The Joy of “Beginner” Surfboards

The Costco Wavestorm surfboard celebrated it’s tenth year in 2016. When it came out, the 99-dollar eight-foot soft board started a panic in the surf shops – “Cheap boards made by people that have never seen an ocean”.

Having surfed all kinds of boards in my past fifty years, I remember the first time I rode a Wavestorm. It was another crappy day at Bolsa Chica (the softer cousin of Huntington Beach:). I paddled out with my teenage son and his friend, and I recall feeling silly, but happy-silly; Not only was I surfing with my kid, which is always fun, but we were on ‘kook boards’, giving us license to be as stupid as we wanted. I was giddy.

And that’s what surfing should be. We’ve gotten so taken-in by the pro tour, by the snaps and airs, by the pressure to PERFORM, that some of us have lost surfings’ grand purpose: FUN. It’s often said, the best surfer is the one having the most fun.

I’m sure I’d feel different if I lived on the point at Jeffrey’s Bay, but here in HB, soft boards have been a good insurance policy – they’re China’s answer to crap conditions. My routine quiver in my car now is my 6’0 Sci-Fi, and the 8 foot Costco mush-buster. This past year I’ve ridden the soft board more times than not. And it never disappoints. I can paddle fast, catch anything, and drop face-first on the deck without bruising. I’ve taken a real liking to the comfort of that soft deck. What’s that? Your Wave Storm has a ding? Patch it with a hot glue gun!

I know that if I took things seriously and paddled out on my 6’0, more times than not I’ll come back frustrated. (Spring is the time of year that I like to tell surfers that you don’t need a new board; You need a plane ticket : ).

And not only are they $99, but it’s Costco, baby: If you’re conscience allows, you can take them back for a refund at the end of summer. They aren’t high performance – they spin-out if you put them on edge, and I have yet to complete a good floater. BUT, They don’t need wax, paddle like a boat, and you can drop them on the pavement. Sitting in the middle of a vicious pack NObody expects anything from the ‘kook on the Wavestorm’; You can sucker-punch the whole crowd. If you run over your best friend he’ll come up laughing. If you eat shit into closed-out shorepound you won’t come up with a concussion or fin gash.

Sometimes a bit of humility pays off.

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