I love surfing lowers. Unpopular opinion for some surfers, but for me stroking into a lowers left is a feeling like none other. Sure, it might take a while to get said wave and sometimes you might leave a little disgruntled, but hear me out. For one, it’s a wave that’s so perfect you can go and pick how you want to surf it. Straight up and down, more round and directional, above the lip, or on the rare offshore day inside the tube. The mechanical perfectness is second to none. Two, it suits almost all board styles and is the perfect testing ground for new boards or styles of surfing (repeating myself here). Three, it’s the most condensed pool of talent you’ll find in America, from CT top fivers to up and coming groms, industry heads, and old mates that still got it. So even if you find yourself not catching a wave there’s at least some sideline entertainment.
It all started when I came out to CA to look at schools and surf lowers for the first time with my dad. I’d seen all the clips, especially the ones from one of my favorite surfers Kolohe. The nike wetty’s and graffitied mayhems were just as real as in the clips I’ve seen-considering we almost collided when he faded after I took off deep, and my floater to bottom turn almost connected with him coming down from a snap. Although a moment most would lament, this is seared into my brain as this was “california surfing” and a world collided moment for me.
Kolohe and plenty of other lowers clips usually featured one of my favorite artists growing up: The Red Hot Chili Peppers. What’s more California than RHCP? Nothing. What’s more California than lowers? Probably a couple things, but for me it’s up there. So without further ado-I present cobble hobble! 5 sessions from 5 days on the cobbles. 5 different boards. Initially, I wanted to stack up and have a proper multi-location clip but when I looked on the hard drive it was almost all from the fabled wave in San Clemente, so I decided to package it up and send it out. Watch now! Please.
Besides Asher Pacey, this is the benchmark for high performance fish surfing (Asher’s boards have a lot more high-performance attributes to them, whereas Burch rides more traditional fishes, what I am trying to get you on).
To keep something fresh, sometimes changes need to be made. Mindset, environment, etc. The list goes on and on. Some people might fear change. This is definitely a problem, considering no man or woman has achieved greatness by staying stagnant or true to their routine for too long. Sure, having something dialed feels good and if they are good habits and routines keep them going. But the old saying goes “variety is the spice of life”, so incorporating things outside of your comfort zone is essential for development.
Everyone should own a fish. And no, not a gold or beta fish. A surfboard fish. It can be a twin fin or a quad fin fish. Ideally, start with a twinnie. If you happen to be my friend and ever talk about what board you want next, you’ve heard of this spiel. Unless you have a concrete image of the board you want, I always recommend a fish. A fish is classic. A fish has truly lasted throughout the test of time, and are having a huge resurgence. You probably see just as many fishes as shortboards in the lineup of recent (especially back home, where waves are tiny and weak).
There are two main reasons I recommend someone starts riding a fish. The first one is that it gets you in the water when the waves don’t look that fun. Personally, I think fishes tend to almost work best on medium to bigger canvases. It’s hard to fit such a wide and voluminous board in such small curvers. But having a short, wide, chunky twin fin fish can get you out there when it’s two-feet-and-firing. The glide these boards give you is unlike any other. The fish can help get you in the water when it is tiny. Take off and instantly you get a burst of speed. Catching waves is also a breeze, and you have to catch small waves first before you can surf them. Also in the bad wave spectrum, super fat reform waves are also the bread and butter for a fish. Generating speed easily and having the float and glide to get back to the power source or hop to another power source on the same wave are how the fish fries fat waves. A low rocker and middle to front of the board wide point help you catch waves and glide effortlessly.
Now on the other hand, owning a fish and riding it in both good waves and bigger waves can really open a new realm to your surfing. Riding different boards forces you to draw different lines. And the line you can draw on a fish is a fast one. Whether it is highlining a section instead of going low or getting in front of the wave before burning speed going back to the lip are things a fish is more conducive to rather than your standard shortie. Since the board isn’t as sleek as your regular shortboard, having a bigger more slopey than steep wave really grants you a blank canvas to paint upon. Riding a fish in these waves makes it really hard to get back on a regular board afterwards. And I know I am not the only one who feels this way.
The lines you learn to draw on your twinnie can really open up new routes and ways to plane when you hop back on a shortboard. Also in this same realm, getting the feel of the twinnie and then hopping to a quad fish will just elevate the ability to rip the same lines. Currently, I am stuck on quads. The amount of speed you can generate is incredible, and works quite well at walled beach breaks or gutless reforms (unfortunately the bulk of what I surf). Surfing your shortboards with the same flow and routine you might on your twinnie will eliminate extra pumps and help you draw cleaner, smoother lines. You will learn how to ride the contour of the wave for speed instead of hopping around pumping. In surfing, speed is your best friend. So gaining it effortlessly is always an added bonus.
If you don’t have a fish yet in your quiver, get on it. This is for my friends on both the east and west coasts. Getting those sneaky fun sessions when no one is out (almost impossible in California but very apparent in New Jersey) really keeps the stoke high. The days when you don’t expect a surf and end up scoring a fun little 30 minutes or hour are when you leave the water with the biggest smile (only tied with when the waves are absolutely cooking). I know, surfboards aren’t the cheapest things in the world. But next time you are looking to grab a freshie, looks towards the fun twin finned fish to round out your quiver.
This is more realistic: smaller waves with no push featuring Mr. Burch.