Here I am, surfing on the other side of the rock on a square, fiberglass boogie board while the currents bring warm water and everyone hides their beer cans from the lifeguards. After basically riding the same board in different colors for years, it’s nice to feel the water slide under my feet differently; to really think about all the things my ankles and busted second toe need to do to move me around on the ocean. It’s also nice to be humbled. If you’re going to face plant into the water, it might as well be approaching 70º.
We’re in the belly of June. In San Diego, it isn’t the best surf season. The south swells basically wave at us and discard a few left-bent closeouts as they sail on to Orange County to get ridden and photographed by the punting masses. All this aside, when I thought I broke my hand a few weeks ago skateboarding, I was Amazoning ‘Waterproof Cast Tape’. I wasn’t going to miss this time of year in the water. Summer is the season that makes me think of how it all started; of how the water was when my dad learned to surf at the Huntington pier back in the 60s. And it’s a good time to waste waves, if you have to. It’s a good time to try something wide and new. And that’s why I keep coming back to Speed Square.
I was falling into a rut with my thruster short boards. I was over-analyzing how I used my back arm and my bottom turn. I was comparing myself to sixteen year olds and grown men. I was getting bored.
I haven’t done a true surf trip in years. I have two kids who are both shorter than this 4’2″ board and that makes surf travel all the more complicated. Riding the Speed Square in the warming waters gave me that feeling of foreignness and challenge that I was longing for.
I feel like I can put the board in the center of the wave and b-line for the end section. The board rises right under your feet like one of those foot rests at the fancy movie theaters that cost $20. I feel looser, freer and more expressive. The hardest part for me is getting up to my feet on such a small piece of foam, but once I’ve accomplished that it’s a magic carpet ride. I’ve found that it’s easiest to control it while turning frontside by grabbing the rail. I really want to get some practice on it in good waves so I can try to lay into more sections like I’ve seen Chris Del Moro do.
I picked up the Speed Square on a whim at one of the demo days at Bing Surf Shop in Encinitas at the end of May and since then I can’t help but pull it out from behind my thruster boards anytime the waves are between two and 6 feet. But it feels just right in four footers in the evening though, maybe after sneaking a beer down on the sand.
Board: Bing Surfboards Speed Square
Board height: 4’2″