Goat boats go home

Posted on April 5, 2011


Nobody knows who rode the first wave for pleasure or where. However for the Polynesian people of the south Pacific, it is known that surfing has been an important part of their culture for the past 1,000 years and probably longer. Then along came captain Cook and his visit to Hawaii let the surfing gene out of the bottle, but you had to be a sturdy sod to be a surfer in the early part of the last century, the boards they used were carved from solid redwood, measured 12 feet long and weighted, an arm bending, 80 lbs and it was only the physically tough watermen of the day who could handle them.

It wasn’t until post war advances in plastics filtered through to surfboard construction in the fifties that the modern sport we all know and love now was truly born. I say sport because that is what it is my hippie friends; “an activity involving physical exertion and skill that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often undertaken competitively.” Experiments with boat resins, lightweight balsa and foams led to lighter boards and these advances ushered in the boom of the sixties and surfing became more accessible to everyone, and the seeds of tall trees were sown..

Surfing the granddaddy of all board sports was the sperm that gave birth to countless children, among them, skateboarding and snowboarding now stand strong as truly independent sports which are feeding back into surfing with new inspirations and rotations. There are a myriad of third generation of board sports now flexing their muscles of which flowriding has caught the imagination of many surfers. More akin to snowboarding, with the emphasis on front foot, than surfing – it however, is a good work-out for the legs and tunes your sense of balance, and at the very least is  ‘a fun way to spend a flat day.’ In these pictures surfer and snowboarder, Joel Gray, shows that boardriding is a transferable skill in his first session on the Flowrider at Newquay.

Boardriding has a common theme, whether you surf, skate, snow, mountain, wake, brush or flow – you balance on a board and ride, standing is the preferred method but if you want to live on your knees it’s your choice, but, and lets make this abundantly clear – no way is sitting down in a canoe and paddling with a double ended egg beater anything to do with surfing!

Stick to the rivers goatboaters – you have no control over your boat and are a danger to yourselves and other water users.

Joel 1Joel 2Joel 3Joel shakaJoel wipeout

Posted in: North Devon, Surfing