Saturday, April 2, 2011

... A Surf Comedy

What else are you going to do on a flat day?
Corpus Christi surfers Shawn Miller know how to keep the stoke alive.

Shot in the summer of 2009 as a comedy skit for the web show "Off the Lip" this video was totally improvised during a flat stretch. Check it out...

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Good Start but Not Enough...

On Saturday March 26, Corpus Christi held a Glass Recycling Event at the Walmart at Everhart and SPID. The event yeilded over 10 tons of glass to recycle. According to the local newsThe City of Corpus Christi discontinued glass recycling in 2005 because there was no market for it. Recently, the Corpus Christi Clean City Advisory Committee took a vote to organize a collection event. These events are to take place quarterly.

But was this event enough?

In my opinion, Texas needs to seriously consider and implement the Texas Bottle Bill. This bill would establish a refund/deposit program that would significantly reduce the amount of glass, plastic, and cans that are left on our beaches and in our water.
Imagine, with economic times as hard as they are, how clean our beaches, roadways, bays, and landscape would be if you were refunded 5 cents for every bottle...

Read about the Texas Bottle Bill HERE

Friday, March 25, 2011

Adventure is Half the Fun...

Photo - Joe Vulgamore
When I first started surfing, I was drawn to much more than just waves. There was a spirit that came with surfing that was beyond description. It had partly to do with a more laid-back, island type lifestyle, but what attracted me the most was the aspect of adventure.

From the sweatshop that I called work, I would log on to my favorite surf forecast in hopes of seeing the potential for swell on my days off. Each night I would go into the garage and re-pack my surf bag, double and triple checking to make sure all of my gear was in it's handy locations. Hours would be spent on the internet looking at terrain maps and shore contours, trying to decide where the surf might best offer a couple of surf-starved adventurers an uncrowded wave or two.

The entire week would build with anticipation, leaving me feeling like a kid on Christmas Eve. The night prior to the trip I would stuff myself with a healthy dinner, then load the ice chest with beer, water, and sustenance  for the coming trek, then fade off to sleep with the sounds of my favorite surf movie in the background.
The next morning I would usually wake just before the alarm to the smell of hot coffee that my wife would set the night before. A quick look out the window would remind me that sunrise was still two hours away.
I would load my truck, checking twice to make sure I had everything, and then off I'd go... anxious to meet with a couple of good friends for a day of waves.

Then, I made a big mistake.

I enjoyed surfing and my lifestyle so much that I thought it would be a great idea to start a business centered on surfing. I never had plans to make a fortune off surfing, but I thought it'd be great to make a living doing what I love. So I parlayed my photography skills and my journalism background into a surf magazine. At the time, Texas had no magazine or surf media, so I thought, "What the hell..."

During the time that I was publishing Texas Gulf Coast Surfing Magazine, going to the beach every day became more of a chore than a luxury. It was great at first. I got to see my friends everyday, shoot photographs of all the sickest local talent. I got to hang out in the surf shops and frequent the contests, and it was fun... for awhile. Unbeknown to me, the surf scene was no longer about the spirit of the ocean, somehow the business took over the stoke. Suddenly, I felt like I was playing hooky if I paddled out to surf. If I wasn't on the pier, or jetty, or the open beach with a camera in my hand, then I was slacking. The biggest problem was that I didn't even notice... all I cared about was getting the next issue out. I had quit taking the time to enjoy what the ocean had to offer.

Economic factors caused me to cease production of Texas Gulf Coast Surfing Magazine. It was heart-breaking, and financially devastating for me on a personal level. So I retreated. I put surfing on the back burner and decided to try to enjoy everything else that the ocean can deliver to us.

Body surfing has become a focal point for me lately... maybe it is because it is pure. I don't really know. But in the past few months since the magazine was shut down, I have found myself longing for the adventure that has eluded me for a long time. It has reminded me that the adventure is half the fun.

So now, I have set out on a personal quest to rediscover my love for the ocean. I now set out to experience as many waves as possible, whether it be on a longboard, boogie board, or feeling the sweet caress of the wave while body surfing.

I set my sights not only on the waves, but also on the adventure.

Come Hell or High Water...

Scheduled for a Fall 2011 release, Woodshed Films has released a trailer for their new movie, Come Hell or High Water. This full-length movie features surfing in it's purest form. A movie dedicated to body surfing has my senses tingling. What could be more soulful than that?

Keith Malloy and Woodshed Films always seem to capture the essence of the ocean with their inspirational flicks. I would imagine that this is no different. I love all of the underwater videography in this one... some sick body surfing as well.

Check out the trailer below...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Morning Coffee...

Photo - Joe Vulgamore
Yesterday morning, I awoke with my usual urge to head to the beach. Stopped off for a cup of coffee and then proceeded to check the usual surf spots.
Unfortunately, the waves had different plans and decided not to show up for our predetermined rendezvous. In light of this I decided to cruise around and see a little of North Padre's scenery.

I snapped off the above photo near the Yacht Club.

I just love how the houses along the canals lead right down to the boat docks in the photo below... I want to do a photo-essay on these canals. They are really beautiful at night when all the homes and docks are lit up. Can't wait to snap a few of those!

Photo - Joe Vulgamore

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Handplane Project Pt. 4 ...

Top deck from the nose
Well, the project is almost complete.

I finished sanding, going from 60 grit, stepping down to 120, then 220, and finally topping it off with a fine 300 grit sanding. Gave it a good rub down with the linseed oil and now all thats left is a test drive. We have waves this week so I'll get down and give it a go real soon.

Be sure to check out the pics below...


Bottom from the nose



Saturday, March 12, 2011

Handplane Project Pt. 3...

I have found a great joy in shaping this handplane.

As I stated in Pt. 2, I am shaping this piece completely and totally without the use of electricity. That means using hand tools to shave away at the plank until the wood shows us the shape that was hidden away inside.

I have come to the realization that, as I shave away the layers, the wood looks fresh, virgin, and new. It is a great metaphor for the rehabilitative effects that I have enjoyed from the start of this project.
With each layer that is removed, it feels as if I have scraped away a layer of old, crusty sin that has plagued my soul for so long. It feels as if I am exposing my spirit to the glory of God.

It feels good.

 Okay... enough of the metaphysical, spiritual guru stuff and back to the project.

In this phase, I have built the rail and begun to shape in the rocker, bevels, and contours for the bottom. I used various wood carving files, heavy grit sandpaper and a keyhole saw to cut the hand hold.

Next I will dome the deck and work a little more on the rocker before the process of sanding begins.

Stay tuned for the next update!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Handplane Project Pt. 2...

My handplane project is well underway. In Step 1, I used a jigsaw to cut the rough outline of the plane for my blank, and now it is ready for shaping.

I have had many thoughts on how to go about achieving the desired shapes and contours. A power sander comes to mind, but I think I'm going to go green on this one and do it all by hand.

"Why?" you ask?

The answer is simple... Bodysurfing is the purest form of wave-riding. With bodysurfing you are at one with the wave. With regular surfing, the board still creates a separation between us and the water. It sometimes gives a feeling that the wave is against us. Not so with bodysurfing.

Anyway... back to the project... There are several reasons why I'm doing it by hand. Shaping the wood by hand allows me to be at one with nature, putting care and love into the wood. Also, it is a green way to do it. Why add to the carbon footprint with an electric sander? The final reason (and the most important), is so that I have appreciation for what God and nature have intended.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Movie Making...

After a long hiatus... well actually, I got to busy with the magazine... but after a long break; I have begun work on the long-forgotten "PackRats" movie.
More accurately, the new incarnation will cover all of the Corpus area surf breaks, to include: Bob Hall Pier, Packery Channel, Seawall, and a few others.

Late last night I began to review the storyboard and action clips, and I think it looks pretty good. Lot's of footage, both HD and SD, should make for a decent little flick. I've got lots of "lifestyle" footage as well.

No time frame on any release just yet... still in the early, early phases but looking forward to working it out.

Here's a little reminder... (Hint: The new one will be FAR less cheesy with FAR better waves...)

Friday, March 4, 2011

It's All About The Ride...

Packery Channel - 2010

Photo - Joe Vulgamore

Waves do not discriminate. Waves treat everyone and everything equally. Waves beg for us to join them on their journey, allowing us to free ourselves of our charade that we call life. As the waves speed along toward their inevitable deaths, they allow us to see that there is a difference between "life" and "living".

Waves do not care how you ride them, as long as you ride them. Why should we care how others choose to satisfy their lust for the wave, as long as everyone is stoked, who cares.

I often hear surfers complain about spongers, kiteboarders, and such. Why? Do they not have the right to enjoy Gods gift of the wave as much as the rest of us?
Now I understand the safety risks as far as SUPs, kayaks, and kites; A respectable safe zone
should be practiced by all. But there is no reason one should limit oneself to a particular discipline.

Below are just a few shots of several alternative modes of liquid transport... notice everyone is stoked?

It's not about "Life"; it's all about "Living"...
It's not about "the board"; It's all about "the Ride"

Boogie Boarding in SPI

Photo - Joe Vulgamore
Kayaking "South Packistan"

Photo - Joe Vulgamore
Kelly Norton is like a rocker down the line in SPI

Photo - Joe Vulgamore

Unidentified Kiteboader in SPI

Photo - Joe Vulgamore
This Skimboarder snaps a big 'ollie' down in SPI

Photo - Joe Vulgamore

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My New Little Project (Part 1)...

As my fascination with body surfing continues, I've spent plenty of time on the internet looking at handplanes. I've read that a handplane will help for longer, more enjoyable rides, especially on mushy waves like those we get here in the gulf.
I've seen many beautiful pieces of work by some really good shapers, I even follow a blog or two.

Maybe it's my need to feed a creative bug, or maybe I'm just too cheap to invest in a really nice handplane, but I'm going to give a go at shaping one myself.

My research into handplanes suggests that a good wood to use is 'poplar'. So a quick trip to Lowes and six bucks later, I have myself a blank. I purchased a piece of 1x8x24 poplar plank. I selected a nice piece with a beautiful grain and completely free of knotholes.

My next step has been to draw up a basic template for the design I'm going to try. The dimensions for this piece are going to be:

  • 14.5" L
  • 7.0" W (wide point 6" back from nose)
  • 3/4" T
I've debated whether or not to install some type of handle or grip, but for my first attempt, I think I'm going to go with the more traditional "finger hole". This should allow for quicker transfer from one hand to the other (for going either left or right).

Thats it so far... I'll document my progress in this blog as I go along.

See you in  the water!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

One of My Favorite Shots...

Corey Williams - Port A 2010

Photo - Joe Vulgamore

This is one of my favorite "Hang 10" shots. I took this photo of Texan standout Corey Williams in Port Aransas. I love his fluid style.

Just look at how perfectly positioned he is out there on the nose. His toes are perfectly hanging off of the nose. Most guys are just an inch or two back, or they have an inch too much foot hanging off, but Corey is in command of his board and body. Look at his eyes, trained on the wave and the concentration in his face.

It's no wonder Corey is widely considered the top longboarder in Texas. He was actually ranked number 36 in the world at one point.

Great classic style!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Body Surfing...

I've had a sudden spark of interest in body surfing.
I enjoy it when I'm just playing around in the water, but I've been more and more into the idea of really doing it right. I'm talking about with fins and a hand plane. 

I think this vid is particularly cool... check it out!


Saturday didn't quite turn out as well as I'd hoped. Small knee-to-thigh and weak. Very frustrating... oh well, such is surf in Texas.
Got a massive sunburn... guess I'm too white over the winter. Lol

Sunday's surf was probably better... they had the contest going on in Port A, which I didn't attend, and then the paddle out for Greg Cheek... the fallen Texan surfer.
I'd didn't attend the paddle out. I only met the man once, briefly. I didn't feel it was my place to be there... I hope all of his friends had a great time.

That's it for now...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Stoke Is In The Air...

Photo - Joe Vulgamore

It seems like forever since I've been in the water. Forever since my last soul-cleansing.
Tomorrow, for only the second time since New Years Eve, I will return to my place of freedom.

The forecast shows nothing special... knee-to-waist with SE winds at 10-15... The shortboarders hate it when its small, but as a longboarder, it suits me just fine. Topped with the fact that the contest is going on in Port A, the line up at Packery should be manageable.

All day I've been consumed with the pending session. As life get tough, we all need to shed the negative vibes and saturate ourselves with joy. We all need to lose ourselves in something that
relieves the stress and reminds us that we are human beings... we are not slaves to our lives... we can shed the self-imposed shackles that bind us, if only for a few hours. I think that is why I so look forward to tomorrow.

Later this evening, after the dinner is done and the kids are to bed, I will gather my wetsuit and wax and pack for a day in the surf. Even later I will go to bed and dream of my toes over the nose, and as I drift off to sleep, I feel the stoke in the air...

A Few Random Shots...

Brent Wideman - BHP

Photo - Joe Vulgamore

Posting up a few random Longboarding shots... I found these when going through the archives.
Some are decent, some not so much, but stoked none the less.

Please enjoy! (6 more shots after the jump)

B-Money at Packery

Photo - Joe Vulgamore
Unidentified - BHP

Photo - Joe Vulgamore

Unidentified - BHP

Photo - Joe Vulgamore

Frank Floyd - Port A

Photo - Joe Vulgamore

Nathan Floyd - Packery Channel

Photo - Joe Vulgamore

Troy Noska - SPI

Photo - Joe Vulgamore

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Few Classic Shots...

Tegan Gainan - Packery Channel                    Photo - Joe Vulgamore

Here's a few shots that I was going to use in an article for Texas Gulf Coast Surfing Magazine... since that won't be happening now, I thought I'd share them here.

There are a few guys here in the Coastal Bend who are all about style. Some of these locals traverse the board as easy as walking on land.

Enjoy more below! (3 more shots after the jump)

Corey Williams - Port A Open 2010

Photo - Joe Vulgamore

Frank Floyd steppin out

Photo - Joe Vulgamore

On the Nose at BHP

Photo - Joe Vulgamore

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Final Day Highlights - 2011 Hyundai Longboard Pro

Check out this vid... Nice longboarding in Kiwi Country.
From the 2011 Hyundai Longboard Pro Final day.
Oz's Josh Constable prevailed in the first event of the year.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Epic Packery Longboarding

Tim Scott - Packery Channel     Photo - Joe Vulgamore
The day was New Years Eve, 2010 and Texas was blessed with a rather large and powerful swell.
Many of Corpus' surfers headed of to Bob Hall Pier to catch the golden nuggets known to exist there. Almost over looked, the jetties at Packery Channel were firing.

As the cold front neared, the offshores began to lightly blow, hollowing out the head-plus dumpers.

The High-Performance longboarders came out to play. Local standouts Tim Scott and Brandon Bunting put on a great show. Several others were in the line up as well and the day went smooth.

Check out more pics from New Years Eve... (4 more shots after the jump)

Brandon Bunting goes off the lip      Photo - Joe Vulgamore

Nate Lytle tries to get in and under               Photo - Joe Vulgamore

Tim Scott shows us how big it was              Photo - Joe Vulgamore

Tim tucks under                    Photo - Joe Vulgamore

Progressive Stylings... Matthew Moir

I love to watch this guy surf!

Nice blend of high-performance longboard and classic styles.
Definitely one of my favorites.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Smooth Style of Chad Marshall

I love longboarding. It is such a mellow, peaceful experience. I like the longboard from nose to tail... meaning I get off on the classic nose-riding styles as well as the more modern progressive stuff.
Evolution... it's all about evolution...

Here is one of my favorite videos from the movie "Longboard Habit"

This video feature Chad Marshall out of Malibu. This dude has got it going on!
Check it out for yourself...