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Bill Stewart's Fun model. Should there be any other type of surfboard? Photo by Chris Ahrens
Columns Waterspot

Fun boards

I get it when waves are classified as heavy, epic, perfect, soft, hollow, mushy or junky. Glassy, and offshore are even easier to understand.

But when someone calls a particular type of wave “fun,” I don’t quite get it. I mean, really, shouldn’t all waves be fun?

And why is our age so obsessed with changing the meaning of everyday words? Usually, I adapt to the new lexicon, but when you mess with fun, you’ve simply gone too far.

My main objection is that it’s surfing, after all, and I can think of no other reason to do it other than it being fun. Still, I’ll do my best to define fun in the aquatic world.

I believe that the elasticity of fun has come to define waves that are not in any way threatening, nor epic or perfect.

In my understanding, fun surf ranges from about waist to shoulder high, is probably kind of mushy, and might have a case of high tide morning sickness. Fun waves probably even have a little ruffle on the face from a light onshore wind.

And I have similar objections to the term “fun board,” even though that’s all I ever ride these days. Fun boards generally range from 6 to 8 feet, and are shaped like blimps, cigars or eggs. They generally have rounded tails and noses, and soft, forgiving rails.

All eggs are fun boards, but not all fun boards are eggs. At least I think that’s how it goes. It might be easier saying what a fun board is not. A fun board is not a semi gun, a thruster, a longboard or a Fish. (Would someone please ask Richard Kenvin if his mini-Simmons are considered fun boards?)

Fun boards make a great deal of sense for North County waves that are generally slow, soft and easy to ride. Fun boards carry over flat spots and can pick up waves well, although not as well as longboards.

I prefer fun boards over longboards because they fit in the passenger seat of my car and are relatively easy to carry down the stairs. Also, they are more maneuverable than longer boards.

While fun boards are not much good at chasing down a rolling wave, they generally handle steep drops better than longboards, and fit in the pocket better. Not that any of that concerns me any longer.

I am at the point where my surfing is regressing, and after more than 60 years of surfing, I am now riding about as well as I did after my first two years. (At this rate I expect to be surfing like someone who graduated surf school at the bottom of their class by the year 2025.)

So, if you see me floundering in the shore break, have a little mercy. I am not in the water to rip, catch air or get barreled. I am simply doing what I have always done. Trying my best to have fun on that round, blimpy looking device I’m riding.

If I manage to link up two turns in the process, I’ll be so stoked that I’ll have to bore you by writing about it in this column.

While I’m at it, my apologies to my friend Bill Stewart who had the good sense to have a label made saying “Fun,” on one of the Stewart models he designs. By the way, Bill, you had me at “F.”

If you or anyone you know are struggling with gang violence or drug addiction, please check out Chris Ahrens’ latest passion project, GodnGangsters: youtube.com/c/GodNGangsters

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