Pacific Northwest

43843301265_0ee1876fca_o.jpgToday I sit in my Eugene apartment for the second morning staring at my base camp duffel bag. Wednesday I was surfing the east coast some two thousand miles away from me now. I knew it would be the last time I surfed for awhile, but I had no idea just how long I’d have to wait. It was bittersweet. Flash forward a few days, and I was back in Utah, having the best weekend of my life with Erin, apprehensively packing my belongings into the aforementioned cargo carrier, preparing for a journey to the Pacific Wonderland state. Funny the way it is when you are finally doing what you always wanted to, but leaving things and people that you love.

What might fit in two carry ons that accompanied me on this journey might surprise you. A skateboard, full size yoga mat, inflatable sleeping pad, climbing shoes, blundstones, minimalist puffy and a laptop among a comfortable set of clothes for multiple types of endeavours. With Bikeflights (FedEx) transporting most of my belongings and taking nearly a week for their holy delivery, I’ve been tasked with ‘living out of a suitcase’ for more than a few days. Lets just call that living simply instead. So I spent several days packing, and repacking, then finally engineering my three bike boxes, one of which actually containing a bike as its main contents.  And then I packed my shit – yet again – and departed the comfort of Utah for the cooler weather of Portland/Eugene. Here we go.

 

Storm Search

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With the onset of hurricane Florence, I’ve put myself in more decently sized waves this week than I can remember. It’s been an eventful swell already, for me and hundreds of other New England surfers, but also a ticking time bomb for our southern friends. With each dive, i’m constantly reminded that the ocean is not a force to be reckoned with lightly. It knocks the breath out of me, literally; fills my ears with water until my brain feels flooded, then, the ocean that is, drips from my nose hours after I’m out of the surf. I’m sure most would agree that bending down to tie your shoes and having a forthcoming puddle of natural saline solution at your feet is annoying. Atleast I think so.

It’s all worth it, however, because in the evening, after a few hours spent surfing, I can’t stop smiling. Talking about this wave or that one. Closing my eyes on a Wednesday morning and daydreaming about something I surfed on Tuesday. Though not my largest paddle out, which came during the above picture’s swell ( No, I wasn’t out that day) yesterday’s 5-8′ session lead to some of the largest drops I’ve taken successfully. The warm water and sliding around in a light and quick summer suit felt majestic. Thank you Florence.

Fish Table

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Around a year ago I made a coffee table top that just never seemed to form legs. My wood skills at that point in time weren’t quite up to motivating myself for such as task, thus they, and my plank, sat on my architecture studio desk for an entire semester, then my home basement, and even survived a move. Somewhere in this hardwoods’ journey from central Virginia to Southern Maine, it lost its orthogonal form. The bandsaw turned a rectangle into a stubby walnut fish shape plank too out of touch with scale to create anything useful. It was a beautiful accident.

 

43378879915_d4eb0c1428_o.jpgThis summer I created a rectangular base with tapered maple legs, walnut crossing points, and a mahogany skirt. Some parts I shaped at Chewonki. Holding the final iteration in my basement, looking for a top,I remembered the fish. They fit together perfectly.

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Land Cruiser

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I’ve got a knack for creating curves. Without a template or much difficulty, I seem to trace new and interesting shapes into each Avocado Coast board. Besides the wood layup, its the most interesting step in creating my own skateboards. This particular one is my new set of wheels for Oregon. Somewhere around the 5th or 6th build, I began rounding the edges into a 50/50 manner, much like a vintage Hansen shape. This redefined the exposed pattern of hardwoods and transformed my view of these small but mighty land cruising vehicles. First time rolling on Acid Chemical Co wheels and beautiful polished Paris trucks. Sounds like a winning combo to me. Two claps for the coast…

Shout out to Lesley for admiring my board in Ogunquit during this photography session. It was a pleasure.

Planing planes, by hand

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If you’re into reading about purveyors of personal propulsion devices (aka watermen), then you’ll know what these are. Come hell or high water? Avocado Coast proudly presents the Baked Potato hand plane lineup for body surfing. It’s a sport, I swear, just look up Mark Cunningham.  These are on sale at Aquaholics Surf Shop in Kennebunk, Maine and although not quite selling like southern hot cakes, I did see a young grom try it on today while in the shop. It was rewarding to say the least. Artwork and shaping both done by myself. Wood lay up is Cedar x Maple stringer.

 

Taza Mexicano

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Let me pass a note of well deserved praise onto Taza Chocolate out of the Bay State for they have achieved the impossible, crafting a Super Dark chocolate that even the Aztecs would have deemed gold. What makes Chocolate Mexicano different from the rest, you ask? Let me tell you. Mexican style as well as organic, direct trade and non-GMO, Taza’s distinct taste comes from two main ingredients; organic cacoa beans, organic cane sugar and also piquant traces of almonds, cashews, coconut, hazelnuts, and pecans, the wrapper tells me. It’s also free of soy, gluten, dairy, and cruelty.

Does it come in lighter blends? Yes. Is Super Dark still worth trying. Unequivocally, yes. Where can I pick up a bar of organic chocolate like this one? Anywhere remotely health conscious food is sold. Nothing else could have quenched my appetite in between surf lessons quite like a savoury 85% and deliciously dark stoneground disc of Taza… to all the other chocolate companies out there, up your game amigos!