I'm sure that certain designs or types of shape suit some people's natual flair more than others, i think it's a two way process and I think it's interesting how riding different things influences and improves your surfing. What you ride changes how you surf, how you look at a wave and the lines you aspire to draw . It's something i really believe in.
I've been riding my dano old pleasure a lot lately but last week i swapped it's place in the van for the classic malibu jai lee, one of my old faithfuls.
The dano's definately pig influenced - narrow nose, wide tail and wide point aft. Getting it to perform means quick footwork, an almost exagerated level of body english and stall and trim style surfing. Especially at a slack wave like saunton, it needs to be kept in the pocket as much as possible and bogs quickly on the nose if you stray too far away. In the wrong place it feels sluggish and heavy, in the right spot it's loose and stable will beat sections from the nose in breathtaking fashion. It's also my heaviest board yet turns on a dime with a bit of grunt to help it rotate.
The Jai Lee is more of a conventional noserider shape, albeit with a bit of a hips back influence, and is a much easier board to surf. This particular session i really noticed how much quicker my footwork seemed to have gotten and how much more power (in a pivoty sense) i felt in my cutbacks since i've been riding the dano. Maybe it's just my perception but it really felt like riding the dano and thinking about how to get it to work best had kicked up my surfing just a little notch, that i got a few seconds more on the tip, that my crosssteps were more surefooted, my cutbacks a little deeper, my surfing more fluid around the pocket.
Of Course i'm sure i still looked like a kook fromt the beach but i'm a legend in my own mind!
As we start to wave goodbye to winter and say hello to spring (or maybe early summer judging by some of the warmth in the recent sun!), with the anticipation of lighter evenings, small clean waves and shedding the rubber as the water gets warmer, i thought i'd post the last couple of shots from Norway....
A little while ago I rolled into the car park half an hour before dusk, not expecting much, not really expecting a rideable wave if i'm honest. Sea breezes were still blowing and at first sight they were crumbling barely knee high waves. Seconds before I turned tail and headed home, a set came through, hit the best bank on the beach and a familiar silhoueted figure carved it up smoothly with tip time and drop knee.
Decision made, I scrambled into my suit and paddled out anxious to wash off the grime and suncream after a day of shed clearing and visiting the local dump. The sets were infrequent but there were few to share them with. When they came, the waves were still a mushy waist high at best but with just enough shape to allow some fun logging, the bank marshaling the disorderly bumps into decent shape, the breeze slackening as the sun dipped towards the horizon. The small righthanders were playful and teasing, demanding fleet of foot and light of touch but rewarding with stolen moments of ten over and dropped knee. Kick outs with smile lost in the fading light.
As i sat waiting, alone with my thoughts, it struck me how personal the surfing experience is, how little the experience of each wave is shared no matter how many there are in the line up. How the feel and the feelings engendered are different (yet the same) for each of us, modified by board choice and local conditions. For me it's the little things i love, the perfect imperfections. I'm drawn to the edges of things. The warmth of the sun on your face, the glow of the sunset sky, water drawn over soft rails, making the most of a flawed wave. It's in the subtle grace of good trim, the weightless feel of a well placed noseride, the sweeping swing of a well timed cutback and the addictive momentum of a well timed fade as you take off. Grace in adversity, good style making economy of movement more powerful than wild action. It didn't need to be six foot and perfect, i didn't need to be here yesterday, i just needed to be here now.
The light was gone all too soon and I wandered out in near darkness, spent but smiling, storing my little packets of stokefulness like a squirrel mindful of the uncertainty of my next meal but content with an appetite sated.
it may be my somewhat narrow mind, but i'd say some of the surfing in this clip, knost in the final especially, renders progressive longboarding as a concept somewhat superfluous. He effortlessly marries full rail cutbacks with lightning quick footwork, turning as hard as many of the three fin longboard pro's aspire too, yet still with the grace inherent in the traditional aesthetic.
Just my two cents but id watch that every day of the week instead of arm waving, butt wiggling and forcing airs on a board of a length more suited to something else....
I haven't been playing guitar much the last few months, and when i have it's been the 335 through my little vox combo and Mayall style blues, but as of this week the Gretsch hollow body is back in heavy rotation.
Maybe because i've been grooving on Chonoski's hot rod style, it got some setzer back on the old ipod. There's just something about a 6120 through a fender on the verge of break up that makes me smile and remember there's more to life than sand between your toes....
The last couple of weekends have had fun clean waves but the onshores are back today. Funnily enough it's the start of the contest season at saunton too. No doubt people in vests are enjoying the paddle workout of 4 foot onshore mushy beachbreak right now. I, meanwhile, have coffee and a smug feeling i'm not missing much!