Posts Tagged ‘Longboards’

Before I get into this week’s UCB I have a bit of an announcement to make.  As everyone knows there are only two more Thursdays left in the fall quarter.  As of right now the race is pretty tight between I think three people and there a few trailers in there as well.  This quarter in addition to the two more blogs up for grabs I am going to put up a chance at a bonus double points blog to be written on the 31st. So here is the deal the topic for this one has to be something really special or I wont write it.  I will allow an unlimited amount of entries for it.  With double points it could be the difference between a victory or not so get busy.


That being said this has been I believe the most successful UCB quarter ever and I would like to personally thank everyone for participating.  This week Kooky Kyle takes the win with the topic “what goes into the perfect surfboard quiver”.  I feel that this topic comes a sort of mystery, most surfers having no idea what type of boards are appropriate for them.  I being a rather credible source on the issue thought I would shed some light on the confusion.  (For those who may question my background I spent nearly eight years of my life working in surf shops, ten doing ding repairs and about six as a psuedo professional surfer)

What Should I ride?

Tool Box

A quiver is a toolbox, you put the tools in that are necessary for the job.  This is a theorem that for years I did not hold true to just as a result of pure ignorance. I will elaborate.  When I was 18 my principle short board was a 6’2 x 18” x 2” Squaretail with so much rocker there was not flat point in the board.  Then I had a groveler 5’8 fishy thing and finally 6’10 pintail gun.  I mainly surfed only NJ.  The short board and the fish were fine but the large gun for a kid who barely was pushing 130lbs (heck Im still only about 135) was a bit ridiculous especially in a wave scene like NJ.


The only reason I owned that board was because I thought I needed a big board for when the waves got sizable and I was just copying what I saw in the magazines.  The same could be said for my short board, which was way too big for me as well.  Like I stated earlier I did not know any better.

Your Perfect Board


My Perfect Board



Before we get into the quiver, a group of boards, lets talk about your own personal perfect board.  This is the corner stone of everyone’s quiver and with out an understanding of this board, building the perfect quiver is nearly impossible.  All you will end up with is a collection of trash.  The perfect board is a surfer’s go to board for any conditions.  It is the surfboard that if you were stuck on a deserted island and left with only one board you would choose.  Its your all around short board or long board depending on what you ride.


It took me years to get this board right and I am still refining it.  Technically one always should because as your surfing changes, the waves you ride change and your body changes over the years so should this one.  Im sure when I am fifty I wont be physically able to ride what I do now.  For me this board is 5’10 x 18 1/8” x 2 1/16” squash tail tons of rocker.  I have had plenty of success with this template for the last six years.  Many people comment that I ride too small of boards but then they forget that I have not gained any significant weight since I was 21.


Back east I rode my boards with less rocker to fit the erratic flat spots and condition changes, but when I moved to the west coast where the waves are more conform I found more success with fuller rocker out lines.  Obviously if you weight 185lbs and are 6’1 you should not be riding my 5’10 you would most likely want a 6’1 or 6’0 a bit wider and a bit thicker to accommodate your size.


Same thing goes for ability as well.  If you are the same size as me but have only been surfing for 3 years then my board wont work for you either.  Once again you might want something a bit thicker, wider and longer with much less rocker.  Your quiver needs to suit you first and foremost.  Years ago we believed that everyone should ride the same board regardless of your size or ability; since then we have all been enlightened.

Building Your Perfect Quiver


Surfboards are not cheap and getting the right ones can be an expensive headache of trial and error.  It took me nearly ten years to get a quiver Im happy with.  First off a surfer should always have two of this perfect board as described above because surfboards are very fragile and break and ding all the time.  There is nothing more frustrating to me then riding a board Im not happy with when the surf is firing because I broke my favorite short board.  If I have a duplicate in my quiver then I can just pull this one out and go to town.


I personally keep three copies of this board in my quiver, but I surf a bit more then your average person even now with my shitty full time job.  The next board that should be considered is a step up.

The Step Up


One of my step ups



Now your step up should be geared to the waves you want to ride.  I personally hate big waves.  Once it gets more then double overhead I don’t really have all that much fun.  After that size it always feels more like survival then surfing.  My step up is a 5’11 x 18 ¼ x 2 1/8 round tail with lots of rocker.


This board is only a little bigger then my all around short board but a bit wider and thicker for paddle.  This is the board I got to when things get dicey on my short board.  I also keep a 6’1 x 18 x 2 rounded pin tail for macking beach break.  This is my barrel board.  I have made some of the most ridiculous hair raising tubes on this shape.  A barrel board is one that should be shaped bit more narrow and thinner then your normal short board.  It should also contain a round tail or pin tail combination and be 2-3 inches bigger then your normal short board.


The barrel board is designed with one purpose, getting shacked.  This board should be able to hold a rail in the steepest sections the waves through at you.  It is also the board you must rely on in the most critical of moments.   Basically your step up board should be what you ride those hand full of days your home break gets outside of its normal comfort zone and a key board for travel.



A gun is a term that is loosely thrown around in surfing far too often if you ask me.  I am definitely guilty of the offense.  A gun is the board you ride when it gets scary.  This is your big wave board; triple overhead and bigger, when you pull a gun out of your garrison there should be butterflies in your stomach.  Most likely it is a day where the waves could kill.  Now like I said Im not a fan of big waves.  My gun is a 6’3 x 18 ¼ x 2 3/16 pin tail.   I have rode this board maybe ten times in my entire life.  I don’t go looking for giant waves and on the rare occasion that I find myself in a chest thumping mood I will pull out this board and go up north in search of fear.


Now if I lived in Hawaii a 6’3 gun would be laughable where the average gun is anywhere from 6’8-7’10.  Like I said your quiver is a toolbox.  I don’t live in Hawaii I live in Santa Barbara where we rarely see waves over double overhead and even that is rare.  Personally I feel a 6’3 is too big as well, but every now and again it comes in handy for a mission up north.

Rhino Chasers and Tow Boards


I cant give much help here because I don’t have the desire to ride waves the size of houses.  A rhino chaser is a gun made for waves in the twenty foot plus range.  They are what is ridden at Waimea, Todos, Mavericks and every other BIG wave spot in the world.  Most start at around 8’10 to as big as 11 and 12 feet.  I  would not consider purchasing one of these unless you live in a place near a big wave spot and believe yourself ready for the challenge.  I know when I was tested in such conditions it had me paddling back to the beach like a scared little girl.


Tow boards are super narrow and weighted down with lead usually in the 5’6 – 6’0 size.  I have only seen these boards in surf shops here or in production and have never rode one nor desire too.

Small Wave Boards


A good small wave board is gold in any surf locale.  No matter where you decided to settle down there are going to be terrible small gutless days, some places more then others.  You can either spend these days sitting around watching Brady Bunch re-runs on television or surfing.  I choose the latter.  This where a good small wave board comes into the picture.  Picking the right small wave stick is totally dependant upon how you want to surf tiny waves.   Do you want to still try and get high performance on it or do you want to cruise.


A lot of this is ability dependant as well.  If you are not great at surfing then most likely you should seek out a small wave board that will allow you the most float and maneuverability.  If you are looking to shred in the miniscule then you want a scaled down, stubby lower rocker version of your all around short board.  For me this is a 5’7 x 18 1/4 x 2 2/16 wide swallow tail.


Others lean towards keel fishes, which offer great float and glide in even the worst of conditions.  Round nose fishes give plenty of float and offer the rider a chance to ride a super small board with a fair amount of maneuverability.

Fun Shapes & Long Boards

Everyone should own a long board in their quiver.  You never know when you will have to rehab an injury, teach someone how to surf or just want to go out and chill.  I had never felt the need to own a long board till I moved out to Santa Barbara where there are tons of perfect point break set ups that break under knee high most of the time.  There is nothing more fun then cruising down a perfect point peeler on a good long board.


Long boards and fun shapes are also the unskilled surfers and big man small wave machines.

Specialty Boards

Specialty boards are those that are not necessary at all but in some cases fun or even cool to have.  Alias and hulls are perfect examples of these.  Who really needs a fin less surfboard that only works in perfect waves and is near to impossible to ride?  When you snag a wave on one and feel that unimpeded glide it’s a pretty cool feeling.  Retro boards are another one.  Every true surfer trying to reach guru status needs at least three classic boards from contrasting time periods and know how to ride them.  I currently have two but at one time had four.  How can we create new ideas with out revisiting the old ones from time to time?


Slab boards are another specialty board that has also recently came into modern quivers since everyone loves slabs.  A slab is a wave that comes into shallow water from deep water too fast to properly form thus causing a mutant triple up tube.  The Box in Western Australia is a perfect example of this.  Slab boards should be geared specific to the different slabs but rule of thumb should be your regular short board but thinner, more rocker, more narrow and pined out.


Basically the perfect quiver is not harmonious but specific to each surfer and his needs. It’s a toolbox.  End result you should own the boards that allow you to have the must fun.  At the end of the day that is what surfing is all about anyway.

My perfect quiver circa 2006, 2 5’10’s 2 6’1’s and a 6’3

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