So you want to start surfing, huh? And you don’t know what sizes, or type of board to buy, do you? Well, there are a few eye opening realities that you should learn before you go and blow your paycheck.
Shorter isn’t better.
I know you want to go out there and slash it like Slater, but you have to walk before you can run. Those short little rockets the pros are throwing around are not good tools to help build your skills. A shorter board, in the beginning, will be hard to balance on, and even harder to paddle out. You’re not going to do much learning if your arms get too tired to even get you out into the water. So, when choosing, try to look past the little guys, and start looking up, at boards taller than yourself.
Fish are Friends.
Ya, the fish boards look a little heftier than a shortboard, but don’t let them fool you. You can definitely shred a fish. The whole idea behind the fish is stability. The added width and thickness help to keep you afloat, and riding. Fish boards also catch waves easier, and are easier to paddle. This is because of the smaller amount of rocker on the underside of the board, which allows for more speed on smaller waves. And a great benefit to a fish is that they ride extremely well in mushy, smaller waves. This means that even when there is little swell, you can still get out there and get some. This is when the learning will take place, and that is the goal.
Slow, Wide, Turns – Longboards
Though it is definitely easier to learn than a short board, a longboard might fight you once you get popping up and riding in the bag. Longboards are made for larger waves, and larger riders, but can be ridden in smaller waves as well. You’ll need this extra weight and experience when trying to turn this classic board. One really nice perk of the longboard, though, is its paddling ease. The longboards touch more of the surface of the water, and give you more momentum, and tend to stay straighter during your paddle. This means you’ll be catching more waves, more often, and that, my friend, is called experience. Chilling out and cruising a longboard would not be a bad first option, seeing as you’ll be falling in the water a lot anyways.
Hybrids, the Cyborg of Boards
In surfing, a hybrid can really apply to any 2 types of boards mixed into one. Yet, when hearing the term hybrid, most of the time, the source is referencing a combination of a fish board, and a shortboard. These boards give you the added stability of the fish, while keeping the maneuverability of shortboards. Another board type that you could consider is the Funboard, which is more of a longboard, fish style mixture. Because these boards have a wide range of styles, you can’t really say how they are going to ride. I would start with the basic board types before jumping on any of these.
Try it, before you buy it.
The only true way to know what type of board will be best for you is to get out into the water with one. Many board shops near the beach will offer rental boards for you to try, for around 15 dollars per hour. This will allow you to switch out and get an idea of how each style feels. Hell, from your feedback, they may even be able to refer you to the perfect board. So get out there and have fun!
The time of year has come again. The air is getting warmer; the plants are filling out; and yes, the ASP World Tour is about to be underway. As die-hard surfers, and hodads alike, make their way to Queensland, Australia, to see the best surfers known, one question is on everyone’s mind. Who is going to take the Gold Coast this year in the Quicksilver Pro?
The man most have their eyes on is veteran surfer, Taj Burrow. This Aussie native slashed, snapped, and carved his way to the top of the podium last year, but not easily. Right on TB’s fin was the young, but seasoned, Adriano de Souza, with his quick turns and stylish aerials. This Brazilian ripped his way through round after round of great natives, such as Josh Kerr and Owen Wright, making his way all the way to finals, only to be defeated by Burrow. But this loss was nothing new to Souza.
This most recent placement may have been nothing but salt on the wound for Souza, previously knowing what it is like to be bumped down by the Australian OG. In the last three years, Tb has consistently managed to knock Adriano off the bracket, and onto the beach. Taj was the better of the match in the quarterfinals in 2010, the fifth round in 2011, and for the number one spot in 2012. Also, two out of the last three years, the Gold Coast was ran by Taj, with the exception of 2011, when, the Legend himself, Kelly Slater, charged into first. Now put yourself in his shoes; being beaten by the same person, THREE YEARS IN A ROW! Wouldn’t you want a bit of revenge?
Obviously, we cannot exclude some of the other great surfers in the line up. Every rider in the Association of Surfing Professionals has a chance to win, in every event, in any country’s waters. One man, or kid, to watch is the up and coming John John Florence. Taking sporadic wins here and there within all leagues of the ASP, this youth has what it takes to air his way to the podium. With his new, fast, aggressive style of surfing, John John’s ambition may prove itself on the Gold Coast. And lets not forget the other top dingos in the game, such as Mick Fanning,
Julian Wilson, and Joel Parkinson. Let’s be certain that all of these keg pumpers are all drooling to take the first bite of the season’s events, and will not be easily tamed.
With Adriano de Souza’s surfing being somewhat like Scar to Taj Burrow’s Mufasa, some wonder if he will fall to the stereotype of other Brazilian surfers, and let his aggression push the Aussies out of the way. Or will Souza remain the calm and collected professional that he truly deserves to be seen as? Either way, one great fact remains. The ASP World Tour is closing in, and another great season has begun. Go catch your barrel.
We love to surf as much as humanly possible, but winter conditions and water temps can make a surfer think twice about stripping down to pull on that wetsuit and jump in the ocean. The sky is darker, the winds are stronger and the water temps hover in the 50’s- not exactly your ideal day at the beach, but there are benefits to pumping yourself up and paddling out. Next time you think you’d rather enjoy your coffee and other creature comforts than go surf, consider these five reasons to get suited and catch some winter waves.
1. Cold water temps actually help boot your immune system, and train your immune system to have better reaction time for when you need to fight the flu.
2. The waves are better and the lineups are less crowded. Northwest swells coming down from Alaska hit the west coast during the fall and wintertime for bigger waves. Colder water also keeps the faint of heart away and deters tourists from renting their soft tops and giving it a go.
3. Cold water can improve your mood (no, really) it releases endorphins which will have you feeling good while you’re in the water and give you that relaxed mood post-session. (It’s also proven to enhance your libido!)
4. Surfing in colder water improves your fitness, burning twice as many calories as paddling in comfortably warm water temps would.
5. You won’t find yourself in that irritable I-haven’t-surfed-in-a-while mood all winter, which your friends, family and significant other will thank you for.]]>
Winter might seem like a strange time to talk about sunscreen, but if you’ve ever gotten a wetsuit tan in January you know
that the sun means business year-round—and it’s sneakier in the winter, because most of us don’t think to apply sunscreen after we pull on a wetsuit hood. We here at Jack’s have your skin covered, though, with some surf-specific sunscreens.
Standard waterproof sunscreens don’t always cut it for surfing, for a couple of reasons. First, even water-proof sunscreens tend to wear off after an hour or two in the water. Second—and even more annoying—is that applying normal liquid sunscreen leaves your hands slippery, and it’s a terrible feeling to be duckdiving the first wave of a big set and have your board slip out from under you.
That’s why a lot of surfers use stick-style sun screen, like Sun Bum SPF30 Sunscreen Face Stick. It’s high-quality sunscreen that will last an entire session, and you don’t have to get it all over your hands while you apply it. Plus, the stick limits spills and prevents messes (just make sure to keep it out of direct heat).
Zinc oxide is also another great bet for surfers. We carry Sun Bum SPF 50 Zinc Oxide along with Zinca Colored
Nosecoat Sun Block. The Zinca block works great to cover your nose, and the Sun Bum will give your whole face great protection from the sun no matter the time of year.]]>
One of the biggest decisions in picking gloves is how many finger slots you want—that is, whether you want mitten-style gloves, gloves where all your fingers are separate, or something in between. If you’re surfing somewhere moderately warm—somewhere you typically wear a 3/2 wetsuit—then a standard five-fingered glove like the Quicksilver Ignite will do the trick. If you typically wear a thicker wetsuit, lobster-style gloves, like the West 2 Finger Mitten, provide a nice compromise between warmth and flexibility. And for those of you dodging ice in the lineup, we carry full mittens like the Rip Curl Flash Bomb 7/5.
Thickness isn’t quite as important with gloves as it is with wetsuits, but it’s still important to consider. In general, it’s better to err on the side of getting a thicker glove. Having that extra neoprene won’t really affect your performance when you’re paddling or standing up or grabbing rail in the barrel, and it’ll keep your hands warmer so you can keep surfing longer.]]>
It’s the heart of winter right now, and if you’re a parent you’ll know that it’s one of the toughest times of year to keep kids active and entertained. Even if you live here in Southern California, it can still be rainy or cold for days at a time. It probably won’t surprise you that we think surfing is one of the best ways to get outside with your kids in the winter. Even when the sky’s a bit grey and drizzly and there’s a bit of wind, it’s likely that you can find some kid-friendly waves close to home.
With a good wetsuit, kids can stay in the water just as long in the winter as in the summer. Kids are particularly prone to colder water temperatures, so when the water temps drop or the wind starts blowing, it’s crucial that they have a quality wetsuit that fits them well.
We often recommend the Kids Body Glove Pr1me 4/3 CZ Fullsuit. This also comes in a 3/2, but the extra neoprene in the 4/3 keeps kids warm even during the heart of winter. And since most kids have flexibility and energy to spare, the added thickness won’t hinder their paddling or surfing.
We also carry XCel’s extensive line of kids’ wetsuits. If you’re looking for a budget option, the XCel SLX Offset
3/2 Fullsuit is a great value. Or if your kid is surfing some northern beach—or is just extra-sensitive to the cold—the Kids’ Xcel Infiniti X-Zip2 5/4 Hooded Fullsuit is one of the best kids hooded coldwater wetsuits you can get.
When you’re picking out a wetsuit for a child, it’s important to get a good fit. We have an extensive sizing charton our wetsuit, so if you measure your child beforehand you can make sure that the wetsuit will be a perfect fit.]]>
New Cast of Characters
There are a few new rookies on tour for 2013. Sebastien Zietz is in after tearing through the Vans Triple Crown on his home court. Nat Young’s in via solid performances at Prime and Six Star events. Taylor Knox retired with style. Patrick Gudauskas, Yadin Nicol, and Heitor Alves are all relegated to alternate positions for the year (which means they stand a good chance of getting into a few events). We’ll miss seeing some of these guys at every event, but we’re excited to see how guys like Sebastian and Nat fare against the current top pros.
Sophomore Season for Last Year’s Rookie Class
Along with that, 2013 should see last year’s rookies—John John, Gabriel Medina, Kolohe Andino—hitting their stride on tour. For Kolohe, that might mean making the final series of a few events. For John John and Gabriel—well, no one would be that shocked if either of those guys won the world title next year.
Parko, Kelly, and Mick
For a few years there it seemed like Parko might go down as one of the best competitive surfers to never win a world title. But in 2012 he put together one of the most consistent seasons in recent memory, capped with that victory at surfing’s center court, Pipeline. And Kelly and Mick gave Parko a good challenge throughout. With all three of these guys still somehow at the peak of their powers, and with one of the best crops of young tour surfers we’ve ever seen, the 2013 World Tour might be even better than last year’s—and we don’t have to wait long to see it.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge proponent of shaper loyalty and my shaper, Jeremy Covington (Surfboards by Jeremy), surfs like I do and because of that he has shaped my last five or six boards. But if I ever get the inclination to charge big waves I will turn to a shaper who has experience shaping big wave guns. Try to do more than just know your shaper, but surf with your shaper. Not only will you be stoked and be able to give immediate feedback as to what works and doesn’t work, but he will be stoked to see the rails, the tail, the rocker, the nose and, most importantly, your surfing in action.
If you don’t have a relationship with your shaper at least know how they surf. I don’t know Matt Biolas from …Lost surfboards but I see him at Lowers enough to know how he surfs. If you don’t live near your shaper at least know where your shaper is from. Shapers shape what they know, some know point breaks so their boards are better suited for that type of wave, some shapers surf heavy barrels and their boards will typically be better suited for fat barrels…of course they will be able to shape a board for other conditions but it won’t be familiar or comfortable.
The guys on tour practice this very idea. A lot of the guys switch shapers as the tour travels around the globe because they know that the best boards are going to come from the guys who know the wave best. So next time you head into Jack’s surf shop or order your next board from your trusty shaper, make sure to do your research because you’ll have more peace of mind when the times come to put the money down.]]>
For people who don’t surf, and for a few who do, sharks are the most common topic of conversation when talking about the ocean. Unfortunately, sharks and shark attacks have been in the news a lot lately with two attacks on surfers in Northern California a couple weeks ago and two attacks on divers on the same day in Hawaii. This got me to thinking about what kinds of shark repellents are on the market today and why surfers don’t use them. After Google searching “shark repellents for surfers” and sifting through heaps of strange inventions I have taken it upon myself to compile a list of my most noteworthy findings.
Firstly, the SURF7 by SharkShield (www.sharkshield.com) is an eight foot long antenna that attaches to the tail of a board and emits a protective electrical field. The electrical field is detected through the shark’s sensory receptors and deters them from the area, in theory. The SURF7, besides most likely being absurdly frustrating while tangling your leash and slowing you down, will also put a pretty substantial dent in your wallet. The SURF7 costs a smooth $650.00, but if it gives you peace of mind, maybe it’s worth it.
My second find was the Shark Camo (www.sharkcamo.com). It’s pretty much a big sticker that goes on the bottom of your board to resemble certain fish species that predatory sharks do not eat. This product is way more convenient than the SURF7 and substantially cheaper at an easy $49.95 for short boards, $74.95 for longboards, and $99.95 for SUPs but again, if you believe the evidence then it’s a small price to pay for serenity.
There are a plethora of other repellents such as wetsuits with certain designs, odorous aerosol sprays and anklets that work similarly to the SURF7, but it doesn’t answer the heart of the question: Why don’t surfers use them? Maybe it’s because we understand that the risk of being attacked is exceptionally rare, (1 in every 11.5 million) or maybe we’re just stubborn and think it will never happen to us, but either way I can’t foresee a barrage of shark repellents making their way into the lineups anytime soon]]>
The time is finally here for big north swells, offshore winds and awkwardly tan faces…it’s winter! Well, to be completely factual winter does not officially begin until December 22nd, just in time for Santa Claus to bring us new wetsuits, we wish we had two months earlier, new booties that we always try to get out of wearing and cold water wax with its perfect holiday fragrance. But for surfers, winter starts much sooner than the winter solstice.
The holiday season for surfers starts as soon as the kids go back to the classroom, as soon as the summer time shredders retreat inland and those who “don’t do cold water” hibernate until the summer months. “Winter” is the best time to be a surfer in Southern California.
It’s that magical time of year when spots in Ventura, Santa Barbara and Orange County finally start to work, and the number of electric blue soft-top surfboards littering the lineups starts to diminish.
Winter is the time of year when the beach breaks that have been walled up all summer long finally start to take shape as peaky barreling right handers. And the rain brings forth bittersweet feelings of polluted water with the hopes of great sandbars.
But winter is not so sweet for everyone. For those trapped inside of a classroom (or office) who can only watch a flag blow straight offshore, who know the tide is low and there’s swell in the water…winter sucks.