Ambrose and His 200 Surfboards

I saw a huge number of old school surfboards (turns out there are 200, almost all made by Ambrose) a little south of the main part of Kapa’a, stopped in and met Ambrose Curry III, who has lived here since 1969. Turned out he is a fellow native San Franciscan, so we had lots to talk about. We hit it off on all cylinders and even went out in the choppy reef surf on 2 of his big boards (10′ and 11′) and got knocked around a bit while he pointed out landmarks on the shore and mountains.

Here he is standing next to a 15′-4″ board that is 30-7/8″ wide and weighs 40 lbs. It’s styrofoam with epoxy resin. (I saw some spectacular Hawaiian tandem surfing on TV last night.)

I told Andrew about my trouble riding an air mat and he said the really good mats were made by Dale Solomon and called Pneumatic Surfcraft, no longer available. They had, among other things a very roughened up top deck. He gave me a lot of mat riding tips, so I’m gonna give it another try when I get home.

Boy, was it fun to run into a brother native son, and a surfer to boot.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

8 Responses to Ambrose and His 200 Surfboards

  1. Get in touch with me if you ever come down to the Santa Barbara region, and I'll try to do likewise when I venture north. I'm an unabashed fan of 4th Gear Flyer mats ( which are far and away the most progressive and advanced designs ever produced. Riding together and sharing mats is a great way to kickstart your learning curve!

  2. Same from me in San Francisco. Although Ocean Beach is generally not a mat-friendly surf zone- I'd bring one with you the next time you go to Santa Cruz (and would be happy to accompany or take you if our schedules overlapped).

    It's worth the effort! And also agree with Dirk about Paul's mats.

  3. 4GF mats are great,which I think you ride at the mo but if you,re after a custom made mat with a grippy deck ala Dale,s Neumatics,prob best to get on a G mat.
    All being said,it just takes a bit of time to get used to matting.Floundering is key.

  4. Ambrose!Miss his haikus on Sways and Surfmatz forums.Glad he,s doing well.
    G mats are great,we,re all riding them nowadays.
    Paul,s mats are good for the main.If you need more security,you can grip your canvas deck with Sikaflex.See for details.
    Keep at it,it,s all about not trying hard.

  5. Just want to add that if you do have one of Paul's mats already Lloyd, and deck traction is an issue, you can wax it as you would your board, and dramatically increase it. Big difference between my newer mat which came waxed, and my older one.

    I think you wax it then melt it in with a hair dryer.

  6. yet another case of telling kids to "shut up and sit still", and then wonder why they don't learn "active" skills/are out of shape/too scared to go out in the world..

    truly sad,
    many cities have NOW instituted laws against tobogganing, Calgary, Toronto, and also in the States. SAD and very detrimental.

    once they have convinced kids and parents that they are all too stupid to play in the snow, where are they going to find the next generation inventors/adventurers/warriors? guess that all will have to be outsourced to some other country…

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