Documenting life during the first attempt at restoring a vintage motorcycle.

Similar to the zen -like feeling that is realized through surfing,
motorcycle repair can elevate the mind to a meditative state that eludes time and space...
Meaning I obsess over it, get frustrated, yell, laugh at myself and overall waste a lot of time.


Renoir digs it

From the time I was just a little grom, I was raised to appreciate art, especially the impressionist masters (Mom's favorite). As it so happens my better half dove deep in the art industry for the past year or so, working for a prestigious gallery in Beverly Hills and befriending several talented and impressive types from around the world. One of the artists happens to be the great grandson of the master painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir (pictured below). After checking out this blog he so graciously sketched a beautiful classic motorcycle for me. So I guess I am officially a fine art collector now. For Alexandre Renoir talent is in his blood, instinctive brushstrokes in his DNA and he possesses an eye for that classic impressionist vision his great grandfather had. Not only is he talented, he is humble, friendly and down to earth. Check out his response in a recent interview, when asked whether it has helped or hurt to have an such a instantly recognizable last name...
"It has done both. The name will quickly open doors for you, but if you don't live up to expectations, the door will close even harder. I'm here to do my art. There will be people who don't like what I do, but I'm not here to impress or influence anyone. I love the art and the tranquility that comes over me. If you like it, it warms my heart. If you don't, OK. I don't want to live to be a descendant. I know people who are professional descendants." - A.R.

[When one looks at a painting by Alexandre Renoir one will see a glimpse at the “Impressionist” movement as characterized by an artist’s ability to render a fleeting moment in time, creating candid compositions, and capturing an “impression” of the ever changing effects of light and atmospheric compositions. Viewers can detect Alexandre’s great-grandfather’s artistic essence and techniques in the works he is creating today, which are augmented with his own original flair. - Galerie Michael ]


You can Ring My Bell - Rip Curl Pro 2010

The Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach starts tomorrow. Finally. Unfortunately the waves aren't going to be... well actually several somewhat reliable surf forecasting sites all say different things, so I guess we'll just have to wait and see. However the trailer looks pretty rad and the competitor profiles (on the official website) are pretty funny. Check out Dane Reynolds' mug shot and stats (Hobbies: Drinking more beer). It should be a slightly entertaining event. He eats mediocre, choppy, windy and generally sloppy surf for breakfast. It's what he was raised on. That and "flawless" Rincon, but who's counting? Watching Dane eat breakfast is not the only thing I'm looking forward to this year... thats' right, it will be the contest within the contest... The 1986 rematch of The Greatest Heat Of All Time (arguably), between Occy and Tom Curren!
"The Clash of the Icons" will see these Titans face to face again. Which retired style master of yesteryear will it be? The goofy-foot or regular? I can't decide. They are both so amazing to watch, especially against each other (see here for the original 1986 battle *caution neon*). So if the comp is on and I figure out the time difference, I'll be working on the bike a little while it all goes down. Finally the themes of this blog have come together, thanks to the hard work of the fine gents at Rip Curl and the magic of live streaming video! Good on ya' technology.

"Proclaimed by many as the greatest free-surfing talent to date, [Dane] Reynold's groomed style brought on by the grip of flawless pointbreaks surrounding his nearby home of Ventura have helped mesh his patented aerials with timeless carves to make him one of the most technically well rounded surfers on the ASP World Tour."


Pieces of the Pie - I got Magic Legs, etc...

Just like our good friend lieutenant Dan, Betty got a new (well, slightly used) pair of magic legs. Just received the latest delivery from the land of eBay. A pair of nice looking front forks, along with the elusive air-filter housing (which has taken months to locate) and the essential chain gaurd - so in the event that something breaks (not if but when), the chain doesn't come loose and take off my leg... in which case I would need the magic legs. Safety first... then teamwork of course. The air-filter housing seemed to be more evasive and mysterious than sasquatch on a summer day. Out of chance I stumbled upon a guy parting out his old bike and he happened to find it buried in a box. As for the actual air filter itself, well it went on the endangered species list in the mid 80's and is presumed extinct by the scientimotorific community. I'm sure we can fit any similar type of filter on it. After all it was running for who knows how long with no filter at all. Which means all sorts of dust, dirt, debris, bugs, small animals, elves, etc. were being sucked into the intake and into the combustion chamber causing slightly horrific damage to the inside of the cylinder and other undiscovered parts.


Some SurFart

Surfed some fun little wedges at perma crowded not-so-NewPort. The amazing weather, clear water and fun waves inspired me to share some surf related art. Although the Brazilian surf scene and Brazo surfers carry a global reputation as being ultra competitive, aggressive and wave snaking (read an interview with CJ Hobgood about Brazilian surf culture and Imperialism), their appears to be a softer side in Tom Veiga. I really love the color pallet and large curvy wave shapes. If for some reason you can read Portuguese, here is a little on the artist. Check out the site to gander at his renditions of some famous waves from around the world.

Tom Veiga, 28 anos, diretor de arte na agencia MidiaDigital em curitiba , apaixonado por design, artes, ondas e cultura surf.
Deus estava muito inspirado quando criou o mar e projetou as ondas, tudo muito perfeito, cada onda tem uma forma, uma cor, uma caracteristica Ășnica, e tudo isso me inspirou a refletir essa beleza do mar e das ondas atravĂ©s do design.


The Family Photo Vault - Part III

This week I've got a few more photo gems of my Pops circa 1973. Riding somewhere out in the Persian desert salt flats... Rooster Tails, Drifting & Wheelies... The Husky (one of many) he had apparently was one of the most powerful dirt bikes you could get at the time... or at least in the area. He told me that it ran on a type of vegetable oil... and would smell like a burger joint after riding all day. I love hearing the timeless stories of all the ridiculous situations he and his friends would find themselves in. I need to pry a few out of him and post them. More to follow.


Surf De Jour - LoversLand Noodles

Lovers Land - Noodles from Riley Blakeway on Vimeo.

3 of my most favorite things in life: Surfing, Motorcycles & Byron Bay - All come together in this clip by Riley Blakeway. I can't get enough of this Aussie kid's vids! This was shot for the inspiring Lovers' Land blog. Definitely a dream trip for me (or anyone for that matter). Motorcycle-road trip, scoring great surf along the East Coast of Australia, or as they put it "On a highway to Swell" - clever. Custom Vintage 650's by the fine team at Dues Ex Machina (who build some amazing looking bikes in Sydney) fitted with surfboard racks. Yes please! Check out Noodles as he gracefully hacks away at The Pass.


Dreaming in Black & White - Five Speed Fever (part II)

Another Black & White of the rad ad campaign for Volcom's new Bikini line "Five Speed Fever". More motorcycles, bikini girls and laser guns. Viddy the short movie/ad if you haven't already.


Pieces of the Pie - I have a screw loose

One small step for man , one giant leap for engine repair. After a tumultuous ten day stint, I successfully removed the stubborn screws that were so firmly stuck in the engine block. It took 3 different vise-grip pliers, a hacksaw, a mallet, a few blisters, plenty of sweat and a few tears. A triumphant battle of Man versus Machine. With the right side of the motor now open, I can access more of the damaged parts that need to be replaced. The next step is removing the left side, which is now only held together by the magneto/flywheel bolt and the 4 screws underneath it. I ordered the flywheel removal tool from my local, somewhat unhelpful, shop. From what I gather, it is very very challenging to get this thing off. First of all the bolt or "woodruff key" is reverse threaded, then pressed in AND the flywheel of course spins, so you can't hold it in place. So what does this mean? It means I have to get crafty, buy a strap-wrench and enlist the help of Mr. Mustache (Danny) for a second set of hands. "Reverse threaded" means that the bolt tightens when twisted to the left, therefore the old adage - Lefty Loosey... Righty Tightey, will not apply. "Pressed-in" refers to the base of the bolt actually being pressed on by a machine, similar to how security tags are attached to clothing. This is where the flywheel removal tool comes in. It consists of 2-parts, a piece with threads of the outside that is tightened on (twisted to the left of course) and then a second piece that screws down the middle of the first piece and pushes down on the "pressed" base. You have to apparently smack this thing with a mallet several times while tightening to get it loose. With my luck, I'm sure I'll snap a few pieces and probably a few fingers. This might be the most challenging step yet, but I think it will pale in comparison to the task of wiring. The wiring diagram I have is an illustration, not color coded nor shown on the bike. It looks more like a circuit board of 1970's robot. I'm looking forward to it.



As if there weren't enough reasons to love Alpacas, man has found another. Peruvian "animal lover" Domingo Pianezzi has painstakingly tried for years to find a true companion that would share is passion for surfing and provide a cost effective supply of wool to knit warm socks, sweaters and those funny little Peruvian hats with the ear tassels.
"I've surfed with a dog, a parrot, a hamster and a cat..." claims Mr Pianezzi. But none seemed to feel just right... Until he met young Pisco, the Alpaca. Unfortunately Pianezzi stated that some residents from his home town have accused him of animal abuse for taking a mountain animal into the waves. Others, however, regard him as an innovator. I'm not sure what to think of Mr. Painezzi, so I'll let you be the judge. Vidy the clip.

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Surf De Jour - Water & Oil - Rain Dazed _ Riley Blakeway

WATER AND OIL - Extended Trailer from Riley Blakeway on Vimeo.

Riley Blakeways videos are farkin mental. Amazing editing, angles, music, blah blah blah. Ironically (or not ironically, maybe coincidentally) he has a series titled - Water & Oil. This one is Rain Dazed. Good job Aussies. Froth Factory over here.


Nick Dewar - Key to Successful Living

I'm a fan of simplicity, efficiency and the illustrations of Nick Dewar. With his art published in every kind of media all over the world, this guy is pretty rad. The colors and lines remind me of a retro yet modern 50's style... Not sure what the technical artistic word for it would be. Not only illustrations for everything from Playboy to the Wall Street Journal, but photography too and his sense of humor is spot on. My spare time is spent putting lint into stranger’s pockets.

"Born in Scotland, grew up in a small fishing town on the East Coast and attended Art School in Glasgow, lived in Prague, London, New York and on a sheep farm in Cumbria. After living in New York for nearly ten years I have recently moved to Southern California. I no longer have to bathe in my kitchen." - ND


Down With The Ship - Derek Dunfee

Down With the Ship from Derek Dunfee on Vimeo.

I can remember my buddy Derek Dunfee, charging big waves since we were in little league. From slaying monsters at Mav's to Puerto to Easter Island, Derek is gnarly. Incredibly humble with balls of steel. My old friend and professional Frother, Surf Ambassador Hendo, wrote a great piece on Derek's soon to be released movie - Down With The Ship... documenting the 5-month journey from breaking his leg in two places at Cloudbreak to winning the Billabong XXL Monster Paddle-In Award - The most coveted title a big-wave surfer can receive in their lifetime. More to come when the movie is released. For now scope out Derek's website: and his big-wave conquests. Check back for an interview with Surfing's Ambassador to the world and "highly trained professional in the art of shralping, myrting, frothing, and foaming" Hendo.


Dreaming in Black & White - Surf Bums _ Michael Dweck Photog

Gone Surfing...
Worth a gander, Michael Dweck's East-Coast-surf-scene inspired photography. Being a native and biased left coaster, generally not fond of much that comes out the right coast, I must give some respect. Some of it though is a little too abercrombarney for me (Gotta keep my rep). Cheers.


Family Jeans - The Photo Vault part II

These old family pictures are too amazing not to share more than once a week... My Dad circa 1972 launching the stairs of the Ramsar Grand Hotel & Casino on the Caspian Sea. How rad is riding in khakis and loafers, no helmet? He told me people would stop traffic on that street and gather to watch him and his buddies pull stunts in front of the hotel. Trying to find that same bike he had.


Pieces of the Pie - Carb Shark

On to the next stage of cleaning and discovering broken/missing pieces. I managed to get the carburetor off the block. But I think I removed it incorrectly as a bunch of springs and pieces fell out. I somehow managed to leave the slide throttle valve still attached to the throttle cable and can't seem to get it off either. My lack of experience and a legible manual is starting to show. From the outside the carb looked fairly clean. I opened the float chamber and laughed out loud. The floats where gone! The chamber was empty, except for a thick white crust lining the inside, like stalagmite in an ancient cave. How did this thing run before?!? From the amount of build (see pics above) I estimate that Betty hasn't seen any road time for at least a few years. Maybe more. If she did even start, I doubt it ran for long, considering the lack of gear-shifting capabilities, air filter and functioning carburetor among the myriad of missing essential parts. Not even going to bother trying to clean this thing. Already bidding for a replacement on ebay.


Surf De Jour - Dream Tour Begins & Taj Wins Quick Gold

The first contest of 2010 wrapped up today and recent Pipe Master/ one of my all time favorites, Taj Burrow destroyed the Snapper sandbar in pretty stormy conditions. While being marginally discreet, I watched the majority of the contest from my cubicle with coworkers probably thinking I'm up to no good as they peeked over my shoulder. Pretty incredible to see the god's of our sport unleash on such a perfect wave. Like watching surf history unfold, Jordy and Dane are radically changing the core of contest surfing. Just makes me wish I never started surfing so I wasn't jealous of their incredible talent and ridiculous lives.... maybe one day...

"The Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast is the perfect ASP "Dreamtour" location. Warm water and white sand, sunshine and sun tans, people and parties, all combined with some of the best sand-bottom pointbreaks in the world, makes the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast the most eagerly anticipated of all events among both professional surfers and fans alike."
(Photos courtesy of Quicksilver & the ASP)


Family Jeans - The Photo Vault

During my last San Diego visit to see the family, I discovered a goldmine of old photos. My sister has bestowed upon herself the task of finding, organizing and framing all the amazing photos from the past 4 generations of my family. The family history dates pretty far back (I think my greatgreatx20 grandfather was Jesus' landlord) and it's quite a trip to see my great/grand/current - parents in their glory days. So the goldmine I speak of is a box of photos of my Dad and all his motorcycle adventures in Tehran in the early 70's. Really cool vintage pictures of him jumping the stairs of the Grand Imperial Hotel & Casino on the Caspian Sea to racing in the salt flats of the Southern desserts and exploring the Northern Mountains. He had some amazing Yamahas and Husqvarnas too. What a rad guy. Whether popping wheelies or charging big waves, he always maintains that signature laid-back style. I will be posting 1 or 2 pics every week until I run out.
Pictured here - Pops Ovanessoff drifting - circa 1972


Weakly Colorblind - Recreating an Era

Nick Clements is an amazing British fashion photog. I love how his black and white photos can recreate that vintage look and bring the 50's British counterculture to life. His influences stem from London street style and Californian surf culture. Clements brings his interests for vintage clothing, motorcycles, surfing and skateboarding among other things to his photography. I'm sure I'll be posting more of his photos in upcoming "Weakly Black & White" posts. This photo is part of a set recreating the cafe racer scene of the 50's in Southern England.