You may have noticed recently that we're talking more and more about the importance of catching waves early, and catching them often. Hence Early and Often appearing everywhere from our blog articles to our instagram tags recently.
Since the inception of Almond, we have always designed our boards to paddle exceptionally well, and glide into waves with ease.
We have always used a fairly low rocker profile, to help the boards glide across the surface of the water with less resistance.
And obviously we aren't afraid to use a decent amount of foam, to ensure that the board paddles well and feels buoyant under your chest—that much should be fairly obvious just by looking at the outlines of our boards.
Going back as far as 2010, we started doing all of our nose concaves, in our longboard models, blended. If you have ever picked up a noserider and looked at the underside of the nose, you will oftentimes see a scooped out spoon-like concave. This is designed to create lift on the face of a wave. (If you want to read more about that, refer to this article titled "The Parable of the Spoon" from 2016). Based on a conversation Nathan, Griffin and I had before Nate and I went to Japan in 2010, we decided to try using the same concave for noseriding, but making the edge of that concave less defined.
Griffin shaped the concave into Nate's board for that trip, and then blended it by eliminating any hard edges or abrupt transitions. The result was a longboard that paddled noticeably better, glided with ease, and still provided the desired lift for noseriding—as demonstrated by nearly every one of Nate's waves since.
So, going back to the idea of Early and Often, we want our primary aim to be building a board that allows you to catch waves earlier, and up your overall wave count during a session—and here comes the crux of the mission—without inhibiting your ability to surf the way you want to surf.
If early wave catching was the sole purpose, then we could all ride 12' paddle boards, but based on the thousands of conversations we have had with customers like you, over the years, there are a lot more goals in mind than simply catching the wave. So, we ride a delicate balance between paddle-ablility, and whatever else you intend to do on a wave—whether that be exploring every square inch of the wave face with big, powerful turns; or hanging-5 all the way to the sand.
Below is a beautiful late afternoon example of Drew Meseck getting into a left-hander nice and early, before the competition... (courtesy of Jeffrey Allee)