Sunday, June 22, 2008

the story of my 8.6

To celebrate last week's 7 days of great surfing (4 of which in a row at my favorite spot), I'm going to post some pics of my beautiful self riding my favorite board: a T&C 8.6 shaped by Keola Rapoza.

This board has quite a story. Long time readers of this blog may have read parts of it, but I'm going to tell the whole thing again.

I bought it 3 or 4 years ago from Ed Angulo at a garage sale (Ed's garage sales are legendary) for 200 bucks.
As soon as I caught my first wave, I knew it was a magic board. Super light, thin enough for me to duck dive it (even though it took me some practice to learn how to do that), it turned really nice and loved cut backs.

It had a problem though: not strong enough on the deck. The pressure of my feet was doing canyons along the stringer... not positive. Back then I wasn't as much into fixing boards as I am now and I didn't know one of the most basic rules of surfing: never-ever under any circumstances sell a magic board!
So, before the damage got bad, I sold it to a girl: 350 bucks.
"Cool", I thought. "I'm going invest that money into another stronger 8.6... now I know the measures and the shape..."

Yeah right... how naive!
I tried a bunch of 8.6ish boards and clearly none was not even remotely as good as the beloved sold one. Big regrets...

After a year or so, I met that girl again. She had just bought another smaller board and I asked her if she would sell me the 8.6 back.
"Sure", she said, "350 plus a surf lesson to me and a water start lesson to my husband".
One of my selling points in fact was:"listen, this is a great board. You are lighter than me and don't surf as big waves as me, so as long as you don't ding it, the board will stay in great shape and will keep its value for long time".
You can't say I was bullshitting her, can you?
By the way, I remember I gave her husband the water start lesson, but I don't think I ever gave her the surf lesson... might be about time, since they just divorced! ;-)

Super stoked to have my baby back, I glassed an eight inches strip of fiberblass over the stringer and happily rode it until one sad day my car (with three boards inside) got stolen in Kahului.
The car was found the day after in the Lowe's parking (pretty much across the street). Clearly the boards were gone (the other two were a yellow Bill Foote 9.3 and a 6.10 that I can't even remember the shaper), together with the stereo components, the iakus of my one man canoe (later replaced by self re-shaped aluminum boom arms), a canoe paddle and a bunch of other stuff.

Yes, there is criminality in Maui too. But in this case, the application of my motto of "it can always be worse" was pretty easy, considering where I come from...

I put signs in all the surfshops, sent emails, posted a photo on this blog, but clearly nothing came out. I bought a 9.0 Stewart (Collin McPhillips model) that seemed a good enough replacement.

Two more years later, I was checking the waves at a very localized spot on the south shore when I saw this hawaiian guy coming out of the water with my 8.6.
My heart went ballistic.
I approached the guy with a smile:"Hi. My name is Giampaolo" (mmm, I guess that didn't help) "and that board was stolen from my car two years ago. If you don't believe me, I can retrieve a police report with a clear description of it"...
There was no way in the world I was going to call the cops in that spot... it would have meant the end of my surfing days there...
"I'm sure you bought that board from somebody, but let's find an agreement, because I really want that board back"

"Lissen brah, I just got this board for 200 bucks and I don't even particularly like it." (he was way heavier than me) "...must be the bad vibe of a stolen board. But I don't want to lose all my money, so I'll sell it to you for 140 bucks".
I added a six pack and happily bought it for the third time.

The day after I went to Breakwall and while paddling out I wondered if I would have still liked it as much as I used to. In those two years without it, in fact, my surfing improved quite a lot. I had become a better surfer and maybe I had different needs...
Once again, one wave was all it took. I immediately tuned in the sweet spot, like if I had been riding it forever, and ended the ride shouting a "YES" so loud that all the people on the boats turned towards me thinking that I must have just had the best wave of my life.
I wish I had the GoPro mounted on the front to shoot the smile I had when I paddled back out...

Thanks to Laura for taking these photos.

PS. Here are a few random links I received from friends:
- Josh Sampiero's blog
- Hugh Stott's photo album
- Harry Wievel's video of the kids camps


Anonymous said...

I am glad that you found your magic board! It makes me want to take the time to repair my 9.0 Mell that I've broken and repaired three times and had soo many magic sessions on.
I bought the materials but just replaced the board in lue of the time and effort involved.Their isn't anything wrong with the board that I am riding now but after your story I would like to see if it was as good as I remember.Aloha,Olaf

cammar said...

Hi Olaf,
go for it and let me know if you need help with the fix...

Anonymous said...

maybe it doesn't match a lot with your post, but have you ever thought using Piclens for your blog? ( told me,some posts ago, something about sharing our web experiences..

ciao gp

Catapulting Aaron said...

what a great story, congrats on reuniting!

cammar said...

not sure what it does...

thanks. Good luck with your jibes. If you want to exit them planing, do the flip of the sail before the switch of the feet and do it early in full speed.
But if instead you're doing the foot switch first instead (which should be illegal), stick to that... it's pretty hard to change technique in the middle of the learning process.
You'll learn the (much better) flip-the-sail-first version later.

Anonymous said...

GP ..mmh?
well, to me it seems a faster and easier way to see all the pics inside your blog. I think it can be applied to any kind of blogs, sites ecc...
Don't know if I?m clear..

cammar said...

Well, if you don't mind, post a comment when you see a blog that uses it, I'd like to check it out.

Anonymous said...

what a story!.. Hey! next time we're out at Kanaha (Mon PM or Tue AM) or wherever we else we might meet, would you mind letting me take that magic stick on a wave or two? in the one year of surfing I've had, the Southpoint BP models have been to my liking particulary the 9.1

Aloha! Alex

cammar said...

I usually take the 9.0 at Kanaha (it makes the long paddle out and in easier), but those couple of times I did take the 8.6 I loved it.

Anonymous said...


this is the best blog there is

and i really enjoy your photos with the chickas

keep up the good work