Monday Mailbag: Your Questions Answered!
Why are girls (in general) worse surfers than guys? You would think that since they’re more flexible they would be more fluid in their style than guys, but that’s not the case. There are a lot of girls that rip, but how do you explain the ones who’ve been surfing for years and don’t?
Los Angeles, CA.
The battle of the sexes, perfect for Valentine's Day! First off, style isn't a man or woman thing—anyone (no matter their sex) can have a rank style. As far as why men (in general) surf better than woman I think it's a physical thing—guys just have more muscle mass in the shoulders and upper body.
I want to start off saying that I love the magazine. I have been getting it myself since ’07, but stealing my brother’s since ’04. I’m a huge fan of the Hurricane issues due to surfing on the east coast my entire life. But something about the March issue dealing with Hurricanes really bothered me. Where is New Jersey? I mean we got hit with surf from Igor too. But you just skipped right over our small state. I know you probably think all Jersey is fist pumping, GTL, hair gel, and spray tanning now, but you haven’t seen how people rip in Ocean City, or Belmar. I just want a little respect for the real Jersey shore.
If you took the time to check out our web site, you'd see a lot of images from Ocean City, New Jersey. Matter of fact, one of our senior photographers, Seth Stafford, lives in the area. As far as Jersey not making the cut in our previous Hurricane Issue, the reason for that is we got better images (due to better surf) from nearby New York. You're right though, everyone thinks of the Jersey Shore douchebags anytime you mention your great state…bummer for you.
Did you guys see that picture of the two White House staffers carrying surfboards as they leave Air Force One after the Obama's returned from a vacation in Hawaii over the holidays? Look at how the guy on the right is holding his board (a fine looking Tokoro pin tail). Who carries a board with the wax side pressed next to their body – especially when they're wearing a suit? That’s just not right.
What's not right is giving those two boards away to a dude who only bodysurfs!
I need to buy a new board. My current board is 6’6″ which I bought when I weighed 185. I now weigh 220 and it isn’t as fast as it used to be. I’ve read a lot of surfers are riding boards shorter than they are and wider than usual. I am 6’2″ and ride waves that are mainly waist to shoulder high. What size board should I buy?
Hey Mark, your board isn't slower, you just got fatter after packing on 35lbs. Anyway, look into a board of similar length but at least 20" wide and with a fuller nose and tail outline.
My boyfriend and I both surf, so this Valentines Day I made him a “wave bouquet” out of pictures from my latest issue of TransWorld SURF. It even smells like flowers because I used one of those smelly perfume advertisements to make some of the petals. Just wanted to share this with you and thank you for featuring more female surfers in the mag, you guys rock!!
That's so sweet. Were there any Reef girl butts visible? That would really sweeten the deal.
Have you ever had to help a swimmer or another surfer get in? What is the best way to do it so we both don't drown?
Yes, several times. I once even rescued a dog that swam out to the kelp beds. Anyway, the easiest way to help someone is to give them your board and send them straight in (that's assuming you can swim in with no surfboard). Your last resort should be a "cross chest carry" where you drag the person in while swimming with one hand however the most important part of any rescue is not to become a victim yourself.
After shopping at my local surf shop I’ve noticed that 75% of the boardshort offerings were made with stretch, or some type of technical flex fabric. Does the stretch really help improve your performance? Or is it all a marketing gimmick? It seems like the pros in the past surfed just fine in the rigid fabrics boardshorts used to offer. Is one brands stretch better than the others?
Thanks for the insight!
Huntington Beach, CA
Stretch is definitely one of the most hyped up (some would say “overhyped”) features in boardshorts today. What stretch is useful for is when your trunks get caught around your knees, yet, due to the stretch, you're still able to bend your leg. That said, the stretchiest pair of trunks in the world aren't gonna help you catch better waves.
I’ve been surfing for a couple years and cannot figure out tides. I have had good and shitty days when it's low, high, and everywhere in between (going out or coming in). I’m sure each spot is different, but is there a general rule to go by?
A very general rule to go by is this: most beachbreaks suck at dead low tide and most reef breaks like a lower tide. Everywhere is different though, keep checking your local spot and note what tide it's best on.
Hey TransWorld SURF! I’ve noticed a lot of people choosing Future fins over FCS. Some people say they're better and some people say they are worse? What is the big difference between FCS fins and Future fins?
The main difference is how they're mounted to the board, FCS has two screws on the side of the fin while Future Fins have a single screw in the back. Both companies make great fins; it's up to you to decide which one works best for your needs.
Most surfers would credit skateboarding for bringing airs to the water. And if they know the roots of the air on a skateboard, they probably know Alan “Ollie” Gelfand as being credited for introducing his nickname to the skateboarding world and Tony Alva as being credited for doing the first legitimate airs on a skateboard. But with airs being such a huge part of surfing nowadays, I was trying to think of who was credited for doing the first legitimate, functional airs on a surfboard. And although some names (Pottz, Fletcher, and Archy) came to mind, I didn’t know the answer. I was hoping maybe you guys could tell us all who to thank?
Outer Banks, NC
Great question! The first person that comes to mind is Davey Smith from the Santa Barbara area—he was busting airs at Emma Wood in the early 80s. Santa Cruz's Kevin Reed, however, got the cover of Surfing Magazine doing an air (that looked a lot like a flyaway) in 1975. For my money, Martin Potter was the first guy to do proper airs on a consistent basis.
Rumors have gone around about the various activities that can improve your surf. From Indo boards, to skateboarding, even snowboarding, they all seem to help. What can improve your skills the most?
San Diego, California
It's been said a million times, "The best training for surfing is surfing itself." Now get out there! Send your burning questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.