Show Us Your Quiver – Kevin Baryza
Kevin Baryza moved from Boston to San Francisco when he was 17, primarily for cooking and skateboarding. He had been doing both most of his life, and he knew of San Francisco’s reputation as a haven for food and skateboards. He threw himself fully into both pursuits, skating every known spot in the city (and also creating a bunch of his own secret spots) and working his way through fine-dining establishments. All of that was prep work for what he’s doing now: He and his friend Dave Ashin are the masterminds behind The Pizza Place on Noriega Street, a staple for food and gathering in the Outer Sunset, where his wife, Cindy, runs the front of the house.
Kevin continues to skate as much as he can. Although he surfed a bit as a kid on the Massachusetts coast, he was mostly into skating. We met in his sunny backyard along the Great Highway, where he used to have a home-made pool for skating. He had to tear it up, but he still has a little half-pipe in his garage that he calls the Dead Whale, “because it stinks and no one wants to come here and skate it.” He loves to build skate spots almost as much as he loves skating them, and is handy enough with concrete to convert streetcorners into skate ramps overnight.
He got much more into surfing soon after moving to San Francisco, and paddles out whenever it’s clean. Given Ocean Beach’s fickle nature, Kevin skates more than he surfs, but he still tries to get waves as regularly as he can, whether right across from his house, along the California coast or throughout the world.
I met with Kevin while Cindy was working in the garden (“I had to tear up the pool because of my landlord, and it took me a while to get over it, but now we have a garden so it works out,” he said) and learned all about The Pizza Place, skateboarding in San Francisco, and most of all, his quiver. Here’s what he had to say about a few of his favorite boards, in his own words:
8’0″ Marc Andreini
This is an 8-foot Andreini, but I’m not actually sure of the dimensions. I got them printed out somewhere, but Marc didn’t write them on the board. It’s actually an adaptation of a Gerry Lopez Pipe template, that he got in Hawaii. He’s tweaked it, and it’s kind of specifically for outer-bar Ocean Beach. Single fin, and his theory is that the single fin has the potential for unlimited speed. There’s only one point that’s breaking the water, so they can go way faster than boards with multiple fins, and don’t get any fin chatter. It’s kind of like a Cadillac, and is a really smooth ride. I love it.
When this thing is maxed out, I’m at my limit anyway. I’ve had this for four years now, and I pretty much only ride it when the beach is big. I generally surf out front of my house, usually there’s a decent bar within a couple blocks.
The board is amazing. The confidence I can get from having the right board for bigger days makes a really big difference.
It’s not that tough to duckdive, but on those bigger days it’s tough to effectively duckdive anyway. When it’s big and offshore, I really think it helps to have more board.
5’6″ Pacheco by Danny Hess
I think I got this one in 2007. It’s a twin-fin, and I really like the little twinnies, but I wanted something that would be a little more conventional than a standard fish. I wanted something that could turn a little more. Basically, I was looking for a skateboard, but that I could ride on waves.
And Danny nailed it. It’s super fun. He was really excited to build it. Around that time, Dan Malloy was on the cover of The Surfers Journal riding a Hess board, and Danny was getting a lot of calls for the board that Dan was riding, so he was psyched to do something that was a little outside the mold. He’s a really fun guy to talk to about board design.
The proof is in the pudding. I ride this board more than any other board, and look at it. It’s in amazing condition. It’s been to Indo, Mexico, South Pacific, all over California — and there isn’t a single ding on the deck. The only way you can tell it’s been ridden is because of a little discoloration in the wax. Every time I take this thing places, people trip out on it. This one old Aussie guy stopped me at Uluwatu [in Bali] and was like, “Oh mate, that’s the future of surfing.”
I’ve ridden in it waves that are a little overhead, but I generally ride it in smaller waves. Danny really nailed this one.
The fin evolution was interesting. I toyed around a lot, started riding with really traditional fins. Then I switched to Joel Tudor fins, and then Danny actually made me a pair of fiberglass fins, and now these ones are bamboo.
Special Little Skate Spot Building Tool
Nobody makes tools to build skate parks. None of the companies do. None of them are bent, so you have to bend them yourself. What I did was make a radius, and traced it onto a piece of wood, cut it, and you get the curve. That’s your radius. It’s like a 5-and-a-half-foot transition, and it’s basically fiberglass over wood. This is for mid-stage, when you’re finishing concrete, and using fiberglass, you’re actually kind of massaging the aggregate into the cream. I use this for the spots I build. We do whatever we can. No one is gonna build the skate spots for you, you know?
This is pretty much my go-to skateboard, the one I take out the most. I got the deck down at Aqua. I’ve been riding it only for a couple weeks, though. I just set it up recently. The trucks and the wheels are actually from a guy on the East Coast. I went back home to visit my folks, and a bunch of us were skating this ramp, and all these guys were skating and a few of them took off. Everyone was slowly leaving, and then it was just me and Cindy left, and I’m looking around for my board and can’t find it anywhere. But this other guy named Pete, his board is sitting on the deck. And I’m thinking, “I think Pete just took off with my board!” We were leaving the next day, so I was like, “Well, I guess I got Pete’s set-up.” The funny thing is that my trucks on that set-up were totally ground down, halfway through the axle, and his trucks weren’t, so I got the better end of the trade. I put those trucks and wheels on this deck.
Handplane and Fins
I use Da Fins, and I love them. I’ve got kind of flat and wide feet, so these are definitely the most comfortable. The handplanes are awesome. They help a ton. They make bodysurfing a lot more fun. It’s crazy how much that planing surface can really affect the ride. I got this handplane from Danny maybe four years ago or so? I had broken my foot, and was doing rehab and swimming a lot, and was ready to get back in the ocean, and he and Lyle were making handplanes. I actually think Lyle made this one.
It’s got channels on the base, and I have another one upstairs that is a pintail. This one is basically like a fish. It’s weird, but the difference actually does feel different. I think a little bit of that is our imagination, “Oh yeah, I totally feel the difference with the pintail!” It’s more like, “Sure you can,” but whatever. You can’t argue with results. I’m a firm believer in that.
We are always on the hunt for interesting people who love interesting boards, so if you know of someone who might be a good fit for the next installment of “Show Us Your Quiver,” let us know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org