Guide to your second surfboard

So you’ve become addicted to the joys of surfing.  You’ve got a funboard but your skills have progressed to a sufficient degree as to warrant the purchase of a second board.  Alas, the options you encounter as you decide which new sled to shred are seemingly boundless.  Here are some questions to ask yourself as you consider your way to a second board.  


1) What kind of surfing do I most relate to?

Do you like the graceful glide and board dancing style of a seasoned longboarder?  Or do the off-the-lip, top-to-bottom, aggressive lines of a skilled shortboarder appeal to you?  Perhaps you prefer more of a skatey, flowing style with smooth continuous lines that can be drawn with a fish or a single fin?

Bottom line: it’s helpful to know where you’d like to end up with your surfing in order to decide how to choose your second board.  You can eventually master them all but it’s smart to focus on what style you’ll strive to emulate as you build your skills.



2) Specialist vs Generalist

Surfboard design is a world of trade-offs;  nose-riding focused longboards are cumbersome to turn and more difficult to establish trim with.  Performance shortboards are amazingly maneuverable but make catching waves very tricky and critical.  While there are many specialized boards that are capable of providing for amazing surfing sensations, the general rule is this:  The more specialized the craft, the more skill is required to make up for the other elements the board design has neglected.  For this reason, a more generalist shape is preferable for a second board.  This might include “alternative” shapes such as fish, single fins, discs, eggs, etc.  These generalist boards are great for building out your quiver.  They’ll help you continue to develop your skills and, even if you end up progressing to a “specialist” board in the future, they will be perfectly suited for days when surf conditions are mediocre.  Things to look for with a generalist board are:  wider outline, wider nose/ tail, fuller rails, and moderate rocker.


3) Volume  *For the short(er) board minded folk only*

Volume is yet another design variable that has trade-offs. More foam helps keep your craft easy to paddle and makes catching waves easier.  However, when you see lines of white water out the back, that volume is going to make your board a real chore to duck dive.  Duck diving is a massive benefit to shortboarding- being able to escape a wave’s energy by sneaking below the water’s surface is incredibly helpful to increasing your wave count and conserving energy.  Because it is a skill you need to work towards mastering, volume is something you should consider when purchasing your new board.  There are countless volume calculators out there on different surfboard manufacturer websites all of which might help inform you about a suitable amount of float for your body type.  However, being overly analytical isn’t particularly helpful with your “generalist” second board.  A general guideline to follow would be to select a board that is 0-6 inches taller than you are and 20-21.5 inches wide.  Thicknesses should reflect your overall heft- thicker people should ride thicker boards and vice versa.


4) Final thoughts: the transition

Paddling out on a fresh piece of foam is a sensation-tingling experience.  At this early stage in your surfing career, you’ve only caught waves on, let alone paddled out on, a few different boards.  Just like every aspect of surfing, board transitions are difficult.  They require patience and perseverance but you will be surprised how quickly you can transfer your skills from one craft to another.  Go forth and shred!


Posted on September 7, 2016 .

Pacific Quarter Interview

Pacific Quarter is a new PNW-centric blog that's the collaborative effort of six unique women who are passionate about where we live.  Their range of interests help to shed light on a wide range of unique spots, people, products, and generally provides inspiration and awareness for everything Northwest.  We made a board for one of their contributors, Megan Ecker, a few years back and she was kind enough to reach out to us for an interview.  Check it out over at their blog!


Posted on November 14, 2015 .

Without Walls features Blackfern

On the Without Walls' blog, they give shout outs to craftspeople who directly contribute to an active lifestyle.  Blackfern was recently chosen to be featured and we are tickled with the job they did.  Rebecca Davis, from their editorial staff, perfectly captured the essence of what we do and why we do it.  Click through and have a look!

Posted on August 13, 2014 .

Van Life

After enduring countless dodgy camping missions, we decided to pull the trigger and upgrade to a camper van. Read more...

Posted on August 9, 2014 .

Without Walls Display

We're stoked to take part in the Surf display at Without Walls Portland!  They carry a lot of great active lifestyle brands and hopefully sometime shortly we'll have a few tees on offer alongside their other fine products! 

Posted on August 5, 2014 .

Dip Dyed Tees

We've been doing a lot more multi-toned resin tints over the past year or so.  They turn out a little sloppy and imperfect but its a cool effect.  Anyhow, we've been pondering how to produce a similar effect on a tee shirt (without using resin of course ;)) and I finally came across the idea of dip dying. We did a limited spring run to try it out and the shirts turned out great!  

Posted on May 10, 2014 .

Senior Project Radness

I can't help but be a bit jealous because making a surfboard is probably the best senior project I can imagine.  Congrats to Sean on a great first effort and for graduating high school to boot! 

Posted on May 5, 2014 .

Concave Deck Build

I've been wanting to make a concave board for quite awhile now.  Blackfern keeps evolving as a company and I need to do the same as a shaper.  This board turned out to be a real adventure to build and I am super keen to take it out for a swim.  

Posted on March 31, 2014 .

Pendleton Collaboration Board

The kind folks over at Pendleton approached us last summer seeking some boards to help launch their Surf Pendleton revival.  We made them a 1960's style single fin design with the two patterns shown below.  Fast forward a year later and they're offering our collaboration surfboard in their Spring catalog.  Check out more info on the boards as well their other fine Surf Pendleton gear on their website.

Posted on March 27, 2014 .

Spring Break

We got a short trip out to PC in right at the beginning of spring break.  The waves were a bit unruly but it was the first camp of the year and that alone made the trip worthwhile.  Catching up with friends we hadn't surfed with since fall and making some new ones at the campsite- hallmarks of a successful weekend outing.  

Posted on March 25, 2014 and filed under Surfing.