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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

8.7.13 Rank Surf on a New Board

Normally I am skeptical of new shapes/gimmicks/surf tech.  When I first spotted this take on a shortboard six months ago, I was in awe.  This thing is tiny, not wide, not thick, yet voluminous.  The measurements (5'4"x18"x2.25") don't tell the whole story, as the depth of the board continues for longer than with a conventional thruster.

If you flip the board over, there is an exaggerated channel that starts approximately halfway down the deck pad and continues to the center of the tail.  This gives water an easy exit from the pressure of the board.  The faster water can move underneath the board, the less drag.

My skepticism continued.  Firewire is enjoying a massive bump in visibility and market share thanks to some of the risks they take on.

This is without question the smallest board I've ever stood up on (if you don't count standing up on boogie boards when I was twelve).

I had checked out numerous online reviews of it, including seemingly impartial ones, like Reddit's r/surfing and they all said it was worth the ~$700 to buy.

When I was on my way to buy it (I'd checked it our first), I had a similar feeling to when my dad would take me to Toys R Us once a year on my trips up from El Salvador.  Over the years, the feeling of childlike stoke diminishes and it takes quite the jolt of stimulus to get it through the filter of jadedness and cynicism life almost inevitably piles on.

I met Chris at his house in Encinitas.  I'd asked him why he was selling and he said it was because the board made him too tired.  Ostensibly, this could mean he's catching a lot of waves.  He then told me his lower back would get sore from going prone cobra for so long while paddling.  He reassured me it paddled fine and I would catch plenty of waves.

I had some concern regarding the lack of nose rake/rocker and its effect on my pearling statistics.  He said he still made 80% of his hairier drops.

I paid him the 22 $20's it took to get him to release his grip.

On to the surfing portion...

The surf didn't have much to offer, but I was going to paddle out no matta (first English, then Spanish, now PIDGIN).

The forecasts were spot-on in letting me know the waves would be weak and barely rideable.

There were three waves of note.

The first was my first wave, in that it allowed me to get a feel for the glide this board had.  I would have made it maybe 2/3 of the way on my DHD before fading off the back.  It's sad to include this as a wave of note, but that's a clue as to how bad the surf was.

My second wave was a left that allowed me to pump up, down, then go for a hit on which I instantly brought the nose back around without issue.  AHHHH.  It felt good to make one of these.

My last wave of note was a left that was a relative doozy.  I was very late.  I dropped down and instantly pearled hard.  You know how they say you learn more from your failures than successes?  Well, I learned not to take off on super late waves on this board.  Another lesson I had is that I shouldn't paddle super hard for waves unless I will likely miss the wave.  This board allows for easy entry into most to counteract that.

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