#3 Chris and Alex Go Surfing

Today I got to use the carbon compact two piece surfboard for the first time. It was quite unexpected because I am in the Netherlands which is not known for having good waves, and I have been a little sick so I was planning on staying dry. Chris and Elizabeth recently returned from the states, and Chris wanted to show me his "local" break. The idea was to head down to a beach called Scheveningen, or as Chris calls it “shave-a-ninja” and get used to riding public transportation with the board, maybe take a few pictures, and rap with the local surf scene about the board.

Transporting the board nearly an hour on 2 different busses was a breeze! As a matter of fact on the way home we took 1 trolley 20 minutes, I realized I forgot my wetsuit at the beach so we went back to the beach on the same trolley. We then transferred to a train, and we even went to the supermarket and I went food shopping all with the board and my gear on my back. NO WAY would I want to do all of that with a regular surfboard, even the small ones I usually ride. Because I have this particular board strapped to my back I have my hands free and am able to do everything I normally do. In my case the bag is so small not many people even bother to give me a second look, I blend right in, even in a non-surfing town like Leiden, the Netherlands!

Back to the original plan though, we stop in at the local surf shop called Heart Beach Surf Shop, which is a very cool little shop which is attached to a nice place to get some food and a hot drink after surfing Netherlands cold waves. Equally as awesome is that the shop rents all the gear you need to surf (board, wetsuits) and they have changing rooms, lockers, and hot showers; really the perfect setup for local and traveling surfers like ourselves. Since we were not planning on surfing, Chris did not have any gear, but when we learned it was less than 10 Euro to rent it all we decided to just go for it (later on Chris’s wife looked at us in amazement saying “two surfers went to the beach and didn’t expect to surf?”). So we geared up and paddled out for a few waves.

First thing I noticed about using the board was that it goes together quite easily even though I am inexperienced with it and it was quite cold out. Within less than five minutes I had the board together and fins in. It is a little heavier than my normal board, but the boards I ride are usually lightweight epoxy construction and are about as close to weightless as they come. Once I got in the water and started paddling it no longer felt any different from my normal board. The waves were about head high on the sets and quite choppy (just as I had pictured Netherlands surf). The paddle out was a bit more difficult than I thought it would be because of the short period nature of the surf it was one duckdive to every three paddle strokes. Once outside the board got into waves no problem and proved to be a very fast shape.  I caught only about six waves and we decided to call it a session due to lackluster surf and the sun getting pretty low. Overall it was a great session, a major success for the board, and a really fun time considering we weren’t planning on going in.

Mike Becker