Maybe this sounds familiar: Recently, the wind was onshore for over a week with conditions ranging from junk to “meh”, and once the waves finally cleaned up last weekend my schedule was jammed. So, I was dry for almost two weeks, miserable, and going absolutely looney.
After watching the cameras from my desk at work (and anxiously watching the hard offshore winds beat down what little swell lasted into the early work-week), I finally found a window to surf last night, and arrived at the beach to dead low-tide and knee- to thigh-high conditions at best. I contemplated running home to grab a longboard, then thought about bagging it, and finally decided to just get in since I had my Variant (by Gallery Surfboards www.gallerysurfboards.com ) and I’ve rarely had a bad session on it, even in the most craptastic conditions.
What happened next was either great luck or something magical if you must assign a metaphysical angle to it: the waves bumped up to chest-high, maybe even shoulder-high on mega-set, on the incoming tide resulting in conditions that really allowed me to generate blistering speed, let loose, clear the cobwebs, and return to a state of sanity. Eventually the winds turned North and made a mess of the conditions, but that hour-and-change of pure fun was a bonus that I would have missed out on if not for the fact that the Variant lured me into the originally-borderline-pitiful conditions.
With summer (and summer surf conditions) rapidly approaching, I’m less anxious about the crowds and weak conditions than in past years now that I have this secret weapon in my quiver. I know that I can only glide in straight lines on a longboard for so long before getting bored out of my skull; the Variant allows for speed, driving, and rail-turning that you may think impossible in waves that barely break, and can hold its own even when the waves approach the head+ zone.
The board in question:
Since this was a totally-solo session (at least until a pack of teens and early-20-somethings paddled out on top of me despite there being miles of empty beach and peaks in either direction… what’s up with that?) there are no photos from last night, but here are some past photos in similar conditions (All action photos credited to Gina Petruzzelli) .
And a little proof that the board can handle bigger conditions as well: