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Some of the Best Surf Advice Ever Given to Me

Some of the Best Surf Advice Ever Given to Me

Surfing has an incredible oral tradition—where much of the knowledge is passed down by one person sharing insights or lessons with the next generation. This is true for board design, surf spots, tips & tactics, and stories... lots of stories.

In the early years of Almond, I was like a sponge—hanging around the glass shop to learn everything I could about the board building process and the history of surfboards in California. 

Think back on your own surfing journey. How much of what you know was shared with you by someone further along sharing their wisdom and experiences with you?

Although I've learned a tremendous amount about surfing and surfboards over the last 14 years, one of the single best pieces of advice came years before I ever thought about making surfboards my career.

When I was about 17, so roughly 2003, my cousin Reid was in town visiting. Reid was older and had lived for a season in Hawaii and had spent extended periods of time in Costa Rica.  

I vividly remember him telling me stories of surfing a river mouth in Costa Rica where you surfed all the way to the beach, and then instead of paddling back out, you just kind of got into the outflow of the river mouth and let the current carry you back out to the peak. But you had to be wary of crocodiles that liked to hang out in the muddy waters where the river and ocean met. 

I have no idea whether he was embellishing the story to watch my teenage eyes light up, or if he was telling me the whole truth and nothing but the truth. 

He also gave me some surfboard advice that likely put my life on a different path...

Reid told me to get "a fish"—a style of surfboard I was not particularly familiar with. He said "if you see a good deal on a fish-shaped surfboard, that has two fins and a tail where the points of the swallow are at least a Shaka's width apart... buy it and surf it as much as you can. It will change your life."

Not long after Reid's fateful advice, I saw a board for sale that matched his description with eerie precision. It was a 6'0 Twin Fin Fish that was discounted because of a blemish on one rail, and the swallow tail passed the Shaka test.  

So, I did as my cousin had instructed and I bought that board.  I surfed it nearly exclusively for the next 4 years, and Reid was right—it did change my life. I surfed that board into the ground. It was so battered and hammered by the time those 4 years were over, but it opened my eyes up to a whole new realm of surfboard shapes and board design. That board unlocked surfing for me in all sorts of new ways.  

It improved my surfing.  

It got me curious about board design.  

And it went with me an all sorts of trips up and down the coast during my college years.

In an effort to find a photo of that board, I even figured out the password to my abandoned Facebook account. This photo is from the Spring of 2005, riding that 6'0 Fish:

Somewhere during that time period I bought a 10' Noserider as well. My quiver was a 6'0 Fish and a heavily-glassed 10' noserider—and my wants were few.

Those were some of the most formative years of my life and it all started with some advice shared with me by someone who was further along in their journey. I doubt Reid remembers the conversation, but I am certainly thankful for the specificity of his advice and the fun that it has brought over the last 20 years.

So, my advice to you is this... find a board that could usher in a whole new season of surfing for you—unlocking something that you may not have known you were missing—and then put a ton of time in on that one board.

Putting a disproportionate amount of time in on a single surfboard will help progress your surfing much faster than constantly switching equipment. 

Of course, there is something to be said for matching the right board for the conditions of the day.  But there's a counter-argument to be made for just getting a ton of waves on one board and really mastering that board in a variety of conditions BEFORE moving on to a diverse quiver of options. What is the "6'0 Twin Fin Fish" that your surfing has been missing?

Our sincere hope is to help you find the surfboard that will become an eye-opening "aha" moment for you.

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