Thursday, January 21, 2010

ben travelling

I flew to Orlando a week ago to check out Surf Expo in Orlando*.

On Thursday I got a chance to meet and hang out with 17 year old Kai Lenny. Kai is a Naish team rider and is one of Maui's up and coming young waterman. He is totally stoked and he seems like a good kid . When Kai calls up his "friends" to go play he calls Robby (Naish) or Laird (Hamilton). How cool is that? Maybe if I had Robby or Laird as playmates I could really learn to surf and windsurf too. Anyway, it was a lot of fun and a real treat to spend some time with Kai. I wish him all the best in the future.

I also met with Steve Walden and Brandy from Walden Surfboards. Brandy is a sweetheart and Steve is celebrating his 45th year of shaping boards. It is hard not to be in awe of someone with so much surfing history and I appreciate Steve taking the time to show me and talk about his boards.
Tom Price drove up from Melbourne on Friday to spend the day at the show with me. Tom is an avid surfer and it was good to get his opinions on all the different boards. We started the morning in the R&D booth talking to local Florida shaper Chris Birch. We have one of his boards in the shop, so it was nice to meet him in person. Chris has a great reputation for his shapes, but after seeing some of his paint jobs and pin line work, he is completely underrated as an artist.

Chris Birch Art

Look for more of Steve Walden's and Chris Birch's boards in the shop this summer. At noon Tom and I went to a seminar hosted by Shaun Tomson tracing the history of modern surfboard design. I'm such a bad surfer, and all of these guy's are so good. It is unbelievable to be in the same building with all of these great and future surfing legends. I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy!

Shaun Tomson

After the show I went south to Melbourne to spend a couple of days with Tom and his family. The Saturday surf forecast was so-so and the winds were supposed to build later in the morning. We got going early, I slammed a cup of coffee, and a bagel, we headed just down the street to surf.
Tom let me use his beautiful 9'6" Hawaiian Salt Step-Deck board out of Ricky Carroll's R&D shop.
The shore break was pounding. Tom and his son Dane were on their small boards and punched on out. Me.... I just got punched. Tom surfed in and paddled his longboard out for me. He said he didn't want me to get "thumped", but I really think he was more worried about his board more than me! Once through the whitewater I paddled on out and even managed to catch a couple of waves. My pop ups are bad on a good day, and with my bad back they were exceptionally ugly. It was still fun to be in the ocean in January. Tom and Dane ripped. I guess it helps when you get to surf all of the time.

Tom's 9'6" and Shorebreak from hell

After the surf session we went toward Sebastian to the Marsh Landing Restaurant and ate Gator and Catfish. After lunch, we went looking for Manatees and then visited Mel Fisher' Treasure Museum and looked at some recovered booty from sunken ships. Surfing, gators, manatees and sunken treasure, the true Florida tour.


Another early surf session Sunday. This time I managed to get out under my own power without getting munched and even got a couple of rides. Once again Tom and Dane ripped it up.

Tom & Dane check out the surf

*When the truth be known the real reason I went to Florida was not surf expo, and not to go surfing, but that I had run out of Da kine Diego's hot sauce and needed to restock! After surfing on Sunday we rounded up the rest of Tom's tribe and drove up to Satellite and stuffed ourselves with Da Kine Diego's Insane Burritos and then I was able to leave Florida fat and happy with a new stock of sauce.

Love Da kine Style

Monday I made a token appearance at the shop, and then Sarah and I left for Mountain Creek in NJ to meet with our Burton rep and preview the new 2011 boards and clothing. We arrived at the mountain around 6, and were on the snow shortly thereafter and rode until closing at 9.
We spent most of the day Tuesday looking at the gear, but we did get a couple more hours on the snow after work. I had wanted to be on the road by 8, but we took a few extra runs and didn't get rolling until a little after 9. Oops! Rolled into Annapolis a little after 1:30 in the morning.

2011 Burton

Orlando, Melbourne, Annapolis, New Jersey, Kai, Steve, Brandy, Chris, Tom, Dane, Da Kine's, Manatees and Gators
.......What a long strange trip its been. Glad to be home. Can't wait to go again!

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