A lot of surfers seem to define themselves by what they ride. They’ve either fully invested themselves in high-performance shortboards, or they have labeled themselves as “a longboarder.” Very rarely, do these surfers stray from their comfort zones, so why should you?
The Simple answer: It will make you a better surfer.
In addition, having a diverse quiver will allow you to surf more days a year, it will increase your understanding of wave mechanics, and of course, it’s a ton of fun.
If you are only surfing thrusters, chances are you’re not surfing as many days a year as the guy who has a longboard, a fish, or small-wave groveler in his arsenal.
To some surfers, small waves are the bane of their existence, but to the versatile surfer, small waves are a playground for longboards and grovelers. If you truly want to surf as much as possible, you need to be flexible.
Additionally, having a firm grasp on a variety of different board types will ultimately improve your understanding of wave riding. Each board type requires the surfer to use the wave a bit differently. Your traditional high-performance shortboard is made to generate speed along the face of the wave, with the purpose of setting up large turns/cutbacks. While a longboard is meant to ride on the open face of the wave, in the sweet spot right in front of the breaking water. A retro fish is made to generate speed and take a high line on the wave’s face for a long and loose ride. Possessing the skills required to ride all board types will give you a more intimate relationship with surfing and increase your skill in all aspects of surfing.
Above all else, surfing is supposed to be fun. You’ve heard that corny saying, the best surfer in the water is the one having the most fun, well, there is an obvious validity to that statement. What is the point if we’re not having fun? Chances are if you’re riding a thruster on a 2-foot wave, you won’t be having as much fun as the guy whose styling on a 9’0” single fin. And if you’ve never taken a high line on a fish, you haven’t lived.
So, get out there and have fun, no matter what you’re riding!