Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Past Honor and Upcoming Presentations

We are honored to be one of Canoe & Kayak Magazine's top 10 stories of 2013.
There are some amazing stories on the list - Be sure to check them out! We always love reading the stories from Canoe & Kayak, so we feel especially honored that so many of their readers conneted with our story as well.

We are also excited to announce that we will be speaking at Canoecopia in again this year. Last year we had an amazing time and it looks like the speaker profiles this year are just as phenomenal! Here is our speaker info. We are looking forward to hanging out with MTI, our life jacket sponsor, and meeting up with some old and new friends at the event! Canoecopia will take place March 7-9th in Madison, WI - we hope some of you can attend!

We were also invited to speak at the Ice Age Trail Conference in April in Sturgeon Bay, WI. We had no idea that this 1000 mile hiking trail even existed but are excited to hear more about it and give our perspective of outdoor adventuresin the area. A stretch of the trail follows Door Peninsula, which we paddled past, so we are familiar with a portion of the least by water!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Current Projects

Remember when we started making surfboards? Well we finally finished them! Months ago. Sorry for the very delayed blog updates. So where did we leave off...?

In between shaping the foam for the body of the surfboards, we also worked on shaping some fins. I decided to go with two fins and Mary decided to go with three. We cut the basic shape out with a jigsaw, clamped them down, and then got to sanding! Here are the finished products before glassing.

 Then we put in the final sanding hours to shape our boards. Lots of hours into this project already, but it's going to be worth it!

 Looking pretty sleek!
 We were very excited to be done shaping our boards! Now the real work begins.
The next steps began taking place in Mary's brother's garage. It was going to be getting chilly soon and we would have to be ready to fiberglass in a warmer environment than outside! We decided on color schemes and design ideas. I wanted to try some colorful resin swirls while Mary decided to go with a colorful floral fabric inlay.
 Getting ready for fiberglass layer #1!
 Mary's board, draped in fine silk and ready for some epoxy.
 Let's do this!

 Meanwhile, Amy was thinking her fins looked a little sad, so she decided to do some doodling on them.
That's much better. Mary painted her fins a bright red to get them ready for their fiberglass cloth.
Then we got ready to do fiberglass layer #1 on Amy's board. All taped off with newspaper to avoid having to clean up at least a few of the resin drips that were bound to occur.
 The colorful resin swirl that I envisioned did not occur on attempt #1. This first layer looked more like a kid throwing up pink and blue cotton candy at the carnival (sorry for the visual). I would have to try to remedy this during fiberglass layer #2!
Here is our work space. A bit cramped and messy, but it got the job done. We were happy as clams to be working on new creative projects after the end of our trip. I'm sure these won't be the last beach rides that we try our hand at!
Fiberglassing the bottom of my board turned out better than that awful 'new baby's room color scheme' that happened on the deck...
 A nice turquoise resin swirl!
 Mary went with baby blue on the bottom of her baby board. Beautiful!
 Now to try to fix the top of my board - let's cover the light pink and blue splotches with RED!
Oops, that red turned my board into a watermelon color scheme...
 Here are our boards after the initial fiberglassing. Now time for fin placement and a final hot coat!

 One fin, two fin, red fin, blue fin...

 Final hot coat - don't forget your respirator!

 Looking good, Mary!

And now we wait...with the cold temperatures and slow cure epoxy that we were using, there was a lot of down time waiting for our boards to be dry enough to sand between the layers of fiberglass.
To fix the new watermelon color scheme dilemna, I decided to tape off the rails and apply some light turquoise tint. We worked on this portion of the project in Mary's kitchen and living room. We'll work wherever we can!

 One of the last steps was adding an attachment place for our leashes. Instead of a leash plug, we created some leash loops with extra fiberglass strings twisted and coated in epoxy.
 And the final step was applying a logo. Every surfboard needs a logo, right?
 We used our logo from our trip of course! 
 Annnnddd now they were finished! I present to you Pudge the Puffer and Gidget the Fidget.
We have always wanted to submit our wacky water quiver to - they have a fun "show us your quiver" portion of their site where people submit pictures of their surfboards and other essential belongings. So we decided to do a fun photo shoot with our newly made boards! Here is our submission, that was actually chosen as their 'Quiver of the Week.' Cool! Too bad we didn't fit Makeba and the Blue Heron in the photos! Next time.

We finished our boards in late November. Unfortunately, the lake was getting pretty chilly by this point. I still need to get some warmer booties and mittens to go with my wetsuit to be able to handle the coldest Lake Michigan temps. And now the shelf ice is forming on the southern shoreline of Lake Michigan! Pudge the Puffer and Gidget the Fidget will have to wait until spring to see the water!
Other than surfboards, Mary was recently able to road trip to TechShop Detroit to punch out some more laser cut topographic maps of Lake Michigan. It was at Techshop San Jose that I was able to make my original maps, so it was nice to get back into the workshop and cut a few more various maps for those of you who have been requesting one of your own.
All of the materials were bought ahead of time making my job a little easier. With the extra hours the staff allowed me, I was able to put in 8hr days of nonstop laser time. Oh how I wish TechShop were closer! There are so many other cool things to be made!
Using a CNC machine is just like riding a bike.

Stocked up on both negatives and positives of the lake, the car was a lot heavier and a lot smellier for the trip home. Everything smelled strongly of bonfire by the end of the 3 day laser-cut marathon.
This time, I was sure to make plenty of extra maps.  So if you think you might be interested in buying a map of Lake Michigan, be sure to e-mail!
I was also able to punch out a personalized map for each of us and etch two matching coffee cups with our crew logo. These will be blissfully enjoyed whilst working on our book and documentary.