BUYING THE RIGHT BOARD
CHOOSING A BOARD IN AN ERA OF INFORMATION AND MODEL OVERLOAD CAN BE A STRESSFUL PROPOSITION. EVERY BOARD DOES NOT WORK FOR EVERY PERSON IN EVERY TYPE OF WAVE. BUT THERE ARE A FEW WAYS TO NARROW DOWN YOUR CHOICE. TREVOR CLAYTON HAS BEEN MATCHING BOARDS WITH CUSTOMERS AT DOWN THE LINE FOR YEARS, SO WHO BETTER TO ASK FOR A FEW TIPS?
Finding the perfect board in an era when we are all overloaded with technology, facts, figures, reviews and opinions can be a complete nightmare. But there are ways to file it all in to categories to simplify the task … Firstly follow some basic rules:
Rule number one: Always be honest with yourself on your ability. In my experience there are basically three levels of surfers. The learner/ intermediate surfer, the top 10 percent i.e. the contest guys/high level performance crew and then the rest of us. The vast majority of boards on the market are directed at the average guy these days so most of us are in luck.
Now you've decided where you sit then you must decide what size of wave you want this board to surf in. Again this is where you must be honest with yourself. Think of the wave in three sizes: up to chest high, chest high to a few feet overhead then from there upwards. For most surfers this is where you are going to be. There are a few of the guys who froth when it's the size of a house but really most of us stop when it's double overhead. So now you've worked out that say you are Joe Average who wants a board for chest high to overhead waves then you can fine tune it again.
Full grovellers are specialist boards and sit in a category of their own. If you are not going surf anything much overhead the majority of surf is small then look at these models. If you are thinking to yourself that this board is for chest high surf, you might be using it as an all around board for travelling. Again bear this in mind. Boards with more curve like waves with more curve. The flatter waves over here like a flatter rockered board with a tad more foam in the rail. Where as the average Indo all-rounder will have a touch more curve with quite often less foam in the rail.
Go to your shaper or surf shop and tell them the boards you have ridden recently, and this is really important, which ones you liked and which ones you didn’t. The shop/shaper then should be able to direct you to a group of boards for you to choose from and at the same time direct you away from the ones they feel you won't like.
Another handy tip here is if you have had boards from one shaper and you loved it then there is a good chance that you will like his other models. On the same note if you have had a few not so amazing boards from one shaper then it's worth giving someone else a go.
For older guys remember to compare boards to those you ’tried recently’. We all remember that that magic 6'2" we used to surf and forget that at that time we were actually 15-years younger and were surfing seven times a week. For the most part the board maybe wasn't that magic but you were at your physical peak and surfing every daylight hour in all conditions.
A good shaper or shop owner will take all the information you give them about your old boards plan shape, foam, rocker, rail types compute the variances based on years of knowledge and experience, cross referenced with other customers experiences (basically thousands of conversations) and point you towards a shape or shaper that they think you will have most fun on. Listen to them.
Sometimes they will suggest boards a world away from what you imagine you should be riding, but at the end of the day these guys probably know more about the boards you are surfing than you do...
Gabriel Medina upside down.