It was early on a Friday evening, the sun was ambling good naturedly down the back of the mountain, sharks were swimming about in their kitchens pondering dinner and I was standing in my wetsuit, in front of my boards, aquatic lovin on my mind, momentarily confounded by choice, like a polygamous president on date night. Now, while it is still true that on the whole, cobblers’ kids go barefoot, I have, nonetheless accumulated a small, rather strange and wonderful quiver.
Out of these I usually, at any one time, have a favourite, often a board that I find challenging, that I will ride obsessively in a bull terrierish - I won’t let go until I learn to ride this goddamn thing - manner. Of late that board has been the 9’6” D-finned longboard that my neighbour John Bramwell of Evenflow Surfboards made. I grew up riding a short board and it’s second nature to me. Logging, on the other hand, is a whole new language and one that, as I now live in Muizenberg, it seems appropriate to learn. But, I wasn’t feeling it on that afternoon, it was an older love that was calling me, it was my finless, rockerless, leash-less, waxless alaia that I wanted, my reincarnated 1000year old speed demon, my ode to simplicity.
Alaias, for me, are at their most fun on clean, small days with running waves and minimal crowds. This was one of those days. Perfect little lefts were laughing all the way to the bank. From my first wave I knew I had chosen the right board. I took off and set trim as the wave bowled along the bank. The board picks up momentum effortlessly and soon you’re going so fast that you feel you ought to do something radical - 360 reverse into the pocket?I love everything about riding these boards, the absurd minimalism, the utterly addictive speed, the feeling that you are accessing sensations from an ancient past, I love the skill needed to catch a wave, I even love getting dropped in on by shortboarders, I love standing still as a mountain and speeding past them as they bounce and flap and sink…
Josh Redman at Supertubes in Jeffreys Bays doing what he does best on our 'ode to simplicity' made out of agave and recycled foam.