Friday, January 28, 2011

Sneaky Longboard Waves Today

A quick peek at Cinnamon Rainbow's wavecam (at The Wall) this morning shows some prime longboarding conditions. It won't last long, so wade through the snow to get out there.

Speaking of snow, we got hit with another round mid-week.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Long Treks on Skate Decks Episode 13: The Catfish of Hope and the Backflip of Pain

Welcome to Episode 13 of the Peru y Boliva long distance longboarding trip. A pressure crack in Adam's board finally gives way, and the longboarders are forced to hitchhike to Copacabana to find a carpenter. Watch the video to learn how to repair longboards on the fly, and how NOT to do a backflip. Check out Episodes 1-12 in our archives.

Our 1st Bolivian city that sits right on Lake Titicaca. A small town filled with many Argentinian hippies selling jewelry.

This was the view from our campsite. Pretty. There was lots of dogs barking but you can't hear that can you.


Monday, January 24, 2011

2010 Beach Cleanups: Year in Review

We've just received a compilation of beach cleanup trash totals for the year from the Blue Ocean Society. As a confession, I'll have to say that we missed 3 months this year -- July, October, and December. This was the third year of cleaning up Jenness Beach, and we couldn't be more honored to give a little back to Mother Ocean.

Total Trash Collected: 784 lbs

Top 5 Items collected
1. Cigarette Butts: 297
2. Fishing Line: 224
3. Metal Beverage Cans: 223
3. Rope (> 1m): 208
3. Bottle Caps: 198

The "yikes-I-don't-want-to-pick-this-up-list"
1. Condoms: 5
2. Tampon Applicators: 1
3. Dog Poop (bagged): 16
4. Dog Poop (unbagged): 40

Please let us know if you want to join us on any future cleanup sessions... especially if the waves look good!


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Physics of the Nemoid Foot Pump

The Nemoid foot pump is a pretty ingenious contraption -- it can pump up your airbeam to 9 psi (not too shabby), weighs less than 4 ounces, packs small and flat, and is made almost exclusively of fabric-y flexible components. So how does it work?

The basic premise of the pump is that it uses one way valves to intake and expel air. The big red valve (which is grey in the latest version of the pump) sucks in air when it is opened, but the air can't escape back through the same opening. Inside the pump, a chunk of reticulated open cell foam traps the air inside, until you are ready to step on it.

Once you step on the pump, you exceed the "crack" pressure of the second one way valve in the exhaust tube. The valve opens and allows air to flow (again, one way) from the pump tube into the airbeam. As your foot lifts off the pump, the action of the foam rebounding and decompressing sucks in more air into the pump so you can keep pumping.

It is a simple mechanism to deliver the air, but it is not trivial to execute. The intake valve needs to be big enough to take in enough air volume so that it doesn't take a ridiculously long time to pump up the airbeam. The diameter and height of the pump influences this too. Notice that our latest version of the pump (the one closest to the bottom in the picture below) goes from 3 "pancake" layers to 2 layers. Even though the air volume being delivered was smaller in the 2 layer version compared to the 3 layer, we found that the 3 layer version was a little bit too unstable when people were stepping on it. Our fabric has also changed a bit over the years as you can see below.

In addition, the reticulated foam needs to be the right density so that it is not too hard or too easy to step on the pump. If anyone wants to see what a mushy pump feels like, let me know and I can see you a few unsuccessful prototypes.

One of the reasons this pump works so well for our airbeams is that it self-limits the air pressure you can deliver to the beam, without the need for an additional pressure relief valve. The way this works is that the diameter of this pump is 4.75" (area is about 17.7 sq inches). As you're stepping on it, you're delivering a stepping force onto this pump area, which equates to pressure (pounds per square inch). Once the airbeam reaches the target pressure, say 8.5 psi, the force that it would take to further step on the pump area exceeds what an individual can realistically generate. For an airbeam pressure of 8.5 psi, this is over 150 lbs of stepping pressure that would have to be applied by a single foot directly normal to the area of the pump. And that's why we tell you to stop pumping up the airbeam when it gets hard to step on the pump.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Another Round of January Snow

Unfortunately, we're in the office cranking on work. Dreaming of steeper terrain though...


Friday, January 14, 2011

DIY Timelapse, Round 2

Here are a couple quick tricks on how to avoid flicker in your timelapses. I did this trick for some timelapses and it worked great, and I did not do it for others because I did not know about the tricks and flicker occurred.

Trick 1. Set your f-stop to whatever you want. Then push your depth of field preview button (button near your lens mount). While keeping the button pressed, release your lens and twist it very slightly (not much), so the pins in the camera lift off the lens connectors inside. But NOT TOO MUCH, otherwise your lens may fall off. For a Canon camera when you do this you know it works when your f-stop reads 00. If you did it wrong or did not twist enough you will get a “Lens error message”. Don’t worry, this is okay; you probably have to just twist it a little more. For the Canon 5D and 7D, I find just a tiny twist does the trick.

Trick 2. If you do not do the lens twist trick, then having your f-stop fully open will work as well. So if you have a f2.8 lens, have your f-stop at 2.8. The disadvantage to this is you have to keep your lens fully open, so it limits you from using your full f-stop range.

0:03 - Opening shot of the tree. Adam S. and I light up the tree with a flash. Only thing is that I guess when a flash fires off each time it is not super exact on the output, hence the flicker we get on the tree. Regardless, I’m really stoked how it came out. Done at Malibu Creek State Park.

0:24 – The shot of downtown LA with the clouds was a hard one to get. Adam S. and I totally climbed up a vine to put us on top of a concrete wall and then climbed onto a stair set to get on top of a parking garage. We totally ninja’d our way in. If the vine broke climbing up, it would have been bad news Charlie. The flicker that is going on in the left side of the screen is due to the Staple Center flashing all kinds of lights in the sky at aliens.

0:30-0:41 - Glendora Clouds. This is a perfect example of a bit of flicker. At the time I did not know about the tricks I mentioned above and behold flicker attack. Regardless of the flicker, really stoked on how clouds freaked out. I really like in the dark cloud timelapse how a small triangular cloud appears from nowhere in middle of the clouds.

0:42 – Clouds again. Now I lucked out here and had my f-stop fully open and behold: NO FLICKER in this cloud timelapse. I love how the cloud moves like a wave as they disintegrate away.

0:49 – Probably my favorite timelapse of the bunch. This was taken on a beach in Mexico. The bright light you see that moves and flashes off the screen is a boat. I am sooo stoked on how the clouds totally freaked out in an exploding tall style. I wish I had kept this timelapse going a little longer because the moon was rising and was starting to light up the clouds -- really cool. Patience is a hard thing for timelapses.

1:19 - Top of a mountain in Santa Barbara, camping out after a day of bouldering. The colors in this timelapse are not so good, but I really like how you have the dark clouds at the bottom freaking out. They have a very cool pattern and texture to them.

1:33-1:43 - The waterfalls were documented in Oregon. The first waterfall was sooo huge, I could not fit it all in frame with my fix 50mm. Wish I had my new 24-70 mm with me. There are people walking around in the first waterfall timelapse; kind of a bummer but it’s hard to dodge, ‘tis a popular spot. The second smaller waterfall came out great, so stoked on the details captured... all the small little sprays off the rock. Little did you know it was raining and he had the camera under an umbrella. The lens collected a lot of mist on it.

Timelapsing waterfalls is fun. You have to make sure that your shutter speed is not too slow. If it is, say, 1 second or slower, you will get too much blur in the waterfall and lose detail. Plus, with so much blur your pictures are going to look too similar, so the timelapse will not be good. You want a faster shutter speed so you can capture the detail and the variance of the way the water falls. You don’t want too fast because then you do not get that small amount of blur which gives it the nice look. Try a shutter speed of 4 -0.5”.

1:48 – In the Appalachian Mountains. I messed up on the lens twist trick and as you can see there is slight flicker in this one.

1:56 – Washington, DC bridge. Really stoked on the bridge shot with all the geese moving around in the water. The lens twist trick worked great here, no flicker as the sun slowly sets. Stoked on how smooth the lighting changes are in this timelapse, slowly getting dark. I like the construction crane in the background that moves up and down a bit. Lucked out on all the trains going by.

2:06 – Trees and cars. The lens twist trick worked great here and again, sun is setting and no flicker. For this one I slightly overexposed and then as the lighting got more dim it slowly become exposed and then slightly underexposed. Worked well. Little did you know my toes were freezing, so this timelapse ended short.

Any questions email me at


Thursday, January 13, 2011

2011 Sneak Peek: Astro series sleeping pads

The design of Astro series sleeping pads stands on the shoulders of our current Cosmo Air sleeping pad. Through testing and customer feedback, we found that people were psyched about Cosmo's construction and features, but were willing to sacrifice some of the size for weight savings.

We trimmed up the overall width and length for Astro Air (regular version is 72" long and 20" wide, short version is 48" long and 20" wide), and took the integrated pump out to save weight. The orange version is the Astro Insulated, which uses a synthetic polyurethane foam insulation to stop convective currents. Weights are 1 lb 8 oz for Insulated, 1 lb 4 oz for Air, 14 oz for Short.

Here's a picture of the pack sizes below for regular and short versions.

More shots.

The final bit of insider info is pretty exciting. Of course, you can set up the pad by blowing into the valve -- that's standard. But we've developed a superlight pump that fits into the palm of your hand that will speed of inflation tenfold. At the end of a long day on the trail, you'll definitely be loving this.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Day

East Coast blizzarding brought over two feet of snow to our neck of the woods.

All was quiet in the aftermath, although we did see a few of these guys out.


Friday, January 7, 2011

Biking Around the World

Have you ever wanted to just quit your job, get rid of all of your possessions, free yourself from all obligations and just get away...for a long time? Well, 18 year-old Erin Nelson is doing it. In her own words, "I want to see and experience life. You only have one go at it."

In November, after working hard and saving everything she could from her job at Subway, Erin set out from Turlock, CA on her journey. Before she left, I asked her to tell us a bit about herself. Here's what she had to say.

Life Motto: What did you do yesterday that’s really worth mentioning?

What are you doing to change the world? Promoting living

Favorite piece of NEMO gear & why: My Mio, because it’s my most valuable piece of equipment – it keeps me sheltered.

Songs that get you going: The Ride, Tim McGraw, anything Eric Church, Jason Aldean

Give us a ‘green tip’ that you personally do: I use water bottles at fast food restaurants

Favorite food/drink that will accompany you on your worldwide travels: Brisk raspberry ice tea, and Little Debbie’s

Something you always bring on your trips that you don’t need (good luck charm, etc.): iPod

Hidden talent, party trick: I can do magic tricks

Favorite book: The Bible

Who inspires you? Bear Grylls

Bonus items you’d like to tell us about yourself: You will never see me wasting my life chasing a dollar.

Erin is currently in Arkansas heading to New York. She made this video from her trip so far, it's pretty inspiring.

To follow Erin on her journey, you can visit her blog. She also has more info here.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

This One is the Real Deal

There have been so many mountain bike videos recently, and this one just shut them all down.


30 Years of Bruce Dale and National Geographic

A photoessay well worth watching of the past 30 years of Bruce Dale's work with National Geographic.

The story of how a shot is taken is often just as compelling (if not more) than the actual picture itself.


Long Treks on Skate Decks Episode 12: Torture by Pavement

Welcome to Episode 12 of the Peru y Boliva long distance longboarding trip. Join Adam, Paul, and Aaron as they inch their way closer to Bolivia in deteriorating pavement. Check out Episodes 1-11 in our archives.

Waking up in a field with barking dogs, we made our way on the most horrible pavement known to man, painfully getting closer to Bolivia. Stoke was low as the pavement drained our energy and our soul. We questioned if it is even worth it, but we love bad decisions and pushed onwards in mental pain. Outside of Puno we were desperate and tried to buy a broken boat from the local fishing community. We wanted to ditch the pavement and paddle to Copacabana, Bolivia across Lake Titicaca. Bargaining took place, but in the end it was all a dream - no boat. We walked sadly back to the horrible pavement and cried.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Local Wildlife Part 6: Common Redpolls

Today during a lunchtime stroll, I photographed a group of five Common Redpolls, typically found in the northern areas of Canada and Alaska. Although the markings on the birds are subtle from afar, the detail in these photos shows stunning delicate beauty as they feed on these white birch catkins.

One reason these birds are being found so far south is that they are forced to relocate in search of food when winter sets in their northern habitats.

When I first arrived at the location, I spotted three Redpolls right away in the birches. I got my camera set up and within 2 shots they all flew off to the edge of the river out of sight. I attempted to sneak down towards the river, only to have them fly away again. At this point I decided to try later. As I returned back to my truck, I noticed they were all perched in the same trees that they started in.


Unexpected Inflation

We're not talking economics here; we're literally talking about air-filled objects. Since NEMO's AirSupported Technology is one of our cornerstone developments, we always like to keep an eye out for interesting applications of inflatable technology. Here's a short list of interesting and unexpected products that use inflation.

Inflatable mockups of military vehicles. See more here.

Wind turbines anyone? Check out Winflex.

The inflatable computer mouse, Jelly Click, lays flat when not in use.

The inflatable toast mattress does not come with a pad of butter. Nor jam.

Travel easy with Uli stand up paddleboards

Any others out there?