Posts by Shawn

Do you have a Sweet Quiver?  Show us on Instagram by tagging us @surfwanderer  Maybe we’ll post up a shot of you and your quiver on our instagram to show our followers your sick quiv!

Photo: Shawn Tracht holding his original hand shape twinny fish...and hanging with a few other boards Photo: Paul Smith

The Surfwanderer Shawn Tracht holding his original hand shape twinny fish…and hanging with a few other boards Photo: Paul Smith

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If you want your surfboard faster just give your shaper more money!  It’s not about the beer anymore.  The economy is so bad right now that beer is no help.  I’ve met with shapers all up and down California this year from Shaper of the Year, Robert Weiner of Roberts Surfboards in Ventura, to Stretch up in Santa Cruz, to Nick Cooper of Coop Deville Surfboards in San Luis Obispo, to Matt Biolos of ..Lost Surfboards in San Clemente.  These guys have families and are already working non-stop, 12-18 hour days just to get all of their orders done on time.  They’re busy! Continue reading…

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By:  Richard Dennis

Fellow Surf Wanderers-

In January, my best friend Sean Lynn, was a passenger in a vehicle that was in a terrible accident where he suffered a C5 spinal cord injury, leaving him quadriplegic. Sean and I grew up in San Clemente, CA together where we learned the stoke that surfing brings, especially when shared with a good friend. We sharpened our teeth at Trestles, local beach breaks, as well as Baja, and our friendship grew. I moved from San Clemente to the Central Coast in 1998, but we’ve remained best friends and surf travel companions. While our hopes for recovery are high and our friendship eternal, I fear we will never again be able to share the same experiences that forged our friendship in the first place.

More importantly, Sean and his loving wife Sienna are expecting identical twin baby boys in July.  They are in need of community support to help them with Sean’s insane medical expenses, current and future, that are associated with this type of injury. Anything you can do to help support my best friend and another Surfwanderer would mean everything to me.  Here is a link to Sean’s fundraising website for information about ways you can help the Lynn family.

Thank you for your time,

Richard Dennis

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John Perry Surfboards

Ryan “Allsy” Allshouse up in SLO county is good friends with Deep Magazine writer/Surfboard tester and my good friend Shawn Tracht.  Shawn and Ryan go way back and since they’re good friends, and the same size, Ryan, has made sure to steal Shawn’s boards away from him every time Shawn show’s up testing a new craft.

Well, Tracht told me that Allsy took this board from him to test it for “one wave.”  Low and behold, now it’s been two months and Allsy won’t give it back!

I have to admit, it’s so fun as a shaper to have someone enjoy the art you create.  Meeting Allsy last summer and hearing of his great sessions on a shape that I love is the best part of shaping.  Allsy has gotten a lot of good waves and from what Tracht has told me, a ton of compliments while riding it.  Apparently…

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Check out the Surfwanderer Crew’s newest article in Deep Magazine on the Stoker V Machine by Bruce Fowler and Randy Rostoker!  See the article online here:

Stoker V Machine- Shawn Tracht

Stoker V Machine- Shawn Tracht Photo: Brent Lieberman

Surfwanderer, Stoker V Machine, Shawn Tracht

Photo: Brent Lieberman

photo 1Stoker V Machine- Shawn Tracht

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Surfwanderer media group

Photo by Brian Salce

Surfwanderer is a group of surfers, photographers, videographers (a newly formed group of guys), and those both in the surf industry and those wanting to break in.  We are like minded surfer guru’s who eat, sleep, and dream about surfing and all its components during our daily jaunt through life.  We are family guys, old guys, young guys, 20 yr old up and comers, teenage grom frothers, and little grommets who still think mom and dad are cool when we teach them to surf at a very young age.

We are glad you’re here on the site, as we are all ready for waves…and here they come!!!!  Stay tuned and check back often, as we make some changes, add new material, and showcase some great talent.  We hope your stoked.


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Shawn Tracht-How mini is your simmons

Surfwanderer Shawn Tracht with a 2k13 Modern Quiver Photo: Michael LaCalle

2013 is 7 years posterior to Joe Bauguess’ first Mini Simmons, which he shaped for surfer Richard Kenvin in San Diego.  Now, the design, as we know it, has been adapted and recreated in nearly every shaping bay around the world, and has become almost as much of a household board as a longboard.

The Mini Simmons is now becoming the go to small to bad wave board for many die-hard shortboard surfers,  the all around go to board for fish surfers, and a great additive to the quiver for longboard surfers who need a smaller board for the big days.

How Mini is Your Simmons Article by Shawn Tracht in Deep magazine

Main Photo Taken by Tim Schmidt Portriat: Joe Bauguess and John Elwell with the first Mini Simmons (L) and restored Simmons (R) Photo: Ryan Field Shaping Photo: Brian Pascoe

Here’s an array of some epic different choices I had shaped from some of my best buds on the Central Coast: Ray Lucke, Robert Wiener, Jason Kline.

Ray Lucke’s “Lucky Lucke”  see more here 

Ray Lucke and a plethora of his Lucky Lucke Mini Simmons  Photo: Tracht

Ray Lucke and a plethora of his Lucky Lucke Mini Simmons Photo: Tracht

Robert Wiener’s “Mush Machine  See more here

Robert Wiener with his Mush Machine  Photo: Paul Greene

Robert Wiener with his Mush Machine Photo: Paul Greene

Jason Kline’s Mini Sims HP  See More Here

Jason Kline with his Mini Sims HP  Photo: Paul Greene

Jason Kline with his Mini Sims HP Photo: Paul Greene

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Here’s a recent surf session that I had with Brent Lieberman.  I’m wearing my 4/3 mm Black Hyperflex wetsuit today, which is fully wool lined and super comfy.  I chose this suit because it was soooo cold!  It was 42 degrees outside when we paddled out, and the water temp was around 56 degrees.  I rode my Stoker V Machine, white with a black arch on the deck for color.  This board is made by the man, the myth, the legend, Bruce Fowler, who’s out of  Santa Barbara County.  I hope you enjoy the local display of surfing from everyone from this fun day.

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Surf. Sleep. Repeat

Score great waves steps from this epic hotel in Pismo Beach, CA.  The Sea Crest Hotel has one of the best locations in Pismo Beach.  Right between the Pismo Pier and Shell Beach, it’s a hotel that I remember coming back to summer after summer with my parents after a few days camping in Big Sur.  The oceanfront views from nearly every room juxtaposed with the palm trees and hawaiian island charm leave you close to home (if you’re from California), yet feeling like you’re on an ocean journey far far away.  Newly refurbished, the hotel seems better than I remember as a kid.  The decor is a mix of modern, yet comfortable and homey.  The view from the pool screams dream vacation, and just steps down the private staircase to the beach are empty waves, and lots of radical caves to walk around in with the family, a great date, or your friends.  Play hard, surf hard, and enjoy hot baked cookies before bed at one of my families favorite Pismo Beach hotels: The Sea Crest Oceanfront Hotel.

2241 Price St  Pismo Beach, California 93449 (805) 773-1785  $$-$$$

Directions to Sea Crest Oceanfront Hotel in Pismo Beach, CA

Wintertime in Pismo Beach-Photo: Scott Smith Surfer: Tracht

Wintertime in Pismo Beach // Photo: Scott Smith Surfer: Tracht

The hotel in the background is the SeaCrest Ocean Front Hotel Photo: Pfost  Surfer: Tracht

Pismo Pier.  The hotel in the background is the SeaCrest Oceanfront Hotel  //  Photo: Pfost Surfer: Tracht

Aerial Video of the Hotel:

The Hotel also has Pet Friendly rooms.   Watch the video below.

Specials and Packages:

Sea Crest Hotel PIsmo Beach

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image 6

Photos by Colin Nearman for 

There are times in life when a staycation travel session is more than necessary.  Seriously, ever since the economy failed us all in 2008, long travel vacations are sort of the thing of the past for most of us.  So in need of some solitude from the bills of life and the stress of reality, there is nothing like a hike in up in Northern California with some new surfboards and your best friends.  Here’s the essence of trip.  We’ll let you dream of yourself in the empty barrels and won’t ruin the images with others invading your mind space on these waves.

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Story by Mike Horton:
Photos by: Mike Horton, Kristin Solis, and the surf sequence  was taken by Nyoss
I have been fortunate to spend a lot of time in Bali over the past several years and I’m so stoked to be transitioning into living here full-time again. I love the lifestyle, the culture, the people, the food, and of course, the waves.The small island of Bali has become a mecca for surfers over the past several decades. During the Dry Season (May-September), offshore winds greet large swells marching unimpeded from the southern Indian Ocean. The focal point: the Bukit Peninsula. The Bukit is Bali’s southernmost region and home to several world-class surf breaks. If you can avoid traffic on your motorbike, you can leave from the bustling Kuta area and check Balangan, Dreamland, Bingin, Impossibles, Padang Padang, and Uluwatu in less than an hour.
Balangan is the Bukit’s northernmost break and was once earmarked for major development that included the destruction of its reef to build a marina. Fortunately, it’s been left alone and remains a laid-back, quiet spot relative to the more popular spots like Uluwatu. The beach is still lined with quaint warungs (food stalls and accommodation) where friendly locals welcome guests. You can watch the waves out front or enjoy beautiful sunsets while eating mie goreng (fried noodles) and sipping Bintangs.
The waves at Balangan are often considered average compared to those of their southern neighbors. Most days, this left hand reef break is just a crowded, sectiony close-out with multiple takeoff spots that provide fun, intermediate-level waves. When a solid southwest swell coincides with a full moon or new moon low tide, Balangan  transforms into a serious big-wave spot (my friend Greg likes to call it ‘B-land’ on these days, comparing it to G-Land). Waves break off the headland and rifle down the reef for several hundred meters. Days like these make entering and exiting the water a nightmare as waves rush across exposed coral reef. Broken boards are common and even the most skilled of chargers can get seriously hurt here.
I’ll admit, I never thought much of Balangan and focused my surfing elsewhere but, I was proven wrong last month. A solid swell had been running for several days and I had managed to snap all but one of my boards in the span of a week. I was left with my 6’1” Alexander Pro Ho, not an ideal weapon for triple overhead plus waves. Nevertheless, some friends of mine were heading to Balangan and I decided to join them. It was pumping and I was able to scratch into a few fun ones. As you can see in shots 10 and 11, I nearly lost it on this wave as water drawing off the reef made my rail slide out!

The old saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ seems quite fitting here. Thanks for proving me wrong Balangan!
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Words and Photos by Michael Kew (

There’s ice on the deck. Holding ales with gloved hands, we admire the hallucinatory reflect of snowy cliffs across this tranquil, funnel-shaped anchorage that, globally, drifts with Siberia and south Greenland.

Trevor is fly-fishing. Swish-swish-swish. He whips the line to and fro off the transom many times but hooks nothing. The bottom here is hard mud. The water is hunter green. The time is 10:30 p.m. but still the sky glows blue.

Pausing, Trevor looks shoreward, swigs from a bottle of stout. Halfway hidden on the forested beach, he sees three old wooden cabins that wait for summer.

“Somebody’s idea of a good time right there,” Captain Mike says from the barbecue, his chin bisecting the gray fish smoke.

“Lonely,” Trevor says.

“Yeah, unless you’ve got it packed full of Bush Company dancers.” (laughs)

The Great Alaskan Bush Company, Mike means. Look it up.

A shaggy white male mountain goat grazes fairly low above the pit of the anchorage, above the cabins, on a steep cliff.

“It’s amazing where you see them,” Mike says, flipping the lingcod fillets. “They do fall sometimes.”

“Why would they be there and not up where it’s not so steep?” Trevor asks.

“Snow is up there,” Mike says, pointing at the top of the slope, then lowering his arm. “Grass is down here. Good munchin’ spot.”

In a month or two, the goat will browse in high alpine meadows, eating shrubs and herbs and grass at leisure. For now, though, he risks life to live. Like us. Sort of.

The Gulf of Alaska has a surface area of 592,000 square miles. Plenty of room to cause trouble. In winter, the Gulf is a weather kitchen, a sea of severity, a near-constant stream of cyclones and anticyclones. Sixty-foot waves with 100-knot winds are routine. Depressions twist east from Japan, stalling once they hit the Gulf and, trapped, they mutate and shove north swell down to western North America and eastern Oceania. North swells deny the south-facing Kenai Fjords. We need south.

But this is a fjord and there is swell in the marine forecast, the charts showing a pair of modest, local low-pressure systems, with favorable fetch. Anchor up. We move.

“It’s a good reason to feel optimistic instead of just feeling hopeful,” Mike says, watching a bald eagle soar in the updraft, its spearing blackness contrasted by the white snow bowl of a hanging valley. Below the raptor are steep slopes and shale landslides, chalky brown, laced with thin snowmelt waterfalls. It’s late April — Alaska is beginning to thaw. Soon, bears will be everywhere. Post-Memorial Day until September, this fjord will be flush with cruise ships and fishing boats because the town is a major fishing hub, the ninth most-lucrative fisheries port in the United States.

A diehard surfer and ex-merchant marine, Mike isn’t thrilled about other gloomy fishing towns — Yakutat and Dutch Harbor, for example — he’s had to work in and around since he moved from Hawaii to Alaska to work at a fish cannery in the summer of ‘76.

SeaCrest Oceanfront Resort Pismo Beach, CA

“What’s Yakutat like?”

“Small. Some good waves over there.”

“Dutch Harbor?”

“Drunk.” (laughs)

He leans and steers the ship with its wooden wheel, the first time I’ve seen him do this.

“Don’t you always steer with the compass?” I asked.

He nodded. “It just started acting funny. Maybe it blew a fuse, or a wire’s loose, or there’s a bunch of iron in that mountain and it threw the compass crazy. Happens sometimes.”

We approach the fjord’s entrance, or, in this case, the exit. Instantly the scene shifts.  Out here, the wind howls from the east, deeply corrugating the open ocean. The boat lurches and dips in the raw sea.

“At least we’re looking at waves now,” Mike says.

We surf till the sky bleeds gray and the air is seized by an onshore gale. We’re done. Beer and books back in the calm anchorage. Cozy downtime again.

In the late afternoon, we buzz the skiff to the hidden entrance of a tiny cove. Along the shore are the skeletal remains of a bulldozer, barn, and a termite-wrecked cabin. Through falling snowflakes, I see “Herring Pete” and Josephine Sather tending to their noisy fox farm here. But they abandoned this place in 1961, and the barn’s decay, scented with river otter dung, makes me sneeze. Pete too was a reputedly ripe and eccentric guy, his rarely washed clothes afoul of fish. His wife was an obsessive clean-freak, forcing Pete to take cold showers after his fishing trips, even mid-winter.

Admiring his scenic view out over the cove, I pictured Pete shivering wet in the bathroom while Josephine stirred a hot pot of fox stew. But, foolishly standing in snow, I realized I was the one shivering.

Like this story?  Michael Kew is one of the most renowned writers in the entire surfing world.  Below is his book, “Crossings, is a compilation of the best stories he’s written from the most minute corners of the world for Surfer, Surfer’s Journal, Surfing, TransWorld Surf, all the Australian Magazines, Japanese Magazines and many more.  A MUST HAVE book for Surfers or anyone who dreams of traveling and the ocean!  CLICK TO BUYMichael Kew featured on

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Local History by Dave "Mouse" Friesen

Cassmere Polaski and his Shark Bitten Surfboard

Local History – By  “Mouse” Dave Friesen

Photos: Courtsey of Cassmere Polaski Collection

You know when you’re in the line up, sitting on your board and the water is a kind of a murky green or brown color. All of a sudden you get a weird feeling like something is swimming underneath you. Most of us just try to ignore that feeling, but what if you didn’t suspect a thing!   

Someone that I have known since I was a young boy, named Cassmere Polaski, had just that kind of unsuspecting situation happen to him.  Cassmere is a 57-year-old surfer, paddle boarder, and local San Luis Obispo County legend from Cayucos, California.   He was born in 1955 in Cook County, Illinois.  At age three his family moved to Manhattan Beach, California, where he started surfing at age seven. As a grom, he looked up to a local Malibu surfer, surfing Icon and classical guitar player named Kemp Aaberg,  who inspired Cassmere to play the guitar forty-one years ago and they still play together to this day.

In 1969, Cassmere moved to Oahu, Hawaii, where he would live with family friends during the winter.  In the summer, he would go back to the mainland to see his family.

He remembers surfing with legends such as Butch Van Artsdalen, Jose Angel, and Peter Cole. After he graduated from high school in 1974 in Hawaii, he moved to San Luis Obispo where he found work as a lifeguard at Avila Beach, Cayucos Pier, and Lopez Lake. To be a good lifeguard, a person needs certain skills, such as swimming and paddle boarding. Cassmere took the life guarding aspect of paddle boarding to a whole other level on the Central Coast that no one had ever done before. He would paddle twenty miles on a regular basis. Sometimes he and a friend would be a couple of miles off shore cruising through shark infested waters. Local History:  Shark Attack

In July of 1982, he was attacked by a fifty to twenty-foot Great White shark.  He and a friend Terry had been paddling from Montana De Oro state park to Avila Beach, one of the most shark-infested stretches on the entire Central Coast.  As they paddled, they would sing songs to keep a timed pace while stroking across the water.  Halfway to Avila, Cassmere was suddenly launched into the air like a CATAPULT!  When he hit the water the first thing that came to mind was that a whale had accidentally knocked him off his board.  Cassmere then looked around only to see Terry, who thought Cassmere was dead, paddling quickly to shore. Then he turned around to see a huge shark carrying his board around like a cigar.  As it swam towards him, he tried to hide behind the board, so the shark wouldn’t see him. He then realized that he couldn’t swim in and splash water because that would only attract the huge beast to come after him again.  What he did do was grab the tail end of the board.  As soon as he grabbed the board, the shark lifted and he started to slide down into the jaws of the shark!  Just as he was about to fall into the open mouth of the jagged toothed Great White , he hit it with his left fist only to realize that the beast had no idea it had been hit.  Suddenly, it let go of the board and swam back under water.  As Cassmere climbed back onto his board to wait  for another return attack, he remembered the big black eyes and how they starred right through his soul.  Dinner was being served and Cassmere was the main course.  

Thankfully, the shark never returned and left  Cassmere on an impatient struggle to reach the beach.  Cassmere looked towards the shore and saw Terry paddling way out in front and almost to the beach, neither one of them were about to stop paddling for anything.  

Terry got to the shore first and watched as Cassmere paddled to the safety of the sand. Cassmere remembers the feeling of relief as checked to see if he had any injuries or body parts missing.  Terry came running up the beach towards Cassmere and hugged him, “I thought you were dead,” he screeched!  But Cassmere was alive and well… except for the fact that he had just been in a fight with a Great White Shark!

The attack brought mass media attention.  Cassmere appeared in many newspapers and magazines. He was even interviewed by the TV show 20/20.

Shark Attack!!!!!!  Scary Stuff

30 years later, He is still in the water surfing and paddling.  The amazing part is that these days he is paddling alone and still doing long distances.  The man is fearless, but very modest.  I believe there is very few people who could grasp what he went through, let alone go back in the water the way did with such extreme mental stability and the confidence to be on the ocean alone.  

Sometimes I still see Cassmere walking up the beach at the Cayucos Pier with his paddle board after the sun has gone down and it’s dark out.  I’ll ask where he just paddled from this time, and with a calm confidence and no fear in the world, he’ll tell me,  “oh, I just went to Morro Rock,” and I tremble a little knowing that those waters are full of the types of beasts that almost killed him nearly thirty years ago!              

Please leave us your comments below, we’d love to hear your thoughts, stories, and recollections!                   


The Spring Time on the Central Coast of California can be very hit or miss, that’s for certain.  However, one thing is for sure, the wind isn’t waiting for anybody.  With the fog bank still hanging off the coast line for a month more before June gloom and the overcast mornings of summer, get out there and hike it bro.  The sun is up now around before 6 am, and the colors are banging.  Here’s a shot from our editor, photographer Jeff Pfost.  See more of his work on instagram @surfwanderer, as well as his personal instagram @japfost.

Live Inspired!  Surfwanderer


Photo: Jeff Pfost

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We couldn’t be more stoked and more excited to finally receive a full photo feature from Central Coast, CA local Colin Nearman.  An outright phenomenal surfer, having a few sponsors himself, Nearman is equally as talented behind the lens of his camera.

Nearman has always been inspired with the medium of photography as art, yet at times, has struggled to make that leap and to really invest in his craft in an effort to make it a full time career…until last year.  Knowing Nearman well and watching him come up as a grom surfing the Pismo Pier, he always had a great vibe and strong charisma about him. He toyed around with shooting photos, and when I say toyed around, what I mean is that he would take stunning photos with crappy equipment.

After many long talks listening to Colin’s dreams of becoming a professional photographer, focusing especially on surfing, it was evident to see that he just needed the confidence to take a leap of faith into the realms of owning and shooting photos with top professional equipment.

Piece by piece, Nearman began to invest in this better equipment for his craft.  First a Canon 7d camera body, a few decent lenses, and finally, the big daddy macker ultimate surf lens: the Canon 100-400 L Series lens.

Since finally delving full heartedly into his craft, Nearman has produced some outright stunning shots that should now have the attention of photo editors abound.  We’ll be following Nearman’s journey’s, most notably a trip to Iceland he leaves on any day.

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Shawn Tracht headed up this year-long project with 8 shapers from Santa Cruz to San Diego in an effort to push surfboard design.  Along with almost all of the Surfwanderer staff of photographers, Tracht helped lead the charge to write the “Evo Revo,” short for the “Evolution of Revolution” surfboard article for Slide Magazine.  This ended up being the largest piece that Slide Magazine had published to date.  Thanks to all of the Surfwanderer Crew for making this happen:  Jeff Pfost, Jason Rath, Brent Lieberman, Tim Schmidt, Josh Sparrow, Colin Nearman, Javier Delgado, and our friends and crews in from Santa Cruz to San Diego who helped us as well!

In an eclectic melange of surfboard theory an shapes, writer Shawn Tracht challenged 8 shapers from Santa Cruz to San Diego to create or do something to the surfboard, as far as shape and designs, that has never been done just like that before.  As he does, Tracht tested these weird Evo Revo (Evolution of Revolution) surfboards out, and put in plain English how the nuts of each board translated to a particular new feel in the water. Thanks to many of the Surfwanderer photographers for the hard work and the great images on a true surfboard design Surfwanderer Journey.

Click image to read open the story:

Shawn Tracht writes for Slide Magazine

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Only 17, and this kid makes me stoked!  There are many great up-and-coming surfers and photographers in our industry all the time, however, there are not many people who say they’re going to do something, and deliver every time… especially at 17!!!  That is why Paul Greene has impressed me so much.

I was first drawn to call Paul to collaborate on an upcoming project for Deep Magazine.  I couldn’t make it to the Santa Barbara/Ventura area to do photo shoots with a few friends, and so because of the photos I saw on Paul’s website and recently on Surfline, I was drawn to email him.  I asked him if he was interested in collaborating with me as a SB photographer, and I wanted to feel him out to see if he might be professional in the realms of deadlines and taking care of timelines.

He has not only met them all, but all the shapers, who are all friends, I sent him to see texted me immediately back that this kid was really awesome to have around the shop.  If you are a shaper, surfer, or magazine editor in need of a kid who’s the real deal both behind the lens and as a professional, the way the word is meant in the business world, hit up Paul as he won’t disappoint.



Freak out on Paul’s Website:

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