SURF-A-PALOOZA: May 2-9

GENERATION DRAMA: Forget the moldy old slide-show party. No mas. Gone. Thrown in America’s cultural trashcan along with the mullet hairdo, the Gut-B-Gone by Ronco and The Sally Jesse Raphael Show.

In these cutting-edge days of Generation D you communicate with your PDA, you listen with your iPOD and you entertain with the DVP (digital video party). A cheesy static shot of you and your buddies waxing up does not compare to the powerful drama of watching live action via your digital video camera. The only thing better is if the action is captured from the water, with a watertight video housing.

A no-brainer, no?

Like thousands of us, Larry Stucker and his buddy Dave Johnson had numerous surf travel plans, and, like thousands of us, they wanted to spice up their presentation with water shots. So six years ago, they went shopping for a good, inexpensive consumer-end video camera housing. But such an animal didn’t seem to exist. What they did find was expensive, professional-grade gear that cost up to $2,000. And because the market was driven by scuba diving, the housings were excessively heavy. Weight and cost left Stucker and Johnson’s footage high and dry. Hey, let’s be serious, they weren’t gunning for Dan Merkel’s Emmy, nor were they trying to re-create “Free Ride”. They just wanted to throw their Sony DVcam into a housing so their buddies could drool on the couch at the next video party.

While some folks see dead ends, others see opportunity. For Stucker and Johnson, the latter shone through. These two entrepreneurs went carpe diem on us. (I know, I know, I just made “carpe diem” a verb–deal with it.) They went into business developing, producing, marketing and selling a line of consumer-end video housings called EPIC. They’re built light, inexpensive ($250) and designed with surfers and surf videos in mind. Business is booming.

“Probably the biggest difference between our housings and the others is weight,” explained Stucker. “At roughly eight pounds, ours is significantly lighter than any dive housing.” Now weight, or lack thereof, is a big deal. But there is more to the EPIC housing than mobility. While most housings use a rubber O-ring to seal out water, EPIC uses a boot, or rubberized end cap, which is basically equivalent to four O-rings. “One grain of sand in a single O-ring can jeopardize the integrity of the seal,” said Stucker. “Our ‘end cap’ maintains a magnificent water-tight seal.”

Another bonus is after you buy one, you have enough dough to buy camera insurance, a Costco crate full of Mini DV tapes and an extra round of Pacificos. So for the every day Joe, these housings fit the bill.

So if you’re not one already, Stucker and Johnson want to make you an everyday Joe hero. Here’s how: Epic camera housings is sponsoring a contest. Five lucky Joes who come up with the finest video footage using their Epic camera housing will win some surf swag: custom boards, clothes, etc., etc. Palooza will have more info on this contest later on, so stay tuned, and start charging up those batteries.

BASS’S WEEKLY FIVE: Wacky web stuff from my computer to yours.

  1. Lose Weight Surfing
  2. To Chum at Church
  3. A Daily Dose
  4. Pocket Knife Amputation
  5. Can’t Speil?