Had a quiet'ish new years eve, packing the kit ready for our holiday, boards, paddles rods and reels and a ton of other stuff that all needs to pack down into a couple of 23kg holdalls. No bother.
Forecast was looking great for New Year's day - and it was spot on, 2-3 foot and clean as a pin - no wind. I swapped out the rear Quad fins on the 9'0 and popped in a single 8" longboard fin hoping that it would steady up the board a bit. It did. That and a slightly shorter 8' and thinner leash and the change in the boards manners was amazing. Stable and quick to accelerate it was beginning to feel familiar and comfortable. Phew!! The 9'0 is definitely borderline for me and I would say a step on from the 9'3, the larger fin evened out some of the differences between the two boards but the nose would sink away at the first sign of incorrect weighting making foot placement more critical than the 9'3. I probably only fell about four times today when holding station - hopefully that will get better.
I picked up a GoPro HD from a chap recently - brand new, unused and unwanted. I can hear the groans reverberate around SUP'dom. Anyway it was a good price and I thought why not? Today's trip was a bit experimental and I mounted it on the paddle shaft. The effect when paddling is really comical as it gives the impression of the paddle remaining stationary and me sliding myself around the paddle arc. Dead impressed with the picture quality - unfortunate how bad it makes my surfing look. Don't worry there wont be too much of this as a board mount is being sorted.
This is the spot where I was going to post a little GOPRO video but the damn thing wont load up and I cant convert the mpeg4 file into something that Windows videomaker will recognise. PC's are giving me so much grief at the moment, time for a Mac I think!
For me the 9' is everything that the 9'3 is but with a little more chili. It has a better handle and obviously it's shorter with all the practical advantages that offers. Above all if it is going to stay it's a board that is going to keep my weight in check.
January the 2nd and I managed to snag another early morning session (without the ball ache of the camera). Again this session was so much easier than the last one, again it was like glass. I had some decent waves but the swell was dropping off and the peaks were shifting about making decent shoulders hard to find.
There was a chap out on a 10'4 (I think) Jimmy Lewis this morning, it was Gut's Griffiths old board and as we chatted during the session we swapped over boards. The Jimmy was really nice, so easy to paddle and early into waves, compared to the Naish it felt sluggish to turn (unless your Guts) but still easy as. Why am I making things difficult for myself?
As good as the Hokua is (VERY GOOD) I'm still not convinced that it's for me. It will float me I can surf it but I have to be honest I'm too damn fat and just a bit too shit to get the best out of it, and that's a shame.
I was missing too many waves and felt awkward like I did in the beginning, and I don't think that I want that anymore. The trade off, more surfability versus ease of use just was not stacking up for me today. My little Nah Skell was more stable, shorter and could surf it's tits off but you really had to 'work it'. Always having to be in the right place, always having to make the correct last paddle stroke and for me with the 9'0 never being able to relax and that's in glass. I just want to surf now, I'm done blazing my own trails.
When's that 9'0 Mana available??