Category Archives: Tech


Grain Shop

What if surfboards had souls? Surfboards. They do have souls. They’ve got personalities, just like we do. Quirks, habits, and even shortcomings, which we tend to overlook in favor of their more positive attributes. Like a girlfriend who is, actually, pretty high-maintenance, but she’s so ludicrously good at making up, that you’re willing to fight with her. Constantly if need be. Yeah, it’s hard to break up with a board that has the perfect amount of pop or turns on a dime.

But some surfboards are more well-rounded than others. Naturally, some are stronger. Some of them have backbones. Literally. They’re composed of sinews and ribs, and right in the middle of it all: heart. They’re take-home-to-mom caliber. The boards made by Grain Surfboards in York, Maine are that kind of boards. Custom-built, hollow wood beauties. And of course, they exist in a very limited number.

Grain’s rate of production is “very slow.” Founder and principle owner Mike LaVecchia says this unapologetically. “We build maybe two dozen boards a year.”

“But,” he continues, “it’s a small part of the business. April through October, classes are kind of our main thing.”

Grain generally offers three types of surfboard building classes, which allow students to do 90 percent of the building themselves: A seven-day course, a four-day “blitz,” and a two-day finless craft class with alaia master Jon Wegener. Grain also sells kits that include all of the necessary ingredients for about half the price; their buyers do 100 percent of the work. Most people opt for the classes.

Grain Founder and Co-owner Mike LaVecchia

Grain Founder and Co-owner Mike LaVecchia

“It’s really fun to get people working with their hands who don’t typically have an opportunity to do things like this,” LaVecchia says, as he waves his own sturdy hands toward boards in various stages of completion, racked and propped throughout the workshop. “We’re always by their sides to help troubleshoot or fix anything, so we give them the freedom to mess up, knowing that we can make it right.”

East Coast surfing elicits eyebrow raising in many parts of the world. Yes, still. And due to the cold water and perceived lack of waves, Maine may as well be the Moon to most surfers. But Maine technically has more miles of coastline than California (3,478, thanks to its bevy of nooks and crannies) and much of it is surfable. York juts out into the North Atlantic and picks up loads of swell. Its surf scene is burgeoning. Nonetheless it’s hard to get anyone, let alone surfers, to call on coastal Maine and its sub-zero sea breezes in the dead of winter.

“We were kind of twiddling our thumbs,” LaVecchia says. “People are surfing all over the place, but when it’s cold and snowy here, nobody wants to come visit, even though it’s a great time of year to be here. So, we actually had some people ask us about doing classes out West.”

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XGames Gear Review: Roxy 5/4/3 Cypher Wetsuit

Click for the full review.

“I put Roxy’s top of the line women’s cold water suit under scrutiny in one of the coldest places I could imagine surfing: Maine. In the middle of January, which is scientifically proven to be the coldest of all months in the Northeast. The 5/4/3 Cypher emerged as a first-rate defender of damsels in atmospheric distress.” Click the photo for the full review on ESPN XGames Surfing.

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Wave Pool Shenanigans with @Sally_Fitz

Check Sal gal doing heaps of airs and, generally, just ripping up the artificial perfection at the Wadi Adventure Wave Pool in Al Ain, UAE. In the desert. Courtesy of Red Bull. Click here.

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Reason 347 why you should read this blog…

To save yourself the embarrassment of not knowing who writes it.

Note: I cannot help you with the embarrassment of not knowing who you’re texting.

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ESPN Gear Review: NSP Coco Mat Longboard



Some superfluous info for ladies interested in the 9’2″ Coco Mat:

The best thing about longboarding at Snapper is that you can, basically, surf all the way down to Kirra. Which is about 1 km and it’s amazing. The walk back, however, will leave you disinterested in lathering your shampoo and shaving your legs. On a side note, a whole bunch of good-lookin’ dudes will offer to help you, which is good for your girl self-esteem (if, in fact, you’re a girl) and bad for your surfer ego.

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