It’s a big commitment to buy a new standup – we’ll discuss that a lot more here soon, I think us paddle surfers are getting ripped off big time. But burdened with that big decision, and the desire to make the right one, I’m riding all of my old boards to really dial in what I like and dislike.
With each board that I’m cycling through I’m noticing something new I hadn’t before. I’m not sure if it’s that I’m more open now with the practice of journaling and consciously surfing, or that I’m six months better, or, maybe, that I’ve just forgotten how some boards feel. But with each new cycle on the old boards I’m learning.
Take for instance Friday night. It was the last night of coaching Trevor and Jim and we snuck out for a sunset session. The sunset stole the show, but the waves were on point too. I rode the old 7.4 JP. I loved that board for a year, but moved away because she just doesn’t do rail turns. Or, as I learned on Friday night, at least not how I think boards are supposed to do rail turns.
The surf was overhead with a good amount of energy. My first 3 waves I was slipping off the bottom and check turning off the lip. Paddling back out after that third wave I gave up on the session. Was actually lecturing myself about testing boards I knew wouldn’t work and ruining good surf. After a few moments of self-berating, I decided to explore the board and surf it differently.
I wanted to see if the board could do rail turns. Mind you, this is a board I surfed every day for a year – you’d think I’d know it. But after a few more waves and trying different types of turns in different places on the board, I found that you can muster a pretty good cutback by having the board center weighted and using the center rocker to drive the turn.
The problem with driving a rail turn from the tail on the 7.4 JP is that the board is 27 inches wide and the tail is really pulled in, which is great for hitting the lip. But, if your trying to use the tail rocker to drive a rail turn, you’ll slide out because that pulled in tail won’t hold the turn. It will hold if you place that turn board center because there’s enough rail in the water.
It’s not the prettiest turn, I’m sure, but she will do it. And It’s got me all fired up to try it out on some of my other boards that I think don’t turn. It’s probably not the boards, just my lack of understanding on how they should be surfed.
I think we can extrapolate this lesson to life. How often do we think something isn’t possible when we’re just approaching the problem in the wrong way. And we’re too stubborn and set in our ways to step back and try something new.