6'0" 19 2 3/8 29.0
And I’m back! After years of wandering through a desert of alternative craft, 4’11 stubby quads and drawn out mid-lengths, asymmetricals and fishies, foam all the way forward and hefty I am back to my heart’s true, to our hearts’ true home, the pointy chippy thruster.
6’0″ 19 2 3/8 29.0
It arrived at my doorstep a few weeks back after the iconic shaper Britt Merrick heard me discussing a soul pang on my weekly chat with David Lee Scales, a desire to return to the high performance shortboard. I’d hopped off that business over a decade ago, now, a Mayhem opening that door to perdition by moving the wide point of the board up thereby allowing for more paddling power, control, resignation to a life of suck. The round squash tail hole in my ticker never went away, though, and I openly pondered a return and not just any return. A return to the ultimate high performance shortboard. The Channel Islands Pro. Lee Scales mocked me. Said he was happy with his user friendly shapes and I was sad.
Was sad until Merrick, a saint, texted “Hey! It’s Britt Merrick… heard you on The Grit saying you wanted to try a CI Pro. Send me your dimensions and I’ll shape you one.”
Tears filled my eyes.
Now, I had absolutely no idea what my dimensions should be, what measurements were even appropriate for a real surfboard as opposed to some bit of mystical oddness, and had to come clean.
I didn’t know.
He understood that my brain had turned to mush in that desert of alternative craft, did not hold it against me, and a few weeks later 6’0″ 19 2 3/8 29.0 arrived at my door.
It sat on the rack for too many days, poor conditions and travel conspiring against our reunion, but then, yesterday, it all came together. A pulse of clean swell, three free hours. I gingerly applied a BeachGrit tail pad, gently circled some BeachGrit x Sticky Bumps wax, perfumed to the heavens, on her deck and headed to the beach.
The paddle out felt odd, I’ll be honest. I looked at the nose, where all that foam used to be, and thought “How is this thing even floating me?” I looked at the other surfers in the lineup straddling all manner of thick, riding high in the water. When I saddled up I rode very low. Nipples almost dipping beneath the brine.
I looked at the horizon and thought “Was David Lee Scales right?”
Then a wave came, maybe three feet with an open right, and I instinctively spun, stroked and popped to my feet. Surfing muscle memory is a true gift, I suppose, years and years and years of the same motion taking over, eradicating the need for cognition, and there I was surfing a high performance surfboard.
It truly felt like home, fitting right into the pocket, wildly maneuverable. Oh, I didn’t surf it well, neither the board nor the wave, but I surfed it and surfing had never felt better. I kicked out, at the end, sprinted back and caught another, sprinted back and caught another.
Again, I didn’t surf well, neither the board nor the wave, but it was the best feeling I’d had in years. I was in the seat of a Ferrari and maybe I was just going straight, with herky-jerky burst of speed, but I was still in a Ferrari and I would much rather drive a Ferrari poorly than a Toyota Camry expertly. A vista of graspable progression opened up before me. Sharper turns, better turns, bursting fins loose and David Lee Scales was wrong alongside all those who have given up and given in.
Childhood dreams of a run at the World Qualifying Series reignited.