Avoid shopping for a board on that day when the surf is absolutely smoking, sensible purchases should be completed the day before. Photo: Carlos Pinto.
So the last three customs you had didn’t do what they were supposed to do. This time you’ve decided to buy one off the rack. A clean, innocent board with no name next to the dimensions, a virgin, unbetrothed craft with no affiliations and no expectations. Here are a few tips towards helping you get out of the shop with a magic carpet as opposed to a doormat.
1) What waves?
Nothing is more important than knowing exactly what you want the board for. That means what waves do you need it for… Is is it for small summer days or for perfect winter boomers? Or both? Perhaps it’s for the 3 weeks you have just booked a ticket to go surf Lakey Peak.
2) How rad are(n’t) you?
Just like ordering a custom, evaluating your own ability comes next. Choose a board that fits your current shredability, with a leaning towards the next step you’d like this board to take you to.
3) On your rocker
Establish what rocker you like in what waves. Within the correct dimension and volume parameters, rocker is perhaps the most important design element in any surfboard. Flat gives speed and curve makes turning easier. Big guys can power through turns on flatter rockers but dainty guys that go top to bottom love curve. Only time and experience will dial you in perfectly on this factor. When you work it out then you can use your rocker preference for the rest of your surfing life. If you’re not sure or have no strong preference either way, go with something moderate.
There are great boards at all prices in our current market. You can go mad and spend the best part of a grand, or go budget and still get something that’ll do the job for around half that. Don’t lose time, faith or heart looking at boards you can’t afford. It won’t help you or your self esteem and you don’t want to believe you are walking out with a substitute.
5) Can’t beat the feeling
Take it out and put it under your arm. Are you feeling it? Take lots of others out and feel them too. Feel, feel, feel. Surfers are tactile, emotional beings, half the job is done if it feels good under the arm. Go with your heart, you old romantic fool!
6) Slow down
Some things are best done in a hurry, or with haste, like ding repair, drinking beer and wanking. Other things, like buying a board, are best done with a measured, unhurried air of thorough investigation, having scattered a broad, investigative net. Go to all the shops, check out all the boards, go back. Repeat. Never, ever, buy a board in a sudden rush when the waves are firing.