Robert Parker in Bali

Robert Parker in Bali
blog contributor Robert Parker Surfing Bali

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Brief Break from the Florida Summer Doldrums!

Up close and personal with a waterproof Pentax.  A freak day of small, but nice waves during the summer.
Florida has the most hit and miss surf ever!  Having been born and raised in Redondo Beach, I'm just not used to this.  And even Lake Tahoe, where I lived for the past 35 years, has more surf than the flattest summer days at Juno Beach.

But...every once in a while there pops up a storm (or small hurricane) out in the Caribbean or maybe something up in the northern waters that creates "wind slop" conditions even in the summer.  So it was last week for about 4 days straight.  Now I was having some trouble with this stuff because the intervals on wind slop are like 5 seconds.  So I struggle on these mushy, fat waves that can also be very powerful, and come one right after another.  It makes one realize why Florida surfer Kelly Slater is so damn tough- you gotta be to ride this stuff that pumps best off hurricanes.

I caught a few, got smashed more than I rode, so I came in. But John did a great 2 hour + session and as the tide started making the change from low into high, we traded the boards for body surfing.  But then we see this set of little barrels forming off the sand bar- great shape, nice and hollow, about chest to head high.  John goes back for the board and I go for the Pentax II- GM water camera, because its shallow enough to stand and play photographer.  I like this camera OK, comes with a float strap and it is indeed waterproof.  Its just hard to use as you can't really see in the big screen viewfinder in the sun so there's a lot of point and shoot and hope you get the shot.  Coupled with doing it right where the wave is breaking and I was amazed to get this great shot (above) of John in a freak, summer, Florida barrel.

The board is a MickMiller custom.  6'4", 2 7/8" thick, 21 5/8" wide, "Mutant" shape set up this day as a quad fin, (can do 5).
"Mutant series of board design.  It is beyond a fun shape. More radical fun" says John.  Importantly, the uniqueness of the shape gives the older surfer an advantage in both catching and riding the wave.  John had this idea of a longboard design made short, with crowned deck with rolled rails, tapered throughout the nose and tail. On the bottom its a continuous concave to a V off the tail.  The quad works best for thrust and control. He rides a 7'2" in the same shape all the time, that we call the Thumper. So he had Mickey make him another.  But shorter.  Before its final top coat, John had me do a "Thing" fist and comic book "pow" on the bottom as well as change Mickey's M on the front into "Mutant".  Oil based Sharpies, BTW. These pics at bottom are last January when he got the board and show the shape nicely.

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