Friday, May 22, 2015

BoardWarrior Meets Design By Humans

DBH is a perfect fit for BoardWarrior. It’s an amazing way to share our designs and give as many people as possible an opportunity to get a perfect BW tee shirt. Keith has been busy with his newest design software. Usually it’s his cameras and editing programs. Now, his eyes are glazed from working into the wee small hours of the night drafting designs.

 California Grown was born while three of us were sitting in an airport waiting room while flying to film a surf piece. I think the original may have been on a napkin.

The Art & Craft line was born in Keith’s mind while filming Chapter Two. He got the feeling that his subjects were exploring their craft and he was turning it into art. I think it is his favorite graphics line. Once a skate boarder, always a skate boarder. He’s been sharing his graphics for a while now on BoardWarrior’s Facebook.
The Kitty line….well, Keith and Crystal have 3 kitties at home. What’s not to love. I have no idea why he decided to Kill a Unicorn in Skate the Rainbow! All I know is that he chuckles every time I ask him. He thinks it’s so absurd that it’s hysterical. Go figure. You’ll have to let him know if you share in his wicked sense of humor.  And isn’t that Trino blowing bubbles? 
Go check the designs out at our BoardWarrior store front in Design By Humans.  And stick around…there are plenty more to come.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Phuket, Thailand Surf Trip

Temples and Waves 

Thailand, the land of coconuts, spicy food, amazing people and, above all, there are the waves. Oh yeah, there are the waves!  I spent 2 weeks in the Phuket countryside at a place called Nai Thon Beach! Nai Thon is a quiet little beach town in the middle of nowhere. Really, in the middle of nowhere! If I were a tourist, not a surfer, I might have been scared. But hell, I am a surfer and we find the stoke everywhere it is. We hear all the time how ‘amazing the locals are’. Have you ever wondered about that statement…wondered if it were true?

OHM catching a wave.
Well, if you surf with locals around the world, you know it’s true. The locals at Nai Thon Beach actually take turns acting as lifeguards, not just for the locals, but also for the foreigners coming there to surf. They take turns when the waves are up and are always on it. I had the pleasure of spending most of my time there surfing, making friends, eating local food and sharing waves with some amazing and generous people.

The first day I went for a swim with my camera I met a guy named OHM. A Nai Thon resident, with roots going back generations, he is as inventive as he is fun to be around. OHM makes his living renting boards and selling a tasty homebrewed beer and freshly chopped coconut. What more could a hungry, tired surfer ask for.

I gotta tell you, chilling with OHM was a real pleasure. Over the next few days, he showed me the local surf scene. He seemed to have as much fun showing me the local life style as I had rolling with it. It pretty much consisted of surf all day, eat some spicy Pad Thai, cool your burning mouth with OHM’s homebrew, then do it all over again the next day. Oh, and don’t forget, listening to some locals playing guitar while your belly is still rumbling from that amazing, spicy as hell, $3 Pad Thai. Kicking back and looking around, all I could see was Stoke!!!

 Surfing Local 
To be a surfer in Nai Thon, or anywhere in Phuket Province, you need the right storm to get things moving. Sometimes that means you also need to have some patience. August is their low season and I came at the right time, having surf almost every day!!   
The water was so clear I got some amazing shots.
This is OHM taking a break.

 When the surf is down, you run to one of the other local gifts from Mother Nature, PHI PHI Island (Say Pee Pee), but that’s another story. And, yeah, we will tell it. It’s enough right now to say I had the pleasure of being in the middle of the surf culture in Phuket, Thailand. A place that will always make me grateful for what is given to us if we just open our eyes and look. The people there are rich and warm and welcoming.  If you ever need a stoke recharge and you are willing to embrace the local culture, not the tourist culture, head for Phuket and Nai Thon beach. Have a local brew with OHM and tell him Cory says hey.

For the full photo essay of our surf trip to Phuket/Nai Thon beach visit .


Friday, August 15, 2014

Newest Production Crew Member

Cameron (far right) waiting as Cory Patterson sets up for the interview of Bob 'The Greek' Bolen in his Huntington Beach Shop
Cameron is a sound guy. He’s been working clubs and studios in the Sacramento region since completing his internship at 98 Rock. When you first meet Cameron, you might think he is a little bit quirky. He does not say much. But, what I discovered, was he does not need to chatter away like the rest of us. When he has something to say, it always seems to be spot on. Kind of stops everyone in their tracks for a beat or two with a ‘hmmmm, yeah, you’re right. I never thought about it quite like that’. I think it’s because, being a sound guy, he is always listening. He has that look on his face like he is hearing things the rest of us just don’t hear. You know, like Universal Truths or something. Well, that might be going a little too far.  I’m not exactly sure what channel he’s tuned into, but what I can tell you is that the sound quality of his recordings are crystal. 50 YoS is happy to have Cameron on board.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Game Changer

Ricky, the youngest Whitlock son, was just a little kid when a game changing fire destroyed the family’s life on Oahu and forced the move back to California from Hawaii. His childhood was very different from that moment on. He and his older brothers and sisters had been living a lifestyle, in rural Hawaii, that had them surfing every day before school. Now, the family moves to Southern California’s Riverside County, a hot, dry region of rolling hills dotted with sheep and cattle ranches. This is one of the stories we will explore in the upcoming documentary: 50 Years of Shaping, The Journey of a Surf Family.








Lake Elsinore, CA, where the Whitlocks ended up after the fire destroyed
their surf board factory in Hawaii
With the curiosity of youth, the Whitlock kids made sure they had a good time, no matter what. Running the hot, dry hills of Riverside County, Ricky and his brothers and sisters lived a country lifestyle that allowed them something of the freedom they knew in rural Hawaii. But, most importantly, on the weekends, mom, Patty, packs them all up and they head for the beaches of SoCal. Cory doing what he does best…surfing, with a much younger Ricky, following along. Ricky was just a little guy on those weekend trips to the ocean and he does not really remember learning to surf. It was just what his family did and, of course, he had an older brother to keep up with. I asked Cory if he taught his little brother to surf. He cocked his head at me, grinned and quietly, but adamantly, said ‘of course I did!’


It’s a testament to this tight knit family that they could be ripped from a life they loved, filled with surf, sand, freedom and Aloha culture to end up loving the life they were given, filled with California’s hot, dry hills and cowboy culture. It took spirit to adapt (stories that we will explore here and in the documentary). It took resilience to find pleasure in this alien environment. The resilience and closeness of this family would ultimately give Ricky, years later, the strength to rehabilitate from the life altering accident on Pipeline that broke his back. 


Inland Hills to Big Waves

So, how did Ricky Whitlock end up one of the top big wave surfers in the world? Cory has the memory of teaching Ricky to surf, on those perfect weekends, interwoven tightly with the pride he has for his younger brother. Resilience and a competitive spirit pushed Ricky, as a child, to compete with his older brother. Because surfing is just what this family does. Resilience and a competitive spirit pushed Ricky to take the family business of competitive surfing to a whole new level. Talk to any family member and you will see in their eyes the pride and respect they have for Ricky. They each acknowledge the resilience and drive that has taken this talented young surfer to the apex of his sport. The one thing you won’t see there is surprise. Nope, they are not one bit surprised by Ricky’s incredible journey. They are no more surprised today than they were when, at 9 years old, after his first competition, Bob Hurley walked up, introduced himself to Ricky and asked him if he would surf for Billabong. I’m tempted to say that was the beginning of an amazing career, but the truth is, Ricky’s career began during family surfing weekends a long, long time ago.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Family Begins

Patty and Cory at Padres Game
Patty Whitlock – Family Matriarch
There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the driving force in any family is the mom, the matriarch, the head or ruler of a family. Patty Whitlock leaves no doubt that she is, indeed, the driving force in this family. Divorced for many years, Patty and Rusty have two very distinct roles in the dynamics of the family personality and the family business.

It is this writer’s impression that Patty has been the glue that has held the family together through some difficult times. Not unlike many families, the Whitlock’s have had their difficulties. Trying to build a board shaping business in the late 60’s and early 70’s on Oahu was challenging. Rusty and the kids may have been living in paradise, but Patty was tasked with keeping the whole thing together. While Rusty was surfing, competing and building a board shaping business, Patty was having and raising kids and managing the money. Those are all stories we will explore as we get to know this family. But, first, there was a love story.
Surfer Girl Meets Surfer Boy
Her eyes take on a soft, faraway luminescence as the memories move her back through time. Her face is transformed, time and stress slipping away. The beauty and youthfulness of a young girl hums around her as she tells us ‘I was 17 when I first saw him. He was walking out of the ocean after a competition.’ She smiles at the memory and said, ‘I knew at that moment he was mine. We did not talk until later that evening. When we did, we were never apart again. ‘

I don’t know about you, but that story took my breath away. The look in Patty’s eyes told me, without a doubt, the truth of that moment in time, about 45 years ago.

The Story
Those first moments were magical, sparking the beginnings of a family that would span 3 generations in the surf world.  The story will broaden, covering this family’s joys and tragedies, woven through the world of surfing from the days when the brands and competitions we all know today were just forming. Their family story closely linked to the transformation of a simple surfing lifestyle into the high powered, fierce, competitive world of professional surfing, as we know it today. This family was there, at the beginning. This family is there today, even now shaping the way we surf.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Surfer - Nope- Skateboarder

Skylar shredding at Bishop Park
Skylar Walden - The Youngest Whitlock
Who’d of thought the grandson, son and nephew of 3 pro surfing legends would end up a skateboarder? And isn’t it testimony to the tightness of this family that everyone, not just the surfers, but the grand mom and sisters too, all support Skylar’s decision to pursue skateboarding instead of the family business, RW Surf.

Skylar Walden is Cory Whitlock’s son. There is no doubt when you see them together that they really like each other. That does not mean that they agree with each other. Nope, not at all. But they certainly respect each other. And it shows.  

Skylar catching air at Bishop Park

 We spent an afternoon with Skylar at a local Carlsbad, CA skate park. He is totally amazing to watch. He moves with the grace and agility of a surfer, but shreds on his skateboard like a pro. In fact he has been sponsored by local skate shops and it’s looking like he might have the stuff for a pro career. Considering his grandfather and father have been pro surfers and his uncle, Ricky Whitlock, is considered one of the top Big Wave surfers in the world, Skylar’s ability should not surprise anyone.

What is surprising about Skylar is, that with all the talent he has, he is not really sure pro skateboarding is where his passion is. What he really loves is music. And he comes by that honestly, too. He’s been jamming with his grandpa, Rusty (who still plays in a rock band), for as long as he could hold a guitar. He and his band, Swift Beats, are innovative musicians who write and play their own music. They even have their own unique sound. A sound that made Skylar grin as he said it….Rocky, bluesy, surfer….wow, I gotta hear this!

 Skylar and Swift Beats will be playing at Boar Cross’n on Thursday night, July 3rd. The sports bar is at 390 Grand Ave, Carlsbad, CA. The BW crew will be there recording live music for the documentary, 50 Years of Shaping, and getting some footage of Skylar and the band at work. Make it if you can. After all, where else are you going to hear rocky, bluesy, surfer music!

Skylar learning the family business with Dad, Cory and Granddad, Rustsy

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Always Make Time to Surf

Cory Whitlock and the Shop

Cory getting ready to test a new Kevlar board
Cory Whitlock was one busy man when we invaded his shop. Cory is the king of mutli-tasking, running all the facets of RW Surf Shop. He was in the middle of a huge tee shirt print order, giving surf lessons 10 and 12 people at a time, designing and shaping boards, creating custom boards for surfers who walked into the shop and running a crew of 7 people to accomplish all these tasks. In the middle of it all, Cory was working on moving the whole shop from Carlsbad to Oceanside. He never actually sat still; he was always working on something. Even so, his Aloha spirit was always there, barking orders, laughing and smiling, putting up with our film crew all over the place.  He is an amazing man to watch.

Still Time to Surf

Rusty, Skylar and Cory in the Shaping Bay
Being the subject of our second day of interviews, I became an annoying shadow. Well, at least I felt like an annoying shadow. Cory never seemed to mind. He took time to explain the business. He took time to show us the new Kevlar boards he was working on. He is experimenting with the positioning of the Kevlar, trying to get the shape just right for optimum spring and flex. He described it as “getting enough movement in the board without getting the spring of a diving board”. There are others experimenting with the material, but, as it’s always been with RW Surf, they are on the cutting edge once again.   

While looking at artwork on the boards, Jeff Meyer came in to paint the Hawaiian Islands on a SUP board. Jeff has been painting boards for as long as Rusty has been shaping them. He is a true artisan and paints some amazing boards.


The end of a long day in the Shaping Bay
With all this work going on, Cory still made time to surf. The waves were good in the afternoon so Cory, along with documentary Director, Cory Patterson and a few of the shop guys, they were off. I remember thinking how amazing it would be to have a job that would let me work on the beach, hit the waves then come back to work without doing anything but rinsing the salt and sand off.