Tired of Underperformance, Surfing Legend Throws Away Fins to Develop His Own

Globetrotting surf legend Kanoa Dahlin had only one problem – his fins weren’t giving him the drive he knew that he was capable of. A North Shore native, Kanoa entered the pro surfing arena at just 21 years old. Although he has shredded the waters of over half the earth, he could not find a fin that fit both the riding condition and his style. So with the help of a few of his pro surfer friends, he took over the fin design scene himself.

“I’ve been really lucky to have all my peers surf my fins because it helped with the production and development. Everyone is different sizes, heights, surfs differently and uses different kinds of boards. With their help, we were able to create designs for these fins that work well for all these different surfers regardless of where we went in the world.” – Kanoa Dahlin

Imagine sitting front of the lineup with your friends on dawn patrol some beautiful Saturday. The perfect wave comes, you pop up with stoke, but the ride is just mediocre. Maybe you couldn’t get the right stability for the turns or the drive wasn’t quite strong enough. Maybe your skills have outgrown your gear, and your current fin can’t provide the control that you know you can master. Maybe there is something holding you back from your best surf yet.

But no worries – you can change that. You can take charge just like Kanoa did and find the fin that matches your stoke. The Kanoa Dahlin fin line offers various models and sizes so you can customize a fin perfectly suited to your board and surfing conditions. The original Pro fin combines a height that allows for great nose riding and stability, a rake that allows fierce carving and minimal tail slip, and a base that gives you a strong drive. Each model is based off this concept. The thruster fin, K2D2, is universally solid while the cutaway fin, Offspring, has added base and rake for stability and quick maneuvers. Jr. Boy has reduced height and base with added rake and a thinner lip to loosen up your long board while amping up your nose riding ability. Miss Lucy is designed as the intersection between a pivot nose riding and a carving fin so you can rip any wave with any maneuver.

You choose the model, the size, the design. So when you hook one of Kanoa’s fins into your board, you can finally own your surf. Pump through the most gnarly sections with ease, control the tightest carves, and pull aerials that you could never pull before. By your next Saturday morning session, your friends won’t be catching their own rides, they’ll be watching yours.

Here is your next step: go to https://www.hawaiiansouthshore.com/Surfboard-Fins/Kanoa-Dahlin-LongboardFins/ to discover which pro-approved fin is perfect for your surf break and condition. Each one is made in the USA by Fins Unlimited. If you can’t decide, we would be happy to guide you. Email us at sales@HawaiianSouthShore.com with your height, weight, board size, and fin setup. We will hook you up with the Kanoa Dahlin fin that best matches your surf. That perfect ride is waiting for you, and we don’t want you to bail on it any longer. Like Kanoa, stop letting disappointing fins burn your wave – and discover the surf that will make you legendary.

Surf Boutique Newsletter June News

It’s June! If you’re a loyalty member you may receive our newsletter by mail or email. If you’re not a loyalty member, contact us to learn more!

You can view a PDF version of our newsletter Hawaiian South Shore June 2017 Newsletter.

June News from Hawaiian South Shore

The Bell That Made Me Run Home

By David Kelly, Owner, Hawaiian South Shore

As a kid, I loved summer! I always wanted to be outside playing. So after doing all the chores that were lined up at my relative’s house (which by the way I’d try to blast thru as fast as possible..ha-ha) I would meet up with my friends. We’d play in the open fields near our houses,  work on our BMX track trying to make it more exciting, or we’d just play some football. Man, during these days it seem like I could just go on for days playing! I hated when it was time to go home, I think the only reason I’d go home is because I was hungry, I would never really keep track of time. If it were not for my stomach growling I’d stay out all evening. The only thing that alerted me to hightail it home was the 5pm chime. As soon as we all heard that, we’d all haul butt home or we’d never be able to go out the rest of the summer… and way more chores-that’s for sure!! Yep, that’s from experience!

In Okinawa, as well as for most parts of Japan, there are emergency sirens all over, just like the ones we have here in Hawaii. But in Japan they use them for announcements and chimes in the evening…or at least I was under the assumption until recently. After some online research and talking to customers I learned what those chimes are really for. These sound systems are in place for emergency announcements. The daily ring is a way for both the government and the people living and working in the area to confirm that everything is in working order. It’s kind of like here in Hawaii we have the monthly testing for natural disasters. In Japan they thought it was better to have a nice melodic tune playing daily, rather than an actual siren sound, which might alarm residents needlessly.

It’s so funny that growing up I heard that chime and swore it was the dinner bell!

Member of the Month: Keith Nishimoto

When and what got you into surfing?
I got into surfing in the late 60’s. It was the next step from paipo boarding at Wall’s in Waikiki. Friends and I shared longboards taking turns catching waves and standing up. We were at Patterson’s between Black Point and Browns. I remember walking to the beach one person carrying the front of the board and the other carrying the rear because kid arms are not long enough!

Did you have a time you weren’t surfing?
If so, when and why did you start back up?
Kinda quit around 1980 or so. Crowds even back then were not so good. Was still surfing on and off… more off. I was always interested in surfboard design and noticed the new boards around so got started again.

When and what got you into surfing?
I got into surfing in the late 60’s. It was the next step from paipo boarding at Wall’s in Waikiki. Friends and I shared longboards taking turns catching waves and standing up. We were at Patterson’s between Black point and Browns. I remember walking to the beach one person carrying the front of the board and the other carrying the rear because kid arms are not long enough!

Did you have a time you weren’t surfing? If so, when and why did you start back up?
Kinda quit around 1980 or so. Crowds even back then was not so good. Was still surfing on and off… more off. I was always interested in surfboard design and noticed the new boards around so got started again.

Where do you surf most often, and why?
Diamondhead Cliffs. Usually has waves most the time. I surfed there a lot, so got to know the spot pretty well.

Where is your favorite place to eat after you surf? What is your favorite item?
Gotta be Rainbow’s! Mixed plate, gravy all over…ono!

Outside of surfing what do you do for fun?
Not much these days…hanging around at home. Between work and surfing a couple of times a week not much time to be had. When I was younger I was able to trek Mt. Everest National Park in Nepal and in Northern Greece…fun? More like training. Oh, I still ride my road bicycle once and a while.

What do you do for work?
Bicycle Mechanic who prefers to work on Road and Triathlon bikes.

What board did you get from us recently? 
Lost PuddleFish 5’8″ in poly/pu.

Why did you decide on this model and size? Did you ride it? How did it surf and what did you like about it? Have you used different fin setup? If so, what fins have you tried on that board?
I was trying a Lib Tech Puddle Jumper from Lost, but guess what? It needed more float…so the PuddleFish is good. Took the PuddleFish out and kooked out getting sucked over the falls and whacking my front teeth on the rail and cutting my lower lip. Otherwise it’s a really good paddler and easily catches waves…boy is it faaast! Currently trying a large quad with a Vektor trailer…guess I need more stable than loose board. Looking forward to getting better and will try other fins to see the differences.

Anything else you want to add?
Much Mahalo to Hawaiian South Shore’s staff and all…stoked to be out in the water!!!

Brown Water Advisory

by Spencer Change (Sports Medicine Fellowship Trained, Orthopaedic Surgeon at Straub Clinic and Hospital, 2014 ASP/Triple Crown Orthopaedic Consultant, WSL Orthopaedic Consultant)

Q: When the surf is pumping, and the conditions are great, but the water is brown from recent storms, do you still go out? Is there any actual risk for infection, and how bad is that risk?

In my opinion this is a topic that we still don’t know much about. There are so many variables to control. However, common sense says stay out. Runoff from storm drains spill into the ocean, increasing the bacterial count, and probable risk of infection. But by how much? And when is it safe to go back?

Surfline posted a recent article entitled “The Dangers of Surfing After a Rain.” They cited a 3–year study conducted by the Surfrider Foundation, looking at 654 surfers over 10,081 sessions in San Diego from the winter seasons of 2013 and 2014.

In summary the risks were, “a 3% chance of infection from surfing during wet weather. And a 2.5% chance if surfing during dry weather. But even if you didn’t go in the water after a rain, you’d still have a 1.8% chance of contracting a gastrointestinal illness.” Not statistically very high, but then no one likes gastrointestinal problems.

Another study published by the Journal of Water and Health found that surfing during rain events in the Pacific Northwest was associated with an increased likelihood of diarrhea, sore throat, and ear infections. Additionally, surfing during a health advisory was associated with an increased likelihood of similar symptoms.

The obvious answer is not to go out if the Department of Health closes off a beach because of excessive levels of bacteria in the water. This is especially important if you’re diabetic, immune compromised, prone to infection, and/or have open wounds. You’ll want to wait the 72 hours and in general surf where there is less runoff (Bowls is not your best bet).

I’m sure everyone knows somebody who got sick after surfing in brown water, or maybe even a dangerous skin infection. My advice is to weigh the risks against just how good it is. In my opinion it really doesn’t seem like too much of a risk statistically… and if it’s firing, I’d probably go out and take my chances. Besides San Diego and Pacific Northwest runoff, must be worse than Hawaii, right?

For an appointment call the Straub Bone and Joint Center at 522-4232. Just say Dave from Hawaiian South Shore sent you! Also, if you have anything you want me to discuss on upcoming newsletters, tell Dave or shoot me an e-mail at Skychang@straub.net.

Vans Duct Tape International

Photo from Surfline by Billy Watts

CJ Nelson has been out of the spotlight for awhile, and with plenty of young, fresh surfers some were surprised CJ Nelson was competing at the Vans Duct Tape International. In a piece from Surfline, Joel Tudor, said, “It’s CJ! How could I not invite CJ?!” The proof is in the winning: despite plenty of young competition CJ claimed top prize at the Vans Duct Tape International and went on to win the MexiLogFest, too, for a historic day of surfing! Read more and see pics at Surfline.

Congrats CJ!

Vissla Visits Hawaiian South Shore!

Since its launch, Vissla has made a point of being a surfer’s brand, rather than a brand that simply sells to surfers. We truly believe this because of the recent visit from the owner and the design team.

Paul Naude, the owner of Vissla, came by the store with his crew to check us out. It was a huge honor to have him visit and I had a feeling he was pretty stoked on the store. He and his team spent well over an hour taking pictures of the layout, looking at how we folded the clothing, and how we displayed everything. Paul took the time to tell me what he thought about the store and compared us to some very successful stores around the world. To get praise and compliments from a surf and clothing industry leader?! That was a big pat on the back for sure.

After he left I came down from my high and thought to myself, maybe he was just being nice. I used to get a scolding from mom when I doubted people, and even though I’m in my 40s, I still have so much growing up to do because my doubts were proven wrong when the Hawaii Vissla rep contacted me. Paul suggested they send the design team leaders to check out our store! They came for a visit and talked to Keiko to find out what’s selling and what does well. They spent time checking out the store and were just as complementary. I think out of the 20 years of opening the store, this was the first time we felt confident we are doing it right! Many thanks to Paul and the Vissla team for their visits.

What’s New at Hawaiian South Shore

We’re always on the lookout for new stuff that actually makes surfing better or fun gear. Below find some of this month’s new favorites.

Futures Fin New AMT Designs by Al Merrick, now available in our Alpha construction. The Alpha is made in the USA at the Futures factory in Huntington Beach CA. It’s made with a special blend of carbon infused with air so the fins have a flex and are super light. The best thing of it all is that is a lot less expensive. See a review of these new fins from Brian on our Facebook page and be sure to like us while you’re there.

New AU fins are something people are raving about. I love these high–performance fins for speed. I had to chance to try it and they work really well. It didn’t get hung up, it felt like a regular thruster set with more drive. My surf partner used them and liked them, too! Check out our Instagram post about the new AU Fins, and be sure to follow us if you aren’t already!

Until next month….

2017 Point Panic Experience

Early Sign-Up Day

Saturday, June 10th 10:30AM – 4:30PM

Hawaiian South Shore, 320 Ward Ave. Kaka’ako, HI

Early Entry Fee: $40 for one division, $70 for two divisions

Late (Beach) Entry Fee: $50 for one division, $90 for two divisions

One event T-Shirt included per person with entry in one or two divisions.

Official start to accepting early entries.

All entries completed on Sat, June 10th will be entered in raffle prize pack drawing to be held at 4:30pm.

A one-time Fri-Sat (or Sat-Sun, surf permitting) bodysurfing/handboarding event with holding period from June 23rd to mid-September. Bodysurfing Men’s age divisions and handboarding open men’s division with women’s divisions in both bodysurfing and handboarding.

Swells 102: Ground Swell Versus Windswell

As we learned in Swells 101, waves are created by the action of wind across the surface of water. Once created, these waves travel through the water until they eventually decay and dissipate. But while they travel through the water, something interesting happens. Because raw, recently created waves are chaotic and disorganized, they tend to move at different speeds and in slightly different directions. Over long distances and long periods of time, the faster-moving waves catch up with the slower-moving waves, and these waves join together. After many hundreds and even thousands of miles of travel, these waves tend to group themselves into what we call “sets,” or groups of waves that are close together. Collectively, these sets of waves make up a swell, which is the total wave event created by a specific storm.

photo credit: stormsurf.com

This joining together of waves is quite interesting to surfers, sailors, and oceanographers alike. You see, as these waves join together, they become stronger and more organized—and the farther they travel, the more chance they have to catch up with other waves and join with them. So while a wave might decay and become “smaller” the farther it travels, it also becomes cleaner and more powerful due to the fact that it has joined up with many other waves. This also creates larger gaps between waves, since there are now less actual waves moving through the water (although not less energy, since many of the waves have joined forces, so to speak). These gaps are measured by what we call period, or the amount of time between waves as they move through the water. The farther waves move away from the storm that created them, the more they join up with other waves, and the longer the period becomes. Thus, waves that are located in close proximity to the storm may have a period of 3 or 4 seconds, while waves that have traveled thousands of miles may have periods as long as 23 and 24 seconds.

Now the really interesting thing about period is that it measures more than just the distance between waves. It also measures the speed that a swell is moving. And, just as importantly, it measures the distance that a swell extends below the surface of the water. As a rule, the greater the period, the faster a swell moves, and the bigger the swell is under water. Thus, a 4 feet at 6 second swell might be seen as being 4 feet tall above the surface of the ocean, and only extend 92 feet below the surface, while a 4 feet at 18 second swell will also appear to be only four feet tall above the surface of the ocean, but will extend 829 feet below the surface. (The formula to figure out how deep a wave extends below the surface is to square the period and then multiply it by 2.56.) Not only does this make the swell stronger and more organized, but it also means that it moves faster and feels the bottom contours of the ocean (or bathymetry) sooner, since it reaches deeper below the surface.

The implications of a stronger, faster-moving, deeper-reaching swell are many. First of all, when estimating the arrival of a swell based on buoy readings, the period must be taken into account, since that tells us the speed at which the swell is moving. When buoy 51101 shows a north swell with 15 second period, we can expect that swell to hit the North Shore around 10 hours later, while an 18-second swell will hit in around 8 hours.  Furthermore, the greater the period, the more powerful and larger the swell will tend to be when the waves actually shoal and break. This is due not only to the increased speed and strength caused by waves joining together, but also the way that the swell feels the bathymetry of the ocean. Remember, an 18-second swell reaches 829 feet below the surface, while a 6-second swell only reaches 92 feet down. To fully understand the effect that this has, you have to first understand the mechanism that causes waves to shoal and break, which we will talk about in Swells 103. But for the sake of simplicity, a wave with a long period will feel the bottom differently than a wave with a short period, and will also have more energy to expend when it finally breaks. Long-period waves (also known as “ground swell”) tend to break larger, faster, and more powerfully than short-period waves (known, appropriately, as “windswell”).

photo credit: eurogoos.eu

To make things just a little more complicated, one has to take into account both the decay in the size of a wave and the increase in period over long distance. For example, let’s say that a storm creates 50-foot waves. When it is created, the swell will essentially be 50 feet at 1 second. The further that swell travels, the smaller the wave height will become, but the greater the period will become. Depending on the bathymetry of the coastline that eventually causes the waves to break, the decrease in wave height will be somewhat offset if not altogether overpowered by the increase in period. So, for instance, if the swell has decayed to 10 feet at 15 seconds, it may actually manifest as smaller waves than when it has decayed to 8 feet at 18 seconds. But there will eventually come a tipping point where the height of the wave has diminished so greatly that even a very long period won’t make much of a difference. For example, a 0.5 foot at 25 second period swell might not even be visibly apparent at your local beach if there also happens to be a 3 foot at 10 second swell running at the same time.

One last factor to consider when discussing period is the frequency of waves. As we discussed earlier, swells with longer periods have traveled farther and had more opportunity for waves to join together—and therefore actually contain fewer distinct waves than the same swell a few days earlier, when it had a shorter period. For this reason, short-period swells tend to be much more consistent, while long-period swells might have very long waits between sets. This is why swells tend to be less consistent when they first hit, and more consistent later in the swell event. Remember, long-period waves move more quickly than short-period waves, so the first waves of a swell to arrive will always have longer periods, with the period of the swell decreasing as the slower waves at the back of the swell eventually reach land. Since the forerunners of a swell are the fastest moving and therefore have the longest period, they are also the least consistent, which explains why you might wait 30 minutes between sets when a swell first hits, but less than a minute once the swell is well-established.

But once these swells arrive, what causes them to break so differently at different spots? Why is one break a hollow barrel and another a soft roller more conducive for beginners. That all has to do with bathymetry, which we will discuss more in Swells 103.

Swells 101: How Are Waves Formed?

It might seem like the simplest of questions, but the reality is that many surfers don’t actually know where their waves come from. And little wonder. In an age of computer-guided swell models and customized spot forecasts, it’s easy to live from surf report to surf report rather than understanding the science ourselves.

But 20 years ago the idea of an online swell model didn’t even exist, and 20 years before that the only surf reports in existence were word of mouth from the guy who got to the beach earlier than you. Go back a couple of hundred years and waves were the stuff of legend, their origins inspiring confusion and wonder, or at the very least leading to myths such as the ever-popular “full-moon swell.” But swells have always been much simpler than that—although they are created by powerful, destructive forces, they certainly aren’t the handiwork of gods and demigods. Instead, they are easily explained by science, which is exactly why we are able to have such consistently accurate forecasts.

Waves are caused by the action of wind over the surface of the water. As all of us have seen on breezy days, wind causes ripples on the water, and the stronger that wind is, the bigger the ripples get. If a strong wind blows in one direction (also known as a “fetch”) for a long enough time, the ripples will become bigger and bigger—and the bigger they become, the more surface area they have for the wind to act upon, which makes them even bigger still. Thus, waves are the product of storms blowing over the ocean. The bigger the storm and the longer it blows in one direction, the bigger the waves will become.

But this is only the first step in the creation of what we know as a swell. The waves that are produced by the wind move through the ocean, just as other types of waves move through literally every substance on earth, from liquids to gases, and even solids. And they move in relatively straight lines, as long as they don’t run into anything that might impede their progress or cause them to turn or refract. The farther they travel, the cleaner and stronger the waves get—although they also suffer from decay as they move through the water, and eventually get smaller and smaller. Thus, the ideal location of a storm that is producing swell (at least from a surfer’s perspective) is far enough away to create clean, powerful waves, but not so far that the waves have decayed too much by the time they arrive.

The major storm-producing regions are in the far northern and southern latitudes. Storms are the product of a combination of factors, including changes in surface and atmospheric pressure, temperatures and moisture levels. The colder waters of the northern and southern reaches of the various oceans tend to create the strongest storms, so, for instance, the Pacific tends to see storms originating up near Russia or the Gulf of Alaska, or down near the tip of Chile, while the Atlantic and Southern Oceans see storms generated off the coast of Canada or down south of Cape Town. Coastlines such as those in the Pacific Northwest, Chile, South Africa, and Portugal tend to bear the brunt of these storms and the swells they produce, which is why they are some of the most wave-rich regions on the planet, and home to many of the biggest waves in existence.

Hawaii is a special case, as it enjoys a rather central location in the Pacific. Although it is quite a ways north of the equator, it is not so far north as to completely miss out on the swells generated in the South Pacific. And just about everyone who has ever surfed knows that the North Shore receives some of the biggest swells in the world each winter, courtesy of storms in the North Pacific.

In fact, winter is the single biggest producer of swell in general. While swells can be created by tropical and subtropical storms during the summer, fall, and spring, the biggest storms consistently occur during winter, when the difference between the temperature of the ocean surface and the temperature of the atmosphere is at its greatest. Thus, coastlines that face north enjoy swell during the northern hemisphere winter (approximately November through March), while south-facing coastlines get their biggest swells during the southern hemisphere winter (May through September).

This seasonal pattern has implications for just about everyone, from locals where the storms generate (who suffer damage and destruction) to surfers thousands of miles away (who wait patiently for winter to bring them swells). So the next time you put on Bruce Brown’s classic surf flick The Endless Summer, you can smugly inform your family and friends that Hollywood had it completely wrong. Surfers aren’t chasing the endless summer—it’s winter that we are obsessed with!

Next in the Swells Series… Swells 102: Ground Swell Versus Windswell