What is the most important part of riding a wave? The answer is the stoke. The stoke is an actual tangible thing that great days are made of, it can be used to build great moods, provide huge distractions and to inspire complete changes in lifestyle.
It stands to reason that the first wave that was ever surfed anywhere was body surfed, therefore the first stoke that was produced anywhere was from body surfing. It is to body surfing and more precisely handboarding that I would like to steer your attention to at this time.
This summer I interviewed a man who makes the best handboards in the world, this is a fact and not one that I can hear being disputed. Having purchased a Slyde handboard for my wife for her birthday (I know : lucky her) I proceed to test it in varying conditions and immediately found that my previous article was insufficient to say the least.
I thought I would contact Steve to see what was going on with Slyde, if there where any new models coming out and to grill him further about how this wondrous product came into being.
SB: Hey Steve, hows things in Cali? Thanks for sparing the time, so what has been going on with Slyde since we last spoke?
Steve: Hey, James thanks for taking the time to interview us. Things are great here in Cali .... well it's hard to have a bad day in paradise you got to try pretty hard to have a crappy day here. Slyde has been going along gangbusters. I think one of the biggest updates that we had was collaboration with the guys over in Hawaii, Sean Enoka and the Crew from Kaha-Nalu Hawaii. I think I mentioned briefly when we last spoke, we were in the middle of working with Sean to bring his Bula Hanboard to the Slyde quiver. We just got back from spending 5 days on Oahu at the Bodysurfing Championships at Sandy's beach as the official launch of the Bula Board. It was a resounding success
It's an incredible board and Sean is an amazing guy and super talented. In fact the entire Kaha-Nalu team is incredible. I have a huge respect for the Hawaiian Handboarders and bodysurfers . What I saw at the event blew me away those guys are just tearing it up over there , it was very impressive to watch and be a part of. Also what was really exciting was the level of interest from the younger generation too so the sport has a very bright future ahead of it.
Going back to the Bula, this really is one of the most advanced and performance driven handboards on the market, it was designed and tested for Point Panics by Sean on Oahu. To get the concave seen used a Mayonnaise bottle to shape the board over it. Point Panics is easily one of the best bodysurfing waves I have ever surfed, it was so much fun and the Bula just blew it away. The board gives you so much control at that critical point where you really need it.
Panics is a steep and powerful barreling reef break that requires a board that has a crisp rail and extra deep concave that allows the rider to stick the almost vertical take off. The concave acts as a suction cup to the face of the wave so you don't feel yourself sliding down the face. The Bula is also smaller than the wedge model as it quite obviously primarily designed for the experienced bodysurfer. The size allows you to easily punch through the back of a wave to get yourself out of a lets just say "unenviable" wave position.
Although it was designed for the steeper shorebreaky waves, it is also really fun in other waves too and handboarding is really easy to get into that we find our customers that are not that experienced having a blast on them too
Apart from the Release of the Bula we have just moved into a shiny new office here in San Clemente were we are surrounded by some of the most incredible brands from Flow Snowboards to dragon sunglasses and too many more to mention its an incredible place and the energy up here is really motivating.
We have some incredible stuff coming up in the next few months that we will be releasing in a another couple months so stay tuned.
SB: Have you guys got anything in the pipeline for Europe, it would be awesome to be able to buy them from here.
Steve: We have a small amount of distribution over there so you are able to buy them there through Satorial Supplies. However, for now we are currently focusing on our own back yard and getting that right first. We are a small team and to bite off more than we can chew too quickly can end up creating all sorts of problems.
We have an amazing product we pride and strive for perfect quality and we are very aware that growing too quickly can lead to problems in that regard. However we are frothing to get over there and see a huge opportunity for Slyde over in Europe so as soon as the time is right we will give it our all.
SB: I really like the 'Wiseguy' model that my wife got from you. What do you think I should try next? Maybe one of the Bula models?
Steve: Wiseguy is an awesome board. We actually just sold the last one a week or so back, so that is now a collector's item. There were only 150 ever made. We generally like to rotate designs and come out with new ones on a regular basis.
I would definitely recommend the trying the Bulba it is a really fun ride.
SB: And it looks like I will be trimming into a wave on one of Slydes' latest magic creations just as soon as I can. I would recommend to anyone to buy a Slyde handboard on site, the pictures and video really do not this piece of surfing equipment justice and somehow make things simpler. I always make sure that I have my handboard in the car when I check the surf because it just gives you that extra option to make the most out of what mother nature chooses to give you that day.
I bought it for my wife and I use it, when I opened the box I was like woooow, this thing is super cool, everyone who sees it asks where it came from and how they can get one. No I do not own any part of Slyde, and I do not have any 'financial interest' in this 'review' I just want to pass on the stoke. Slyde are the real deal. Tested.