Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Importance of a Good Quiver, the purveyors of digital stoke, is asking its readers to submit photos of their quivers.  Not surprisingly, many of the submissions are eclectic to say the least.  Just like you wouldn’t bring just one CD on a road trip or play a round of golf with just a putter, having a surfboard for the many unique conditions the ocean throws at surfers just makes plain sense.  Shortboard, longboard, gun, fish, asym, alaia, mat, boogie, kite, sail, hand plane and SUP (gasp!).  Pin, square, diamond, swallow, bat, and moon tails.  Channels, wings, parabolic stringers, PU core, EPS core, chambered core, fin configurations, rocker, foil, and rail variations.  The possibilities go on and on.  It’s important (and, of course, fun) to have this variety to be prepared for what the conditions may call for or to mix it up, experiment, and keep things fresh.

My quiver is by no means extensive but I’ve got a variety of tools in the shed that almost guarantee surfing will be fun and exciting (good waves always help too).  I’ve got an old longboard with pretty flat rocker that’s great for slow, mushy waves.  Another more modern long board that’s lighter and narrower and, while it doesn’t have as much rocker as I’d expect, it’s got a pintail that makes it more responsive.  Shortboards include vintage 70s, 80s, and 90s designs which are most easily differentiated in their evolution in foil, fin configurations, width and rails.  In a nutshell, boards underwent a period of hyper-innovation: shorter, lighter, and narrower with an evolution in fin set ups to boot: twins, thrusters, quads; hyper-innovation to the core.

There’s an even more practical reason to having a good quiver and I was reminded of that yesterday when I reached for my current, go-to long board: a 9’2” John Peck Penetrator.  As I pulled it off the racks, I noticed a ding in the rail down at the tail.  I don’t know how it got there or when it got there but it was there.  Rather than reach for the duct tape, I opted to take out another board: a 9’6” Pearson Arrow.  It’s a single fin, triple stringer with a square tail and decent rocker for longer nose rides and fewer pearls.  It’s the only surfboard I’ve ever bought new and it’s held up well considering it was my every day board for almost 10 years.  I had however recently started building out my quiver and surfing, dare I say, was becoming a little stale.  But surfing the same board for all those years had become a bit stale.  So I began building out my quiver and expanding my horizons.  As a result, it had been at least a year since I last rode it.  The coat of wax was old and dirty and missing in some spots but because it would have to do.  At the beach, a mixture of SW and NW swell was producing pretty small surf with set waves peaking at no more than 4’.  As I paddled out, my expectations were limited as I figured I’d be spending most of my time re-acclimating to the board, searching for the sweet spot for paddling, front & back foot placement, pivot points for the quickest, most efficient turns.

Well, wouldn’t you know the waves were glassy, uncrowded and well shaped.  As for me, I summarily surfed my brains out on that board.  I caught more waves, had longer rides, better turns, and so much freaking fun; an unbelievable day.  Would I have had as good of a day with the board I originally intended to use?  Maybe, maybe not.  But that's not the point.  The point is having a variety of boards to choose from allows for a different experience every time.  Now the big question is: do I take make this my next favorite, go-to board or do I take out an entirely different board tomorrow?  Decisions, decisions. 

Until next time, may your waves be head high and glassy.