After a little hiatus I am back. Summer is coming quick and what does every surfer want when the weather turns sunny and the water breaks the 50 degree mark? A new board. Honestly, surfers always want a new board. It is a bit like a disease. We walk into a surf shop, see all those gleaming new boards, with the latest, hot shape and our mouths start to salivate and our spouses start to get nervous because they know that they can either relent and allow a new board purchase or suffer hearing about that shape endlessly until they do relent. But make sure you don't just buy a board because it looks good. You want a board that fits you--your style, your experience and maybe most important, your level of surfing. The wrong board can make an enjoyable session miserable, while the right board can make you dream of more waves and water time. So with that in mind, let's revisit what you should be looking for in your new board. This time, let's focus on the outline of the board.
The outline of the board is set up so that it is both user friendly (for the average surfer) and yet able to turn on a dime and go vertical for those that want a bit more performance. The outline has several key features: first, the round nose and increased volume up front. The beauty of this outline feature is paddle power. This board will literally catch anything and catch it early. If there is one underrated aspect of a surfboard, it is how early it gets you into a wave. Ever have one of those sessions where you seem to be standing up on the edge of a cliff every time you catch a wave. This results in a few airdrops that you make, but generally it ends up being a frustrating day of pearling and going over the falls. This is typical of bigger days in Jersey. The reason is that you can't catch the wave early enough. You could paddle harder but if your board isn't right, even that won't matter. Make life a little easier and get yourself a board that lends itself to getting in early.
If you look at the other end of the Bandito it has another great feature--a winged tail that pulls in the outline and ends in a nice thumb tail. Now the winged tail is going to release the water from the board, meaning less contact with the water, but it also gives you a great pivot point and less surface area so you get maneuverability. Now think about this, you have a board with a wide front for paddle power but a tail that provides release and maneuverability. This may be the perfect shape. It allows you to catch the wave early, but smack that lip when needed. And this board is versatile--from knee high to head high or bigger--this board just flat out works.
So when going to buy that new board for those warm summer waves, pay attention to the outline. What you need in your board depends on how you want it to perform and even more important, how you are able to surf it. We are not all young, hot rippers--but we are all still surfers. So remember, surf for fun!