Black Atlantic Surfboards

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Over the course of years of working in the Erie Surfboards camp, Adam Ribakoff decided to create and work on a label of his own. Taking the values of Erie Surfboards, which has always been about the customer receiving a high quality custom surfboard crafted for you as opposed to fitting your surfing to a mass produced board; Black Atlantic Surfboards was created and is growing with the same product line such as shortboards and even wakesurf boards.

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Beyond this, getting a surfboard should not be an experience in which the stuffy shaper who knows more than you dictates what you should ride nor should you feel that you are being sized up by the pimply faced surf shop employee. Getting a board is an experience that should be fun. Maybe you want to just catch a lot of waves and cruise…It is all good!

Maybe you are a secret crazy cat lady and want to show the world your love of your cats or you are crazy about pizza! Adam will get you going.

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There are a lot of big things in the works and Adam would love to trade off some feedback to create a perfect board for you.

Go to his Facebook page to see how stoked his customers are and also visit his website –

www.blackatlanticsurfboards.com

 

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Noise to Note! #131

Noise to Note!

Eyedea had a career that garnished him accolades and respect from the hip hop community yet he struggled to reach a platform like Eminem did that would garnish him commercial success. He also struggled to find a fit but maybe this was not a bad thing for he created unique landscapes to propel his message.

Before his passing, he began to create a more cleaned up version of his former tunes and yet, his music began to take on a more somber note as he struggled with his inner demons.

Towards the end came this. With a video to boot.

Eyedea & Abilites – Smile.

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Florida Pro – The Game Changer

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Frank Zima, Dick Catri, John Griffin

For myself and for my father and family, the Florida Pro was our big game changer and would set the course for a good part of my adult life.

Right before moving to Florida, I joined the Hawaiian Surfing Association and had one rushed event at Queens before departing our homeland. I do not even remember what I got…It was just a 2 round clown intro to contests.

Then came the move and the change to a completely different culture. Back on the mainland! Everything was different.

After being here for a few months, my father and I were driving when the ad came on our local rock station, WDIZ. I was stoked! A pro surfing festival! I had to see this in person! After digging around, I found they had amateur events as well. With some begging, my father coughed up a check and the entry form was mailed and I was ready to go!

So, I have spoken about this event in other entries in my site. But this will not be about me or the big time pros that befriended me so much as you will see.

So the day of the event came. I surfed and advanced. At some point, I was walking around and found my father doing something at the scaffold. He spoke to me about the problems the event was having, mainly with the electrical equipment. My father was hard at work correcting the problem for the contest staff.

Later, there was my father again. He was running the judges score sheets to the tabulator. He was joking with everyone and having a great time.

Within that weekend, I had no idea what positions my father worked but he was doing a lot! After every afternoon came to close, my father grabbed a few beers and we talked with everyone on the staff. I had no idea who any of these people were but later their importance would become clear.

By the end of the last day of the weekend, the contest was facing a very big crisis. Hurricane David was making its way up the coast and the conditions were going south fast. This is when I surfed my big heat and won my way into the finals in some big and challenging conditions. After some deliberation, they decided to run the finals the next week. This for the day was pretty rough on the competitors because in those days there were lots of events to surf.

By the next week, the waves were different and much more tame. At some point, I was on the beach and heard a very familiar voice. My father!! Now he was commentating since someone needed a break.

From that event on, my father went from the extremely helpful guy to paid staff member of the east coast pro circuit.

Not bad for an occasional weekend surfer.

My father really loved surfing though. He just always seemed to be on the wrong side of doing it. As I grew into a bigger role in surfing, his health deteriorated. In fact, he worked many events with some sort of pain that he would only reveal once he returned home and sat down exhausted. But with all of the discomfort, he always smiled as we spoke about the days events at the contest.

But beyond his love of surfing, he had a bigger love for the surfers and for the staff. When he spoke about different people and what they told him, the pride in those people always showed.

During the opening day of the Florida Pro, there were tons of people on the beach. Static observers. Out of all those people, my father was the sole person to switch from observer to problem solver.

One action changed it all.

 

 

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Burning off the Turkey Day Meal

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Fall has been here for awhile now and the water temp in the lake is dropping. Even on a warm fall day, every time your turn came up it was a re-acquaintance with a wet life vest and then a plunge into water that never seemed to be warm enough for one to get used to.

But once up, it was fun. Since my surfboard is a few inches longer than the wakesurfing boards; the Tomo seemed like a natural fit.

After daylight savings time switched over, our nice summer nights of having sunlight until 8 p.m. are now far gone. As the sun dropped, we struggled with getting up the motivation to go overboard into the cool water.

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At the very end of things, Adam just pulled out his phone and shot one part of a run and we scored these two keepers. Not bad for zero planning.

This session was probably the end of things simple.

Now will come wetsuits and work.

 

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Noise to Note! #130

Noise to Note!

Here in Florida, one of our first cool downs has come and the weather is 16 degrees cooler than yesterday.

So when the temps drop; we start to think of places far away. With warmer temps, blue water, and palms.

Sugar Minott – Dancehall Style

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Searching for Zen – Student and Master

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Two boards – Zen vs. Warrior

About the time that the surfing bug hit fully, my friend Lou showed me a surfing magazine and it blew my mind. Later I bought magazines of my own and starred in disbelief at my now adopted surfing idols.

I scoured ever advertisement and read every article in hope of gathering as much information as I could get. In one ad, I saw a name that was seared into my mind. Tom Curren – Boys Champion. I could barely surf but I knew this Tom Curren would be someone I would want to surf with. On another page I saw a huge Sunset peak with a miniscule sized blonde haired kid about to take the insanely steep drop. The caption said he was Cheyne Horan from Bondi Beach. How a kid only a few years my senior could do this was beyond me.

Years later and living on the east coast of the U.S., I took a trip to surf in a contest in North Carolina. The contest was The Record Bar Pro and I was in the amateur event.

At the contest, I found myself rubbing elbows with all of my heroes. Riding in an elevator, I saw a young guy that I knew as Mark Occhilupo standing right to my side. I did not want to even look at him.

But Occy was not shy at all.

Gonna be a fun one today, mates! Looks good!

I nodded and agreed and truthfully I would have agreed to just about any statement he made because this guy was hitting legend status.

Down at the shore one evening, my buddies and I sat to watch some free surfing. Tom Curren was out and he was our main focus. As was Joey Buran from California. But then strolled Cheyne Horan over the sand dunes. In his arms were a few boards and one in particular was fat with a weird fin. I had seen a pic of this fin in a magazine and was beyond curious to see it action.

After a wave on the more normal single fin, Cheyne came out and swapped it for the weird board. All the focus shifted from Tom to Cheyne.

So the first few rides were fairly decent. He did a few turns and was going fairly fast. But then he caught a wave that he went backside on and weaved through the flat spots towards the inside. The board took off like a rocket and as Cheyne approached the shore, he furiously launched skyward into a very critical backside straight air and plopped down with no problems and casually dry-docked it on the shore. Our eyes were now as wide as saucers and this moment was burned into my being as a blue print to follow for future surfs.

When he came in, we approached him and he began to chat with us about the boards and the speed. This was my first encounter with Cheyne.

Soon after this event, Cheyne was fully on the winged keel and as luck would have it he would get some boards shaped by Natural Art and their talented team of shapers such as Ricky Carrol and Richard Price. So we both had a shared connection as I surfed for Natural Art Surfboards.

One day, I walked into the shop and to my amazement was THE board owned by Cheyne Horan himself. I asked someone in the shop what was going on and he said Cheyne had come by and dropped his favorite board off to be duplicated as close as possible since this was before shaping machines. I then asked the craziest question…Could I ride the board. Amazingly the answer was yes. So me and a few of the shop rats ran across the street for what would be an hour of frustration.

So yes, I wrote off that board as useless. But something made me think about my conversation with Cheyne and the weird things he spoke about. I grabbed the board and tried to imagine Cheyne riding and not me trying to ride it as a thruster. Suddenly, the board sprung to life and it became my newest obsession.

Somehow word got out to Cheyne that a kid was riding his board and I was allowed to take it home and use it. From there came my journey into a world that conflicted with my normal life…zen, flow, stance against wiggling, skating, aggression, and snapping.

I only personally spoke with Cheyne a few times during this whole period. This was the 80s and it was pre-internet and e-mail. So I would go to the shop and someone would hand me a note. Just a few scribbled instructions on how to make my journey with the board flow. On one occasion, he left a poster for me with some more words of encouragement.

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Evening keel speed run

Down the road, I had my own keel hull and was riding it in contests. My peers heaped praise on my surfing but there was always that but…but you would do better with a more normal board. I also saw that Cheyne was not meeting his goal of being a world champ and was going further into Buddhism.

Finally, I made a painful choice. To return back to the thrusters and to a more contest style of surfing. As for me and the master…the correspondence dried up as well.

I will say this. Riding the keels did help my surfing a lot. For once I had to get the board on rail and just hold it. No bouncing and hopping or two staging a turn. So it gave me an appreciation for the art of rail surfing to go along with the airs and other tricks.

As for the keel, I still talk to shapers about getting one made to just carve around on. I hope it happens at some point.

 

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A Farewell to Greats

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The Early Years

 

I started to write with the idea that I was losing 2 things from my life. Then I received news of a third and even a fourth. So I will keep the original two then go into the last two.

(From the original post)

Sometimes things that can seem so distant can be tied together tighter than two Siamese twins. That is why these few weeks are going to mark the farewell to two greats. One is a person. Mike Martin passed away a few days ago. The other is a the first waterpark and it is in icon that I worked at; Wet n Wild.

I showed up at the Human Resource office as a self-centered teen and left as a responsible supervisor with an eye for detail and safety. The management team provided me with the first real mentorship and Mr. Millay distilled in us a sense of doing things correctly and working as a team to find completion.

Was it all serious? This was the 80s so there was a lot of crazy parties and other outlandish tales. But no matter the weather, the crowds, or public perception of lifeguards; once we got into position we were focused on the guests and their safety.

Then there was Mike Martin.

Mike was the head judge for the ASP.

He came on about the time that surfing was trying to become a bit more professional. So he wrote and become the overseer of the rules.

Being a kid at the contests, Mike was always very pleasant and talked to me about my surfing. As a pro, he continued this and explained things to me in a way that I got why I lost the heat.

Mike was also very cut and dry with all of us.

I would consider myself to be a regional pro although I competed abroad. There were others that had more clout than I did and Mike viewed us all the same. As people that had to obey the rules.

One morning we were free surfing in the contest site and Mike came over the loud speaker.

Surfers! We will be starting in 15 minutes! Clear the water now.

I scrambled to come in but others still sat out there waiting for more waves.

Surfers! We are starting in 5 minutes! Clear the water NOW!

As I was strolling out on the beach, I began to hear the more famous names being called out over the intercom system.

Famous Surfer #1! That is a 200 dollar fine!

Famous Surfer #2!  You also earned a 200 dollar fine!

So we can safely say that testing the rules was not an option with Mike at the helm.

If you read some of my tales in my blog in regards to my trips, you have to realize that my employer made it all possible. I wrote about going to California with no idea when I was coming back. I stayed 3 months total. During this time (this is very old), my management team would double schedule me and print up a time card. Then I would not show up. They did this for 3 months and when I showed up I got a big welcome back and returned to work. So the park really helped me accomplish my dreams and live out my adventures. Even after I stepped into a managerial role. Of course I was more professional and scheduled my time off.

So tonight I am taking my son to the farewell party of Wet and Wild. I will see my old friends, co-workers, and employees.

Now for the updated part of my post…

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Dana Brown – 16th Street Pushup King and all around great guy. Photo from Burry.

 

The importance of family can never be measured. Dana Brown and his father were fixtures at 16th Street in Cocoa Beach for eons. Dana sacrificed a lot to watch over his father and things were never easy for them as they lived a lifestyle that is not acceptable in these times. Then last year, sadly Mr. Brown passed on.

The other day, Dana was on a trip to California and suffered a horrific accident at the pier in Huntington Beach and later passed on.

So I need to toss in a video for Noise to Note! since it is a weekend.

During my younger years, my friends and I would pop into the Go Lounge in our club district. The Go Lounge was a small pub and in the corner was an old jukebox. We often played Leonard Cohen. It fit the vibe of the place. A bit rough around the edges but poetic.

First We Take Manhattan – Leonard Cohen

 

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