14 ~ December 2011
Just received this 400 page Captain Goodvibes book in the mail. It’s simply incredible, that’s all I can say. Here’s the blurb on it and it’s available here.
My Life As A Pork Chop. 1973-1981
Tony Edwards, Edited by Sean Doherty
Captain Goodvibes, the thinking man’s f_ckwit, a lovable abomination, a cartoon pig who became a cult hero to a generation of Australian surfers. Valiantly battling the three-headed Hydra of sobriety, employment and authority, the Pig of Steel took bad taste, substance abuse and pointless revolution out of the gutter and onto the beach, souring young lives and stealing the promise of a bright future from the tiny hands. But The Captain’s story cannot be told without telling the story of his creator, Tony Edwards; an artist, family man, a man of refined sensibilities… and a man who had this horrific creature living inside him.
My Life as a Pork Chop is 400 pages of the very best and very worst of Captain Goodvibes.
The Mullet - A Song of Liberation
07 ~ December 2011
Dave Parmenter - extract from Lost in the Ether interview March 2007
06 ~ December 2011
Andrew: Dave how did you get started?
Dave: From when I started surfing I just always loved surfboards. I rode every kind of board I could get, no matter how shitty. I was in California and it was in the early 70’s, you could get a Hobie 10’2” for $25 bucks, you could still go in and get the transition boards too, like a 7’10” Challenger Micro Vee. All that stuff was floating around, everything under the sun was there at Newport Beach, if you were a little grem you could borrow boards, I just fell in love with surfboards. They’d always give me chicken skin.
Even when I was a professional at the O.P. Pro I’d be sitting up in the bleachers, in that hum drum existence, just watching endless guys surfing the same boards in the same way. And I’d watch because all of the kooks would come out of
Fountain Valley or Downey, they’d walk up and down the beach for miles and they’d just have the most bizarre boards under their arms. Sometimes they would just turn them a certain way, or the shadow would hit it and it’d make it look like something it wasn’t and I used to just trip on that for ever. I would just see things, and it would make me itch to get in the shaping room.
I like bad boards more than good boards; because a lot of the best shapers their boards have gotten so good that the boards are just sterilised, they’re so antiseptic that there’s just nothing there. When you look at a really weird board that came out of a garage ten or twenty years ago and some guy had an idea and no skill, there’s just some weird elements to it that trips your imagination and you think “if I did this, if I refined this,” sometimes the penny just drops.
That’s what drives me to go in the shaping bay every day. It’s almost like that feeling of surf exploring where you never know what’s around the bend, like you can make a mistake or you can decide to take a shortcut and you come up with something that improves your surfing.
Andrew: That part where you get lost in the shaping process, can you explain that? Or is it like surfing - kind of hard to explain?
Dave: I think Fitzy said it best once, “It’s like long distance driving on a familiar road,” you know at night when you’re driving home, you’re listening to the radio, you’re zoning out, you start thinking about other things, or who you’re making the board for and you just get lost. You come out of it just like you’ve come out of a spell. The other thing you’re doing is every step of the way the board is coming together, it’s getting better. It’s nice to do something where you’re seeing progress. If you’re a doctor you just do these tasks and you don’t always see an improvement. But with a surfboard you just see the thing come together. Sometimes during the process you’ll hit a panic point where you do something wrong or you get a ding, or you’ll get a bubble, something kind of wakes you up and you go, “Shit now I gotta deal with this!” you cope with it and you move on and the board still comes out in the wash. And I always liked that feeling of coming into some unexpected problem with the blank, freaking out for a minute, but it ends up coming out.
Andrew: It’s a tough industry to make a living from…
Dave: If you want to freak yourself out sometime and feel like a dinosaur in this day and age, here I am trying to squeeze money out of this thing where I’m making something by hand in a world where that just doesn’t matter anymore. Everything is just stamped out by a cookie cutter somewhere. As well as being a writer in a world where nobody reads anymore, you can really feel like your time has past. Surfboard economics - on paper it seems like if I shape X amount of boards a month and I get this much, then I’ll have this much take home pay. But it never works out. Your bill cycles are every month, but your surfboards and how long you have to wait for them to turn around and get your cash flow going are like three months. Then you give boards to people, shops don’t pay you.
What really pisses you off is you read these magazines where guys don’t have any understanding about surfboard design are getting credit as “Shaper of the Year” where a lot of the boards that the pros ride I could guarantee you if you wanted to do a test - a double blind randomised trial - you could take them all off the shaping machine, finish them and mix the logos, and no one would no the difference. It’s the phycology of the logo, and I’m not going to name names, but when they see that logo, it’s that logo that matters. That comes from pouring money into promotion and being in bed with the magazines.
Andrew: Which gets back to the satisfaction you get when you’re making boards for yourself. There’s so much joy in it.
Dave: It is joyful and every surfer should do it. The blanks are available everywhere, most of the materials you can get at hardware stores and they’re pretty safe materials, they are not really that dangerous. Maybe the acetone is not good, but by in large it is something you can do in a garage by just flipping a bookshelf upside down. Pad the legs and shape a board by lamp -light, with a dust mask. There’s no excuse not to do it - every surfer should do it, they should get in there and shape a surfboard. It’s part of the experience, and it always has been and it’s even easier now, the blanks are fantastic - there’s no reason if you’re a surfer and you consider yourself a real surfer to not go and shape boards for yourself - if for no other reason other than to appreciate what they eventually get when they go back and have an experienced craftsman do it for them.
I would just like to stress to people no matter how bad it turns out it’s going to work. That’s the thing I tell people when I teach them to shape. And there’s no excitement in your life (outside of surfing Waimea for the first time) then getting that board glassed and waxing it up and running out to the surf.
Like Baddy Trealor in Morning of the Earth that whole feeling is it. I still get that when I make a new board and I can’t wait to see if it’s going to be a dud or it’s going to be magic. And there’s nobody in between.
I remember reading Fitzy when I was a kid and he talked about the concept of the ‘Total Surfer’ - a guy that made his own surfboards, he understood all that, he was an international citizen, he travelled around the world and surfed all the places, you transcend being Australian, you’re a world citizen and I kind of like that idea of being the “Total Surfer” - being able to control what is under your feet and having a working knowledge of all the world’s great waves, so if you build boards for people overseas you at least know what they are talking about - that there’s a difference between Mundaka, Bells and Sunset and that would only help your ability. No matter where you are in the world you can hit the ground running with your tools and go into a shaping bay and shape boards for people. That gypsy shaper thing - that always appealed to me.
When you get to a point when you can control the components, well, then, there’s always that next level. You can always keep learning.
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