Browsing Tag

Alex Swanson


Moving Backwards

January 6, 2013

A quick little trip up the coast of southern California by our friend Alex, from Ten Piggies Over.

Surfers: Trevor Jones, Greg Swanson, Kyle Albers
Camera/Edit: Alex Swanson
Music: ‘It Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’ by Tame Impala

Retro Stoke Harvester

John Wesley x Stoke Harvester

December 29, 2012

Joining Almond, Dewey Weber, and Harbour… is our friend John Wesley. JW hails from Dana Point, California… which is also where he hand shapes his boards. We interviewed John back in July. If you’d like to get to know more about him, you can click here.

We currently have five of John’s shapes available on Stoke Harvester. Each board is priced with a single color, gloss & polish finish. If you’d like all the bells and whistles, shoot us an email. We can hook you up. ;)

– John’s new site
– Photos by A & G Swanson

Interviews, Surf, Surf Interviews

Sea Glide: Greg Swanson

October 15, 2012

Greg is a Costa Mesa born surfer, currently living in San Francisco, Ca. I interviewed Greg’s older brother Alex a few weeks ago. Like Alex, Greg shares a passion for photography, the water… and a variety of surf craft. Greg also joins Mike Black and Doug Mitchel, in our group of surfer/educators.

How long have you been surfing?
My older brother, sister, and I have been going to the beach as kids since I can remember. Eventually we got a surfboard to share (I think I was around 8) and since then we have been surfing, bodysurfing, swimming, and anything else you can do in the ocean.

What is your most memorable moment out in the water?
This is a tough question because it is constantly changing and being replaced by another awesome time in the ocean. The last one I can think of was this past summer when Alex, Natasha, and I went on a rock adventure in Laguna Beach. We jumped, swam, and hiked through rock tunnels, caves, and formations.

What are you riding these days?
All summer I almost solely rode a John Wesley Cali 66’. It is the most responsive single fin log that I have ever ridden. When it gets a little bit bigger and faster I take out my 6’6” Spacepin. After riding my brother’s Spacepin I knew I had to get one for myself so I asked John to make me a mid-length that fits me. That’s all I am surfing now up here in SF for the semester until I head back south in December. I am very much missing my Vampire Hull Ryan Lovelace made me (I can’t wait to surf Santa Barbara points on it again).

What are some of your other interests?
I really love teaching and working with kids. I am currently working on my Education major so I can eventually start working at a school. This summer my brother, Alex, and I started to dive around the coves and reefs in Laguna Beach. I find so much peace out in the water and this just added another element to this. I also love reading older fiction books and short stories while listening to Duke Ellington on my record player. Lastly, God as well as my family bring me so much joy and support in my life, these are fundamental to the person I am.

When did you first become interested in photography?
Looking up to my older brother, Alex, I got interested in photography through him. He had been taking photos of the things we were doing and this idea of documenting the adventures we had was so interesting to me. After meeting up with some dude on craigslist and getting a $90 film minolta I started in my brother’s footsteps. I took photos of what my friends and siblings were doing and eventually it became more surf oriented.

When I was cruising through your albums, the photo below caught my eye. What can you tell us about it.
This came from the first and only true black and white film roll that I have used. My friends and I were just skating around and I wanted to try out this film form Ilford. We went down to Blackies and I found this spot of light that just seemed so cool to me. I still go back to my older film photos and get inspired on this idea of having one shot and making it count.

How’s San Francisco treating you?
San Francisco is pretty dang cool. It is totally different from anywhere that I have lived before (dense, diverse, and weird) but I am really enjoying it. I am so thankful to be able to spend this semester learning about urban life and its effects. I am currently interning at an elementary school that has a majority students that are at risk. While I have only been here for about a month, it has been really eye opening for me. I have also still been able to get my fair share of surfing in. Some really cool people (Beamer and Miles) have been able to keep me updated on the swells, take me surfing, and let me take photos of them surfing.

From your answers so far, I can tell you are quite intelligent. Can you please put this internet meme to rest… How many squares do you see? ;)
Haha I could be totally off but I think 36. It seems like a nice round number.

What’s on the menu for this coming year?
School (for the most part), surfing, adventures, reading, listening to music, taking photos, and spending time with family and friends. My family just got a yellow lab puppy, Adho, that I still have yet to meet so that might be the biggest thing I am looking forward to.

Greg’s Tumblr – Sea Glide

Interviews, Surf, Surf Interviews

Ten Piggies Over: Alex Swanson

September 26, 2012

Alex Swanson is a Newport Beach native, talented photographer, and slave to the wave. If you spend anytime reading online surf porn, than you most likely frequent his blog; Ten Piggies Over. Even if you haven’t been to TPO, you’ve probably still seen his photography. His subjects include John Wesley, Ryan Lovelace, Erin Ashley…and many other talented individuals ingrained in California’s surf community. When Alex isn’t behind the lens, he’s in front of it…and most likely in the water.

How long have you been surfing?
I started surfing when I was 12 years old, with my Dad taking us all down to San O, Bolsa Chica, and Newport Point. We used to pile in his ‘86 Saab hatchback and we would ride these big old, tri-fins; Russell and Line Up boards.

What sparked your interest in photography?
I found a Canon Élan 7e hiding in one of our closets, borrowed (permanently) two of my Dad’s lenses, and just started shooting my friends a ton. I was initially drawn to the side of surfing that wasn’t published in magazines and seen in well-known surf movies.

What are you shooting with?
I currently shoot with a Canon t2i, GoPro Hero2, a Fujifilm Polaroid, and my girlfriend’s old Pentax, and occasionally the Élan 7e. I only own three lenses that I switch intermittently… a 50 mm f 1.8, 28-135 mm, and a 75- 300 mm.

You often post photos of shaper John Wesley…How did you guys come to know each other?
We met in the water at Churches a few years ago, and ran into each other on and off. Right before last summer, when John was starting on his own shapes, we just started shooting a ton and getting all weird together… and it’s been happily ever after since then.

What’s your favorite watercraft these days?
A 6’2” Fish… Single concave, double concave, single bottom, triple concave, stinger channels, to a displacement hull, to a deep vee at the tail. And a 7’5” JW Spacepin  that has pretty much been my primary board for the past year.

Via your blog, I’ve admired your travel over the last year. What’s your next destination?
Yeah, Erica and I decided get out of the country (for the first time) right after graduation, and settled on backpacking trip through the Mediterranean coast of Spain, France, and Italy. We’re hoping our next trip is more of a surf-oriented one, maybe a tropical destination. But for this year, it’ll probably be more local/camping surf trips along the beautiful California coast.

Spent any time surfing in the Pacific Northwest?
I’ve really been limited to the amount of places I surfed to just Southern California, from San Diego up to Santa Barbara, but would really like to get up to some colder water in the near future. I’m really inspired by looking at the Patagonia surf trips up North.

Between Greg, Worm, Wesley and Lovelace…who would you pick to join the X-men, and what power would they have?
I would pick Worm, because she has the appropriate wetsuit… And her power would be to be able to believe that it’s not butter.

What’s on the menu for 2012?
Besides spending the majority of my time with the new love of my life, a yellow lab named Adho… Short for “adho mukha svanasana”. This is a big transition year for me, and everything is up in the air. But I’ll be pursuing a couple of my career goals and hopefully still have the time to shoot and surf!

I’m hoping to get Alex’s brother Greg, up on the site within the next few weeks. He shares similar passions, along with with the Swanson Smile.

Ten Piggies Over
All She Wants is Diamonds – John Wesley’s blog

1. ?
2. Alex Swanson
3. Greg Swanson
4. Erica Burtrum
5. Alex Swanson

Interviews, Surf, Surf Interviews

Surf | Craft: Ryan Lovelace

September 7, 2012

Ryan lovelace is a 206 born surfer & shaper…currently mastering his craft in Santa Barbara, Ca. He was the man behind Point Concept Surf Boards…and is presently shaping under his own name, with Ryan Lovelace Surfcraft. Get to know him more, in our interview below. 

When did you start surfing?
I started surfing when I was young, thought I don’t know the year; my family would go visit my grandparents in hawaii every summer; my only though there was the ocean and how I could get my dad to paddle me and my brother back out for some more waves.  We went every year for a while until my grandparents moved to Arizona (what a contrast………!).  At that point I started surfing in Oregon and Washington whenever I could, though living a few hours away from the ocean and being a full-time ski-bum made that a pretty rare endeavor, though my board stayed in the middle of my room year round and I could never pull my face out of whatever surf-rags I had.

You grew up in Seattle…Any memorable sessions in the Pacific Northwest, you wouldn’t mind sharing?
The first time I experienced REAL offshore wind…stinging sand blowing all the way into the lineup.  It was small but in a beautiful little cove in oregon, set in a national park.  The water was so clear that whole week, like a crystal.  I love cold water for that clarity it has when the conditions come together just right.

When did you start shaping?
I started shaping in 2005, on my 19th birthday.  I had been saving for a new board until a friend told me he had built his own and it had only (HAHAHA) taken him 6 months or so to do it in his garage.  I figured that wasn’t too bad so I got into researching the subject as much as I could, though getting my hands on the materials was the real education.  I got finished with my first board (even hand-foiled the fins out of plywood with a surform…try it sometime…) in just under a week.  It was all I could see…I was possessed.

Out of the Lovelace quiver, what would you say your favorite board is?
I have a number of loves within the quiver of what I build, i find different obsessions with all different types of craft though if I had to single one out…Her name is v.Bowls.  The design has flipped my thought process on it’s head and truly opened my eyes to the unlimited potential that shaping offers as a total mind-f*ck.  Once you thought you knew something it can instantly be flipped on its face and you’ve got a whole new beast…that beast is v.Bowls for me.  Coming into the design has reshaped my entire quiver.

Favorite surfer and/or shaper?
I have a hard time finding favorites of any type in almost anything…I dare you to ask me what my favorite pizza is. I’m pretty well removed from the mainstream of surfing, I don’t pay much attention and theres so much out there that I just could care less about…I stay pretty well holed up in my own little world, so my influences and favorite surfers are all local guys and people I’ve meet through my travels.  Travers Adler comes to mind very quickly.  Trevor Gordon, Dan Malloy, Ari Browne in Byron Bay Australia…he rides a finless board better than anyone else I’ve seen.  He’s got a pretty sweet Zebra costume also, I really like that about him.

In the shaping world, it’s still hard for me to single anyone out; I find my influences there mostly in the way that people carry themselves as humans within the profession and in that its becoming difficult these days to find people that I have deep and true respect for.  Rich Pavel comes to mind as a very unique and special influence of mine, as does Ryan Burch and Cyrus Sutton.  Gregg Tally is a hero for hand shapers and anyone who walks the walk.

When I was cruising through the shop on your website, Vol. 1 caught my eye. Can you tell us about it?
I suppose since day one I’ve always wanted to incorporate art and other people in my work; not really aiming for it I started attracting a lot of amazing people and artists into and around my shop.  Most of it came in the form of photography and as time compounded over the past number of years I’ve collected enough photos and material to crash my computer and fill a few hard drives; things people shoot around my shop, in the water, anywhere.  I put it all together for fun one day and made a book out of a pile of my favorite photos as well as the sketches that I do for my board designs…basically a hand-bound surfboard porno.  I started Vol.1 when I ended Point Concept, my old label.  My work and path within the surf world moves and changes with my whims so I thought it was a good time to start making a definitive collection every year of whats gone on; the best sessions, the most striking images, my influences.  As I collect stuff through the seasons I’ll keep compiling it and making new books to keep track of my progress.

What’s on the menu for 2012?
Hopefully some nice tubes and lots of bottom turns…

I’m heading to australia for my second time this year in a month or so, then going to Bali to shape at Deus Ex Machina.  I’m bringing a pile of friends along with me so it ought to be an unreal adventure…then I’m back home for the surf season and around Santa Barbara we try to stay put when there are waves, so my plan is to keep up with my whims through the season and come up with some new stuff; particularly refining the Rabbits Foot and a few big wave boards for my friends to travel with and carry into some precarious situations.  I can only image what v.Bowls will continue to teach me through the coming season.  Once the swells die down though I’m headed back to Australia to shape, then to Europe again for my yearly ‘tour’ over there; its usually a few weeks of really heavy duty shaping, I come back pretty ripped…my girlfriend likes it.

If you’re in the SF Bay area tonight (9.6.2012), stop by the RVCA gallery on Haight. Ryan recently collaborated with artist Blake Marquis, and will have some boards on display.

Ryan’s Blog
Ryan’s Facebook Page

1. Blake Marquis
2. Morgan Maassen
3&4. Ryan Lovelace
5&6. Alex Swanson

Interviews, Surf, Surf Interviews

Erin Ashley: Badass

August 8, 2012

My introduction to Erin, was actually through the image above. Somewhere along the Facebook timeline I become friends with Alex Swanson. He posted the photo, and I shared it on the Stoke Harvester Facebook page. I was pleased to discover that the surfer in the photo was Erin ‘Worm’ Ashley; surfer, musician, marathon runner, & all around badass.

Is there one session out in the water, that stands out from the others?
It was one of those evening summer sessions where I went surfing Sano with my friend Jeffrey Jones. I was riding a ’68 G&S Stretch (which is one of my favorite old logs to ride). The waves were total rubbish but we were having fun and goofing off. He had just taken a wave so I was sitting on the inside and I took off rode the nose a bit and was doing some silly foot trick when the board spun out right at Jeffrey…splitting his lip open. We spent the next 4 hours at the hospital. He still has a small scar on his mouth… my bad.

How did you get connected with Dano Surfboards?
I don’t remember exactly how, or why I started riding his boards (perhaps that’s a better question for him.) I met him surfing Blackies on these old logs & pigs, and Dano was riding newer versions of those. I really liked what he was into and I suppose he dug what I was doing on the older boards, so we would talk whenever in the water…maybe it just evolved from there.

What are you riding these days?
I usually ride a 9’3 Dano Los Creeper. It’s a double step-deck, hips in back and a 17 1/2″ nose that’s a bit pulled in. I don’t think you could find a more responsive board on the nose or tail. The board completely compliments the way I naturally surf. Besides that …either my hand-plane w/vipers (recently lost to France) or a space pin; which is perfect for ledgy dredgy waves.

Can you tell us a bit about GOGO13?
We’re a band that is an amalgamation of madness, the Aquabats and the B52’s…or so I’ve been told. I play sax and taskmaster. Everyone in the band is incredibly creative and talented outside of the band. Our guitar player is an amazing photographer, and our singer is the art director for the kids show Yo Gabba Gabba. We play for fun and really try to dig deep into the punk ethos,  keeping our live shows raw and spontaneous…sometimes to a fault.

Outside of music & surfing, what are your other passions?
I have a fellow that I’m head over heels for….I have two of the cutest & funniest dogs on earth, and read loads of books. In my real life I make desserts (specifically gelato/sorbetto) at a restaurant in L.A. called Mozza. I’m just trying to soak as much of this thing we call life in.

How many Swansons does it take to screw in a light bulb?
I’d imagine two; one to screw it in and the other to take a photo and blog it. (I kid, I kid)

I gotta ask…how did you come to be known as “Worm?”
The nickname comes from the movie Friday w/Ice cube and Chris Tucker. There’s a drug dealer played by Faizon Love called ‘Big Worm.’ He keeps his hair in curler’s and they call him Big Worm, Big Perm. I have this mop of hair that is curly like ringlets at times so one of my sister’s friend’s starting calling me Worm because of that. People thought it was clever and that was that. I’ve always been a nickname sort of person though…maybe I don’t look enough like an Erin.

What’s on the menu for you, in 2012?
I just got back from France for the Roxy pro. Kassia Meador did a longboard invitational and was kind enough to invite me. It was incredibly rad and I got to meet and hang out with some truly amazing & talented people. We even carried Stephanie Gilmore up the sand when she won her 5th world title. How rad is that? I am just hoping to get some really fun waves this summer, go down to Scorpion Bay, run a marathon in October, and hang out with friends.

Interviews, Surf, Surf Interviews

John Wesley: Surf & Design

July 11, 2012

John Wesley is a 21 year old craftsman, shaping boards out of Dana Point, CA. Founded in 2010, ‘John Wesley Surf & Design’ continues the tradition of hand-shaping fine surfboards, whilst many in the industry have switched to CnC machines.

When did you start shaping?
I started shaping after glassing my friend Dodge’s shapes he was making out of his garage. That was around my last year of high school. I had a unique school schedule that left me with a lot of time to work, surf, and start building surfboards.

What was it like working with Terry Martin?
Terry was amazing, and probably the most encouraging person in the surf industry. When I really started to get some traction, he wanted nothing but the best for me. He instilled the idea that making surfboards can be fun, if you have the right mentality. He taught me to be thankful for having the ability to shape surfboards. That attitude has stayed with me. As a result…I truly enjoy every day I go to work, and I give people the best possible board I can. All of that stems from Terry.

What’s your favorite shape, in the John Wesley quiver?
Hmm…that’s a tough question. I really like both shaping and surfing the Spacepin. On those nice shoulder high off shore days I pretend I’m surfing Tavarau or something. Lately for the small summer combo beach-break stuff, the TFP has been my go to board. It all really depends on what mood I’m in at that point in the day. I always have at least 2 logs around…I’m really trying to keep my surfing balanced.

What would you say makes your boards stand out from the crowd?
Right now I’d say it’s how personal I make each board. I’m at a point in shaping where I have my set models, and a base line for them…but love when customers come to me, and throw out ideas that I really have to think about. I mill them over, then bam… it hits me. I go straight to the shaping room and blend all their ideas together, to make a functional board that’s exactly what they want. I would sum it up by the overall attention to detail I take, in every step of the process. I’m not just making boards that look different; the function and theories behind each board make them what they are.

You mentioned that your girlfriend lives up in the Seattle area…have you surfed in the Pacific Northwest?
No, I’ve never surfed up in the Pacific NW. I have spent time in Vancouver & Victoria. Everything about that area is absolutely beautiful. I’ve heard a bunch of about point breaks hidden away in coves, which I’d love to surf one day. Maybe see and orca go by….I don’t know.

You use a lot of great  shots taken by, or featuring the Swansons. What’s your connection with them?
Yeah…Greg and Alex Swanson are really great kids. They’ve helped me out a lot, in more ways than one. We met up after I left the company I was shaping for. I told them that I wanted to do this for real…and on my own. They were really supportive with everything. I wouldn’t be where I am at without their involvement. It makes everything I do a team effort, and not just me.

How was your recent trip to Portugal?
Portugal was amazing… truly a trip of a lifetime. The waves and the countryside is something out of a book. I personally love Europe, and to be able to go and shape there because of Rui at Magic Quiver Surf shop…was unbelievable. It pretty much made my whole year. I’d like to go back at least twice a year.

What’s on the menu for John Wesley in 2012?
Basically, just keep pushing forward.  To deliver the best possible work we can…with only hand-shaping . There will never be a CnC’ed JW.  With Alex & Greg’s surfing and photography work… and my good friend Brandon doing a lot of design, we have a few projects for summer. Basically the team goal is to keep bettering ourselves in everything we do. We also have a few colabs coming up…

You can check out John’s boards on the JWSD site. Wesley also has a pretty active blog with some great shots of the OC & Newport Beach crew…jazzing the glass.

1. Alex Swanson
2. Christoph Haiderer
3. Greg Swanson