I was born in Orange County, California on February 3, 1969. The same birth date as my dad. I moved around a lot when I was young between Laguna and nearby cities eventually living with my grandparents in- dare I say it- Arkansas, until I moved back to Laguna with my mom just prior to high school. Parts of Arkansas are pretty rad; if it had surf, I could definitely live there.
I got my first surfboard for my 16th birthday from my dad. Funny, I think he regretted that decision for a while but I think he has come around now(haha). Hard to believe I have been surfing for 25 years now, time goes fast. In the beginning of 2009, I stumbled upon a video online of guys riding Alaia boards at Noosa in Australia. I instantly wanted one, so my friend & local artist Walter Viszolay helped me shape one out of Paulownia wood that I got from Jon Wegener.
At first my friends thought I was crazy to be riding the Alaia when the waves were good. I can’t tell you how many times I heard “What are you doing on that thing, go get your real board”! Now that I am getting better rides, they understand my stoke. Especially on smaller glassy days, when finned-boards just lag & I am flying down the line on my alaia. It brings back what is fun in surfing to me. In this stage of my surfing life, having fun is the goal. Although I enjoy riding all types of boards, Alaias get me the most excited by far. I gain the most pure feeling of surfing I have ever felt. I know it sounds cheesy but I don’t know how else to say it. It is the fastest board I have ever ridden. You get the feeling of glide that you just don’t get on a “standard” surfboard – shortboard or longboard. I usually have more fun riding my alaia on a 3 foot day than on my regular surfboard a 6 foot day.
Grape’s composite Alaia is totally different from the O.G. Hawaiian wood model. First off, it floats WAY better than a wood model; allowing more efficient paddling. Although I still enjoy making & riding wood alaias, it takes way more energy to paddle & surf them. I catch myself riding Grape alaias most of the time. I think Grape’s re-invention will help boost any surfers alaia experience, without the initial frustration.
My favorite surf-spot is Brooks Street- of course. The uniqueness of the boils, ledges, & quirky sections grow on you. The downside is that it only breaks in the summer. I also have a favorite spot in mainland Mexico that I cannot name. Other than surfing, I have other pretty interesting hobbies. I like taking road trips in the Southwest looking for ghost towns, doing family stuff- such as entertaining my daughter Finley- which takes lots of energy. Other than that, I’m a fan of anything involved in the ocean- body-surfing, stand up paddling, etc.