About two and a half years into our journey of surfing that has brought us up and down the west coastline we decided to upgrade boards; dropping down in size and upping performance to a 6’8″ Big Boy Fish (Neil) and a 6’10” Big Boy Fish (Colin). Colin personally designed his own art work (second pic – purple art), while mine is an interpretation of a design I fancied.
It was something we had talked about as we got out more in the water earlier this year and saw our surfing progressing ahead of what our NSP 7’7″‘s could take us.
There are lots of options for buying a new board these days. You can buy online, pick a board off the shelf in any surf shop or use a board shaper to get a custom board made for you. By using a local shaper you can ensure the following; the board will be suited to local conditions (ie. Ireland), you can be sure that your board hasn’t been massed produced with inferior materials and traveled half the globe before reaching you and you will be dealing with an expert who will give you an expert opinion and advice. For these reasons we chose Mark McGuire (Powersource Surfboards) who is highly regarded among the surfing community. Mark has been shaping for over 25 years and started out his career in Newquay, England.
Deciding which type of board, size, shape, thickness and width are all important elements to take into consideration when looking at getting a new board… you have to give it thought because, hey this is going to be your board for the foreseeable future, it’s going to be your portal to that perfect wave; so you better get it right especially when your forking out half a grand!
Mark was really sound when it came to trying out a few of his boards… this is essential before deciding which type of board to get. You may have all the ambitions in the world and want a speedy, lightweight short board but when it comes to the crunch you may not be quiet at that level.
Trying to surf on a board way above your level can break your will and may see you turning your back on the sport!
Mark brought us around his workshop; showed us the different stages in the process of making the boards and while he has invested a lot in his setup it’s more of a passion than something that will make you a millionaire. He has been based in Ireland now for 20 years and has built a strong relationship with the Irish surfing community.
It’s interesting to get an insight into the process of board making, from the initial shaping of the blank to glassing and detailing in the art work. It truly is a master craft.
In the end we opted for the Big Boy Fish’s purely because they felt best when test riding in the water and they offer a nice transition from a NSP to a shorter proper board.
Our initial feeling on the boards is excellent, they are speedy, paddle really well and have great maneuverability. All we need now are some decent swell!!