Yonder x K&K Surfboards
One of the easiest and most common mistakes to make when starting out surfing is riding the wrong board.
If your board isn't right then you are more likely to get fed up, frustrated and fail to progress. Getting the right board is often harder for women as many of the boards out there on the market are designed with men in mind. Though women and men aren't so different overall when it comes to surfing, statistically the average height and weight difference between men and women is fairly significant. This is an important factor when choosing the board that's right for you.
There are also different styles of riding waves and the style you prefer will determine the boards you ride; I tend to look to surfers like Leah Dawson and Steph Gilmore (particularly when she rides a single fin), Ryan Birch, Alex Knost and Dave Rastovich for my inspiration, all stylish surfers who capture my imagination and get me excited to surf when I watch them.
I personally ride shortboards, longboards, fish and mid-lengths and have always been a big believer in the 'ride everything' ethos. In fact, I can often be seen riding my trusty 7' Chris Jones single fin affectionately dubbed 'big red'. It is a guaranteed wave catcher, encourages me to relax when I surf and makes me smile whenever I'm riding it. That board has been part of our quiver now for over ten years and we would never sell it.
I feel often that there is a pressure in surfing to progress to shorter and smaller boards as soon as possible, as if it's 'kooky' to ride bigger boards. I would always be wary of going 'short' too soon. Going too small too quickly only leads to a drop in wave count and frustration; at the end of the day surfing has to be about having fun. A good mid-length is an important board in a quiver however good at surfing you are for smaller days, fat waves and more mellow sessions.
Going back a few years, when I came to commit to buying my first surfboard, it meant a huge amount to me. I remember spending ages looking around for boards, half looking for a board made for girls and all I found was pink and flowery designs on terrible mass produced pop-outs. I knew enough about surfing to know that I wanted it to be made from fiberglass not plastic and I'd rather someone who surfed had had a hand in making it or designing it.
I don't think I knew what a 'board for a girl' would be, what the difference was, but I knew that I might want something slightly different to my partner, who's 5'11 and 12 stone as I am considerably smaller and lighter at 5'8 and 8.5 stone. I felt there might be some subtle difference between 7'6 he might ride and a 7'6 I might ride.
Twelve years (and many, many boards) later and I've developed a great relationship with a couple of shapers local to me. They make boards for me based on the way I surf; we share waves all winter long and they know what I like. Matt Ayre, of Polymath made us a load of amazing boards and has passed the baton onto David Kennett since he moved from next door to our house to Canada.
I chose K&K to make my boards after Matt because on any good day in a good line-up in the North East, there are more K&K boards in the water than anything else - he's making boards for so many people and doing a great job of it.
So between the three of us, we decided to come up with a design that I would have liked and would have served me well when I first started surfing. It's the board I use to teach improver lessons on, as one of the most common mistakes I see in people at the start of their surfing journey is their board is holding them back.
We're really not trying to re-invent the wheel here; this is just our interpretation of a mini-mal that we think would be perfect to teach our improver lessons on. We will have a small stock of them as school boards and they will be available to have custom shaped to order.
Soft lines, plenty of foam for paddle and glide, forgiving rails. It keeps a traditional outline and length as a 'normal' Mini-Mal but it just drops the volume a touch out towards the rails so it requires a little less weight and power to sink the rails when turning.
This model is a 7'6 x 21 1/2 x 2 3/4 and packs 48L of foam.
It's designed to get beginner to intermediate surfers upping their wave count and developing skills that can be transferred either up to a longboard, or down to shorter boards in the future.
Each board is made to order in Wallsend, Newcastle.
If you are interested in ordering one of these boards, please get in touch to discuss options.