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Buying A Board Off The Rack

A lot of surfers I know turn up their nose at the thought of buying a board “off the rack”.   Too expensive.  Not supporting local.  Not “core” enough to order your own shape.  Valid reasons I suppose; to each their own.  I, on the other hand, have been known to buy a board off the rack here and there.  But every time I do it, I feel a twinge of guilt.  Of embarrassment.

Now let me just say, for the record, that I have had about half the boards I have ever owned custom shaped.  I have even shaped a board myself.  I have purchased from local shapers.  But for some reason, when I want a high performance shortboard, I want that shiny one off the rack.

It might have something to do with the fact that I don’t really have a set idea on what my next perfect dimensions will be.  I don’t know if shaving a 16th off the width will help my cutback.  I’m not a professional.  I don’t obsess over measurements.  When I want a new performance shortboard I want something proven and refined.  I have also had great results from off the rack boards – my last JS Konfusion was a magic board.  I love that thing.

But now, it’s time for a new one.  Some fresh blood in the quiver.

A few friends have told me to go through X shaper or Y shaper because I’ll get a good deal.  But honestly, I don’t want those boards.  I want another JS.  I already know what model I want – the Blak Box 2.  And the local shop has one on the rack waiting for me.

Is this selling my surfing soul?  Is it “less core” to not get something customized and wait 6 weeks for its arrival from some shaper I’ve never worked with before?

I’m going to vote no.  Surfing is about doing whatever the hell you want, and this time I want a specific board.  And I just don’t feel like ordering from a shaper.  So sue me.

If I was constantly ordering new boards and really had a desire to start drilling down into small changes in dims, I’d start talking to a shaper.  But right now I just want a little small wave performance board that’s been a proven design for a few years.

Everyone will have their different opinions, but I say if you see a board in the shop and you’ve put it under your arm and you like it – buy the damn thing.  Don’t let anyone tell you not to.

Hayley Gordon

Hayley Gordon has been surfing for over 20 years. Riding both shortboards and longboards, she's traveled the world to surf but mainly sticks to her two home locations of San Diego and Long Island.

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