Sweet. (And a new surfing goal...)

Saw the swell coming and thought it time to test myself on a shorter board. Booked a 6'4 Webber Afterburner from Tiki's test centre. 30 litres (12.5" - 20" - 14.5" x 2.5"thick) of paddling hell and duck-diving pleasure. Smaller than I thought: even less volume than Webber's "The One" shortboard, not as 'fishy' as I expected (its supposed 'fishiness' was why I chose it). My friend Steve and I paddled into the water towards the Puts end of Woolacombe.

The board just had too little volume for me. I was nervous about how small it felt and slipped on my first couple of pop-ups. Then I dropped into a juicy, clean, overhead wave and it fekkin' flew! Had the ride of my surfing life. Made sections I didn't expect to with a little pressure on the front foot. Was surprised to like my back foot's comforting little 'home' on the tailpad. The the speed, the liveliness, the noise, the lip was right by my ear as I spent the whole ride right in the pocket. It was like being chased by some kind of terrible sea-monster! At one point I saw the lip curling over in front of me and was surprised to make it past, the wave sucked up foam, I cut out and nearly blew my own ears out shouting & hooting.

I can't tell you, all surfers will know the feeling - that wave's gonna live with me for a good long while. The swell was great this weekend. Bet I was one among many who had a best-ever-wave-day.

Had another, smaller session at Combesgate on Saturday - my 'catchment area' was drastically reduced by the slower paddling and as a result was catching about a third of the amount of waves that I would on my 7ft Diplock. More volume would have been better - but I loved the feeling of it when riding. Going shorter is clearly all about trade-offs but at my age I can't afford to knacker my shoulder muscles within half an hour of paddling out.

Friday's wave was - as I think about it now - more than I ever thought I'd surf when I took up surfing, at 40, sixteen months ago. I now have a surfing goal that I originally thought so impossible that I never before even considered it: before I die I want to get barrelled. Maybe this is a fancy of a deliriously stoked surfer. Very probably, but we'll see.

On the way home I found a packet of Starburst Sours in my pocket that I'd forgotten I'd bought (while I was in a sweet shop with my daughter earlier in the day). Perfect to blast the salt off my gums! I've never enjoyed sweets more in my entire life. Had to keep pulling over on the way home to unwrap the little devils like an over-excited crack addict.


  1. May I take the liberty of suggesting the 6'6" Firewire Dominator for the more 'mature' gentleman. low rocker for speed and glide. Pulled in nose for easy duckdiving. Thick and wide for rapid paddling. Rounded quad tail for effortless backhand surfing. What more could you want ? SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHAPER.

  2. Cheers for the suggestion. I've wondered about the Dominator - might try one out. The narrower nosed 'performance fish' thing is interesting and the five fin box setup. Bro Diplock makes a 'Belvedere' of similar feather I think. I like the look of quad 'Speed Diallers' too. Just have to try as many boards out as possible and then see... Oh, and the small matter of saving up and then swizzing my wife into thinking I actually, somehow, deserve a new board - ha ha!

  3. I've been Surfing for 10 months and have a Miller 6'8" x 20.5 x 2"5/8 waterskate I'm 42yrs 5'8" and weigh 65kg (10.3 stone) and have like you surfed a bit over head height. (stoked) I tried the Dominater a 6'4" and found it corky and too much volume what I love about the waterskate is that it is very balanced low rocker and can be ridden off the front foot so is great for smaller waves too, I don't know if you can find a comparabale board over there but here's the website

    Enjoyed your wave

  4. Sir, may I throw into the hat yet another "best ever board", the Escape Peanut. For some time now I having been riding a 7'4" beach Beat Fat Boy Flyer, and with a 9'2 log in the quiver I too have decided that it is abut time to downsize. So I tried a 6'3" Peanut and in doing so encountered a utterly superb board.

    If truth be told, I found the board easier to cope with than the FBF in all areas: easy to paddle, easier to duck dive, easier to turn and happy to bomb down the line. It also has the volume to deal with slop, and the folk I have spoken to say it is good in surf up to head high. Although I tried a 6'3, I suspect I could get away with a 6'0 - I'm 5'10", 72 kg and the wrong side of 40. All in all a fantastic board from a local shaper, and as soon as funds allow it will be mine.

    And, might I venture, you write a great blog that brings joy to my heart and a smile to my face. I am sure that one day you will get barreled. I managed it for the first time ever two weeks ago. Small wave glassy wave, on the log pig dogging with my chin on the deck. It was over in the blink of an eye, but the buzz has lasted since. I want more.

    Stay stoked.

  5. Cheers for the comment and info. How are you surfing the Peanut? Thruster or Quad? I'm interested in the idea of these wider template 5-fin setups but Swaylocks discussion throws some doubt on the positioning of five fin boxes being right for all configurations:

  6. I've ridden the 'nut as a quad and thruster and have found that changing the fins radically alters the the feeling of the board and the manner in which it surfs. It is almost like owning two boards in one. Someday I will try it as a twin and I am sure that it will seem even more different. As regards the positioning of the fins, I am sure that the extra "quad plugs" is less than ideal however my standard of surfing is such that I doubt if I would really notice.


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