Wednesday, November 15, 2006

To Equalize or Not Equalize

I got the following comment from one of the WavLOG readers. First I want to thank you for writing. I am always eager to provide what I know, if not the right answer. As always, you'd want to be very skeptical of any single answer and seek many others. Somewhere in there is the truth.

Your question was the following.

I've been reading your blog and you mention a JC Equalizer. I have been surfing for 18 months and am improving surfing 2-3 times a week recently. I have 2 long-boards a 10'2" and a 9'6" I would like to go more towards short-boarding at least more maneuverability. I'm 206lbs and I was thinking of getting a 7'10"x3x22 JC Equalizer or maybe a 8' Hanley Fatboy. 8x3.12x22.5.

I'm nervous that I will buy one and sit there like a bouy and never catch a wave and was wondering what the best way to make the transition.
I was wondering what you think ?

First of all, I do not think I have surfed with you and I do not know how you do it and what your preferences are. Aside from that I seriously don't know how to surf that well, so please follow along with some grains of salt in your hand.

I had the JC for a short while because I was at a time I was rapidly moving towards real short boards, for that I mean boards that are 6'4 or less. I weigh 145 lbs max (and actually trying to cut that weight even further) and I am only 5'5 tall. I now own JC 6'4, that I consider a mini-version of the Equalizer. I feel that JC's shapes are solid basic boards without really any gimmicky tail treatments and such, and I personally think that "bat tails" etc., are really more of a style thing than performance thing.

As for the JC EQ 7'5, I can say that it is really a fine board (it is in my buddy's quiver now, so I can visit it if I want to) for bigger conditions. Where this board shines is to go for big waves, like 1.5 or 2 x overhead waves at Montara or Pescadero in the winter surfing season. Like my JC I got now, it really holds well on relatively hollower situations. It can support you well into good speed and turns are crisp and clean.

I would say that it is not a kind a board you ride small waves, because I happen to feel that you should ride small waves with a good long board or way inside with a short board. If your goal is to ride short boards on smaller waves (that's me), then I'd skip that and instead get a wide fish type boards at regular short board length (6'6 - 6'4 type for example). The reason why I say that is because fish type boards can be ridden a bit more like you'd on long boards and so that's a much better way of transitioning out of long boards. If you can maneuver waves on fishes, and you can paddle at ease with those, then you can go to traditional thruster boards.

Either ways, I'd say get your paddling strength in good shape. It seems to be the key for short boarding.

And finally, don't over alanyze the situation. Get the coolest board you feel like it is "you", and become friend with it. There really is no right or wrong when it comes to board selection. Each board teaches you important lessons to be a better surfer.

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