What do you look for in a good board? Do you prefer one that allows you the speed and agility to race down the line throwing solid snaps? Or do you fancy a fun mini-tanker so you can paddle into Santa Barbara waves with ease? Until a little swell hit a few days ago, it really didn’t matter what kind of board you had. The few weeks prior found local surfers twiddling their thumbs as they waited for waves. For my roommate and I, with no surf to be sought, our minds began to drift to only one other subject that can bring such a thrill. During this surfing lull, she and I found ourselves doing what any surfer girl caught up in Spring Fever would do- we went board shopping.
After much market research, we found some promising candidates to hit the next swell with. The first board is a gun we like to call the “Ben.” This is the board that you take out on those gnarly 15-foot sessions. “Ben” is always up for an extreme adventure, whether it is paddling out at triple overhead Pipe or attempting a train-spotting, rail-hopping mission to Canada. Sure it might be incredibly dangerous, but that’s why “Ben” is a gun.
What board, though, do you take out when you have no idea what the mission is? It is usually your good old thruster we titled the “Matt.” “Matt” is always down, whenever and wherever. Yeah, the party, like the waves, might be kind of weak and you may have to pump it, but sure enough, “Matt” will be there. But if it’s perfect and raging, “Matt” will be the first to bust a Gargoyle. You know you can always count on “Matt” to make waves in the ocean or on the dance floor.
Sometimes, though, all a girl wants is an easy ride. Those are the sunny days you head out with a bikini on your bod and a grin on your face. Times like these, when you can paddle two strokes, pop-up and goof around on your 9’6″, call for the “Howie.” This is the board that is perfect for a fun day of just cruising. When you take “Howie” out, it’s as if you can hear Jack Johnson’s acoustic guitar playing as your surf soundtrack.
Call this next board what you like, because we’ve all had one. It is that first board you ever owned, brand spanking new and perfect at purchase. You rode that board – and that board only – every single chance you got. You soon broke it in, and you were comfortable and felt like one with your board. It developed some dings and began to yellow around certain spots, but to you, that just gave it character. Eventually though, you guys ran your course, but you would always remember the love you had for your first board. Some of us even have them still lying around somewhere. However, sometimes the time comes for an epoxy, a board that will last through those brutal sessions and come out shining.
As my roommate and I thought about all the potential sticks out there to be ridden, it made us smile that playful smile. Maybe there is not just one board for each person. Different waves call for different boards, and the time is now, while we are still young and able, to surf as much as we can. It is springtime and, waves or not, you should get out there. Get wet and salty. Yeah, you will end up with some sand in your butt crack, but we like to call that the “CJ.” Because without it, how will you ever remember that great day at the beach?