Otta - a nod to Simmons and Mandala from the Backyard

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Otta - a nod to Simmons and Mandala from the Backyard

Postby Craivold » Tue Apr 30, 2013 9:46 am

Been meaning to post up a little thread on my build project for ages but various distractions both fun and arduous have blocked me - but since as I was going to surf this morning and it's tiny and dead weak (but sunny :-D ) I thought it ideal to tell you dudes about my little foam and chemical induced journey.

It all started when Splinter from here replaced my old timber front doors (a bloody good job he did too), I started hacking up the scraps to use as firewood as last autumn drew in and realised I could cobble together a decent set of shaping trestles from these badboys. I made one end and half made the other, distractions of life, work and surf came in the form of consistent swell and fast forwarding to February meant my crappy scrappy trestles had been left untouched and unfinished for months in the garage, I looked at them leaning against the wall and thought - this is going to be one of those things I'll say I'm going to do but will never do it..... I'd not been using Twitter long, due to a phobia of social networking, when a tweet popped up from Chris Hartop saying he was running some more board building courses in North Cornwall and that for around the price of a new board from a shop you could craft your own from start to finish with someone who knows what they are doing watching over you ready to step in and save your board from any misguided molestation attempts, if I was ever going to shape something this was the opportunity so I dived right in.

So what to make? I'd spent a lot of the winter on an Ectic Concept mini simmons and was sold on the shape, buttery smooth glide, loads of drive but loose as well and I'd also been odling Mandala's shapes for a good couple of years but the expense of getting one on these shores always made me think twice about going in for one... it was the Superchunk Twin Keel Cutaway in particular that was lighting my fire, this little fella

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So after a bit of consultation with Chris a plan was hatched to create a Simmons influenced (Sim rails & S-Deck) version of the Superchunk TKC with the dims of 5'6 x 22 3/4" x 2 5/8" with a touch of nose rocker and very little rocker in the tail, rolled/hull nose into flat into single concave then flat through the fins for thigh to head high waves. The fin gods must have been shining on me too as not long after the decision was made to defnitely go twinnie cutaway instead of quad Chris said that Mick from Lokbox had just got in some luverrly Tim Stafford cutaway keels so they were procured at a very good price in readiness to drive this sled at warp speed. Finnage;

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So the blank was ordered up and Chris and I laid out the shape using his existing templates and drawing some new lines of our own where existing templates weren't suitable. This actually took a fair bit of time and really makes you think about how much work is involved in just creating a new shape that's not a modification of an existing template, it's very difficult to ensure everything is symmetrical and there was tonnes of measuring out from the stringer, re-measuring, checking by eye, re-measuring, adjusting slightly... you get the picture. Eventually I got the chance to go at it with a saw, Chris putting the pressure on saying the sawing needed to be as perpendicular to the deck/bottom as possible, cue me sawing very slowly and timidly... This was probably one of the easiest parts of the process but even at this stage I was tense about making an error, after my slow sawing we were left with this;

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Next job was to get the planer out :shock: and get really dusty, the amount of mess thats created during this stage is a bit of an eye opener. We lost foam from areas the shape didn't need it, a lot of planing on the tail, nose (leaving foam for the SDeck) and rails went down.

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Next up was the cool bit, the stage where a blocky, vaguely surfy looking thing becomes a curvy wonderful thing of beauty, looking like it will carve a glassy face like a whippet taking a high speed bend. We spent quite a lot of time on this stage, hand blending the areas that were planed, gently sculpting the rocker, deck and foiling the rails. This is where Chris was invaluable for me really - there were plenty of times where I was focusing on a small area completely unaware of how much foam I was removing and how it was affecting the rest of the shape - he was directing me all the way making sure I wasn't going to make a hash of it all. I found the rails particularly hard as they are up in the nose (hully) and down in the tail for hold and you've got to manage that transition smoothly all the way through the length of the rail - I think if left to my own devices I'd have either not attempted such a complex set of features or created an absolute dog of a board :lol: . Anywho, here it is in all it's foamy glory with just a few tiny bits to tidy up (little bit of stringer to cut out of the tail and a few other tiny bits of sanding needed before glassing);

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Another cool bit, signing the board! I've called this creation Otta, hopefully it will be as at home in water as the furry fellas themselves

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This brings you nearly up to date now as I move onto the scary glassing stage. We're going for a super strong build and finish which still should be relatively light so 6oz on the bottom with 4oz + 6oz on the top. I've also never had a resin tint on a board before so I fancied one for this flying machine. Continuing the Mandala inspiration I went for a semi opaque green which is actually way less vivid than these pics suggest but it has led us to refer to the board as Slimer (from the Ghostbusters) with Chris deciding that it will be able to fly through walls..... of water.... Most probably whilst I'm getting flogged by the lip on the other end of the leash!

Glassing was pretty scary as you're working to a pretty tight time frame whilst the resin is setting, you're shifting around the board getting busy squeegee'ing it thoroughly into all areas of the glass, again this is where I benefited from Chris' help as he was spotting plenty of areas that I had missed with the resin and acted quickly to make sure Otta had a good covering. Certainly a stage that could have ended in tears if I had had a go solo but was made relatively easy and fun instead :-D .

here's Slimer;

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Next up is glass the top, lokbox fin install and finishing. I'll be sure to update this thread, there's a little while to go yet but I'm gagging to surf the thing, hopefully on a nice sunny lined up 2ft day of peelers 8)

All thoughts and comments welcome and this is going to sound so much like an advert but I mean it genuinely - thanks very much to Chris so far for all his help along the way - thanks to him I'll be left with something I can enjoy for a long time. If anyone's in the area and fancies giving shaping a go but needs an extra shove you'd do well to get in touch with him.
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Re: Otta - a nod to Simmons and Mandala from the Backyard

Postby Black » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:22 am

Looking sweet, definitely going to end up with a belter by the look.
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Re: Otta - a nod to Simmons and Mandala from the Backyard

Postby buttholesurfer » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:33 am

Board looks like a right blast.
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Re: Otta - a nod to Simmons and Mandala from the Backyard

Postby Philshoz » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:37 am

Looks edible..............

Great post Cravoid, keep us in the loop.
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Re: Otta - a nod to Simmons and Mandala from the Backyard

Postby Craivold » Tue Apr 30, 2013 11:00 am

Cheers for the comments boys :-D

I actually went into the whole thing with pretty low expectations - I think it's because it involves me and some physical/technical work with my hands - normally a bad mix! But as it's come along I think more and more she's going to be an absolute beaut :2d . Will definitely keep you looped up.
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Re: Otta - a nod to Simmons and Mandala from the Backyard

Postby JayP » Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:08 pm

Bloody hell!!!!! Me likey. Me likey alot!!!! And thanks for putting the pics of the build up. You've basically just gone and done what I've been thinking of doing (but with expert help!) I'm Inspired and jealous!!!!! Good on ya. Hope she surfs as good as she looks!
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Re: Otta - a nod to Simmons and Mandala from the Backyard

Postby splinter » Tue Apr 30, 2013 2:54 pm

Nice work.....looking forward to blagging it off you for a couple of waves! :-D
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Re: Otta - a nod to Simmons and Mandala from the Backyard

Postby royal » Wed May 01, 2013 3:04 am

this is just rad.

chris is super good people, and am stoked to see him helping others make boards.

doubly rad for me to see the old bunker still in use! yeeeewwww!

board looks fun, look forward to seeing more
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Re: Otta - a nod to Simmons and Mandala from the Backyard

Postby Craivold » Wed May 01, 2013 9:02 am

Yeah Rob the bunker is getting loads of use and serving Chris well I think as he's got a fair few peeps making boards now, anything from eggs to wake board type things :) . And you're right Chris is a top lad, really mellow as well - never panicking when my input was potentially making things go a bit pear shaped - just calmly moving things back in the right direction :lol: . I'm already looking forward to the fish fry later in the year, going to bring this little fella along if anyone fancies a butchers (long way off yet I know - hopefully a summer of decent waves and good weather between now and then).

splinter wrote:Nice work.....looking forward to blagging it off you for a couple of waves! :-D


Ha steady on.... I'm feeling Gollumesque about it at the moment.... MY precious..... but I'm sure after a few sessions I'll be relaxed enough to give you some slides :p
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Re: Otta - a nod to Simmons and Mandala from the Backyard

Postby Craivold » Wed May 01, 2013 9:26 am

JayP wrote:You've basically just gone and done what I've been thinking of doing (but with expert help!) I'm Inspired and jealous!!!!!


Cheers Jay and all I can say is get stuck in and do it! Most of the processes are scarier in the mind than they are in reality and if you take your time and do plenty of research before hand you can't go too far wrong - but I guess thats easy for me to say when I've had someone monitoring my moves..! Again, don't want to get all advert like but if you really do want help give Chris a shout - think he can sort out some kind of accommodation as well if you don't live near this way - if the weather stays like this and something more rideable in terms of surf turns up it'll be a great way to have a holiday.

Hopefully going to fit in some more glassing tail end of this week or sometime next week, so more piccies and board porn then :|>
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Re: Otta - a nod to Simmons and Mandala from the Backyard

Postby Philshoz » Wed May 01, 2013 12:16 pm

Have you considered the price tag yet?

Don't be shy about asking a million or so......
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Re: Otta - a nod to Simmons and Mandala from the Backyard

Postby mountain man » Wed May 01, 2013 12:49 pm

Philshoz wrote:Have you considered the price tag yet?

Don't be shy about asking a million or so......



Hmm I'd definitely not pay any more than $1.35M as that's a board that has been designed to be surfed.....
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Re: Otta - a nod to Simmons and Mandala from the Backyard

Postby Craivold » Thu May 02, 2013 6:04 am

I love the board already but I'm not going to lie, if someone offered me £1m for it I'd seriously consider it...
:p
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Re: Otta - a nod to Simmons and Mandala from the Backyard

Postby Back to Top » Thu May 02, 2013 7:38 am

Craivold wrote:I love the board already but I'm not going to lie, if someone offered me £1m for it I'd seriously consider it...
:p


No mate, dont be a commercial sell out, dont believe the commercial hype they are trying to force on you :lol: :twisted:
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Re: Otta - a nod to Simmons and Mandala from the Backyard

Postby cuisine » Thu May 02, 2013 10:03 am

If anyone want's pretty much the same board (but 5'4) I've got this up for anywhere between 1 million down to 350 quid!

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Re: Otta - a nod to Simmons and Mandala from the Backyard

Postby Pterodroma » Fri May 03, 2013 10:00 am

Great thread, thanks! How long have you spent on it so far? A few days?

Looking forward to seeing the finished board...
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Re: Otta - a nod to Simmons and Mandala from the Backyard

Postby Craivold » Fri May 03, 2013 1:05 pm

Back to Top wrote:No mate, dont be a commercial sell out, dont believe the commercial hype they are trying to force on you :lol: :twisted:


:lol:

Pterodroma wrote:Great thread, thanks! How long have you spent on it so far? A few days?

Looking forward to seeing the finished board...


Total hours spent so far is something like 15hrs I reckon - not really been keeping track to be honest! There's probably about 7hrs worth of work left, give or take, before she's ready for a maiden voyage - going to be a great board for the kind of conditions we got coming this weekend 8) .

Cuisine; it's funny because your board popped up a while after I started on Otta - very nice looking thing, shame you didn't get on with it - looks like she'd go lovely.
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Re: Otta - a nod to Simmons and Mandala from the Backyard

Postby cuisine » Fri May 03, 2013 8:19 pm

Craivold wrote:

Cuisine; it's funny because your board popped up a while after I started on Otta - very nice looking thing, shame you didn't get on with it - looks like she'd go lovely.


Hi Craivold

I'm really torn about selling it, I waited almost 4 months for it to be shaped (so had a bad taste about it before it even arrived) and in this time I was working a desk job and have a new born at home so had no time for exercise, put on a stone and lost fitness. I'm going back to work at sea next week so should be able to shed some pounds and get a bit fitter so I think I shall give it another go when I get home. When it was up and going it flew and was a very different kind of ride to what I'm used to, trouble is when paddling it was under water so wave count was way down on a couple of pretty good days and I got a bit pissed off! I think you'll be loving yours, even more so knowing it was all our own work.

Enjoy!
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Re: Otta - a nod to Simmons and Mandala from the Backyard

Postby JayP » Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:34 pm

How about a ride report? As good as you expected? .......As good as it looks?
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Re: Otta - a nod to Simmons and Mandala from the Backyard

Postby Archy_is_God » Mon Jun 10, 2013 11:22 am

A bloody good job well done, I say :salute:
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Re: Otta - a nod to Simmons and Mandala from the Backyard

Postby JayP » Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:50 pm

As a little addition to this thread I'm on day two with Chris, the board we've ended up shaping is way above my expectations so far and I'm having a blast (although shaping is hard work when you've been a pen pusher for years!).
If anyone else is thinking of doing something similar - as nike say - just do it! :-D
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Re: Otta - a nod to Simmons and Mandala from the Backyard

Postby Poo Stance » Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:30 am

Nice one J :D

Got any pics to share?

Sounds like a new thread to me...
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Re: Otta - a nod to Simmons and Mandala from the Backyard

Postby Craivold » Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:34 pm

Ah sorry about my slackness here boys, I actually half penned out an update a few weeks back only to be whisked away by a work task never to be seen again. I'm now starting to win the paddle battle getting through the treacle made of website development and DIY/landscaping with a few more flecks of grey showing in the sidies (I'm only 29 but it's bloody creeping in I tell thee!) but still alive and enjoying life, so time for an update.....

So the deck was glassed and this was fairly trouble free as I'd already had a feel of what the process was like when the underside was glassed (I'm a pro laminator now yo!) however it was a little trickier just because the two layers of cloth took longer to soak with resin so a little more care was needed when squeegeeing, good thing was that we managed to match the tint up nicely;

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I then got to grips with the router to install the two Lokbox fin boxes for the lovely Tim Stafford Cutaway Keels, also drilling a hole for the leash plug whilst I had power tools out punching holes in the lovely glass job we had done :shock: . I said to JayP when I met him at Chris' place this week that I thought things would get less scary as you moved along the process as you are perhaps fueled by the confidence given by having completed the previous stages but it's almost the opposite really. I've found that as the time I've invested in the board has cranked up the more scared I've been when attacking it with various machinery thinking I may ruin all that good work :lol: ! In reality though any board ruining mistakes are pretty damn unlkely once the glass job is done and when you've got someone checking up on you it makes things even easier like. Here's some piccies of the fin install and a bit of tidying in prep for the sanding coat;

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This was probably about a month back almost, I got accosted by work and manual labour around the house and I worried I'd never see Otta again but then I realised I was just being stupid and that I should just get on with finishing the blady board. So I nipped down to Chris' yesterday to find that JayP had got past my stage of board building in just four days.... What have I been playing at? His board was looking great so that spurred me on to fit the leash plug and get the graphics and sanding coat on this little green nugget. Here's how she stands now curing;

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I'm really chuffed with how it's looking and it's agonisingly close to being able to get the thing out in the water now. Probably just one sanding session away from being finished... I canny wait!
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Re: Otta - a nod to Simmons and Mandala from the Backyard

Postby JayP » Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:46 am

Its looking real sweet bud. I think both our boards will ride wicked. Had a peek at yours before leaving and the glassing looks sweet as. Wouldn't worry about the sanding bit at all. Its just time and effort. And you basically just stop.when you're ready. I only hit the cloth in one tiny bit and that's easily fixed so sure yours will be fine. Also as mine hadn't cured proper the grit kept clogging on the paper but as you've left yours a while it will sand like a dream Im sure! Love the stubby look of yours. Be good to hook up and have a surf on em sometime! :-)
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Re: Otta - a nod to Simmons and Mandala from the Backyard

Postby Craivold » Sun Jun 23, 2013 4:07 pm

Cheers Jay, nice to know it's curing well! Looking forward to getting down there and finishing her off soon - you'll have to give us a shout next time you're out west - would definitely be good to hook up for some product testing 8)
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Re: Otta - a nod to Simmons and Mandala from the Backyard

Postby Jory » Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:25 pm

so slightly hijacking but i just glassed my self made simmons..... Really happy with how it's looking and thats due in no small part to help from Matt and Jools at gulfstream. Hopefully finished in time to take to france in ten days!!

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Re: Otta - a nod to Simmons and Mandala from the Backyard

Postby Craivold » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:15 am

Nay worries on the hijack - been following the 'Sea Pea' journey on your blog - looks a lovely shape - you reckon Jools could add it to the range at some point? The rails on yours seem to follow the same line as mine except they're more subtle, a bit less overtly Simmonsy, I think the more fishy shaped keels are a good choice too. I have those in my ectic Simmons (which doesn't have Simmonsy rails at all - they're just 50/50 on the most part) and its so fun and drivey yet still loose, probably my fave board in the quiver at present, I wonder if the Otta will surpass it.... Going to get on and finish it next week I think 8)
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Re: Otta - a nod to Simmons and Mandala from the Backyard

Postby Jory » Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:02 pm

The otta is looking great!

We based the rails on the TW bar of soap I have which is on the more refined shortboardy end of the sim spectrum. A tiny bit of up at the front but quickly 50/50 until 2/3 back

There's definitely a GS stock sea pea coming soon. Probably from 5'2 to 5'8 we have already had a blank cnc'd but it was too foiled compared to our handshape so it's being tweaked. Once Jools is happy and we have tested them it will be available so watch this space! He will already take orders for a custom handshape if anyone is interested!
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Re: Otta - a nod to Simmons and Mandala from the Backyard

Postby Archy_is_God » Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:04 pm

Great work fellas, very inspiring :)
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Re: Otta - a nod to Simmons and Mandala from the Backyard

Postby Craivold » Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:47 am

Cheers Arch - I know you've been thinking about getting dusty for a while eh? Surely only a matter of time? It's taught me a hell of a lot about the effort and processes that go into making a board, naively I used to think it wouldn't take too long to knock one up in the garage in my spare time over a few weeks but I reckon the work involved and the lack of time generally on my hands would have meant I may not have ever got a board finished if left to my own devices :lol:

Jory - I'm pleased Jools will be adding it to the range, looks a really fun shape and more people should be on these boards as the fun per slide factor is right up there :-D . I notice people like Escape are offering a Simmons type shape as well now and I think they will become more mainstream so I reckon Jools will find they will sell. You'll have to check back in after your French trip and let us know how the Sea Pea gets on.
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