Entry: Tuesday May 10, 2011
Swell: 5.7 at 9.0 NW(320) & 1.4 at 14.0 SW (200)
Conditions: Fog clearing to partly cloudy
Tide: 0.8 Rising to 1.0 ft.
L41 SimmyD 8'0" X 30.25" X 4.5" Weight: 19.8 lbs Vol: 127L
I paddled with Libby and Paul this morning, Paul on his OC-1, Libby on the prone Bark paddleboard and me on Paul's custom 14' Bark Expedition. The ocean was calm and beautiful and until the fog cleared it was a wee bit chilly. We launched from NB and paddled up to Sarges where to our great surprise we found some real waves.
I had thrown my new wave riding SUP (SIMSUP 2 aka SIMSUP "Deuce" and to be known forever now as SimmyD) in the back of the van just to try it out after our paddle. I wasn't expecting any surf today. But finding waves we headed out past the kelp beds and then made a straight line for NB, quikening our pace so we could surf. But before the paddling session ended, I learned what I needed to know about the Bark Expedition as a possible option for my selection of a race/distance/fitness paddler. More on that later...
Because I hadn't expected waves I didn't bring my full wetsuit. Just my 2 mil shortie, boardshorts and a rash guard. But I didn't want to waste time getting my full suit. It was low tide and I figured the swell could get erased by the higher tide so I wanted to get in the water asap. I'd already paddled for a couple hours and figured I'd be tired anyway. Instead, I got juiced with SimmyD and surfed a two hour session in small, fast waist/chest high fun zippers at Gdubs.
SimmyD is a nasty freak who is fast, loose and gets me wet. This ride is a screamer who wants to run and let her hair blow back in the wind. She don't allow no whining. Figure her out, or get off. It took me about a half hour and two waves to bond. I know enough of her moves to want a lot more and I know I'm gonna get some.
SimmyD is exactly like the SIMSUP but for the following. 1) Krails (s-rails, whatever you want to call 'em.) Kirk shaved a total of 3L of foam off the deck side or top of the rails. This leaves a rail line that is greatly reduced from the usual thick and boxy rails found on most SUPs. It also leaves you with rails that look and surf more like a surfboard, not a SUP. Those rails combine with the second important change. 2) Weight. SimmyD is svelte and knows it. She weighs four pounds less than her older sister and acts a lot younger. Fast and loose is her new language and she loves to dish it. Her weight loss is due to an new and improved glass schedule from Paradise that is durable but lighter and a stringerless 1.5 pound EPS blank. Before adding the deckpad and fins she weighed in at about 17 pounds. Now she sits right at 19.8 lbs.
SimmyD is more temperamental, like the fast race horse she resembles. At 127L volume there is plenty of float for this 154 pound old man, but what makes her a bit more difficult to handle is the reduced volume of the rail (not as much float and stability directly on the rails) and the lighter weight. Being high strung and quick makes her more nervous, but the payoff is in extraordinary maneuverability and head snapping down the line speed. One of Kirk's buddies Peti was out with me and said, "that board is fast!" Yeah bruddah.
Water temps are right around 51 degrees and I thought I'd freeze out right quick but SimmyD made me hot to trot and her wave riding seductions were too much for me to resist. Finally though, after two hours, when my teeth were chattering and my legs wobbling, she took me home and put me away wet and all lathered up.
Kirk at L41 Surfboards knows how to build 'em and our collaboration on this second iteration of an idea I came to him with has been extraordinarily successful. Beyond my imaginings, because I didn't really know where it was going when we started. I thank him for taking this project on when a lot of shapers would have just said, "it won't work." But Kirk knew exactly how to make it work, and then improved upon the original. If you're looking for a custom board, you owe it to yourself to hit him up. You won't be disappointed.