How many of us have shown up to the beach on a so-so day and suddenly find ourselves lacking the motivation to suit up and paddle out? Even when the forecast called for great conditions, something inside told you it wasn’t going to be that fun. The wind is blowing the wrong direction, it’s too crowded, the tide is too high. The drumbeat continues, nudging you to stay in bed a little bit longer.
It’s safe to say a lot of surfers, even those who make a living riding waves, lose determination at times. But those days can be behind us when we acknowledge a lot of this comes from being hyper-focused on surfing one craft, one shape, one size. Whether it’s massive or minuscule, windy or glassy, there is no excuse not to jump in the water for a few when you have the right equipment at your disposal. An open mind and a new craft can spark even the simplest of joys, bringing us back to why we started in the first place.
Enter the no-excuses quiver. Beyond an oil spill or a circling shark, the no-excuses quiver leaves no reason a smile can’t be achieved catching a wave. Don’t be afraid.
It’s astounding the simplicity and joy one can get from just a pair of fins. All you need is the desire to jump into the ocean. Many overthink the simplicity of bodysurfing.
Mark Cunningham said it best, “It’s just swimming, it’s not rocket science.” There’s no need to jump straight in at Pipe for that matter either. Bodysurfing teaches you different ways to catch a wave. It teaches you how to trim and read waves differently once you’re not reliant on a board. Ever wonder how Dave Rastovich can read waves the way he does, with the fluidity and grace of a pelican cruising the surface? Watch the way he bodysurfs.
For less than a weekend night out at the local bar, you could own a pair of swim fins small enough to take residence in your car and give you joy no matter the conditions. Here’s a quick and dirty rundown of our favorite bodysurfing fins.
Many of us began our ocean-loving endeavors on this very craft. Most have decided to move on and allow it to collect dust in the garage while others continued to pursue some of the most ferocious slabs and reefs on the planet.
If harrowing slabs aren’t your thing, there still may be a super hollow, quick wave above your skillset on a surfboard, while a bodyboard (or boogie board if ya wanna boogie…tomato/tomahhhtoe!) will be a blast to put to use.
Whether you’re Joel Tudor or Skip Frye, a longboard or SUP should be in everyone’s quiver. You need something big in your garage that gets you out there and allows you to enjoy the ocean even on the smallest days. From nine-foot and up, the variances in shapes and styles can help us all improve our surfing mechanics.
The rise of the mid-length has been all the buzz lately and it’s not all about stoking out beginner surfers. Take a look at a guy like Devon Howard. He’s been ripping these boards for years in conditions ranging from double over to waist high. Tyler Warren is another who jumps on egg-shaped designs and has a smile ripped across his face even on a crowded day at Lowers.
Take it from the author that the mid-length may be responsible for bringing his inner grom back out and even inspired him to write this article. The point is there are a variety of conditions these boards thrive in and they may be the most versatile shape on this list.
The revival of the fish is another undeniable craze.
While some retro shapes are actually better suited for at least decent days, these are boards that have a tendency to reignite that spark just like the mid-length did for me. Just watch Torren Martyn and recognize that he figured it out and hasn’t looked back. From firing Thurso, draining point break barrels in Morocco, or hollow beachies in New Zealand, he has made his point that a retro fish can be awe-inspiring in a variety of conditions.
The shortboard obviously reigns in the popularity contest. It is the highest performance board in any quiver and what most surfers turn to in nearly every condition. From one-foot ramps at Duranbah to pumping barrels at Hossegor, the standard shape can thrive in many conditions and kids and adults of all shapes and sizes are ripping these boards to unthinkable levels. Even if you surf alternative shapes most days, every surfer has to have some kind of thruster ready to go for the right occasion.
It’s up to you how big you want one of these but so long as you have one sitting around, you’ll be happy to know it’s there the day it’s needed. You may simply go for slightly more foam than usual or you may order yourself a life vest and a brand new rhino chaser. Either way, you want something that doesn’t let, “It’s a touch too big today” remain an excuse to stay on land. Ultimately, this is the board that will help you push your comfort zone. And that’s a good thing.
The point of this list isn’t to persuade you to go out and break the bank getting your garage lined with new surfboards. If it does, good on you. Just get out in the ocean. There are therapeutic properties time in the water can offer us and we all need that therapy. So if it’s dumpy closeouts with swim fins or your local lineup is maxing out, the idea of the no-excuses quiver is to make sure you’re never sitting in the parking lot with your coffee for too long.