This is not a post for the lovelorn surfer who’s looking for love in all the wrong lineups after a nasty break-up. Being the board whore that I am, when I talk about “magic” in a surfing context, I’m always referring to the long-held belief in the magic board.
I have had quite a few magic boards during my surfing lifetime. Early on, these were boards that called to me before I’d even gotten them in the water, boards that dared me to fondle their rails and hold them under my arm while whispering sweet nothings (“You know you want to take me home, beautiful”) in my ear as I gazed at them longingly while they stood at attention in the surf shop rack.
The two or three—I haven’t quite decided whether the third board is imbued with powers of the magical persuasion—magic boards in my current quiver are custom shapes. These are boards that can do no wrong. Even when I feel like I’m having a bad day in the water, these boards somehow have the power to make me look good. More often than not, I’ll get out of the water grumbling to myself about how much of a kook I am or how I can’t get out of my own way. Then, someone will stop me and say, “I saw you get a couple of really good waves out there.” My response? A loving glance toward the board under my arm and a barely audible “thank you” in its general direction.
What makes a board magical? I don’t think surfers can agree on the answer to this question. I designate a board as magical when it can do no wrong regardless of the conditions. While others might paddle in vain for waves that do their best not to break, my magic boards almost always catch those waves. People sometimes remark to me that they’re impressed by my paddling, by the fact that I will dig for waves that one would think I can’t catch. When I’m able to catch them, people are just astonished. Rather than rest on my laurels and let them believe I’m that much of a bad ass, I give credit where credit is due: “It’s not me. It’s the board.” Those two boards will not be denied once their minds are made up. Once I start paddling, the wave is ours.
And what makes these boards even more special to me is that fact that I can’t ride them in all conditions. One of them is a hull that prefers a nice, long wave that breaks off of a point. The other is a beach break killer that has no leash plug. Our pointbreaks are fickle. They only break when they want to, therefore the hull doesn’t get ridden as much as I’d like. As for our beach breaks, they’re not always sandy. If rocks are within view, or at least known to me, the second magic board doesn’t even make it out of the car.
I do believe in the power of the surfboard. Some are magical. Others are not. If you’re lucky enough to find one that is, appreciate it for what it is. Sometimes the magic does wear off. I found this to be the case with boards that I outgrew (because my surfing moved to the next level). Then again, some boards never lose their ability to make their owners deliriously happy. I now have two, maybe three, of those. I plan to surf those boards until they finally fall apart. And if I’m never able to replicate the joy that those boards have brought me, so be it. At least I will have experienced their magic and enjoyed them while they lasted.Magic Surfboards, quiver