I was going in today regardless - nothing was going to stop me - I even had a single beer last night so that I wouldn't lie in - The forecast was verging on the EPIC for both coast's - wind was offshore on the South so I had half a plan for Perranuthnoe first thing but thought that I would check out Gwithian first - closer and familiar. After all it was a special occaision, a sort of a coming of age. Today I would take out my new Naish 9'3" for the first time. I always want the first time to be special you know the type of thing -
'I paddled easily out through the oncoming breakers that sparkled in the early morning sun, - held my station under clear blue skies for a moment before turning effortlessly on my back foot and dropped into clean 4' face weighting my back foot and inside edge I started cranking a . . . .blah blah'
Nope - didn't happen like that - I drove to Gwithian - huge, howling onshore mess. Made my way across to Marazion. Clean calf to knee high but held back by the strong offshore wind and fairly full tide.
Quick blat up to 'uthno, still early not yet 8.45 and bugger me, about a million cars in the car park - what's going on? This was always my quiet south coast bale out spot. There was no way that I was going to paddle out on an unknown quantity amongst that crowd.
Carbis bay - not a chance - even the quiet corner wasn't happening.
'This isn't how it's meant to be'
Last chance trip back to Marazion hoping that the tide had dropped back - it had - a bit, some sets were pushing through at waist high - just!. So in I goes.
The most noticeable thing for me about this board is the lack of it.
It's very light -
It's very short -
It feels far shorter than Gav's 9' Starboard - ok there is only three inches difference in length between these boards BUT the nose is so pulled in if you told me that the Naish was 8'6 and I didn't know better - I'd believe you -
It's not a Short Longboard Sup -
For me it's a Long Shortboard.
Jumping on a board for the first time to paddle out you can usually tell if things are going to work out. My initial thoughts were if I can paddle it - I can surf it.
I could paddle it - phew - in fact it floated me easily don't get me wrong it's not rock solid stable and my feet had to be exactly on the sweet spot, that I found to be where my heels were level with the rear of the super deep hand hold.
The yaw effect appeared to be similar but no worse than the Starboard - I'm probebly going to make lots of comparisons to the little Starboard as that's the shortest board that I have ridden however as I said above although the Naish might be longer tip to tail it actually feels dinky.
Conditions were not good and although I managed to paddle out, it took a few minutes for me to reset my calibration boundaries - that's just a poncy way of saying that I fell off a couple of times. . .
Settling down a bit I held my station under clear blue skies for a moment before turning effortlessly paddling . . . aahh nope that was bull.
I waddled my way across the path of an oncoming waist high set wave - the wind was strong cross off and bitingly cold - I paddled hard, pulled myself off balance and fell. By now it was also raining heavily with an accompanying squall. Arse.
I paddled out and around again - the peaks looked pretty good but the wind was taking me a bit too far out - there was no way that this board was going to 'glide' in from way out. Paddling had to be 'easy not wild' small, shallow, rapid strokes were much more fruitful than deep stabbing ones again suggesting that the board was more responsive to paddle accelaration than speed - could mean I have to get a smaller blade.
I circled around and across once more and dropped in late to another waist high wave and WHHOOOA off we went, no fuss no drama - this baby goes late - way late. The wave was a little right and I scooted up and down a bit before kicking out and falling off - that was fun - this board surfs.
Paddling back out I tried to ignore the ice cream head that I'd just incurred and concentrate on what what happening - The Naish cut it's way through the oncoming wash almost surgically - that was the pronounced nose rocker - that's what I'd longed for in my Starboard.
Another wave - and again the incredibly intuitive feel that I'd first experienced with my BK PRO but without the physical effort required to crank it round, in fact the Naish seems to turn from the hips - my hips. I tested this out by standing parallel footed on the board and 'punched' my hips side to side the nose turns - noticebly. I think that this is the short length accentuated by the incredible rocker running from nose to tail. The 9' Starboard has some this 'skatey' feel, my old 9'8" Starboard didn't - nor does my BK Pro - it must be a length related thing - is this what some call 'swing weight'?
The BK is very loose and fantastic to surf but hard for me to maintain station when not under way due to it's 27" width, I also find it harder to turn either of my 10' C4's within their own length. Something that both Starboards are brilliant at, might be a bit too early to call but the Naish seems to achieve this through traditional, good old fashion rocker and it's short waterline.
By this time I was in pain, the air temp was 5'c when I went in, the wind chill must have been loads less. I hate wearing hoods so I don't - no gloves either which is why my hands were now technicolour red and purple - my core was fine (matter of opinion) and I just knew that I'd gone in a man and would get out a girl.
Just one more wave - I paddled around again trying to maintain my position as the squalls came and went - there was no one else in - the next peak reared up and again I forced myself to go late and again off we went this time a seemingly endless left (I like lefts) that I managed to milk hoping that there was someone, somewhere watching - decent rides were that few and far between and I needed to regain some honour. The board held it's line hard on the wave face allowing me to get further forward, I know it's not a nose rider but with the stiff breeze I needed to keep the weight forward in order to maintain speed and not stall. Nice wave!
Just one more wave - I was enjoying this and my calibration reset was almost complete - I hadn't randomley fell off for ten minutes - this board is going to rock - I can do it - I like it - I can't feel anything in my extremities but I want to go out again - just as soon as my frostbite heals up . . . Dont laugh - as I'm writing this there are snowflakes the size of pidgeons falling out of the grey skies - snow - in Cornwall - that ain't right.
I caught my last wave - and following my mantra of 'get out on a good one' I hussled a decent little wave in to the shore.
To sum up - no epic bottom turns - no radical reo's (whatever they are) - but fun, especially given the conditions - and the board - it has all the elements that I want - I think!
The shorter length makes it easy to turn in front of and on a wave.
The rocker ditto - the rails - the nose the tail - and the looks - It is the prettiest board that I've ever seen and it's mine.
One thing that is obvious - it's going to make me a load of new freinds - my take off zone has just got closer to the beach . . :-)
I struggled with the wind carrying it back up the beach thinking - 'that session was too short to actually write anything' . . . .
I'm 5'10" - currently 199lbs - 14 stone 3lbs 90.5kg.
oops text from Gavin - Kids party over - do you fancy another bash? - I'm off . .
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3 years ago