Surfboard life span
The current issue of Transworld surf features a question posed to the expert panel, that upon contemplation, brought me great sorrow.
Q: "What's the average life span of a pros surfboard?"
A:"Outside of guns or speciality boards, it can be shockingly short for a regular polyester surfboard. A lightly glassed surfboard that a pro is riding might last anywhere from a few waves to a six months, if they are lucky. As far as a more exact average, according to the guys at Channel Islands Surfboards, if a pro is riding a board hard, they'll go through it in a week to a month.
It brought me sorrow for the environment to think the top 44 are going through 1000's of boards a year.
It brought me sorrow to think of the loss of culture, history and design innovation. I collect and ride old boards to explore their functionality and design principles, to learn about where we have come from, to better understand where we are going to.
I don't have the answer, I'm not suggesting boards should be heavier or pros shouldn't get as many boards as they need, I'm just looking at the past and citing the example of just one of the boards from the Hawaiian Islands Vintage Surf Auction. Shaun Tomson's personal 'off the wall shooter' used in the winter of '78/'79 shaped by Bill Barnsfeild. I'm sure it has had a degree of restoration, but you can't say that Shaun Tomson doesn't surf hard or that Off the Wall is a soft surf break. Yet the board was able to survive 30 years and still be appreciated, admired and surfed!
What will I be able to look at in 30 years time from now?