BUY­ING THE RIGHT BOARD

Carve - - SURFBOARD GUIDE -

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.

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