I Can Never "Not" Buy A Custom Board Again
So to be totally honest, I'm an average surfer at best. But I absolutely love surfing and do it as much as I can. You'll never see me landing an air reverse or linking together 6 turns in flawless succession. But I love being in the water with friends and the joy of connecting with the ocean. That said, I always want to get better and I want to be able to rip and have fun in any condition - especially the surf at my home break. So when the opportunity came up for me to order a custom board, my initial question was "Is it worth the extra time and investment??" Well let me save you from trying to answer that question yourself and just tell you - YES!!! You wouldn't just go and drop several hundred dollars to buy an expensive 3 piece suit without getting it tailored right? The same goes for a surfboard. Your board is THE thing that connects you to the wave. - that gives you that addictive feeling that only you as surfer knows. Why not make it the best it can be - specifically for you, specifically for your spot, specifically for your goals?? Plus, I looked around and a new board off the shelf starts around $600 anyway. Groundswell boards **CUSTOM SHAPED*** start in the same range $600-800. Um hello!!!
So I got connected through Groundswell Supply and started my custom board shaping experience. Let me tell you, they know their stuff. They walked me through all the details that go into board shaping and design - like helping me think about where, why and how I surf. Also thinking about things like rocker, concave, tail shape, board material and resin. Those are all super important details and despite surfing for over 10 years, a lot of that was over my head to be honest. But they helped me get it all dialed in. Here is a snippet from one of the emails I got: "Just wanted to be sure you are ok with an EPS foam blank and Epoxy resin on your new board. The EPS blank and epoxy resin combo is stringerless. The material is stronger, tends to be lighter and has a more buoyant feeling. Plus the materials are more environmentally friendly than their counterparts. This material works best in waves under 6 feet and is ideal for conditions we have here in San Diego most days. I usually recommend Polyurethane blanks with Polyester resin for big wave boards as they can feel corky on a big wave." Groundswell then connected me Donald Brink to start the order. I decided to go with one of his fish models, the Fishermans Friend. Working with Donald was amazing. He is like a wine connoisseur but for resin, foam and hydrodynamics. It was amazing to interact with someone who got to know me and understand where I surfed, my style and my quirks. He even looked at what I was currently riding and kept all the good parts and got rid of the bad parts: Pull in the tail a little here. Shorten it up a bit so it will fit tighter in the pocket. Let's put a little extra form under your chest so it will paddle even better than your current board.
So I just received my board last week. WOW. Totally worth the wait. Not only was it absolutely beautiful, it was mine. It was made for me. And all those little details added up to create a ride and connection with the ocean that is like nothing I've even been on. So ya, I went out for a dawn patrol this morning and scored. I had a little peak all to myself all morning and for real, had one of the more fun sessions of my life! The board was made for my home breaks wave and for me - and I could feel it. It paddled so well and the shorter size truly does make it fit into the smaller sections giving me even more room to maneuver. Plus it is super fast but loose right when I need it to be. I'll never be able to buy a board off the shelf again. It just doesn't make sense. I'm super stoked and grateful there is a place like Groundswell that can connect me to these incredible, experienced craftsman. Together they've brought even more fun, performance and joy into my favorite sport. So ya, if you're thinking about investing in a custom board, it's worth it. And if you do, you'll be like me: never able to not buy a custom surfboard again.
By Nick Abrams, Encinitas CA