Let’s talk about your quiver. For those not familiar with the term, a quiver refers to the collection of boards that a surfer uses.
Professional surfers are spoiled silly. The majority of pros and sponsored surfers have more boards than they can keep track of. Take my buddy ‘Steiny’ for example. He’s an UCSB student and a freakishly talented longboarder with style and grace that brings the sponsors flocking. He’s got the incredible privilege of calling up a world-class shaper and saying, “Hey dude, want to make me a sick new board?”
Needless to say, the pile of old cast-away boards on the side of his house nearly outnumbers the grains of sand on the beach at Pescies. There are prototypes of new concepts and sleek modern templates along with classic ’70s throwbacks — all of them covered in stunning art and the heavenly odor of freshly cured fiberglass.
To the gifted bastards like Steiny, a custom board with the ideal dimensions is nothing special. Sometimes, the shelf life of a pro’s board is no longer than two weeks before it’s been given too much of a thrashing to perform to his skill level.
The majority of us proletariat surfers have to dig deep into our pockets when we want to buy a stick, so the decision to get a new board can be a big deal. Shit, Al Merrick charges upwards of $800 for a new shortboard, and most college surfers just aren’t able to make that happen on the reg.
While it’s true that the size, shape and thickness of a board can change the way it rides, you can’t believe all the hype all the time. If you were to walk into a surf shop and try chatting up a grizzled surf veteran about the right dimensions for you, you’ll get caught in a downward spiral of panic about choosing the correct tail, fin set-up and size of the board. But that’s not reality. For the casual or intermediate surfer, one board is usually sufficient.
Sure, if you’re competing in the ASP World Tour with Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning, Jordy Smith, Dane Reynolds and Taj Burrow, that extra millimeter of extension you can push out of your board in turns might get you that extra .1 point you need in the rankings. For you and me, though, it’s just important that you are comfortable with the plexiglass under your feet.
I’ve tried a wide variety of board designs, and I’ve found that the biggest factor contributing to my performance was not my equipment, not by a long shot. It’s the mindset, the enthusiasm and the physical conditioning.
Take a look at the ancient Hawaiians responsible for the sport of kings. Their original surfboards were flat planks of wood that didn’t even have fins for stability through turns, yet they still managed to keep it elegant and stoke the surf fire in the decades to follow.
Don’t let concerns for your equipment slow you down. Your true skill will come from your drive to make progress, regardless of the shape of your shred sled.
Daily Nexus surf columnist Elliott Rosenfeld has no concerns about his equipment, and neither should you.