Part Two: Early Research and Getting "Stoked"
As mentioned I can blame this whole affair on a casual comment by my partner Susan about learning to surf – she at age 59, and me at 66. Now being the mad researcher, it didn’t take long to determine that learning to surf on a longboard was likely my/our best bet. So soon Mr. Amazon sent me four books:
- Learn to Surf by James MacLaren: this short book was an easy read, and although noting that softboard or foamie might work at first, held that a real longboard was a much better choice. Covered are the bare minimums, but little more in what is really more of an overview in a fairly small book. Worth buying only if you are as obsessive/compulsive as I am, lol.
- Longborder’s Start-Up by Doug Werner: Even shorter, even smaller, dominated by large pictures and larger print, plus a long butt-kissing interview with Messrs. Steward and Ford of Stewart Surfboards (who sponsored the book). Again the bare minimums but way barer. Not recommended, by me anyway.
- Surfing Illustrated by John Robinson (the author of Kayaking Illustrated). As an advanced kayaker and surfski paddler, this book attracted me. This 176 page book is large (not just in length), with plenty of copy and amazing hand drawn illustrations. Very educational, and relatively complete, covering all aspects of waves, equipment, alternatives and learning. A must buy in my view, terrific. And last…
- Wingnut’s Complete Surfing by Robert “Wingnut” Weaver: this is the book that really did it for me, particularly because Wingnut (and his favored Robert August longboards) are all about just one thing: longboarding for all, from 7 to 70. He is a natural teacher, and his book gives you all the tools and hope you’ll need to do his style of smooth and soulful longboarding – exactly my objective.
He even advises buying the Endless Summer vids, plus his own Wingnut’s Art of Longboarding (volumes 1 and 3 are very educational, vol 2 is simply a travelogue. I got them all at the thesurfnetwork.com where you can download these 40 to 60 min. vids for $9.99 and save em to disc. Way cheaper than trying to buy em on Amazon, etc.
Now of course he favors in particular the 9’6” Robert August What I Ride, as a good all-around and forgiving board, great for beginners but with room for growth. He has no issues with this board in Tufflite, and also recommends other shorter designs for those who wish to progress further. A great book and vids for me and my old man goals.
These books – especially Wingnut’s and his vids – left me with a sense of hope and a growing understanding of longboard design such as rail shape, rocker, width, concave, single or multiple fins, volume et al, but more importantly made this crazy notion seem doable! Great! I no longer felt like a complete idiot and was then able to start visiting surfshops and asking intelligent questions.
Next up: Choosing a Board…