Boards make the surfer…or do they?

Boards make the surfer...or do they?

Boards make the surfer…or do they?

I first stood up on a wave on January 1st, 2013, on an 8’0 soft-top foam board at Smiths Beach, Phillip Island.

I went surfing again February 5th, 2013, on the same board at the same place. Then my life went downhill and it was a while before I could step out and go surfing again. October 2013, I went surfing again and decided that surfing would be my saviour from the darkness.

I got my surfboard November 28th 2013 but it took me until after Christmas to find the courage to go out and give it a surf. I’d wanted a surfboard and wanted to be a surfer girl for as long as I could remember. I finally had the board and a strange delirium took me over. I had such trepidation about actually getting out there on my very own 7’6 Mini-mal that it took me almost exactly a month before I actually used it.

That trepidation is playing out even now, with my second board, a 6’4 fun board.

On my 7’6, I catch waves. I can steer and do basic turns. But I get out the back on any day over 1.5ft and I get nervous. In fact, I get scared. I don’t even know why. On my 7’6 board, I am not confident to try for waves.

However, on my 6’4, I know I can get out the back without being too pounded by the impact zone. It’s lighter and easier to paddle and turn. So I paddle enthusiastically out the back, even on days when the surf is bigger than I know I should be attempting. It’s 8ft? No worries. I’ll give it a go. Worst that will happen is I’ll get dumped. And I do. Oh boy do I get dumped. And thumped. I mean, absolutely-annihilated-thumped but I am absolutely-fine with it.

I don’t know what it is. I take on a different persona when I ride the different boards. I know I can surf the 7’6 efficiently yet I am too frightened to try. I know I will wipe out efficiently on the 6’4 in big(ger) surf yet I don’t care. I tend to stay in the white-water on the longer board and only try little waves. The fun board has me paddling for waves I know I’ll never make, yet I try anyway.

What is this odd stage in my journey? Do I perhaps need an in-between-size board? Why is it that I have little to no confidence on a more stable board, but have all the charge (and little of the success) I need for the short board?

I do believe I am confused, but I’ll continue to take both boards out. Why not. What harm does it do to try and fail on the shortboard and be confident, while being a nervous wreck but pulling it off on a longer board?

Am I just a conundrum? Perhaps not. They do, after all, say that the board makes the surfer…but does it?

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6 thoughts on “Boards make the surfer…or do they?

  1. It might be you are experiencing the freedom of a short board against the glide of the longboard both flow in different ways on different size waves . the freedom of being in control of the smaller 6’4″ will give you the confidence to take on the larger sets, but positioning on the takeoff is the key to get into and set the wave up for the fun. read the difference in waves closely.
    glide will come when you get the trim right on the longer board play around with changing the position of your feet on the board.
    experience makes the surfer, the board is the vehicle . at this stage in your surfing evolution your a short boarder, keep charging on all your boards !

  2. I can see why though. Some boards just feel different on the take off. On bigger waves, if the wave is steep, the longboard just feels a bit out of control initially. With a shorter board, you can get up under the curve and take later.

    It is a matter of the waves. If it is bigger and the board is longer you should try to paddle in further out and get in earlier.

    You will straighten it all out. Water time will do it.

      • I know! I am trying for next week. Will not be big but the hoopla will die down and everyone will be back in school and at work. My weekend is in the dead center of the week.

        Board sizes really do reflect the size and kind of wave you want to ride. If it is big at my home spot, a bigger board is better. The paddle out is far and there are a lot of weird bumps in the wave to get through. The wave goes through periods of being mushy and being hollow. At Teauhopoo, the boards are not big at all because the wave has so much curvature to it. Your nose or outside rail would catch if the board was to long.

        A longboard is just to fast and to much rail to deal with on a big powerful wave. The best longboarders change dramatically from riding a mellow point break wave (ripping!) to the north shore where they are mainly only noseriding and trying to control the board.

        Have a groovy weekend!

  3. Pingback: Like a boss | surf and fitness journey

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