Friday, October 24, 2008


Cold Water Classic: Local surfers turning up the heat against international field

Neal Kearney - Sentinel Correspondent

SANTA CRUZ -- Santa Cruz experienced some summer-like conditions Thursday during Day 3 of the O'Neill Cold Water Classic. But the warmth of the sun had nothing on the heat brought by local surfers.

Facing a flurry of explosive surfing from a highly skilled international contingency, Santa Cruz's best held its own. Ten local surfers reached the round of 64 either through surfing or seeding, and one has already claimed his spot in the round of 32.

Midtown surfer Jimmy Herrick continued his Cold Water campaign, placing second in his round-of-96 heat Thursday morning. Herrick, who surfed his way through the Local Trials, earned a berth into the round of 64 -- known as the money rounds because contestants are guaranteed to take home at least $700 -- by managing to lock in some significant scores.

"The waves were fun again today, and I was able to pick off a couple good ones," Herrick said.

"All the heats are tight here, so I'm just stoked to keep it going, so stoked to make the money round. Now I'll have some cash to spend when I head to Mexico in a couple weeks!"

Today, Herrick will have to shine, as he faces some stiff competition from Hawaii's Hank Gaskell and South Africa's Nicholas Godfrey.

Locals Josh Mulcoy, Omar Etcheverry, and Randy "The Kid" Bonds also made it through the round of 96, which was completed early in the day.

The first eight heats of money rounds kicked off as well, as the Lane continued to pump with fun surf. Kieran Horn and Bud Freitas were the only two Santa Cruz surfers to surf their round of 64 heats Thursday, with Freitas emerging as the sole survivor. Freitas laced a combination of carving slashes to win his heat in a convincing fashion.

"Local boy Bud Freitas really stepped it up. This event is his time to shine, and it looks like he's starting to put it together," said event commentator and Westside pro Peter Mel. "I know he's struggled in the past, so it's awesome to see him get on a roll with those first two heats. I think this next round [round of 32] will be a crucial. If he overcomes it, I'd say that he could bring it through to the final."

The remaining round of 64 heats begin today, with local surfers Nat Young, Jason Collins, and Noi Kaulukukui looking to start their Cold Water campaigns with a bang. Young and Collins will face up against up fellow local Josh Loya, as well as Huntington Beach's Brandon Guillmette, in a highly anticipated clash in today's first heat, which begins at 8 a.m. For Young, the heat is a chance to surf against local legends whom he has looked up to his whole life.

"I'm amped. The waves are good. I'm stoked that the forecast looks good for tomorrow," Young said. He added he's "really excited to surf against Rat and Loya, which is also cool because it means at least two locals will make it [to the next round]." The heats only get heavier from here on out, especially with international talent flooding the contest.

Surfers like South Africa's Quintin Jones and Australia's Nick Riley won their heats, joining a highly focused force of foreign performers eager to keep the title out of local hands.

Another standout performer Thursday morning was Kauai's Sebastian Zietz. Zietz, who just returned from a three-week stint in Bali, overcame the extreme change in conditions to post the highest single wave score of the event so far. Zietz unleashed a combination of fin-blasting tail drifts and power hacks to rack up the a score of 9.5 out of 10.

Mel said he wasn't surprised by Zietz's performance, noting his ability to excel in good surf.
"It's good to see Sebastian do his thing. He's proved his adeptness in point break surf before, with some great results at waves like Trestles in San Clemente," Mel said. "He's got flair, a knack for finding waves with scoring potential, and just looks really comfortable out there. He's one of my favorites to watch for sure."

Along with the international hotshots and a colorful cast of hometown heroes remaining in the event, a building Northwest swell ensures the weekend will be packed with excitement. Despite increased pressure from this onslaught of aggressive outsiders, it's a good bet the remaining locals will do their best to rise to the occasion and keep the heat on the competition.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Gailen Webb went all out in decorating his windjammer Bar in Aptos bar for... (Dan Coyro/Sentinel)

Little bar of horrors: Aptos's Windjammer features spooky Halloween decor

NEAL KEARNEY - Sentinel Correspondent

Mangled corpses hang limply from nooses. Disfigured demons tower threateningly, baring razor sharp teeth. Wicked witches leer, grasping broom sticks. These are some of the frightening new regulars being spotted lately at the Windjammer Cocktail Lounge in Aptos. And they are just a small sample of the elaborate Halloween-themed decorations that owner Gailen Webb has accumulated over the past six years.

Every October, Webb gets busy unpacking a plethora of over-the-top Halloween displays and decorations from storage. From menacing mutants to ghastly ghouls, Webb has just about every monster and ghost imaginable strung and propped up around the entire space. He's even gone as far as to utilize the building's unique loft feature above the bar, creating a mind-boggling, three-dimensional scene of fright and terror.

"Every year I get to look forward to setting this stuff up. I just get a kick out of it," Webb said proudly. "It all started during my long stint as a sales rep for Anheuser-Busch. Holidays are great times for businesses to offer theme-driven displays to attract customers' interest. I had a lot of fun doing the displays and all that, and once I became the owner of the Windjammer, I carried that enthusiasm over to my bar."

Stepping inside Webb's little bar of horrors, your brain is immediately overloaded with visual stimuli. A dizzying display of lights is strung intricately across the entire place. Your eyes are assailed by the lights, from neon orange to the always creepy black light. The use of the black light is especially effective in the loft display, a Fright Night scene in which the strobing black light illuminates the cob web ridden dead zone full of rotten zombies and grimacing skeletons.

A creature-feature gang of ghouls and monsters are strategically placed to create a jaw-dropping spooky atmosphere. But it doesn't stop there. The bar is chock full of Halloween displays and decorations, such as tombstones, zombie family portraits, and interactive displays, including a cackling, jiggling witch.

"It's gotten to the point that even the people who come in here every day notice something that they hadn't noticed before, and that's what makes it so cool. It's something that just builds on itself and gets more elaborate every year," says Webb, reflecting on what drives him to invest so much time and money every year to outdo his past efforts.

He estimates that he spends up 70 to 80 hours putting the decorations up, and 20 to 30 to take them down. It's a great deal of work, yet Webb knows that he can count on the support of the community, from donations or even input on how to enhance or tweak his elaborate setup.

The Windjammer isn't the only business in the Rancho del Mar shopping center that embraces the Halloween spirit. In fact, the entire complex hosts a Safe Halloween event, in which vendors pass out candy in a safe, friendly environment for the youngsters. The Windjammer also puts on a number of Halloween-inspired events, such as a pumpkin carving contest and costume parties all Halloween weekend.

Longtime Windjammer regular Rhonda Leonardo of Aptos looks forward to seeing what kind of craziness Webb can cook up when Halloween rolls around.

"You can tell that Gailen is really into pleasing his customers. The same also goes for every other time of the year, but Halloween he goes all out," Leonardo said. "It's a real family in here and Gailen truly takes pleasure in showing off his latest finds. He also gives a lot to the kids so it's a pretty neat thing."

Along with hosting a pumpkin carving contest for the kids, the Windjammer is also selling Pumpkin Pin-Ups for $1 or $5 in an effort to help raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

For Webb, seeing people's initial reaction to his spooky bar is the most gratifying part. "It's all about shock and awe, and every year we continue our all out approach and try to make it a little different. It's always hard to beat the year before, but we're always finding ways to outdo ourselves every time Halloween rolls around."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

WQS update- CWC Day 1

Midtown surfer Jimmy Herrick plants a hand as he plans his next move during the second semi final for locals. Herrick advanced and will surf Wednesday


By Neal KearneySentinel Correspondent

SANTA CRUZ — Santa Cruz has become a cauldron of surfing overflowing with talent. With upstarts like Anthony Tashnick and Noi Kaulukukui bubbling up behind legends like Peter Mel and Adam Replogle, there is little room for upward mobility for lesser-known surfers. Sometimes, truly gifted surfers get left in the shadows. The O’Neill Coldwater Classic at Steamer Lane, which began Tuesday under blue skies and highly contestable conditions, is a golden opportunity for such under-rated surfers to put on their “A” game and show the world their stuff. Jimmy Herrick is one of those surfers. Herrick, a 23-year-old Santa Cruz native, has developed a reputation among the Santa Cruz surf community as an amped and ambitious waterman, known to step it up no matter what the ocean throws his way. Although respected, Herrick rarely receives recognition for his efforts, watching on the sidelines as the Santa Cruz elite enjoy high-profile sponsorships and extensive media play.On Tuesday, Herrick seized the spotlight. He moved on in all three heats he surfed, advancing all the way to the round of 128 from the Local Trials. Russell Smith, Nic Lamb and Joe Hutson also advanced into the main event out of the Local Trials — established to thin out the glut of talented Santa Cruz surfers wanting to compete in the contest. By the end of the day, only Russell and Herrick had earned the right to surf today.In his heats, Herrick used his backhand to deliver a blistering assault of off-the-top maneuvers, surfing his waves with vigor in an clearly inspired performance.“Jimmy was really ripping,” said former Cold Water champion Kieran Horn during an afternoon session at Pleasure Point, where he was practicing for his first heat Thursday at Steamer Lane. Horn is a seeded surfer, meaning he earned enough points in other World Qualifying Series events to be placed directly into the round of 64. Like Herrick, Carmel native Johnny Craft made his heat Tuesday, and will continue today in the round of 128, which is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m.“I’ve never seen Jimmy surf like that, it was sick!” Craft said of Herrick. “It’s good to see him blow up like that.”A slew of Santa Cruz shredders successfully advanced through to the round of 128. They proved their familiarity with the waters by negotiating the Lane’s warbly walls and tricky backwash. Among them Ashton Madeley, Josh Loya, Omar Etcheverry, Randy Bonds, TJ Mikus, Brandon Barnes, Josh Mulcoy and Matthew Myers.Throughout the week, other Santa Cruz favorites will join in the fray. Mel, Bud Freitas and the always lethal Jason “Ratboy” Collins will be looking to stamp their authority and return the CWC trophy to local hands. Horn was the last local to win it, doing so in 2003. Last year Jordy Smith of South Africa claimed the CWC title. For Herrick, the challenge is to carry his current consistency through to future heats and stay focused throughout the event. “It’s so hard to make these heats, especially the trials this morning — so many good surfers,” he said. “But I’m psyched to advance and watch some of my friends, like Myers and Mulcoy, do good. I think we feed off each other, and it’s good to see the boys advance.” With a highly talented international field in town to hold the local crew at bay, Herrick has definitely got his work cut out for him. However, if he keeps it up, he just might find himself in contention for a CWC title, and a secure place within Santa Cruz’s surfing lore.Contact Neal Kearney at

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Community Alumni Jimmy Herrick blowing tail
As a youth, founder Jason Miller was like any other surf psyched grommet coming up in the ultra competitive talent pool. He had the desire and determination to make something out of his surfing. Although Miller developed a mean gaff and gained extensive tube knowledge, he found his calling in the sales industry. Around this time Miller launched, a talent agency for young extreme athletes, in which they can promote themselves, creating profiles with pictures and biographical information. Miller created the site because he wished he had something similar when he was a grom. Miller has recently re-vamped the site, and if your a frothing little guy it would be in your best interest to scope it and join ASAP. As a former member, I cannot praise the site enough, as it was a big deal for me as a grub to have my skills recognized on a sick website made just for groms. Check out the site at

Pass The Green!

Hey Chad, Pass the Green! ph.mikeJones Azhiaziam

Even before Sean Penn graced the screens in Fast Times at Ridgemont High as Jeff Spicoli, the zorbed out beach bum, the public's perception of surfer's has been that of stoned, out of touch, out of reach degenerates. In many respects, this view had it's merits. The 1960's and 70's were a time of experimentation and drug use, and surfer's, with their free lifestyles and unique personalities, were no exception. Many surfers of the era, including such big names as Michael Peterson and Cheyne Horan, have admitted to being heavily doped up even at the peak of their career.

It was Spicoli, however, who cemented the stoned out, surf bum image into that of the popular imagination. Since then, most depictions of surfer's in the media have been that of ripped space cadets on a search for munchies, glossy eyed numbskulls whose primary function is to provide comic relief. Such stereotypes have negatively affected hopes for the legitimization of surfing. You know what I say? I say that surfer's should embrace the Cannabis connection. After all, these days Green is in, and companies of every sort are scrambling to incorporate any kind of eco-friendly components into their products. A handful of large surf companies have integrated "Green" or eco-friendly aspects into their marketing campaign (think board shorts made from recycled bottles, etc), and the rest of the industry has taken notice.

Like all fads and crazes, this environmental push started with dedicated individuals, whose motives reflect a deep concern for the preservation of the Earth, not a desire to keep up with the latest movements. For these environmentalists, while this shift to eco-consciousness has been long overdue, it allows them to bring their product to the mainstream. Meet Los Osos, California's Chad Jackson, a year old surfer/shaper who aims to advocate awareness with his eco-friendly, hemp surfboards. Along with his shaping, Chad is an experienced waterman, and he swears by his hemp boards in all conditions, from 2' to 20'. I recently caught up with Chad in his shaping room in Los Osos, to discuss his love for nature, sources of inspiration, and where he plans to take his hemp based surfboard revolution.

Neal-How did you get involved?
Chad-I have always been a nature freak growing up in the beautiful central cal and hawaii, and have had a dream since I was about 17 to link the environmental movement to the surfing world and help change the world at large. I went to Cal Poly SLO for 8 years studying physics and engineering until finally graduating under Earth Sciences, where my professors beat into me the problems our generation will face and how we can solve them with science. I have now committed my life to being a leader in the environmental movement through surfing, traveling and networking.

NK-What kinds of materials are you using and where do they come from?
CJ-I am shaping blanks made from soybean oil and sugarcane oil, biofoam and ice-9 respectively. They are 100% non-petroleum and are getting closer and closer to being equivalent in strength and performance to the old clark foam. A few years ago I linked up with Neftali Espino, a surfer-shaper like myself, and Aaron Carvajal, owner of USHempCo. Nef and I were laminating regular surfboards with hemp cloth we were getting from Aaron. 3 years later, the dust has cleared and I am now grassing non-petrol blanks with hemp cloth and finishing them with a non-petrol resin. The result is the first high performance fully functional eco-board the world has seen. I am partnered up with USHempCo and another company Local, and we are bringing these boards and a whole line of hemp clothing to the market and the surf industry. I have been riding these boards for a year now and I am able to ride the tube as deep as ever and whip airs like I am on a surftech popout.

NK-How does your archaelogy training and interest in Indian life and culture fit in? (maybe somethin about Indians living off the land, using organic materials and such, benefits of hemp etc?)
CJ-I have been doing archeology on the central coast with the Chumash and Salinan Indians for 4 years, a nice escape from the uber-hype of the surf scene. This has definitely cultivated an even stronger connection for me to the land, ocean and culture of indigenous peoples. The link between these cultures and the land and ocean is inseparable. Like the Polynesians and other maritime cultures there is and always has been a fine line between living in harmony and over-exploiting the natural resources of an area. The Native Americans lived by the rule of the seventh generation. It meant that they only harvested the resources of nature to the extent that there would still be ample supply for six more generations into the future ensuring that the seventh generation would enjoy the same bountifulness as the current generation. Ya think George Bush and the powers that be are taking this into consideration? More like fuck the future I'm gonna get mine. There is an inner-sense of comfort you feel when working among old Indian sites. You imagine the same peacefulness that exists in some Asian cultures where every chore is done with utmost care and flow always grateful for the gifts nature provides for us. Also inherent is the remembrance of defeat and conquest of the people and the loss of their way of life. All this motivates me and others to protect and bring back the ways of the Indian and indigenous cultures the world over. Hemp can play a big role in this as many indigenous cultures can grow hemp on their reservations for industrial uses. Hemp can grow on the most impoverished of lands and can reclaim non-fertile soils in a few years. The thousand of uses for the hemp plant, its vigor and its magic make it the number one plant to turn around global warming and replace petro-chemicals with bio-based polymers, fuels, fibers and food.

NK-Where do you plan on taking your board building?
CJ-I am going to continue bringing in new bio-technology as it is perfected and market the boards to the world at large. We are going BIG with this and one thing is myself and my team riders are going to travel and compete and blow minds in and out of the water basically proving that these boards perform identical to petrol boards, so it will be a no-brainer.

NK-How does working with hemp differ from fiberglass?
CJ-A little harder to saturate and sand, but the micro dust is nowhere near as toxic and bad for the user.

NK-What are the benefits of eco-friendly board building?
CJ-Less impact on the respiratory and skin of the user and of course way better for the environment and economy.

NK-What do you see boards being made with say 50 years in the future?
CJ-Full on bio, not one speck of petroleum and possibly surfboards being grown on trees.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Little Shit's

Growing up in the Hater capital of the world, AKA Santa Cruz, one must develop a thick skin a young age. Despite the beautiful landscape and perfect surf, it seems that everyone’s got a chip on their shoulder. Heckles and taunts are as predictable as ice cream headaches around here, and there are countless individuals who would jump at the chance to belittle even their closest of friends. Of those affected, grommets suffer from this hazing the most. Due to their naivety and inability to fight back, there’s little they can do to avoid the wrath of their disgruntled elders.
Now imagine being a grom that also happens to long board. The possibilities for ridicule and torture are endless. Young SC upstart Kyle Jouras doesn’t seem to let such stigma affect him. He’s too psyched on surfing to really give a damn. Over the past few years, Kyle has earned a place in the lineup at Pleasure Point, amazing those who witness his progressive approach to long boarding. His style combines a mix of old school cruising with a dose of spinning and slashing new school maneuvers. Much like the late great Jay Moriarity, Kyle’s positive and respectful attitude supersedes the fact that he happens to long board. Here at Frothschpot, we can’t help but wonder what kind of damage Kyle could dish out if he jumped on a short board. For now however, it seems Kyle is content with the couple extra feet, and the way he’s been ripping lately it’s hard to hold it against him.

What's The Deal?

What’s the deal with this cold water? Last week we were frolicking joyfully in the breakers wearing nothing but our knickers. Now, judging by the way our testicles have retreated into the depths of our stomach’s, it’s safe to say Fall is here. The flurry of chilly, windy weather we’ve been experiencing has done a good job blowing off the top layer of the ocean’s warm water, resulting in a wicked upwelling that has turned the water icy. For us surfers, Fall and the onset of winter are good omens. However, such a drastic change in water temp is a cruel reminder of the extreme nature of winter time. Time to bust out the 5/4/3!

Industry Notes

Sollife news July-August ‘08

This is a bi-monthly newsletter catching you up on the going ons of sollifesurfboards and the worldwide group of characters associated with the brand. Australia, well, winter is made a bold statement this year! A lot of good winter waves around the country but not much on the Goldcoast.Perth team rider Mitch Taylor has been scoring a lot of good waves up and down the west coast. MNM boardriders had their august comp with the Pirie family, Dave,Lance and Calvin all representing sollife with division wins!!! Wollongong sollife team rider CobyNau spent some time getting shacked all over indo, before coming home to Woonona wedges and scoring a perfect 10 in the boardriders!!! Congrats Coby. Coach Bazza Stace reckons Cobys surfing has gone through the roof since he joined the sollife family.We are stoked he is part of it and look forward to big things from Coby over the next few years.
We have just about finished the new factory showroom remodel at our Kirra factory. The new space has some promo pics of sollife riders and a nice board display. We have a lounge area where you can watch vids and talk surfboards. There is also a great display of fins from arcade. A wide range of mal fins as well as fcs replacement helite fins, glass on helites and beautiful polished fiberglass quads and twins for future boxes. So come on in and check it out. Everyone is welcome. The address is 11-13 #3 Ourimbah Rd. Tweed Heads.We are the first factories on your left after you turn down Ourimbah Rd. In Europe, our top intl. team rider and sollife family member Damien Chaudoy has been ripping! He started the ASP euro tour with a couple of 5ths and is one result shy right now of qualifying for the ASP junior world champs in Narrabeen in January!!!Go Damien!!! 1 event left, Damien is only 18 though so he does have two more years in the division. He has also been loving his new epoxy board! Says it is great for airs and fly’s over dead sections!!! Former sollife team rider, and family member for life Che Stang from California was cool enough to take Damien’s boards over to him on his way to three European WQS events. We are hoping to get Che back on sollife sometime very soon. Damien will be surfing in the last junior in Portugal and the 6 star there next month, then home to Reunion island for a family catch up before returning to Australia via Hawaii to train for next season and get fresh boards. He loves snapper and will be out there all summer getting shacked behind the rock. California is the place sollife shaper Scott Crump spent most of July and August scoring some fun but smelly surf and shaping in Oceanside. Sunny Garcia was spotted ripping on his sollife and WQS ripper Nate Yeomens of rusty ordered up a weapon or two. Scott watched the USopen and visited some accounts, shaping a lot of custom boards for the crew there and doing some of our new modern mal models too!Santa Cruz sollife family member Neal Kearney spent most of the northern hemisphere summer scoring barrels in Bali!!! Padang Padang was a fav as was keramas.He scored an epic backhand vert shot at Keramas, we are using it in our new Surfshot(California mag) ad for next month.Neal also scored some pics in the new mondo rad magazine.He writes for the mags as well as blows up in the surf…talented dude! You will be seeing a lot more of sollife in surfshot this coming year.While in California Scott secured a factory partnership for sollife, giving us an awesome place to make boards and service our accounts there. Scott will be spending a lot more time there over the next couple of years pumping up the southern and northern California markets. Brian Tognozzi from Pacifica has been spotted absolutely tearing on a fresh sollife that our nor cal distributor Mike Marshall hooked him up with. B.T. is a big talent coming out of the foggy region…we are amped to have him representing for sollife up there. Ok…that’s the wrap. Keep an eye out for our revamped website. And check out for an interview with shaper scott crump about our new epoxy model board. They go off!!!