Best Portable Folding Hammock

23 Jul

There’s nothing quite like a hammock on the beach.  But there’s not always two open trees within hammock tying up distance.  So I’ve been looking for a folding hammock for a couple of years now.  They were either expensive (over $100), flimsy (I’m close to 200 lbs) or they don’t swing like a hammock, they’re more like a cot, and where’s the fun in that.  Recently while browsing on Amazon I came across the Guide Gear portable folding hammock, being sold by The Sportsman’s Guide.  At less than $40, it fit my price profile, and with solid 4-star reviews, I decided to give it a try.

It was back-ordered a couple of weeks, but I finally received it last weekend.  I set it up immediately (took about 60 seconds without instructions) and it definitely meets the need.  It’s a bit heavy, so its not something you’d want to lug on a long walk to the beach, but for those spots where you can park close to the sand, I can’t imagine a better setup for a post-surf nap.

Who’s it for?  Any surfer who might like a post-sesh nap on the beach

How much is it? Less than $50 including shipping

Where do you get it?  Amazon.com at the link below:

Guide Gear Portable Folding Hammock

Best Surfer Gifts – New Beach Boys Album

6 Jul

Surfers love The Beach Boys. What’s not to love?  All-time harmonies, chill melodies, and relevant lyrics that eventually call out our favorite surf spots.  Doheny and San Onofre are two of mine.  They’re covered.  I always wondered why they left out Trestles.  Maybe it was a secret spot back then?  Anyway…

When The Beach Boys issued their press release about an upcoming album and world tour to celebrate their 50th Anniversary, I was filled with dread and trepidation.  Who wasn’t?  Another washed up band from way ago trying to cash in.  How bad were they going to sound?

Then they show up on the Grammy’s, and with the help from about 20 other voices to help cover up what surely was their lack of remaining ability to harmonize, they squeaked out a compilation of old tunes.  I was further discouraged.  Maybe the new album was going to be another “best of” compilation?  Who needs that? We all own all the Beach Boys music ever made?

So when the album finally showed up on Amazon.com for $5.00 on a download, I decided to take the risk.  And was rewarded with goosebumps.  How could the Beach Boys, geriatric in the truest sense of the word, possibly sound this good after 50-years?

The harmonies are perfect, the lyrics are magical, and the music is tight. The songs range from classic 60’s pop in ‘That’s Why God Made the Radio’, ‘Isn’t It Time’, and ‘Spring Vacation’, (an ode to the band getting back together), to the currently insightful ‘The Private Life of Bill and Sue’ where they contemplate reality television, to the more reflective and slower ‘From There to Back Again’, ‘Pacific Coast Highway’ and ‘Summer’s Gone’.  The latter three songs at the end of the album seem to satisfy the music snobs of the world that actually think Brian Wilson’s ‘Smile” album was a work of genius, and not the last gasps of a brilliant man slipping into the firm grip of insanity.  Barn Animals?  Really? But nevertheless, he has obviously managed to regain his faculties and has produced a masterpiece.  Get it now at the link below.

Amazon price at time of this writing:

Audio CD – $11.88

That’s Why God Made the Radio

MP3 Download – $7.99

That’s Why God Made the Radio

New GoPro HD Underwater Housing

25 May

Mark Healy swims with sharks and a hot Italian flying suit base-jumper to show off the forthcoming GoPro HD Dive Housing.  One of the major shortcomings of the GoPro is that underwater it takes lousy movies.  Seems like they finally have that fixed if this footage is indicative of the quality of the housing/lens/camera combo.  Looks like it will be available in about 2-months.  I will give it a full review once I get my hands on one.  If you want to pre-order from Amazon, use this link.  Only $49.

GoPro Dive Housing AFLTH-001

The Best Lightweight Portable Headphones

24 May

My friends at Gizmodo just posted a very well written blog on the best lightweight portable headphones.  Lots of surfers like to get amped for a sesh before they go out.  A good pair of portable headphones that can be stashed in a backpack would make a killer gift that would get lots of use.  And the best gifts are the ones that get used. Check out the review here, just pick up the winner of the review below the break.

Gizmodo Best Lightweight Headphone Review

We, the smartphone-and-MP3-addicted people, wear headphones from dusk till dawn. That means they’ve got to be comfortable for hours on end. Forget the bulk of fashion-forward full-sized cans and the irritation of earbuds—for headphones that go the distance, three qualities trump everything else: comfort, durability, practicality.

We tested five pairs of on-ear headphones, all weighing less than three ounces and costing less than $105 on Amazon. Sound quality is always important, but like the slick gadgets you plug them into, headphones should fit effortlessly into your life. If you’re going to take these everywhere and wear them constantly, they’ve got to look good and stow away easily. Of course, these headphones all borrow something of the Walkman-chic style of the 1980s, so if they’re aesthetically covetable, we’re not going to complain. Read more…

Check the price now at Amazon.com at this link.  Sennheiser PX 100-II On Ear Miniheadphone (Black)

Don’t be a Tool, Get The Tool

7 May

Came across this today and really like a couple things about it.  First it’s inexpensive – less than $20.  It has some essential tools built in like a fin screw and wax comb, (but honestly most of us have tons of those), a surf leash hook (so you can get that stupid string out of the fin box – can’t tell you how many cursewords I’ve uttered trying to do that without a tool), an allen wrench and screwdrivers.  But what I really like is that they didn’t include a knife, which means I can take it with me in my backpack when I fly.  I have not been able to take a swiss army knife for years when flying, but The Tool fixes that.

Who’s it for: Anyone who surfs, but especially if they travel

How much is it? Under $20

Get it at Amazon.com by following this link

The Tool by Cor Surf Products

XM Surf Bag – Long Term Review

7 May

I’ll keep this short, and let the pics replace the thousand words.  I purchased a 9’6″ XM Surf bag for my Kaysen custom longboard in March of 2011.  It was made primarily of grey tarp material and a smallish metal zipper.  It sucks.  The zipper has given me nothing but trouble, and when you get a little sand in it, it just won’t zip.  The tarp material has totally disintegrated from the sun.  It’s a surf bag.  It should be designed to work in the sand and the sun.

Here are some pics I took before I tossed it in the trash this weekend.

The last image is a pic of the new zipper of my Destination Surf Bag I picked up for 25% off at Stewart’s this weekend (sorry, I should have posted about the sale, but the surf was good, there was a contest in town, and it was my son’s 17th birthday, so it was a crazy weekend.  Let me know if you picked up any deals).  That’s what a zipper should look like.  It’s a big, beefy one, with a lifetime guarantee.  Check out my review of the D-Surf bags here.

Monopoly – surf edition

20 Mar

How does a surfer pass the time between swells? Ding repair, poker, drinking beers and playing Monopoly Surf Edition! This new take on the venerable classic is a great way to pass hours of downtime with friends.

Features include:

  • Monopoly Surf Edition Includes 22 of the hottest surfing destinations from around the world, including Pipeline and Teahupoo
  • Created in partnership with Surfrider Foundation and surf photographer Jeff Divine
  • Surfing-specific pewter tokens include a surfer, beach cruiser, woodie, flip flop, shark, and surf wax
Who’s it for?  
  • Anyone who likes playing games
  • Old school monopoly fans who surf
  • Anyone going on a surf trip who will have lots of downtime between sessions
How much is it and where do I get it?
  • As of this posting it’s only $18 at Amazon.com.
  • Click the link below to check it out.

MONOPOLY: Surfing Edition – click to go to Amazon.com for the best price.

Best Surfboard Bag Review – Destination Surf

4 Mar

I met the Destination Surf team at the Sacred Craft Expo in Del Mar last fall. Good group of guys. I was hunting for a board bag company that would stand by their product.  I’ve had countless board bags, and the weak point is always the zipper. Most companies (yeah you XM), use crappy, cheapass zippers.  And when they fail, you are hosed.  The labor of tearing off the old zipper means replacing it at a local shop costs as much as a new bag.  So you throw it away. Great, more crap in the landfill.

There are some companies that stand behind their product with lifetime warranties (Dakine), but they tend to be pricey, and I’ve tested Dakine’s warranty on a surf pack and they declined to fix the zipper.  Soooo, what’s a warranty worth if the company won’t honor it.

Enter Destination Surf.  Down in Encinitas, a surf town.  Owned by a second generation surfers, Aaron and Katherine Smith.  Husband and wife team.  How much better can it get.   I trust them and I trust their product.  They offer a lifetime warranty on zippers and seams. When you call the company, you’re talking to someone who cares.  Not a call center.  You can buy online, or at one of my favorite surf shops, Stewarts Surf Shop in San Clemente, CA.

They have both day bags and travel bags. If your buying this as a stocking stuffer next Christmas to go with that surf tour to Indo, then get the travel bag.  It’s more expensive but holds multiple boards and protects that fragile fiberglass from the airline apes loading baggage.  

If not, and it’s just for getting boards safely from home to local surf spot, save some money and get a day bag. They run between $90 and $120, the cost of two professional ding repairs.  

Who’s it for?

Any surfer that has their own board, and doesn’t want to spend all their spare time or money fixing dings.

Surfer’s who like to travel with their own boards, and bring that back in one piece.

What’s it cost?

Daybags between $80 and $140 depending on size and capacity.

Travel bags up to $400 depending on size, capacity and features (wheels, etc).

Where to get it?

Online at Destination Surf – they offer free shipping on orders over $150.

And you should follow their blog at www.dsurfblog.com/  They surf, travel and look like they’re having a blast.

Clark Little Shorebreak Art Book – A Special Gift for Surf and Beach Lovers

3 Mar

The shorebreak art of Clark Little has set off a new trend of guys getting pounded in the big surf. But nobody has the body of work that Clark Little brings in this exclusive book. I don’t know a surfer who does not love his work, and this book is an inexpensive (relatively) way of bringing his artwork home. His prints sell for thousands of dollars, and his work has been featured at the Smithsonian. Clark is an almost native Hawaiian who since 2007 has built a portfolio of surf art that is second to none.

This book comes in two editions. Both are signed, but the collector’s edition ($350) is limited to 500 copies, and is signed by Clark’s buddies Kelly Slater and Jack Johnson, plus it comes with 2 limited edition 8×10 signed prints. The limited edition is the same basic book, is signed by Clark, but only costs $150. So you have a great price range to work with.

Who’s it for?

Anybody who loves art, the beach or ocean, or quality photography.

How much is it?

$150 for the limited edition or $350 for the collector’s edition.

Where can I get it?

Online at Clark Little Photography

Surfer Magazine – Unconventional Wisdom

3 Mar
Patagonia Founder Yvon Chouinard’s Candid Perspective on Life and Surf

 

Yves Chouinard is a legend.  As the founder of Patagonia, he’s influences surfing, environmentalism, and adventure sports.  And he’s one cool dude.

Surfing Magazine recently interviewed him.  A couple of my favorite quotes from the interview, which you can link to below.

“Sure, it’s a consumer society, but you don’t have to be part of it. I hardly ever spend any money. Consumerism is just people trying to make themselves happy by consuming. And that’s wrong. Doesn’t work.”

“I just live right now. You ask me about the past, you ask me about the future, the only way to be happy is to be living right now.”

“Personally, I try to lead a simple life. I don’t walk around with my hat on backward looking like a surfer. My Patagonia clothing, some of it is 20 years old. Just because I have a clothing company doesn’t mean I have closets and closets of brand new clothes.”

Unconventional Wisdom via Surfer Magazing

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