Never gave this much thought to my conventional surfing - probably explain why I was never much good at it - plus I think that the actual 'thinking' time on the board is less with conventional surfing. With stand up you are on it all the time and the paddling element is as big a part as the surf element. This means that the way the board reacts when paddling and at rest is given as much consideration as how it surfs. When I started off it was all I could do to stand on the board - the Jimmy Lewis was very stable side to side (Yaw) due to it's width and stable end to end (pitch) due to it's length. It was only today that I realised that pitch has as much effect as it does.
Dropping to a smaller board (my 9'8" Starboard) seemed like an easy, natural transition from the JL. IN FLAT WATER! Introduce some chop and the balance training starts all over again. Something that I just did not realise until this morning.
Since getting the Starboard I have had a couple of abortive sessions due to the weather - naturally I went in (new board) but got blown to hell - Wednesday night I managed a quick surf after work in the middle of the beach with Shane. The wave was waist to chest high and glassed off really well - we only got 40 minutes or so before dark but I couldn't go wrong. Lefts, rights, full rail cutbacks just one of those fantastic sessions, albeit too short. Friday and Saturday was blown out but Sunday looked promising.
I paddled out at Hayle Rivermouth, Gavin was ill and Steve had Pupils for flat water tutoring. I had the wave to myself. It was fairly small, waist high, bit bigger on the sets perhaps and clean as a whistle. The tide was pushing up to high and the wave was fairly slack, the wind had yet to show. The first 40 minutes I picked up where I left off on Wednesday - beating into to plenty of waves and, for me, styling it up, paddling hard as the the wave backs off then catching up with the reform on the inside going the other way - you gotta love it. Then I got greedy for some bigger stuff, always happens, so I paddle off up the beach a bit. I catch a couple of decent waves and again manage to make the reform on the inside sections. It was getting harder though, I started to struggle a bit, particularly getting into the waves. All too often my last paddle stroke would send me side on to the wave and I would miss it, or I would get the nose bogged down in the confused water between the start of the wave outside and the reform inside - really frustrating.
Stepping back stopped the nose from bogging down but slowed my paddle speed up and made me less stable resulting in even more rinsings. The wind had got on it a bit and I was getting tired. It was very noticeable that the board reacts much more to 'chop' than the Jimmy. It's not so much the 'Yaw' (side to side) or the 'pitch' (end to end) individually, but combine them both and you have a very lively, three dimensional balance board. The extra length of the Jimmy spans more wave and water and has much more of a dampening effect.
I am sure that I will adapt and deal with it but lets just say width is not everything. Neither is sheer volume and float, length actually matters as much to stability as width. - Good job I did not go for the 9'er though - at least not yet.
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