Justin Coffey is an old man. He drinks old fashions, rides logs, and doesn’t like kids horse playing on his lawn.
Happy Birthday, old man. You’re a great friend, good man, and tolerable business partner.
Here’s to small waves, strong drinks, motorcycles and misbehaving.
I grew up in Independence, Iowa – current population 5,957. When I was young, our address was simply “Jennings RR1.” I lived in the country with two loving parents, a witty older brother and your classic dog and cat. The majority of my childhood was spent caricaturing Luke Skywalker, Superman and Michael Jackson. My older brother, Chad, built me an X-wing out of some cardboard when I was five. I ran around with red underwear on the outside of my blue sweatpants when I was six. I had hardly mastered the moonwalk at age seven, but thought I looked pretty damn cool sporting my mom’s silver ski glove insulator on my right hand. As I got older, I slowly transitioned from wearing my underoos to flannel, listening to more Smashing Pumpkins and less Jackson 5 (MJ and Billy get equal play these days).
High school was no fun. I wasn’t good at sports. I wasn’t popular with the ladies. I was a long haired geek who bought a computer instead of a car when he turned 16. My fondest memories are of the weekends away from high school, when my brother Chad would come back from Wartburg College. He’d bring new music, new movies, new information and old friends.
One of those friends was Mike Jensen. Mike was the crazy one. A stocky son of a bitch with wild hair and infectious energy that traveled almost as fast and strong as his singing voice. He was what I wanted to be. He grew up in my town, hung out with the same families and watched Star Wars with my brother. He got in fights with jocks in high school. He was in choir like me, had a hot girlfriend, was caring, but cool and escaped Independence. He was living in Waverly (which seemed like another country at the time) and was in a college band named ‘Sweat Lodge.’ For that reason, reasons unsaid, and the reasons listed above, to me… he was a rock star.
These days, Mike lives in Waverly. He married that hot girlfriend, has three beautiful daughters and teaches music.
Mike Jensen IS a rock star.
Unfortunately, Mike has a few other things going on. A few months ago, Mike started having seizures After countless trips to the physician, it was discovered that Mike has a brain tumor. He’s having that tumor removed today, May 3rd.
Earlier this week Mike asked people if they could send him a note stating “who I am to you.” Part of the risk of his surgery is that he could possibly lose a bit of his personality. And part of his plan for recapturing that explosive energy is to have reading material and reminders of who he is to the people in his life. The few paragraphs above, are what Mike Jensen is to me.
Mike means a lot to a lot of people. His friend Melinda started a TeeSpring campaign, where you can buy TEAM MIKE shirts. All the proceeds go to Mike and his family.
Mike has another friend (and band mate) named Paul. Paul likes to stream the current MN Public Radio music station when he works. They do this thing called “My Three Songs,” where you request a three-song set with an explanation and they read the story and play the tunes. Paul made a playlist for Team Mike and sent it to DJ Barb Abney earlier this week. His letter is posted below, along with the 3 songs.
My three-song set is dedicated to my very close friend and longtime bandmate Mike Jensen, an Iowan who is having surgery for a brain tumor this week (5.3). This dedicated husband and father of three beautiful girls is not yet 40. I’ve been thinking about him a whole heckuva lot leading up to this surgery, and was spurred to write you with this request because I know how much Mike would love for more people to hear his music and to send positive energy his way. I hope you will play it – it will mean a lot!
The first song is a track Mike wrote for our band Spin Spin Coupling’s forthcoming album Vinyl Envy. With members in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Chicago, we’ve been playing together since 2001, but most of us have known each other and played together for 20 years. I think “War” is one of the most dynamic tracks we’ve ever created and seems fitting since Mike is in the midst of battle with this tumor. Here is a link to the WAV file. Sorry – it’s not totally radio-ready, but we weren’t ready for this crisis…it has a long fade and should be cut at about 5:20. I realize this is a bit unorthodox, but if you can do it, that’d be awesome.
We played the opening bars of “Turtledove” by Trip Shakespeare at one of our earliest gigs, which was opening for our heroes in The Flops in Madison, ten years after we saw Trip Shakespeare together at Wartburg College, our alma mater in Iowa. At the Flops show, we had a great chat with Matt and John, who autographed Mike’s LP of Across the Universe.
Finally, while I considered some Sigur Ros, Low, Kings of Convenience, and other more ethereal fare with which we have some great memories, if I know Mike, he would prefer to be able to cruise down a country road right now, rocking out to an old favorite. So, I chose “Stereo” by Pavement, one of his favorite bands, and a song to which we’ve done that very thing several times in the past.
2. Trip Shakespeare: Turtledove
3. Pavement: Stereo
Yesterday we received a fresh batch of Keith Malloy’s film; Come Hell or High Water. We’re trying a little experiment with giveaways on our Facebook page. If you’d like to be entered to win a free DVD, you have two options. You can either Like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter. You receive an entry for both, so feel free to double up. Both can be accomplished through the fancy little widget below.
Good luck & Good grief!
Almond Surfboards have introduced a new board to their quiver. The Survey. This fin setup may come as a surprise to some, but it shouldn’t. You can’t preach “surf everything except for surfboards with three fins.” The longstanding stigma of the thruster setup being the most elitist of the fin setups is long gone… I think it’s time we forgive the thruster and let him back into the club. Fuller outline, foiled rails, rounded tail, single to double concave, three fins.
Video coming coon…
Photos: Cam Oden
Well, I think an introduction may be in order. My name is Patrick, the newly appointed Stoke Harvester East Coast correspondent – yeah, Stoke Harvester is that popular now. For those of you familiar with the late, great Cheka Looka Surf Shop I was the nerdy kid restocking the surf wax, conspicuously checking out your girlfriend or writing down the receipt for your ding repair (if you haven’t gotten your board back, Jeff is still working on it). After what I can only describe as a “righteous time” working with Jeff and Shawn and babysitting Seth and Dug, I moved to Austin, then to Los Angeles, and now currently freezing in New York City. My travels have allowed me to cruise some gnarly waves, chill with some great tunes, down some torpedo juice and meet some great folk, all the while relaying my voyages back to my friends at Stoke Harvester.
So, one morning I received a text from Shawn asking if I would post on the SH blog to which I replied with an overly caffeinated but restrained, “That would be great.” So, here we go, you and your new pal Patrick. Let’s set the mood with some mid-winter longing for summer music.
Here let me light you up…
“Ode To Viceroy”
If you are like me, and I assume you are, then you enjoy some positive mellow vibrations in your music. Well, Mac DeMarco has entered stage right and boy does he have a surprise for you. DeMarco’s album “2”, released in October, displays a more mature DeMarco from his previous and groovy, though overly Ariel Pink influenced, album: “Rock and Roll Night Club”. The album “2” contains a more funky and jazzy feel that seems to be missing in the tight pants community – come on, 7th chords aren’t that difficult, kids. Tracks like “Freaking Out the Neighborhood” and “Annie” illustrate DeMarco’s danceable yet mellow songwriting style full of clean guitars with extreme treble, funky but lax basslines and DeMarco’s easy lyrics. Rounding out the album DeMarco includes songs like “My Kind Of Woman” (a personal favorite) and “Ode to Viceroy” that are relaxed and that straddle the fence between a post surf session feel and a straight needle in the vain. The juxtaposition between these two mellow/fun and mellow…/mellow songs makes for a unique album. “2” closes with a lazy acoustic ditty titled “Still Together” that I am sure will get you laid.
Joining Almond, Dewey Weber, and Harbour… is our friend John Wesley. JW hails from Dana Point, California… which is also where he hand shapes his boards. We interviewed John back in July. If you’d like to get to know more about him, you can click here.
We currently have five of John’s shapes available on Stoke Harvester. Each board is priced with a single color, gloss & polish finish. If you’d like all the bells and whistles, shoot us an email. We can hook you up. ;)
We are doing a last minute batch of Stoke Harvester hoodies for the holidays. There are twelve different colors to choose from. The Stoke Harvester Holiday hoodie packs even more punch than it’s predecessors. They are sure to get you eggnog on Christmas eve, and more presents under the tree the next morning.
The deadline for orders is midnight on Dec. 12th
Everyone seems to be putting out Holiday lists. I’m jumping on the bandwagon. I tried to mix things up a bit. We’ve got big, small, fat Wall-street wallet, and broke surfer wallet. There’s some inside stuff, outside stuff, and sideways stuff.
In no specific order…here are some things I like/want.
Invasion From Planet C – Special Edition DVD
Mike Black’s masterpiece, brings GnarGnar and Casanova to Earth in search of waves. Planet C has run dry…and Galaxy 5723′s governing forces suspect Santa Barbara has stoke to be mined. Don’t buy this movie if you want thrusters, Slater, or Pipeline. You won’t find any of those. What you will find is the best damn sci-fi surf movie ever made…with logs, chest-high peelers, and a van that runs on farts. Trailer here.
Patagonia R3 Hooded Wetsuit
I know I’m gonna catch some shit for picking the R3 over the R4, but this is my list…so deal with it. I’ve worn my fair share of suits. For the first year I was at Cheka-Looka, I was rocking one of the rental Hyper-flex suits. When I finally saved up enough cash, I bought an Xcel Drylock. A few years later…when we became a Patagonia dealer, I tried out one of their suits. I’ve never been so friggin warm.
You can find pros and cons in pretty much every suit on the market. Here are the most common ones, when it comes to Patagonia.
1.) They are pricey. Patagonia’s hooded R3 suit is $575. That’s a nice chunk of change…but in my opinion, worth every dollar. I don’t wanna get out of the water because I’m cold. I wanna get out because I’m tired, and I’ve met my quota for the day. The R3 keeps me warm, it’s flexible, and it comes with Patagonia’s warranty & customer service. Sold.
2.) They are a bitch to get out of. This is 100% true. My suit is a bitch to get out of. I deal with it. If a suit keeps be warm for 3 1/2 hours in 50 degree water, I am fine with it being a pain in the ass for 5 minutes. Would you trade your glass board in for a tuff-lite, just because it’s easier to carry from your car to the beach?
3.) They are too warm. Yes, I’ve actually heard this complaint. In fact, a bunch of the guys who bought the R4 right when it launched, came back later and bought the R3…because they wanted something cooler. Note, they didn’t come back and buy a different company’s suit….they bought a thinner one, by the same company! I wear the the R3 as a winter suit. For me, personally…the R4 is overkill. I also have some extra meat on my bones. If you’re lean, you might be happier with the R4. Either way, Patagonia suits are the best on the market.
Almond 9.75″ Dee Fin
Before Greenough transitioned everyone to the dolphin, the D-fin was the standard. Here is your modified 60′s throwback fin. The Almond Dee is great for Surf Thumps, and other swine shaped lumber.
Parafina – El Capitan T-shirt
My friend Carlos has a killer tumblr. We re-post his stuff on our Stimulus and Pinterest pages, often. He recently used the images from his blog, as inspiration for a line of t-shirts. I like them. So does Thalia. Go buy one.
Dewey Weber – 9’0″ Performer
Dewey’s Performer is the most popular longboard of all time. He designed the board to meet the needs of every surfer, in all surf conditions. It’s easy to paddle, impossible not to catch waves on, and it turns on a dime. Although it wasn’t originally designed to be a nose-rider, it does a pretty damn good job at it. The Performer comes standard with a Dewey Weber Hatchet fin.
The Surfer’s Journal
Twenty years in publication. Six times a year, for six bucks a piece. It’s the best surf publication out there. You won’t find endless board-shorts advertisements, in TSJ. You will find amazing stories, and beautiful photographs. Yvon Chouinard said “Let’s put it this way…my house is on fire, my wife runs in and grabs all the photo albums…I grab my collection of Surfer’s Journals.”
Stoke Harvester – PNW Blend Cold Water Wax
Here’s your stocking stuffer. Six bars of extra sticky goodness, to keep your booties glued to your board. Made in collaboration with The Peanut Butter Coast. 6 bars. 85 grams. 1 Stoke Harvester sticker with each order. If you’re Seattle local, you can save on shipping… and just swing by to pick up your sticky.
Topo Designs – Duffel Bag
You’re gonna need a bag to put all your new goodies in. Go Topo. Made in Colorado. Great quality. Good color options. It’s lined with nylon cloth to keep everything dry, and if you happen to be in Washington…it comes with inside pockets to store your I-502 snack packs. Recently reviewed by Justin, on PBC.
Shwood – Haystack Select Sunglasses
Alright…you’re not going to get much use out of these in the Pacific Northwest for a little while. That being said…when the sun does shine again, you’re gonna look badass if you’re wearing these sun-goggles. Shwood is handcrafting badass wooden sunglasses out of Portland, Oregon . The Haystack Select ships with a wool pouch and a walnut / maple hard case.
Stoke Harvester – Gift Certificate
Not sure what to give your friend/family for Christmas? Give them the gift of choice. Stoke Harvester gift certificates never expire, can be used with other discounts, and are way cooler than a one year membership to the Jelly of the Month Club. Both digital and snail-mail versions available.