As most of you know, the global supply chain has been an absolute mess over the past year, between the COVID-19 pandemic, material shortages, the Suez Canal blockage, and huge backlogs in deliveries. Not only has this resulted in a shortage of finished products such as surfboards and other gear, but it has also affected the companies producing that gear, since raw materials have been in short supply. At the same time, super low interest rates and numerous rounds of government stimulus has seen the economy doing much better than expected, but the downside of that is that inflation is starting to creep up.
As you can imagine, between material shortages and inflation, the price of raw goods has been rising, which is making surfboard construction more expensive. This holds true across the industry, so it’s only normal to see rising prices in finished surfboards from a number of different brands. Being one of the largest surfboard companies in the world with a huge production base, Firewire is one of the first brands to feel these price increases and has announced that Firewire and Thunderbolt board prices will be rising on October 15 to make up for the elevated costs of production.
While this is bad news for surfboard consumers, the good news is that Firewire gave us early warning about this and gave us the go-ahead to spread the word to our Hawaiian South Shore family. The upshot is that we still have one week before prices go up. If you were planning on picking up a Firewire or Thunderbolt board in anticipation of the coming winter season, now is the time to do it!
Get your boards locked in before October 15 and you can save a few bucks for a new wetsuit or deckpad for your board! Stop by Hawaiian South Shore in early October and we will get you dialed in before prices go up!
An acquaintance of mine recently went into a running store in a landlocked state on the mainland to have his gait evaluated and get some recommendations on shoes. After putting him on a treadmill and filming his gait, the professional at the store asked, “Are you a surfer? You run like someone who has spent years on a surfboard, with your feet pointing slightly away from each other and more weight on your back foot.”
My acquaintance found this pretty amazing. Not only had he been surfing his entire life, but the runner who recognized this lived 1000 miles from the ocean. How had something as simple as a running gait given away the fact that he surfed?
As it turns out, the way that we stand on our surfboards—with one leg behind the other and a rotational twist in our hips—can really mess with our hips and throw them out of alignment. And since our hips are the main hinge around which the body bends, this can affect a lot of other areas in the body. The hips are directly connected to the glutes (the biggest muscle in the body) and the lower back, and this is typically where a lot of people feel pain and misalignment.
We have talked about lower back pain in previous articles, but haven’t mentioned much about pain in the glutes. Although there is a myriad of factors that can cause pain in the glutes, the three main ones tend to be sciatica, piriformis issues, and simple overtightening of the muscles.
Sciatica is typically caused by disc issues in the lower back, but even that can be related to tight and misaligned hips and glutes, since any added tension in the lower body can aggravate back issues.
Meanwhile, piriformis issues arise from spasms and tightness in the piriformis muscle, which is located in the buttock area. Not only does this cause localized pain, but it can also aggravate sciatica and cause referred nerve pain.
Finally, since they are such a large muscle, the glutes themselves can get super tight, particularly if they are accompanied by overtight hip flexors.
Sciatica can range from mild to severe, with the worst cases requiring disc surgery. Most sciatica flare-ups will resolve on their own, particularly with stretching and activity. One of the worst things for sciatica is to sit for prolonged periods of time (which is unfortunately what we end up doing while we work in front of our laptops), so it is important to integrate movement into your day. If you have butt pain related to piriformis or other muscle tightness, there are a few stretches that you can do to help deal with that. This informative article has detailed descriptions of 10 exercises and stretches you can use to manage piriformis and sciatica pain.
Finally, it is important to remember that what is causing our pain is often an imbalance in another part of the body—and butt pain could very well be from overtight hip flexors. Ideally, we will spend time each day both stretching our hip muscles and strengthening our core to try to prevent imbalances from starting. The downward facing dog is a great yoga stretch that helps with this, as is the supine pigeon. The seated half twist is another great stretch for the butt and hips. Meanwhile, a simple hip lift is a great way to tone up the lower back, hips, and glutes, which will help stabilize your muscles during activity so that you are less likely to develop imbalances.
Wax has been a ubiquitous part of the surf experience nearly from the beginning. It is practically mandatory for efficient wave riding since the fiberglass that our boards are made from gets incredibly slippery when wet. Here in Hawaii, we are used to using warm and tropical formula wax, but in cooler places, surfers have long been using base coat in addition to their cool or cold formula surface wax. I have recently had some customers here in Hawaii ask me what exactly base coat wax is, since it has only recently begun to pop up in surf shops here. But to understand base coat, you first have to understand how the temperature of the water affects the wax on your board.
As anyone who has left their board out in the sun knows, wax melts when it gets hot. But you may not realize that surf wax can even melt—or at least soften—when it gets just a little bit too warm. This is why we have different formulas of wax. Tropical and warm water waxes are extra hard, because the warm water of the tropics can melt softer waxes and cause them to get rubbed off of boards. But the opposite happens in cold water, where wax can become so hard that it stops being sticky and instead gets slippery. To combat this, cold and cool water waxes are made softer and stickier. They provide extra grip in cold water, but in warmer water they easily melt and get rubbed off the board, as mentioned above.
The key to successfully using wax while surfing is to match the right formula with the right water temperature, which is why tropical, warm, cool, and cold water wax all have different temperature ranges. Tropical is the hardest and least likely to soften or melt; cold is the softest and stickiest and least likely to “freeze” into a hard, slippery mass. Warm and cool wax lie somewhere in the middle.
The problem with super soft cold water wax is that it is less likely to develop nice wax bumps. It is super soft and sticky, which helps in cold water, but tends to smear and get rubbed off, which doesn’t create a good, long-term base of wax on the board. This is where base coat comes in. Base coat is essentially a super hard formula of wax—similar to tropical formula—that is applied to the clean deck of an unwaxed board to create a “base” of wax bumps. This base is then covered with a second layer of cold or cool water wax (depending on the water temperature) before each session to add some stickiness to the nicely formed (but hard and slippery) bumps on the deck. This can also be done in warm and tropical locations, where it is still a good idea to create a nice, even base of bumps on a new board before surfing it for the first time (or after scraping dirty wax off and reapplying), but generally speaking it is a much more common practice in cold water locations.
Because base coat and tropical formula wax are both extremely hard, they are actually quite similar and can be used interchangeably if necessary. While it is best to use base coat as a base coat (obviously) and tropical wax as your daily top layer, it is technically possible to use tropical formula as base coat in a pinch, just as it is possible to use base coat as a top layer for a quick session in hot, tropical water.
If that all seems confusing to you, then this will probably blow your mind: Even though base coat is a relatively new concept here in Hawaii, we’ve been using tropical wax for decades, which means that we’ve essentially always had base coat on our boards—at least what people in cold water destinations consider base coat!
When and why did you initially get into surfing?
I first leaned to surf as a kid in California from my best friend’s dad who grew up here on Oahu. The joy of spending the morning with family topped off with a hard earned In N’ Out burger, fries, and shake are some of my best memories.
Did you have a time period you laid off from surfing? If so, when and why did you start back up?
After a couple of seasons, I ended up moving away for school. After college, military service kept me from surfing for about 20 years. The opportunity to be stationed out here in Hawaii has been the perfect chance to not only re-learn, but share with my family.
What is your favorite thing about surfing?
I love surfing as a family. With how busy the days can become, the positive impact of having time to spend with each of the kids out in the water is immeasurable. Not only are we learning more about surfing, we’re learning about ourselves and, hopefully, building character and re-enforcing values. When I’m on my own, I enjoy the challenge but also the time to reflect and simply be outside in nature with zero distractions; it’s wellness for the mind, body, and soul.
Where is your favorite place to eat after surfing? What is your favorite item on the menu?
Most of our time out in the water is the morning. It’s tough not swing by Ali’i Coffee for a Taro Ube for the kids and just about any of the espresso drinks for Candace or I. If we have more time or surfed into lunch time, we’re likely to end up at Waikiki Brewing, Kaka’ako, for brunch. The kids love the burgers or biscuits and gravy while Candace I enjoy a breakfast burrito and seasonal tap!
What other hobbies do you have besides surfing?
We enjoy being active. We spend a lot of time riding bikes and playing outside in general. We still try and get one trip a year to ski and snowboard as well. When not outside, cooking and reading occupy a good bit of our time.
What type of work do you do?
Candace and I are both in the Army.
Tell us about the board you recently purchased from us. What model and size is it, and how do you like its performance?
I spend most of my time on a 10’ CJ Nelson Neo Classic with a 10” FCS Pivot fin. In Thunderbolt Silver it’s super forgiving and paddles easy. The pin tail and hard edge rails make this rather large floaty log easy to turn, even when you’re closer to the middle. It’s nice to have more performance like features in this classic shape. As a first board to get back into surfing it was perfect. Although a touch big, on those small days I’m not missing much out there. Also, a side benefit is it’s great when “towing” my oldest part way out to the lineup!
My boys, both 8 years old and under, share time on a FireWire Dan Mann 5’6 Dominator II in a two plus one made up of a twin fin and trailer. This was the first step off of a foam top to dial down the volume so they could begin to work turns and feel the wave underneath them. The squash tail and foam under the chest make it easy for the kids to paddle and catch waves with a little push in assistance. The Helium 2 construction and Paulownia wood rails have been key in making it easy for them to carry and manipulate while being super durable for kids who can be hard on gear. Part of what I enjoy about the durability is the ability to teach them how to properly care for and respect their board with lower risk as they carry, wax, ride, clean, pack, and store it.
Candace has recently spent her time on an 8’ 3” CJ Nelson Parallax with a 9”
Flying Diamonds/CJ Nelson Involvement fin. This board is easy to paddle, fast immediately on takeoff, and the long board shape in a fun size is super maneuverable and, well, fun! The rails and displacement hull that tracks a good length of the board in Thunderbolt Red definitely makes this more performance oriented.
Lastly we recently grabbed a 7’0” CJ Nelson Outlier. I’ve only been out on it once, so more to come. What I can say is, the ability to demo from HSS is fantastic! After taking out the 8’0 Outlier, when I saw the 7’0 I knew I needed to pick it up. It’s definitely fun. I was shocked at how effortlessly it paddled into waves, it’s speed, agility, and ability to catch smaller waves easily. In Thunderbolt Red and the option of two plus one or riding single fin, I’m looking forward to finding different ways to enjoy it!
Do you have any additional comments?
We can’t thank the team at HSS enough for being helpful and just all around good people. Their patience to help us learn and grow has been awesome. They can’t help but extend stoke and aloha. Seemingly everyday in HSS is a good day! Mahalo!
This board paddles fast and is fast down the lineit’s a lot of board at 57V but that’s fine for me it’s also easy to duck dive. I surf longboard and short board. I have been waiting for something to come to the market from thunderbolt surfboards for along time. My fin set up is christenson 8” center fin and his twin fin set. This gave me the control and drive I was looking for because the board is 23” wide this helped on bigger days. Smaller days I switch out the side fins and put the small fcs2 controller fins that lets the board move like a short board. Definitely keeping this board for along time. Thank you thunderbolt surfboards and Hawaiian south shore.
Jimmy B. about Firewire DOMINATOR 2.0 5'8 V30.1 FCS II
The Dominator 2 has been my go to board out of my quiver. I love everything about it and would recommend it to anyone who's interested. I've also been enjoying trying out the different fin options but find the thruster set up works best for me. Board has good speed, drive, and float. It's like butter in the water. Definitely worth the money. Aloha
Jay O. about Firewire FLAT EARTH LFT 5'10 V33.4 FCS II Green
I got a 5’10 based on HSS recommendation of going a couple liters bigger. I paired it with the futures power twin fins with trailer. The board paddles and rides fast, super easy to generate speed and the turns are crisp. 3 of my other friends also bought this board. It’s like surfing with a cheat code.
Kai Nainoa of Gentle Beast—Revolutionizing the Floral Industry and Supporting Our Front-Line Health Care Workers
Hawaiian South Shore has been part of the community here in Honolulu for over 25 years, and we are always excited to see our neighbors and fellow businesses succeed. We also appreciate when people go out of their way to help better the community through acts of generosity and vision. Kai Nainoa of Gentle Beast is all of the above—a Honolulu resident and business owner who has been donating his unique skills and resources to support front-line medical personnel throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. And now his business is embarking on the next step of its journey!
Kai started his business this past year and has quickly gained a dedicated following. He caters weddings and other events, but also creates incredible arrangements for high-end boutiques throughout Waikiki and the surrounding area. A truly gifted artist, he is one of Honolulu’s best floral arrangers, yet he is also humble and lets his work speak for itself.
While many people would be content to run a successful business, Kai has also been quietly finding creative ways to support the doctors and nurses who are helping keep us healthy throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. He knows that these front-line health workers are burned out and exhausted, especially with our hospitals overflowing with patients and ICUs completely overwhelmed. To help brighten their days and let them know how much they are appreciated, he has been gifting floral arrangements to front-line workers over the past year through a project called “Choose Love.” But as his vision continues to expand, he has had to find innovative ways to help cover the costs of his donations—after all, these are super high-end flowers we are talking about! To that end, he recently started a line of t-shirts called “Love Like a Beast,” which he will be selling to help fund his floral donations to Oahu’s front-line medical workers. The proceeds from t-shirt sales will go toward sustaining this beautiful mission and help support the people who are keeping us and our family members safe during this trying period.
At the same time, Kai has recently decided to move his business into a physical storefront space that is literally right next door to Hawaiian South Shore! Scheduled to launch in early October, his new shop will be located in the same building as Fishcake, which is just north of our shop. We can’t imagine a better person to have as a neighbor and are excited to see Gentle Beast expanding its presence here in Honolulu.
I encourage you all to check out Kai’s arrangements, contact him for any floral needs you might have, and support his donations by purchasing a “Love Like a Beast” shirt!