Monday, April 27, 2009

Featured Artist


Kevin aka Manson getting creepy in his Swift Street Studio

You may have noticed the past few years that many top-name surfing professionals such as Jason “Ratboy” Collins, Josh Mulcoy and Matt Rockhold have been riding surfboards with colorful, unique and eye-catching graphics. There’s Ratboy’s custom Stretch with the entire bottom side painted with a cartoonish panarama of surfers busting airs and pulling into tubes at the Santa Cruz harbor. On any given day, Mulcoy might be riding a board with a depiction of a rugged surf landscape in Alaska, complete with a solitary, rubber clad soul surfer pulling into an icy barrel. As Matt Rockhold soars a gigantic aerial over your head, you may have time to notice the eerily realistic picture of a gigantic Grizzly Bear pawing at a salmon in a rushing creek.
The man behind the paint pen is Santa Cruz painter and graphic designer Kevin Walsh. At the tender age of 25, Walsh has established himself as one of the most promising artists in the region. Along with painting graphics on the boards of some of the area’s most well-known pro surfers, he has plied his art onto skateboards, T-shirts and concert posters.

Walsh’s obsession with drawing began at an early age. By age 4, he was drawing waves, picking up on the influence of his father, a gifted painter in his own right who specializes in ocean and nautical scenes. He developed his skill with endless hours of practice and a number of high school art classes.Walsh began painting professionally when he was hired to create surfboard graphics by Bill Reidel from Stretch Surfboards. As soon as local surfers began to see Walsh’s grade-A graphics out in the lineups, the demand for his crazy creations skyrocketed. The hype around his graphics grew and interest in his work expanded into non-surfing-related realms. Eventually, he was hired to create the poster and T-shirt designs for annual Cold Water Classic surf contest at Steamer Lane, as well as concert posters for the likes of Jack Johnson and The Black Eyed Peas.

Walsh credits his father for encouraging him to make a life from creating art.“I’ve always looked up to my dad and his love for art,” Walsh said. “I think it’s definitely rubbed off on me, and he remains my main influence.”Re-occurring themes in Walsh’s art include surfing, rock/pop art, pin-up girls, wildlife, and the old West. He mixes them all together in colorful, surreal dreamscapes, the details of which can leave you staring endlessly, almost mesmerized by their quirky complexity. His style and subject matter resemble bring to mind the works of the legendary Jim Phillips, who earned international fame for his psychedelic concert posters of the ’60s and ’70s.

These days, Kevin is incredibly busy putting the final touches on a concept piece he’s working on for a concert pairing Slightly Stoopid and Snoop Dogg. In addition, he constantly has jobs in the works for companies like Stretch, Screwball Surfboards, O’Neill, Rip Curl, Ladera Skateboards, Another Planet Entertainment, Silverback Management, Mulcoy Incorporated, Gnu Snowboards and Ocean Minded

Ratty's TNT Fishing Stick

Having a custom Walsh paint job on your board can not only increase your visibility in the water, but also elevate your stoke level as well. Jason "Ratboy" Collins, who first met Walsh through Stretch a few years ago, remembers one paint job in particular that will last in his memory forever.

" The whole bottom of the board was a fishing scene. Floating in a little boat were two cartoon depictions of me and (Josh) Loya, throwing sticks of dynamite in the water. Underwater the dynamite is blasting these shocked tuna fish. Pretty classic. My mom actually still has it"

Along with an already solid reputation, Walsh is focused, determined, and incredibly passionate, so it’s no surprise that along with his undisputable talent, there’s a desire that burns deep within in him to show the world what he’s capable of.

“I’m proud of making my dream a reality, which is to surf and paint while make a decent living,” Walsh said. “I’m also fortunate to have all the friends that I have met along the way. I’m stoked with all the success I’ve made so far, but my main concern is living in the moment, loving what I do and getting people stoked at looking at art.”

Thursday, April 23, 2009



In case you didn't know, Nelly is a shreddy skater as well

By Neal Kearney
Across the globe, the city of Santa Cruz is famous as a breeding ground for hardcore skateboarders and progressive surfers. For decades, surfers in the region have been incorporating skate influences in their surfing, and vice versa. In the 70’s, the pool skaters drew heavily on surfing while perfecting their slashing grinds, and in the 90’s Santa Cruz surfers were using a skate inspired approach to push their above the lip antics. As Santa Cruz surfers looked to skateboarders, so did the photographers who shot them. By using pole cameras and fish eye lenses, photographers like Tony Roberts began producing images of the SC air boys that captured their technical, in-your-face, and fins-free style of surfing.Enter Dave Nelson, aka Nelly, Santa Cruz’s current skate inspired photo master. During the past decade, Nelly has been working endlessly to produce the most stunning of images, fueled by a passionate desire to capture surfing’s most extreme moments.Nelly has deep skating roots, and began his photography career shooting skateboarders. The exposure has definitely influenced his photography, as evidenced by his shots of Ratboy’s soaring lien grab airs, or up close views of Adam Replogle charging giant pits. As a water photographer, Nelly’s not afraid to put himself in harms way to get unique visions, and this tactic allows him to be in the right spot at the right time.Being a high profile photographer, Nelly knows the surf industry in and out. From dealing with companies to working with the magazines, he’s highly in tune to the inner workings of the sport, and has accumulated a bounty of knowledge, insight he uses to help the surfers who he works with succeed. Surfshot recently caught up with Nelly for a brief chat to gain some further insight into his world.
1) When did you start taking photo's and how did that come about?.
I started taking photos about 15 years ago. I used to work with a guy named Tony Roberts, and he was like the Santa Cruz Photo guru back in the day. He used to take alot of shots of me skating, and i kind of learned about photography along the way. I owe him everything. When he moved to Costa Rica he really hooked me up. He came by my house with all kinds of old gear and flowed me some of his contacts too. TR you rule!!!!!
2) How has the industry changed from when you started out as a professional photog?
The industry has changed so much, and is constantly changing. All you have to do is pick up an old mag from the 70s or 80s to see how much everything evolves. I mean they had boogie board ads in the front of the mag back then!!! The industry is impossible to break into for new photogs these days unless your name is Pat Stacy or Daniel Russo. Those guys are almost purely water guys, and theyre willing to risk their lives to get the shot!!!
3) Professional photographers these days not only work for surf magazines, but for large surf companies as well. Can you lend any insight into this phenomenon and how its affected your situation?
Nobodys gonna buy a 600mm lens and stand on the beach, and bea able to turn any heads or get a job with one of the mags. The companies all have 1 or 2 photographers on retainer, so you cant sell any ads either.I used to sell ads like crazy, not any more
4) How has the shift to digital changed the game for you personally? Do you ever use film anymore?
I was the last holdout when it came to switching to digital. Im not a fan of computers so i was dreading having to learn all this new software an d everthing else that comes with digital photography. My boss said it was cool and they were happy with what i captured with film. After a while though the breakthroughs with digital were so amazing there was no denying it anymore. it was sharper, and the fact that you can sit in the water for hours shooting without having to swim in and change rolls was very inticing too!!!! I almost never use film anymore, but i will when the situation calls for it.
5) A lot of talented surfer's are losing their sponsors with the faltering economy. What, in your opinion, are good ways for these surfer's to prove themselves in such tough times? .
Times are extremely tough right now. You gotta really want it bad if you want to bea a well paid pro surfer. My advice has always been the same. You need to think ahead, get up at the crack of dawn and get shit done. live eat and breathe surfing. It takes alot of effort if your names not Jamie Obrien or Bruce Irons. The most successful guys i see are the ones who try the hardest and dont let anything get in their way....

Wednesday, April 22, 2009



Chad-Um's pivots through a lenghly lipslide

Sup wich y’all it’s me Chad Underhill

Comin for blood ’cause I can always smell a kill

I won’t quit the wave until I’ve had my fill

Nineteen years old and I’m only getting better still

That tight flow came straight from the buttered mouth piece of up and coming rapper Chad Underhill-Meras. Actually, to tell the truth, Chad’s a surfer, not a rapper. To me, this is unfortunate because it works on so many levels. His moniker might be, for instance, Lil C The Underheezy comin live and direct from the West Side. Player stay up. As fate would have it, however, Chad was born in sleepy Santa Cruz, not cutthroat Compton. This doesn’t mean that he doesn’t floss though. I’ve seen him looking G’d up from the feet up, complete with icy bling and a backwards baseball cap. His steez in the water is pretty funky as well. Growing up watching limber legends like Barney and Flea launching at the Lane, Chad has developed a taste for fins out surfing, constantly on the lookout for a ledges to lip slide. With the support of the West Side and inspiration from good buddies like Nic Lamb and Nat Young, Chad is looking to make his mark in the rap, er I mean surf world in no time.

Question of The Day!


Rodie's on rail surfing and commited power act will surely help his sponsor's sell gear for years to come

Today I caught up with legendary Santa Cruz ripper and ambassador of stoke, Adam Replogle, and asked him today’s question of the day…….. “How do you see the future of the surfing economy?”

AR-”When I think of the future of the surf industry I just go look at the line up on a flat day and it give me hope for the future. Lately, the water has been packed. Not just local contractors out of work but a new group of beginners in their 40’s and 50’s. Tons of them, just go by Cowells on any low tide and you will see what I am talking about. Hopefully, one day when the surfing economy ramps back up, surfing will have some new members to help support the industry, but for now we just need to be stoked we live in Santa Cruz”



Surfing is an incredibly demanding sport. Mentally, it demands patience and focus. Spiritually, it demands dedication and passion. The most important demand placed on all of those who participate, in my opinion, is the extreme physical one’s placed on surfers as they go head-to-head with the unharnessed energy of mother nature with little else than a surfboard and a leash. Other than countless hours in the water and the experience that comes with it, one might think that there is little one can do to prepare themselves for a life of surfing forever. In this weekly Froth Blog, entitled “Surfing Forever”, I will provide readers with a holistic approach to surfing at the top of their game. By looking at particular methods of preparation and maintenance, such as warming up, stretching, strengthening, utilizing a healthy diet, and keeping a an elevated state of mental clarity, this blog is dedicated to sharing ways to improve one’s mental and physical prowess as a surfer. Hopefully, by following this blog, and incorporating it’s findings into your routine, you will be able to maximize your experience in the water, and enjoy a life “Surfing Forever”. Next week, we will be looking at ways in which to loosen up and prepare the body and mind for a good surf in “Surfing Forever” Part 1- Warming Up.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009



Every other week, journalist Neal Kearney will produce a new surf story in his column, The Froth Pit

The Froth has expanded! Froth Father and Santa Cruz local, Neal Kearney, aka NEALDUDE, has just been hired as surf columnist for the Santa Cruz County Sentinel, the area's leading source of local news. Check back every other week for news, interviews, and insight from ND, the Froth Father himself...

Staring into the eye of this ferocious monster, I came to fully understand the reason for its mythic reputation. It towered above me, threatening me with unimaginable force. Its furious advance did little to intimidate me however, for this encounter was my idea.
For years I had studied this Hawaiian behemoth called the Banzai Pipeline, analyzing its characteristics, idolizing those who had successfully tamed this beast. Yet, when I found myself face to face with the monstrosity during a 2004 session, I felt almost at ease, as though watching myself act from the safety of a movie theater seat. The time came for me make my move, and as the beast lifted me up with its giant claws, I took my position and swung my blade.
In any other circumstance my timing would have been perfect, but this time the Pipeline had different ideas.
Grabbing the rail of my board, I was pulled down the face of the giant wave, literally feeling the g-force as I made my descent. With my timing slightly off, I quickly found myself in the one of the worst possible scenarios -- going over the falls at Pipeline. As the wave pitched out, it subsequently launched me into the air, a good 15 feet from the bottom of the wave.
I knew what fate comes to those who fail to harness the unpredictable energy of the Pipeline. Images of the numerous deaths and broken necks of those who have tried, unsuccessfully, flashed through my mind during the three seconds of free fall prior to impact. I looked for a soft place to land, but to my dismay I instead saw submerged coral heads, razor sharp and incredibly uninviting.
Before I knew it, I was doing a pencil dive into a half foot of water. A deadly cascade of churning water followed me, folding me like an accordion. Immeasurable pain shot through my legs, and I knew I had hurt myself badly. As the behemoth pinned me to the craggy reef, powerful blasts of whitewash knocked me about like a child's plaything.
Just when I thought the end was near, I shot to the surface, choking on foam while frantically gasping for air. I looked around, only to find my board in pieces and blood gushing from my shins and feet. Whimpering, I limped up the beach, carrying my broken surfboard in my arms like some shattered remnant of battle.
As I walked up the trail, I looked over my shoulder for one last glance at Pipeline. As though taunting me, a perfect wave barreled flawlessly over the reef, proclaiming its majesty by belching a giant spray out both ends of its gaping innards.
My name is Neal Kearney. I have been surfing my entire life, and my time in the ocean has shaped the man I am today. The lessons the ocean can teach us are infinite. From patience to courage, surfing will test your character, no matter how good you are. These trials and tribulations, such as my experience taking on Pipeline, can teach a person a great deal about himself. In my column, The Froth Pit, I will draw on my lifelong obsession with the ocean, as well as my experiences as a traveling professional surfer, to bring you, the reader, a look into my world of surf.
Neal Kearney and The Froth Pit will appear every other week in the Sentinel. Contact him at

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Industry Notes


For the second year in a row, Stand Up Paddle Surfboarding or SUP, has been invited to supplement the yearly Kiteboarder Magazine event held in Pismo this last weekend. The event allows potential buyers the rare chance to tryKite Surfing and SUP equipment before buying. This lends to 100% buyer confidence and that old saying- satisfaction guaranteed.
Stand Up Paddling has been tagged as the fastest growing water sport recently do it it's low impact/high return core workout qualities. Kiteboarders chase the wind but on those days when Mother nature just doesn't feel like blowing, SUP is a perfect workout replacement. Besides every major Kiteboard equipment company in the world, Extreme Big Air and Kiteboarder Magazine invited SUP manufactures including Global SurfIndustries (GSI), and others to let Kite Surfers try their different boards."It is a perfect complimentary activity to Kite Surfing," says Pacific NorthWest Territory Manager for GSI, Jason Miller. "Like Kiting, you can SUP almost anywhere, lakes, rivers, in the surf. It's actually better to try the first few times without waves in flat water, not only will you have alot more fun but you'll have a faster learning curve if you plan to take into the ocean. If you plan on SUP surfing try to find a small SUP friendly spot that does not have a lot of regular surfers around. Learning to handle these bigger boards in crowded conditions can be very dangerous."
Jason also brought a quiver of regular surfboards from world famous shapers Steve Walden, from Santa Barbara, Greg Webber and Bob McTavish, both from Australia. The one board that you could NOT go without missing was theModern Longboard by Tomas Meyerhoffer from Pacifica. This hour glass, pintail, tri fin looks like something from a science fiction movie. "Everyone who tried it this weekend was blown away, even people who didn't ride it couldn't help but ask what it was!" Jason said, "The performance in the water backs up any attention it gets on land for sure."
The Meyerhoffer is possibly the most radical design innovation in longboarding for a generation. With this ultra-modern take on the traditional longboard world renowned industrial designer Thomas Meyerhofferand Global Surf Industries bring his design excellence into the realm of the everyday surfer, increasing the ultimate experience and propelling surfing into the mainstream consciousness more than ever.
Always in search of ways to increase the experience Thomas Meyerhoffer designs products in the areas of sports, technology and furniture. Hisprevious experimental surfboards have been included in New York's Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum and the Pasadena Museum of California Art,while Outside Magazine has tipped the Meyerhoffer Longboard in 2009 as a surfing product that will blow your mind.'
Each section of the board is optimized for maximum performance, the design evolving into an incredibly complex shape with three different that transition smoothly into each other with its own purified purpose in an organic and seamlessly effective shape. Just like nature itself. The evolution of the Meyerhoffer has been a process of taking away more than adding to traditional forms, enabling Thomas a greater opportunity to shape the board.

The trippy Meyerhoffer

"As a designer I believe in the proportions of nature. If you change a shape in one direction the flow on effect undoubtedly changes it in the other,"said Thomas.
From the wide tail through a minimal waist and into a more classic nose, the design brings short board elements into a longer board to maximize speed and turning, provides paddling ease and high performance nose riding. Every element of the board provides the ability for smooth transition from front to back.
"I want to further explore that indefinable feeling of surfing and I see this same sentiment within Global Surf Industries," he added.
And in their quest to push the boundaries of surfboard design Global Surf Industries has teamed with Thomas for the next chapter in this evolution.The Meyerhoffer once more takes us back to the longboard and beyond the current shape while still encompassing core shortboard philosophies in itsdesign.
"It has always been a goal of mine to help create definite design differentiation in the retail surf industry," said GSI Managing Director Mark Kelly."As a whole, surfboards are very similar and I believe today it is shapes over construction that we need to develop further."
Global Surf Industries is the largest surfboard distributor in the world,distributing to over 50 countries. Mark believes if you were to take 20random boards from the rack at your local surf shop and remove all brand definable markings, most of us would be at a loss trying to differentiate between each. Unless however, included in that collection are the latest Meyerhoffer longboards.
"We are a company for the recreational surfer and I cannot wait to give every surfer out there the opportunity to ride this truly innovative piece of modern design," concluded Mark.
The Meyerhoffer will be marketed under Global Surf Industries Modern Longboards brand. It was officially launched internationally and surfed at this year's Global Surf Industries Noosa Festival of Surfing in Australia earlier this month. The Festival is the largest of its kind in the world. Itran from March 15 - 22, has 1,800 entrants in over a dozen competitions. Italso encompasses the GSI One Design Invitational, where six heats of six invitees surfed 9'2" Meyerhoffer boards for the first time for a place inthe final.
For more information, videos and reviews go to call 1 877 474 6503
BOARD SPECIFICATIONSLENGTH WIDTH THICK rider weight range7'6" 36" / 21 1/2" 2 3/4" <>9'2" 41" / 22" 3" <>
All boards are constructed in GSI's SLX - Super Lightweight Epoxy -technology to ensure maximum responsiveness. We have glassed all boards with white tinted epoxy resin. They have 2 X 6oz layers of fiberglass ondeck and 1 X 4oz bottom with a 6oz patch on the fin area. We give the boards the gloss polish finish and they come 6" or 8" Centre fin and FCS side fins depending on their length.