At the age of ten I was introduced to surfing through an older cousin. Pete was five years older, an Encinitas local who lived within walking distance of Stone Steps and Moonlight Beach, and in my opinion the coolest guy on earth. You see, Pete let me into his world. He let me tag along wherever he’d go, and that usually had something to do with surfing. Man, I was in heaven – stoked! I wanted to surf. My first surf was at Moonlight Beach on his surfboard, a 9’6” Surfboards Hawaii, Model A. I remember the board because of the way he handled it, caressed the rails, inspected the fin, fixed the dings, eyed its rocker, spoke about it. The following year I got my first board, an 8’6” Bing. I was in love. I’d have slept with that board if my mom would have let me.
Fast forward five years. My buddy Billy is sixteen, has a drivers license and access to a car which puts us within striking distance of Seal and Huntington Beach. We’d surf for hours then head to the closest liquor store for a box of chocolate donuts and a quart of soda, the food of youth. After refueling we’d head to George’s Surf Shop in Huntington. George’s had all the great boards: Surfboards Australia, Bing’s, Weber’s, you name it George had it. We’d spend hours dissecting the merits of each one.
We thought we were hot stuff. We read the magazines and saw the latest surf movies. I think MacGillivray and Freeman’s “Waves of Change” was playing then. The shortboard revolution was on; dinosaur longboards were a dime a dozen, and we were going to shape our way to fame; not! I couldn’t figure it out. Billy’s went a little better, but in the end the boards didn’t work very well. I knew what I wanted but couldn’t make it. To make matters worse I couldn’t find anything like what I had in mind in the local shops.
There was a shop in Huntington in those days that occupied an old gas station, Wind and Sea Surfboards that Bill had gone to work for. The shop manager, Timo, listened to my woes and said, “hey let’s make the board you want. Custom, just for you.” He whipped out an order form and a box of crayons from under the pencil scared counter. We recorded my height and weight, the dimensions of the board, drew its outline and colored it sky blue. I give him a fifty dollar deposit and received a promise that my “custom” surfboard would be ready in five weeks. A month later I had my new surfboard and just like my first one I was in love. It had been made just for me. From that day to this I can count the number of off-the-rack boards I’ve had on one hand. I relish the excitement of waiting and the feeling of seeing my next love for the first time. The jitters I feel are the same ones I get on a pre-dawn paddle-out on a rising swell; it’s the unknown.
For those of you who’ve gone the custom surfboard route you understand, but for anyone who has never experienced the thrill of ordering a custom surfboard, well, you’ve got to do it at least once. It’s special.
Hobie Surfboards does custom boards all the time. We don’t use crayons very often; colored pencils are more in style now. We are going to ratchet down your anxiety though. The unknown can be a scary place; we’re going to streamline the process for you. Terry Martin, Gary Larson, or Tyler Warren will shape it for you, your choice, and the finest glassers in Southern California are going to finish it.
Visit our Dana Point store. Bucky Berry, a great surfer with a passion for helping you design that special board will gladly assist you, or stop by our San Clemente, Del Mar Ave. location, I’d love to help you create that special board you’ve always wanted.