy. I think this is an appropriate effort for you to spearhead. (Spaceship offices can wait!)

$1 Million to the Surfrider Foundation – They help keep the water clean and the beaches open

$300K to the Surfing Heritage Foundation – They preserve the history of our sport through photographs, stories & a surfboard exhibit

$250K to fund a surf contest in Santa Curz where only asymmetrical boards are allowed. – They are the future people!

$200K to Kelly Slater’s Wave Company – So they can get the first circular wave pool off the ground

$150K to SurfScience.com – So we can continue developing cool surfboard related science experiements

$100K purse for the most innovative surf invention of 2011 – Shane Dorian got a head start

Sounds pretty good. They are all focused on technology & the environment. Things Apple is concerned with too.

Finally, it wouldn’t be a proper surfing rant without a “stole our soul” reference, so…

apple stole surfing

For those of you interested, here are the rest of the surfing references on Apple’s website.

surfer-pic-thumbnail

Its the one in the center

surfers on osx lion

"We Don't Surf!"

surfing background iphone

iTeahupoo

surf forecast apple

Why is it in metric? Are you also communists?

getting-tubed-imac-surfing

Might Be A Foamer

wind surfer imac

Laird?


Source: Surfscience

What is SurfScience.com All About?

It has been over two years since SurfScience.com started.  Every so often we like to take a look at where things are and where they should be headed.  Today I’d like to share some of this process with you.

One of the big questions we ask ourselves is what areas of surfing we should focus our efforts on.  Should it be surfboard design?  Surfing tips?  Interviews? Product reviews?

We try to focus on things that are useful to the average surfer instead of talking about what the pro surfers are up to.  While that sort of celebrity stuff is great fun, we believe that you care more about things that will actually impact your surfing.  Things you can apply in the water tomorrow to surf better and have more fun.

I recently took a look at the words that appeared most recently on our site.  I ran a big crawl of our entire site and came up with the most used terms.  (Other than plain English terms)  Here is a nice keyword cloud to show what our focus has been so far.

surfscience keywords

What SurfScience.com Has Been About So Far

Surfboards – if you had to describe SurfScience.com in one word it would be “surfboard”.  Basically 90% of our website is devoted to surfboards.  And that is how it should be.  Surfers really only need two things – waves and surfboards.  We’ve got half of it covered.

Over the years we’ve pulled together a lot of great info about surfboards including articles about board design, interviews about emerging technology and a surfboard directory with information on over 1,500 surfboard models.  That is a lot of surfboard stuff!

But its always good to check what your audience is looking for.  So I also ran a crawl on all of the words our readers have typed into the search box.  This next picture is a keyword cloud of things that our readers would like SurfScience.com to have information on.

surfscience.com keyword goals

Keywords Searched For On SurfScience.com

Surfbaords – that is what our readers are looking for.  But not just generic information – they want to know about specific types of surfboards.  They want to know about big name surfboard models and shapers. Our readers want to have a place where they can learn about the surfboards they are thinking of buying.  So that is where we are going to focus our efforts over the next few months.

Along with the Board Rack, Board Match and Best Surfboards for 2011 – we will soon be releasing new features to allow you to research, compare and review surfboard models.  We hear you loud an clear.  More information about surfboards.  Got it!

Buying a surfboard is a big decision.  We are here to help you choose wisely.  Can’t wait to see whats next.


Source: Surfscience

Getting A Custom Painted Surfboard

greg-kroleski-surfboard-eagleA surfboard will perform the same regardless of its paint job.  But when your board looks sweet, you probably ride a bit better just because of the confidence boost.

There is no doubt about it, surfers love how their boards look.  Many surfboards sell because of sweet artwork.  Look at …Lost Surfboards.  Sure the boards are great, but would they be nearly as popular if it weren’t for the cool art on every board?

Even pop-out manufacturers are putting cool designs on their boards.

I took a look at the surfboards that are most viewed in the SurfScience.com Board Rack and just like you might have guessed, the boards that look the coolest get the most clicks.  No one wants a plain white board.

So lets say you want a custom painted surfboard, how do you go about getting one?

Its is actually pretty easy.  I was recently at Stewart Surfboards talking with Bill about his new surfboard model, the Fartknocker.  It is a small wave board designed to get speed even when the waves aren’t great.

I decided on the board size I wanted, and had a cool idea for the art I wanted.  The Polish Eagle!  (I am Polish, which might have had something to do with this April Fools Joke)

The graphics guy at Stewart let me know that if I could find a high quality vector image, it would make the art that much better.  This was made possible by wikipedia.  Right on the article about the Polish Eagle there was a huge image.

polish eagle

Here is a close up of the eagle.  You can see it is pretty freaking detailed.  Both the front and back of the surfboard have a fade from red to white.  The Polish flag is red & white and the fade was a nice touch.

polish surfboard


Source: Surfscience

Shape Your Own Surfboard

Have you ever wanted to shape your own surfboard?  I did, but thought it was going to cost a ton of money.  In fact, I didn’t even know where to get the tools and materials.  That problem has been solved.  Thanks to Foam E-Z, if you have a few hundred bucks and a free Saturday, you can make your own surfboard.

foam e-z surfboard supply shop

Foam E-Z is surfboard material supply shop in Orange County, CA.  They sell blanks, fiberglass, resin, tools and everything else you need to make/repair surfboards.  They also have a shaping room out back that you can rent out by the hour.  Pretty sweet deal.  It comes stocked with all of the tools you need.

how to shape a surfboard

For about $50-100 you can buy a big chunk of foam like this.  They have blanks in every size from shortboard to retro to longboard.  They also have PU & EPS available.  I would strongly recommend PU for your first board since EPS is much harder to work with.

greg kroleski shaping surfboard

They sell a few DVDs that teach you how to shape.  I got Shaping 101 by John Carper of JC Hawaii.  After watching that DVD about 4 times you should have a pretty good idea of what you’ll need to do to make your first board.

greg kroleski surfboard shaping

You can rent the shaping bay by the day or hour.  Its $10 an hour if you have your own tools, $20 an hour if you need tools and $50 for the day.  Professional shapers can make a board in an hour or two, but your first board will probably take more like 5-6 hours.  That being said, just rent the room for a day, its a fun way to spend a Saturday!

surfboard shaped from rear

The setup is just like the shaping rooms your favorite shapers use.  The lights on the side are there so you can see even the smallest imperfections in your surfboard.  Because they are to the side, bumps and scratches cast shadows that make it easy to know where you need to sand.

surfboard shape from above

I decided to finish working on my asymmetrical surfboard.  I had a great conversation with Carl Ekstrom about the benefits of them and wanted to try it out for myself.  The right half of the board is based on a 6’3″ squash tail thruster I really like and the left half is based on a 5’11” round tail thruster that is super smooth.  My idea was to create a board for Newport rights that raced down the line and held a nice wide cutback.  I think it will be fun for places like Upper Trestles and Rincon as well.  Who knows though… maybe it won’t work at all.  Either way it was fun to make!

greg kroleski asymmetrical surfboard

If you would like to try shaping a board, here is what you need to do.  Call Foam E-Z at 1(714)896-8233 or just visit their website.  Order the Shaping 101 DVD.  After you’ve watched it a few times, reserve the shaping bay for the day.  They are located in Westminster, CA which is just by Costa Mesa and Huntington Beach.

If you don’t live in So-Cal, you can still order a blank and the tools you need.  You can also get most of the tools at your local hardware store.

Seriously, go shape a board, its a ton of fun and will make you appreciate your other surfboards!


Source: Surfscience

SurfScience Custom Search by Google

We just got done installing a new search function on our site. The custom search engine by Google will make it easy to find what you’re looking for on SurfScience.  Located at the top right of every page, the search bar is the best way to find what you want faster than a speeding Mick Fanning.

surfscience google custom search

Basically it’s the same Google you know and love but… it only searches OUR website and blog. Pretty cool!

The results display on a new page of the site and make it easy for you to keep reading.  You don’t have to worry about jumping back and forth between different websites.  Its all done within our framework.

Our favorite part of this new tool is that it will keep track of all of the terms that our visitors search for. If we see a lot of people are looking for something that we don’t have much information about, guess what we’re going to do? Thats right, go learn more about it and write some great new articles.

So go test out the custom search feature yourself here. Some fun searches to start with if you can’t think of anything else: “thruster” “channel islands” “surfing tips”


Source: Surfscience

Sacred Craft Spring 2011

Sacred Craft is happening this weekend in Santa Cruz, CA.  If you haven’t heard of the expo yet, what are you doing?  Its basically the premium place to geek out on surfboards.  There is one more day left, Sunday the 20th, so if you’re anywhere near Nor-Cal, make the journey.  Below are some things I enjoyed seeing today.

More info here – Sacred Craft Expo Website


Here is the crowd at the show.  A lot of people showed up.  As you can see, the building is 50% surfers and 50% surfboards.

sacred craft expo crowd

This next board is my favorite one at the show.  It needs to win best in show this year.  (Scott Bass, if you’re reading this, please take note)  It is a collaboration between mad scientists/shapers Bufo Brauers & Carl Ekstrom.  SurfScience.com has done interviews with each of them (CarlBufo) and we’re stoked to see them working together.

The board is an asymmetrical EPS fish with adjustable flex pressure.  This is the future people!

ekstrom bufo collaborative surfboard

Some of the fins from Rainbow Fin Co.  Check out the cool colored glass ones.  The one on the left with a huge rake was made to surf in kelp.  Pretty good looking stuff.

rainbow fin company

Bulletfins were designed to split the water around the base of the fin.  Gene Cooper really enjoys it on some of his shapes.  Its an interesting idea, I’ll have to give it a try.

bulletfins

A wide offering of foam blanks from Marko Foam.  Notice the one with a ton of stringers.  Also, the one one with no stringers.

marko foam blanks

Some boards from Cooperfish.  The one he is showing off now is a stringerless high density PU pig shape with a glassed on fin.

cooperfish surfboards

Looks skatey.

surf skate

Here is a giant wooden SUP.  That thing looks beast to paddle and will set you back a coll $2,500.  You won’t have to worry about wind chop though.

wooden sup

Some shots from the shape off.

shape offshape off

I saw this board sitting off in a corner.  Shaped by none other than Dale Velzy.  A good looking board and piece of surfing history.

surfboards by dale velzy

Here are the team of surfboard appraisers going over the classic boards people brought in.  Sam George was hanging around for a good part of the day.

surfboard appraisal

If I had $10,000 sitting around, I would buy all 15 of these Rusty boards.

rusty surfboards

This is called the topless boardbag.  Its a neat idea.  It slips on easy and protects your board from UV damage and scratches.  Unlike a board bag it doesn’t get all wax covered in the inside.  A novel idea.

topless boardbag

topless boardbag

topless boardbag

A company called Incide was showing off their new blanks.  Each one has a 3D carbon fiber stringer in the inside like the one pictured here.  I will most likely be buying one to test out for my next surfboard project.

incide core

This is Santa Cruz style at its best.

santa cruz surfboards

FCS showing off some of their new SUP product.

fcs sup gear


Source: Surfscience

Q&A About “The Best Surfboards of 2011”

SurfScience.com Best Surfboards of 2011 SealSurfScience.com just released our newest feature, “The Best Surfboards of 2011.”  This new section of our site pulls data from every surfboard model’s ratings to rank the top surfboards of each category.

This is the first time anyone has done a feature like this using 100% user ratings, so we’re stoked to be able to release it.  Of course, like everything new, there are a lot of questions from surfboard shapers, surfers and industry folk.

I’m going to take a minute here to answer some questions I’ve been emailed in the past week.

Q: How do you calculate the rankings?

A: In our top secret laboratory we have an army of one thousand monkeys with abacuses running complex calculations.  First they look at the performance rankings of each board, taking into account overall score as well as: paddling, maneuverability, stability and speed.  They then look at things like popularity; how often is the board viewed, ranked and commented on.  Finally, they look for consistency in rankings, if a board has a lot of really high rankings and a lot of low rankings, it shows us that there might be something fishy, where as if a board is consistently ranked a 7 or 8, we know that is accurate.

Its a fairly complex equation that results in a new number we call the “SurfScience Score” or “SS Score”  This new number will be appearing around the site more and will be a new way to compare surfboards.

Q: Who ranks the boards, is it SurfScience employees or a panel of experts?

A: Neither.  Our rankings are 100% user generated.  Over 5,000 user ratings and comments went into the equation for this years rankings.  We’re stoked to be able to do this because it removes bias or influence from financial gains.

Q: Where are the majority of SurfScience’s users from?

A: Anywhere there is surfing, there is SurfScience.  Our content is read in over 175 countries.  The top countries include: USA, Australia, UK, France, Spain, Canada, New Zealand, Portugal, Ireland & Brazil.

That means our rankings take into account users from just about every type of climate, wave and surf culture there is.

Q: Why is it the best surfboards of 2011, when the year just started?

A: We believe a surfboard should be graded on how well it performs, not its hype, marketing or newness.  Because of that, an older board that works better shouldn’t be hindered just because it wasn’t released this year.  The boards ranked on SurfScience are not separated by the year the model was invented.  We didn’t want to do a list of the best new boards in 2010, we wanted to do a list of the best boards you could buy right now, in 2011.

Q: Was there any money involved or are any surfboard companies sponsoring this?

A: No.  We have not taken any money from any surfboard manufacturer.  We intent to keep it this way to make sure that SurfScience.com stays a neutral source.

Q: Why does Channel Islands have so many boards listed?

A: Channel Islands makes 27 of the 169 boards on our 2011 list.  That is by far the most from one company.  The reason is that one factor of our rankings is popularity.  We feel that a board that 10 people  rate a 9 is a stronger score than one that 1 person rates a 10.  Because of this, popular models will have an advantage.  If you think about it, this just means that they are tried and true.  Channel Islands is one of the biggest surfboard companies, and so it has a lot of very popular shapes.

Q: Why aren’t any of _______’s surfboards on the list?

A: Our board directory has about 1,500 surfboards in it.  That is a lot.  Of course, there are a ton more.  We did our best to reach out to shapers and have them send us info on their board models, the ones that emailed us back first have been listed and we’re working on the rest.  Every month we add more models, and we hope to one day have a complete list.  If there is a shaper you feel should be listed, feel free to leave a comment, email us or email them and tell them to make sure their boards are listed on SurfScience.com.

We are very proud of the fact that over 40 shapers are represented on the list.  If you think about most awards, usually a few contestants go home with all of the prizes.  How many movies win Oscars for; Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Actor & Best supporting Actress?  We’re thrilled with the fact that a lot of

Q: What do the shapers get as part of their award?

A: Every shaper that receives an award will receive bragging rights and $1,000,000 in Monopoly money.  They also get to display the SurfScience.com Best Surfbaords of 2011 seal on their website.  Along with that, we will display the seal on their board’s listing in our surfboard directory, letting interested customers know that the board has received an award.

There are a few different variations of the seal.  Everyone that appears on the list will get to display the standard seal pictured above.  Those shapers who’s board was in the top 10 or 5 (depending on the category) of its board type will also receive a special seal.

Shapers with the award may use the seal on any marketing material, advertisements or company literature of their choice.  So its a pretty big deal!

Q: What if I have other questions?

A: Leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to answer them.  Also, you can always email us at team@surfscience.com.  Thanks for reading and go check out the award winner already, here is the link…  http://www.surfscience.com/best-surfboards-2011/


Source: Surfscience

Surf Forecasting with Solspot

solspotAs a surfer, knowing when waves are going to hit is important.  Really important.

I remember when I first started surfing, I would just go to the beach whenever I could get a ride.  Sometimes there would be waves, other times there weren’t.  Eventually I figured out to check the surf forecast first, which greatly reduced the number of days I got skunked.

Now, some 15 years later, I’m much busier and have to make the most of small windows of free time.  I can usually only free an hour or two to surf a day so it better count.  After making sure there are going to be waves, I’ve got to check things like: swell direction to pick a break, tide to pick a time, wind conditions to see if its even going to work.  (Let alone what the sandbars have been doing this season.)  Then there are crowds, traffic, parking and all sorts of other things to take into account.

Basically, I’ve become more concerned with knowing more about the surf.  The way it stands today, I would much rather go surf a perfect uncrowded 3-4 foot day than waste a day on the promise of 6ft surf that ends up being blown out and dragging down the coast.

This is where Solspot comes in.  I’ve been stoked on their site lately.

I like knowing a lot about the surf, but I’m by no means an expert, yet.  The “Forecasting Ninja” at Solspot on the other hand, is.  Adam Wright has credentials to boot, having worked for companies like Transworld SURF, Surfline, Wavewatch, and FuelTV.

My favorite part about the site is the unique personal approach to forecasting.  He takes screen shots, draws on them and explains what to look for.  He’s like the Madden of surf forecasting. 

I’m sure that after a while, I’ll be able to spot things on my own, which will be a great tool to have for doing my own surf forecasts in the future, whether its for a surf trip in a remote location or just to see if I can pick up anything else that the other forecasts didn’t mention.So, Solspot, thanks for doing what you’re doing.  Keep up the good work.

Everyone else, check it out, its pretty cool and a fun way to learn a bit more about forecasting.


Source: Surfscience