On Saturday, I picked up my new 7’11” Vaquero hull surfboard at Marc Andreini’s house in Half Moon Bay. It is beautiful, perfectly foiled with an aqua blue resin tint.
This is a report from my first session on the new board. First, I really love the ride. It is going to take me a little time to dial it in though. Displacement hulls are just a little different.
Yesterday I went out at 38th at dawn. The conditions were not ideal there but I wanted to start on a friendly wave and there was a big swell. Unfortunately, with the tide and swell up, the waves were kind of mixed up. Also there was a really strong current so you needed to keep paddling just to keep in place. Since I’m used to paddling a flatter, longer board, this took a little getting used to.
On to the rides. Given the conditions, I was only able to catch 5 waves. On the first two, I popped up too far back and the board squirted out from under me. Since I’m used to a long board, I was sighting my stance from the front and therefore, too far back. On the third wave, I overcompensated and pearled in the drop. Getting up felt a little like popping up on a round snow saucer sled where it curves up in every direction. If you are a little off, it squirts out from under you.
So the next strategy was to just ride a few waves on my belly like a body board just to get a feel for how the board rides in the pocket of a wave. That went pretty well and I gave me a better feel for it. Although, belly rides don’t really count in the wave tally.
Then I caught a good outside wave of about 4.5ft!. After some slight adjustments going down the line, I found the sweet spot. The board felt so butter smooth that I was a little surprised. It almost felt like there was no resistance at all. I tried a couple of easy turns up and down the face as I was going down the line and it was super responsive, almost as if I just looked where I want to go and the board went there. Feeling good, and getting a little in front of the wave, I tried a full cutback and with almost no effort turned to head backside into the wave. Then I did another effortless full turn back into the wave and rode it almost to the stairs. The cutback and full turn were almost effortless – once I found that sweet spot.
So, even though it wasn’t a great day, that one wave is what will stick. I’m not sure I can accurately describe the experience of one-ness with the board and the waveI was feeling on that wave. It was a little surprising because it felt so smooth and intuitive.
Now I just need to practice, practice practice until finding that sweet spot feels as natural as my long boards do today.