If you’re reading this article, chances are probably fifty-fifty that you own a Wavestorm. There are some good reasons to have one in your quiver: a board to teach people on, to pull into beachbreak closeouts, or to just go out and have fun. But, if you’re the type of person that finds yourself riding your Wavestorm often, you should drop that thing and get a real mid-length.
For over a decade I only rode shortboards. Then, when teaching my wife to longboard, I grudgingly fell in love with larger craft. Soon, I got interested in the in-between board sizes for days when the surf was a little too small for shortboarding and a little too big for longboarding.
My gateway drug was a 7’6”, with a serious rolled V, sharp/thin rails in the back and low entry rocker. My first session on it was in peaky, chest-high beachbreak near Ventura, Calif. and I instantly synced with it. I was able to position myself exactly where I wanted to be to take off thanks to the extra paddling power; the single fin held high and tight in the pocket for crouching head dips; it accelerated out of sections with a senseless amount of speed; and I was stupefied that I could lay it deep on rail out on the shoulder. I was smitten.
I’m not being even remotely hyperbolic when I say that riding mid-length boards changed my surfing completely. I surf as much as I ever have, and that’s in large part to having mid-lengths in my quiver. You should too: here are five reasons to take the mid-length glide.
The most surprising thing about my first mid-length was how well it rode in the barrel. It was a positioning machine that let me backdoor sections and make others that I never would have been able to otherwise. You’re not going to be air dropping then side-slipping into the tube like you can with your standard thruster but with a little finesse, a good mid-length will raise your tube count.
The mid-length gives you the glide you need on small days and the paddling speed you need on the big ones. I’ve surfed mid-lengths well into the double overhead range and with the right shape they act like a good step up, putting you in position for choice waves while other people on smaller equipment are floundering. Again, it takes good positioning but with that much foam under chest, you’re in control of the engine.
Like any type of board, there are many different types of mid-lengths that you could get into. I dig the single fin variety but I’ve dabbled with bonzers and two-plus-ones. These shapes can be highly refined and dialed into whatever types of waves you like to ride. Whether you’re hunting the tube or really want to lay it on rail or even nose riding, there’s a mid-length that will do that for you — just don’t expect to be boosting airs.
Support the Surf Industry
Buying a board from Costco supports a giant box store that can’t seem to construct buildings big enough to handle the throngs of people that frequent them. Buying a board from an established shaper supports someone dedicated to our industry and our passion. Not to mention that you get a honed piece of equipment made by hand that will make a Wavestorm feel like you were riding a kitchen sponge. I like mid-length specialists such as Christenson, Takayama or Chocolate Fish.
Surf a Wider Variety of Conditions
Who doesn’t want to surf more? The mid-length is the most versatile board in my quiver by a G-Land mile. I can almost always find a wave for it and when I get it out there, it sings. As I get older, I’m unfortunately getting more picky about the waves I ride and mid-lengths fights that urge by being too damn adaptable. And more adaptable means more fun.
Do yourself and favor and try one. It’ll change your surfing forever.