– stripping surfing back down to its most elemental form

Come Again: green machine one year in

Today’s post is about longevity and the concept of quality in craftsmanship. There is an added benefit when acquiring a tool that is well made to last for years of use. That benefit is familiarity. ricksfish3.jpgWhen we use something over and over again, and it is a tool that by design fits our needs and temperament proper, then we develop a very close understanding to the working of said object and after a while we can master it.

Such is the case with a well-made custom surfboard. In my case I am referring to my year old Tom Neilson Shapes “Flying Floatey Fish” – as Tom dubs them. This board being the second one of its design that I have owned. The first one I sold prematurely in order to help fund a cross country move a few years ago. But the current green machine was made specifically for my needs in the Canadian Maritimes. And so far, it has withstood the test of time with little to no scaring and many hours in the water.

Rick’s Flying Floatey FishA year ago I had this to say:

“Surfboard fit is not a mystery. I recently got a new board shaped. I called my shaper and talked to him briefly about what kind of surfing I wanted to do. I was interested in catching waves and having speed above manoeuvrability. I wanted to focus more on making sections and catching waves than top to bottom surfing. He suggested a plan shape. Next I told him how much I weighed (and I was honest) and that most of the year I wear a 6mm suit with 7mm mitts and booties. I sent my down payment and the shaping began.”

And the prognosis? Well I’m an average surfer at best. But having a board that is built for my needs has had a tremendous impact in both my skill level and wave count. So much so that that two of my friends have recently ordered their own Neilson fishes. So while I have not mastered my green machine yet, I have come to know it’s curves, it’s place under my chest as I paddle, its ability to take off late, its arc in turns going backside, its range of wave preference, and most of all its feel. Rick’s Flying Floatey FishGetting a feel for a board is so important, although most could agree on this matter, few could be articulate about it — including yours truly.

So if you’re in the market for a new board consider a handmade and hand glassed EPS and Epoxy construction board. Talk to your local shaper about your needs and wants in your surfing and take the risk of trying something new. But remember, unless you’re a “freak,” expect that any new board will take a little getting used to and in time will pay off in smiles and maybe even a little cover-up.

• Category: board construction

5 Responses »

  1. Nice.

  2. Its great to see people sticking up for their local shapers. One of my favorite things as a kid was when we would stop at our local surf shop (Orchidland Surfboards) to shoot the breeze with owner/shaper Stan. Looking around at all the boards, watching the tv with videos playing, the posters on the wall, some signed (Ken Bradshaw, Mark Foo) and the SMELL of boards being made in the back. Yeah, I know, not the healthiest thing in the world, but man, anytime I smell a hint of resin it takes me back! Sometimes its not so easy to find those local shapers, but it is always worth the search. Find them, ask them, support them!

  3. I agree about supporting local shapers almost a no brainer considering thier knowledge on local conditions. Not to mention from an environmental perspective if u consider carbon footprints. Where I’m at there’s so much talent its always funny to hear about these guys ordering boards from down south.

  4. What about it’s durability? Does it have the deck dents that are typically the first leaks in my boards? Has it survived and crashes? either dry land or water borne colisions? I was my green to last.

  5. Glass,

    It’s funny that I forgot to mention durability. The board has a few minimal dents on the deck but as I said, minimal. I’ve hit rocks a few times on the inside and there’s a visible scar ont the bottom but it did not push into the foam nor did it penetrate the glass.

    As for damage outside of the water, I am super careful with my boards. I always transport boards in a board bag, put them inside the car when possible (instead of on the roof) and have nice storage racks in the basement. This board should last me at least five or six years in good shape.