"Nothing Like a New Surfboard" -- 7/4/00

My new stick

Six months ago I snapped my longboard. Ever since, I've been pretty much bodyboarding exclusively, putting myself into a sort of self-induced surfboard restriction. It was a nice break to focus on spongeriding; however, it was time to take up the glass once again.

The first order of business was to get the right board. Of course, I had to go back to Ben Aipa. I liked the way the last one he shaped for me worked, and was looking forward to fine-tuning a new one.

Since he now knew how I surfed (especially after so many Laniakea sessions together), I thought he could help design the board. No dice.

Ben said that he could do whatever I wanted with the board and that people ordered all kinds of different combinations. For instance, he showed me the order that Kanoa Dahlin just put in--three absolutely different longboards, all for different conditions.

So I decided to just chance'um. Ordered pretty much the same board as my last, except for a wider nose for a bit more noseride capability. Also included was a 2+1 fin setup with FCS holes for the outer fins and a box for the center.

Three weeks later, it was ready. Ben called and I was down to his shop lickety split.

The board looked cherry! Really nice shape, pretty much exactly what I had envisioned. So I not-so-carefully started pulling it off the rack. Bonk! I hit the board against the wall.

Quickly, Ben was at my side, taking the board from my hands and gingerly pulling it out of the rack. He then went on to show me the finer details of the board, including a new fine sand finish (which looked like a gloss finish). Of course, he also showed the tiny, nearly imperceptible blemishes out of professional courtesy.

Just then, good friend Eddie Cheplic stopped by. He also came to pick up his new board. Ben had not finished applying the fine sand finish on Eddie's board, so he went out back to finish it. It was pretty cool watching him with the buffer, applying the final touches on Eddie's board.

Of course, we talked story quite a bit while we were there. The topics of conversation ran from the new FCS curved fins to the superstition of taking off backside on the first wave of a new board. Really great talking story with these truly hardcore surfers.

But alas, it was time to leave. Just like he did last time, Ben carried the board out to the car for me. He's shaped more than 100,000 boards, and he still cherishes them immensely. "Nothing like a new surfboard," he sighed.

The next morn, in anticipation of trying out the new stick, I had planned a surf session with Buddy. Surf was expected to be tiny, so we targeted Diamond Head Lighthouse.

Lighthouse is a right, but, out of respect to Aipa, I took off left. My new board felt great--fast and maneuverable. Digging my heels in, the board responded in kind, coming off the bottom with ease. I was stoked--must be a good board.

Second wave was on my forehand. Easy takeoff, but I stupidly tried to turn the board while standing right in the middle. My toes clenched down in a futile attempt to get around the section. Of course, it was all for naught, as the board went one way, and my body the other. A good board? Hmmm.

The rest of the session actually went pretty well. The waves were slightly inconsistent and smallish, but the board, and my body performed pretty well. Caught one particularly long right where I shuffled up to the nose twice with some fun carves in between.

Buddy, of course had his usual slash session. He ran leashless and only had to "oosh" his board a couple of times. We made the most of the poor conditions.

Yup, there's nothing like a new board.

Aloha from Paradise,