Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday School Wegener Style

Sunday's have become very special around here lately. We get to have a nice breakfast at a leisurely pace, and then of course we go surfing, with family and friends. Today the waves were small and the weather was nice so it was the perfect day for Sunday school...Wegener style. We took an entire quiver to the beach, and just played around. It was a good day to go finless...we had a toothpick, a mini-pick, an alaia, and the newest addition to the finless family...the Bluegill.

It was a great opportunity for everybody to try out the new boards for some r&d.

Jon hauled down the 10ft toothpick. Jon says..."I'm not riding toothpicks enough, these boards are really exhilarating!"

Wegener surfboards is currently developing a couple different models to try and bridge the gap between an alaia and your run -of-the-mill surfboard. Something that rides like an
alaia, but is easier to paddle.

Sean is riding a 7'6 toothpick also known as the mini-pick. Currently in development.

Local kids Ryan and Mike even put down their shortboards for a chance to try something new.

Ryan is trying out the new Bluegill (also currently in development)...wasn't sure we were gonna get it back! Mike rode an alaia, and had a blast on the tiniest of waves.

Well, the Greenflash model is not exactly experimental, but it's always fun!

Everybody had a great time experimenting. It made a day of small surf exciting. I can't wait for next Sunday!

-The Wegeners

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Tips For Alaia Riding

For a few people, learning to ride the alaia comes very quick and naturally. For the rest of us it takes a commitment and practice. People often ask us for tips on how to ride an alaia. So we thought that we would share some pointers that you might find helpful.

Keep in mind that it is not like riding your surfboard. The boards don't have as much flotation, less rocker, and no fins. You are not just going to paddle out to your favorite lineup and start catching waves. It takes a little time, and a lot of humility. But once you get your first ride, you will be hooked, just like the rest of us.

START CLOSE TO THE BEACH. Until you become a good paddler on an alaia, it will be best to surf where you can keep your feet on the ground. This way you will be able to jump into waves, and get a feel for the way the board rides the wave.

BELLY RIDING. Riding an alaia, is all about engaging the rail. The best way to practice this is by riding waves on your belly. (Remember we said humility?) You will feel like your surfing is taking 3 steps back, but it is really fun. You will be surprised by the speed and the overhead barrels!

Look for small reforms on the inside.

PADDLE IN AT AN ANGLE. Since the boards do not have rocker, try to paddle in with the board angling down the wave. Paddling straight in will result in a nose dive. Once you become proficient you can vary your takeoff style.

START OUT IN SMALL SURF. This will help you stay in control of your session, and not get too frustrated with current, and big wipe outs. Staying away from longboarders is also a good idea for now too.

(Actually alaia surfing will teach you to look for good shaped waves where no one else is surfing. It's tiring to paddle back and forth as you would on your surfboard. This makes you a wiser and more efficient surfer no matter what board you are riding.)

Stay in a crouched position. Keeping a low center of gravity works best.

PADDLE, AND STAND FAR BACK ON THE BOARD. When you are too far forward on the board, your rail has a hard time engaging and you will spin out. If you find yourself spinning out scoot farther back on the board to paddle. This will help you stand farther back on the board as well.

SURF WITH YOUR HANDS. Touching the face of the wave keeps your body in the right stance. It also has the magical affect of sucking you up into the perfect trim zone. Your fingers act as your fins.

You will also use your hands to lead into your turns. Switching hands to the reverse rail will guide your turn, and keep your body in the correct position. It will also stop you from spinning out, on your turn.

Above all keep your expectations reasonable. It's like learning to surf all over again, although it is much quicker and enjoyable the second time around. Alaia riding has reignited many people's passion for surfing. A big part of this is the challenge and thrill of learning.

Keep these tips in mind and you will progress faster. With practice you will be out at your favorite lineup getting the rides of your life!

Have fun...the Wegeners

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Jumping off point

For the last few years Wegener Surfboards has been focusing on the modern development of an ancient surf craft: the alaia. Tom Wegener (my brother) made his first alaia in Australia about 4 years ago. I have been shaping them in California for about 3 1/2 years now. We have been steadily working on refining the designs from the originals that we made. Through trial and error, and the feedback of many enthusiastic alaia riders we have come up with some really functional and exciting designs.

As shapers, working with the alaia has forced us to throw out a lot of what we had learned making boards over the last 29 years. It has forced us to look at surfing in a completely different way. My brother Tom and I have spent almost 30 years developing theories on what makes surfboards work, what makes them go faster, what makes them ride better. 98% of that got thrown out the window when we started making alaias.
What Tom saw in the museum he replicated, and it works. But we have to remember the Hawaiians used several different kinds of wood to make alaias. Most of those woods rotted very quickly, so very few boards are left. We don't know if the boards in the museum are the ones that rode great, or if they were the lemons. They simply survived. The Hawaiians may have had designs that worked soooo much better than what is available for us to copy. If we content ourselves to just making historical replicas we are limiting ourselves and our surfing.
Wegener Surfboards is not content to make a replica to put on the wall...we want to make the best surfboards for SURFING!

Finless surfing is not just a queer offshoot in surfing history. It is the past, but it is also the future of surfing. We have used those few boards that are left as a jumping off point. Finless surfing, as a movement is evolving quickly. Board design hasn't evolved this quickly since the shortboard revolution. alaias are only the beginning. Here at Wegener Surfboards we are just busting with excitment to get the newest innovations out to the world!

So please join us as we explore the leading edge of surfboard design. Take the journey with us to Wegener's Finless Frontier!