Corky on the Lost Art of Side Slipping
By Corky Carroll
Most of the time when I sit down to knock out one of these amazing wanderings into the wild and wacky world of wordage I have a subject all picked out or event to talk about that is time sensitive. Today was not one of those days. So, I did what I do when this situation comes up, I went to the list of emails that come in where people suggest storylines for me to tackle. And right at the top came the idea to write about the almost lost art of “side-slipping.” Hey, great call.
For those of you who don’t know, side-slipping is a surfing maneuver where the surfer breaks the fin, or fins, free while riding a wave. This causes the board to go into a side slip and lose forward traction, instead sliding sideways down the face of the wave. Then when the fin catches again forward progress is resumed. The reasoning here is that this is a sort of stalling thing done to reposition the rider in a better spot on the wave and/or to keep from outrunning the curl. It’s also pretty cool looking and if done correctly with a reasonable degree of control and style it will surely impress most onlookers.
The first time I saw anybody do this was in an old surf movie in the early 1960’s. It was Mickey Dora at Malibu and I don’t remember which movie it was. He was doing these very subtle and slight little slips in and around the curl, just sort of rocking his board slightly while about a foot back from the nose and, even though the slip was quick and slight, it looked to be a pretty functional way to stay near the pocket and not outrun the wave and have to do a cutback. It was sort of an alternative to the cutback.
Gerry Lopez came to the U.S. Championships at Huntington Beach in 1969 and amazed the crowds by doing a series of tail-based sideslips right next to the pier. These were more “stall” maneuvers than those that I had seen Dora do at Malibu. He would turn quickly at the top of the wave and rock his board just at the right time at the end of his turn. This would break the fin free and he would slide down the face just enough to stick himself right in the curl of the wave, usually getting a nice cover up just before going into the pier. Crowds went wild.
Probably the all-time king of the side-slippers would have to be Herbie Fletcher. Herbie got so good at it that he could pretty much slide the fin out at any time on any wave and stay in control even in very extreme situations and big and gnarly waves on the North Shore of Oahu and at Honolua Bay on Maui. It just became part of his routine, just as turns and cutback for the average Joe.
When long boards came back onto the scene during the 80’s and 90’s there were those who like to ride very thin and narrow boards with a ton of rocker. They were billed as “high performance” long boards. I hated those things and thought of them as anything but high performance. But, that said, one of the things these boards did was spin out (out of control side slip) very easy when you walked the nose. This was due to the extreme amount of rocker. Once gaining control of the slide a surfer could easily just let the thing keep going and do a full 360 rotation of the board, also called a “helicopter.” This became a favorite for competitive long boarders. Some people have taken to surfing with small fins in order to achieve the same result, but sacrificing a lot of power turning in the process.
I was watching a long board event not long ago and noticed that there were a lot of helicopter moves but very little creative side slipping. Maybe they just figure that doing the whole rotation gets more points. None the less the cool looking and functional factor of the basic side slip is still a valid surfing maneuver, at least for long and midsize board riders. Short boarders just fly ‘em outta the water and get air.
And, yes, you can side slip on and Stand Up Paddle board. The extra added advantage of having the paddle to stick in the wave and lean on gives you a bit more freedom and leverage to pull off a good variety of slips and slides.
On top of the cool look and functionality of doing the side slip is the fact that they are just plain fun. Fun is good.
Slip Sliding Away Article
Corky on Surfboard designers
by Corky Carroll
Everybody loves to talk about their favorite surfers and who is doing, or has done, what in the sport of surfing. But there is way more to it than just those who are riding the waves and winning the contests. There are those who dedicate their lives to the craft of building, designing and refining the boards that they, and we, ride. And each year International Surfboard Builders Hall of Fame recognizes a select few to be inducted into this extremely exclusive fraternity. This year is the twentieth anniversary of the ISBHOF and the induction ceremony is slated for this Saturday morning, October 19th at 9 AM. The site is the Pier Plaza on the north side of the Huntington Beach Pier. Admission is free and it will be well worth showing up for if you are a surfer, a fan of surfing or just want to attend something cool on a fall morning.
This years inductees represent one of the strongest groups to date. Leading off with my lifetime pal Mark Martinson, 1965 United States Surfing Champion and one of the coolest dudes to ever ride or shape a surfboard. Mark grew up in Long Beach and was one of the best surfers in the world thru the 1960’s and early 1970’s. He moved to the North Shore of Oahu in the mid 70’s where he worked as a commercial fisherman and started shaping surfboards. He eventually became one of the most respected shapers on the planet and had his own signature model with Robert August Surfboards in Huntington Beach as well as shaping zillions of production boards that went through the factory in the 1990’s.
Next up would be one of the most famous shapers of all time, none other than Dick Brewer himself. Another Long Beach dude, Dick also moved to Oahu and burst onto the seen in the 1960’s with Surfboards Hawaii. He would later design and build a line of big wave boards for Hobie, the legendary Hobie Dick Brewer guns. I had one of these and can attest that it was the state-of-the-art big wave board of its time. Jeff Hackman won the first Duke Kahanamoku Invitational on one of them in 1965. After that he had runs of shaping for Harbour Surfboards in Seal Beach and with Bing Surfboards in Hermosa Beach. He was a huge influence in the development of too many top name shapers to even try to list here and has remained a “go to” guy for big wave boards.
Also getting the nod this year is one of my favorite people ever in surfing. Lance Carson. This would take a book, so I am just going to say that Lance is without a doubt one of the best surfers, shapers and by far one of the most colorful dudes EVER in surfing. Period.
From Huntington Beach comes two classic shapers and surfboard innovators. Herbie Fletcher and Carl Hayward. Herbie is one of the really true individuals in surfing, I love this guy. He was a year or two behind me at Huntington Beach High School and already an incredible surfer by the time he was in his mid-teens. I recruited him for the Hobie Surf Team where he gravitated towards Phil Edwards type speed boards. Although he was successful in the surfing competitions in California he was looking for more “juice” in his life and also moved to the North Shore. It was there he learned to shape and design boards as well as refining his own free flowing surfing style, known for his amazing ability to “side slip” in just about any type of condition. He would go on to be one of the first to take a jet ski out and ride giant waves on the offshore reefs, refine surfboard “deck patches” with his own company “Astrodeck,” make a series of surf movies promoting his products, have two sons that have become legends in their own right (Christian and Nathan) and become a sought after artist with a recent showing at a well-known gallery in New York City. Herbie is full tilt and just keeps coming.
Carl Hayward was a local hot surfer in the lineup at the Huntington Beach Pier and would open his own shop and shape his own line of boards back in the early 1970’s. He was one of the few combo expert surfers as well as expert shapers. His most recognized contribution to surfboard design was his “Rocket Fish,” which was his own take on the “twin fin” design and is still a valid part of surfboard technology even today. Carl was not only a great surfer and shaper but was incredibly popular with everybody that ever was lucky enough to meet him. One of those people who died way too young.
Bill Frierson is another guy who came up surfing on the Hobie Surf Team with us back in the mid 1960’s. He lived in Virginia Beach on the East Coast and represented the Smith and Holland Hobie shop there. In 1967 he started shaping for Wave Riding Vehicles (WRV) and that began what is now an incredible career of building boards that is 52 years long and still going. Bill and his wife live and continue to make boards in the Outer Banks area of North Carolina.
Rounding out the list is Nev Hyman. This is a guy that I really don’t know that much about on a personal level but have respected from a distance. From Western Australia, got well known building boards in Queensland in the 1970s and known for a great sense of humor as well has his shaping talents, stuck with it for decades and finally hit it big with “Firewire” Surfboards in the past ten years.
That’s it, bit class this year. Hope you make it to the ceremony.
CORKY CARROLL email@example.com
Craftsman's Love Article
Ripcurl Search vs Apple Watch
by Joel "Dr Wireless" Saltzman
This is a bit subjective as there are lots of different ways to approach this question. Today, surfers watches are a lot more than just a wrist watch that is water resistant as in the old days. For years, surfers ended up buying watches that were designed to be used by divers, sailors, and/or pilots. Many of these watches were chronographs and able to do a bit more than just tell the time, and date. Back then, the priority was knowing when to get out of the water to feed the meter, or risk getting a parking ticket.
This first category of watches we're going to consider here are traditional watches (Automatic movements) These watches include timepieces from Rolex, Patek Phillipe, and thousands of other brands right down to the Invicta's, knockoffs, and cheap imitators. I've worn the two watches below for over a dozen years. The benefit of these types of watches are durability. They are virtually indestructible and can be worn everyday 24/7. These automatic movements just require some body movement to wind so no batteries are ever needed.
With the advent of digital watches, prices came down and exciting new features were now available. About a dozen years ago, "Surf Watches" began appearing. SurfLine has partnered with many of the leading surfing watch brands like Nixon, and Ripcurl and some others to include surf spot information like tides and winds.
About five years ago, Ripcurl introduced their first GPS Search watch. Although enormous and butt ugly, this amazing watch was able to use GPS coordinates to actually track your number of waves, speeds, wave distance traveled, paddle distance, GPS coordinates, and a lot more. These watches could even identify where you where surfing by the spots name in most cases and you could compete with your buddies and check the pros stats.
Even cooler, you could sync this to an iPhone and/or computer and get your statistics. Dawn Patrol, the company behind this amazing technology only had Ripcurl aboard initially, I loved my RipCurl Search watch in the water but it was way too big and not stylish or comfortable enough to wear when out of the water. In other words, if you want one watch to wear 24/7, this ain't it.
I had two of these while waiting patiently for a new improved model that never seemed to come. Well, last year it did finally come and it's smaller and better than the original. I hope they improved the screen because the original one was cheap plastic and scratched too easy. The band was also non user replaceable and falls apart over time.
Dawn Patrol is the third party GPS application that makes all of this cool GPS stuff possible. Just when I was getting ready to order the new RipCurl II, a funny thing happened. Surfline notified me of a new feature they are offering called Surf SESSIONS. During the initial launch, Apple's watch was the first to get this technology. RipCurl was slated to be next.
As a premium member of Surfline, I was always able to go back and look for my waves on video from their surf cameras. This was always time consuming though and hardly worth the time and effort. Well Surfline just introduced a new technology that picks up the unique algrythm in each watch and then identifies the watch to Surfline's 500+ cameras. If one of their cameras picks you up, Surfline sends you each wave, They begin the recording 10 seconds before you caught it and end it 10 seconds after it ended. It's called Surf Sessions and is pretty cool. The concept is fantastic but the reality to Surf sessions is that even with 500 cameras, Surfline's camera quality for most spots is mediocre. The closeup cameras are better for this but what good is it if your watch shows you went 300 yards but the camera only caught the first 20 yards before you end up going off screen? I look at the Surf Sessions feature as icing on the cake so if they get a good one, cool.
So there you have it. The best two "Surfing" watches are powered by Dawn Patrol and Surf Line. Which is best for you? Well, that depends. I'm going to utilize the Benjamin Franklin Approach and list the pros and cons of each.
As I have not yet used the RipCurl Search II, my experience was with their original model. The biggest benefit to the RipCurl Search models is they are made for surfing, period. The watch is not cluttered with a zillion applications and features, just surfing. As I mentioned above, if this watch was smaller (like the new version) and a bit more stylish, I might have been able to wear it out of the water too. The biggest benefit to both Ripcurl models were being able to use them multiple sessions before needing a re-charge. In fact, without using the GPS feature, you could likely go a month before needing a charge. If you surf long wavesw like the above example, every couple of days is needed for charging. Both came with a USB charger which is simple enough. I hated the cheap plastic screen that scratched easily and sure hope the newer model is mineral or sapphire instead. The orignal model had a band that fell apart so hopefully that was also improved.
As you can probably tell, I elected to go with the Apple 4/44m model, even though the Apple Watch 5 just came out. I got tired of changing watches every day when going surfing so I decided to try a watch that I could wear 24/7. Granted, it is nowhere near as stylish as a traditional chronograph but not ugly either. I really don't care about answering calls, reading messages, checking facebook, listening to music, or all the other crap this thing does. I do like to check my heart rate periodically which I can do with the press of one button. Apple let's you choose your own face and complications which is awesome. As you can see, I have Start Surfing, Wind Direction/Speed, temperature, date, heart rate and unread text messages.
So far I see only two downsides to the Apple watches. First, like all iPhones, their batteries suck! I have to charge my Watch every night if I want it to be there when I need it. The other is value. When you buy a Rolex, Breitling, Patek, Audomar Piguet, etc, it's like buying a home. These classic watches are timeless and generally appreciate in value over time. With an Apple watch, think yacht or boat. No matter how nice or well kept, it can only depreciate. How much do you think the Apple Watch 1, 2 or even 3 are worth. It's the exact reason I waited for the Apple 5 watch to come out before buying the 4.
I hope this information helps someone. If you do feel compelled to go out their and get a top of the line classic automatic, I see that Kelly and Breitling just partnered.
Best Surf Watches Article
Corky on Beach hookups
by Corky Carroll
OK, before we get too deep into this let me lay some groundwork here. It was suggested to me by a longtime loyal reader that I do a story on, in his words, how to pick up girls at the beach. This sort of lit up my long dormant imagination with ideas on the way I would have approached this subject a zillion years ago when I was first writing these columns for the Register. The title that sprung to my heard was “A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO SCORING HOT CHICKS AT THE BEACH.” That is the way I would have approached it way back then. But, as we all know, times have changed. RADICALLY. I am pretty sure you can’t say that kind of thing anymore. Yeah, I know I just said it, but only for the purpose of explaining what I am attempting to talk about. The fact is you can’t say much of anything about anything or somebody is gonna get upset. Gone are the days of even the thought of mentioning hot babes in floss string bikinis or even anything close to that. When I first got this suggestion to do this story I figured that the best way to proceed was to get a lot of different opinions. First off, I am old and married and haven’t even thought about this subject in centuries. Yeah, I might have had some moves back in “the day,” but all those moves have, well, moved on. So I posted the idea of this story on my FACEBOOK pages to get comments. And I got tons of them, many warning me that this was gonna be a tricky subject to weigh in on given the current state of political beyond correctness and in this delicate, some would call conservative, medium.
“You can’t use the term ‘chicks’ anymore.” See, I didn’t know that.
“You can’t say ‘pick up’ these days.” Who knew?
“You can’t limit the story to girls, what about girls wanting to meet (I changed “pick up” to meet) dudes?” Should I change dudes to guys? And then this line of thought led to pretty much any kinda person wanting to hook up with any kinda other person, it is 2019. You can’t single out anybody or you will get called a “sexist.” Hey, this is all new ground for me. A learning curve, if you will.
So, after getting schooled in what can or cannot be said in today's media, I still dare to bring you the results of my survey and what might or might not be helpful hints in the event that you might be one of those who are thinking the beach might be a good place to meet somebody new and interesting. It was pointed out that, due to that fact that mostly everybody isn’t wearing a lot of clothes on the beach, it’s a great place to “shop” (not my word) because you can see what’s goin’ on without the camouflage of a pile of clothes covering up the “goods,” (again, not my word). But, let me point out here one important thing. There are people who are just looking for a “hook up.” These are the ones who are the “shoppers.” But, there are also those who are just wanting to meet somebody else and maybe strike up a friendship that might lead to more, or not. Of course, not everybody is even in “the market,” so to speak. One lady pointed out that she has a teenage daughter who goes to the beach and doesn’t need to be a “target for boys.” I see where she is coming from, but then it is probably fair to assume that people are people and people are attracted to other people so that more often than not, and at any location including the beach, there is always gonna be some sort of “looking.” Am I wrong on this? Or are we just not supposed to talk about it anymore?
Anyway, all this what we can say and not say aside, here, at last, are a few popular suggestions on meeting somebody at the beach.
Most popular answer from girls for guys was to offer to teach them to surf. This came in at about five to one over any other suggestion. And they also said to NOT offer to rub sunscreen on them.
Most popular answer from guys to other guys looking to meet girls was to take along a puppy. No, really, this was by far the most posted advice. My immediate reaction was who takes a puppy to the beach? But then, what do I know? They said girls always melt over a puppy.
Most popular suggestion from guys to girls was “just show up.” I have no idea how to address that one.
If I had to venture my best advice on this it would be really pretty simple and cover everybody. Smile and say “hi.” See where it goes from there. I had a pal that would always say, “A few of the right words and “the look” always does the trick.“ But, if you are not sure what a few of the rights words are and have no idea how to do “the look”, just smile and say “hi.” I don’t think you can get into much trouble with that simple opening.
Good luck on this, in case you might be one of those who might find this useful. And I am sorry if I couldn’t give you a bit juicier advice, you might have to consult “Cosmo” for that kind of thing.
Beach Hookups Article
Corky on Surfers Ear Problems
By Corky Carroll
It’s that time of year for my annual visit to the wonderful world of “SURFERS EAR,” the laypersons term for EXOTOSIS. This is a boney growth in the outer ear canal that is very common with surfers in our area, the beauteous Orange County. My super expert on this subject is the leading doctor on the planet, and beyond, on this subject, Dr. Carol Jackson from Newport Beach. I asked Dr. Jackson for an update on what is currently going on with this extremely not fun to have ailment and she sent me the following info:
“I’m often asked about certain notions about exostosis which is known as surfer’s ear. Some are outdated or simply wrong. Exostosis is the ear canal blockage from years of cold water pounding against the ear drum. The benign bony grows begin as small speed bumps then enlarge. Canal occlusion of more than 80% leads to ear plugging and low grade then painful acute infections. It’s preventable by wearing ear plugs in the surf.
Myth: Using isopropyl alcohol ear drops whenever I’m in water will keep my ears healthy.
Wrong. Alcohol is too drying for frequent use. It removes protective skin oils, causes dryness and cracked skin leading to infection.
Myth: Wearing ear plugs when surfing will throw my balance off.
No, although some surfers feel reduced spatial awareness or even mild claustrophobia. However, membrane ear plugs or those with small vents can help and also allow better hearing when worn.
Myth: Having my exostoses removed will make them grow back like weeds.
Incorrect. The growth rate depends on individual susceptibility for which there is a bell curve for individual susceptibility plus cumulative hours of unprotected ear pounding by cold water.
Myth: Once my exostoses are removed, I’ll need them removed again every few years.
Not true. If repeat removals are needed, the exostoses were probably not completely removed. With total removal, particularly with laser, re-growth to needing removal doesn’t occur for fifteen or more years. Wearing ear plugs prevents or arrests exostosis. See an ear specialist, otologist, who uses a microscope for your ear care and can show you your exostosis, canal, and ear drum on a monitor screen. You may request photos of your ear.
Myth: My surfer’s ears didn’t develop until I took up SCUBA diving and wind surfing after 20 years of surfing which I had stopped.
Unlikely. Most patients with exostosis have a substantial surfing history. It’s forcible flushing of cold water against the ear drum that is the strongest stimulus for exostosis formation. Cold air and gentle flow of cold water in the ear are highly unlikely to stimulate large exostoses.
Myth: Ear wax is dirt I should clean with Q-tips or over the counter wax removers.
Wrong. Cerumen is nature’s water-repellent moisturizer over thin ear canal skin. It is protective; like wax on a surfboard. The ear is self-cleaning unless it’s too dry or gets trapped in ear canal irregularities, as with surfer’s ear. Over the counter agents have drying chemicals and can result in ear swelling or flushing wax deeper. I recommend baby or other prescription oils.
Myth: When water won’t come out of my ear, I should use Q-tips or alcohol.
Incorrect. Use an air blow dryer to evaporate the water while preserving the moisturizing oils.
Myth: Exostosis removal requires an incision and scar behind my ear.
No longer true. With the technique I developed and have used for many years, exostoses are completely and safely removed through ear canal incisions which, with local grafts, reduce healing time.
Myth: Surfer’s ear surgery is painful.
No, it usually is not. More than 90% of our patients are comfortable taking Tylenol, ibuprofen or nothing for postoperative discomfort.
Myth: Surfer’s ear causes permanent hearing loss.
Not usually. Plugged hearing that occurs in surfer’s ear is usually temporary and due to retained debris, infection, foreign bodies including sand, exostosis, and swelling. Of course, it can add to other causes of hearing reduction and with advanced exostosis, the column of water forced to the ear drum with falling into waves, can be traumatic, like noise, and add to hearing loss.
Surfers may also have reduced hearing due to hereditary and other factors, noise exposure and age over 60, which is not be improved with exostosis care. With today’s improved technologies, affordable hearing instruments help over 90% of wearers when amplification and improved speech clarity are needed. Many models are rechargeable and can link to TVs or cell phones.
For a baseline or an ear problem if you enjoy surfing or have ear concerns, it’s prudent to see an experienced ear doctor with an office microscope. Also, have a hearing test in a sound-treated booth by an audiologist or hearing professional. If you take care of your ears and health, you could enjoy surf sports into your 80’s and 90’s like some of our patients!”
For contact with Dr. Jackson and more info go to www.myeardoctors.com
Surfers Ear Article