Some say surfing is holy. Religious even. They are right. And as with any religion, there are sects. Distinctions and nuances to be respected and obeyed. For those of the Single-fin logger tribe, I submit our North Star. These ten commandments were found upon a beach of an unnamed point break, covered in sand. Barely legible, but preserved nonetheless. Enjoy, abide, and let your toes hang freely.
1. Thou Shalt Trim.
Have you ever been to Jeffreys Bay? Witnessed Supertubes thundering at six to eight-foot, for miles on end? Well then you’ll know, the oldest, greyest, most long-standing locals, they don’t concern themselves with the frivolities of turns and snaps and off-the-lips. They simply set a rail and trim for of all five hundred meters of the wave. Like the greying locals of Jbay, a true logger understands the importance of the perfect trim. Why bother walking around, cross-stepping, twirling etc. Sometimes all you got to do is stand there, namaste the sun and connect with mother nature via the entry of the wave while just standing there… on a log.
2. Thou Shalt Never Wear a Leash.
It doesn’t matter that the slow rolling point you’re surfing has the most jagged edged samurai sword rocks lining the shore, or the fact that there are about a thousand groms on the inside trying to bust airs in the shorey, and if you lose your board it might just take out an army of the next generation of young surfers. You think Duke Kahanamoku strapped a piece of horrible velcro to his ankles before paddling out? We didn’t think so.
3. No Leash Plug.
If you’re not wearing a leash, then why bother with the plug?
4. Thou Shalt Place (Single) Fin Bonnet Side
All those vehicles with shortboard thrusters stacked upon that commercial, mass-produced, electronic vehicle, they could learn a thing or two from the single fin logs stacked upon this here 1970s Station Wagon. Notice how instead of the fins facing the boot, they’re in fact facing the bonnet. This has been scientifically proven to reduce drag while the fin above the bonnet provides the vehicle with increased stability at high speeds.
5. Thrusters are from Lucifer.
You fool! You thought you could ride a log yesterday when it was one foot and today, when it’s eight feet, casually hop on a Chinese factory pop-out thruster!? You charlatan! Do you not know that the Lord sees all? When you can’t ride a log, you ride a twin-fin fish, a Derek Hynd-inspired Far Free Field Friction finless thing, or whatever he calls them, or a Gerry Lopez Pipeline single fin with a damn lightning bolt running through the middle. How dare you take the Lord’s name in vain.
6. Thou Shalt NEVER Have a Detachable Fin.
A true logger knows that true logs don’t come with detachable fins. You think Miki ‘Da Cat’ Dora casually unscrewed his fins before hopping on a flight to France? No sir. Detachable fins are for lukewarm dabblers, for those in the middle ground. Neither here nor there. One minute they’re unscrewing a single nine-inch fin, next they’re screwing three FCS fins into their performance board, logging on to the WSL website to watch the Surf Ranch Pro and Kelly Slater singing 1980s cover songs in a red leather jacket. How commercial of you.
7. Thou Shalt (Try To) Import Thy Log.
Ideally, in a perfect world, your log would get imported from Australia or SoCal. Many of these shapers have a transcendental insight into the true lines a log should possess, handed down to them from their forefathers’ forefathers. If you take logging seriously, you’ll try, at least once, to acquire a board from Mecca itself, no matter the cost to you personally, even if you could purchase three of the same boards from a local shaper or lay down a deposit on a small house with a sea view.
8. Zion Is a Slow Rolling Point.
Malibu, California, Lower Point, Jeffreys Bay, Lazy Lefts, Sri Lanka, Noosa Heads, Australia: If you find yourself a slow rolling point break, you’ve found yourself in Zion. All hail Malibu; a cross-stepping heaven sent to us earthlings by the greatest of the logging gods. Those poor souls that spend their lives trimming one turn beach breaks, how short the trim must be. Can they even find the nose before the wave closes-out?
9. Thou Shalt Never Shuffle.
“Oh, you were wondering why I walk so funny? It’s just because I ride a single fin log. And on logs you only cross-step. I’ve just become so used to logging that I now cross-step everywhere I go.” Once you purchase your first authentic log, best you know how to cross-step. And not just to the nose, you better know how to cross-step back as well. Because if the king of the loggers caught you shuffling your way around like a fat toddler that just started walking, you might just find yourself ostracised for life and banished from the promised land.
10. Thou Shalt Never Wear a Full Wetsuit.
What are you? A seal? No matter the ungodly temperatures the ocean might dip to, please understand that full wetsuits while riding a log is completely unacceptable. Would you go to a job interview wearing slip slops and a pair of board shorts? Unless you’re applying to be a glasser of surfboards, probably not. So please, when riding a log dress appropriately. Wearing a beavertail is a spiritual experience that places you firmly in the cross-stepping footsteps of your logging forefathers. It doesn’t matter how impractical it may be, nobody questioned the practicality of yoga.