Monday Mailbag: Reader Questions Answered

Need Some Beginner Tips

I just bought my first surfboard and am pumped to pick up a new sport! Any big tips that could help me get started?
Belmar, New Jersey

There are a million pieces of advice to give a beginner surfer, but to me, the most important things to remember are: paddle hard, stay out of the way, stand up as fast as you can, shuffle your feet while walking out (helps prevent getting hit by a stingray), don't bail your board in front of other surfers, and most importantly—have fun!

Wants More Surf Science

Thanks for the awesome Beater Squad ad (above) in the Big Issue. It’ll keep me busy for a while. But the reason I am emailing is because I want more science and informational stories in the mag. Pieces on the Maldives are sick and I love em but I really want more info on the evolution of surfboards. You know, the Meyerhoffer 1 & 2 and Donovan Frankenreiter's "Spacecraft." What’s being made & what’s working, what's not, and why!
Cool, man!
Thanks and aloha,

We've got a play date set up at the beach with the guys from WaveJet, stay tuned for that and remember; don't knock it 'til you try it! PS, how epic are the Catch Surf ads?

Sion Milosky at one of the thickest waves in the world—Teahupo'o. RIP SION! Photo: Josh Humbert

Sion Milosky at one of the thickest waves in the world—Teahupo'o. RIP SION! Photo: Josh Humbert

Why So Thick?
I was wondering why some waves like Teahupo'o, Shipsterns Bluff, and Cyclops are so thick. Is it the reef or is it how the wind is blowing?
Santa Cruz, CA.

The reason the waves you mentioned get so top heavy and thick is that an approaching swell comes out of really deep water only to slam into a shallow reef. The water has to go somewhere (it can't go down) so it gathers into a hideously thick lip.

Photog Danger?
Hello. Here is my question: What is the most dangerous type of picture to take for a surf photographer?
Vanessa R.
Puerto Rico

The only danger a photographer comes across on the beach are angry locals and hungry mozzies, so I'd have to say that swimming with a fish eye lens and getting really close to the subjects (and taking set waves on the head) is the most dangerous form of surf photography.

Letter Of The Week: Design Breakthrough?
So, a question about board and leash plug design: Having my ankle pulled hard, having my board pull me over the falls, or being dragged by my leash as my board tombstones causes me to wonder: Why does the leash plug get put on the TOP of the board, when it could be put directly attached to the end of the tail so my board wouldn’t cause so much resistance or drag in a wipeout? It could just pull right back through the wave! Doesn’t seem like it would cause any significant increase in leash drag when riding. Even fewer leash snaps when I lose my board.
Roger H.
Chesapeake, Virginia

We kicked this one around the office for a bit and came to the conclusion that a leash attached to the end of your board would create too much drag from the rail saver and leash itself. We like that you're thinking outside of the box though, and have decided to award you "Letter Of The Week" status. You'll receive a box full of tasty Popchips for your efforts.

Send your letters to the editor to The letter of the week will win a box full of healthy and tasty Popchips.

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