A few years ago, I bought my girlfriend an eight-foot Wavestorm from a garage sale. I passed it off as a birthday present, because, apparently, I am an asshole and the thought is NOT what counts. It was on that board that I would first find out just how fun foam can be. I like to think that I was part of the foamie modernist vanguard, but I imagine I was just unknowingly clinging to the soggy coattails of a real movement of people who didn’t know they were a movement. Within a few years, the Wavestorm became the most popular surfboard in America, proving that all those “support your local shaper” folks are quietly shouting into the void.
Now, however, a few years on, something refreshing seems to have happened: a large group of people stopped taking surfing so damn seriously. And those people, with their smiling faces and brains big enough to realize that seriously surfing is the opposite of what surfing is for, occasionally like to ride something that floats, something that’s cheap, and something that isn’t made for anything other than having as much fun as possible. Of course, you could be one of those people who feel as though taking surfing very, very seriously is “fun”, but I can assure you that your lead-faced scowls and petulant water slaps are not as fun as simply sliding around on top of a lump of moving water. But let’s get back to that garage sale Wavestorm.
Soon after that purchase, I began surfing it pretty regularly—partially because I live in California and the waves here are far worse than you’ve been led to believe and partially because I was getting bored of surfing my other surfboards. Very quickly, I realized that eight feet of flexible foam partnered with a set of fins so soft they fold like pieces of wet bread is a recipe for a kind of fun not usually found on a normal surfboard. It’s couched in the fact that Wavestorms aren’t made for performance, so any ideas you might have of performing are thrown out the window. All that’s left, then, is sliding around in a warm ocean under a bright blue sky. And is there anything better than that?
Soon after, my girlfriend decided she’d like to go a little shorter, so she wrote Keanu Asing an email. Wait. No, she didn’t. She went out and bought a seven-foot foamie thing that found its way to the inside of the van I leave in Mexico, where it gets ridden on small days, big days, and all the days in between. On small days it catches waves. On big days it catches waves extraordinarily early, often leading to a few seconds of a screaming high line before the inevitable unread closeout appears. Since it resides in Mexico, I miss that board frequently. In fact, that brings me to the meat of this long-winded chunk of words. Instead of missing that seven-foot slab of fun, I decided to buy another one. That took me to Wavestorm’s website, where I found something that surprised my pants right off. It’s something that I feel I ought to have known. My God, I feel as though I missed something important: Wavestorm makes far more than just the ol’ standby that you know and love (or hate, I suppose, depending on your idea of “fun”).
Now, I knew that all sorts of companies had jumped on the foam train, making essentially the same thing, only shorter, cooler looking, and of course, more expensive, but I did not know that had Wavestorm kept up with the trend. I assumed they loaded the train full of coal, sounded the horn, then watched it head off into the distance with a mournful look on its face. But holy shit, Wavestorm’s still on the train! Look! Under the guise of different brand names, Wavestorm is offering the same thing those foam train-hoppers are offering, only for hundreds of dollars cheaper. And that, after all, was the whole point in the beginning: something cheap that’s extraordinarily fun.