Well, I don’t know about you BUT I’m ready to put away my full suites and put on a spring suit! Although the water isn’t quite warm enough to go out for a long surf the freedom could be worth it. Even though the days are starting to warm up and stay light longer, the California wind can be a spoiler. If you don’t have a springer not to worry as they cost far less than a full suit and can be used for a wider variety of surf sports.
Let’s take a look at some of these other surf sports:
- Stand up paddle boards AKA SUP’s
- Body surfing
- Skim boarding
If you haven’t clicked me off yet at the mere mention of SUP’s than here is something to ponder. With any type of wave riding equipment it’s the operator and not the ridden object that can cause problems. Having recently returned from Fiji where I spent some quality time on the flat days paddling around Tavarua on a SUP with Rusty and my pal Jard, my opinion on them has changed some.
The most obvious benefit from riding one is the physical work out that you get. No matter how hard you surf you still are using only certain muscles of your body. On a SUP not only are those same muscles getting a work out, so are a bunch more that you might not have known that you even had. My stoke was just the basic feel of moving through the ocean and looking at it from another point of view, literally.
I feel that from the new perspective it helped my regular surfing by increasing my wave knowledge and over all balance sensation. That being said, the view looking down into clear water and seeing the multi colored fish and reefs was a real visual bonus. I did ride a few micro rights for a couple of hundred yards which was fun, BUT I’m not ready to put away my normal board just yet. Of course if the surf remains as bad as it has been for the last nine or ten months I could change my mind!
Now, body surfing has always been a blast! For most surfers that was how you first learned how to ride waves and survive some serious poundings. If you like the freedom of not wearing a GOON CORD (unless it’s a matter of life or board) like I do, you still are body surfing regularly to fetch your board after a minor or major miscalculation on the prior wave.
When I intend to body surf I will put on a set of fins and hit the waves in stealth mode. By this I mean that you can slide in and out of crowds and pick and choose all the little corners and bowls you could ever want.
Some one drops in on you no problem. With the flick of your fins you’re out the back of that wave and setting your self up for the next one. And how many times have you been nearly or actually been hit while paddling out by some joker trying to impress you with his version of a Dorian tube ride or a Slayter cut back.
When it’s just you and your fins you should be able to duck under these clowns with little to no effort at all. No problem with melting wax or a bulky board to load in and out of a car. Just slide a pair of fins on the handle bars of your beach cruiser and peddle your way down for a go out.
Have I saved the best for last? Not really. Although I have ridden a skim board before, it was back in the days when I still had long hair and ate at fast food restaurants. I have no need to go back down that sandy and painful road again.
It is fun though to watch people crash and burn at your local beach break. Or if you up in Laguna Beach, track down that skim board crew and blow your mind on the moves and madness that these guys possess.
Now that I’ve clued you in on other ways to enjoy riding waves, give it a try! Oh by the way, as much as you might love to stand up surf, the above forms of riding waves are equally as pleasurable to those who choose enjoy the ocean in their own ways. Cut them some slack huh!