Friday, June 19, 2009
columnated ruins domino
i remember my first yancy spencer seeker: 6'10" bright orange w/green skeg, soft rails & that huge pointed upturned nose. the nose was the big new feature on the seekers, the more radical the upturn, the cooler it was. the whole idea of the model was that it was supposed to be addressing the specific nature of gulf coast waves, mushy sandbar driven smaller waves. whether it was better in those kinds of waves than walker's beautiful red challenger egg, i can't say. it was mine & i thought i looked pretty damned cool. i pretty much learned to surf on it. at some point it was stolen from philip's carport. ted scaritt told me that he thought he'd seen it once over in gulf shores alabama. one way or another, surfboards could definitely teach you about impermanence.
so i read the chron piece w/great interest. i haven't surfed in close to 20 years at this point. broken ribs & two foot surgeries make me even more awkward than i was back in the day of shooting the curl & hanging ten. surfing has become a global sport. when philip talked me into getting a wetsuit to surf during the winter in p'cola there was at most 50 surfers doing that at the time. watching endless summer part2 the other night, bud browne quoted stats about how many countries now had regular surf communities & it was astonishing. they surf in alaska now, the great lakes, washington state. i can't even get my mind around surfing in fiji or england or sweden(that's right, philip could if he would...).
i'm actually amazed that someone hasn't come up w/something like these boards a while back. like meyerhoffer says in the article, surfers tend to be conservative. i'm not so sure about that. we sure jumped on those "new" seekers way back when but he can certainly point to the lack of any radical design innovations over the last 20 years. to be truthful, there has been some(mostly over the actual material...lighter but stronger...that kind of thing)innovation but nothing like these designs. they do have a platypus shape but the reviews seem to indicate they're moving in the right direction. the fact that they're modular(able to be broken down into a smaller board)is pretty interesting.
when ann & i were on the north shore & fortunate to see a surprize early summer swell come in, we were sitting at the public beach at haleiwa watching the surfers. a family of 6 came down onto the beach, dad & mom & children of ages ranging from early teens to maybe 6yo. each of them had a board. the 6yo's board couldn't have been longer than 4ft. we watched them all paddle out(separately)& start catching waves. i felt reaffirmed in my personal choice of participatory sport. it is truly a childen's song.