Live fat, die young
Hej bloggen! I’ve always wanted to say that.
June 12, 2014 and the stars finally aligned to allow me a chance to sneak out and surf during a weekday. My first surf since March, when it was 4 degrees in the water and I was covered tip to toe. Water today? an inviting 17 degrees and I was toast in my 4/3.
Anyways, the wind was a solid 9-11ms with a slight NW so I drove to a popular beach break expecting waves in the waist to stomach high range, but found it was thigh to waist high instead and looking pretty mushy.
Swedes’ manage to put english words and surf slang right into their sentences like ‘brädan har för lite rocker’ or ‘jag grävde nosen på en cutback’ but I found there are a few descriptions in swedish that are better than their english counterparts. ‘Vågen orkar inte riktigt’ or that the wave is ‘lat’ (lazy) were perfect descriptions of today’s conditions. Lazy.
But it was sunny, and I was pumped to have a day off not to worry about anything. I just recently put some time and effort into losing the excess winter weight and have dropped 4 kilos since my last surf. I figured I’d either be going up in volume in my boards, or I’d just lose the weight and stay on my little guys. After all, I have a quiver of 9 boards…most of which, I felt too heavy for, unless conditions are perfect (no wind, no wetsuit, groundswell, floating bar, just me and the dolphins surfing it…you know, the usual).
Having grown up in warm water, punchy, but small surf, I have about thirty years of muscle memory of surfing my minimum volume. Quickness has always been my strength and I feel I sacrifice too much of it whenever I bump up the volume, even in small surf.
So today, I chose my 26 liter, 5’8 x 19 1/4 super madness 2 and rocked in the Reactor fins up front, with the performer quad set in the rears….I also threw in a little nubster.
The board felt so much better this time. This could be a combined effect of me losing 4 kilos, as well as me shedding the 6/5 mm, with boots and gloves. But suddenly, the volume felt right for me. I tried this board as a thruster and a quad this winter, and didn’t get to surf it much, but wasn’t really in love with it from the start. Today, it felt solid. The waves were a little too small for it, and I should have probably ditched the nubster, but i could sense, that if it was just that little bit bigger, I was on a perfect set up.
I caught some waves with some friends, the rights were super lat (lazy) and didn’t offer much. The lefts were a little lined up and every once in a while would offer a pocket, but they didn’t link up much either. I still got a chance to try out a turn or two and felt confident with the 4.5 set up, despite feeling that I should be going faster with it. I had a few snaps and cutbacks which felt good, a little frontside air, but couldn’t link much. Still stoked to be out in the water.
The waves got smaller in the afternoon and lost their shape even more, but I still wanted to get back into the water, I went and borrowed a demo board from Surfer’s in Varberg. It was a 5’3 x 21 1/4 x 2 3/8 Baked Potato. I put m5’s up front, m1000’s in the back and used that nubster again. the tail looked so wide, I thought it might need some taming.
Having spent so much time surfing small waves with reactive equipment, I’ve always had a hard time with wide, fat and flat grovellers. Sure, they catch waves early and skate down the line fast, but often times, wide tails track a bit and then suddenly slide once you pass the first 45 degrees of a turn. The width often fights me when trying to go vertical , when you finally find a pocket, as well. But with knee to thigh high mush, I couldn’t surf my shortboard anyways, so I gave the BP 5’3 a go.
It took a couple waves to figure it out, but after about twenty minutes, I was in love. Once again, the nubster was a hindrance, although once that waist high set came in, it was perfect. The board was so fun once I started figuring it out. The volume felt right, small enough to adjust your line on a small wave, but big enough at 32.4 liters (about 6-7 liters more than normal for me) to catch whatever came my way. I was on my feet so early, that I could reset my line, and not need to pump out of the pocket right away. My normal complaint about boards wider than 19-19.5” is that they need to be set up to go vertical, and you don’t have that much room or speed on a knee high wave to do that, but because I was planing at such a low speed, I was surprised at how much time I was given to read the wave and set up turns. I could race the sections I needed, but also cutback and go into a reo if need be. The board held remarkably well in a couple of round cutbacks and maintained speed and drive throughout.
After about 5 hours of surfing, I can now celebrate with my first beer in a month, even if I do go up a few kilos again, it’s fun to know that there are functional options out there if you want to fly around in knee high waves.