These days we live in the golden age of surfboard design. A world where you can custom order anything from the Sputnik-inspired models pumped out by Slater Designs to retro single fin logs, and everything in between. The days of owning the same high-performance shape both stretched and shrunk in 2-inch denominations for an 8-board quiver that lacks any variety are all but over (except, maybe, if you’re trying to qualify for the CT). That can make the task of building out a quiver particularly daunting. But whether you’re looking to buy a second surfboard to compliment your daily driver, or your fortieth to add to the garage there are strategies to make board purchases and orders work for you and to ensure maximum fun had.
The fact that we call our surfboard collections quivers is kind of a misnomer. For the archers of yore, arrows were drawn and fired from the quiver indiscriminately. Which means the word fails to capture how a proper surf quiver is supposed to function – more closely akin to a golf bag. You’ve got your daily driver, right? Your putter, for small days, your nine iron, etc.
It seems obvious, but in the same way that you wouldn’t start building out your clubs with a wedge, avoid buying surfboards with a specific function at first. Think about the conditions you encounter most often at home and what would work most of the time. A fish, for instance, is super versatile. It grovels well but really shines in the chest to head high stuff. If you’re looking for more performance, lots of shapers are doing modern riffs on the fish – think wide outline, low entry rocker, lots of foam. In Southern California and much of the East Coast, you can’t go wrong with owning a log either. A log and a fish might possibly be the ultimate two board quiver allowing you to get wet from ankle high days to overhead-plus days.
A second obvious consideration is how much space you’re working with at home and with your rig. I’ve seen Worm pull up to Malibu in a four-door sedan with two 9-foot-plus boards crammed inside. An impressive feat for certain, but not one many are anxious to try for themselves. If you drive a Smart Car, live in a tiny studio and are looking to get in the water on micro days, a beefed up mini Simmons might be a more manageable alternative to a longboard.
Experiment with Craigslist
Once you’ve covered your bases with a board or two that’ll work in the majority of conditions you’re working with at home, consider going nuts with experimentation. A great strategy here is instead of buying a board brand new, hunt for deals on Craigslist for shapes similar to ones you’ve been dying to try. That way, you don’t shell out $800 on a brand new custom that you ride once and hate. If you find an asymmetrical shape that’s similar to the one you’ve been dying to order from your favorite shaper, why not buy it, try it out, and if you like it re-sell it then order that dream board from your shaper.
How often you make time to get out of dodge for a surf trip is another primary quiver consideration. What works at home may not work elsewhere. That said, sometimes it will. Point being, do your research.
Sometimes the perfect quiver addition isn’t an actual surfboard. Body surfing and surf mat riding can change the way you look at waves, and can absolutely revive a mediocre day. If you’re looking for an attitude shift, maybe all that requires is a handplane and fins or a surf mat.