I just rode a magic board and it spurred me to put down on paper (well actually, on the internet) what makes a magic board and what it feels like to ride one. There is no shortage of hype surrounding the ASP surfers and them going through hundreds of boards per year looking for the “magic” ones. Many people scoff and say it’s a waste, that they’re spoiled, or it’s bad for the environment.
Once you ride a magic board, you immediately understand the reason for the search. That day you ride magic, you also realize that boards can also be “good”, and others can be total “duds”, and that’s OK. Many times your dud might be someone else’s magic board due to difference in size, style and ability. But once you ride magic, it puts everything else in perspective and you realize that no matter how many times and in how many different conditions you try a board you don’t like, it’s never going to instantly turn into a magic board or even a good board.
It’s funny…..I’ve owned literally hundreds of boards in my life and when I sit back and try and remember the “magic” ones, they all come back to me right away; the design, size, color, most of the dimensions, how they rode and why they were “magic”. I remember piecing every one of them back together and even in their dinged, yellowed, buckled state, they still had it over any other board in my quiver. How did I get each of the magic boards? What’s the secret to scoring your perfect sled? There’s no proven formula and you never know where the magic will be delivered from next. I got a few of them used, a few of them off the rack new, a few custom. I even took one as payment on a past-due debt owed to me.
So how do you identify magic? How about a good board or even a dud? With all these sensations fresh in my mind, here’s a rundown that sums it up:
How to identify a Magic Board:
– Your very first session on it, you realize the board is incredibly good.
– You don’t have to adjust your style at all. The board compliments your style and allows you to never think about it while you are surfing.
– You surf better than you ever have, many times the very first session. This board is faster, turns better and leaves turns with more speed. This board has secret speed and spring your others don’t.
– You don’t want to leave the water! You surf yourself senseless on this magic board doing your best drops, turns, barrels, etc. Even when totally exhausted, even the wipeouts feel better on this board.
What should you do with a magic board?
Hold onto this board for life. Sell your TV before you sell this board. You can always watch TV at a bar, you never know where your next magic board will come from….
How to Identify a Good Board:
– This board is the right design, volume and dimensions for the surfing you are looking to tackle. It may not feel like magic out of the bag, but it feels better after each surf and you like it.
– You have great surfs, good surfs and ok surfs on this board. It gives you highlights of excellence, like maybe your best turn or barrel of the year, but it also leaves you frustrated sometimes and surfing ‘til way past dark to make sure you get a good last wave after you pooched three in a row.
– You take this board to the beach every day, the good days, the bad days, and even on your favorite surf trips.
– You can get on other boards and ride them just as well. When push comes to shove, you would sell this board.
What to do with a good board:
Hold onto this board until it is time to sell it, either because it’s on its last legs, or you like something newer or better. Even good boards are sometimes hard to come by until you pair yourself with the right shop/shaper that can match you with the proper equipment.
How to Identify a “Dud” Board:
– You’re not stoked with the board after the first surf.
– You try the board in different conditions and with different fin set-ups and it continues to disappoint you.
– You find yourself having more fun body surfing than riding this board. You know it sucks but you can’t come to grips with it sucking because you dropped $700 bones on it. You would never take this board on a surf trip.
– You keep surfing it all year, wrecking a good portion of your sessions, hoping someday that it will magically start working. It never does and in the end you end up selling it for a portion of what you could have because it’s covered in heel dents and fist marks.
What to do with a dud:
Try this board for a few days, making sure you give it a fair chance in different conditions and with different fin set ups. I’ve switched fins on one of my favorite boards of all time and turned it into a board I hated and would have sold after the first day – the reverse of that could turn your dud into a magic board. But once you give it the college try and nothing is working, give up and get out of it. Life is short and riding bad boards doesn’t save you any money, it just makes you an angry, frustrated person….And what fun is that?
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