– stripping surfing back down to its most elemental form

2 board quiver?

Recently, I came across an interesting post on the Nau blog regarding the Viridian Design project by Bruce Sterling (Wired Magazine blogger and futurist). Sterling’s basic premise is that we need to understand our relationships to the objects in our lives and how that relates to sustainability. Simple concepts to live by but much harder to actually implement.

This concept followed nicely to a conversation Ricardo and I have been having lately about paring down our quivers to just the basics. Not necessarily giving up functionality but evaluating the pros and cons of each surfboard and pulling those elements into the smallest possible workable quiver. One board seems to just be too limiting, not being able to do anything extremely well but ridable in most anything. Two boards would seem to be the minimum while still covering the biggest range of surf and not sacrificing performance.

2 board Quiver

I took in three more boards to store for a friend and that required building some more rack space. This brings the total boards in the garage to eleven. I almost have to agree with my wife, that this is getting to be pretty ridiculous. Out of these eleven boards four see the water on a regular basis and of those there is a bit of overlap between each and those could be easily paired down to three boards. But what would it take to simplify it down to a solid workable two board quiver? The 5’10” Floatey Fish and 6’4″ would be the logical pairing, covering anything from knee high to double overhead – it would work for 90% of the waves I ride. The rest are little used, ridden only a handful of times a year. The mini-gun is still essential for those days when it’s needed but I think it saw the water only twice in 2008. The 5’10” paddles as well if not better than the mini-gun and holds well with the quad setup, so it could step in for the mini-gun, although maybe not ideal.

The two board quiver concept is an idea we’ve been bouncing back and forth as Ricardo has trimmed down his quiver and has gone down to a 5’8″ from a 6’4″, so now the 6’4″ has been made obsolete. This quiver evaluation also brings up another relevant point about progression and handmade boards. As you improve your surfing and ride a variety of boards and find what works and what doesn’t for your own personal style, it’s almost good to have a bit of variety in the quiver to experiment and learn for yourself the nuances of different designs and fin setups then start to narrow those down into ever more refined boards, allowing you to push your limits while maintaining confidence in your equipment.

Just this past weekend Slick Rick got into some 10′ surf on his 5’8″. This revelation made him re-evaluate the two board minimum and question whether one board can fit the bill. Given his location and the setups (mostly points) it likely could handle anything from knee to double overhead. Maybe even just add a longboard for the small summertime points. For me, given the strictly beach break setups, I’d like something a bit bigger to cover more area in drifty peaks and then something small and floatey for summertime. It’s got us thinking though, and makes you look at your quiver in a different light and checking out boards with a whole different perspective.

2 Board Quiver

And how do we tie this all in with the Viridian Design philosophy and sustainability? We’ve been harping on and on over the last two years about seeking simplicity in our lives as well as in our surfing. Leading a simple life can mean consuming less. And consuming less leads to a more sustainable future in terms of resource use. For the surf obsessed, a simple life means more water time. So it makes sense to have one or two surfboards that will allow us the pleasure to slide in any conditions -leading again to a reduction in our personal consumption. Less is more no?

• Category:, social responsibility

14 Responses »

  1. As an underground shaper I have a fairly big quiver. I ride every type of board I make, although I don’t own one of everything at all times. But I have always been looking for the ultimate utility quiver. As I plan to sell my house and buy a 40′ sloop and do some extended cruising, quiver options become more limited by the space involved. I could carry 4-5 boards. And if my partner surfs those boards will have to serve double duty and work for her as well. Then there is always the durability question as well. Travel boards need to be made tougher to last longer when repair or replacement is not an easy option. This affects performance but enhances longevity. So I thought I could narrow it down to 2 boards each and 1 funboard shared. So the 2 boards for me would be the short quad for small wave and the 6’6″ thruster for good days. Giant surf may not be an option. When the nearest doctor could be a 2 day sail away, risking an injury is not prudent. Though I wouldn’t mind tucking a 7+ gunner in somewhere. Also, all fins must be interchangeable, easily replaceable. Leashes and other accessories as well including rash guards, wetsuits etc. Everything has to be pared down to essential utility because space is so limited.
    It is a great question and one I wrestle with daily. I am constantly trying to rid myself of possessions and simplify my life. What can I do without? What must I have to live? And what is needed simply to enhance the quality of life?

  2. where did your eps / bonzer go? I could never take that out of my quiver—I’m down to four and maybe one of them is too close to the favorite right now—–7’8 MC bonzer 5, 8’3″ Wynn bonzer 5 egg, 9’2″ Yater spoon and travel board 8’2″ Patagonia bonzer 5 supersled—-all the 5 fins are EPS/Epoxy and the Yater is one of the last done in clark foam…..I’m old/big and a bonzer-head ;-)

  3. Chuck, 6’4″ could possibly be set up as a bonzer for the ideal board. For a while my 6’2″ bonzer was all that I was riding, but the shape/fin combo didn’t have as much flexibility overall as my 6’4″.

    John, ultimately the boat thing is in the back of my mind as well. Maybe sooner than later given the current economy. The fin setup is something to ponder too. Keep them all consistent. The questions at the end of your comment are great for day to day life. More often than not, most things I own don’t fall into any of those categories.


  4. I can think of a lot worse collections than a quiver of useful boards- like my neighbor’s collection of 5 late model American sedans that drip oil in the street as they gather more rust.

    But I think you made a good point and came up with a good two board quiver. Through most of my surf history one board was it-a basic thruster. I was happy because I did not realize there was really any other option. You rode a thruster or maybe borrowed some dad’s longboard if it was small. But with the open mindedness and diversification of board design over the last decade so many options……

    I would probably just add a 9’6″ log for the sub-waist high days. So Log + Fish + shorty. The log is salvation on those small summer days. Its a different enough to change the approach-clear the mind just stand there and enjoy the glide.

    That said I have 7 boards in the shed (The Wife never goes in the shed!). *Interesting side note: I once came across a thread on one of the forum sites all about hiding boards from your wife. It was a damn funny read, though probably not the best marriage advice.

    -2 logs for the small days, 1 for friends to use.
    -A 6′ fishy-quad. This is the most ridden one and the one that would be saved first if the shed was on fire.
    -3 short boards in the mid 6 ft range one of which is a quad, and one that is beat and kept for sentimental purposes only
    -A vintage 5.5′ twin-keel fish that was a garage sale treasure and makes it out ever so often.

    If it was down to 2 it would be basically be the same as what you left up there. True simplicity would just be riding the alaia plank naked. You haven’t blogged on that one ever???? (meaning the Alaia, not the naked part) Also you seem to have an affinity for yellow?

  5. Ah boards boards boards. I struggle with this so much. In the last two years I’ve been progressing steadily in ability and some of the quiver changes have happened due to a natural growth. I have always (thanks to my father) tried not to love things. But how do you not love surfboards? They are curvy and sensual, they are useful and most importantly they greatly improve yor quality of life (if you use them regularly). Having said that if I got rid of the excess boards in the basement I would be left with:

    5’8″ Stamps quad fish which works from knee high to as big as we get here
    9’6″ single fin log with egg rails a big square tail for summer mini lines

    J I loved your comment by the way.


  6. Luckily my wife doesn’t notice when I add a board here or there. Usually I’m swapping them out so one goes and a new one comes in.

    As for the yellow boards, I always have gotten my boards glassed heavier for durability and by getting them airbrushed yellow you don’t notice the natural yellowing as they age. That mini-gun next to the Alaia in the first shot I got shaped in 1996 (by Bruce Grimes) right before I moved to Colorado. It’s over 10 years old and it looks like a typical 6 month old board with the heel dents. Basically it’s so I don’t feel like my boards look old and want to get rid of them. Something about having boards that look nice and new after years of abuse. The 5’10” quad is almost 5 years old now and you can almost see the black electrical tape on the rails that keeps the rail cracks watertight in the first shot above. Still looks good though and I’ll keep patching it up until it totally dies since it’s like an old friend, familiar and reliable.

    The Alaia, actually just rode that for the first time last week after having it for almost 6 months. I’m intrigued and humbled for sure. That one is pretty ghetto and has rocker which makes it super-hard to catch waves. I can see myself going off on a tangent with that whole thing.


  7. At the risk of offending wave-ready sensibilities, shaper’s livelihoods and the general vibe of the thing, I have always been happy with receiving gifted or used boards and having only a couple in holding.
    There is a freedom there. A freedom from being attached to a specific board or shape or what have you. Sure, it is great to rely on a board I know will make me look good, but it is an equal drag to put energy to it.
    This, I am sure is heresy to some, just plain incomprehensible to others, but the two quiver, used board scenario is not a bad way to go.
    Granted, for some.

  8. Hiya Ras and Dave,
    I just had to drop by and say Happy New Year and Merry Christmas for today (for you… Boxing Day here already) and just thanks for being such good friends and fun guys to hang out with in NY. Truly a great time, and I hope one day we can do it again.

  9. i live in humboldt county, california
    i manage a two board quiver. (although sometimes wishing i had a log and a gun)

    i ride
    a 6’0″ “performance” quad for most days, head high or a bit more. recently it performed well on a little over head and a half. not ideal i suppose, but fast and fun.
    and a 5 9 twin fish with more volume for days under head high or even bigger mushier point surf, this is also fun in knee high peelers in the summertime.

    i pretty sure i don’t need more, just augmentations of the small wave/bigger wave combination.

  10. Good article boys.
    I’ve been down this road many a time. For years I only had a single board then on to a two board quiver. Now my (and my wife’s) quiver has swollen to 5 board (but hey that’s only 2.5 board per person. Right?). All told however I find myself riding two more than the others; a 5’10” Campbell Bros Octafish and a 6’0″ Andreini Vaquero. If I only had those two, I reckon I’d be doing just fine. Except…

  11. 11? Seriously? Whoa! yeah a bit much……..My quiver is 3…the quad fish, the high performance shortie and the longboard. I do not need anything further unless I were to start traveling. I also keep my boards, once dialed for longer than the average surfer. Perhaps I need to sell my high perofmance board (the bat tail quad) and buy one of yours to help you lighten the load……….Keep up the great work guys!

  12. I find this kind of esoteric navel gazing kind of funny. If you were really concerned about your social responsibility or environmental footprint you would just go out and get the perfect 1 board quiver, it’s called a bodyboard, served me well for 15 years in everything from knee high beachbreak to DOH+ points and reefs. standing, drop knee or prone, lots of variation on how you can ride it, no toxic adhesives, very little material by mass, unbreakable and so cheap and easy to travel with.
    I also stand up surf, have a pretty big quiver (7) and make all my own boards (mostly epoxy compsands). Yes I too care about my impact on the earth and try to live pretty simply.
    I generally enjoy the site but sometimes these posts are getting kind of hypocritical
    and often just as image concious as the “surf Industry” mainstream mags.

  13. Dear Mo

    I’m not quite sure what is esoteric about discussing surfboard design on a surf website. Perhaps the post triggered something within you, causing you to lash out at our hypocrisy. And maybe you are right. Maybe we navel gaze from our keyboards and dream about a perfect world where the water is warm, the waves are overhead and barreling and there’s no one out -image conscious though I’m not so sure about. And you may have noticed a lack of advertising on our site, putting us at odds with the “surf Industry” mainstream mags.

    But I digress. As with most of our editorial content, we see surfing as a metaphor for seeking a simpler life. We have come to terms with the fact that our society is based on an unsustainable non-renewable resource system and that there is no way to escape that while living in the modern world. We do not claim to be environmentalist or activists for that matter. We do however attempt to live examined lives and we strive to simplify for the purpose of increasing our quality of life. Much mahalo and by the way we’d love a DIY piece on building a compsand if you’re ever into it.



  14. I could have a one board quiver ( is it still a quiver?) and have. It is a surf mat that Paul Gross made, called a 4th Gear Flyer it works in anything from summer slop to well over my limits, not sure how green it is being nylon, yet it is small packs easy with my fins super easy to travel with.
    I surf stand up sometimes and I picked up one of Fletcher Chouinards boards for when the mood strikes, but if I had to have just one surf vehicle it would be the mat.
    The mat is like what Mo was talking about, simple and fun.
    Cheers Brian