Graeme Thickins on Tech

Reflections & analysis about innovation, technology & startups, with a focus on Minnesota, Land of 10,000 Lakes

Category: Surfing (the real kind) (page 1 of 7)

I Say a New Web Site Every 20 Years — Whether You Need It or Not!

Yes, these are the words I live by. Actually, it was 21 years that I had the same basic web site for my consulting business, before I launched a new site just recently. It’s at my original domain name, (Please tell me what you think of it in the comments below!)

You can see screenshots of the old vs. the new below. Pretty stark comparison, huh? I kid you not: my old site had a footer that read “©Copyright 1995-2016.” It lived a long life! I launched it in early 1995 when I began working  with my first Internet client, Creative Internet Solutions (later acquired), a relationship that actually began in late 1994. The first popular browser, Netscape, was just being launched. Oh, I updated the content many, many times over the years, of course — often adding pages here and there, and unlinking others when they became dated or no longer seemed relevant. But the site used the same, basic, plain-HTML structure for all those years. I built every bit of it myself originally and ongoing — and managed the hosting and did all the maintenance and updating all by my lonesome, too. (Yes, I know how to code — haha — but don’t ask me anything beyond HTML!) 

BEFORE: my 21-year-old web site.

BEFORE: my 21-year-old web site.

For some reason, I never got around to creating a new mobile/responsive site during recent years — even though I knew I should have. It’s the “cobbler’s kids with no shoes” syndrome: I helped many clients create modern new sites during this time, but never had time to do my own! It just wasn’t a high priority — alas, clients must always come first.

AFTER: my brand-new, mobile responsive web site.

AFTER: my brand-new, mobile responsive web site.

Continue reading

Best Pitch I Ever Got: To Interview a Naked Surfer Girl :-)

Okay, it would've only been on the phone, and she probably would've had clothes on. Didn't have time to interview her, anyway (I'm on vacation!). But the pitch is worth a read. Here it is, word for word, from the PR guy:


Hi Graeme,

Teal is staring in the Reality TV series on Discovery Channel: Naked and
had over 8 million viewers, will have the new episode airing
July 7, 2013. Alison found
herself stranded in and, quite literally, exposed to some of the world's
most extreme weather environments and paired with a total
AlisonTeal-wBoardstranger. The duo were left with no food, no water…and no clothes.
They must survive on their own for a full 21 days, with nothing but one personal
item each and the knowledge that the only prize is their pride and sense of
accomplishment. Alison was joined
with survivalist Jonathan Klay marooned on a Maldivian island for 21 days. The
surfer girl and the former Marine clash when sunstroke and starvation threaten
their survival as they try to get through the 21 days without clothing facing
the elements . You
will see Alison on the survival show challenged to put her love of
adventure and survival skills to the test!
  shows/naked-and-afraid/bios/   alison-teal.htm

filming Alison was inspired to live her dream, announcing the
launch of her
crowd funding campaign on Red Capes,

Adventure was filmed traveling the globe focused
on educating and inspiring children and families about sustainability, adventure
and going for their dreams. Her goal is to embark on a national
AlisonTeal-titlescreenschool tour and
develop partnerships with "do good" organizations to launch Alison's Adventures
to the world.  “I am ready to inspire kids globally to embrace their inner
super-hero, and make a difference!“  

has begun a campaign at a fund raising site Red Capes,,
because the founders Wendy Robbins and Karen Paull take crowd funding to
expanded levels of service. In addition to helping businesses, products, and
ideas reach their full potential, Wendy and Karen saw a need for not-for-profit
organizations and causes to be able to increase their financial capabilities.
Red Capes believes in supporting every worthwhile project, regardless of whether
the immediate monetary goal has been met. The site operates world.pngde instead
of limiting their offerings to the U.S. and U.K. Wendy Robbins, CEO, says, "Red
Capes is a power to the people, paying it forward fundraising platform where a
large group gives small donations in exchange for unique gifts so everyone gets
to be a superhero." 

had an atypical childhood: raised by adventure-photographer parents, she
accompanied trips to exotic locales beginning at the age of two months old. Her
life since has continued this spirit of exploration. 

current residence is a Swiss Family Robinson style grass hut that she built with
her parents over the last 20 years. (One of the perks lets you come to her home
for a 3 day adventure!) 

graduating from film school at USC, Alison set off around the world with a
backpack, an HD camera, and pink surfboard, and a dream to make a film series
which would offer viewers a passport into her global family and their secrets of
survival, sustainability, and happiness. Alison's
Adventures is an original film series created to make the world a smaller place
by sharing the wisdom of exotic cultures, showcasing authentic people, and
entertaining the kid in everyone through storytelling that captures the mystery
and intrigue of life's adventures. 

you like to interview Alison Teal and Wendy Robbins?



I’m Stoked! ‘Coldwater Surf Fest’ Is June 6th, Park Point, Duluth

(UPDATE 6/8/09:  Here's my Flickr set from Friday night and Saturday, June 5-6.  Alas, no waves on Saturday — but we had fun, anyway! … and a very successful Surfrider Foundation beach clean-up. Several surfers stayed on for waves forecast at 4-7 ft Sunday and Monday.)

It's that time again, surf fans!  For the annual celebration of Lake Superior surf culture: Coldwater Surf Fest, brought to us by the Superior Surf Club. Time to gather for food, laughs, maybe a brew or two, and your chance to take a dip in the Big Lake They Call GitchigumiCWSF-09-logo350w But, regarding the latter (unless you're just wading), do bring your 6-mil or 5-mil wetsuit, hood, booties & gloves, as one never knows what the water temp may be, even in June (let alone the air temps and wind). The surfers in the group, of course, will be hoping for big winds blowing out of the Northeast to produce rideable waves!  Readers of this blog may recall I wrote about the 2007 Coldwater Surf Fest. And, for those of you who don't think surfing on Lake Superior is for real, here's a shot of our own Bob Tema surfing Stoney Point, north of Duluth: SurfSuperior-Tema-StoneyPt2

Event Details:

FRIDAY NIGHT 6/5/09:  Gather at Fitger's in Duluth for brews and grub, starting about 5:00 pm. (Map and directions.)

SAT MORNING 6/6/09 10:00 am:  Beach clean-up at Park Point "First Turns" Beach, sponsored by the MN-Superior Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. (Map and directions.  Street parking available.)

SAT 6/6/09 NOON Party!  Pavillion at Park Point. BBQ, drinks, stories, trade/sell equipment, memorabilia. Raffle to benefit the Tom Blake Memorial: tickets $5. (More info on the Tom Blake Memorial.)  Map and directions.  Lots of parking available.

SAT EVENING 6/6/09:  After-party at somebody's place.

SUN MORNING 6/7/09:  Brunch at Pizza Luce's.

Come for part or all of the event — stay as long as you can!  I'm driving up Friday afternoon and staying over through Saturday.  All are welcome: surfers, friends, relatives, spouses and kids, participants or spectators, and anyone who thinks they may someday want to take the plunge into surfing the Big Lake… whether that be regular surfing or stand up paddleboarding (SUP), as shown in these two pics from last year's event — when, unfortunately, surf conditions were totally flat. (All photos of last year's event courteous Bob Tema. The guy in this shot actually teaches surfing at the U of MN-Duluth!) CWSF08-SUP1

Whatever the conditions, though, you will be guaranteed to have fun at CWSF!  Bring a board and wet suit if you have one, or maybe you can borrow someone else's and paddle out! You'll meet great people, including many of the top surfers on Lake Superior, eat some good grilled grub and partake in some cold(!) libations, all the while enjoying the wonderful outdoors in our great State of Minnesota! 

The Park Point peninsula is really a natural treasure, if you haven't experienced it yet: wide, sandy beaches, stretching out from the Canal Park bridge, which is the heart of Duluth's tourist center. CWSF08-SUP2 Park Point is a thin strip of sand with beach houses and lake-front condos, reaching all the way out to a small airport at the end of the peninsula, adjacent to a great park that has a picnic pavilion, barbeque grills, even a beach concession building — with birch and pine forest lining the wide stretches of pristine sand.

Well, it's pristine when people keep it that way!  But we're out to do our part in that regard at this year's Coldwater Surf Fest — because our new MN-Superior Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation is sponsoring a Beach Clean-Up the morning of the main event (Saturday, June 6). SurfriderMN-logo225w We'll take an hour or so to each don plastic gloves and grab a garbage bag to pick up trash and debris to ensure our favorite Duluth Beach is left better than when we got there!  It's all part of giving back to our environment.

For more info on this year's Coldwater Surf Fest, just ask in the comments section of this post.  Or visit the Superior Surf Club site — where you can even order the limited-edition event T-shirt (long or short sleeve). Here are some more pix (again, courteous Bob Tema) from last year's event…



CWSF08-2CWSF08-5 CWSF08-3 

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