If you’re a Surfer or wish to be a surfer some day, the first thing that you need to know is that all surfboards won’t engender those visionary nose rides, hits, hacks, carves, and aerials on that tasty wish list of yours. You’ll need a “real” surfboard for that…
Last weekend I paddled out at one of our local spots for a test ride on my new “Poker Chip”; the most recent addition to my quiver. My first takeoff was so automatic and natural that I’d swear it was one of my old whips; each ride after, being a repeat celebration. The uniqueness of this first ride was that the board’s dimensions were completely different from any of my other boards; a completely new design and yet it new me!
The new shape was specifically for me, bareback, small surf, Virginia Beach. Not the surf I prefer but hey… it’s home. I couldn’t help feeling proud. No doubt, I looked insane out there with my overly stoked grin; taking off on every little bump in site… fun has that affect us sometimes.
I’ve been very fortunate, having ridden custom shapes from a considerable number of surfboard manufacturers over the last 25 years. I now know the difference between a “real” surfboard and junk. My opinion; the professionals in the custom surfboard manufacturing industry don’t get nearly the credit they deserve. My quiver these days is conservative, as I have grown to appreciate high quality. I don’t mean to imply that my boards are expensive, just well appointed. Currently my three main boards are an Ultralite “Phantom” shaped by Rob Kamp – owner of Ultralite Surfboards in Virginia Beach, a Wave Riding Vehicles “Slayer” shaped by Bob Yinger, and the newest expression in my quiver; a Savage “Poker Chip” shaped by Shawn O’Donnell, co-owner of Savage Surfboards in Wilmington North Carolina. Each of these boards has been shaped for specific wave conditions, surfing style, and body weight i.e summer/winter (full suit and a couple extra lbs requiring a bit more board volume). Each one is fully dialed in and each one is amazing to ride.
These exceptional board builders are serious about taking every pilot to his or her ultimate performance level, board by board. What I mean is; your boards should change as you grow in skill and creativity. Your shapers’ know this, and are always prepared to masterfully craft your next mind blowing whip when the time is right. They not only shape the best board for your needs, they will stand behind it, and are only a phone call away. Talk is cheap; it all comes down to performance. Custom shaped boards designed and manufactured by experienced local professionals deliver 100% results. Their understanding of local beaches, tides, swell types and directions, wind factors, and surfing maneuvers give them an unmatched edge over “knock off” (mass production) board manufacturers. Those companies don’t know you and aren’t familiar with your local beaches; their standardized generic shapes don’t come close to local custom board designs. Hands down, no contest; local custom board manufacturer skills will positively impact your surfing performance more than you could ever imagine. Another great thing about working with local custom manufacturers is their vast combined knowledge of so many surf breaks, coast to coast and beyond. The more combined years of experience you have shaping for you, the more expertise you have built into your boards for traveling. Chances are your shapers have surfed there and know the conditions well enough to build you the right vehicle for that location. Just sit down, chat with them about your upcoming trip, and together you can select the best attributes to shape into your travel boards; it’s that easy.
Each of my boards provides me the means to express myself over changing conditions and development peaks. I think of it as artistry in motion. When surfing local, you need a board designed by a local manufacturer that understands the “lay of the land” so to speak; the ocean bottom, regional specifics, and typical wave conditions in your region. This is fundamental for shaping a board that will reap the best rides from your home and surrounding breaks. It makes all the difference.
If increasing your skills and having as much fun as possible are on that wish list of yours, reach out to a local shaper/manufacture for your next whip. Check these websites to review the manufacturers I’ve mentioned. Your surfing will thank you 🙂
Aloha, Lee Brinn
Virginia Beach, VA
Virginia Beach, VA