Whenever I travel to surf, it always strikes me how much easier it is to be a surfer in some other places - California and Hawaii are great examples. There's almost always a wave somewhere and generally there's going to be somewhere the wind is reasonably favourable or the bottomshape is strong enough to keep the wave quality ok. I honestly think people in these places wouldn't bother to get in the water in half the stuff we regularly paddle out in. Surfing is just "there" to take or leave as life allows. You don't need to be quite as obsessive as UK surfers often "need" to be
point I'm making is how "on it" you need to be to get any good at surfing here. Almost everyone I know tries to keep their schedule as flexible as possible, constantly keeping an eye on the tide and forecast hoping to create a slot of freetime at the right time.
I'm lucky, I work 5 minutes from the beach and whilst I cant always pick the perfect time to get there, I can find a slot most days there are waves. Then its just a case of having a quiver of the right boards in the mobile garage that my van constitutes and hoping the summer traffic isn't too bad.
Lomo LCa picture from just after a springtime liquid lunch
So i've had a good chance to put my new gulfstream log through it's paces over the summer so far, both here and in some zippy French beach break.
I can honestly say it's one of the best longboards I've owned. Its got the perfect mix of solid noseriding and whippy turns and I'm increasingly convinced that this type of slimmed out, wide point back template flat out works, especially in the choppier conditions we get lots of.
It seems like more and more people world wide are moving towards this kind of board - almost everyone at the recent joel tudor duct tape at the US open was riding something similar.
while I haven't got a clip of the Slimpig in action, this clip of CJ Nelson in mexico on his Australian Slasher model shows exactly the kind of surfing that the slim pig is designed to do. Note how much more aggressive his cutbacks are
footage of him riding a more classic noserider template. click the link to watch, it wont embed for some reason!
If you havent seen this yet, it's really worth watching on itunes. It's a really interesting and fairly comprehensive documentary on the history of the fish design from Lis right through to the present. Some good surfing interspersed between the talking heads too!
It's taken a while but i have finally managed enough sessions on the new mandala to form an opinion! I've never heard a bad review of one of Many's boards and im just going to add to the general hype about his shapes here.
Ive ridden quite a few different mini simmons over the last few years and prior to that i'd put quite a lot of time into various iterations of fish, both the classic twin keel and the double bump quad speedialler style. About a year ago i kind of rediscovered my little 5'6 Gulfstream keel fish. I think if i'm honest that it was maybe just a tiny bit too small for my shortboard abilities when i first had it and i never rode it all that much. Fast forward to last year and my general small board ability had definately ramped up a few notches. Getting back on the fish (which is very much from the performance christenson school rather than a cruisy "retro" place) suddenly opened up much more vertcal surfing and bigger roundhouse cutbacks than the seapea and other mini simmons allowed. However this new found "radicalness" (tongue firmly in cheek) came at the expense of the flat out mush/speed generation of the seapea or the TW bar of soap.
Bottom line was to start looking for something that sat between the two with more of the fish's urning ability but still the speed generation the mini simmons excel at.
Manny would be the first to say that very little is new in board design but he does seem to have a talent for adding his own tweak to things that work very well and his family of ASQ (arc swallowtail quad) boards are no exception. Broadly speaking they are a version of the mini simmons platform with a rolled entry and flat rocker but they are narrower than the classic outline with a little more curve. They are quads and the bottom goes from belly into spiral vee instead of a single concave through the fins. The rails are more foiled than a classic simmons also.
All of this adds up to a really fun board that hits the middle ground i was looking at. It generates tonnes of speed in mush - the simmons style belly and the big concaves guaruntee that but the thinner rails and the quad set up along with a narrower curvier template yield a much more responsive board that will go more vertical and wrap through cutbacks much harder/easier than a traditional simmons shape. I think the vee and the quad fins help here too.
Shannon and Vaughn heading out for some small zippers in early spring.
After the great Saunton car park debacle of the end of last year, the new barriers are in but the jury is still out. As of the time of writing its not running that smoothly with the cams failing to read some number plates, especially when the sun is low and big queues at the machines meaning some people are getting charged for extra hours parking because they are queueing for 10 minutes. To be fair, on quieter days the system is working so far.
I hope they get it sorted and crucially put some more pay machines in because things are going to get ugly as the proper summer crowds arrive later this month!