Whomp-O-Rama Roundup with Christine Brailsford - Photos by Chris Grant / Jettygirl.comI can't recall where or when I first learned of the Whomp-O-Rama event but if I had to guess, it was probably through paipo-devotee, Glenn Sakamoto of Liquid Salt Magazine. I haven't had experience with handplanes other than the rubber flip-flops we used back in the 1970's for the same purpose. I truly didn't know what to expect at the event. Upon arriving at Beacons Beach in Leucadia, I discovered a crew of fun-loving individuals of all ages sharing waves, trying each other's rides, and enjoying a session the likes of which I can't readily recall. It's been about a month since that day and I can still hear the laughter and see the smiles. If you ever see one of these events pop up on Facebook or wherever, take advantage of it. It's a guaranteed fun time! To get the scoop on the Whomp-O-Rama, we met up with Whomp Handplanes owner, Christine Brailsford (pictured below), for her thoughts on the event. Jettygirl: Unlike many corporate backed beach demo’s, the Whomp-O-Rama had a distinctly relaxed flavor to it. We didn’t hear one bad comment, see any stink-eye, or witness anyone being vibed in any way. To the contrary, it was a pleasant surprise to see everyone smiling, hooting each other into waves, and even sharing rides. Tell us about the day. Christine Brailsford: I'll admit.. I was nervous for a few days before the event. The forecast looked bleak with no swell, scattered rain, and onshore wind. I decided to still hold the event anyway with my fingers crossed. It was a crisp morning and turned out to be perfect conditions. A super high tide, zero wind, and 3-5 foot swell made fun little pockets and barrels. An awesome group of whompers came to try boards, take photos, and hang out. I brought down some paipos (bellyboards) and handplanes for everyone to demo. It was nice to see so many faces, familiar and new, bobbing around, stoked in the surf and sharing waves. For a few hours, our group took over the break---everyone smiling, laughing, and hooting each other on. It was definitely a memorable day. We saw a variety of shapes and tail designs on handplanes. Due to the small planing surface of a handplane, are the designs purely aesthetic or can you tell a difference between the different tails and outlines when riding a wave? Using a handplane allows you to catch waves easier and plane down the line faster. There are many variables when choosing the right handplane for the right conditions. The main focus with my designs is flex. Flex allows the board to twist for a more natural feeling, like bodysurfing without a handplane. The design of the tails and foil contribute to this flex function. The different size models work similar to different sizes of surfboards: • Larger planes (18"-19") work well in softer surf or for bigger riders. • Medium planes (14"-15") are great all around boards for most conditions and riders. • Small planes (11" and below) are good for hollower waves. They're also great for kids and hobbits. A paipo is probably the fastest wave riding craft. Catching a wave is much like a bodyboard, but very different in other ways. Instead of floating on the surface of the wave, the rail edge is hard and buried in the wave. This creates ultimate planing speed. The tapered rail acts as a "fin", allowing controlled bottom turns. The bottom of my paipos have a single concave and rolled hull nose entry. The size of the paipos are based on the height, weight, and ability of its rider. If someone wanted to get in touch with you to have a handplane shaped, what is the process like since each one is so unique? If you are interested in a custom or stock handplane or paipo, you can contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for ordering information, general questions, or for a list of local retailers. You can also check out my boards and work on my photo blog at whomphandplanes.tumblr.com. Any parting thoughts, influences, or shout-outs? I want to thank everyone for their continued support. I'm stoked to be able to share what I do with others. Thank you from the bottom of my heart :).
Additional Resources: Whomp Handplanes - 100% hand-made handplanes, paipos, fins, and surfboards by Christine Brailsford Wegener Surfboards - surfboards and alaias shaped in Encinitas by Jon Wegener Liquid Salt Magazine - celebrating the culture of surfing
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