Guest Article: "Your Average East Coast Surfer"
This guest article comes from a customer named Jonathan M. in New Jersey, sharing his experience making the most of less than perfect waves.
Anyone who lives on the East Coast knows that it's almost always 2 feet and firing here (sort of). And only rarely is it overhead and firing. This is bad news for shortboarders since they're often grinding on thigh high waves trying to generate enough speed for a cutback. But it's good news for longboarders who only need a 2-foot peeling wave to trim down the line, slide 5 toes over the nose, or step back into a big drop knee turn. It means more days surfing, more waves to dial your craft, and all around more fun.
Being a longboarder on the East Coast can be frustrating though. Sometimes it feels like West Coast shapers don't "get us" and rarely build a surf vehicle that fits into the curves of our waves here. It's easy to get brainwashed by the surf media to think that we should all be riding the same board that Joel does at Malibu or Alex does at San-O. But the reality is that I'm an average surfer from NJ and I don't surf like JoelJitsu or KnostThankYou. And more often than not, I'm surfing small generic beach break, not Malibu or San-O.
So, if you’re an average surfer (like me), riding average waves (like me), and are looking for some direction on your next board, here are a few things to consider:
Paddle Power. The formula is simple: low rocker + high volume = increased paddle power. Increased paddle power means getting into waves easily and often. But just because you CAN catch every ripple that rolls your way, doesn't mean you SHOULD (Alexa, google 'proper surf etiquette'). Catching waves shouldn't be the hard part. The hard part should be trying to figure out how to walk up to the nose of a 9 foot board, hang 10 toes over the end, and walk back without falling. Plus, if you’re getting in “often” that usually means you’re getting in “early” too. The waves break pretty fast here on the east coast, so getting in early helps you avoid those late critical takeoffs.
Diversify your portfolio.. or quiver. 'Everything is cool these days,' as Joel would say. Borrow your friend’s Surf Thump (if they let you) or demo a board from your local shaper. Pin tail or square tail? Hip’s forward or back? Rocker or flat? It can be hard to understand how all these nuances impact the way a board rides. The more you ride different types of surfboards, the more you’ll find out what you like and what you don’t. Then when you’re ready to pull the trigger on a new board, your friends at Almond Surfboards can get you dialed into some equipment that suits your style. Almond celebrates all shapes, sizes, and even constructions, so it's likely you'll find something that's in your wheelhouse.
Fin Swap. What’s the cheapest way to buy a new surfboard without buying a new surfboard? Swap out your fins. You’ll draw new lines and get a whole new feeling. Different lines for different kinds, right? It’s sort of like buying a tie. Yeah, there are general style and function guidelines, but what it comes down to is personal preference. If I want to rip hard left-go-rights, I’ll throw the Huck Pivot in my Lumberjack. If I want to loosen things up, I’ll run the Pin Fin and slide it up into the center of the fin box (see previous blog for tips on fin placement). With the invention of the fin box, also came the freedom to sample different fins in your surfboard. Relish the perks of modern surfing by throwing in a new fin and see how the board responds.
Summer is coming in hot (excuse the pun). For me that means putting away the smaller boards, ditching the boots/gloves, and laying some fresh beads of wax on the deck of my favorite longboard (9’9 Lumberjack). Longboards are the ultimate antidote to summer flat spells here on the east coast. And so if you’re not having fun riding summer waves, then I suspect that you just might be riding the wrong board. I hope these tips help you find that Mr. or Mrs. Right you're looking for.
Cheers from the right coast.