In surf, respect for the craft, the vessel, is paramount. Indeed, it’s not uncommon to see folks nerding out in the water asking what’s under their friend’s feet, how they like it, etc., etc. And yet choosing your next craft is always a challenging enterprise. Consider this, the prevailing test of whether a surfboard feels right is the underarm test – carrying a board under your arm to determine if the weight, thickness, width, simply feel right. In other words, the main tool surfers have at their disposal before making a serious purchase (besides showing up at a board demo, or trying a friend’s board) is eyeballing and going by feel, not actually giving it a try.
Peter Belden, the man behind the Newport Board Club, recognized an opportunity to create a space where local surfers can try an array of shapes, checking them out as you’d check out a library book and returning them to try out something new.