It has been sneaking up on me for years, though I‘ve refused to believe it until now, but now, it‘s undeniable… I am having a mid-length crisis. Things escalated during the making of this issue, when I met Trevor Stephens and his ugly 7’4 Bendy Board (p.32). In the midst of a surfing slump in his life, Trevor was offered a go on this yellow, sledge-like beast by its creator, who had shaped it from builder’s foam to surf the Severn Bore. After catching more waves in half an hour than he had done in half a year, Trevor offered to buy the board there and then, and it changed his life forever.
Very kindly, Trevor let me have a surf on his unlikely saviour. Within 20 minutes I was smitten, and after two hours I gingerly asked if I could buy it off him. It wasn’t for sale, but the seed was planted. As fate would have it, the following day I bumped into shaper Rob Wright, who was giddy with excitement about the 7’6 single fin he‘d shaped and been riding over the last few months. Though infinitely prettier, his board seemed to share some of the same endorsements as Trevor’s; ‘catches anything‘, ‘so fast‘, ‘smiling all day‘. From that point on, my quiver seemed to have a hole in it, a mid-length hole that could only be filled by destiny.
“Surfboards are works
of art that enable us to get
intimately close to nature”
After days of searching, I finally found destiny on eBay, and so began my crisis. Buying a new, or even secondhand surfboard in these times of austerity requires a lot of good justification; not for us surfers who are buying them you understand — it took me less than thirty seconds to convince myself that by clicking ‘buy now‘ I was making a sensible investment — no, it is those around us, our partners, our families, our friends, who sometimes need to be persuaded that buying another surfboard is not the stupidest thing we have ever done. Having recently been in this crisis situation, I thought it might be useful to share some of my cast iron arguments for expanding a quiver, (adapt to your personal circumstances.)
Firstly, I am fully aware that I only have two legs and therefore surfing more than one board at any one time is technically impossible. And yes, that does make owning eight surfboards sound a little excessive, (although that would be the perfect number to surf around the world — see p.48) but, I am planning to sell two, have one that is just for visiting friends and one that isn’t fully finished, which brings my quiver down to three, plus the newly acquired mid-length. At 7’6, this new board does a job that my shortboards and longboard doesn’t do. When I was a grom I wanted to surf like Occy, then in my twenties I wanted to surf like Slater, and now I want to surf like Alex Knost (pictured above). I will never be able to surf like Alex Knost, but now I have a board that he might like.
Secondly, surfboards are works of art that enable us to get intimately close to nature. So potent are our rides on these craft that they shape our dreams, stories and the very essence of who we are. As surfers we are privileged to be able to tease out the magic from these still-seriously-underpriced wonders and, therefore, it is our duty to do so. And finally, most importantly, unlike sports cars, affairs, gadgets and other symptoms of a mid life crisis, it is a scientifically proven fact that surfboards really do stop you growing old and boring.
Editor (and not old yet)