It should come as no surprise that we all surf better in quality waves. But those of us unable to call Cloudbreak, Honolua, or Barra home are often forced to make the most of the gutless conditions that mar our homebreak. So what’s the key to surfing well in the face of mediocrity? In a word: Speed. To keep your momentum through the rest of summer, we consulted with Florida’s Evan Geiselman—an expert on making the meager look meaty—on the finer points of groveling.
At a macro level, having enough speed is pivotal to just about everything you do in surfing. Want to throw more chunks on your frontside gouge? You’ll need to go into the turn faster. “It’s pretty basic,” says Evan Geiselman, “for the most part, the faster you’re going, the better—and more radical—all of your turns and airs will look. Speed is pretty much everything.”
Making the most of a gutless forecast has a lot to do with finding the right equipment. “A smaller, wider board will allow you to float and almost skate on small waves,” says Evan. “Having the right board under your feet is a must when it’s really small.” Our advice? Invest in a fish or a thruster hybrid when the forecast looks anemic.
When you’re trying to build speed and pump through the wave, you’ll need to shift your weight—and feet—slightly forward on your board. “I like to raise my back foot forward and bring it a bit farther up on the board,” says Evan. “I also shift a lot of my weight on my front foot so all of my momentum is going forward and pushing me forward.”
But be careful not to overindulge. Based on a purely aesthetic level, it should be noted that the less your body (and by body we mean mostly your arms) moves, torques, and spazzes out, the better. “It’s easy to start doing crazy, sharp movements and look like you’re trying too hard in small surf, which is usually a bad thing,” says Evan. As the adage goes, less is more.