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Gear, Reviews

Review: Topo Designs Daypack

May 11, 2013

Over the years, I’ve bought a lot of backpacks. Everything from full-frame mountaineering packs to overly complicated carryalls. Some of them have had sternum straps and hydration hoses and stretchy side compartments where you’re supposed to put a water bottle – among other accouterments. Honestly, though, I like the simple shit. Something that’s comfortable to carry, easy to access and made in America. I suppose that’s why I’m so taken with the Topo Designs Daypack; a 22-liter backpack made in Colorado from 1000d Cordura. Lined with a coated pack cloth, Topo’s Daypack features natural leather lash tabs, YKK zippers and shoulder straps reinforced with seatbelt webbing.

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I’ve been using this bag for more than six months now. Along with my Topo Designs Duffel, I took it with me to Mexico, Israel and Amsterdam. I’ve packed it full of camera equipment, a 5mm Matuse wetsuit, my MacBook and all kinds of other stuff. The YKK zippers and paracord pulls keep things secure, and the shoulder straps are strong enough I’ve carried shit I probably shouldn’t have. Damn thing has never let me down. It’s at home underneath an airplane seat, or bouncing around in the bed of a pickup truck. It’s the perfect pack. And for just $144, it’s better than anything you’ll buy at REI.

 

Buy your own Topo Daypack.

This review originally appeared on The Peanut Butter Coast

Reviews, Skate

Film Review: Transworld Skateboarding x Perpetual Motion

May 10, 2013

If you’re turning to Transworld, by now you should know that they are one of the few surviving skateboarding magazines. This video is a worthy complement to such a steadfast publication. This is a skateboarder’s skateboarding movie through and through, and it runs an efficient 38 minutes.

If you’re looking for the production value of ‘Sorry’ or even the sophomoric touch of ‘Jump Off A Building’, you’ve come to the wrong place. Perpetual Motion ignores the convolution of skits or muddling set pieces and the result is a straightforward though respectable showcase of its stars. Silas Baxter-Neal, Julian Davidson, Jimmy Carlin, Walker Ryan, Josh Matthews and Tom Remillard turn in solid runs with Carlin and Silas providing the backbone to the piece.

By pulling no punches, it knows what it is and has no delusions of grandeur.

Transworld-perpetual-motion

Notes:
Music in skate movies is generally an added bonus, and in this case it gets a deserved ‘meh’ rating with a shoulder shrug (it lifts off at with the Temptations and limps to the finish from there)… There is a sweet montage of various skaters about halfway through, but, you have to wait until the end credits to see who was involved. So by the time I read Lance Mountain’s name, I was too lazy to rewind and spot the former Bones Brigadier…

Trick of the Flick:
Silas Baxter-Neal’s session as a whole shouldn’t be missed, but at 29 minutes he goes bluntslide to nose-
blunt on a concrete bench. It’s nasty.

Review Haiku:
No frills and it’s short.
Three words spoken throughout it.
Skater’s skate movie.

– Lucas

Reviews, Surf, Surf Reviews

Film Review: Stoked & Broke

April 11, 2013

I was blocks away from my house before my parents realized I was gone. It took less than half an hour for them to find me in a cul-de-sac carrying a backpack filled with cans of SpaghettiO’s and a Swiss Army knife. When you are 7 life is confusing. Sometimes you gotta take to the open road even if you only make it within earshot of home. The young guys from Stoked and Broke seemed to be going through the same motions. However there are a few major differences – Cyrus Sutton and Ryan Burch don’t believe that they are setting out on a journey that will last years, involving multiple pirate battles and concluding with the rescue of Kathy Ireland. But these differences are the aim of Stoked and Broke. The young gents of “Stoked and Broke” are being raised in the Red Bull generation where everything is FUCKING INTENSE!!!!!!; where bigger, faster, louder and richer are most desirable. This type of thinking is now part of the fabric of our society; so, unlike my younger, more imaginative self, Cyrus’ and Ryan’s concerns are legit.

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Herein lies a horrible problem, which I believe, Cyrus and Ryan are trying to cope with: what if you don’t want Vin Diesel to punch you in the face with a fist full of twenties, downing a Four Loko while being scored by the Harlem Shake? What does a 20-something (hell, a 30-something, 40-something…) do when he or she just wants to surf? Spend time with loved ones? Enjoy this fleck of time we call “existence”? Stoked and Broke looks at this question from multiple angles while under the guise of a tongue in cheek surf flick.

In La Jolla beach the boys meet Steve Ferguson, a knee boarder living in a rust eaten VW van. I am aware that that last sentence sounds adventurous and cool… and I am sure it is… until it isn’t. Mr. Ferguson seems to be on hard times – a cautionary tale to the stoked and broke. I am sure that thirty years ago Steve must have looked a lot like Ryan: blonde hair and blue eyes – a kid with a lot of promise. But somewhere in the miles on his VW’s odometer there was a disconnect, a reason for what he calls “not a good situation”. Perhaps he didn’t know how to balance his societal roles with his want of surfing and freedom, much like the Stoked and Broke bros. Of course life isn’t simple enough to link specific causes to specific life events, such as Ferguson’s hardships and his prior decisions, but it is difficult not to think that something similar might be in the future of all of us who would rather ditch our responsibilities and go to the beach.

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So where does a free spirited surfer find his or her place in this fickle world? A heartfelt interview with Richard, a legendary surfer and friend of Ryan and Cyrus, gives us some insight. Richard stresses responsibility and dedication as being the source of happiness and freedom: “Responsibility really gives you freedom in
the end. Irresponsibility puts you in a prison.” A life centered around surfing and happiness is possible as long as you have attainable and fulfilling goals that are achieved through dedication and work. Richard doesn’t seem to measure wealth in dollars but in family, relationships and surfing – a middle ground to the societal

highs and lows Cyrus and Ryan are trying to navigate. I think Richard’s argument is summed up in a quote from Dostoevsky’s Poor Folk: “What good is honor, my dear, if you have nothing to eat?” I believe Richard would say: “What good is freedom, my friend, if you have nothing to surf?“

stoked-n-broke(Adrian Knott)

These two detailed scenes from Stoked and Broke are just small portions of the film. There is some great surfing, some gnarly foam boards and hand planes but I found these scenes and themes to more thought provoking. I could easily have said “cool flick, great surfing” but isn’t our goal to act as a community of surfers? To look after each other and to aid one another in our journey? This is what Cyrus and Ryan are doing with Stoked and Broke – presenting their views of surfing and life to the world, offering their understanding to others. Think of it this way: would we have the thruster without the fish? The fish without the log? The log without the alaia? The knowledge of the old timers has been passed down through generations and then added to and reworked. This knowledge is not just about board shapes, it also includes surfing philosophy and ideology, surfing principles and ethics. Cyrus and Ryan are contributing to this tradition with Stoked and Broke.

O.k., Yankees game is on. Later.
Patrick

Get your copy of Stoked & Broke here.

Reviews, Surf, Surf Reviews

Glove Review: Patagonia R5 Lobster Claws

April 2, 2013

Here in the Pacific Northwest, a good set of gloves is essential to your survival. With water temperatures barely above fifty degrees farenheit, keeping your fingers from freezing is an important part of surfing successfully. I’ve tried all types, everything from 5mm five-fingers to 7mm lobster claws with a spot to wipe your snot. But it wasn’t until I picked up these Patagonia R5 gloves that I found something which was both warm and and easy to wear. Boom!

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I suppose they’re a little snug, but they won’t stop the red stuff from finding your fingers. Made from 7mm neoprene and lined with merino wool, the Gucci gloves feel like they’re half as thick and twice as warm as anything else I’ve worn. A lot like my old lobster claws – three plus one and a thumb – Patagonia’s R5 gloves will make you look like Oswald Cobblepot. But I’ll be damned if my digits don’t stay warm in the winter! Yes, they are expensive, but like most everything, you get what you pay for. Because a good pair of gloves won’t just keep you warm, they’ll let you surf till sunset. So if you’re in the market for a proper pair, pick up some of these here Patagonia gloves.

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J.W.

Justin Coffey is known to enjoy small waves, strong drinks, motorcycles and misbehaving. He’s also the guy that runs Peanut Butter Coast.

Reviews, Surf, Surf Reviews

Film Review: White Caps

February 28, 2013

New York comedian Todd Barry has a dry wit. I love it. He is sarcastic, lethargic and fucking hilarious. Here is a transcribed version of one of my favorite jokes…I’m paraphrasing…

I like the Chipotle Mexican Grill. Every time I bring up the Chipotle Mexican Grill in conversation someone goes “Oh, Chipotle Mexican Grill is delicious. Can you believe it was started by McDonalds?” – I reply “uh, McDonalds is delicious… so, yes I can believe that”. It is the world’s greatest restaurant chain taking a stab at another kind of food and hitting it out of the park…”

This is my sentiment towards Almond’s recently released “Whitecaps”, filmed by Cam Oden and Jack Belli. Almond surfboards, the new name in quality surfboards (and a lasting one, I bet my Hobie on it), takes a stab at making a quality surf flick and hits it out of the park… solidly.

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This isn’t surprising in the least – the film is a straight reflection of the quality of Almond Surfboards: classy, thoughtful, artistic, fashionable and playful. The film is pulled from the oven at the perfect time: no superfluous camera filters, no over production or design – just a well crafted playbook of non-surfing segments that hold your attention then break away before your gills dry out, great tunes, beautiful scenery and of course – gnarly surfing. I wouldn’t expect anything less from Almond.

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The unique color schemes of each segment are modest and extremely tasteful. Griffin Neumann-Kyle’s surfing segment is an overcast grey, adequately reflecting the accompanying slack key guitar, while Cyrus Sutton’s segment is a crisp blue, mirroring the glassy morning session that he is surfing. I am not sure if Almond anticipated these great color juxtapositions but either way I am going to credit ‘em. Very nice work.

Moreover, the film feels light and frisky. The surfing is fun: switching boards, slappin’ high fives. I mean, come on, who doesn’t get jazzed off a well-executed fiver? Whitecaps is the type of film that makes you want to paddle out with your friends, not because of deep green rooms or poised pigs on a planket (new term for “hanging-10”, maybe?) but because these gals and guys look like they are having a ball.

– Patrick

P.S.- Schuyler McFerran: Elle est très adorable.

Reviews, Surf, Surf Reviews

Film Review: The Heart & The Sea

February 17, 2013

So when I was 12 my all-time favorite surf flick was …Lost’s What’s Really Goin’ Wrong, a haphazard, wave & alcohol fueled hour of surf punk with an exorbitant amount of “airs.” Not much substance, not much artistry – just surfing. While watching Nathan Oldfield’s The Heart & The Sea, I couldn’t help thinking how polar opposite my old favorite film and Oldfield’s film are. The Heart & The Sea is so saturated with themes of surfing tradition, family, fashion, and community; it views like Citizen Kane compared to the Van Wilder that is What’s Really Goin’ Wrong (don’t get me wrong, I still love that movie.) Oldfield creates a mellow atmospheric vibe reminiscent of Picaresque but with a traditional and family focused rhetoric, a major shift from typical and straightforward surf flicks. TH&TS flows along easily from boogie boarding families to righteous old dudes shaping boards from scrap wood. The film is solid, the surfing is spectacular but most importantly, the themes of tradition and sustainability are thought provoking.

Oldfield focuses heavily on the idea of tradition through the use of alaia boards. Multiple segments of TH&TS are centered on these wooden gems that are so beautifully designed. Though I did notice the lack of actual surfing that was done with these traditional boards. This fact made me ask myself: when does tradition become outdated? Is swimming after a leash-less wooden board tradition or impractical? At a point in TH&TS a surfer describes his experience with the alaia boards while surfing his way across New Zealand: “People are happy to see that you’re doing something different and it seems to be kind of contagious…” He he continues by saying that people are open to new things in the line-up. But I still have to ask: wouldn’t we still want to apply “new” technologies, such as fins or leashes, and then have them evolve into better, more creative and sustainable boards? It is possible that it is a personal preference, a way to make someone feel like they are in touch with a distant, calmer time. I know that i would like to step out of the automobile laden, ill tempered, fast paced and oppressive city into a past of simplicity.

– Patrick

You can pick up your own copy of The Heart & The Sea, here.

Reviews, Surf, Surf Reviews

Wetsuit Review: Patagonia Men’s Hooded R4 Full Suit

December 10, 2012

I was many things that morning – hungover, half awake and hungry – but what I wasn’t, not even little bit, was cold. It was the second Saturday in October, and the first weekend I felt like it really started to get cold on the coast. There was a northwest wind kicking over the ocean, leaving us with nothing but white capped waves. Shoulda brought some soap and washed my whites ;) But that’s beside the point. This is about staying warm when it’s windy and well below 40 degrees. When a warm shower and a cold beer go hand in hand. And I’ll be damned if my new Patagonia R4, a gift from my ever wonderful wife, didn’t keep me nice and cozy that cold morning on the coast.

The R4 is Patagonia’s warmest wetsuit. Lined with merino wool, it is admittedly cumbersome, but I’ll exert a little extra effort if it means surfing for four hours instead of forty-five minutes. At first glance, the R4 might look a lot like other 5/4 wetsuits you’ve owned over the years. But then you begin to see the subtleties. The front-zip function is unlike others, with the flap folding flat across your chest – letting little to no water in – assuming you have your hood on. And then there’s the single, albeit small, neck opening, into which one must squeeze themselves. But once you’ve learned to drag one side of the suit down around your elbow, to shrug your shoulders and shake that shit off, the in-and-out stuff becomes simple. Sorta.

At the ankles and wrists you’ll notice a thick, tear-resistant material made to withstand the up-and-down action that comes with wearing both boots and gloves in the winter. And then there’s the wool – a white fuzzy lining that leaves a waffle pattern on your extremities after a few hours. It might itch a little, or maybe it just feels like a classic Christmas sweater, but again, I’ll take patterned imprints and a lil’ itch over ice cold arms any day. I’ll be damned if the wool ain’t warm!

And now I’ll talk about the price. Because it’s more than most – but not by much. A hundred dollars? One-fifty? But if that’s what it takes to stay warm in the winter, you can collect my coin. Spent four or maybe five hours surfing that Saturday. In water that won’t get any warmer till June or maybe July. And once you’re passed the price and you’ve sorted out how to slide your self in and out of the suit, you’ll never look back. You’ll wonder why you owned anything else, why you surfed so many short sessions, why you didn’t just spend a little more scratch so you could stay warm.

– Justin Coffey

You can pick up your own Men’s Patagonia R4 Wetsuit, here.

Justin Coffey is known to enjoy small waves, strong drinks, motorcycles and misbehaving. He’s also the guy that runs Peanut Butter Coast.

Reviews, Surf, Surf Reviews

Almond Surfboards & Designs: Surf Thump

December 10, 2012

Back in September, I ordered myself an Almond Surf Thump. It’s a 9’8″ triple-stringer, with slightly hull-like rails, and a glassed on Almond Dee-fin.  It’s not obese…in fact, it’s a little skinner than your standard pig shape. The 9’8″ comes with some wide 23″ hips. The nose is a little wider than a a pig, which I would say lends it a tad more to the log family, than swine. Although at this point I’ve only ridden the board at beach breaks, Dave @ Almond says it performs equally as well on points. It’s an easy paddler (even though I’m out of shape,) easily floats me at 195lbs (I told you I was out of shape,) and turns well from the tail (it’s got a nice ass.)

Dave and the boys at Almond, hand-shape all their boards down in Newport Beach, Ca. They make quality stuff. Modern shapers, crafting some beautiful retro-inspired shapes. If you’re looking to bulk up your quiver, I would suggest checking out the Surf Thump. It’s an all-around nice log that’s sure to get you a beer at the campfire… if you share it with your friends in the line-up.


Jake Zylstra on his Surf Thump (Photo: Cam Oden)


Almond’s team rider; Andy Nieblas, apparently rides a Surf Thump when he competes. (Photo: Cam Oden)


Mine.

Cheers,
– Shawn

 

 

Reviews

Skateboard Review: Punked City Cruiser

October 11, 2012

I like all sorts of skateboards. Long ones, short ones, old ones, weird ones. Anything really. Unfortunately, however, I’m not very good at this activity. I mean, I can push my self along pretty alright, carve down a hill in the dark, or negotiate the shit show that is Alki on a sunny summer day, but I can’t kick-flip the fucking thing, or skate a bowl, or slide down something steep. When I was younger, maybe middle school, I was all about skateboarding. World Industries, Independent, all of that. I had decks and trucks and shoes and Jenco jeans big silly pockets and stickers – so many stickers – but I couldn’t skate. At least not the way I wanted to.

I’ve always been interested in it’s origins, though. Skateboarding that is. Old school shit. Tony Alva. Roller skate stuff. I think I’ve seen ‘Dogtown and Z-Boys’ a dozen times. So when Shawn told me he was going to start selling some 70’s style skateboards on Stoke Harvester – molded plastic planks with big polyurethane wheels – I was all over it.

It’s called the Punked City Cruiser and it’s made by Yocaher Skateboards, a company that’s been in business since 1975. It’s plastic, with a patterned top, kick tail, aluminum trucks and 60mm wheels. It’s 22.5 inches long and roughly six inches wide. As I pushed up and down Alki, my maiden voyage aboard this bitchin 70’s skatecraft, I noticed one thing – how smooth she sails. Maybe it’s them big red rubber wheels. Or maybe it’s that plastic deck that doesn’t send a shock wave back to your bones. I don’t know. It was all kinds of fun, though. And for $80, you can’t beat it.

– Justin Coffey

Justin Coffey is known to enjoy small waves, strong drinks, motorcycles and misbehaving. He’s also the guy that runs Peanut Butter Coast.

You can pick up your own Punked City Cruiser here