(May 28, 2021) There’s an interesting concept that is current and contemporary, although one would be amiss to refer to it as new.
Soft surfboards can be described as a recent phenomena, plus there’s plenty of them around. But what is thought of them and how do they fit in with the current/recent line-up of equipment?
Traditionally, they’ve been around for quite a while though in the last few years have attained a certain legitimacy due mainly to a high level of advertising, promotion and apparent acceptance by those that prefer them.
Tom Morey, of Morey Boogie Board fame, seems to be the originator of these more user friendly water craft.
I can remember carrying Morey/Doyle soft surfboards, with Mike Doyle being another big name in the surfing world.
Morey and Doyle had collaborated on bringing the perfect starter surfboard to the market. It floated, paddled and caught waves with relative ease, with a relative safety factor as well.
Even in those days, they were the choice of some more accomplished surfers.
I had a good friend who liked an eight-foot Morey/Doyle. I practically wanted to give him a nice foam/fiberglass “real” surfboard but he wouldn’t have it.
For the limited time that he was able to surf the soft surfboard worked just fine for him. There was no worry about dings and he could literally throw the board in the back of his pick-up truck, once again not being concerned about damage.
It’s often been said that the best surfer in the water is the one having the most fun. It’s not much of a stretch to think that this could pertain to whatever type of vehicle the user wants to surf on.
Now, less the reader figure that these soft boards are a panacea of sorts, they do have their limitations.
Ones with soft cores tend to bog down on turns and not respond to the rider’s movements, thus not being very high performance. More recent ones, with stiff cores, go a long way to help with this problem and indeed enter more into the high performance realm of a tuned foam/fiberglass surfboard.
To be able to attain one custom made would also become problematic. These boards frequently come from overseas and while they will come in different lengths, nuances in the shapes are not readily found.
What we’re dealing with here is more in the area of the beginner or the surfer who is just “knocking around” and isn’t too concerned with higher performance. Thus, soft surfboards do have their place.
Surfboards go through frequent changes and trends, be it in design or materials, and soft surfboards seem to qualify right along this line of thought.
It’s easy to simply pawn these boards off as not being “real” surfboards and to some they certainly aren’t, but don’t forget that saying about the best surfer in the water being the one having the most fun.
– Dave Dalkiewicz is the owner of Ocean Atlantic Surf Shop
in Ocean City.