Three of us got together last night after putting our respective kids, spouses and critters to bed. Had a few puffs and hit the shed to outline three boards for shaping later today today.
We outlined a 'fast' quad pin at 6'10" for a heavy local break, a 9'0" Bing shape for me and a mini Simmons at 5'8" for a local kid who weighs all of 120 lbs.
While toking the last of the home made hash under the apple tree, I brought up the recent purchase by a surfer up in Portland, the 4'11" by 22" something fish thing, I asked if anyone had ever ridden anything so small.
Now, I rode a Source Scrambler at 5'2", EPS, back in April while in SC, in fast and lined up semi-point HH surf. The board was way too small for me, I could flick it and do kick turns at will, pop the fins out and spin it around in circles till I threw up. That board was 23 wide and a hull, 50/50 to 60/40 rails, hard bladed out of the tail. It caught waves ok, a little late but then again, I weigh out at 165. The only real beef I had with the board was paddling back to the line up....I was swimming the thing more than paddling it.
B related a single he rode from Schroff back in the day, 5'5" by maybe 22", he recalled the board loved to turn but paddling was a joke, too little foam for the paddle back out and positioning in the crowded line ups of North County.
My other buddy is one of those guys, like so many up here, that ride only longboards because of the longer paddles we have locally. Never steps to the nose or surfs it in any traditional way, just rides boards longer to get waves and then tries to hustle the 9'6" around like a shorter board. He will never step down to something shorter, in his mind and for his style of surfing, longer is better.
I agree. No way would he have fun on a 6'6" Simmons, he would not get any waves.
Most of us in Oregon know this type of surfer, recreational, won't paddle out if its under 2' or over 6'. Its another way of doing it I guess but I cringe when I see perfect set ups for ten overs and the surfer is stuck in the middle of the board trying to pump it down the line.
With a leash flapping behind him.
Now, I throw my 10' around a bit, been known to bury 8' of rail on it but then again, I have been riding logs since 1967, when that was all that was around. If you wanted to turn one, you learned the technique or fell trying. I have taken a 9'6" vertical and got it back around but that was way back in '03, lol...to old to do it now.
R is a decent surfer, rides a 7'10" most of the time, has no problems surfing it how he wants to surf it. And we all agreed that that was key.
Before you shape or buy a board, ask yourself, what do you want to do on the waves you get?
Most guys under 30 want to rip and slash, take what they do on a skateboard and do the same things while surfing.
I totally get this. I am bumping 50 and skate Myrtle Point, carving, kick turns, lip slides (not an air guy). But when I ride my 6'0" in clean surf, I am more into driving turns with speed and deep positioning in the pocket. I want to go fast. Hit the lip? Sure thing, as long as I am coming out of a full rail bottom turn at speed.
Double pumps don't count.
Carve hard into a roundhouse, full rail cutback? Hell yeah, especially at speed where halfway through the cutback, you feel the fins tweaking and your thighs max out, ready to un-weight for the rebound.
So we all agreed that we should all ride boards that are designed for the style of surfing the individual wants to do.
But the next issue was conditions....
Which leads back to the longer is better syndrome, especially here in Oregon.
Our local beachie has about a 200 yard paddle out on a 4' day, thats to get to the line up.
None of us three would bother with a board under 6'0" for that. Staying in position alone would take lots of time and energy, never mind the paddle back out after getting a wave. I occasionally ride my Orangecicle in those conditions, its nice to be able to duck dive but in the end, I get far fewer waves because of the 10 minute swim/paddle back out ( the other locals don't miss me, lol).
Its all a compromise.
How do you want to surf?
Where do you surf?
How often do you surf?
What's the wave like 90 percent of the time?
What are your abilities now?
Those questions answered honestly will lead to the perfect one board quiver.
I live ten minutes from the beach and still carry two boards at all times.
So we all passed a lighthearted judgment on a 4'11" in Oregon surf, not for us nor most adults we know.
More foam is not a sin, either is less.
Every board is just another way of doing it, surfing I mean.
True, there are rippers out there riding sub 5'0"'s, hell, there are guys riding wooden planks that are 6' long and 16" wide and having fun.
But none of them live and surf on the Oregon Coast.
There may be one guy in Portland though...(luv ya Sissy)
Well, pictures today of our shaping progress on the boards we cut out last night, B has his first date with a planer at 10 am, I will let him skin the blank before pulling the cord...power tools are dangerous ya know.
And if he fucks up, look for a 4'11" for sale here...lol.
See ya in the water.