The Cleanest Line

Weblog for the employees, friends and customers of the outdoor clothing company Patagonia. Visit to see what we do.

RSS Feed




    « March 2008 | Main | May 2008 »

    Gerry Lopez and Jock Sutherland - Talkin' Pipe Pt. 6

    The Talkin' Pipe video series concludes with Gerry and Jock riffing on Kelly Slater and Backdoor. If you're new to the series, visit the Talkin' Pipe page at to watch parts 1 - 5. And while you're there, consider picking up a copy of Gerry's new book Surf Is Where You Find It.

    Gerry Lopez book Sadly, this is the last video in the series. Our thanks go out once again to Devon Howard and the crew at Patagonia's Cardiff Surf Shop for hosting the event and sharing this footage. To get on their event mailing list, contact Special thanks as well to Gerry and Jock for making the trek to Cardiff, and to Jeff Divine and Surfer Magazine for the amazing photos.

    [Big shoutout to Amy Williamson for filming the event. Thanks Amy! Sorry for the typo in the credits.]

    The Shorts - Indiana Powder Day

    Shorts_small Fitz Cahall surprised us this morning with a new feature on The Dirtbag Diaries called "The Shorts." In between full-length episodes of the podcast, the Dirtbag Diaries will now be featuring short stories from listeners like you. If you have a short story to share, email The Dirtbag Diaries. In the meantime, here's Fitz:

    Great outdoor writing lacks ego. When listener Andy Guinigundo’s email appeared in the inbox on a rainy spring day, I read through it, read it again and thought “Damn, I wish I could have been there.” That’s because no matter where you ski, whether it’s the Alaskan steeps or a local hill in Southeast Indiana, a powder day is a magical thing. That’s the great thing about skiing, climbing or mountain biking – you don’t have to be a professional playing beneath stadium lights to understand the crowning achievements of our sports.

    Andy has been skiing for decades. During the gray and often rainy Midwest winters he works ski patrol at Perfect North Slopes, a small resort across the Indiana border from his home in Ohio. Until a March blizzard, a powder day was something he had only heard about. I’d been wanting to create some smaller shorts between feature episodes, so Andy joined us in the Dirtbag Diaries Midwest Studios, a.k.a. his walk-in closet, and gave us his own farewell to an unforgettable winter season.

    Listen to The Dirtbag Diaries:

    The Shorts - Indiana Powder Day (mp3) 

    Like what you heard? The RSS feed, subscription link to iTunes, and contact information for future story ideas are all available at

    Learning from Nature

    Lotus_leaf_tanakawho For those skeptical business types who wonder why we need to conserve wildlife habitat and diversity, you might be interested in the article Biomimetics: Design by Nature in this month's National Geographic. It's about how species living in the natural world around us are increasingly inspiring modern product inventions and innovations.

    [Could mimicking the lotus leaf eliminate the need for DWRs on rain shells? Photo: tanakawho (CC)]

    The biomimetics "movement," as the article calls it, has gained momentum in recent years, with engineers, architects, medical researchers and others turning to whales, raptors, toucans, porcupines, lizards, moths, beetles, termites and even phytoplankton for ideas for new products - from cell phone screens and paint to lifesaving water collecting devices and anticounterfeiting tools.

    Continue reading "Learning from Nature" »

    Vertical Ethiopia: Climbing Toward Possibility in the Horn of Africa

    Et0126_2 Right on the heels of our time with Surf Is Where You Find It author Gerry Lopez, we have more good book news to share with you this week. Majka Burhardt, a writer, climber, mountain guide and Patagonia ambassador, just had her first book published in February. Vertical Ethiopia: Climbing Towards Possibility in the Horn of Africa documents a climbing expedition of four women to the remote and unexplored sandstone spires of northern Ethiopia. Told through a series of vignettes written by Majka, and powerful photos shot by Gabe Rogel, Vertical Ethiopia looks closely at the intersections between adventure and culture, history and opportunity.

    [Majka Burhardt on Learning the Hard Way. Tewodros Tower, Ethiopia. Photo: Gabe Rogel]

    Majka is spending the greater part of 2008 on tour for the book. Hit the jump or visit Majka's Web site for a list of book tour dates. But first, enjoy an excerpt from Vertical Ethiopia:

    Good Thievery

    “It is good to be robbed in Ethiopia,” the man says.

    “It’s good to be robbed?” I ask.

    “Yes, in Ethiopia.”

    It’s four o’clock in the afternoon, and we are sitting in a block-and-mortar room in the back of a complex that houses the local jail, court, and magistrate. The windows are simple portals through the wall, with wooden shutters and steel locks. The floor is dirt, layered with barley shoots.

    Continue reading "Vertical Ethiopia: Climbing Toward Possibility in the Horn of Africa" »

    Spring has more than sprung

    Spring Spring has finally arrived to the high desert of the Great Basin.

    These soft, tender shoots were spotted just outside our Distribution Center here in Reno. It's not easy to assemble the right words to describe what's at work here. But what makes these shoots noteworthy is where they were found growing.

    Here's hoping these buds spark some of same fascination and appreciation for you.

    Welcome to spring, friends.

    Hit the jump to find out where these little buggers are coming up.

    Continue reading "Spring has more than sprung" »

    Product Testing - Light Smoke, Rubicon Pants, Tech Belt, and Wool

    We test our gear on a variety of levels. Our athletes and ambassadors are responsible for putting the latest designs and fabrics through the paces before we'll add a new product to our lineup. But just because something reaches our shelves doesn't mean testing is over. Once a new item shows up in our catalogs, our Customer Service staff gets busy ground-truthing the latest offerings. They know the questions our customers will be asking, and turn that attention to our gear.

    TechwebProduct Report  - The outfit: Wool 2 Crew, Light Smoke Flash Jacket, Rubicon Pants, and Tech Web Belt.      
    Activity: Backcountry and resort skiing, Cottonwood Canyon and Snowbird, Utah.
    Tested by: Jeremy "Crater" Creighton, Patagonia Pro Sales

    The first thing the reader must understand is that I write this piece with respect, gratitude and with just a twinge of fear that the "powers that pay" will retract the generous day’s wages that allowed me to escape the BLC before the end of the work week on the premise that I'd be “testing gear.” The events of my weekend were so blurred by the 8 hrs of eye-bendingly straight highway that lies between Reno and the Wasatch Mts of Salt Lake & by the disturbing turn of events that brought the curtain down on the weekend, that I hesitate to even put fingers to keys in describing it.  But what the H, here goes . . .

    [Ed note: This one's for you, Crater. Photographic proof that you were indeed putting that Tech Web Belt (in photo, on top of the case) through the paces. Photo: Jason Snyder]

    Continue reading "Product Testing - Light Smoke, Rubicon Pants, Tech Belt, and Wool" »

    Indian Summer

    Indian_barber_shop_2 Not long ago we brought you a dispatch from India by Patagonia rock climbing ambassador Sonnie Trotter. After three months on the road and a bout with Malaria, Sonnie is now home and ready to share a taste of his time in India. The Alpine Club of Canada and Five Ten have arranged a short slide show tour for Sonnie to the ACC's eastern sections. The first two events occurred last week and according to Sonnie's blog went well:

    As far as the slide show went, I'd say two thumbs up. The ACC section is like a big family, they all treated me with unrivaled hospitality and I saw nearly everything there is to see in T-Bay is less than 24 hours. It was a whirlwind. After the show, we all sat back, relaxed and kicked it with a few cold beers. Around 11:30pm, Nick Buda and his wife turned in for the night, and Frank Pianka (my trusty chaperone) agreed, "we better get some sleep if we're going ice climbing in the morning". "WHAT?" I said nearly falling off the couch, "You guys were serious about that?"

    If you live in eastern Canada and want to catch the show, hit the jump to see the schedule for this week.

    [Fancy hair cut in Hampi. Photo: Paul Bride]

    Continue reading "Indian Summer" »

    A Big Score

    by Gerry Lopez

    Yesterday I scored big. It was one of those rare days which left me so pumped up when it was over I knew I was going to have trouble falling asleep last night. [Editor's note: This story was originally written in November 2007] I figured I better write it down before the afterglow faded, and later I could savor it again. One of the sad things about surfing is that the best memories are fleeting. Before one knows it, they have all but disappeared, erased like they never existed. Sometimes when the focus is so intense, the concentration so great, it seems as though they don't even get recorded.

    Many times I have finished a wave to find a blank space in my mind about what just occurred during that ride. Although peculiar, it happens with great regularity. By carefully recalling the few moments of actual thoughts, like the decision to catch that wave, or maybe an incident like someone in the way or a person yelling, I may be able to piece together the whole ride. But often as not, should there be some distraction, like another set coming, or just not having that momentary space to reflect back, then that ride may as well be gone. It did happen, and how it unfolded possibly went into one of those many file cabinets of the mind, but the key to access that drawer is lost. Even as I sit here and write only a day afterwards recollection of those waves has begun to go hazy.

    Continue reading "A Big Score" »

    The Buddy

    by Gerry Lopez

    Except for his rather large collection of blues records, there were not, in a material sense, a lot of other things Buddy Dumphy considered important or worthy of much thought. Even his surfboards were considered transient – tools to be used and sometimes abused – only stepping-stones to the next board.

    We first met as teenagers at Ala Moana, where surfing was our life. Before we were old enough to drive, Buddy with his younger brother Michael, and me with my younger brother Victor, would get dropped off in the parking lot at the Ala Wai Boat Harbor. There we would spend the long summer days riding the waves and watching the action.

    The surf was the reason we gave our parents for being there, but the main attraction was really the scene and the other surfers. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Ala Mo’s was the spot, the epicenter of progressive surfing during Hawai’i’s summertime surf season. The top island surfers would invariably gather on any hint of a south swell to match their wave riding skills with the challenging walls. The long, fast and hollow surf produced the best surfing, and everyone knew it. Only the most talented or dedicated – and perhaps young aspiring surfers like us – would dare to show face at Ala Moana. The rest would ride the lesser breaks of Rockpiles, Kaisers or the Park until they developed their confidence and abilities. Our own skills were much less than our bravado, but by keeping our heads down and our mouths shut, we were tolerated by the older crew.

    Continue reading "The Buddy" »

    Inside the Tube

    by Gerry Lopez


    I have been asked many times what it’s like being inside a tube. My short answer is simple, “it’s great.” The long answer is quite a bit more involved.

    To get inside a tube long enough to have time to think about what it’s like requires a long list of factors. Luck is first on the list, especially in the early stages of a surfing career. Still, even experienced surfers feel lucky after a good tuberide.

    [Photo: Branden Aroyan. See more of Branden's photography at Low Tide Rising.]

    But more than anything, tuberiding is a result of a great deal of dedicated practice, lots of paddling and much time spent in the water. If half that time had been given to the pursuit of education or work – well that’s what a parent would say. But to a surfer there is no greater sense of accomplishment or fulfillment than a successful tuberide.

    One key ingredient is the wave. Not all waves form the tunnel necessary for a tuberide. I was fortunate to have two surf spots available when, after 10 years of surfing, my skills were sufficient that I could make a conscious attempt at riding in the tube.

    Continue reading "Inside the Tube" »

    One Percent for the Planet
    © 2014 Patagonia, Inc.