Photos by Alex Laurel
1) Being an average Joe and decidedly shy of crowds places such as Hawaii, Tahiti, Indo etc seem out of my league. Where could a guy like me find slightly less crowded less death defying waves but still high on warm water and maybe fine examples of the fairer sex?
The Canaries spring to mind. Although home to many gnarly spots there’re also beachies and a variety of reef/point surf. Weather is very pleasant even in mid-winter, water stays pretty warm year round, and there are plenty of party options in the tourist resorts mainly in the south of the islands.
2) My friend reckons quads are faster than thrusters… Is this true?
Bruce McKee reckons: ‘Yep, because due to the quad having the separated tail fins, positioned closer to the rail, and directed or ‘toed’ inwards towards the nose, just going across the face of a wave, with the gravity induced lateral drift, a sail or propeller like propulsion occurs. The sideways drift against these bladelike propellers converts to forward propulsion and extra speed. A thruster’s central tail fin hovers in the neutral, dividing zone of water starting its separation to form spray and the water passing out the back or up the wave face. It therefore has less drive qualities and more directional stability ones. More drag than drive. How can we prove this? Install a ‘Mckee M5 Multisystem’ on your board and test for yourself!’
3) How can I make sure I don’t miss a WCT or WQS webcast?
The old way is to go on the ASP site (www.aspworldtour.com) and print the events schedules of both tours and then mark in red the events you are interested in, and put it on your office/bedroom wall in a prominent position. Then there is the virtual way, you can sign in to the ASP newsletter where you’ll receive a customized email blast every time an event is on, according to the language you want to watch the webcast in and the time of the day you are usually connected. Simple.
4) Noticed on your last issue that the Tahitian Michel Bourez is the European champ. How’s that work then?
Tahiti is a French territory, giving all Tahitians French passports, and thus eligibility for the European tour. Given the strength of Tahitian surfers coming through, expect to see more and more of them.
5) Whenever I go away and surf in boardies I develop an unbelievably painful rash on my... you know. Any suggestions?
Talc. Talcum powder is one of man’s greatest ever inventions. Slap a liberal handful of the white powder (preferably medicated) on your privates after a shower. Job done.
6) Whatever happened to fulldeck grip?
Drew Quinnel from Gorilla Grip: ‘We don’t actually do a specific full deck model any more, but do offer a centre deck which is purchased separately and can be used with any of our Gorilla Grip tail pads. Demand for full deck grip isn’t like it was in the 80’s, when world-class surfers like Damien Hardman and Mr X used it, I guess it isn’t as fashionable as it used to be. Who knows, if someone like Kelly or Jeremy started to use full deck we could very well see a revival!’
7) My friend and I have been arguing about this… is surfing in a rivermouth warmer or colder than in seawater?
Both. Warmer in summer and colder in winter. Fresh water has less thermal inertia than sea water (warms/cools more readily with ambient air temp). Therefore can be fing frigid (literally couple degrees above zero) in winter and like a bath in summer…
8) I want to go to Bali in June, what kind of boards should I take?
In May/June Bali starts to receive more solid long period Southern hemisphere swells, it’s prime season for the island’s best breaks like Padang Padang or Ulu’s. So we advise you to pack your normal shortboards as well as a semi gun, between 6’6"-6’10", narrow and sleek to deal with the Balinese juice. 3 boards is a safe bet and considering that the island has some of the best and fastest board repairs in the business, you don’t need to bring your entire quiver.
9) How to best choose a fin shape that suits me?
Well if you want to find the adequate fin, the more fins you can try on the better and for this, there are no better places than surf shops affiliated as FCS or Futures test centres. Leave a deposit and work your way in the range, wide to narrow bases, more or less flex, etc, and keep in mind that a good fin is one that is adapted to your board design, the wave type you are going to surf and of course your riding skills… www.surffcs.com
10) I was watching a webcast and saw a pro waxing the top of his feet. What’s that all about?
You are probably referring to an event that took place either on a beach or reef where surfers had to walk a fair bit before getting to the water’s edge (low tide sand or rock formations). Waxing the top of your feet, enables you, right after your first paddle stroke, to rub the top part of your feet against the sole of the other and get rid of that oily layer you got from walking bare foot. For contest surfers, getting a good grip on the board on their first ride can be crucial and that’s one of the best tricks for a good start if you are not a bootie man…
11) Why do people surf without a leash?
There are several reasons for that depending on the location. Most of the surfers in Puerto Escondido do it because it’s safer when the barrel closes out on top of you, not to have your board too close during pounding time. People also surf without a leash to train, both on the physical aspect of things (swimming back to shore) and mentally, forcing you to better control your board and fall less like in contest mode. And then there is the utter pleasure of experiencing total freedom in your surfing, no leash, no wetty, just a bit of wax and that’s it…
12) Is it Ok to put stickers on your board if you’re not actually sponsored?
13) I wanna go to Mexico this year, what season is best for over there?
Our favourite Mexican, Kalle Carranza reckons, ‘Most of the places in mainland Mexico are summer breaks, meaning from April till November. May always has massive swells, and July through October has massive rains. Oftentimes rivers break out coz of the rains, and the water becomes murky. This re-shapes the sandbars along with the massive swells, and makes most beachbreaks worthwhile. You gotta remember that in the summer it’s hot!! You might want to try and get to Mexico in the beginning of the swells and before the heat, or right after summer when the bars have a bit more shape. I hope this helps you out amigos!’
14) I’m addicted to pissing in my wetsuit. Can you help?
Join the club… and no.
15) Repair my epoxy board? Can I use normal Solarez?
No. You need epoxy resin. Using ‘normal’ polyester resin will eat away at your board’s core/blank, won’t set properly, will look shit and is thus a big no, no. There are epoxy kits available including sun-cure stuff: www.solarez.com
16) I’m confused. Why is the water in Portugal cool in summer and warm in winter?
Sea temps are a result of ocean currents, themselves part of a larger, global circulation, and thus water temps don’t necessarily correspond with the terrestial climate. The cold Canaries current comes from the north and moderates summer temps so that despite being 5 degrees closer to the equator than SW France, summer water temps are cooler in Lisbon. Contrastingly, in winter the sea is relatively mild as the effect of Canaries current is less marked and there is much less influence of cold river water than in Biscay.
17) How can I avoid cramps in the water?
Cramps will usually happen at the peak of your effort, when you are jumping to your feet. It usually affects the most solicited muscles in your body or the ones that are more subject to tiredness (forearms, calves, shoulders). When the pain hits, it’s usually too late to act and your wave and your session will be shattered. Cramps are the result of muscular tiredness. The best way to minimize its occurrence is first to keep warm and then avoid dehydration or over consumption of coffee, tea and alcohol. So if you are prone to cramp, make sure to warm up the incriminated muscles before paddling out and a dose of aspirin every now and then could help your cause.
18) I’m going to uni in Newcastle in NE England. I’ve seen pics of that crazy left up there, what about other waves?
Hacky Joel Gray: ‘Never you mind about that hollow brown left. It hardly ever works and is now as packed as Newquay. On the bright side the closest beach to Newcastle is the delightful Longsands and along with its sister beach Eddies (King Edwards Bay), it picks up swells from the north and south. Tynemouth is the hub of surfing on the east coast with surf shops, a dilapidated outdoor pool and everything. If studies allow for weekend trips then head up to Northumberland where you’ll surf lovely beaches with a backdrop of castles. Just make sure you bring your black and white scarf.’