We have been talking about single or multiple board stuff for some time, and I was thinking some more about the topic as I surfed today.
One thing I can say for sure is that one would need to get to the point of being able to surf a board; taking off, making turns, and stopping properly on a single board. I have seen, myself included, jumping the gun (pun intended in the context) and get next shorter or narrower or unique shape boards. But looking back, what I should or could have done better is to really master the long boarding first on small waves really well, then moved up.
I would say that for those starting out from the ground zero, do master the long boarding technique. I firmly believe that doing so is the shortest ticket to riding a short board, if that's what you want to do. Plus if you got the long boarding under your belt, you can ride much wider variety of wave sizes and shapes, including these summer mushy waves. Everyone I know who has progressed fast and even faster than me have taken that path. Many people I know who did not take that path basically are still the same way as they were several years ago, and great many of them stopped surfing altogether presumably in frustration. Typically those people would pop up on the forum, ask a question about "What board to get." Then I say "long board", then they go get a short board, go out for 2-3 months on weekends, then quits.
I happen to think that such poser trend is probably not a bad thing for the surf industry. A more new people enter, buy the equipment, and quit and some new ones come in the next year. Real surfers don't buy much, they hang on to old wetsuits and once they got a certain number of boards then they don't add too many boards. It in in fact so much to the point that many "surf" shops in inland shopping malls don't even have to carry surfboards to speak of. Can't or don't believe it? Drive to Walnut Creek next time.
Back to long boarding, this is a part of the reasons why I am going to commit myself to surf long boards as much as possible on weekends when I have a bit more time to haul the big board.
On Helmets (or A Surfer with a Brain)
I was getting in the water one day and someone shouted "A surfer with a brain!"
There was a post on the Google StokeFORUM about helmets. I do testify that it is very helpful. One day I was at a heavier break spot, and this was several years ago. I was on a long board and I wiped out taking a water-fall. I see this happen a lot with other surfers too. As I surfaced, I did not know where the board was. I absolutely could not find it anywhere around. It took me about 3-4 more seconds or looking around, and then there was a really hard "thump" on top of my head. Do you know where my board was? It was up in the sky flying! It then landed smack right on my head. The helmet saved my day.
There was another session that definitely saved my day on a crowed inside 38th. I was paddling out, and this gentleman decided to take off and thought that he could make it. Well, he did not, he hit my board and also knocked me on my head rather hard. He was apologetic all right, and I should not have paddled into where he might be. Almost any accidents are the results on combo of more than neglects happening all at the same time even though technically one is not at fault. For example, I've had some close calls at intersections where other cars have definitely ignored the traffic signal. If I was not watching out for them, yeah, I would have suffered some or a serious level of damage.
These kind of stupid accidents and damages are so rampant in early stages because you as a beginner is playing the negligent (and ignorant) part of the accident, and many many other surfers are quite negligent themselves too. Most other surfers are just as bad as you are or not much better than you.
Eventually though you will realize you are making less dings and less unexpected contacts with surf boards, braking less number of fins etc.
So I would say, until you figure yourself out in the water, more protections the better. Plus, you are probably doing some income generation activities that need to use your brains. That's one investment that you got from your ancestors that has a potential of making tens and thousands of bucks, even millions of bucks in income. I think it is worth protecting.
Today's Surf Report
I took out the Takayama Egg this morning to LM, and as I was being carried out to the north end, I caught some fun waves out there. Then I walked back to front of the parking a caught some inside small stuff, yet a relatively long ride though.