Thursday, December 27, 2012

if you're a great lakes surfer, or aspire to be one...

     If you haven't noticed from recent posts, I am pretty much all about surfing right now.  I had an incredibly fun session today in waist- to chest-high, clean little peelers in Evanston.  It was snowing, lightly at times and at others enough to create full white-out conditions.  The water was thick with icy slush.  I was out by myself, and the solitude combined with the magical conditions to create an experience I won't soon forget.


     A brief note on the conditions and my gear... As I mentioned, it was snowing on and off during the entirety my 3-hour session.  The air temp was 31 degrees, the water was 36.  I was wearing my 6/5/4 Hyperflex Amp, which I've been testing this fall and early winter.  Today marked the coldest temps I've been out in so far, and I was shocked and pleased with how comfortable I was.  Even my hands and feet were fine in 5mm gloves and 7mm booties, also from Hyperflex.  I can't tell you how impressed I am with the wetsuit technology available to us right now.  With the incredible warmth, flexibility and comfort of contemporary wetsuits, there is truly no reason to get off the water until it freezes.        

The Blend 11'2" X 30, the Whopper 10' X 34", and the Wide Point 9'5" X 32
     And now, on to the boards.  The first thing I want to say (and I'm not typically one to make broad sweeping declarations) is that if you are a Great Lakes surfer, or aspire to be one, you MUST learn to SUP surf.  Now I'm not saying you shouldn't surf your prone board when the conditions warrant it - too much wind or shore break too gnarly to standup paddle into.  What I am saying is that adding a SUP surf board to your quiver will increase your water time more than you can imagine.  Think of all those days when it was too small to go out on your 5'10" fish or even your 9' or 10' long board.  You could have caught every one of those waves on a SUP.  I must have caught 50 waves today... maybe more... and there wasn't a prone surfer in the water.  Plus, SUP surfboards are no longer big tanks that can't carve a turn.  Modern, high performance SUP surfboards can carve a deep bottom turn, throw spray off the lip, and even boost massive airs.  The question is simply, which SUP board is right for your ability, style and the conditions you surf in.

The Converse 9' X 30", the Pocket Rocket 8'5" X 30, and the Wide Point 8'2" X 32
     So, my next project will be to answer that question.  Thus far, I've been exclusively surfing the Starboard 9'5" X 32" Wide Point.  Well, this past week I made the trek to Kansas City to the Starboard warehouse and picked up an entire quiver of SUP surfboards for a thorough Great Lakes shakedown.  I, along with a few trusted colleagues, am going to put these six boards through their paces in a variety of Great Lakes conditions to find the ultimate Great Lakes SUP surfboard.  Now this is the kind of project I can sink my teeth into... it's going to be tough work, but I think I'm up for the challenge.  So keep an eye on the weather for the next swell and if you're up for it, grab your wetsuit and come join us!  See you on the water!

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