A couple of years ago, I landed somewhere hot with palm trees and perfect waves. I had a board bag with two boards in it, a 6’6 step up and a 5’11 that I loved. They were wrapped carefully with towels, bubble-wrapped on the rails, and inside a board bag, exactly how they were supposed to be. When I picked up the board bag from the oversize luggage area, it looked as though it had gone through a paper shredder. I have no idea how it might’ve happened. Unless someone was transporting a box of rabid beavers in the underbelly of the plane and they managed to escape, there was no way my bag could possibly have looked that bad. My heart sank–I was too broke to buy other boards, and from the looks of the board bag, both were likely destroyed. As it turned out, they both just had a few dings that were easily repaired. The trip was a great success, and I bought another cheap board bag for the trip home. When I arrived home, it was the same story. The boards were fine, minus a few chunks, but the bag was ruined. The zipper was broken and a two-foot slab of material was ripped off the front. Then I found salvation. It came by way of a company called Wave Tribe, a too-little-known company run by an exceedingly nice, abnormally stoked fella who goes by the name of Derek. Derek is a connoisseur of mini simmons and really, anything that slides on a wave. We’ve never met in person but we get along very well over email, and two years ago the guy sent me a postcard from France just to say hi. My own mother doesn’t send me postcards, and she has fantastic handwriting.
Derek and Wave Tribe were making eco-friendly surf gear well before it was something anyone ever talked about. Their board bags are made from hemp, their traction pads are made from cork, and their leashes are made from recycled plastic. But eco-friendly as they may be, that’s not why I’m pumping their tires. Their board bags are bulletproof. Not literally, of course, but over the course of the last four years, I have put my bag through some serious shit. I used to work in Northern BC in the oil patch, and the guys I worked with had a saying. “He’s tough on riggin’.” Which meant, of course, that I broke nearly everything I laid my hands on. The same goes for my surfboards, board bags, mug collection (yeah, I collect mugs), and relationships (ha ha! I laugh to cover my pain!)–I ruin shit constantly. But try as I might, I simply cannot ruin this bag. Now, four years later, it’s sun-bleached, moldy, and covered in some strange substance that is either foul-smelling tar or a some part of a dead dog. The zipper still works. There’s not one tear, not one frayed string. If I threw in the wash, it would be the same as the day I got it, albeit a little faded.
Not only is it indestructible, it has more padding than any other bag on the market. They have thick foam inserts at the nose and tail, and the entire thing is just a little thicker than a regular bag. Outside voted their bags “Best New Product.” ESPN called them “better board bags.” Simply put, you can put Wave Tribe’s bags through the hardest of paces, and you’re not going to bust ’em. It’s made to protect your surfboard from those board destroying assholes at the airport. That’s what surfers need. Sure, the eco-friendly bit is a bonus, but if your bag is eco-friendly and your surfboards are busted when you get to where you’re going, then what good is that?
Derek recently sent me another bag because I left mine in a van in Mexico. A little disclaimer here: I didn’t pay for it, although I tried my hardest. I generally hesitate to accept free shit just in case it sucks and I have to write some awful review, but Wave Tribe makes really, really good stuff. I thought about buying a different bag. I went so far as to enter my credit card information on a website. But I don’t like buying things that I’m not sure about. I’m sure about Wave Tribe’s bags. So now I have two. You should also have two. Or just one. Either way, it is very likely it’s the last one you’ll ever get.