The Porto

The misadventures of a weekend kook

How to install a FCS center fin plug to mount a GoPro to a surfboard

This past weekend a decent swell showed up on the shores of Jersey. It wasn't too crazy so I figured I could put my gopro on the board. During my session, I had to take a couple of waves on the head. When I popped back up from the water, the gopro camera was hanging by the safety leash. Whew!! Besides the power of the wave knocking off the camera (yes jersey has shitty, but heavy waves) I think the main reason the camera got knocked off is because the deck is slightly curved at the nose. So the sticky pad of the gopro mount never had a solid hold on to the deck.

Happy that the leash saved my camera I decided on a more permanent solution to mount the gopro to the surfboard. I stopped at Greenlight Surf Supply, and I bought 2 FCS center fin plugs to safely mount the camera on my surfboards. You can buy the GoPro surfboard camera mount as part of the hero expansion.

First step is to figure out where to install the plugs. I measured down about 6 inches from the nose and centered on the stringer. I cut the foam quickset jig in half, since I'll be doing a second install on my other board. Removed the paper backing and placed it on the marked area.

Next, I setup up my 1-1/2 inch holesaw bit. Generally you want to use a 1-1/8" bit, but since I didn't have that, the 1/2 inch version will do. The trick here is to tape off the bit to mark how deep you will drill down into the board. You want to measure to the height of the plug, plus add a little extra for the quickset jig. Once you are sure of your measurements, drill out the plug hole, make sure to use the drill guide on the jig, easy line up.

Remove the center circle of the jig to reveal the hole you just made. If you have a router then rout out the center of the plug. Otherwise use a scissor or a flat head screwdriver and pop off the fiberglass top. I used an exact knife to remove the foam and cut out the stringer. Be forewarned, if you have a bamboo stringer, it's going to be pretty tuff to cut through it, just be patient and remove a little at a time. A balsa stringer come out quite easily and can even be snapped off once the foam is removed.

After all the foam has been removed you want to remove the inner circle of the jig and try to see if the plug sits flat inside the hole. If not, remove more of the foam and stringer until the tabs of the FCS plug sit flat on the deck.

Next mix up the epoxy resin, make sure to follow the directions for proper proportions for the resin mix. Pour in resin until it fills half way into the holes and push in the plug. Make sure to push the plugs all the way till the tabs hit the fiberglass. Fill in the rest of the hole with resin and be careful not to overfill and let resin get into the screws. You will probably see some bubbles start to come up, you can use a toothpick mix around the area and get rid of the air bubble. Let the resin harden for the next couple of hours.

After the resin has dried, remove the jig and check out the cool resin ring that is left behind. The only thing I was not happy about, was that the plug dried at a slight angle. I think this is due to the hole cut out a being bit larger and it left a bit more wiggle room for the plug. Thankfully you'll never notice the angle on a video and it doesn't effect the mount in any way.

Lastly we need to sand down the resin so the plug is flush with the deck. Make sure to tighten the screw in, otherwise you will damage the sander or add a new angle to the screw. A rotary sander would be preferred for this job, but use what ever you have on hand. Sand using a pretty heavy grit to flatten out the plug and try to move in circular directions. Then move down into a lighter grit paper to bring back the sheen to the deck of the board.

Once this is all done, you should be left with a smooth deck surface and an extremely solid mount for your GoPro on your surf board. No more ugly sticky pads and having to worry if the GoPro will get knocked off.

The artist, Jean Marie Drouet

I just saw his profile on Club Of The Waves and I'm taken by his artwork and style. Here's one of my fave that they showed on COTW.

I just wish the artist had prints to purchase. Would love to see this hanging on my walls.

A fun little weekend

So I don't know if it was my trip to santa cruz a couple weeks back, more on that in a later post or if the swell in jersey this past weekend was just the right size. But finally something is clicking in my head and I'm riding more waves on the short board. Legit rides, none of the 2 second stuff.

Loch Arbor July 28th

I still need to think and figure out what is working right, but I think my timing with the pop up is getting better. I used my short board for over 2 hours yesterday and eventually switched up to the fun board since the swell was just getting smaller.

Frustrated weekend

I was pretty excited about the past weekend. Big head high swells a couple storms here and there to smooth things out. Also to add a little spice to the weekend I committed myself to only using the short board.

My frustration began 5 minutes into my first session. I'm not sure if I psyched myself out, but I didn't catch one wave. And if I'm being honest, I think I was fearful. The waves at the point were about chest to head high with some chop due to the wind and I was on my short board.

Maybe it was my lack of experience on this new board, maybe it was the fact I was tired from working out at the gym all week, maybe it was because I was stressed at work all week. Regardless of what it was, my mind was not there and my body followed suit.
The second session of the day went much better. A storm passed and really cleaned things up. I still didn't catch any waves, but I came close. By that point I was just exhausted and was starting to panic a few times when I was kept under for and extra second or two. Got thrown over the falls onto my board two times. I called it quits for the day, feeling defeated and a bit broken.

That Sunday a big swell came through again. This time we had the added charm of heavy fog rolling in. I didn't know you could play Marco Polo while surfing.

So another four hours of frustration. Not a wave caught. Well, actually, I did catch waves, I just didn't get to ride them properly. I would say a solid 6 waves where ridden on my belly. and another two I made the drop but could make the wave. My friend asked me what I thought my problem could be. I surmised it was the timing. I just wasn't popping up at the the critical moment. Either I was too late or too early.

At the end if the session we all decide we were beat and took in our last waves. And that's when it happened. I dropped down a wave going backhand, popped up and rode it on in. I think I had an orgasm. My friends that were waiting on the shore to leave where hooting and hollering. My personal cheerleaders. They understood the grief I had all day.
Since my buddy hadn't taken his last wave in I decided to paddle back to see if I could catch anything else. And sure enough, I caught another wave. By that point it was done.

We left and ate at surf taco.

Finally rode the shorty

Yup that's right, mark it on your calendars. June 2nd 2013, The Porto finally got a handful of rides on "The Cock" the kick ass short board. I was quite surprised considering it was 3 to 4 feet of mushy; short period slop; with really strong south winds blowing.

In total, I got 4 solid rides. The board felt so small and loose under my feet. A stark contrast compared to "Lolita" the fun board, which is like a flotilla. I have to persevere so I can eventually surf top to bottom, like I've been dreaming of doing for some time.

One area I really need to work on; is my pop up, it's supper sloppy. There were other opportunities, but I kept messing them up. When I popped up; both of my feet would land close together on the deck, right on the traction pad. I don't know if I was tired cause I surfed 2 days in a row, but either way, it's a pop up mess.

Later that afternoon, I hit up a different beach with some friends. I was a bit apprehensive, since I was tired by that point and a thunderstorm was developing. But my friend insisted, that after the storm would pass, it would be magical. So, we waited out the thunderstorm. And conditions completely changed from how it was earlier. Instead of mushy slop, it turned into clean; sometimes glassy; 4 feet swells, with minimal wind. To add to it all, a rainbow decided to show up and prove my friend right; It was magical.

I was pretty exhausted from the earlier session, so I decided to ride "Lolita" my 7'6" fun board. She held up quite well and made for some fun rides. But there were some waves I would have liked to have gone shorter.

At the end of the day I was stoked, not only to have finally ridden my short board, but also to have caught a great swell on the 3rd day of surfing mushy conditions. Ohh one other thing, the day before this event, I got the longest ride on Lolita I ever had on a small knee biter, go figure...