Rip Curl Pro Search 2010 in Puerto Rico!

by Danny Cruz| Follow Danny @sixstringsensei on Twitter HERE

Update November 7, 2010: This event ended up being one of the greatest events of the year and the best Puerto Rico has seen in decades. It was specially historical at both ends of the spectrum, the good and the bad. The fact that Kelly Slater not only won the event, but clenched his 10th world title in Puerto Rico is something that will not soon be forgotten. On the other hand, the contest also marks the point in time when the surfing world lost one of its greatest, Andy Irons. Many mourn his death and I personally send my prayers to his family during this time of incredible loss. May God be with you. -Danny Cruz

In my efforts to bring you more than just news about graphic design here’s a neat little number that talks about two of my biggest interests.  Most of you know I’m a surfer.  It makes me pretty darn proud to find out that Rip Curl has chosen Puerto Rico as the venue for their 2010 Pro Search.  The Rip Curl Pro Search is a professional surf contest that changes venues every year.  Not only that, but once the host country is chosen, they don’t specify exactly where the event is going to be held at in order to “search” for the best spot with the best conditions.

This year could also be of even more significance.  As of this writing, Kelly Slater is ahead of Jordy Smith in the race for the World Title.  This would be Slater’s 10th world title!  Looks like he’s so far ahead that any podium position will seal the deal.  In fact, even if Kelly Slater gets a 25 in Puerto Rico, Jordy needs at least a 5th place in order to stay in the game.

You’re making a Puerto Rican surfer really proud!

Apart from the fact that the event is in Puerto Rico, what caught my eye was the wonderful artwork created for the event.  The artwork was created by surf artist Tyler Warren.  I was not familiar with Tyler’s work until now, but I can tell you I’m now a fan as I’m truly impressed.  Since I’m Puerto Rican, I can see stuff in that painting that I immediately relate to.  Like the three kings, the Puerto Rican “cuatro” guitar, and the “Garita del Morro.”  Tyler, if you run in to this article, let me tell you, “Good job!  You’re making a Puerto Rican surfer really proud!”

You can see more of Tyler’s work on his website:

Rip Curl Pro Search Poster


Lost Stealth Rapidfire RF Surfboard by Firewire

by Danny Cruz| Follow Danny @sixstringsensei on Twitter HERE

Firewire Lost Surfboard A couple of months ago I wrote a review of a 6’0″ …Lost Stealth FST surfboard made by Firewire.  Click here of you want to read that post.  Recently, I’ve been really getting into Rapidfire technology also by Firewire.  A buddy of mine was interested in my the FST Stealth so I sold it to him and ordered myself the RF version.  I had to wait a few months as these new boards were still in production at the time.  I would be receiving a board from the very first batch that landed in the US.

The Rapidfire boards are made with epoxy and EPS foam.  Different than the FST constructed boards, the Rapidfires feature carbon fiber rods inside the foam rather than parabolic balsa rails.  The carbon rods sit inside the foam a couple of inches from the rail so they are technically also parabolic.  The other difference is the skin of high density foam that the FST boards have on the deck is replaced by a bamboo top.  This thin layer of bamboo not only looks good, but it’s very strong and adds it’s own signature touch to the boards flex characteristics.  The bottom does not have a skin of high-density foam.  This makes the bottom a bit more vulnerable to dings than FST tech, but it’s still stronger than a standard polyurethane (PU) surfboard.

The board rides similar to the FST version I had apart from a few subtleties.  I adjust pretty well to the difference in feel, so I’m happy with either FST of Rapidfire tech.  However, I do have friends that swear by one or the other only.  I really enjoy the look of the bamboo but I admit I miss the beautiful and clean white finish of an FST board.

FCS Aqualine Fin Setup

For fins, I first set it up as a quad with FCS TC Aqualines in the front and AB-Tow side fins in the rear.  For the second session I opted to change the Aqualines for a pair of FCS Goods-1.  I liked that setup a little bit better for some reason.  Mainly just feel.  The AB-Tow fins are staying in the back for now.  Those are made out of G10 and are top quality fins.  The traction pad I opted for is a FCS T-1.  It fits the board perfectly and I really like how it enhances the “stealthy” look with it dark charcoal grey color.

FCS surfboard traction pad

The board, fin and pad setup is perfect.  This is a surfboard that’s meant to last so I see myself putting session after session on it.  If I ever get bored and feel like experimenting, with the FCS Fusion fin boxes I can move the fins forward or back to fine tune the board to the conditions.  That, or I can change all the fins altogether.  That’s why it’s good to have a fin collection ;)  -D

Surfboard Profile Rocker


Solid Surfboard Artwork – The Newman

by Danny Cruz| Follow Danny @sixstringsensei on Twitter HERE

Artwork for a Surfboard

I just finished creating an artwork piece for a board that will be built by talented shaper Dan O’Hara from Solid Surf Co.  The model is “The Newman” which Dan himself describes as a board “for boosting airs.”

This is just a preview of the preliminary design.  I ended up making some mods for the final version.  Until then, check this one out.  When the board is ready, I’ll post up a photo of the finished board with the final artwork.  The artwork is all vectors in Adobe Illustrator.


How I Created the Art Wave for the Surf Theme

by Danny Cruz| Follow Danny @sixstringsensei on Twitter HERE

I just updated my site’s style switcher and added the first of 3 styles.  This one is for the surf theme.  I’ve got 2 more coming…  Dirt and snow.  You might be wondering how I created the wave that sits below the header.  It was a small sketch I drew this morning.  I then scanned it and “painted” it in Adobe Photoshop using bits and pieces of real photos of real waves.  There’s some foam from Teahupoo, bits and pieces of Pipeline and some glare from Jeffreysbay.  All in all, a fun project to take on.  See below the “before and after” photo.  The first photo is the sketch exactly as my scanner saw it.  The colorful barreling wave below is the finished picture after quite a bit of work.  -D

Big Wave Sketch


Notes from an Epic Surf Session in SoCal

by Danny Cruz| Follow Danny @sixstringsensei on Twitter HERE

Colorful wave in Carlsbad

This is a post I wrote 3 years ago for an older blog.  I like it and found it ideal to bring back to life.

I was driving home from work today and I drove into Encinas Avenue towards the beach.  I was trying to avoid the traffic of the I-5 in Encinitas.  Having surfed every day this week since Sunday, I was not planning on paddling out again today.  I got closer to the beach and something caught my eye right away.  Some dude is smacking the crap out of an overhead peeler.  I was on the phone with my brother in Puerto Rico through all this, and I was like, “Hey, I gotta let you go.  I’m gonna go pick up my board!”

So I pull up to my Leucadia apartment, and run up stairs.  I give my wife a kiss and say “I gotta go! It’s firing!”  I grab my suit, board and leash and head out the door.

I paddle out near the jetty at Carlsbad State Beach, otherwise known as Ponto. As soon as I start heading out I notice the amount of white-water and I make out that the surf is nicely overhead at about 7-8 feet.  I get worked and mauled by a set and eventually make it to the lineup.  While I catch my breath I notice there were about 30 guys out.  But today it is not a problem.  I found a good spot in the lineup and catch my first wave.  A macking left that gets me flying down the line on my 6’1″ DHD Mick Fanning thruster.  I’m stoked.  Unfortunately, I took the first wave of the set and proceed to get worked by the following 6 waves.

After flushing the two gallons of seawater out of my nose I go on to catch a bunch of waves in the remaining hour I have of daylight. The waves are glassy and powerful unlike the last couple of weeks.  I’m having a blast!

The dolphins are catching waves and having a great time, just like the surfers.

I guess dolphins love it when there are waves.  They are everywhere, and totally out of control.  They are just popping up all over the place and sometimes jumping clear out of the water. The dolphins are catching waves and having a great time, just like the surfers.  I have a huge one pop out of the water about 2 feet from me! It’s unreal!

That evening I stayed out ’till I could see no more…  Roundabout 7:45pm. The water was getting dark and sketchy and I could barely make out the lines.  So I catch a final one in. As I walked back to my truck I thought about the awesome session I just had.  I got reminded of why I love the ocean.  Thank God for such an awesome creation! -D

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Lost Stealth FST Surfboard by Firewire

by Danny Cruz| Follow Danny @sixstringsensei on Twitter HERE

Lost Stealth Firewire FST SurfboardSurfing! That’s a topic I have introduced to my blog before but not talked too much about yet.  Well, surfing’s a big part of what I do so you’ll see more of it here in the future.

I recently picked up a Lost Stealth FST 6’0″ from a friend.  This model is built by Firewire in their FST technology.  FST is essentially a type of sandwich construction with strong deck and bottom skins and parabolic balsa rails.  This makes the board very light and very strong.  I’m not going to go much in depth into the construction but if you want to find out more about Firewire tech, go to

I went with the 6’0″ model with the intention of testing it as well as a 5’10″ before deciding which to keep.  I’m  5’10″ 170lbs and I’ve been surfing for 13 years (at the time of this writing).  I’ve spent some time jumping in and out of the sport while doing other things, so my skill level is experienced, yet far from pro.  On paper, the board size is good for me, but I could go with the smaller 5’10″ to help increase performance in better waves while sacrificing a tad bit of paddling ability and crappy-wave performance.

I had a chance to ride the board yesterday at Swamis, Encinitas in the morning and at Grandview for an evening surf.  The surf was head-high to a foot or two overhead for both sessions.  Still, the evening conditions at Grandview were much cleaner than Swamis in the morning.  The board handled better than I originally expected.  It felt long, but that’s only because I’ve been riding small 5’10″ and 5’8″ fishes lately, not to mention my 5’6″ quadfish! The board is quite responsive as a quad and turns really well.  It floats a lot for its size and paddles better than most shortboards but not as well as some true grovellers.  I wouldn’t feel comfortable with it in a big pitching or barreling wave but for most of the stuff around here it’s superb.  Did I say the board is FAST?  It’s a little speed rocket!  It also cuts through foam beautifully, so I don’t get bogged down or knocked over like on some fatter board that I have.

Did I say the board is FAST? It’s a little speed rocket!

I found it to be very snappy and quick.  I could definitely feel the springiness of the balsa rails.  The construction feels really solid.  I’ve only ridden it a quad so far with a set of FCS SF4 Performance Core fins.  I suspect it rides better that way.  It turns more like a thruster than any other quad I’ve surfed before.  I’m ready to try other fin combos on it very soon.

I’m going to be riding it for the next couple weeks and try and get a hold of a smaller 5’10″ model after that.  I’m pretty sure I can squeeze more responsiveness out of a slightly smaller model without losing too much paddling ability.  Overall, the Lost Stealth in Firewire FST construction is truly an awesome little board!

Lost Stealth Firewire Surfboard Deck