With winter swells and dropping water temperature due to arrive in Central California by mid-autumn, I found myself in need of a new wetsuit for the season. A recent purchase of what I assumed to be a top-of-the line wetsuit transformed into a saga of undulating emotions and, more importantly, warmth.
Of course I wasn’t blindsided by this need, I knew all summer a new suit was in the cards, but procrastination persevered until October when I purchased a brand-spanking-new XCEL Drylock 4’3.
I’d been partial to O’Neill suits in the past, but after hearing XCEL’s praises sung by many friends in the water and out, I decided to sack up and drop the $460 plus tax to see what I was missing in the form of Drylock technology. I was not disappointed. Initially.
If you’re new to surfing, it’s most likely you started in the summer. Well, winter surfing may appear daunting – bye, bye board shorts, hello gimp gear – but it’s fantastic, powerful and not to missed.
More than any other, surfing is a sport dictated by the elements. Wave, wind, and weather can align to create perfection, slop, or anything in between. Without wave energy, however, the whole endeavor would be in vain.
Yes you’ll need to kit yourself out a bit, but a lot of the worry about winter surfing is misplaced. Here’s why with a little prep you’ll be good to go.
It’s cold again. Even in California. Thanksgiving signals the beginning of the end of the year. A time to reflect on prior months of success or shortcomings, and what changes should be made for the future.
Winter means shorter days, longer clothing, and cooler water.
But for surfers, winter is a time to rejoice. Wavesliders love this season. Here’s a few reasons why:
When surfing emerged on the California coast in the 1950s it was the Malibu beachfront that emerged as the epicenter of activity. The famed right-hand pointbreak became synonymous with the sport itself – so much so that the type of boards ridden there took on its name.
Malibu longboards are similar to classic longboards in general shape, but are slightly tweaked to promote the flashy riding style characteristic of those mid-century watermen just up the coast from Los Angeles.
Learning how these boards differ from classic longboards will help you when buying a big surfboard – perhaps a malibu is right one for you?
Not much more than twenty years ago all equipment innovations in surfing were based on the board itself. Fins just were an afterthought: a necessity for stability and turning, but otherwise perfected and impossible to improve.
But like plenty of other everyday items twenty years ago, major changes occurred to develop and advance fin technology. Today, we’re left scratching our heads wondering anyone could have even thrown a simple cutback two decades ago.
The evolution of surfboard fins has more or less followed the evolutions of surfboards. Contemporary fins are thinner, lighter, tougher, stronger, more flexible, and more expensive than their predecessors. There are specifications for every type of surfer and every type of wave. In order to choose the best fins, you first need be realistic about the type of surfing you’re looking to do. Even the best surfers in the world have to adjust their fin selection to match the wave they’ll be riding, so let’s start there.
Imagine surfing is an Olympic sport. It probably won’t ever be, but just consider it for moment: think of the possible venues; think of the opening ceremony; think of the nations and the teams.
Now think of the podium. Which country is handed the gold? The silver? The bronze? It’s not completely absurd to contemplate, but ultimately what we want to know is: Which country is the best at surfing?
When the flags are raised, will they all be the green and gold of Australia or the stars and bars of the US?
I can sense the rants and opinions bubbling to the surface, so let’s first establish how the competition would be run, then see whose getting the gongs.
The surfing in Brazil is much like its culture – varied and generally supportive of a really good time. The coastline is immense at almost 7,500 kilometres.
There are reefs, sandy beaches, and rocky points capable of transforming South Atlantic swell into peeling waves.
But because of the predominate southern origin of ocean energy in this region of the Atlantic, great surf is rarely found in the northern section of Brazil.
It’s the southern beaches, especially on the island of Santa Catarina, where you’ll find the best places to look for waves.
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