Winter Surfing in Toronto...

I was mentioned, along with a couple of my friends in an article about Winter Surfing in the Great Lakes that was published in the "Toronto Star" last Saturday, 4th March 2017.
The Webcams and Weather Station were also mentioned.
Star
Check out the full article article here
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Fins, Fins and more Fins...

Here are the fins I'm currently using.
On the Unibrow I have a set of Large Jordy Thrusters.
JordyLarge
I have 2 sets of Quads for the Baked Potato.
Controller Seaworthy
A set of Controllers and a set of Seaworthys…
I am also trying out 2 different styles of Nubsters
TMF1 TMF2
The Middle Finger 1 and The Middle Finger 2.
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At Long last...

I eventually got around to mounting the GoPro to my Surfboard. We had a sunny day last Wednesday with smallish waves so I decided to try it out and see if it would remain attached to the board or disappear into the murky depths of Lake Ontario. Having witnessed Josh losing his GoPro at Bond Head during the winter, I was more than a little concerned. Luckily all went well, which was a huge relief. Click on the image to check out the video. The FlyMount and GoPro Adapter I ordered a while ago arrived in the mail this week. This will allow me to mount the camera on the boom and on the tip of the mast on my Windsurfer. Should get some interesting video from those positions. Now we just need a nice sunny, windy day, instead of all this rain...
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A Spring Snowstorm...

After some relatively decent weather, I woke up on Wednesday morning to a Spring Snowstorm. Overnight, the NE winds had kicked up quite a swell and generated some messy, but decent size waves. In the late afternoon, the wind switched to a more Northerly direction and the waves cleaned up nicely. Kristoffer and I headed down to our local break and surfed until dark. The break on the West side of the Gazebo was working for a change, and we scored some nice lefts there. I heard that a couple of guys who surfed "The Cove" got stuck down there, and couldn't make it out until the hill got ploughed...
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Alaia, Surfboard or Submarine...

We had a small swell on Saturday, so I oiled her up, attached a leash, and took her for a swim in the Lake. First off, on the bright side, the Alaia remained in one piece. That is to say, the five pieces of wood that comprise her all stayed together and didn't drift off in different directions. Also, although I had just oiled the deck with Linseed Oil, it was not slippery and I didn't need to use any wax. Paddling was another story. Zero floatation means that you are basically swimming out to the line-up on top of a piece of wood that is 1" thick . Once in position, sitting on the board is also a bit of an adventure as the only part of my body out of the water were my head and shoulders. Paddling, or "Swimming" onto a wave is almost impossible, although I did manage to get two rides almost all the way into the shore by lying prone on the Alaia and pushing off from the bottom of the Lake with my feet. I will have to persevere with this, as the waves were far too small and did not have enough power to properly test things out. Also, being almost completely submerged in ice cold water did not help. I think this will be a lot more fun in the summer...
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A little more Progress...

It's coming along nicely, although a little slowly. Still a little cold to be working outside, sanding the deck and shaping the rails. Don't want to rush, cause once something has been removed, you can't put it back. I tried working on it in the basement, but it's rather messy, so I have given up on that idea. The next step, after I finish shaping and sanding will be to apply several coats of either linseed or tung oil to the wood to ensure that it wont absorb water and become waterlogged. After that, I will be able to try it out on a couple of waves in the Lake. I figure oiling the wood will be better than using Varathane to seal it, as it will allow me to tweak the shape to my liking after I have ridden the board a couple of times. And, if that's no good, there is still the option of mounting the Alaia to a wall in the house...





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A good looking Forecast...

Well, it's been 2 days since I've been in the Lake and already I'm having withdrawal symptoms, but tomorrow's forecast is looking good. The wind is supposed to blow at around 20 knots from the NE and Environment Canada has issued a severe weather bulletin for Southern Ontario. The waves on the Lake are expected to be around 2 metres in height. Toronto is expected to get at least 10 centimetres of snow, beginning Sunday evening and continuing overnight. There is also a winter storm watch in place for Burlington, Oakville and Mississauga. Blowing snow is also expected.
This all sounds very promising, and maybe Gary will eventually get a chance to try out his new 7' 9" Oxbow Surfboard. Here's hoping...
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A Pleasant Surprise...

Yesterday, a Friday in the middle of February, really surprised me. A SW wind generated some small but clean waves on the Lake, and the temperature rose to 10˚C. Almost unheard of for a winter day in Canada. I surfed for a good 1 1/2 hours before the wind turned offshore and flattened out the swell. The wind then switched to the North and blew all last night and today, reaching speeds of 52 knots. The temperature dropped to -6˚C overnight and then it snowed all day today. Back to reality, it really is winter...
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Walking on Water...

We spent last weekend at our friend's cottage on Lake Erie near Peacock Point. It was bitterly cold and he wind blew at around 20 knots from the SW on both Saturday and Sunday, so we sat in front of the fire drinking rum and had a great time. The bag of pine and red cedar shavings from the Alaia made for great kindling. The lake is iced up all the way out to the horizon, first time I have seen it like that. Lots of fun, taking the dogs for a walk, about 1/2 a mile out from the shoreline. As you can see, the swing is still hanging in the tree, but the scenery is a lot different, compared to this picture of us sailing in the summer.
The good news is that it's going to be warm and windy this week, so maybe I will be able to get some surfing in and continue working on the Alaia...
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Shaping the Rails...

After the glue had dried, I took the Alaia out to the garage, and with a jigsaw carefully cut along the outline that I had drawn on the blank. I then drew pencil lines on both the top and bottom of the board 5/8" in from the outside edge. Next, I drew lines on the 1" edge, 3/8" from the top and bottom. When I remove the wood between the lines, that will leave a bevelled rail of 30˚ with a 1/4" flat section in between the lines. After sanding, I should end up with nice rounded rolled rails. After the rails are completed, I will work on sanding the deck smooth, and then sand a concave in the back 1/3 of the board. The Alaia is looking quite nice, the only problem being that it's really too cold to spend much time working outside. My hands were freezing after about 10 minutes of sanding. Looks like I will have to put everything on hold until next week when it's supposed to warm up to a balmy +4˚...

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Alaia Progress...

Moving right along, I borrowed a couple of large clamps and an electric planer from Gary and glued the remaining Cedar planks to the rest of the board. After waiting 4 hours for the glue to set, I removed the clamps. I then traced the outline of the Alaia from a template I had printed out from a BoardCAD program, onto the Cedar blank. I figure the board should end up being around 7'2" x 16 1/2" x 1" when completed. Hopefully it will float in fresh water. Tomorrow I will take the board out to the garage, cut out the shape with a jigsaw, sand the deck, and start shaping the rails. That is if it's not -12˚C outside again...
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My Alaia Project...

After reading a little about the history of surfing, I decided to attempt to build an Alaia. These were the original wooden surfboards used in Hawaii and were made out of Paulownia wood. Of course, this wood is not readily available locally, so a trip to Home Depot resulted in the following: three 8' planks of 5/4 x 6" Red Cedar, two 8' x 1" x 2" strips of Pine and one bottle of Elmer's Ultimate High Performance Glue. This Alaia is going to end up being quite a bit heavier than planned, as Cedar is about twice the weight of Paulownia. I had to rip 1/8" off each side of the Cedar planks on a table saw, as the edges of the planks were slightly rounded. I then glued one pine strip to each side of a Cedar plank and left it to dry overnight. Next I planed the pine strips so that they were flush with the Cedar plank. The remaining Cedar Planks will be glued to the outside edges, resulting in a board which will be 16 1/2" wide. I will have to get hold of a couple of large clamps before proceeding with this step. Anyway, I will document the progress in upcoming entries. Even if I screw this project up completely, I figure the surfboard will still look good hanging on a wall...

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The "Blizzard of Oz"...

Well, the much hyped "Blizzard of Oz" was in fact a bit of a let-down. I woke up this morning expecting to find around 30cm of snow on the driveway but barely had to shovel. Took a walk down to the Lake to check out the surf, but the shoreline is completely iced up and if you did manage to get into the water and paddle out past the floating snowballs, you would never be able to get back to the shore again. Check out the GoPro Video to see what I mean. Pity I had one of my gloved fingers in the foreground of the video, but in future I will try to avoid doing that. Also took a couple of pics which can be viewed here. A little more snow fell this afternoon, but nothing significant...
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Do you think he's "Certifiable"..?

Well, that's what the neighbours were mumbling about on Saturday when they noticed me walking down our street on my way to the Lake carrying a surfboard. They were all out shovelling the snow off their driveways. Admittedly it was a little chilly, -3˚C with a windchill of around -8˚C, but wetsuit technology really has come a long way. I met Kristoffer and Geoff at the Lake, and we spent the better part of 2 hours surfing some pretty decent little waves before calling it quits. They both complained of cold fingers, mine were pretty toasty. Seems that they each were wearing 5mm neoprene gloves, while I had on 7mm neoprene mitts. Goes to show, the more rubber you have on, the better.
Lynn came down and took a couple pics of us, which are available here. That was very nice of her, considering the temperature...
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A Saturday Session...

The South Westerly forecast for Saturday looked good, but when I looked in at my Local Break in the morning it was pretty small. Decided to head East and checked in at Cobourg around 2:30pm. Mushy waves, and not a soul on the Pier except for me and about a thousand seagulls. Piled back into the car and headed for Bond Head. Arrived to find Mike and Rob already in the water. Suited up and enjoyed some really clean lefts for around 1 1/2 hours. A great session, and as Mike put it "Only 3 guys and a couple of chunks of ice in the line-up". What more could you want. Had to drive home in my wetsuit as the zipper iced up. Not nearly as warm as it was in Cuba, but not at all bad for a December in Canada...
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The Torontoist Article...

The Torontoist
I was contacted by Steve Kupferman of "The Torontoist" a couple of weeks ago. He had stumbled across my Web Site while browsing the Origin Surf Forum and expressed interest in doing an article about winter surfing on Lake Ontario. After a telephone conversation to reassure Steve that I was not completely crazy, and a check on the surf forecast we agreed to meet at one of the local spots when the conditions were right. I contacted Mike and Grant from Surf Ontario and we all headed out to the lake. The surf was pretty reasonable, and as usual it was cold and windy. Steve showed up with Miles and Christopher, two photographers from The Torontoist and that was about it. Click on the photo to read the article and see all the photos. Nice to have someone else taking the photos for a change...

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NW Clean Up...

Well, we had 2 great sessions at my "Local Break". On Tuesday, the strong Easterlies generated a decent sized swell. Surfed solo from 3pm until dark, on the East side of the Gazebo. The current was so strong, that it was best to start off on the left of the small pier further east and surf until you ended up at the headland, then walk back to the pier. Better than fighting the current. Some pretty good lefts to be had. Also tried the lefts on the west side of the headland until it got too dark to see.
Dawn Patrol on Wednesday with Kristoffer was pretty good. It was still dark at 6:45am when we got into the water. Overnight the wind had switched to SW and the waves were smaller, but it was fun. Surfed until 8:30am.
Dropped Lynn at work, checked out A-Bay and the Lighthouse, but by that time everything had been blown out by 35 knot NW gales. Looks like we will get some more surf on Friday and Saturday. Now that would be nice...
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Gale Warning in effect...

Looks like this will be an interesting couple of days.
Gale warning in effect.
Today Tonight and Wednesday
Winds
Wind light increasing to east 15 knots near noon and to 25 this afternoon. Wind veering to south 20 overnight then to southwest 20 Wednesday morning. Wind increasing to west 35 near noon Wednesday then diminishing to 25 Wednesday evening.
Today Tonight and Wednesday
Waves
Waves less than 1 metre building to 1 this morning and to 2 early this evening. Waves building to 3 near noon Wednesday.
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Board Design...

cad.jpg
I came across this the other day and figured I should share it.
"BoardCAD is a free, open source CAD-program for surfboards. With the release of version 1.0, modelling has become even easier than before. The new user interface lets the shaper design rocker, outline, and thickness of the board using 2D curves, while still having the possibility to directly edit the generated 3D surfaces. The result is a user-friendly system without any limitations on the design. BoardCAD can read files from aps3000, shape3D, surfcad and akushaper. It exports to STEP, DXF, and STL. Since BoardCAD is written in Java it works on any platform like Windows, Linux, and Mac OS."
I have played around with the program and love it, so what are you waiting for? Download it and design your very own board...
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The Fall...

cold.jpg
Had two decent sessions at Port Union Road this week. On Wednesday with Rye for around 3 hours and yesterday solo for 2 hours. Both were due to the SW winds and the new sandbank that has formed to the right side of the point. The waves are cleaner and are breaking much further out than usual. Another advantage, is that I don't have to drive anywhere, as the waves and the hot tub are within walking distance. I even managed to convince Lynn to take some pictures yesterday, and deliver several Rum and Coke's to the hot tub. So far, this Fall has been excellent, and we are off to Cuba in 30 days. I see a lot more Rum and Coke in my future...
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Wednesday...

I headed down to Ashbridge's Bay in the morning, not really expecting any waves. Figured a little SUP'ing would be in order, but was pleasantly surprised to see Mike and Grant in the water. Jeff and Rob showed up shortly afterwards, the rain and wind stopped, the sun came out and the waves were really glassy. Parking was at a premium as a local elementary school was having some kind of cross country meet at the beach. Lots of fun...
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A Busy Friday...

Well, Friday was a really busy day. Met up with Mike and Grant at 2:00pm at Bluffer's Park. Admired Mike's new Coreban Wood SUP. Tried out the Waterproof Camera in the Lake, Surfed for 4 1/2 hours, broke a toe, and sold my Olympus FE-340 Camera. It's a lot different handling a camera in the water, and gives quite an interesting perspective to the shots. Maybe next time I'll leave the surfboard on the shore so I have just one thing to concentrate on. Pity about the toe, but at least I managed to bend it back to where it was meant to be before it all swelled up...
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Another Lake Erie Trip...

Got a call from Mike saying that the Surf was up on Lake Erie, so we headed back to the same spot that we went to on our previous trip. Strong winds and big waves made for a fun afternoon. I took a break after about an hour and shot some video and a few pictures before getting back into the water. The came out OK, considering the strong wind and the fact that I couldn't stop shivering from the cold. Quite a few surfers, kite boarders and a windsurfer showed up and took advantage of the conditions. Even Ryan, who had driven all the way up from NJ to surf the Lakes was there. Click here for the Pics and Videos. Looking forward to the next trip. Man, that was great...
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Lake Erie...

Got a call from Mike last Friday inviting me to join him and Sonia for an afternoon of surfing at an undisclosed location on Lake Erie. We left Toronto in the Surf Ontario van around 2:00 pm and were in the water around 4:00pm. The wind and waves picked up all afternoon, the water was warm and the surfing was good. Probably around 12 surfers in the water at one stage. We left as the sun was setting. Arrived home at 10:00pm. More pics here. Tons of fun...
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Three days in a row...

Well, this has been a pleasant surprise, waves on the Lake for three days in a row. This almost never happens, especially in the summer, when the water is warmish. After checking out the Lake this morning I rushed home, grabbed my board and wetsuit and headed back down there. I called Jeff, but he was heading up to Meaford with his family, Gary was out somewhere and Grant was working so I went solo. I was in the water for over 2 1/2 hrs and rode some of the biggest Lake waves I have seen in a while. Took a couple of pics post session which you can see here. Nasty ShoreBreak too! I still can't believe it...
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Surf on Saturday...

I checked out the Cove at 9am. Figured it would work on the easterly swell. There was one guy out and not much going on, so I headed home and cycled down to the break at Port Union Road. There was a small left break that lasted for about 2hrs. The water was warm, no wetsuit needed! My photographer managed to get some shots, as her ankle is on the mend. A couple more pics available here. Now that's dedication...
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Bicycle Racks...

Although it's just a 5 minute walk from my house to the Lake, there is a pretty decent break about a mile further west along the waterfront trail. I figured that the quickest way to get there was by bicycle. But how do I get my board there? I tried riding the bike with my surfboard tucked under my left arm, but that was just an accident waiting to happen. So, I figured I needed surfboard racks for the bicycle. Google to the rescue! I stumbled across some Bicycle Rack Plans and after a trip to the local hardware store and 1/2 an hour messing around in the garage I was ready for a test drive. All is well, now we just need some westerly winds to kick up some waves.
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A Board Meeting...

After a call from Kelly I threw the board on the car and headed out to the Point at Cobourg. The waves were small, but the weather was warmer than it has been for a while. Met up with Kelly and Warren for a couple of waves. Enjoyed the sunshine and realized that it's only 32 days before we leave for Cape Hatteras. Better start getting into shape! As usual there are a few more pics available here.
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Boxing Day Surf...

It was unseasonably warm on Boxing Day, a balmy 4 degrees and windy, so I headed down to the Cove to see if anything was going on. Spotted three surfers and a bodyboarder in the water so I took a couple of pics then joined them. A nice surprise seeing Jeff, Neil, Reda and Jon there and pretty good cleanup surf for about 2 hours. A big thanks to Jeff for the additional photos...
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Surf's Up...

After opening presents on Christmas morning, I took a walk through the new Go Station Parking Lot down to the Lake to check out the conditions. Here are a couple of pictures taken before heading out for Turkey Dinner with Janice, Harry and Nicholas...
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Christmas...

I must have been really good this year as Santa brought me an Eddie Aikau 25th Anniversary T-Shirt and a green Christmas. He must have seen me watching the Triple Crown, live on the web. Can’t get luckier than that, can we? The weather is above freezing for now, but we will see how long that lasts for...
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Thanksgiving...

Headed out to Cobourg to see if the strong SW winds had managed to kick up any swell. Arrived at the Pier around 11:30am and the waves were starting to build. Met up with Kelly then checked out a rocky point about a 1/2 mile further east. Back to the Pier and into the water at noon. Surfed until 3:00pm then headed back to Toronto, certainly didn’t want to be late for the “Turkey Dinner” at Janice’s!
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Wednesday Morning...

A fun little wave this morning, although the water temperature has dropped considerably since last weekend. Got to try out the new Xcel suit for the first time, so all was warm and toasty. Must remember to bring a hood, mitts and booties next time! Check out the rest of the pics.

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Ashbridge's Bay

Not a bad little wave yesterday at A-Bay. Lots of Kiters and a couple of other surfers out. Was in the water from around 3:30 pm until 5:00 pm. then had to leave to pick up Lynn from work. Managed another session from 6:00 pm until 7:00 pm, hence the photos. By that time it was really mushy and beginning to get dark. Have almost perfected my one arm paddling technique, and after a lot of experimentation have discovered the correct ratio of Ibuprofen and Rum to get a good night’s rest. Will post some pics later, of the surfing, that is. Things are looking good for Monday and Tuesday, thank goodness fall has arrived and I have a decent wetsuit just waiting to be used.
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Bustin' Down the Door...

Just finished watching Bustin' Down the Door, a surfing movie that follows a group of young Australian and South African surfers, including Shaun Tomson, Wayne "Rabbit" Bartholomew, Ian Cairns, Mark Richards, Michael Tomson and Peter Townend, as they relocate to the outskirts of Hawaii where they find themselves challenged to new heights when controversy stirs with the locals, whom find the newcomers' bravado to be insulting to that of Hawaiian culture, eventually culminate in death threats and assault regarding the very subject of the film.
Interesting to say the least, as I surfed with Shaun and Michael in the late 60s in Durban and remember the “Tomson’s go home” attitude at the Gunston 500. Really worth watching!
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iPhone WebCam Link...

For those of you lucky enough to have an iPhone / iPod Touch or a phone with a web browser, here are the direct streaming links for my webcam.
The first one is from the camcorder and the second from the iSight.
The Sony Camcorder
The iSight Camera
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Pipe Dreams

I’ve just finished reading Pipe Dreams - A Surfers Journey, which is a Kelly Slater biography published in 2003. I borrowed the book from Ryan White (NJ) when he was visiting Ontario a few weeks ago. Pipe Dreams takes you to the not so public side of Kelly Slater and is, in my opinion, a good read. In Pipe Dreams, he shares the stories that have influenced his life and have inspired him to overcome both personal and professional hurdles and achieve his dreams. Well worth buying.
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Ripping it Up

A great time with warm temperatures earlier in the day and winds up to 100km an hour generated a decent swell and sizeable waves on Lake Ontario.
Surfers travelled from as far afield as the New Jersey coast to partake in the fun.
Click on the image to see pictures from a couple of different locations.

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Rocks, Dec 15

Got out for a couple of waves today. The waves were bigger in the morning, but the swell dropped off in the afternoon when I finally got into the water . It got quite glassy at one stage with some nice rights setting up. Took a couple of pictures, there were 2 guys still out when I left.
I hope somebody else took some better shots!


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Rocks, Dec 6

Got out yesterday afternoon at “Rocks” and tried out the new Board and Booties. Feet were pretty toasty for a change and the Board was great. 7 mm mitts and hood kept my other parts warm. It was a balmy -4 degrees! My old Neil Pryde 4/3 that I’ve had for around 12 years felt like I was wearing a straight-jacket. Will have to do something about that next!
There were about 8 guys already in the water when I arrived.
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New Booties

Picked up a pair of 7mm Xcel Infiniti Tek round toe booties from Boardsports yesterday. They look and feel great. Finally, no more cold feet! Thanks guys.


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The Fish

Picked up a gently used Fish from Bob at Fishstick last Sunday. It’s 6’ 2” x 23” x 3” so should be nice and floaty. Took it to Lake Erie for a 3 day vacation last week, but the wind and waves were a no show. Hopefully I will get to try it out this week on Lake Ontario.



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A Fun Day.

A fun session in Lake Ontario yesterday. At one time I counted 20 surfers in the water. Great surfing with some old friends and making some new ones. Check out the great photos taken by Joe Hamilton, who was freezing his ass off while we were having fun. Thanks Joe, we really appreciate it.




Photo courtesy of Joe Hamilton.
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Port Union Road

Surfed for an hour 4pm-5pm. Waves were 3 ft with the occasional bigger set. Tried out the 7' Becker and got half a dozen decent rides, and have come to the following conclusions:

1. Need bigger waves.
2. Must lose 30 lbs.
3. Need a board with more volume. (Are you reading this Bob?)

Had a blast anyway...
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Off to the East Coast

Off to the East Coast for 10 days. We will be based in Fredricton. Plan on whale watching at St. Andrews, surfing near Lawrencetown and visiting "Yarn Shops", as Ravelry has become a bit of an obsession, to say the least! There will also be the compulsory visits to all the craft and quilting shops along the way. Looking forward to the lobster and will be posting pictures on our return.

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Dungeons (Outer Reef)


Looks like it’s going off.
Read the Full Story here.
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SA's Twiggy Baker wins BWA Event.

The Red Bull Big Wave Africa 2008 is over and the official results are in. South Africa's Twiggy Baker has won in 15 to 20 foot waves. The final results are, Twiggy Baker (RSA) in first, Carlos Burle (BRZ) second, Greg Long (USA) third, James Taylor (RSA) fourth, Anthony Tashnick (USA) fifth and Mark Healy (HI) in sixth.
See all the photos here.




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Big Wave Africa

The South African Big Wave Africa Event starts on 24th July 2008 at Dungeons, near Hout Bay.



Local
Ian Armstrong, Grant Baker, Chris Bertish, Mickey Duffus, Sean Holmes, Simon Lowe, Andrew Marr, Charles Reitz, Jason Ribbink, David Smith, James Taylor and John White.
International
Carlos Burle, Ross Clarke-Jones, Mark Healy, Greg Long, Peter Mel, Ramon Navarro, Paul Paterson, Tyler Smith, Jamie Sterling, Anthony Tashnick, Ian Walsh and Grant Washburn.
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