It is with great pride that I can stand at the door of my board room and know that I can choose the right equipment for the forecast. San Diego's diverse surf conditions and breaks necessitate an equally diverse quiver and mine has been carefully pieced together over the years. You wouldn't go golfing with just a pitching wedge, right?
I have spent vast fortunes and stressed finances buying off the rack, ordering custom, trading with friends and enemies, and scouring Craigslist for deals. I have experimented with radical board outlines, fin setups, channels, concave, rails, and rocker. I didn't always have a curiosity for equipment though.
As a younger surfer, I was terribly unoriginal. After I switched from sponge to surf in 1995 as a frothing middle schooler, I surfed for almost over 15 years on nothing but standard shortboards. Lotsa rocker, no foam, hard rails, and glassed-in fins. I typically rode the board that was the least waterlogged, and for a long time, I was happy.
I went to LA for school, traveled for a few years after that (read: ski-bum), and came back to my roots to rekindle my relationship with the ocean. In the years I was away, my quiver had all but dissolved, having been borrowed, broken and gifted from my parents garage. I was broke, and would be starting from scratch. All that was left was my Pop's old Velzy single fin log, which was fortuitous, because that summer the surf was miserably small. It was this summer that I fell in love with The Glide. After a summer on the noserider, I was no longer obsessed with getting above the lip, blowing the fins out the back, and pretending I was Dane Reynolds. I wanted to catch more waves, and ride more of the waves that I caught.
From there, as my finances improved and the real swell returned, my quiver grew. In my search for speed, flow, and style, I tried all sorts of boards. Being in Encinitas, there is no shortage of shapers to argue with over a coffee (read: beers) about what I should be riding. Everything from the old school to the dangerously progressive and the inevitable combination of the two (dare I say hipster?). What has resulted is a wide range of boards, and a new obsession with heavy glass, resin tint, and gloss and polish finishes.
FYI I'm 6'0″, 160 lbs. Here's a quick synopsis of what I ride (for now):
- Chris Slick 9'0″ Noserider: Classic shape, spoon nose, 50/50 rails up front to progressive in the tail, V-Channel under tail for drive, noserides like a dream but can still dig a turn if surfed from the tail.
- Purefun 5'6″ Single Fin Fish: No rocker, soft rails, lots of foam, tons of small wave fun.
- Maurice Cole 5'8″ Metro3 : Super deep single concave, ample entry rocker, deep half moon resin-reinforced tail, very hard rails, good in 4-8 ft surf
- Rainbow 5'8″ Pavel Speeddialer Quad Fish: Double to single barrel concave, contemporary rocker, sloped rails, turbo speeddialer cutaway quad, fastest board in the quiver, flies down the line, holds a bottom turn in up to about 8 ft pumping surf.
- Keis 5'10″ Twinzer Fish: Traditional fish outline, flat rocker, double concave out the back, more drive and hold than a keel twinnie, great for smaller days at points, good from ankle high to about 6 ft.
- Channel Islands 5'10″ Machado Single Fin: Narrow classic Lopez outline, flattish rocker, plenty of foam under chest, sloped rails, pin tail, mellow concave, draws beautiful lines and can get barreled, good up to about head high then washes out on the bottom turns.
- Rainbow 6'2″ Pavel Bonzer 5: Pumpkin seed outline, some rocker, single to deep double bonzer concave, thin and pinned tail, draws the same lines as the Machado, but more drive in big surf, great for 6 ft+.
- JS 6'3″ Quad Stepup: Progressive shortboard outline, plenty of rocker, single to double v, pinned tail, hard rails, very thin, the obligatory Mexico stepup, only comes out in 8 ft+ surf.
Ultimately, this list is dynamic. There really could not be an ultimate quiver, as shapers and designers will always experiment with new methods, and I'll always be open to trying them. I guess I'm only limited by shapers' imaginations and my budget.
If anyone would like more information on any board, including more photos or detailed dimensions, I would be happy to help.
If you need some clothing to go with the board, there are some Animal Clothing Sale happening from time to time-check them out to get some good quality casual surfwear.