Thursday, January 22, 2015

Craft Feature: Special Edition!!!

This Craft Feature is a Special is about a variety of Stoke. A combination of how Risk, Charity, Love, and Change were all Fueled by it. It's not only about Surf craft, it's also about my good friend John, and his journey into owning a business and Crafting Organic Coffee. This cafe is the very place where my wife and I found "The Stoke" a few years ago while on vacation here in San Diego. It was the very catalyst for our move. Surfing, Crafted Coffee, Family, Stoke, and how Lives were changed. The Stoke works in magnificent ways...Enjoy. 

1. Tell me a little bit about yourself? Where you are from and what company/organization are you with?

My name is John Vallas.  Originally from New Orleans, LA, through Raleigh, NC, and then joined then Navy and ended up in San Diego, CA.  I am currently the CEO of The Swell Coffee Roasting Company and Swell Cafe, as well as on the Board of American National Investments and the President of BeautifulMB (a community non-profit).  

My passion is coffee, and I am currently focused on finding ways to bring more US dollars to the people who work the hardest in the coffee industry, the farmers and their families.  We are doing that by creating direct relationships with them across the world, eliminating some of the extra 'middle-men' in the process of getting the coffee from the tree to the cup.

2. What Surf (Coffee) Craft(s) do you make/offer?

We are currently sourcing and roasting coffee from Mexico, Ethiopia, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Guatemala, and Peru.  We roast coffee for our cafe in Mission Beach, and the rest goes to retail and wholesale customers.  Our cafe is obviously located right across the street from the we can get plenty of surf when the waves are good!

3. When and How did you get into Surfing (Coffee)?

I initially fell in love with coffee at a little spot in Raleigh, NC called The Third Place.  Then, while in the Navy it became a necessity (12 hour watches, work afterwords, 18 hour days, submarine deployment, etc).  After I transitioned fully out of active and reserve duty, I started looking for my next adventure.  A little cafe in Mission Beach called out to me, and although the business had previously failed, I couldn't get away from it.  I pulled my first espresso shot AFTER I bought the place, and I was HOOKED.

Surfing was a lifestyle I committed to after I left San Diego for a 2-year stint in Tennessee.  My wife had been transferred there and I reluctantly followed.  Right away I realized how much I missed being in the water, and hadn't gotten wet often enough.  I bought a surfboard off craigslist before we even got back to San Diego, and have been gettin' stoked ever since.  That was about four years ago.

4. What is your favorite form of Stoke (SurfCraft)? Why?

My little 5'11" quad shaped by Solid surfboards.  It's a one-off version of their "Butter Knife" shaped especially for an annual surf fundraiser called the "100 Wave Challenge" which supports at-risk teenagers.  The poly-epoxy resin board light and is tough as hell, I basically just throw it in the back of my truck wherever I go, and yet is still as flexible as a regular PU/fiberglass board.  The board is good for everything from groveling on mush to getting shacked.  

5. Any specials projects or events you'd like to share or start?

I really encourage everyone to check out the 100 Wave Challenge if you are into any form of stoke.  It's like a marathon of surfing, and there are 100's of people out in the water having fun and catching waves.  Plus it's put on by some great people for a cause that is changing the world.

Also, please come and check out The Swell Cafe in Mission Beach.  Great crew, awesome hangout spot (Mondo and his better half are usually there hanging with us!), and you can hit it right after a sesh.

6. Where do you see the Culture (Surf or Coffee) heading in the near Future?

I don't know if I'm qualified to answer this question...but what I see in the surf culture is a simplification of branding and getting away from some of the bigger brands that have dominated the surf world for so long.  There are tons of small companies out there sourcing sustainable raw materials and not splashing their logo all over everything.  Maybe that's just what I'm wishing for!!!

For coffee, we've got some great things in the pipeline, coming out in the near future.  Expect 2015 to be the year of the cold brew, it's going to be EVERYWHERE.  And, again maybe this is just a wish, but I think people, as they start to explore coffee and deviate away from the fast-food coffee chains, will become very interested in what specialty coffee roasters are doing with sourcing and creating direct relationships with farmers.  It's a win-win for everyone:  the farmer is able to make more for their hard work (it takes 5 years of cultivation before a coffee tree even begins producing coffee!), specialty coffee companies are able to share the farmers' stories, and charge a price closer to the true value of the product.  And the consumer gets to feel good about it...supporting the farmer in Mexico or Guatemala or Ethiopia.

Any shout outs, Thank you's, or comments?

Big shout to Solid Surfboards, Windansea Surf Shop in Mission Beach, Mondo for sharing the love, and of course the crews at The Patio Restaurant Group and The Swell Cafe!!


Thank You John for sharing your story, and seriously...Thank You for The Swell Cafe! There you have it Folk! Truly Different Stoke for Different Folk! We all have a different form of Stoke, but in the end we are all in pursuit of Good Vibes and Happiness. Every now and then we cross paths, the Vibes align and we interact and create Lives based off of it. Please check out The 100 Wave Challenge! Join my wife and I at The Swell Cafe damn near every weekend after Dawn Patrol...a Bitch'n Pannini at Swell by the way, and of course...Find and Stay Stoked!!! 

Good Vibes & Lovs Everyone...

Friday, January 2, 2015

Craft Feature: Soulfull Handpanes San Diego, California

Happy New Year everyone!!! This years first Craft Feature comes from right here in San Diego! A Young Artist and Shaper that loves sharing the Stoke! Enjoy!  

Craft Feature No. 9
Soulfull Handplanes 
San Diego, California 

DSDF: Tell me a little bit about yourself? Where you are from and what company/organization are you with?

Hello everybody, I'm Jonathan Foster with Soulfull. My hometown is sunny San Diego, Ca. I've been shaping since I was 13, which isn't that long considering I'm only 15 now, but I plan to be around for quite some time.
Instagram: Soulfullboards
Facebook: SoulFull Handplanes 

DSDF: What Surf Craft(s) do you make/offer?

 Soulfull currently only supplies a constant source of handplanes. But stick around, I am always looking for new paths the branch out into and expand.

DSDF: When and How did you get into Surfing? 

I can't even remember when I got into surfing, but when you are always around the water you have to do something, so I'd either be surfing or swimming.

DSDF: What is your favorite form of Stoke (SurfCraft)? Why?

My favorite form of SurfCraft or "stoke"  is a hard question, I feel obligated to say handplanes but recently I've been enjoying Paipo and Alaia.

DSDF: Any specials projects or events you'd like to share or start?

I'm pleased to announce that I am currently In the process of shaping my very first alaia, and have plans for another one along with a piapo. Also I'm planning another Southern California ride day, I'll keep everyone posted on social media.

DSDF: Where do you see the Culture heading in the near Future?

Just in the short period of time I have spent deep within the bodysurfing / alternate surf craft community, I've seen it expand and grow from an underground society to now whenever I go out for a surf I'll generally see someone bodysurfing. Im looking forward to many years to come with such a vibrant and diverse community. 

Thank You Soulfull for supporting the Stoke and we look forward to many more years of SurfCraft from you! Can't wait for another Ride Day! Happy New Year, and Stay Stoked!!! 

For more information on SoulFull Handplanes, please visit, or check them out on Facebook and Instagram.

Good Vibes!!! Stay Salty and we'll see you in the water!!!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Craft Feature: Sole Handplanes of Ocean Beach-San Diego, California

Aloha! Tonights Craft Feature comes to us from just down the street in Ocean Beach-San Diego. The story of Sole Handplanes...where Artistry, Design, and the Love of Surf comes together with Sole. My friends of the Stoke...

Craft Feature No. 8
Sole Handplanes
Ocean Beach, San Diego 

1.Tell me a little bit about yourself? Where you are from and what company/organization are you with. 
I am an artist, designer, furniture maker and founder of Sole Handplanes, based out of Ocean Beach in San Diego. Over the past 35 years I have made my living in the arts, now with this venture I am blending my passion for surfing with my love of design and art. Sole Handplanes currently is a team of four people: Lee Puffer is our Art Director & Copywriter; Stu Wood handles business development and our online media while Eddie Storer oversees our production and product development, and of course I do all of that and a bunch of other stuff too.

We also have an amazing team of riders: @itsbetterinbronze @sk8thestateca @samlopez87 @corbin138 @dwizer, who bring a great deal to the business and an overall great vibe.

2. What Surf Craft(s) do you make/offer?

We make performance minded hand boards for body surfing, with a focus on planes made for hollow waves. Our boards take a fresh approach in terms of construction and design. They are much thinner and more concave than others on the market. This maximizes bite and lift. We also believe that the strap or binding is just as important as the plane itself, just as it is on a snowboard or pair of skis. Therefore we don’t skimp on our straps, nor how they attach.
3. When and How did you get into Surfing?

I was probably 15 or 16 before I began surfing, this was back in the mid-seventies. Prior to that I was a skate rat, hunting down pools and canals with my buddies. Surfing was just a natural progression. I did both until surfing took over. As a kid I body surfed, but really I didn’t become enamored with body surfing until about ten or 12 years ago. Now I’m about 50/50 body surfing and board surfing.
 4. What is your favorite form of Stoke (SurfCraft)? Why?
I think the older I get the more I’m enjoying bodysurfing. It’s just a more all around rewarding experience. There are still plenty of good times to be had board surfing for sure, but hassling for waves is getting less and less fun. The body surfing vibe seems to be more genuine.

 5. Any specials projects or events you'd like to share or start?

Right now we are focused on getting product into the hands of bodysurfers all over the world. We’ve got a bunch of projects in development, including limited edition collaborations with artists and a clothing and bag line. Stay tuned.

 6. Where do you see the Culture heading in the near Future?

The interest in body surfing and alternative surf craft will continue to increase. I think right now people are interested in trying something new. There is always going to be the ASP and it’s great to see the Big Wave guys starting to get their due. It’s time also for people to see the body and boogie boarders charging. But when all is said and done it’s about our relationship with the ocean and that interest will only increase.

RIDER FEATURE #1- Patrick Dolan

Rider Feature #1: Who the Hell are you Folks!!! Seriously! So here is a new feature highlighting the Dudes and Dudettes that float, bob, and Yeeeeeeoooowww with the rest of us in the Line-up. You're the Stoked out of your mind humanoids that have to spend most of your days upright on two feet  hankering for the Ocean and some Slide! On a board of some sort or a just a set of fins...This is all about YOU!!! Enjoy! 

THE Real Patrick Dolan 

1. Who are you and where are you from? 

My name is Patrick, I am originally from Ventura CA. I got stuck behind the "Orange curtain" during college and now living in Huntington Beach CA. 

2. What is your favorite form of stoke? Why?

My favorite form of stoke is bodysurfing. There is something special and pure about the feeling of riding a wave with your body. It gives you that old feeling you had when you were playing in the waves as a little kid. Even the smallest barrel can be the highlight of your week. 

3.How did you get into it?

Any time the waves are not ideal for surfing or boogie there is always bodysurfing in the back of my mind. I grew up on the beach and for as long as I remember I have been bodysurfing. 

4. What other surf craft do you enjoy?

I can often be see with my trust Toobs bodyboards and a home made Paulowina Paipo in my board bag. There is always a handplane and a pair Viper fins in the back seat of my truck. 

5. What is your favorite session story?

One of my favorite sessions was at a popular LA county beach break. 3 of my friends and I were the  only ones out for hours getting stoked on prefect 4 foot barrels. It was truly a dream session, warm water, super clear, and no one else around. The only reason to get out of the water was because our legs were cramping. It's not always about riding the biggest wave that can be a memorable session. All the Handplane Hoedowns are pretty high on my list of fun too. 

6. Shout outs and good Vibes to anyone?

Shout out to KNEKT for helping me photograph my passion of bodysurfing.
Good Vibes to Westside Boards and California Surfcraft who are two of the leaders in eco friendly handplanes. They are always thinking outside the box and are never too busy to give some words of advise to home builders like myself. Their creativity is mind-blowing. I think one of the best parts of the bodysurfing community is the support from each other. Bodysurfing is like a big family rather than a competition to be the "coolest". 

Thanks Patrick!!! If you guys and gals are looking for a Great Instagram to follow, check out Therealpatrickdolan, and give him a follow! From POV Swell shots, wood working, and one of the most stout beards I have seen...its worth a gander! 

Good Vibes and Stay Stoked!!! 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Craft Feature: Westside Boards of Ventura, California

The last feature for tonight is another Ventura purveyor of Stoke! Westside Boards! An EcoMinded Surfcraft company from start to finish...seriously! If the ocean knew how Adam builds his craft, I believe she'd reward him with Perfect Days every time he stepped into the water! Enjoy!!!

Craft Feature No. 7 
Westside Boards 
Ventura, California 

DSDF: Tell me a little bit about yourself? Where you are from and what company/organization are you with? (Web sites address please):

My name is Adam West and I make Westside Boards in Ventura, CA. 
insta & twitter: @westsideboards

DSDF: What Surf Craft(s) do you make/offer?

Westside Boards handcrafts high performance, eco-friendly bodysurf handplanes and alternative surfcraft.  What began as a woodworking hobby 7 years ago quickly became a passion to build quality sustainable products with less impact on the environment.  All of our boards are made from wood that comes from a sustainably managed forest or wood that is reclaimed/recycled and then sealed with a clear coat derived from whey, a natural and renewable resource.  We currently offer 4 different models of handplanes and 2 models of Paipos.

DSDF: When and How did you get into Surfing? 

I wish I had a cool Johnny Utah type of story to tell you.  The reality is I bought my first surfboard roughly 20 years ago.  I grew up in a small coastal town in Maine and the ocean was always a part of my life.  I remember how surfing was made to look easy by those who were good at it. I quickly found out there is a heck of a learning curve.  The surf where I grew up was very inconsistent and the water was usually very cold.  It wasn’t until I moved to California 14 years ago that I was able to enjoy surfing on a consistent basis.

DSDF: What is your favorite form of Stoke (SurfCraft)? Why?

I’m not sure I can define exactly what my favorite form of “Stoke” is because there are so many different ways to achieve it.  Whether I’m on a surfboard, handplane or paipo, there’s just a peacefulness and tranquility that emerges as you mentally leave everything behind and it’s just you and the ocean.  “Stoke” to me is the ability to be able to live in the moment and enjoy the now, and it’s those moments that really help keep me balanced as a person.

DSDF: Any specials projects or events you'd like to share or start?

Well, summer is coming to an end and that’s typically our busy season as far as our surfcraft goes.  We typically do a few large events every year.  We’ll be running more demo days in the upcoming year and are looking forward to expanding our market outside of Central/ Southern California.

DSDF: Where do you see the Culture heading in the near Future?

That’s a good question.  I think the culture of alternative surfcraft and the search for stoke has grown beyond the “fad” stage.  Bodysurfing seems to have gotten it’s legs and continues to grow.  The fact that the internet allows us all to connect and share our versions of the culture only helps move it forward.  I think the DIY aspect of bodysurfing is another reason why it continues to grow.  Building your own surfcraft whether it’s surfboards or handplanes has become popular among the die-hard surf fans, which is understandable as it a very rewarding process. There’s a tremendous feeling of using something you’ve hand made no matter how it looks instead of purchasing a similar product that was cut from machines in a factory with no personal connection.

Recently, there has been some push back against some of the larger surf manufacturers to become more sustainable. The tide has certainly changed in social and environmental responsibility within the industry and that is something we stride to push the boundaries on. We could easily make our products cheaper and less environmentally friendly, but instead we look for solutions rather than adding to the problem. Sustainability is at the core of our products. We take pride in using sustainable materials in the production of our products and that seems to be a common thread among most of the handplane companies out there.

DSDF: Any shout outs, Thank you's, or comments?

Most important my loving Wife and 3 kids for putting up with my obsession.
Also a very sincere thank you to all of the great surf shops that carry our products.   They believed in our message and took a chance on us.  Their support will never be forgotten.  

Of course a huge shout out to everyone who has ever bought one of our boards.  There are so many different handplanes and alternative surfcraft out there and it’s always humbling to have someone choose your product.

Thank You Adam for sharing your story and doing an awesome job helping Mother Earth! Seriously! In the end...That's why we enjoy being in the water!!! 
Stay Stoked!!! Good Vibes!!!

Craft Feature: Flyboards of Ventura County, California

Aloha! It's been a few weeks since I last posted...Sorry about that! So tonight I am sharing two awesome stories with everyone!!! First off is Flyboards, two young Stoked Folk from Ventura County that pour their hearts into the Stoke!!! These young ladies do their own shaping, paint, and stain...I met the two of them at the last Handplane Hoedown, and it was Awesome to meet two young Folk that are so dedicated to the Craft!!! Enjoy!!!

Craft Feature No.  6
Ventura County, California 

DSDF: Tell me a little bit about yourself? Where you are from and what company/organization are you with? (Web sites address please):

My name Is Savannah and I am half of the brains behind Flyyboards, from Ventura County California. Im 18 and fresh out of high school. I have been surfing for about 5 years, and loving every minute. I started Flyyboards with my best friend Jacque and together we are working at making an awesome company. Making handplanes, surf-crafts, and other awesome things! From the time I was little Ive always loved to build things of my own, and that’s kind of where I started. I wanted to build my own surf craft of some type. I originally wanted to shape surfboards but.. That is a little difficult to start out with. Then at some point I came across handplanes and that’s where I started! I have almost 2 years under my belt and boy have I made some changes. It’s always funny to see the first thing you shaped compared to what you are currently shaping. I have taught everything to myself.. Well maybe a few youtube videos, and a couple online forums! Haha. Today Im shaping mostly handplanes, and a few surfboards. Im hoping to get into all types of surf-crafts because I just want to try absolutely everything!!!

DSDF: What Surf Craft(s) do you make/offer?

Here at Flyyboards we specialize in Handplanes. I want to be able to produce the best I possibly can. When I shape a handplane I really try to think about what the rider is going to go through, thinking about how much rocker, concave, down to the strapping. I want to create something that will have you itching for your next session. With our left over scraps from shaping, we like to upcycle into cutting boards, cup coasters, and cheeseboards. This is something I love because I can bring my personal quiver into the kitchen and put it to good use. We are working on adding custom surfboards, paipos, and alaias!

DSDF: When and How did you get into Surfing?

I got into surfing about 5 years ago. My dad used to surf when he was a teenager and decided he wanted to get back into it. I jumped in with him and just loved every second of it.

DSDF: What is your favorite form of Stoke (SurfCraft)? Why?

My personal favorite form of surf craft so far is little surfboards with lots of foam. My board of choice when the waves are smaller (or even when it’s overhead) is a 4’8 x 20” x 2 ¼” quad. I love this board because of how fast, fluid, and skatey it is. I can whip it around and always have a blast. Of course I love handplanes as well, I love the feeling of being in the wave, just me on the water. It is that type of thing where I can’t really explain what happens, it just does!

DSDF: Any specials projects or events you'd like to share or start?

Hopefully in the next little bit we will be branching into foam handplanes along with our wood. Just to keep things diverse and exciting.

DSDF: Where do you see the Culture heading in the near Future?

I think that the surf industry, especially the bodysurfing industry is growing rapidly. (Which let’s be honest.. surfing sucks don’t try it!! Haha). I am excited to see what happens with all the innovators these days, anything is possible. And we would love your support in the near future to help fund a kickstarter project we are working on!!

My advice to everyone, if you have never picked up a handplane, DO NOT BE AFRAID! You will have the most incredible fun you can imagine.

If you have any questions, comments, or want to check us out:, Insta/twitter @flyyboards

 Thank You Savannah and Jacque!!! We look forward to seeing new shapes and materials!!! Please let me know when you kick off the Kickstarter Project, and DSDF will do whatever we can to help promote your Project!!! 

Stay Stoked!!! Good Vibes!!!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Craft Feature: Shelter Handboards of Santa Cruz, California

Aloha! This weeks Craft Feature comes from Santa Cruz, California! Please check out Matt's story of the Stoke and how the name of his company reflects the reason we do what we do! The more and more I share these stories, the more I realize we are all truly Different Folk in pursuit of that indescribable feeling of Freedom and Serenity. Enjoy! 

Matt, congratulations on your little one!!  

Craft Feature No. 5 
Shelter Handboards 
Santa Cruz, California 

DSDF: Tell me a little bit about yourself? Where you are from and what company/organization are you with?

My name is Matt Evarts and I live in Santa Cruz, Ca, but have called many places in California home.  I grew up in the small mountain community of Oakhurst, Ca., but was so lucky to have a set of grandparents in La Jolla and another with house near Carmel Beach.   I am married with a 3yr old daughter and son about to be born on Aug 20th!  My main job is working for the City of Salinas Fire Department, currently Fire Captain on Engine 3.

DSDF: What Surf Craft(s) do you make/offer?

My little project is called Shelter Handboards ( and Surf Co. specializing in hand shaped, custom Santa Cruz mountain redwood body surfing handplanes.  I strive to make unique, eco friendly, recycled custom hand shaped alternative surf craft that is responsibly built.  We believe in the concept of finding shelter from our busy lives, that quiet place where we can re-connect with the stoke.  Its more than handplanes and bodysurfing, but that is where Shelter came from.

DSDF: When and How did you get into Surfing?

I started on a surf mat at La Jolla Shores in 1975 with my grandfather, Hal.  He would also take me body whomping and swimming at Marine St and Windansea.  I first rode a surfboard in 1982 at 11 yrs old and have never stopped.  I have spent many years away from the ocean, climbing, skiing snow boarding, back packing, whitewater kayaking and mountain biking, but surfing was never far away.  Finally I had opportunity to live and work on the Monterey Bay everyday and I chose the ocean life permanently.

DSDF: What is your favorite form of Stoke (Surfcraft)? Why? 

Well, when its time to surf, it's time to surf.  I love traditional surfing and prefer to be on my short board.  However, I have SUP surf boards, long boards, boogie boards, race SUPS, downwinders and of course, hand planes and fins. I love them all, because each gives you a new approach to riding swells and a different kind of stoke.  But, unless you live in Indo or some other barreling wave destination, most surfers don't get barreled every time out.  That's why body surfing is so kick ass.  Almost every wave is opportunity get the view.  Every wave is overhead.

DSDF: Do you have any specials projects or events you'd like to share or start? 

Shelter has no special projects right now.  I have only been doing this for about 8 months and trying to dial in the product itself, however one of the missions of Shelter is to give back.  We donate a portion of sales to local charities here in Santa Cruz that support kids and the Ocean.  We also like to donate hand planes for charity events as prizes, raffles, auctions to raise money, etc.

DSDF: Where do you see the Culture heading in the near future?

Not sure.  What we do know is, more and more humans are entering the ocean and caring for it has become more important.  Keep it simple, leave no trace, leave it better than you found it and share it with a kid.  Vote with your wallet if you want to see change in the world.

Any shout out, Thank you's, or comments? 

My shoutout is to my Grandfather and Father who dumped me in the Ocean so many years ago and drove me back and forth everyday, every summer to the beach as a kid,a  kid from the mountains who was lucky enough to have family close the water.

Finally a HUGE MAHALO to my amazing wife, Morgan, the love of my life!



Thaank You Matt for Supporting the Different Stoke!!! Again, Congratulations on your new addition to the Family. I look forward to meeting up with you and the rest of the NorCal folk someday! 
Good Vibes!