Old mal rollin’

A few of my friends ride old mals (boards that are pre-1968 or 67, depending. Either way, pre-shortening). The boards are big and heavy and cumbersome, but they really love to ride them, and get so stoked about it. They have explained to me that like they way the boards move, the challenge of surfing their weight, and the way you have to be really, really responsive to the board and the ways it works on waves, rather than pushing the board to do what you want it to do. I’ve never tried to surf them – I don’t know if I’d have enough control over their weight and roll – but I’d like to.

Sage Joske recently wrote a lovely description of why he likes to surf old mals,

I love the way they embed themselves into the wave, how the water wraps around the bottom roll and soft rails, being sucked to and feeling the wave – moving at wave speed, and then rolling into and out of turns. When I first rode my ’67 Peter Clarke Stringerless, I distinctly recall trying to break trim and turn, leaning over and falling off the side while the board continued straight. That was my first lesson – humility. These boards command respect and surrender. You can’t overpower them.

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