Tuesday, April 22, 2008

finless report

on http://wavesofdiscontent.blogspot.com i came across this. Worth a read!

Saturday, March 08, 2008
Footloose and fin free

I attempted a finless surf (finally) today.
It was small and backwashy mega high tide day, and since the surf was essentially crap, what better day to try it out? I took out the Skoolbus, sans fin and leash. I figured I was bound to eat it frequently, but with all the spinning going on in Musica Surfica, I was scared I'd strangle myself if I wore a leash.
Paddling out had a little extra wiggle in the tail. Clayfin commented on this, so I wasn't too surprised.
Sets were infrequent and erratic, but I caught my first wave pretty quickly.
I tore it up, I was killing it. I am lying.
I stood up, shocked that it felt relatively stable. Then I attempted to direct myself (turning would not be the right word)down the line. Faceplant.
I had lots of faceplant time.
When you paddle in, you have to face straight in, if you try an angled takeoff of any kind, the wave spins you around and spits you right out the back.
Once standing, getting too upright is also a no-no. Low center of gravity is essential.
Turning is kind of counter-intuitive. Everything about direction is turned upside down without a fin to provide lateral hold. So for instance, you drop in frontside, you'd normally lean into the wave, driving from the fin. So how do you get back up to the top if you can't turn and drive to the lip?
You have to let the wave catch you up. It was a real eye opener about staying with the energy of the wave rather than running out in front of it and turning to get back into it. You have to stay with the wave the whole time, or you burn your momentum, then the wave catches you and dumps you on your ass.
I only got two waves that I was able to ride down the line for a while, a right and a left. Super weird feeling it was. I gently waggled the board around to and fro on those waves, and did a litle sideways fade for a while, but most waves I attempted spinning, which always ended up in a wipeout at some point in the rotation. You need speed, and a fairly fast moving wave. Mushburgers didn't cut it.
It'd probably help to have some sort of bottom texture or something to give bite, but it was a good experiment. I'm going to try to build something specifically finless, rather than try to surf a "normal" board without fins. There's just no lateral resistance, and I feel like you have to have at least something that'll grab the face.
I ended up surfing for about four hours, the last hour on the butter bonzer, which felt great even in the mushburgers. Maybe it was just having some drive (and control) again.
People probably thought I was the biggest Barney. "Look at that dude, doesn't even know he's supposed to have a fin"! I certainly didn't impress anyone, but it sure made the morning surf more interesting than normal! I'll definitely try it again.

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