Seven boards in eight months, total cost $1240…
(Editor’s Note: Your correspondent is six feet tall (183cm) and weighs 200 pounds (90kg). He is of average skill, though prone to bouts of unprompted fall-down syndrome.)
All boards purchased within last eight months, except the Bonzer.
Sam Egan 7’4 x 19 ½ x 2 ½
Maybe ten years old, but in beautiful condition. Hidden in the bottom of a pile at a second hand board store. Six-ounce glass all over, thick stringer. Mid ‘90s blade meets middle age. Heavy in all the right places. Excellent price.
Surfed from four-to-eight-foot in strong, wintry conditions. Groundswell, stiff offshore etc. You already know this story.
What more is there to say?
Maybe: why does your correspondent waste so much time pilfering through secondhand refuse when he could just go and order something to his exact dimensions?
For moments like this. For the rare boards. The hidden gems
Plus, it’s anti consumerist. DIY punk ethos. A true waterman can ride anything.
Etc etc etc.
Yeah right, kook.
5’9 x 21 x 2 ½ Modern Highline
Anyway, faced with the existential quandaries proffered by one’s own existence, the question of what board to ride should sit weak legged in comparison. Like meeting Buddha and asking how the weather’s been.
Exposing the triviality of aquatic poncing v life n death. Mere guff.
But maybe it’s also a microcosm of those quandaries. A symptom of them. Ignorance isn’t bliss, but enlightenment comes with baggage too. The grass is always greener.
Or, in this case, shorter. After a winter of riding big boi boards, your correspondent had sudden spring-time urge to do as many throw away, un-landed airs as possible.
This five-fin biscuit presented itself on Gumtree. A machine pop-out but purchased secondhand so less guilt attached. Still glassed well. Ostensibly a learner’s board, but ridden as a twin it had an almost mini-Simmons thing going on .
All the usuals. Paddled crazy, turned on a dime.
But ultimately the vibe of riding a pop-out VAL machine began to singe this correspondent’s few measly stands of core credibility. Felt like some sort of crime was being committed.
Also, correspondent does not like shorter boards. Your back foot’s gotta go somewhere.
Footnote: Sold to a kindly English backpacker. Arranged for pick up out the front of work. As correspondent was taking board from boot, managed to crack rail on internal wheel mount. Fifty dollars knocked off agreed sale price. Penance for sins committed. Immediately took 7’4 out in two-foot onshore slop, like John the Savage with his whip. A struggle, but that’s the point.
Salvation still awaits.
6’5 x 19 x 2 ⅜ Psillakis
Magic. Absolute magic. Picked up at garage sale. Still in great condition under layer of grime (no, I didn’t try to fuck it).
Standard shorty, but also not. Foiled, sharp rails. Wide point slightly forward. SDV – the holy trinity shorty bottom shape. A severely angular square tail. Neck beard-esque, but with slightly less width. Looked like it had been cut with a set square.
The everything-in-one board (does that mean your correspondent is one with everything?). Tight, controlled surfing. Would go anywhere it was told. The hold and release on back hand reos in particular offered a full twenty percent more range than comparable shorties. However a slight shift of weight into the wider point would allow it to press over flat spots, maintain drive etc.
Possible highlight telling people in the surf how much the board cost.
“See this one? Forty bucks. Can you believe it? Forty. I can’t. Forty bucks.”
Buckled on a backhand floater over a small draining section after a dozen or so surfs. Crease above the fins. Terminal. Genuine disappointment.
Toyed with idea of getting Psillakis to reshape but as with all things in life, correspondent was too indecisive to organise.
Is this really where I want to be?
8’4 x ?? X ??
The dreadnought. Has the ascetic lines of an Imperial Star Destroyer. Less a surfing experience than a forty-minute workout, with random wave cameos. Swapped for a custom twin-pin mid-length which was evoking similar vibes to the Modern. As featured in a couple previous stories on here already.
Quad but has lost both side fins, so surfing it as what can best described as a mini-duo.
Beautiful entry into swooping bottom turns… but that’s it.
Turns like a dog.
Have somehow managed to crease despite thickness. Near terminal, can feel board flexing through turns. Will ride until death then maybe get a more functional version shaped. Still like idea of something straight and pure for big, windy, unruly days.
Footnote: Recently popped out second to last fin on a bottom turn, rendering it almost unrideable. Prepared to consign to scrapheap but upon coming in from a later session at the same spot, somebody had found fin and left it at showers, like a Chucky doll.
Reminded when riding this board that you’re always somebody’s reason to smile. It’s just that you are the joke.
5’11 quad fish
A recent fight with correspondent’s wife (asinine, probably own fault, standard bullshit, with a chorus as familiar as your favourite song) led to a hate-browse on Gumtree. Came across this fish. A good replacement for the Highline.
Agreed to swap for an unridden mal. Excellent condition. Resin tint. Unknown cenny coast shaper. Deep swallow, full through nose, swooping curves. Radio edit of a Mackie sidecut fish.
Still haven’t properly inspected bottom shape, suffice to say a quick run of the hand says there’s a lot going on.
Mainly ridden as a twin but had one fantastic surf with quads in. Back foot planted deep over the swallow. Incredible hold and drive.
Minor sticking point is the phallic shape of board, noted in a recent surf paparazzo photo. Looks like Fisher’s famous dick board.
Is this enough to stop your correspondent riding it, despite superior performance? Probably.
Footnote: Shooting fish in a barrel might be easy, but riding them in one sucks
Simon Anderson 6’4 x 18 ¾ x 2 ⅜
$50 on FB Marketplace
It’s December. Your correspondent started watching Xmas movies most nights. But the criteria this year has significantly loosened. Now includes movies with actors who have at one stage or another have been in a Hollywood Xmas film. Dylan McDermott, hunky star of the remake of Miracle on 34th Street, is also the lead in ‘80s Vietnam war classic Hamburger Hill.
“This is Mr Nathaniel Victor, and gets his rocks off watching you die. Some of you think you have problems because you’re against the war. You demonstrated in school. You wear peace symbols on your steel. You have attitudes. ‘I’m orphaned, my brother’s queer, the city of Chicago gave the clap to my sister. Mum drinks, Dad coughs blood, I have ringworm, the draft ruined my chances of being a brain surgeon.’ People. You are in Vietnam. You have no problems, except me. And him.”
Anyway, latent masochism left your correspondent wanting to ride something more brutal. Powerful. Plus, still trying to replace the Psillakis. Picked up this $50 SA special. Excellent condition for price, with fins. Refined shape. Full rockered. Needle nosed. (Just had to remove GoPro mount – ew).
Realised this is close to the dimensions correspondent rode in his early twenties: 6’3 x 18 1/2 x 2 ¼
Those were the days.
Only one surf so far. A couple of eviscerating turns conceived. But when sitting out back, waterline comes up to your correspondent’s chin. Is this board the equivalent of a mid-life earring and leather jacket?
“I’m sick and tired of filling body bags with your dumb fucking mistakes,” said ol’ Dyl McDermott to the rag tag collective of FNGs at the beginning of H-Hill.
So it goes with your correspondent’s board purchases..
6’6 Campbell Brothers Alpha Omega
$450 with board bag
The twinzer. Honorary mention. Mint condition. Rare rounded pin (usually shaped as a swallow). Surely worth twice this much. Purchased two years ago and has since been ridden almost to death. Excelled in everything from grim one-inch slop to eight-foot heaving Lances. As close to a one-board quiver as one can get.
Simple enough design but intricate powers dwell beneath. Rich tapestries of channelled energy. Plus it gets heaps of waves.
Sometimes we search through life while the answer lies rift in front of is, with set fins and a partially delaminated deck
But even at the point of enlightenment, more questions present themselves.
Like, does it come in a 6’4?