Sharing the stoke is something that is so important to us as surfers. That was why surfing with the boys from the factory for the first time was so important. It was also the first time I had ever surfed a stubby displacement hull. It was the first time I had surfed in 3 months due to covid.
The plan was to meet early on a winter/spring morning at an out of the way quiet beach break. The forecast was small, and the formidable Nortada wind would apparently stop blowing for the morning at least, giving us that small window of hopefully blissful firsts. We would all get to surf the weird and beautiful boards we had spent the whole winter shaping, glassing and tweaking. The apprehension was palpable. For me there would be little sleep and an early alarm call in the dark. I put my head on the pillow and waited till morning. But how did we get here?
It all started with a joke, a jibe about old surfboards, how some designs just faded away, how some of the best shapes are just not used these days. A nostalgic conversation that went on for eternity and left us all feeling a little wistful. Before we knew it, there was a rough plan in theory, we could make some boards as a nod to the past, to expose their wonders to those who surf today and mainly simply to see how they worked. This sparked off 6 months of design ideas, prep, shaping, glassing, arguments, redesign and a lot of fine-tuning. We pulled out all the stops on these five glorious surfboards. Resin tints and polish, handmade glassed on fins with carbon inlays, custom glassed leash loops and boy, do they look good.
So how was it going to work? How would we make this more than just another surfboard rental?
We came up with two packages that you could choose from.
The Bare Bones package: Just take one, two, three or all of the boards as rentals for as many days as you want, choose your fins, and have a blast.
The Full Monty package: Book a day to go surfing with the quiver of boards, fins and also Joaquim who will take you to the best place to surf that day for those boards, take a variety of fins and try them all. Quim will explain how and why all the boards and fins work. Top it all off with a debrief at Fatum HQ and enjoy a Fatum Golden Ale, then take your favourite board for the rest of the day and have a blast.
Those are the different options we came up with and they are available now, the boards are waxed and ready to go. But how did they surf?
As you know, it takes a while to get to know each surfboard and so I have been concentrating on two of them, I can give you feedback on those. The 6’6” Displacement Hull in burnt orange and the 5’5” pink Mini Simmons.
Back to the sleepless night. The unfamiliar sound of my alarm shocked me awake, the anticipation of what was to come returning to me all at once. Today was the day. Or was it? A quick look out of the window showed a puff of wind, it was off shore. We were on.
I jumped into my car that had been packed the night before with nervous hands and raced off into the yellow of a dawning sun.
When I reached the beach, the others were already there, jumping up and down to keep warm. I had my to favourites in the back, the Hull and the Simmons, determined to have dibs on the Hull for a first surf. There was lots of laughing and joking as we realised we had not waxed any of the boards, four old men panting and out of breath and we had not even got in the water yet. Waxing a polished board is not easy in a hurry, while in a 5mm wetsuit at 7.30 on a cold winter morning.
Paddling out in the rip was a welcome and familiar feeling. Like meeting an old friend, it just seemed easy, the Hull was content to be paddled easily, seemingly biding its time to be let off the leash. It had a little more volume than I was used to but it was welcome after not having surfed for 3 months. It felt somehow smooth and slick. I glanced to my right and Gero, Quim and Saqua all seemed to be lost in their own worlds, gliding to the peak silently. There was no joking around now.
The first set came after what seemed like an eternity of waiting. Gero and Quim had the two first two waves of the set and then it was me, I was in position. Go time.
The next few seconds were among the strangest I have ever had. The familiar feeling of surfing yet different, very different. Somehow smooother, cleaner, more polished. The Hull responded in kind to my movements and (as it was supposed to) displaced all the water off the rail, fanning out in a beautiful arc, giving you that honey smooth feeling. This was truly unlike anything I had surfed before.
After more waves of similar bliss we swopped boards, Gero had second dibs on the Hull and I took his trusty Floyd, while Quim tried the Simmons. Another set and Gero took off on his first wave. When he paddled back out all I could see was a smile. “Well, that changes everything” he said. Just then Quim took off on the Simmons and chose a runner down the outside, a great wave, the board looked like it was going faster than a greased eel and turning just about within the parameters of control. It was going so fast.
Later, on the beach we all concurred that these boards where really good fun, we saw a place for some of them in the Fatum Quiver and some potential yet to be discovered. I would love to tell you more about the boards and how they surfed but I suppose you will just have to come and try them yourself.
Safe to say I immediately begged my wife to let me order a hull in my size. I have it in my possession, as I type these words and it sits atop my quiver in the honoured position of being the teacher’s pet.