Here on Maui the changing of the seasons is subtle. The weather doesn’t change that much, maybe a little more rain and less wind in the winter, but pretty much perfect. For the surfer, we see a huge change, swells from the north will turn our quiet shorelines into raging playgrounds for the adventurous at heart. For our #offthedeck sunset / sunrise addicts, it means the sun will move south, clearing the mountains and setting in the ocean once again. Sunrise are better and the rainbows more plentiful! I, for one any ready for winter :)

Here are some of the end of summer images as we head into winter.








Here’s a taste of surf to come!

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  • Koa is the most beautiful wood I have had the pleasure to work with. The color, texture and amazing three dimensional depth, put it in a class of it’s own. A variety of the Acacia tree family, unique to Hawaii. It grows to be eighty plus feet tall, from sea level to near the tops of the mountains. Unfortunately it is also rare, having been cleared for cattle and burned to process sugar in the late 1800′s. There is a movement to restore it, but that’s another story.

  • The wood that I use for my creations comes from “windfall” trees, downed by the forces of natural. None of the mills I work with cut live trees, so it is often difficult and expensive to come by.
  • This particular  piece of wood is from a tree from the upper slops of East Haleakala on Maui. It had been on the ground for a while, so it had begun to decay. This process called “spalting” can add dramatic color and depth to the wood.

  • When I’m looking for a piece for a rocker, there are two things I look for, structural integrity and dynamic patterns in the figure and curl. I look for natural curve in the grain for the runners and solid straight grains for the support components, as well as distinctive patterns and curl for the arms, seat and headrest. This can take some time, at $45-$65 a board foot (12″x12″x1″) you don’t want to make a mistake.
  • After selecting the raw slabs, I lay out the design (each chair is different, as I do not use stock templates) and rough cut the various components. These pieces are stacked in my drying shed to stabilize. After two months they were ready to be shaped and sanded to a near finished point before assembly.
  • Each component must be hand fitted to ensure tight joints. This process takes weeks, as each section is glued and cured. Each rocker’s wood has a different weight and balance point that must be careful worked out before the final glue up. I use a marine epoxy and waterproof glue,  so it needs to be right the first time. I let the glued up chair sit for a few weeks to cure and stabilize before finishing.
  • The next step is to sand the entire chair over and over, applying thin layers of lacquer sealer until all the grains and joints are baby bottom smooth. A final lacquer finish is sprayed and a hand rubbed wax and oil is applied.
  • My goal in a rocker is to create a piece of furniture that is both comfortable and aesthetically pleasing, revealing the amazing beauty of the wood.


This chair was SOLD at Native Intelligence 

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With each new swell at Peahi the bar is raised, new heroes are made and reputations are solidified!

Here it is only October and the bar has been set really high!

For two days Peahi dished up some of the biggest, cleanest waves the world has ever seen.

Where do we go from here?

I can’t wait to see!

Click on any picture to go to the gallery of the day :)

Day one – 10-9-12                   Day two – 10-10-12

Albee Layer 10-9-12

Mark Healey 10-10-12


  • Turning bowls is one of most satisfying things I do in wood. There is something raw and exciting about taking a chunk of wood and turning it into a useful and beautiful vessel. There alot of inherent risks involved with the process. It takes a commitment to sacrifice an expensive piece of wood.

  • There is a very real chance that it will have a flaw inside or you make a mistake and it explodes off of the lathe at 1500+ rpms. There is also the flying wood chips and dust created while carving though the wood with a razor sharp gouge or knife. On the other side of the risk is the reward. Creating a graceful shape, revealing the hidden beauty of the wood and aesthetic value of both form and function, keep me on the edge of anticipation. Each calabash or vase is unique, the pattern of the wood, the curve of the shape and history of the piece of wood adds to the sense of satisfaction to each one I make.

  • I have also been carving intricate patterns into these forms, adding to the sculptural aspect of the turning process.
  • There are some master turners on Maui, their work is the inspiration that keep following in their path. Check out the links below to see some of their work.

Tom Calhoun – Maui

Guus Mauri – Maui

Jim Meekhof - Maui

Al Rabold - Maui

Shaun Fleming – Maui

Jack Ewing – Molokai

  • One of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of my craft, is taking a clients concepts for a piece and creating it. I love to the see how the “artistic freedom” that is a part of the process plays out. I have to admit, I don’t “see” the finished work in my mind before I start. It’s an adventure for me to see how the process, reveals something special.
  • This project started with a phone call from the Maui Hands Gallery, Craig and Yvonne were interested in a Curly Koa bench.  As we talked on the phone, I felt their ideas were right up my alley. We met at my studio to get some sketches and budget estimates on paper. After seeing my work, shop (humble and messy) and wood types available, it was a go.
  • The hardest part of making anything in Curly Koa is finding the wood, this bench was to be 5 feet long, so would require a large amount of matching wood. I work with several mills on Maui and the Big Island, but it is still a challenge to find the quality and quantity of dry wood (wet wood adds months to the project) at a price in the budget. On the second visit to a local Maui mill the owner remembered some old wood stashed away in the loft of the machine shop. This required crawling around  a dusty loft with a flashlight, moving stacks of wood searching for this hidden treasure. Once it was found, I measured and selected each board to see if the components needed could be made. It was as if this wood was just waiting here all these years just for this project!
  • Raw slab wood is kind of  like raw diamonds, you never really know what you have until your start cutting.  As I planned the branches, the amazing quality, we call curly, revealed itself. This was some of the finest wood I had ever worked with! This really inspires me, as I lay out the design and components on each slab of wood, matching the grain and figure to the function and display  of the finished bench. After this process, I came up short a couple pieces, so back to the mill/loft to look for more.
  • Now that I had the wood and the plan shapes drawn out, it’s time to go to the saws and cut them out.  At this point the rough cut pieces are usually stacked and let dry for a week to a month. This wood was completely dry, so I was able to get right to the shaping.
  • Each piece must be hand cut and shaped, mortises and tendons fitted using mechanical and electric tools. Sculptured elements are carefully hand carved, ground and sanded to the desired forms. These raw forms are sealed and sanded to a near finished smoothness. Each joint is dry fitted and prepared for gluing. Every measurement,  angle and  connection must be right, as I use marine epoxy , very difficult to adjust or remove. Section by section the bench beings to take form. Many adjustment and refinements later  it is assembled and ready to sand. Every surface and joint is sanded and sealed over and over until it is one flowing piece. Now it will sit for a week or two to cure and see if there is any movement in the joints and seams.
  • The final stage is the finish. On this bench we choose a clear lacquer. This is done with many fine layers, hand sanded between coats to reduce build up.  When the seal is uniform and velvet to the touch, the final step of hand rubbing it with a blend of oils and waxes to leave  a silky natural feel.
  • After another week of curing the bench was ready to ship to it’s new home in Northern California. The Shotwell’s remodeled  the entryway  in their home for this custom piece. It is such an honor to work with such great people, to make something special.
  • Aloha, Mike

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This is the acadamy awards for big wave surfing.

Each year the best rides, by the best riders, in the biggest waves on the planet

are judged and celebrated at the Grove  in Anaheim.

(Click Here to see the amazing rides and event.)

Each year the best photographers and videographers submit their best takes,

hoping to be the one to have captured the defining moments of the big wave world.

I have had the privilege of participating for several years,

by submitting my images of Maui’s premeire big wave, Peahi (Jaws)!

Over the years, I have had many images selected to showcase the amazing surfers who come each year..

Last year I had 3 in the finals and decide to attend the Awards night in LA.

I had an amazing time hanging with friends, seeing old friends

and celebrating with the best surfers and photographers in the world,

but did not win the prize. (Click Here to see a video sideshow of last year.)

This year, I was unable to attend due to being unable to be in two places at once :)

 I only had one image in the finals, with very stiff competition.

To win this prize there are 5 surfers in each of 5 categories, with multiple photographer for each.

Your surfer has to win the category first, then they pick one winning photograph.

This year I was honored by having my shot of Dave Wassel selected for the paddle in wave of the year!

Thanks you to all the surfers who Changed the Game this year!

Truly amazing!  Stoke to have witnessed it.

Click here to see more shots of this ride and the others this day!

A BIG Mahalo to  Billabong & Pelican Cases for a great event and products!

The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters,

yea, than the mighty waves of the sea.

Psalm 93:4


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In the past few years there has been alot of talk about HDR (high dynamic range) photography.

To be honest, I didn’t like much of what I saw, lots of over saturated,

cartoony looking stuff that just did not float my boat.

I also started seeing some cool stuff from FB friends / photographers that got my attention,

 Randy Jay BraunShayla  MiddletonMatt KurvinLance Kinney and others.

I had tried using PhotoShop, but was not impress with my results.

I decided to give Photomatix a try and became an instant fan.

HDR is the processing of multiple exposures of the same subject,

blending those images using the correctly exposed parts of each image,

allowing for a much more detailed image.

The blend of images can be anywhere from photographic to surreal,

depending on the photographer / artists desire.

I am hooked :)

While I still take and use photo journalistic technics in much of my photography,

I am having fun with this process and hope you like it too!

Maui Sunset

SF Zoo

This shot was in deep shade and would not look good normally.

Maui, the rainbow valley isle :)

Sunrise over west Maui.

Sunset over Haleakala.

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With each new swell at Peahi the bar is raised, new heroes are made and reputations are solidified!

These two days had far less crowds, with many amazing rides and wipeouts!

There was a mix of  Paddle-in, Tow-in, Windsurfing, Kite surfing, Stand up boarding, all sharing the lineup pretty well :)

Click on any picture to go to the gallery of the day :)

1-30-12 Gallery **** 1-31-12 Gallery

Jeffery Rowley charging into one of the best ridden waves of the day!     1-30-12 Gallery

The windsurfers were on it, catching some of the biggest waves of the day!

End of the day saw tow surfers charging…

Go to the full  1-30-12 Gallery to see Kite boarders and Tow surfers too!


Joao Marco Maffini Charging on 1-31-12

Robby Naish on a smoker, stand-up surfing!   Go to the full 1-31-12 gallery to see more!

1-30-12 Gallery **** 1-31-12 Gallery