The oral tradition of surfing is a fascinating one. One person passes many lessons and insights on to the next generation. This holds for board designs, surf spots, tips & techniques, and stories.
In the early days of Almond, I was a sponge, hanging around the glass workshop to learn as much as I could about board building and the history of surfing in California.
Remember your surfing experience. What percentage of your knowledge was passed on to you by someone who has been further along in their journey and shared their wisdom with you?
One of the best advice I received came years before I even considered making surfboards a career.
My cousin Reid visited me when I was around 17, or roughly in 2003. Reid, who was older, had lived in Hawaii briefly and spent long periods in Costa Rica.
I remember him telling stories about surfing in Costa Rica, where instead of paddling out, you would get into the outflow and let the current take you out to the peak. You had to be careful of the crocodiles who liked to hang around in the muddy water where the ocean and river met.
I don’t know if he embellished the story to see my teenage eyes lighten up or if he told me the whole and nothing but the truth.
He gave me some advice on surfing that probably changed my life.
Reid suggested that I get “a fish,” a surfboard I was unfamiliar with. He said, “If you find a great deal on a surfboard in the shape of a fish with two fins at the tail and the points of the swallow being at least one Shaka’s breadth apart… Buy it and surf as much as possible.” You will be changed by it. ”
Soon after Reid’s advice, I came across a board similar to his description. The panel was a Twin Fin Fish 6’0 that had been discounted due to a blemish in one rail. It also passed the Shaka Test.
So I did what my cousin told me to do and bought the board. Reid was right; it changed my life. I used that board almost exclusively for four years. I surfed the board to death. It was so battered by the end of those four years that I had to replace it. But this board opened my eyes to a new world of surfboard designs and shapes. This board opened up a whole new world of surfing to me.
My surfing has improved.
I was curious to know more about the board design.
It accompanied me on all kinds of trips along the coast in my college years.
This photo is from the Spring of 2005, riding that 6’0 Fish: This photo was taken in the Spring of 2005 while riding that 6’0 fish:
During that period, I also bought a 10 foot Noserider. My quiver consisted of a 6’0 fish and a 10′ noserider with heavy glassing. I had few wants.
I was fortunate to have someone more experienced share their advice with me. It helped shape my life. Reid may not remember the conversation but I’m grateful for his specific advice and all the fun it brought me over the past 20 years.
I advise finding a board that could unlock a new season of surf for you, revealing something you might not have been aware you were missing. Then spend a lot of time on this board.
Spending a lot of time on one surfboard can help you progress much faster in surfing than switching gear constantly.
There is a lot to be said about matching the board with the conditions. There’s also a case to be made that you should get a lot of waves on a single board, and master it in different conditions BEFORE adding more boards to your quiver. What’s the ” 6’0 Twin Fin Fish” you have been missing while surfing?