Monday, October 26, 2015

My Favorite Tie Today - Surf's Up Hawaiian Necktie

Hawaiian Surfing Necktie
Surfs Up!  Those were the good old days when all I had to worry about was if I had wax for my surfboard.

In the 70's my entire life was dictated by one thing, surfing.  That is why this killer Hawaiian Surfing Tie is my favorite tie today.  Besides having wax for my surfboard there were three other details that had to have my attention.  First and foremost there had to be surf. In Southern California that is almost a given with some exception.

A swell traverses the ocean thousands of miles finally reaching a 
continental shelf or island and for a minute or two creates a 
fascinating display that often becomes the thrill seeker's ride 
on a plastic hydrosphere; the surfboard and the surfer
The were two other very important things that ruled my life.  The wind could really mess up my day if it was on shore opposed to being off shore. The best waves to ride are what surfers call glassy - smooth with great form.

Usually in the early morning the wind is light and almost always off shore until around noon unless there was some strange weather system. Then late in the afternoon if the wind did come on shore there was the afternoon "glass off."  That was usually around 2 hours before sunset which would mean a morning surf session and and afternoon surf session.

The other very important factor was the tide.  Depending on if it was low or high, the tide would determine where I would venture into the Pacific to ride some waves.  Surf breaks are dependent on swell direction and the bottom or sea floor; a reef , sand bar, an underwater shelf, an angled shoreline or a point that would oppose the swell direction. A high or low tide will favor surf depending on the contour of what's below the surface.

As swells reach the shore line the lower portion of the wave starts to drag on the bottom which creates a vertical steepening of the waves amplitude or height and the wave length or the distance between waves.  The velocity of the wave decreases as the effect of the drag on the lower part of the wave as the waters depth becomes shallower.  If there is off shore wind then the upper part of the wave experiences drag by the resistance of air turbulence.  The wave radically changes as it reaches the shallows eventually cresting and spilling over creating ride-able surf. On a great break the wave will take a distinctive form breaking from in one direction or perhaps peaking and breaking in two opposite directions; rights, lefts, or peaks.

The best surf breaks are the result of waves that are moving with great velocity in deep water and abruptly reach a shallow reef, sand bar or rocky bottom.  That sudden drag on the bottom or sea floor causes a loss of velocity changing the wave amplitude ( height of the wave from crest to half way to the trough ) and wave length ( the distance between waves ).  This radical distortion of the waves physical properties changes its shape creating a casting out of the excess energy that can no longer contain the wave amplitude creating a tubular or hollow area as the eventual cresting and breaking signifies the collapse of the wave and the displacing of its energy in the form of "white water" or turbulence that is all that remains of the wave as it dissipates towards the shore.  The initial cresting and breaking of the wave is the point that the surfer lives for. The experienced surfer knows how to be in the right spot at the right time to catch that perfect wave and very much like ballet uses the energy that is displaced to surf with individual expression.  To realize how sensational surfing is make sure to watch the HD BBC Video below.

The anatomy of an ocean wave
When a wave crests the the surfer and surfboard are propelled towards the shore by means of gravity and the failure to resist the energy in the wave. The gliding of the surfboard on the waves surface is aerodynamic hydroplaning that is affected by lift and drag and influenced by the surfer weighting and un-weighting that leverages the direction of the surfboard. The surfer uses the surfboard fin on the bottom of the board that creates drag and as well stabilizes the surfboard causing it to track similar to an airplanes elevated fin that causes drag affecting the direction of movement.  The boards foiled shaped edges further control the direction of the surfboard while the surfer compensates for gravity, the force of the breaking and depreciating wave length or velocity and the changing wave amplitude or shape in addition to drag caused by the water rushing up the surfs face as the wave passes through the water or the energy that is being displaced by the crest of the wave or the spilling over energy - in the form water collapsing.

The experienced surfer harnesses what Newtons Third Law of Physics explains - for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  The modern surfboard is basically a hydrodynamic plastic foil that has enough buoyancy to float while the surfer alters the dynamic of how the surfboard reacts to the changing shape of the waves amplitude or face and height of the wave and the waves length or trough and the wave velocity.

Wave riding is no easy thing to master.  Just learning how to paddle the surfboard and staying balanced takes getting accustomed to let alone how to effectively get past the breaking waves to reach the line up, ( where the waves begin breaking ).  It takes a great deal of time to become aware of how waves break, how to catch a wave and where to catch it.  Imagine a downhill ski racer trying to deal with the ever changing shape and contour of the mountain while staying balanced on a surface that is not still and not falling off - there is no straps or foot holds.  One thing is certain; when you catch your first wave even if you fall off quickly you'll be hooked.  From than on it is just practice and figuring out how to steer the surfboard while reading the shape of the wave that is a head. Developing reflexes and the skills needed to become a master of surf beyond novice takes a lot of trial and error.    

When a surfer paddles out to the line up the other world and all the toils of life in this crazy Industrial Age - driven by Neo Classical Economics does not exist. Being one with nature is the only way to illustrate the feeling of surfing, waiting for the next wave in a very peaceful and non stressful state.  I remember vividly a school of about six dolphins were surfing a wave with me while I surfed alone at Beacons in Leucadia California in light rain riding waves about head high.  I was so careful not to get too close but they were playing with me - real masters of surf - I was feeling like one of "The Golden Ones" what a friend often said; he coined the phrase describing our crew of Miami Bred Surfers.

Unfortunately the counter culture and life style of surfing conflicted with my desire to be a professional photographer.  When I look back now I deeply regret abandoning surfing.  I guess I could start again, however it takes a lot of strength and stamina to paddle out to the "line up" let alone paddling into position to catch the waves at the perfect sweet spot.

Above sequence image: That is me surfing Apple Bay in Tortola the British Virgin Islands in 1978.  Apple Bay was cake walk compared to Cane Garden Bay which was a very testing point break that broke in less than 12 inches of water on a razor sharp coral reef just about five yards or so from rock shore line.  This was the perfect place to mount a cannon to fend off Pirates - that citadel is still there today. By the way I mastered Gun Point at Cane Garden Bay which was a 100 yard line drive attack that was unforgiving. Getting tubed was un-avoidable if you were to catch that wave almost too far back which I did every time like Muhammad Ali would have done "floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee."  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the travel aspect of the surfer life style.

Necktie Label - House of Stoke by Joseph Mackie
Now, about that Hawaiian Surf Board Tie. When I was selling ties at the Too Sexie Tie Cart at the Irvine Spectrum Center, Joseph Mackie, a really crazy guy found my kiosk and sold me hundred and hundreds of custom Hawaiian Ties that he made from Hoffman Hawaiian shirt fabric bolt ends and remnants. It was such a novel idea that his Hawaiian necktie creations won the acclaim of Playboy Magazines top Christmas gift ideas in 1999, House of Stoke by Joseph Mackie.

So with all that said along with the scientific explanation of the dynamics of surfing it is rather easy to understand why this Surfing Necktie is my favorite tie today.  To view our collection of Joseph Mackie Hawaiian Print Ties please visit Nice Tie Store.

HD super slow motion video of big wave surfer Dylan Longbottom in a 12 foot monster barrel - the first shots of their kind ever recorded.  ( watch in HD )
About the program: 
$100,000 Camera Captures Slow Mo Surfing, From Underwater For the upcoming BBC nature series "South Pacific," filmmakers rigged a TyphoonHD4 to shoot above and underwater HD. Shooting a frame rate 20x the speed of normal HD  (I'm assuming that's somewhere around 480fps if the standard HD cam shoots at 24fps),  this camera/documentary was apparently the first to capture the underwater spiraling vortices of huge waves at such incredible quality. Cameraman/technician Rudi Diesel calls one moment in this clip "probably the best shot" of his life.


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