FERGAL SMITH'S EMERALD ISLE TOOL KIT
"In all my boards I am after a board that will flow into waves as easy as possible." - Ferg
I think I got 10 new boards this winter. It would have been less but I am just so excited about riding new interesting boards I couldn’t help myself. In all my boards I am after a board that will flow into waves as easy as possible. So I am always trying things that will help that feeling of no restriction or drag. In heavy waves where you need to go as fast as you can I generally ride quads, but with a bit more experimenting I feel twin fins could be even better. I still ride thrusters for Aileens because it’s a wave where you’re trying to slow down and hold in the pocket. I‘ve always found riding big boards hard to really manoeuvre so I am trying to ride boards a bit smaller than usual. I have learned over the years that if you are really focused on your positioning, timing and wave selection you can use a much smaller board as long as it has good flow. For me one of the best feelings is when you slip into a heavy wave almost under the radar. That feeling of being in control in a hectic situation is for me the best. (left to right)
1. Jack John's Body Board
My friend Jack kindly left a few of his bodyboards at my house and I have been on them
all winter long. When Rileys is super shallow and not very user friendly on the surfboard I opt for the bodyboard. It’s been a really fun winter of getting tubes on waves I otherwise would not be able to ride. I have been at it for over two winters now and am only now starting to just get the hang of it.
2. 7’10" John Purton Quad
It was shaped for paddling Mullaghmore. I’ve only had one good wave on it out there but it feels really nice. I have a 8’0" for Mully as well but it’s a thruster and I think a quad is better. The 7’10" is a bit smaller than most people would use but as I was saying before I prefer to slip in on smaller boards if I can.
3. 7’2" JP Thruster
This board is for big days at Aileens if it’s a bit too windy or lumpy. I used to really like this board and I have a few others of similar size but I only use it now if I feel I need some extra chunk in the water. More often than not I find it easier on a smaller board.
4. 6’8" JP
This is my all round board in heavy waves, it pretty much does most of the big heavy
paddle days on the coast. As a thruster I ride it at Aileens most of the time now. It makes you take off later and you can sit deeper and really fit into the tight curves of the wave. Then for all the lefts when they get big enough I use it as a quad. Laurens, Pampa etc. I had one of my best waves ever on it in Tahiti last summer, it has served me well so far. I had a similar 6’9" that I used all winter until I snapped it at Aileens but it was also a great all rounder. They are a nice size for me, enough chunk to paddle into most waves but still very responsive.
5. 6’0" Twin Fin
This one was shaped by my friend from home called Elvis. He is an absolute legend, he has just started shaping and is making me the funnest boards. I have not had this one out yet on anything too epic but I know it’s going to fly.
6. 5’8" single fin (in my hand)
This one was also shaped by Elvis. It’s the second board he ever made. His first board was similar to this one which he shaped for himself. I saw him ripping on it, had a go and needed one straight away. It’s such a basic shape but it’s a joy to ride. I have had so many good rides on it, including some cracking tubes under the cliffs.
7. Half of another Elvis Creation
It was a 6’4" single fin. This board was really good fun, quite old school and wide but it flowed so nicely. I ended up snapping it on a heavy double up at the cliffs. It has these massive channels in it that worked so good at holding in at speed. I would recommend anyone to try surfing something like this in good waves. That’s when they really get going. It makes you slow your surfing down and just flow with the wave. They make you pick good waves and draw simple clean lines.
8. 5’10" JP Twin Fin
I have been riding this board all winter at Rileys and other fast tubing waves. It flows into waves so smoothly and absolutely flies. This has been the board that has got me into buzzing on the twin fins. It felt a bit weird at first but once you go with the flow and have faith that it will work it really flies.
9. & 10. 6’3" and 6’6" JP Twin Fins
I have lots of other boards around the same sizes as these in quads. I use these boards for fairly big fast hollow days. If it gets super heavy I might jump back on a quad just to be safe, but I have been buzzing riding these twin fins this winter. Twin fins do pretty much the same thing as quads but with even less drag. This winter was my first real go at riding twin fins. I am looking forward to where it will go in the future.[mpora_video id="YmjVpu3rm"]