Monday, April 13, 2009

Making Friends with a Naish 9'3"

What a weekend - magicseaweed was shaping up for a perfect combination of swell. spring tides and light offshores, all this and an Easter bank holiday giving us a couple of extra free days off - things were looking good.

Friday and I made my way to a mid beach mark for the evening high tide - it was big and munchy with the tail end of the onshore winds. The full fat, wedgey beach break was getting jacked up double by the backwash from the head of the beach. Not pretty, very testing but great fun. Paddling in felt a bit suicidal and the rides were short but rewarding.

In the car park prior to paddling out a couple of prone surfers pulled up with short boards - I didn't see them get a wave but did see them spat out further down the beach. And that was nice!

So Saturday got in after work at Pete's point for the evening session again on my C4 fantastic - had the place to myself all over the high tide and just did not want to get out - a real soul surf session. I had made loose plans to get in at 9.00am on Sunday morning but the evening session was so good it was no hardship getting up early and I was in the water just before 8.00am ON MY DAY OFF!!! It looked very clean so I decided to risk another session on the Naish.

It's been no secret that the last few outings on my Naish have been difficult. We have not been the best of friends recently, like a true workman I have been blaming the tools. I have just not been able to stay upright on the thing. The centre fin has been growing in size in the vain hope to give me some static stability - having used the biggest fin in my collection 10" I opted to plug in the the smallest - the original Naish 5.5".

What a difference! From the moment I paddled out everything just felt right - ok I still fell a few times but the sheer surfability of the board was magic. And in turbulent water the board felt more stable. Perhaps the leverage on a bigger fin contributes to the rails sinking and going past that tipping point - who knows -, who cares? I was grinning ear to ear. I conceded that perhaps Harold Iggy might know a thing or two after all.

The Naish really needs to be kept under way, you can stop but loose concentration and you need to dig the paddle in to gain momentum and stability. During the morning session I sort of realised as well that I had to 'inch' back on the board a 'tad' in order to keep the nose up. Just a bit too far forward and the nose is under the water and it's douche time. Its also easier to stand and paddle the board than to kneel on it - how odd is that? Pop up onto the board on your knees and a fraction too far forward and the nose is under like Captain Nemo's Nautilus.

The sweet spot is minute on the board - but in the clean 2-3' surf I had one of my best sessions of the year. I can't believe that I had harboured thoughts of moving the board on. It just needs the right conditions - ideally clean and a minimum of 2-3' but preferably more, and more importantly the right attitude. One things for sure I am never going to reach the limits of it, or get bored with it.

During the session I met up with Steve Carter and we shared a few waves before swapping boards (he was on a Starboard UB 11'2"). Very nice but it did feel like a tanker after the Naish. Both of us agreed the Naish has an amazing 'skatey' feel to it.

I was in for 3 1/2 hours that morning and eventually dragged myself out when my hands started bleeding and the cramp made my calves feel like they were exploding.

Back to Sunset Surf cafe for some coffee and incredible flapjacks and cake to re-fuel and then back in for a couple of easy, mellow hours on the C4 over the low tide.

Jay and a few of the forum guys were out at Gwithian having made the trip down for the weekend. Just don't really appreciate how lucky we are living here.

What a difference a few sessions can make.


And it's the only one in the UK. SMUG SMUG SMUG.

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