I tried a wooden alaia once before, and I was terrible at it. Essentially, I couldn’t do whatever it was that I was supposed to do on it. I didn’t come remotely close. Granted, the shore pound on a flat day by Off The Wall didn’t provide the friendliest conditions for an alaia introduction, but when I held the porous, leashless wood chip beneath my arm and jumped into the Pacific, I felt a certain sense of…confusion? Self-importance? Excitement?
For a fleeting moment, I think I established a (very) shallow connection with surfing’s ancestry. After all, I was on a piece of timber (in Hawaii, no less) instead of a mishmash of chemicals and fiberglass from the bowels of industrial Orange County. This board had no fins. It barely floated. For these reasons (and the fact that I couldn’t actually do it…) I was a skeptic. I mean, the board’s just not that practical, right?