I know there was a point in time when I reached a crossroads regarding surfing. I'd initially thought I would surf shortboards, so my first serious board was in the midlength range. In my mind, I was going to start at that length and work my way down. I mean, I'd been athletic my entire life. I've always been powerful. It's rare that I finesse a thing. I will muscle my way through; that's always the default for me given my body type. If you're going to take power into surfing, it's a good bet that you'll be trying to rip waves to shreds on a shortboard, right? Yeah, well, I remember watching a shortboarder tearing a wave up at my home break. He looked good. I thought that's how I wanted to surf.
Until I realized that I didn't . . . want to surf that way, that is. In a moment of clarity, I gave myself over to the truth. I didn't want to tear up waves. I wanted something different. Style. Grace.
I had nowhere else to go but up. In length.
That is when I turned my attention to longboards. And now, some umpteen years later, I prefer single fin longboards with glassed on fins.
Let's rewind a bit.
So, here I was. I wanted to ride longboards. I wanted to surf them like I thought they should be surfed. Granted, I tried going the high performance route. I didn't like it. I'm one of those who thinks a longboard should not be confused for a long shortboard. Then again, I'm also one who believes people should ride what they damn well please, never worrying about the rest of us think.
(You know I'm just rambling at this point, right? I mean, I only intended to talk about the photo, but have gotten way off track.)
Traditional longboarding just kind of suits me. I'm rather fascinated by the boards. I love everything about them. The idea of having to walk around on the deck simply amuses me to no end. I also believe that my natural power is well served by these somewhat heavy boards. I'm not throwing the board around to tear up the wave, but I am nonetheless making the board do what I ask of it.
The reason I posted this photo is to show that I've finally got the bottom turn on lock. I remember being beside myself, once I'd decided my surfing should lean toward traditional longboarding, because I could not do a decent bottom turn. I'd see people doing them in films. I thought, and still think, a good bottom turn is one of the coolest things you can do on a single fin longboard. Well, I couldn't do one. And this made me sad.
I decided I would have to learn to do one, first, and then learn to do one with style. Hence, I worked on that damn bottom turn. It's not like I was surfing with good longboarders from whom I could learn this. I was surfing mainly with folks on my own level. And you don't pick up stuff from people whose surfing is as mediocre as your own. Over the years, though, I kept at it, surfing different breaks, watching other surfers, knowing what I needed to work on when I was out in the water. I don't know when I was able to consistently do a bottom turn with some style. It happened over time I guess.
Every once in awhile, I'll see a photo of me working that bottom turn. I can't help but smile; I clearly remember when I couldn't do one to save my life. That photo above lets me know that my focused work paid off.
Now if I could just get my butt to the nose of the board and stay there without going into a state of panic. Yeah, I've been working on that. I hope to soon enough have photos that show how that work has paid off as well. First, though, I have to get a dedicated noserider. (Right now, I ride a pig. Getting and staying on the nose of a pig isn't as easy as it would seem.) There are three of you backyard shapers who have said you will shape one for me. I'm also looking at a fourth shaper as my back-up to the others.
2013 is the year when I try to rebuild my quiver. I sold off boards last year in order to pay bills. I also sold one of my other pigs this year. My quiver is now a small one without a single fin noserider. I will remedy that situation before the summer. I'm getting another Paul Gross hull, an 8' hull that is slightly asymmetrical, within the next month. Those two additions will be enough. They will keep me covered for sure. Unless something falls in my lap and is basically free, I won't be getting any other boards in the foreseeable future.
T, you will now be the one who's the board whore. (Yeah, I said it!)