If you’re a Texas surfer, there’s going to come a time when you just get sick and tired of the flatness.
It might be the dog days of summer when the Gulf has been a lake for weeks on end or a lull between fall, winter and spring swells when no matter how much praying you do, the waves just won’t show.
In the coming weeks, I’m going to focus on some of the ways that ingenious surfers replicate wave-riding away from the ocean. There have been whole industries started by desperate surfers dealing with flat spells or by those who have moved away from an ocean and miss the glide.
Probably the most well-known activity that surfers imagined is skateboarding. It’s something that pretty much every surfer I know has tried at some point, with varying degrees of success. Lack of skill or acumen doesn’t keep many of us from at least trying to skate, even if we’d rather be catching waves.
A few years back, a company called Carver invented a skateboard truck (the metal mechanism where the wheels are attached) that’s spring-loaded and feels a lot like carving into and out of a wave face when you ride it. I’ve had a Carver for a few years now, and it’s been a revelation because of how closely it mimics surfing.
A long stretch of paved alleyway or the seawall is the perfect complement to carving frontside and backside bottom turns on a Carver and even working on perfecting roundhouse, wrap-around maneuvers that are so crucial to riding waves well. A few hours on this skateboard definitely helps surfing progression, especially if you feel yourself getting rusty from lack of water time.
The best part is that your forward momentum — created by pumping your weight back and forth in the same way you build speed on a surfboard — means you never have to push the board, which leads to a great workout for your core and legs.
The Carvers even work pretty well in the bowl at the skatepark, provided you’ve got some experience riding transitions. If you’re familiar with riding a regular skateboard in a bowl, the Carver takes some getting used to because the front trucks pivot back and forth, making them a bit more unstable. But carving a stretch of smooth, vertical concrete can feel very much like doing an off-the-top while surfing, just without the soft landing.
There are all sorts of shapes and sizes of Carver boards to accompany their Frankenstein trucks, and some of them even look like smaller, wooden versions of popular surfboard models such as those shaped by Channel Islands.
Since Carver’s inception, there have been a few more companies manufacturing skateboards that replicate the feel of riding a wave. Those include new spring-loaded trucks recently introduced by Hamboards in Southern California and a new surf adapter for regular skateboard trucks that’s being manufactured by Waterborne Skateboards.
If you want to give a Carver a try, most of the surf shops in Galveston have demo models that you can tool around on before buying. I’m a big fan of anything that keeps the stoke alive in between swells, and these inventions might be just the ticket for you, too.
for the weekend
By Friday afternoon, the surf along the seawall in Galveston was in building mode as strong southerly winds were helping to push the waves into the rideable range.
There’s a cold front expected to cross the upper Texas coast Saturday afternoon, and if the pressure gradient tightens enough in advance to bring us even stronger onshore winds, the surf could be fun in the evening just before sunset.
Keep your eyes peeled on the local surf cams (www.g-townsurf.com) to determine if it’s worth a paddle-out.
TGSA Galveston Open postponed
The Texas Gulf Surfing Association announced Friday that its Galveston Open competition set for this weekend has been postponed and will be rescheduled for a later date. More information can be found on the TGSA website at surftgsa.org.