All photos ©Mat. Turries / NSM except #1: Fredrik Bengtsson / Surfers.se and #8 sequence by Johan Otterdahl.
Alright, let’s get this going again. This should be 4 postings, but I’ll combine it all into one. I worked a lot this summer, hoping to take the winter off and spend it in the tropics instead, so sorry about the delay.
Anyways, I’ve had four good surfs since the last entry and this is how it all went down.
The first surf was a couple of weeks ago, water was at a solid 22 celsius and the wind was up but the waves were a bit smaller than expected. So I took my clothes off and trunked it. I was on a brand new 5’4 Tomo nano…dims 18 1/4 x 2 1/4 at 25 liters (approximately the same liters as a board 8 inches longer with the same width and thickness).
The nano had my attention a while back. I first saw one pop up on the forums and wrote it off as another hipster trendy board…an excuse to feel groovy while surfing worse. The wide chopped off tail didn’t appeal to me. Then I got to see some footage of Daniel Thompson (the shaper) and Stu Kennedy surf the bejesus out of these MPH shapes, and changed my tune.
(*here are some links : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rps0B7ueEw8 , http://vimeo.com/65376017).
This review from my favourite surf journalist and some respected pros didn’t hurt either : http://www.surfinglifeessentials.com.au/board-guide/2014/boards/firewire
I started to try and understand the performance aspects of something so different. I stopped by Surfers in Varberg last winter and they’d just gotten in a batch. Even in my hand, I couldn’t get my mind around how that wide tail wouldn’t track. The guys at the shop let me demo a 5’6 and after twenty minutes of frenzied surfing in three degree water, I put in my order for a more appropriately sized 5’4.
Even though this shape is more of an all around performance shape, and the conditions were far more favourable to an overly wide groveller, I had to give the board a go. And plus, I was in trunks.
I caught waves exceptionally well, considering I was on far smaller equipment than anyone else in the lineup. The waves were tiny, and I should have been on something bigger but I still managed to catch some longer rides and place a decent turn here and there. The board was really good at getting speed up, has an amazing feeling of drive, hold and a flowy, skatey feel, but I felt it was a little stiff in turns. That was mostly due to me running a set of larger fins than recommended and the waves being about thigh high.
I managed about 45 minutes in the 22 degree water (air was much colder and the wind was pretty strong) before I got stupid cold and it made scrambling up the rocks somewhat challenging. I put on an old 4/3 mm suit and went back out. Left the session stoked as can be.
Nano again for me. This time, the waves were far better. A good waist to stomach high with chest high sets and a little more push. I had switched out the rear fin of the medium reactor set and put in the JW-1 rear fin in which is much smaller. The nano felt began to feel livelier to me, even though it feels like I could be riding even smaller side fins….crazy!
There was a crowd of good surfers already on it when I got there. The beach break I was surfing is pretty small…in fact, you can’t see the sand at all. And that made it a game of waiting your turn. I was amped to surf and slightly frustrated to have to share, but I am good mates with all the guys that were out decided to relax and be patient. And besides, they were hooting everyone on!
Pontus, Jimmy, Lars, Eric Z and Johan were all getting some good ones in, sitting at the main peak. I ended up surfing the right further down and a little inside, and then I’d take the left back and that gave me a chance to get a few more waves to myself.
More and more I started to get the groove of the Nano. My first mistake was not realising how confident the board is, I don’t need to nurse it and I certainly don’t have to keep it active with my own input. That’s a big change up from a performance shortboard in this size surf. Just put it in the right part of the wave and let it take you with it’s own speed and flow to the sections where you want to place your turns. The more patient I became surfing it, the more rewarding the ride and the better it felt. The board buys you time, so you can squeeze in as many turns as you want, but you can delay that bottom turn and set up the appropriate turn for the section - keep in mind that this is at a fast, lumpy dumpy beach break. Loving it.
Surf # 3
After the last surf, I had a little mishap with the nano around the fin area between surfs that I want to fix up before I take it out again. Bummer, but so she goes.
I went to a different beach break from my last few surfs on this day. Wind wasn’t straight on, but there was plenty of it, so the waves had a nice period in it and were lining up considerably. It wasn’t so peaky and not as steep, but hardly felt like a swedish beach break wave…plenty of time between sets, not too much seaweed, and, as said…lined up. I rode the larger 5’6 demo nano again while I waited for the resin to cure on a repair I made on my Superbrand 5’8 supermadness.
The waves were a blast, real lined up and easy to read. I had a couple of lefts where I crossed the whole small beach and one right with 7 solid turns…a rarity in this part of sweden. The larger sized nano was real cruisy but turned tight when I needed it to. In this nano, were the FCS 2 neo glass fins (medium accelerators) and you could really feel the twang (projection out of turns) in flex with these…I’m glad these came out because they are a nice price option being far better performance-wise over their cheaper plastic fins, and yet not in the same price range as the carbon PC’s (which I think are great for Sweden…stiff/light).
The water was noticeably cooler now, roughly around 19 celsius, but I was having to flush water in my 3/2 flash bomb to cool off. The best part was the lack of crowd, don’t know where everyone was, might have gone off to better waves or more obvious choices based on the forecast…but I didn’t miss them.
Same beach break as last time, but more of a direct wind. Waves were waist to stomach high, nowhere near as lined up, but a lot more dumpy and was fun. Once again it wasn’t too crowded. I surfed 3 waves on the baked potato 5’3 which was fun, but a little slidy and when I saw the face start to open up I grabbed my 5’8 19 1/4 x 2 3/8 Superbrand. I rode it as a quad and was loving it. Quads are so fast laterally, and they really do let you take a fast high line, which a lot of the waves were calling for if you wanted to do anything before they shut down. A really precise board in these conditions. I caught a couple of bigger sets in the chest high range and went in and grabbed some coffee. I wish Sweden would be august all year around.