And we're back!
I’m starting to realize these quarterly updates aren’t exactly quarterly…things get so busy on tour it’s tricky to keep up. Once the tour season comes around, I tend to shift all of my focus into that direction. That usually happens about one month before the first event kicks off. Since it has been Pipeline that last few years, it gives me the opportunity to prepare at home for a good stretch of time.
Lately, my excitement has been around really tuning in my equipment. Boards, fins, etc. I’m trying a lot of different things, and understanding why they work the way that they do. I’ve been working on the Red Tiger quite a bit with Pyzel. That has been a fun process, finding a board that performs well in average waves. I’m glad that we got to put that theory to the test at Bells, during finals day at Winki Pop. I rode the Red Tiger in all of my heats that day. We went through quite a few different iterations of the design, changed some minor things and some major things. I really love where it landed, and it sounds like others are responding well, too.
I’ve also been working on 4 different models of fins with the Futures team. The process actually started about 3-4 years ago, and we’ve gone through around 30 iterations of fin. I took a lot of time to focus on it during the offseason this year. We haven’t named them yet, so for now we’re referring to them as ‘small wave’, ‘comp’, ‘pipe’, and ‘big wave’. My goal is to make the name of each fin simple, so that people know what I’m riding in different conditions. Anyways, the comp fin is finished. We are switching to a fin build with more carbon, so that we can have more control in the building process. It’s pretty cool how we can adjust flex depending on how much carbon is used or the direction the carbon gets put down. The carbon fiber fins are so light and strong, so we’re constantly tweaking things to match the feel of the fiberglass. The pipe fin is pretty much done. It’s insane. I ride that in bigger waves where the wave provides most of the speed. We’re in a pretty good spot with the small wave fin, that one should be hitting the market soon.
Happy to say that my boards and fins have been feeling great during this first stretch of competition.
From a Florence perspective,
I’ve been testing tons of new products that I’m excited for you all to try. A big one for me was the updated hooded rashguard. We shifted to a new material along with some new features. This piece exceeded all of my expectations. If you haven’t grabbed one yet, I definitely recommend it. Our new puffer jackets are great, too. We’ve made some big improvements that I’m proud of. I’m looking forward to that piece being available to all. Lastly, the new Cordura board shorts are awesome. My hope is that these shorts are the longest lasting boardshort on the market, to complement their comfortability.
Okay, that's a good overview, now I'll take it month by month to put us on track for more regular quarterly updates. I’m laughing as I type this. Life, like most things, tends to be cyclical. After a successful run at Haleiwa, my brothers dove into the digital Triple Crown event, so I was surfing with them a bunch. That kind of rounded out the calendar year.
I went up into the Ko’olau’s again for a backpacking adventure. Our crew took a different route this time. We didn’t cover the same amount of distance either, since this route offered a lot of sketchy drops on either side of us. So we took it slow but had a great time. Once I made it back home, I turned my focus to the Pipe event. Like I described before, I really tend to lock in ahead of the season. I was surfing Pipe a ton, training, and working on my nutrition. The event was fun, it's always insane to surf Pipe with just one or two other people out. We had some tricky conditions on finals day, but I always enjoy those types of heats.
After the Hawaii events, lots of preparation for a big stint on the road. I left home pretty quickly after the Sunset event. Lauryn, Erik and I have been on the road since Feb 20th! Looks like we’ll arrive home by May 1st (definitely excited to spend a bit of time at home and be in my routine - working on the farm, product testing, training). So, our trip to Portugal went smoothly. That jetlag is always crazy from Hawaii. I’d say that Portugal is fairly wave rich. This year our timing was slightly off and we had a lot of stormy conditions. It was tricky finding waves most of the event period and trip. The Portugal event used to happen around October. The temperature difference between October and February is crazy!!! It’s so cold at that time. I find it hard to adjust to the cold and the time zone. It’s funny, after all these years traveling you still forget those things.
Outside of the event, we got to do some great product testing in cold weather. The new Off Grid Fleece half zip is my favorite layering piece we have. Next up, we were all glad to head over to the Gold Coast during our small break between Portugal and Bells. It was nice to be in warm weather. I had the opportunity to hang with some Florence members at Surfboard Empire, and talk about some products along with the new Red Tiger and White Tiger models. Lots of surf and sunshine. Greenmount area was a lot of fun, we kind of scored. We took off to Bells around the 27th.
Back to the cold! I love going to Bells. That whole area just has a good feeling around it. Fun waves, good food, and great community. While the forecast was tricky, we ended up getting fun waves. I really enjoyed that event, it’s a lot of fun for me to continue learning different ways of competing in different conditions. Everything was feeling great - boards, body, mind. Between event days, we played back yard golf daily. We get to stay on a cool property that has a lot of space and animals. Off to WA now, and the forecast looks really good! One of my favorite places on earth…looking forward to our trip over there.
Thanks for tuning in!