I ride many different types of surfboard but some stay with me. Some niggle at my subconscious, bury a part of themselves in my cranium, a part that flourishes and nags at what might be possible. The naughty little thoughts creep into my mind in the middle of the night, leaving me breathless and wide awake but still dreaming of what the new mixture of foam, fibreglass and a hint of genius might do for me.
Yes, I am an addict. I love surfboards. So what.
I often get myself into a pickle when I try or see a board that I have to have. It doesn’t happen as often as it used to. Partly due to the beatings I would get from my lovely wife if I came home with another surfboard and partly because, well, I guess I like to think I have a handle on my addiction.
This latest slip up came while on an ‘honest to God’ work trip to Ericeira, Portugal. Nic (our Editor) and I had just finished a filming session in town and I don’t like to leave without visiting the Wavegliders shop and catching up with Nico and the guys. There is normally something going on and I always, always learn something about surfboards, which as you might imagine is in effect teasing myself. It’s like a crack addict, visiting his dealer, having a chat and walking away empty handed. Difficult.
The Greenough Based Edge Board Evolved
On this unfortunate day when I walked into Nico’s shop in Ericiera’s town centre there happened to be a sale on all his surfboards. I had never known this to happen and it was not likely to happen again.
‘Once in a lifetime!’ the addict inside me seemed to scream.
To make matters worse, there was a 6’4” ‘hull’ shaped by Nick Palandrani of Source Surfboards from California there. And it was on sale… It was my size, my colours and what I wanted. It was cheap. The addict inside me was frothing and rattling its cage. It wanted to get out. Was reaching for my wallet.
A quick phone call to the homestead just to check this was not something I could afford (having just purchased a new board). The answer breathed ‘sanity’ into my lungs. It was a no go. I told Nico and he nodded to the shop manager in some secret way. The manager disappeared and came back with this beautiful black … thing.
Now I am sure I am going to get called out on this by those who know more than me, I am still in the process of learning more about exactly what George Greenough did for surfing back in the 60s and how anyone who surfs (other than trimming) owes something to George.
The Edge board that Nico made is the natural evolution of ‘the Edge board’ of Greenough’s. A flextail, edge railed beauty.
Back to the shop – Nico nodded to me and said, James, take this and surf it, let me know what you think. He explained the rails and the tail to me and said what he thought it would surf like. That I needed to try it and it might change the way I think about surfboards. I thanked him (maybe a little too much) grabbed the board and left with a renewed ‘pep’ in my step.
Surfing The Edge Board
The board itself is a 5’9 but carried a lot of thickness under the shoulders. I like a little more foam than most, being 90kgs and I was unsure as to if it would paddle okay for me. Turns out, it was perfect …
The first day I surfed the board, it was about shoulder to head high on a low-tide sucky little beach break. There was a little crowd out and I had to dodge and weave but the Edge board did me proud, paddling in easily, having no problems with late drops and seemed to do everything I wanted.
The two things that amazed me on this small day were the control I had when the wave got hollow. I could move a long way up the board, to the nose, and found I still had a huge amount of control. The seven inch flex fin combined with the ‘double rail’ gave me speed and control in huge amounts. The second thing that blew my mind was the kind of ‘half release’ I got from the rails.
The double rail has a point when you lay into a turn in-between one rail disengaging and the second rail engaging when the board will slide. The first time it happened was a bit disconcerting but it is only for a millisecond and then the second rail bites and you have control again. Once you get use to this, it is sooooo much fun. Loads of spray, loads of control and smiles to the horizon. I could not believe this was based on a design from the 60’s! Where had it been all my life!
I had a few more surfs in similar conditions and every single time I found I was having more fun.
I was due to take the board back to Nico and then I spied a decent swell on the forecast. I phoned him and asked if I could keep it for a few more days. ‘Knock yourself out’ he said.
Surfing The Edge in Decent Waves
A point break near to me that seldom works unless the stars align looked to be on. Upon arrival, it was firing. Without hesitation I reached for the Edge board. Paddling out on a single when it’s a bit heavy always makes me think twice but this day, all I felt was curiosity.
After a few decent waves, all I could say was … wow. With more speed and a decent wall to work with, the flextail came to life giving me a huge amount of projection and speed, the big arcs were effortless and as the flex fin and tail worked together to provide more fun and stoke than I knew what to do with. This was such a learning experience to me that I can’t help think that Nico was right.
This board made me change the way I think about surfing. It really did.
Taking the board back to Nico
The day came and I as I was going to Ericiera for another work thing I knew I had to return it. It was a sad day. I popped in the Wavegliders shop, told Nico how good it was. Smiling he said, ‘Make me an offer for the board’.
The addict stirred again, it was being called awake. I can ‘hand on my heart’ say that I have never been more tempted. Never (and that is a big thing for me to say).
In the end sense (and the abuse I would get if I returned home having purchased another surfboard) prevailed.
Now, when I go surfing, I find myself reaching for that magic black board. I have a lot of surfboards, but that one is special. The fact that I don’t have it in my quiver is a wrong that I intend to right.
Huge thanks to Nico from Wavegliders for allowing me the experience and making my surfing world a bigger place.
If you get the chance to try one of these board, you should. Drop mic.